Response to our existing CDs has been heartwarming, with many requests for more teaching tools like these. Having visited the Seven Churches of Revelation in 2010 and having been immersed in this subject before and since, we had to make this the subject of our next CD. It is the fact that the letters of Jesus to these representative churches were written with full knowledge of the circumstances and environment of each group of believers that make this subject so edifying and compelling.
This presentation has 105 pictures and captions, making it suitable for a two-part talk (or a shorter one, if some slides were left out). It begins on the beautiful Greek island of Patmos, where the Apostle John was told to write the visions which he saw in a scroll and send them to the Seven Churches (Greek singular:”ekklesia”) which were in Asia. We visit these sites: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea in order, with additional slides devoted to Laodicea’s sister churches in the Lycus Valley: Colossae and Hierapolis, (without reference to these neighbouring churches, in particular their water supply, the letter to Laodicea would be unintelligible).
The circular postal route of the messenger is mapped, with a separate map given to highlight his journey from one city to the next. Each section includes a slide containing the full message to each church (quoted from the NKJV) with a useful summary given in its caption. The church and its city is then placed in its geographical and historical setting, with links made to the local background in each letter. Images providing Scriptural insight, accompanied by detailed captions, are given of each city. In Ephesus, you can disembark at the ancient harbour and walk with the messenger up the Harbour Way to the Theatre where the great riot had taken place about thirty years earlier in the time of Paul. With reference to Smyrna, see a possible modern remnant of the “crown of life.” In Philadelphia, ponder the poignancy of the promise to the “overcomers” of that city, never more to have to “go out.” This was to a group of people who were used to always having to flee the city, in an area notoriously prone to earthquakes.
And there are pictures that show the truly stunning location of some of these cities: the lofty acropolis of Pergamum, Sardis’ gentle glen of the Pactolus, in which King Midas is reputed to have washed off his “golden touch” and the breathtaking beauty of the travertine cliffs of Hierapolis. With the photographs having been taken in April, some of them cannot escape being framed with poppies or Judas Trees.
Not living at the time these letters were written, we cannot expect to fully appreciate their force. However, with the help of this presentation and the many illuminating links made to the background of each church, we can better appreciate the message of these letters which are still so remarkably relevant today.
The CD cover slide shows the Temple of Trajan in Pergamum, where the cult of Emperor worship made the city the place of “Satan’s Throne.”