Prophetic Interpretation Of The Seven Churches of Revelation

"The following scheme of prophetic interpretation is proposed without insisting that there is anything hard and fast about the divisions. The designation of each church seems to fit a period in history. Ephesus means "desirable" and fits the apostolic period from A.D. 30 to 100. Smyrna means "myrrh," an herb that gives forth fragrance when it is crushed. This answers to the period of persecution from A.D. 100 to 300. Pergamos signifies being thoroughly married. This describes the period of the union of Church and State from 300 to 500. Thyatira carries the sense of continuous sacrifice and depicts that period when Catholicism dominated all professing Christendom from 500 to 1400. Sardis means "remnant" and answers to the Reformation period from 1400 to 1700. Philadelphia denotes brotherly love and suggests the time of missionary movement and evangelization from 1700 to 1900. Laodicean means "judgment of the people" and is closely akin to the word democracy. It represents that period of growing apostasy from 1900 on."

"The organization of the material in each of the seven letters follows a rather well defined pattern. At the outset of each epistle the destination is given. This is followed by a description of the author, which always fits the spiritual condition of the church. From these facts the dispensation of the church is set forth, the name and condition of the church indicating this. The diagnosis is clearly set forth, sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes both. There is usually a demand laid upon the church consisting of a command from the Lord to repent and reform. A dynamic is always provided for individual believers to overcome. In every letter a word of discrimination appears. This is for the purpose of sifting out the wheat from the tares."

Author, Herman A. Hoyt, Th.D., LL.D. (1909-2000). An Exposition Of The Book Of RevelationWinona Lake, Indiana: Brethren Missionary Herald Company