The Seven Churches of Asia are some Christian communities that are mentioned in the Book of Revelation, which is the final book of the New Testament. The author of the book is John of Patmos, who receives this revelation in the island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea during his persecution. The title is derived from the Koine Greek word apokalypsis, which means “unveiling” or “revelation”.
It is highly disputed if John of Patmos is the same person as the John the Theologian, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. Although there are many scholars that state it, several modern scholars claim that John of Patmos is a different prophet. There are also two different dates for the writing of the book. While some scholars place it for the decade of 60’s, there are also so many scholars that claim that it was written in the 90’s. The early date for the composition of the book coincides with the reign of Nero, who persecuted the church, and the fall of Jerusalem in 70; meanwhile, the latter can be dated back to the reign of Domitian, who is also known as an emperor who was cruel against the first Christians.
The churches are mentioned in Chapters 2 and 3 and they are respectively listed as Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamon, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea, all of which are located in today’s Western Türkiye. When these cities are examined on the map, it can easily be said that they were chosen in that order to follow a certain route among them. With “Asia”, the “Province of Asia” of the Roman Empire is referred to, not the modern continent which includes China.
The book is highly allegorical and it aims to prepare believers in Asia for the coming of Jesus, to expose false teachings and ungodly behaviors in the seven churches, to reveal the divine judgment to fall on the unrepentant, and to encourage believers to put up resistance despite the persecution.