The Seven Churches of Revelation


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August 20th 2015
Published: August 20th 2015
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Info on the Ancient city of SardisInfo on the Ancient city of SardisInfo on the Ancient city of Sardis

One of the 7 Churches addressed in the Book of Revelation
There are seven churches in Asia minor that are addressed in the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. We were in/or near four of the seven today and we'll be in Ephesus later this week. I don't know much about the Book of Revelation, but this journey is transforming these abstract communities into real people with real struggles.



As we speed down the highway after landing in Izmir (Smyrna), we are surrounded by beautiful mountains, fields of grapes, figs (fresh figs from the road side stand are way better than Fig Newtons), oranges and many other fruits. On this hot, muggy day, we had the chance to visit Sardis and Laodicea and walk among the ruins of the Persians, Greeks, Romans as well as early Christian and Jewish peoples in these ancient cities.



In Sardis, we stood in a fourth century church and listened to the words of John of Patmos (the author of the Book of Revelation) as he exhorted the people of this early Christian community with his words penned in the late first century, “I know your works, that you have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Be watchful and strengthen what is left...” (Rev 3:2) Doesn’t this exhortation still ring true for many of our own Church communities? In what ways, do we long to become more alive?



Similarly in Laodicea, we listened to the words addressed to this “wealthy” yet “lukewarm” (Rev 3:16) early Christian community as we stood near the ruins of the Church of St. John. This community was tremendously wealthy because they sold a unique black wool throughout the world. Was it their wealth and life of leisure that contributed to their lukewarm faith? How many of us are lukewarm in our own Christian life because of worldly distractions?


Additional photos below
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4th Century Christian Church of Sardis4th Century Christian Church of Sardis
4th Century Christian Church of Sardis

Built near the ruins of 6th Century BC Temple of Artemis.
Fr. vanThan reads to us in Sardis from the Book of RevelationFr. vanThan reads to us in Sardis from the Book of Revelation
Fr. vanThan reads to us in Sardis from the Book of Revelation

“To the angel[a] of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits[b] of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. 4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5 The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. 6 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Rev 3:1-6)
White Bird (Dove?) perched upon the 4th Century Church Ruins in LaodiceaWhite Bird (Dove?) perched upon the 4th Century Church Ruins in Laodicea
White Bird (Dove?) perched upon the 4th Century Church Ruins in Laodicea

The Holy Spirit was present as Fr. vanThanh read the words addressed to the Church of Laodicea to our group.
A View of the White Mineral Deposits from LaodiceaA View of the White Mineral Deposits from Laodicea
A View of the White Mineral Deposits from Laodicea

The city of nearby Heirapolis (Pamukkale), where we stayed last night and will visit today is in the mountains above these mineral deposits.


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