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Chapter 1=    =Chapter 3


:1 Unto the angel of the church of Eph'e-sus write;

These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

:2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars;

:3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

:4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and remove thy candlestick out of his place, except you repent.

:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nic-o-la'i-tans, which I also hate.

:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. To him that overcometh, I will give to eat of the the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.




:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smryna write;
These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

:9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty (but thou art rich); and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful until death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.




:12 And to the angel of the church of Per'ga-mos write;
These things saith he who hath the sharp sword with two edges;

:13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein An'tipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

:14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Ba'laam, who taught Ba'lak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

:15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nic-o-la'itans, which thing I hate.

:16Repent; or else I will come unto you quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh I will give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no one knoweth saving he that receiveth it.




:18 And unto the angel of the church in Thy-a-ti'ra write;
These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

:19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience; and thy works, and the last to be more than the first.

:20 Notwithstanding, I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jez'e-bel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

:21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

:22 Behold I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he who searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

:24 But unto you I say, and to the rest of Thy-a-ti'ra, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.

:25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.

:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works until the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

:27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I have received of My Father;

:28He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.



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Statement of Faith

Revelation of Jesus Christ


Verse 1

The main body of the book, which John was instructed to write, concerns events related to the Revelation of Jesus Christ. However, it is prefaced by specific messages to each of the seven churches which were in Asia (modern day Turkey).

Messengers (angels) are to be sent out to each of the seven churches, which are to deliver distinct messages from Jesus Himself. It is understood that the messages collectively, are to be heard and heeded by all of the churches. Some of the messages are sent as warnings, and some are sent as an encouragement. The overall tone is, that Jesus loves all of the churches, but is determined that the one church presented unto Him will be, "... without spot or wrinkle..." ( Eph. 5:27 ).

To understand what is going on in chapters 2 and 3, we need to go back to chapter 1:11 where Jesus instructed John saying,

"What thou seest, write in a book and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia:..."

One book is written, containing all of messages to the seven churches. With its distribution, the churches will see, not only the faults of each other, but also the strengths of which the Lord approves. Let those who follow right, not turn aside: and let those who follow error, turn back to the truth.

"the church of Ephesus..."

During this time, Ephesus was a fairly large city with many Christian congregations in it. Here in verse 1, Jesus is telling John: To the messenger (angel) who shall be sent to deliver this book (the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ) to the Church at Ephesus; write the following things, that he should speak unto them, as from me.

Verses 2 - 4

" I know thy works..."

Here the message from Jesus to the Church of Ephesus begins. In these two verses, He recognizes the great sacrifices the church there has made, and the patience which they have shown with the good works they have wrought for Him. Also, how they have tested false teachers and have been careful about their faith. However, as admirable as these things are, they have fallen down in one respect: they have left their first love.

So where exactly has the Church at Ephesus missed the mark? From the context of these verses, it appears that the church in its battle against evil men, and false apostles has possibly drawn back from the evangelical mission which was first delivered to it. They were, without a doubt, a church of good works; but it appears that their focus may have gradually shifted, so that perfecting the existing church there became the centerpeice of their efforts, rather than winning the lost to Christ and increasing its size.

Verses 5 - 6

"...except thou repent..."

Jesus warned the Church at Ephesus that unless it repented and did the first works from which it had departed, He would come quickly cut off the church. Evidently the Church of Ephesus failed to return to their first love because it did, in fact, cease to exist. A church failing to gain new members is destined to die. A warning to all churches to be careful to carry out the primary mission delivered to them by Jesus, in the great commission {Mark 16:15}.

The Nicolaitans, of verse 6, were a heretical sect which sprang up within the early church, pursuing Balaamite style doctrines (i.e. eating things sacrificed to idols, and engaging in fornication and adultery as a part of the church's religious services). They were evidently attempting to merge these beliefs into Christian doctrine, and thus dominate the churches. The church of Ephesus was prevailing against these teachings, but had fallen down with regards to that very thing which had established the church there.

The word "Nicolaitan" itself, comes from two Greek words: "Nikos" and "laos". The first word is defined as meaning: victory or conquest over something; with the second word having the meaning of: "the people (laity)". So, it appears that what is suggested here is the dealing with a sect within the church, which was set on gaining "victory over the people in the churches" through the introduction of Baalamite practices. This subversion amounted to a satanic attempt to strip the churches not only of its power, but to thwart its evangelical mission, as well.

From The New Bible Commentary we read:

"The Nicolaitans were reputed from early times to have been the followers of Nicolaos of Antioch, one of the seven (see Acts 6:5). We gather from Rev. 2:14-15 that they held the same error as the Balaamites, viz., teaching to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication. These were the chief matters condemned by the decree of the apostolic council (see Acts 15:29). It is noteworthy that Balaam and Nicolaos share more or less the same etymology (Balaam--'he has consumed the people'; Nicolaos--'he overcomes the people'). If this is the teaching so strenuously resisted by the Ephesians (see verse 2), then it must have been widespread indeed."

Verse 7

The first admonition and promise to all of the churches is set forth here. Those who overcome will be given the right to partake of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of Paradise, in heaven {Rev. 22:2}.


Verses 8 - 10

"...the church in Smyrna..."

Verse 8 begins the letter addressed to the church which was located a Smyrna (modern day Izmir, Turkey), and it's clear from tone of the words of Jesus, that He greatly loved this church. He clearly identifies Himself here as, "the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life."

Again, as with the church of Ephesus, He commends the saints for their works and for enduring the tribulation and poverty they were undergoing.

"...thou art rich......."

The words here seem to echo those of {Proverbs 13:7}. It's indicative of a church which is very charitable to those who are in need. Ultimately, we see that it is Satan who is behind the persecution which is to come upon these saints who reside at Smyrna.

Jesus goes on to say that He is aware of those in the church who profess to be Jews, but in reality, are of the "synagogue of Satan". This seems to point to the next statement: that this problem will cause some of the church at Smyrna to be be cast into prison for a short time.

They are told however, that their incarceration is for the purpose of testing their faith. Jesus entreats them to not be afraid of the things which they are facing; and that He will give the "crown of Life" to those who endure even unto death.

His initial words, that He "...which was dead, and is alive;" are words of encouragement to those of the church, who may suffer the same as He did. He is basically saying, "Don't be afraid, for as I died and live again, and so shall those who are killed for my sake."

Verse 11

The second promise given to those who overcome this world, is that they shall not be hurt by the second death {Rev. 20:14-15}.


Verses 12 -17

"...the church of Pergamos..."

The third church to receive a message was the one located at Pergamos. At the time, the city was the political capital of Asia Minor, and also a center of Emperor worship. It was also said by Jesus, in verse 12, that it was the place, " where Satan dwelleth." showing that his power base to fight against the church was established there. It's obvious from this that where Satan dwells is, "where Satan's seat is...". Yet even with this being the case, there were many faithful there, including one known as Antipas, who was martyred for the cause of Christ.

When we get to chapter 12, we shall see that Satan has re-established himself to a place in heaven, where he is seen as accusing the saints day and night before God. Those accusations, from that vantage point however, will cease when he is cast out of heaven for the final time.

There were those in Pergamos, who had brought the teachings of Balaam and the Nicolaitans, mentioned in the letter to the Ephesians, into the church. Satan's attempts to infiltrate this church, and bring ruin from within, is again brought to light, by Jesus. All of these false teachings were really hampering the effectiveness of the church overall.

The "sharp sword with two edges" represents the word of the Lord with which He will divide the faithful from those who follow false teachings {Eph. 6:17}. That is as true in our day and time as it was back then. This sword is the same symbol we see in Rev. 19:15, whereby Jesus will strike the nations in His righteous judgment.

We cannot over emphasize the importance Jesus places upon the churches being on guard, to keep themselves free from doctrines which destroy the unity of the church, as well as, pull it down into the sin of the world.


Verses 18 - 29

"...the church of Thyatira..."

Of all the churches which Jesus addressed, Thyatira is to received to most attention. Verse 18 opens with Jesus shown, as having "...eyes like unto a flame of fire...", and "...feet like fine brass". The eyes speak to the fact that He searches out, and makes known, all things in the hearts and minds of the people, as stated in verse 23. The feet of brass is His promise of judgment upon those who will not repent of their sins {Mal. 4:3}.

In verse 19 however, He commends the faithful of the church there for their works, love, service and patience; and acknowledges the fact that their latter works were indeed greater than the former.

Nevertheless, He finds fault with them, in that they have allowed one called, "Jezebel" to gain eminence in the church, teaching the saints to practice the same sexual immorality, and idolatrous works which were seen in the church at Pergamum. Satan is bent on denying Jesus to have a bride which is "without spot or wrinkle"; but when all is said and done, that's exactly what He will have, for He will not be denied.

He gives no ground for those who would follow the likes of Jezebel. They like her, will be strongly judged. The only remedy available here is repentance; otherwise judgment will surely fall upon all those who practice such things. To all the members of the church, His stern warning is, "...I will give to every one of you according to your works.

In verse 24, Jesus states that for those in the church who do not follow Jezebel, He will lay no other burden upon them, but that they hold fast their faith until He comes.

"...rod of iron..."

Here Jesus quotes Ps. 2:9, in promising that those who overcome in this world will be given the same power to rule over the earth, even as the Father has given unto Him. This same expression is also found in Rev. 12:5 and Rev. 19:15. Here in chapter 2, and also in chapter 12, the "rod of iron" points to the power to be given to the faithful. Chapter 19, of course, points to Jesus, who shall be revealed from heaven having the same great power, by which He will execute judgment upon the rebellious of the earth.

This chapter ends with the same words given to all the churches:

"He that haths an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."

The statements made here are for those who have a heart to receive them. Not everyone will receive them. They will however, be a witness to everyone; and especially to such as hear the pronouncements, but do not pay heed to them.

 


CHAPTER SUMMARY

Chapter 2 begins the messages given by Jesus to the seven churches. Those at Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos and Thyatira are addressed here.

Ephesus was, without a doubt, a church of good works. They were careful to test those who were bringing in contrary doctrine; however , the Lord found fault with them because they had left their first love. This was their greatest problem, and the one from which Jesus admonished them to repent.

The church at Smyrna was a much beloved assembly by the Lord. This was a church given to charity. Jesus recognized that there were those in the church, claiming to be Jews, that were causing problems. He further states that this church was about to enter a time of persecution. He encourages them to be strong, and for those who endure, the promise of a "crown of life" is presented unto them.

The church at Pergamos was located in a city where Jesus said, "...Satan dwelleth..." It was a city where Emperor worship was predominant, which led to the martyrdom of some of the saints there. While it was said that there were many faithful in Pergamos; others were becoming tolerant of the teachings of the Nicolaitans. This sect, like the Baalamites, approved the eating of things sacrificed to idols, and the practice of sexual immorality in the church. Jesus challenges the church there to repent, or else He would bring judgement upon them.

Jesus commend the church at Thyratira for their works, love, patience; and even states that their latter works were greater than their former. Nevertheless, He found fault with this church in that it has allowed one, known as Jezebel, to gain authority in the church, and teach doctrines which were contrary to the faith. Her doctrines were like those at Pergamos. The only remedy given is to repent, lest the judgment of God also fall upon them.

The chapter ends with the statement, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." The Lord would have all the churches know that He expects His bride to remain faithful and to keep herself pure from the ways of the world.

 

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