John’s letters to the seven churches have great meaning in our day.
The revelation of the seven churches reaffirms the reality of the living, glorified Christ.
John opened his letter with a testimony of Christ and of the relationship the faithful can have with him.
This testimony was further confirmed by a personal visitation of the resurrected Christ.
The confirmation of Christ’s reality is one of the most significant themes of the book of Revelation.
The letters to the seven churches reaffirm the Lord’s intimate concern for his saints and the blessings that await those who are faithful to him.
The individual letters to the seven churches contain personal and intimate evaluations of the spiritual status of each branch.
The seven letters also contain explicit descriptions of the blessings awaiting those who overcome the world.
The seven letters show that the Lord is aware of the spiritual strengths and weaknesses of each saint.
We can use the seven letters as a guide to evaluate our standing with the Lord and to prepare to qualify for the blessings promised by him.
New Testament Reading Assignment
Chapter 54, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ … unto His Servant John”
1 Nephi 14:19-29. Why was John foreordained to write the book of Revelation?
3 Nephi 27:19. How can we be washed in the blood of Christ as promised in Revelation 1:5?
Teachings, pp. 289-90. With what does the book of Revelation deal? How may the book become clear to our understanding?
Teachings, p. 247. What did Paul see in vision?
DNTC, 3:429-62. Interpretation of Revelation 1-3.
Bruce R. McConkie, “Understanding the Book of Revelation,” Ensign, Sept. 1975, pp. 85-89.
HC, 5:554-56. Who can become kings and priests of God, as spoken of in Revelation 1:6?
Slide set, The Seven Cities of Asia
Transparency, The Seven Cities of the Book of Revelation
Some Suggestions for Presentation
(Special note to the instuctor: It might be well before proceeding with section 12 [the lessons on the book of Revelation] to carefully study the section entitled “The Prophetic Eye,” in the course manual.)
John’s Testimony of the Savior (Overhead Transparency and Chalkboard Discussion)
The teacher may wish to use the overhead transparency which shows the Inspired Version account of Revelation 1:4-8. As this is read, the students could contrast this version with the King James Version. The teacher could have a chalkboard discussion of the insights gained in the above exercise by writing on the board, “John testified of Christ as the one who—.” Underneath this heading could be listed the statements of John about Christ; then the students could discuss the significance of each. The following is an example:
John testified of Christ as the one who-
Is, who was, and who is to come.
Sent his angel from before his throne.
Is the first begotten of the dead.
Is the Prince of the kings of the earth.
Others. (See also Revelation 19:16.)
How is the Savior eternal?
How did John receive this revelation?
In the colored map section in the center of the course manual is a two-page chart diagramming the structure of the book of Revelation. One of the most insightful ways to introduce students to a study of the Apocalypse is to carefully study this chart together. It outlines the way the revelation unfolds and helps trace the basic chronological thread of the vision.
Analyzing the Seven Letters to the Seven Churches (Group Discussion)
One possible way for effectively analyzing the contents of the seven letters is to divide the class into committees and have them read the seven letters for specific information. Each letter generally contains the following things, which could serve as a basis for the committees: (1) Christ’s description of himself; (2) praise and commendation for the church; (3) condemnation and challenge for the church; and (4) the promise for those who overcome. Reports from the committees could then be given.
(Note to the instructor: The purpose of this lesson is not just to help the students see that the Lord gave personal and loving counsel to his saints in the seven churches. The following conclusion and application in the lives of your students could be the main point of the lesson: If Christ knew the saints in the seven churches so intimately that he could accurately assess their spirituality, and if Christ is eternal [as John’s testimony affirms], then he knows each of your students in the same way. Perhaps the students could consider in their own minds what kinds of things they think Jesus would say if he were to dictate a letter of evaluation to their institute class. What would he Say in a letter dictated to them personally?)