I have heard of the Seven Church Ages interpretation of the seven churches of Revelation, specifically that each church identified there also represents ages of the church since that time. I've also heard people specify that we are now in the Laodicean church age, as we look around and see the church "rich, increased with goods, having need of nothing."
Yet, this appears to me to possibly be true of some elements of the church in America, but I can't see how the church in Iran or Vietnam would ever come to the same conclusion.
So, I see three possibilities, of which one or more may be true.
- The churches in Revelation are just churches that existed at that time.
- They not only refer to churches that existed then, but are symbolic of church ages
- They not only refer to churches that existed then, but are representative of churches that have existed in different places since then.
Am I missing any possibilities? What reasons are there to support each interpretation?