“For it is time for God’s judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17 NIrV)

Binoculars in hand, the general’s eyes scan the mock battlefield. These are only war games, but in a short time his troops will enter a real conflict. War is a subject about which the general has expert knowledge.

The commander studies how prepared his army is to face a determined foe. His evaluation of his forces will be written, but will it be heeded? If his men listen and take corrective action, they will overcome. If they ignore his counsel, it will mean their undoing.

I offer this scenario as an explanation for Revelation 2 and 3. Jesus’ letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor demonstrate that he knows what the future holds and what his people must do to escape his Father’s wrath. It is for judgment that our Lord came into the world and all his judgments are perfect.

“Blessed are those who read the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” (Revelation 1:3 NIrV)

The seven letters written while John was in exile on Patmos precede the scroll with seven seals (Rev. 5:1). The sequence is significant since the saints are called to persevere a little longer after the opening of the fifth seal (cf. Revelation 6:9-11). The churches in Chapter 2 are promised blessed rewards on the condition they overcome (3:7, 11, 17, 26, and 21:7). This begs the question, “Overcome what?”

Putting this together, Christ’s judgment in Revelation 2 and 3 speaks to all Christians everywhere. Soon the devil will rage. He knows his time is short. Satan must be overcome (Rev. 12:11).

Hear with spiritual ears what the Spirit is saying to the churches and be victorious.