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It is nearly universally accepted in Christianity that the first four chapters of the book of Revelation were addressed to their named recipients, the seven churches in Asia Minor. Pierce, The Rapture Cult (Signal Mtn., TN: 1986) • T.

Most also affirm that they were fulfilled in the first century.

It is important to realize that this is a modern call imposed upon the text, not something arising from the text itself. The letter of Revelation itself says nothing about a shift in audience or subject matter. Chopping the letter up is an arbitrary idea forced onto the text.

It says nothing about a delay in timing or a change in intended audience. It is the result of a misunderstanding about when or why it was written and how it was fulfilled to its original audience. Reed (eds.), Heavenly Realms and Earthly Realities in Late Antique Religions (Cambridge: 2004): 123-41.

The events in the letter would be fulfilled “soon”, “shortly” and they were “at hand”.

A plain reading of the time statements are KEY to understanding the meaning and nature of the whole message. Friesen, Twice Neokoros: Ephesus, Asia and the Cult of the Flavian Imperial Family (Religions in the Graeco-Roman World, 116; Leiden: 1993) ; Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John: Reading Revelation in the Ruins (New York: 2001) ; `Satan’s Throne, Imperial Cults and the Social Settings of Revelation’, JSNT 27 (2005): 351-73.

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