“Write therefore the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall take place after these things. As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” ~Revelation 1:19-20
Verse 19 is an outline of the book of Revelation- things which you have seen (chapter 1, Jesus), things which are (chapters 2-3, letters to the churches), and the things which shall take place after these things (from chapter 4 on, after church history, the end times).
The seven angels represent the leaders, shepherds of the churches, and the seven churches were actual churches which existed in 90 A.D. There were, of course, more than seven churches by this time, but these seven were chosen to represent not only actual churches, but also periods of time in church history, as well as things that needed to be addressed in the Church as a whole and in individual hearts.
Our pastor gave us these four ways to apply each letter:
1. Apply locally, for that specific church at that time.
2. Apply to the Church as a whole, to all the churches.
3. Apply personally, to our individual hearts.
4. Apply prophetically, as church history unfolds- past, present, and future.
First church/city coming up… Ephesus!