If you attend a more charismatic-esque church in Jackson and have a guest speaker attend, there’s a possibility that they might try to identify some spiritual landscaping of Jackson based on the fact that we had the largest walled prison in the world. John does something a little similar to some of the cities he writes to throughout Revelation, though he often gives them spiritual analogies more than spiritual insight.
PERGAMUM: John says that Satan’s throne is in Pergamum. This could have been a reference to Zeus’ temple which was found in their city or their shrine to the god Asclepius, who was represented by a serpent symbol.
SARDIS: John says that Jesus will come back like a thief—that is, they won’t see him coming. While this is a reference to something Jesus said himself, Sardians would have heard it in a rather personal light. They lived on a steep hill and their city seemed impregnable. It was 1500 feet above the floor of the valley and had cliffs on all sides. Anyone launching an attack would be seen coming for miles. But one day it was conquered when enemies managed to scale the cliffs and launch an attack from places you would think impossible—like a thief in the night.
PHILADELPHIA: John says that if the people of Philadelphia remain faithful to Jesus, they will be made like a pillar in the temple of God. This is an interesting promise to make to Philadelphia given that their location was a prevalent place for earthquakes, with a major one completely ruining their town some 60 years beforehand. John is offering them an illustration of real stability in the midst of instability.
LAODICEA: John invites the people of Laodicea to get eye salve from God to anoint their eyes. Laodicea was actually known for producing their own eye salve that had been developed from minerals in their area. Therefore Jesus is telling them that though they’re known for seeing, they’ll only really see if they come to Jesus. Furthermore, Jesus tells them that he wishes they were hot or cold instead of lukewarm. This analogy may have come more alive to them since they had no water of their own and had to pipe some of it in from the hot springs at Hierapolis. Such water would possibly arrive to them at a lukewarm temperature.
*With end times conspiracy theories floating about these days, I‘m offering some thoughts on popular misconceptions from the book of Revelation.