Christís Speaking to the Local Churches in Revelation


The local churchóthe universal church expressed in city after cityóis both revealed and described throughout the New Testament, particularly in the book of Revelation. Witness Lee, a gifted Christian writer with much revelation from the Scriptures on this topic, ministered extensively concerning the local churches as they are presented in Revelation. He presents below an overview of the biblical revelation of the local churches:

This book [Revelation] does not deal with the one universal church but with the local churches in many cities. First, in Matt. 16:18 the church is revealed as universal, and then in Matt. 18:17 it is revealed as local. In Acts the church was practiced in the way of local churches, such as the church in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1), the church in Antioch (Acts 13:1), the church in Ephesus (Acts 20:17), and the churches in the provinces of Syria and Cilicia (Acts 15:41). The Epistles were written to the local churches, except for a few written to individuals. Not one was written to the universal church. Without the local churches, the universal church has no practicality or actuality. The universal church is realized in the local churches. Knowing the church in its universal aspect must be consummated in knowing the church in its local aspect.

(Witness Lee, Footnotes, 1233-1234)

In the first few chapters in the book of Revelation, Christ is seen intimately caring for the local churches. In chapter 1, He appears as the Son of Man in the midst of the churches, instructing the apostle John to send the scroll of His revelation to each local church in Asia. While these were seven actual contemporary churches, in the context of this prophetic, symbolic book they also represent the stages of the church through history until the Lordís returnóhence their urgent significance for believers today. In chapters 2 and 3, the Lord Jesus speaks a particular word to each of these churches, based on its unique spiritual condition, to encourage, warn, and ultimately recover each local church to Himself. In this speaking, Christís deep concern and detailed care is apparent. The purpose of this Website is to examine the Lordís particular word to each local church in Revelation as presented in the ministry of Witness Lee.

Witness Lee writes of the presentation and significance of the local churches in Revelation:

The book of Revelation is very well composed. Following chapter one, chapters two and three give us a clear view of seven practical churches. These seven churches are excellent illustrations, revealing the local churches, not in doctrine, but in actual practice. By considering these seven churches we can see clearly what a local church is and should be.

(Witness Lee, LS of Revelation, 113)

Witness Lee also describes the appearance of the local churches as typified by the golden lampstands in Revelation:

The seven churches as the seven golden lampstands were all identical in the positive things concerning the testimony of Christ. But they were abnormally different in these eleven cases, all of which are serious tests that have done tremendous damage to the oneness of the organic Body of Christ. Hence, the Lord advised all seven churches to overcome all these tests that they might be rewarded (2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21).

(Witness Lee, Eldership (2), 89)

By considering the Lord Jesus' speaking to each of the seven churches in Revelation, it is possible to see clearly what a proper local church should be. Witness Lee clearly unveils not only the timely significance of the local churches in Revelation, but also the Lord's continued speaking to and intimate care for the church today.

Christís Speaking to the Local Churches in Revelation

A. To Ephesus

B. To Smyrna

C. To Pergamos

D. To Thyatira

E. To Sardis

F. To Philadelphia

G. To Laodicea


















Summary Chart






Main | Ephesus | Smyrna | Pergamos | Thyatira | Sardis | Philadelphia | Laodicea | Summary Chart | Bibliography | Links

© 2001-2002. Living Stream Ministry. All Rights Reserved.