The seven epistles to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 are full of references to the old testament, which the gentiles or believers out of gentiles (Revelation 1:4 tells us that all seven churches were geographically located in the gentile land of Asia, which is modern day western Turkey) couldn't have properly understood unless they were familiar with the Old Testament Scriptures:

To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God (KJV, Revelation 2:7)

... thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication (KJV, Revelation 2:14)

To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna (KJV, Revelation 2:17)

thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols (KJV, Revelation 2:20)

... to him will I give power over the nations, And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers (KJV, Revelation 2:26-27)

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life (KJV, Revelation 3:5)

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name (KJV, Revelation 3:12)

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent (KJV, Revelation 3:19)

So, given the fact that the word for "church" here can mean merely a congregation or gathering, could it be so that the seven epistles are in fact addressed exclusively to the Jews living in Asia, rather than to all Christians living in those cities - just like the Hebrews is also addressed specifically to the Jews, rather than to all Christians?

  • I recommend viewing the series on Revelation by Pastor Jim Brown. He goes through the Hebrew and Greek meanings (no opinions) and explains how Revelation is allegorical summary of the OT. Jim Brown #3011 Aug 2, 2015 at 3:37

1 Answer 1


No, that doesn't suggest they were "Jewish Christians". Christians in the first century viewed themselves as Israel, continued and expanded -- the "true" Jews. Their Bible was the Hebrew Bible. They took responsibility for knowing the (OT) Scriptures. These were characteristics of the first-century Christian.

And the Christians in these churches did know the OT. The churches in the Ephesus area (e.g. the "seven churches" of Rev. 2-3) were the focus of much of the Apostles' ministry. Paul did quite a bit of work there, as did Peter if memory serves. Most significantly, John's base of operations was in Ephesus in the years leading up to the writing of Revelation; these churches got heavy doses of the OT from the Apostles themselves.

What makes Revelation a different animal than Hebrews is that Hebrews was clearly written to those in danger of reverting back to the Old Covenant. Gentiles would not be in danger of such an error since they were never in the Old Covenant. Revelation, on the other hand was written to the Church, using 7 nearby churches as representatives. They would hardly be representative of the Church if it were only directed to a particular ethnicity within the Church.

Distinction between Christians of Jewish descent and Christians of Gentile descent was never encouraged by the NT authors. The only time such distinctions appear are when they're being countered. The Church, in the Apostles' minds was one; as far as they were concerned, such distinctions disappeared at the cross.

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