11 which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”
The revelation was to be distributed to the seven churches.
Ephesus: It was located in Asia minor and was a Roman province. It was one of the most important cities in Asia Minor, especially because the goddess Diana was there. Every year pilgrims would go to worship her there.
Smyrna: It was a large ancient city that had a theater on the slope of Mt. Pagus that seated 20,000 spectators. The temple of Zeus and Cybele were located there.
Pergamum: It was 3 miles from the Selinus river and 15 miles from the sea. One of the wonders of the ancient world was located in Pergamum which was the altar of Zeus being 40 feet high.
Thyatira: The city had a population of about 50,000 people. It was considered as the best place for dyeing fabrics in purple. Paul’s first convert to the Lord was in Thyatira by the name of Lydia which is found in Acts 16:14. The main deity there was Apollo who was worshiped as a sun-god with the surname Tyrimnas.
Sardis: The city was about 50 miles East of Smyrna and was located on an important commercial route which ran E and W from the kingdom of Lydia being the capital. It also made beautiful jewelry.
Philadelphia: The name means “brotherly love” a city in Lydia. It was about 28 miles SW of Sardis and 100 miles W of Smyrna. Earthquakes have almost destroyed the city several times.
Laodicea: The city was 90 miles E of Ephesus and at the time of the apostles it was mainly Jewish.
12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands
The lampstands represent the seven churches that the Book of Revelation was going to go to (see verse 20).
13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest.
Son of man is a title that Jesus used to describe the side of His humanity and is also connected to the Son of man who is referred in the Book of Daniel. John saw Jesus full of glory and honor. Robe in the Old Testament when referring to God means righteousness (Isaiah 61:10) and Yahweh is also mentioned as being enrobed in His throne (Isaiah 6:1).
14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.
This description points back to Daniel’s vision of God which is found in Daniel 7:9 which says, 9 “As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.
That’s another verse that clearly identifies Jesus as God.
15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.
Jesus was reflecting the Fathers glory (Matthew 16:27). His feet glowing like in a furnace and His voice which sounds like rushing waters reveal tremendous power which is heard and seen.
Note: All geographical background information came from “New Unger’s Bible.” and “Biblehub.com.”