15.1.4. The Structure of the Letters

The seven letters to the seven churches follow a well-developed pattern.1

They are constructed precisely on the same model. They every one of them contain. . . 1. A command . . . to the seer that he should write to the Angel of the Church. 2. One or more glorious titles which Christ claims for Himself. . . 3. The action message from Christ to the Angel of the Church. . . 4. A promise to the faithful. . . 5. . . . an exhortation which give a universal character to these particular addresses.2

The titles used by each letter are taken primarily from John’s vision of Jesus in the first chapter (Rev. Rev. 1:12-18+) and relate to the situation of the particular church.3


Notes

1 See also [Monty S. Mills, Revelations: An Exegetical Study of the Revelation to John (Dallas, TX: 3E Ministries, 1987), Rev. 2:8].

2 Richard Chenevix Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1861), 65-66.

3 “The first thing in common is that every letter has a description of the Messiah taken from the description of the Glorified Son of Man found in chapter one.”—Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003), 47. “Each feature thus emphasized has an appropriate connection with the nature of the church, as if the manifestation of Christ were specially designed for that church. To the careless assembly at Ephesus He is the inspector who walks among the lampstands; to the oppressed flock of Smyrna threatened by persecution He is the risen Lord whom death could not destroy; to the lax church at Pergamum He appears with the sharp two-edged sword of judgment. Each feature of the portrait is made significant for the addresses.”—Merrill C. Tenney, Interpreting Revelation (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1957), 123.