When it comes to the Greek language, the word “angel” comes from the word aggelos, which probably describes bishops or pastors of the seven churches. In the singular form it means messenger, one sent to announce or proclaim.
This section of scripture deals with things which are. These messages have a threefold meaning:
-Primary Association—A local or direct bearing upon the church to which it was written.
-Personal Application—This applies to every Christian.
-Prophetic Anticipation—Each church individually and the seven churches combined set forth this meaning.
In the Prophetic Anticipation, as believers look forward to the Rapture. The word “rapture” is not found in scripture. It simply means the “catching away of the church.” The problems that these seven churches are what we also face today.
This church was the most prominent church of the seven. This was the mother church of Asia. (Acts 19:1-10) The content concerning this portion of scripture serves as a pattern for the remaining six letters to the churches.
Four decades have passed since this church was established. Paul is dead along with many of the converts of that time. With this church there is a new atmosphere. These problems cause the Lord to address these issues through John.
Ephesus was in a strategic city of that time. It was the seacoast capital of Asia. It was one of the greatest religious, political and commercial centers of the region.
Ephesus lay at the mouth of a river called the Cayster River, which is located in present-day Turkey. This was a fast moving river. It built up sand on the shore of Ephesus. The ruins of Ephesus are now located some six miles inland from the sea. When people disembarked at the harbor, they traveled to the center of the city. The road was filled with columns, and it was known as the Arcadian Way. The active business climate had a population of approximately one quarter to a half million people.
It was a free self-governing city in the Roman Empire. Important cases were tried here. It involved much pomp and circumstance.
3. Religious Stance
The last important part is the religious atmosphere. The Temple of Diana or Artemis was located there. Women offered their jewelry for its construction. Its measurements were:
425 ft. long
220 ft. wide
60 ft. high
There were 127 pillars given by 127 kings. Thirty-six of the pillars were overlaid with gold, jewels and carvings.