Revelation chapters 2 and 3 appear to contain language that refers to the corporate deeds, the corporate faithfulness and the corporate perseverance of the recipients. Does this indicate that the members of a local church bear responsibility as a group before God for how their local church, as a body, measures up to expectations of the Lord? Is Jesus expecting a local congregation to respond together in unity? The purpose of this study is to answer these questions by seeking to identify the presence of corporate language in Jesus’ directives of Revelation 2:1-3:22. Following an exegetical research model, this study utilizes a review of scholarly literature, a study of context as well as various analyses to determine the pericope’s meaning.
The findings of this research point to a presence of corporate language in the pericope. This is evidenced by whom Jesus addresses the letters to and by the way Jesus uses singular and plural pronouns in his communications within each letter. Although it appears that Jesus is directing all communication to the angel of each church, the context and details of each letter relate to the earthly realm rather than the heavenly realm. Communicating such practical and earthly information, using pronouns set in the second person singular, indicates that the heavenly perspective of a local congregation is that of a “body of one”. Since Jesus presents the majority of his directives in Revelation 2:1-3:22 to a singular “body of one”, it is the finding of this study that Jesus is therefore expecting a corporate response from each of the seven congregations of Asia Minor. Building on the significance of the use and meaning of the number seven in Revelation, the seven churches represent all churches everywhere. Therefore, the heavenly perspective of all contemporary local churches is that they too are “bodies of one”. As Jesus directed the seven congregations of Asia Minor to respond with corporate repentance, corporate deeds and corporate perseverance, Jesus requires contemporary congregations to respond in the same corporate manner.WattonJ_Final-Minithesis-Oct-2014