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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.






21 July 2005

Contemporary Application of Revelation’s Church Letters


Q: How do the letters to the seven churches in Revelation relate to churches today?

Revelation 1
A: Since seven is often used as a number of completion, holiness, perfection, and judgment as well as of the fullness of God’s interaction with his creation, with mankind, and with the Church, we can look at the seven letters to the seven churches as summing up all God sees when he looks at Christian congregations. Thus, we see the good, the bad, and the ugly.

That the letters are not just intended each for the individual church that is addressed is evident first of all because all are preserved in the context of the Revelation. Even more so, notice how Christ refers back in each letter to the vision John had just had of Him, yet each church only gets a “part” of the vision. You have to read all seven to “reassemble” the total vision of the Lord as revealed to John.

Notice how each letter then ends with a warning to heed what the Spirit says “to the churches.” Thus, each letter to a church is also a letter to all churches. Indeed, these do apply to all of us. Some may not at a certain time, but all Christendom finds itself included, at least in part, in the totality of the seven letters. Maybe the Nicolaitans are no longer the problem, but heresy in one form or another is a chronic problem in the Church. So also all the other sins and sinners mentioned — in one form or another, these all continue to plague us.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.

3 Comments:

Blogger Webcritter said...

The Nicolaitans may be gone, but surely their behavior remains.

22 July, 2005 10:02  
Anonymous terence said...

It's interesting then that Jesus' knocking on the door is the Church's door not the world's door. That's telling for God's people who leave right administration of Word and Sacrament outside.

28 July, 2005 16:37  
Blogger Orycteropus Afer said...

Regarding both comments: Ain't that the truth.

28 July, 2005 20:40  

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