If they did not repent, Jesus himself would come and fight against them. The temple of the Roman emperor Trajan was used for the worship of Zeus on the upper acropolis of Pergamum, Turkey. Happy to offer information, one man told me Christians visit the seven churches like Muslims visit Mecca—to earn merit before God. My heart dropped to hear his misunderstanding of Christianity.
Today, there are a few known believers around Bergama, but no churches. In the book of Acts, Lydia was a wealthy benefactress and convert to Christianity. The ancient coins of Thyatira show a multitude of guilds including linen weavers, bronze workers, potters, and bakers. Thyatira was the only city of the Seven Churches built on flat ground without natural defenses, making it vulnerable to attack.
Ruins from an unknown ancient structure remain fenced-off from modern-day life in Akhisar. He promised authority over nations to those who persevere until the end. An apartment building overlooks the crumbled walls of ancient Thyatira. The scant ruins of Thyatira are unearthed in the modern city of Akhisar. Contemporary apartment buildings line streets teeming with busses and cars. There is no church in Akhisar and no known believers. Today, more than one hundred thousand people live in Akhisar. The city is well known for its olive and textile industries.
We parked our car—the only vehicle in the gravel lot at the ruins of Sardis—and climbed out to view the extensive excavations. The legendary, wealthy King Croesus, who amassed gold from a nearby river, reigned from Sardis in the s BC. Ruins from an Artemis temple—originally dating from the fifth century BC and rebuilt by Alexander the Great one hundred years later—still stand today. A stadium, shops, and ruins of the largest ancient Jewish synagogue in the world were a short jaunt from the temple.
The Jewish synagogue in Sart was in use for up to six hundred years. Many believe it serves as proof that Judaism remained strong even as Christianity was introduced in the region.
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Although there were a faithful few, most people in the Sardis church were spiritually dead and dying. Ruins from a small, fourth-century Byzantine church stand on the grounds of the Temple of Artemis. The temple was still unfinished by the fourth century AD and was all but abandoned when Christianity entered Sardis. The modern town of Sart—only a mile from the ruins—has just over five thousand inhabitants. A nearby village, adjacent to the ruins, carries on with rural life.
Seven churches of Asia
Children run in the dusty streets. Farmers drive tractors into the surrounding fields.
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There are no known Christians in Sart today. Modern-day Sart is a quiet town with nearly five thousand residents. There are no known believers. Little remains from ancient Philadelphia.
Seven Churches of Revelation in Turkey
Not established until the mids BC, the city of Philadelphia was the newest of churches Jesus addressed in Revelation. Crumbling Byzantine walls blend into its cityscape. One neighborhood has preserved the arches and sarcophagi from a sixth-century church. The call to prayer from the adjacent mosque interrupted our reverie as we perused the sparse ruins. This broken archway, now with a mosque in the background, is believed to have supported a church dome in ancient Philadelphia.
Jesus also told the church in Philadelphia he would keep them from the hour of trial. Whatever that refers to, it did not mean they would be spared persecution. Ongoing excavations of the city of Laodicea began only recently, in The work continues to uncover an expansive, wealthy city. Laodicea was built on a major highway and became a commercial and banking center.
It was known for ear and eye medicine and for its black wool. The water was tepid and unpleasant, but nearby Hierapolis gushed hot thermal springs. Also nearby, Colossae was the home of pure, cold water. The church of Laodicea is still under excavation. The churches in Hierapolis, Colossae, and Laodicea were relatively close and seemed to have a relationship with one other. Paul instructed that his letter to the Colossians be read also in Laodicea Col.
Wealth and independence had weakened their commitment to Christ. Little is known about what has been unearthed in ancient Laodicea because excavation efforts are relatively new. Archaeologists currently believe this area served as a marketplace. In Revelation 3, Jesus used language and imagery familiar to them: I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Laodicea was established along a busy trade route.
This ancient path, known as Syria Street, connected Laodicea to Colossae.
Most citizens of Laodicea resettled into the modern-day city of Denizli after a devastating earthquake in AD. It seems the ancient city fully died out after the Turks came through in the eleventh century. Today Denizli is a bustling city of over half a million.
Turkey and the 7 Churches of Revelation
Out of that number, three or four former Muslims have stepped out to profess faith in Christ. This Jesus of the first century is the same Jesus of today. Although the letters differ in length in accord with the needs of each community, all conclude with an appeal to hold fast and to listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
Each church is promised that everyone who conquers will be rewarded by Christ. Some historicists typically interpret the seven churches as representing seven different periods in the history of the Western Church from the time of Paul until the return of Jesus Christ. Branham  also have posited the view that the seven churches preview the history of the global Church.
Historicism has been criticized by the Eastern Orthodox Fr. Dimitri Cozby, who writes that historicists take a greatly oversimplified view of church history: The dispensations take into account almost nothing of Orthodox history after the period of the early councils which we share with the West. Chapters of the Revelation have specific messages for each of the seven churches.
The message of each of the seven letters is directed to the angel of the particular church that is mentioned. Origen  explains that these "angels" are the guardian angels of the churches, a view upheld by Henry Alford.
But Epiphanius  explicitly rejects this view, and, in accordance with the imagery of the passage, explains it as the bishops. John sees a vision of the Son of man , who walks among seven lampstands and has seven stars in his right hand. Augustine of Hippo 's reason for interpreting angels of the churches as the prelates of the church is that St. John speaks of them as falling from their first charity, which is not true of the angels.
Much of what is said is rebuke and admonishment, so if the angels are heavenly beings, they may serve in some way as representatives of the sinful people in their churches. Jewish tradition maintained that every nation and individual has a guardian angel, and that when God is about to punish a nation, He first punishes its angel.
There is even a story of Michael, the guardian angel of Israel, being rebuked by God for the sins committed in the time of Ezekiel. So the original readers of Revelation might have assumed that the angels here are the guardian angels of the individual churches, sharing responsibility for the actions of the members. Scofield has noted that "The natural explanation of the 'messengers' is that they were men sent by the seven churches to ascertain the state of the aged apostle