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Revelation 2

Chapter 2 covers first four churches. For most of the churches Jesus addresses following main points:

  1. Positive Comments,
  2. Negative Comments,
  3. Corrective Steps and
  4. Eternal Motivation.

Church of Ephesus

1 "To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, 'These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:

  • Angel is messenger/Pastor/Leaders of the church
    • Read Angel section notes in Rev 1:20
    • The message is to all churches - Rev 2:7.
  • Ephesus
    • See the map in introduction
    • Ephesus means darling or loved ones.
    • It was a world-famous as a religious, cultural, and economic center of the region.
    • Ephesus had the notable temple of Diana, who was a fertility goddess worshipped with immoral sex. This tremendous temple to Diana in Ephesus was regarded as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It was supported by 127 pillars, each pillar sixty feet tall, and it was adorned with great sculptures.
    • The Temple of Artemis was also a major treasury and bank of the ancient world, where merchants, kings, and even cities made deposits, and where their money could be kept safe under the protection of deity.” (Longenecker in his commentary on Acts)
    • “Ephesus was a stronghold of Satan. Here many evil things both superstitious and satanic were practiced. Books containing formula for sorcery and other ungodly and forbidden arts were plentiful in that city.” (Gaebelein in his commentary on Acts)
  • Church of Ephesus
    • Paul ministered for 3 years.
      • Acts 19:1 - And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples
      • Acts 20:31 - Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.
    • John lived in Ephesus during his final days and wrote 1,2 and 3rd John.
    • Timothy Pastored in Ephesus church.
      • 1 Timothy 1:3 - As I urged you when I went into Macedonia--remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.
    • In Ephesus Aquilla and Priscilla, with Apollos ministered
      • Acts 18:24-28 - 24 Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. 27 And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; 28 for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.
  • Who is saying and What He does?
    • Jesus is holding the Angel/Messenger of the Church.
    • He walks in the midst of the seven Churches.
    • He is closely watching the Church/all who is in the church (believers).
    • The churches belong to Jesus, not the leaders or the members of the Churches.
    • He owns the church and He holds those who are in that. He holds them securely.
    • This emphasizes the authority of Jesus over the Church.
    • Messenger/Pastors/Leaders are very accessible to God.
      • Heb 4:16 - Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
  • Prophetically this church represent churches during 32 - 199AD.

Jesus's +ve Comments:

2 I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary.

  • What are the list of items Jesus pointing as a good comments?
  • I know your - Jesus knows their
    • Work, Labor, Patience,
      • James 2:26 - For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
      • Rom 5:3-4 - 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
      • Loving others (especially if the person that we have to love is difficult to handle) requires more effort and it becomes labor for us.
      • Labor is referred as serving our Living God in many places:
        • 1 Cor 3:8 - 5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
        • 1 Cor 15:58 - Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
        • 2 Cor 6:5 - 1 We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For He says: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you."* Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 3 We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. 4 But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, 5 in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; 6 by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, 7 by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
        • 1 Thes 2:9 - For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.
        • 1 Thes 3:8 - For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain.
        • Rev 14:13 - Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, "Write: 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.' " "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them."
      • What is the difference between Work & Labor?
        • 1 Thes 1:3 - 2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, 3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, 4 knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.
        • NIV 1 Thes 1:3 - We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
        • It is easy to receive Love from the Lord by just yielding to Him. At the same time Loving others (especially if the person that we have to love is difficult to handle) requires more effort and it becomes labor for us.
      • Heb 6:10-12 - 10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
      • Here they are laboring in love horizontally with people with out receiving love from Jesus vertically - Read verse 4.
    • that you cannot bear those who are evil,
      • 1 Cor 5:1-7 - 1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles--that a man has his father's wife! 2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.
      • Gal 2:11-14 - 11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, "If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?
      • Prov 15:5 - A fool despises his father's instruction, But he who receives correction is prudent.
      • Prov 16:20 - He who heeds the word wisely will find good, And whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.
    • And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars,
      • Paul had warned the Ephesians elders that false teachers would come in from the outside and envy arise from within the Church
        • Acts 20:28-31 - 28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.
      • John had instructed them to try the spirits.
        • 1 John 4:1-6 - 1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. 4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
      • John had warned them to carefully examine the visiting ministers.
        • 2 John 7-11 - 7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. 9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.
      • Satan has his false ministers and the church must be constantly alert to detect them and reject them
        • 2 Cor 11:1-4 - 1 Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly--and indeed you do bear with me. 2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted--you may well put up with it!
        • 2 Cor 11:12-15 - 12 But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
    • and you have persevered and have patience,
    • and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary.
  • Also some more +ve comments by Jesus in Verse 6.

Jesus's -ve Comments:

4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

  • Jesus begins with a sobering word - nevertheless, which means "despite all that." Jesus took into full account all the good in the Ephesian church, yet despite all that, He had something against them.
    • Nevertheless means that all the good in the Ephesian church did not cancel out the bad Jesus is about to describe.
  • Left the first Love towards Jesus
    • Heart Trouble
    • They have left - not lost - their first love. They once had a love that they don’t have anymore.
      • The distinction between leaving and losing is important.
      • Something can be lost quite by accident, but leaving is a deliberate act, though it may not happen suddenly.
      • As well, when we lose something we don’t know where to find it, but when we leave something, we know where to find it.
    • Though they had left their first love, everything looked great on the outside.
      • Have you experienced this in your personal life?
    • They displayed the works, labor and patience but these qualities were not motivated by the love for Christ. Compare with
      • 1 Thes 1:3 - 2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, 3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, 4 knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.
    • What is first Love?
      • This the new believer's love towards Jesus Christ.
      • It is the devotion to Christ that so often characterizes the new believer: fervent, personal, uninhibited, excited and openly displayed. In other words new believer have a zeal to obey and serve the Lord.
        • Jer 2:1-2 - 1 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 "Go and cry in the hearing of Jerusalem, saying, 'Thus says the Lord: "I remember you, The kindness of your youth, The love of your betrothal, When you went after Me in the wilderness, In a land not sown.
      • It is the honeymoon love of the husband and wife
        • When a husband and wife begin to take each other for granted, and life becomes routine, then the marriage is in danger.
        • It should never lose the excitement and wonder of those honeymoon days.
      • It is possible to serve, sacrifice, and suffer for Jesus name sake and yet not really love Jesus Christ!
      • Labor is not substitute for Love, neither is purity a substitute for passion. The Church must have both if it is to please Him.
      • Paul referred about Love in letter to Ephesians at least 20 times.
      • Our Love for Him must be Pure
        • Eph 6:24 - Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.
      • It is only as we love Christ fervently that we can serve Him faithfully. We need to love God first and then Love others. This order is important. By loving first we receive love from him to love others.
        • Matt 22:36-40 - 36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" 37 Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
        • John 15:5 - I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
        • Gall 5:22,23 - 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law
        • 1 John 4:20 - 19 We love Him because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
    • How important this Love is?
      • Without this love, all is vain.
        • 1 Cor 13:4-8 - 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
        • 1 Cor 13:13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
        • Gal 5:22-23 - 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
      • Spurgeon says: “A church has no reason for being a church when she has no love within her heart, or when that love grows cold. Lose love, lose all.”

Corrective Steps:

5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place--unless you repent.

  • Three step process to restore back to Honeymoon time with Jesus
    1. Remember where/when/how you have fallen/left the first love.
      • First we need to remember/recognize where we have fallen/left the first Love.
      • Literally we need to keep on remembering what we have left and cultivate a desire to regain that close communion once again.
      • What are the very important thing required to show our love towards Him and others (ie to obey His Great Commandments)?
        1. First we need to receive His love or taste and experience His love.
        2. When we born again or born in His Spirit or once we first believe He seals us with His Spirit. During that Jesus is providing His Holy Spirit to us who resides with in our heart He (Holy Spirit) in turn pour out God's love in our hearts.
          • Eph 1:12-14 - 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
          • NIV Eph 1:12-14 - 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory.
          • Rom 5:5 - Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
        3. So every true believer must have definitely experienced God's love at that time.
        4. In response to His Love that we experienced in our heart we are compelled by His Love to love Him back and love others i.e. Holy Spirit or Christ's Love urges/makes our heart to obey and follow Him.
          • 2 Cor 5:14 - 14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
          • NLT 2 Cor 15:14 - 14 Whatever we do, it is because Christ's love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for everyone, we also believe that we have all died to the old life we used to live. 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live to please themselves. Instead, they will live to please Christ, who died and was raised for them.
          • Rom 15:30 - Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit.
        5. This is very important and we need to experience His love continuously .
    2. Repent
      • Once you realize and recognize the need of His Love in our hearts
        1. First change our minds and confess our sins to the Lord and reconcile your relationship with Him.
          • 1 John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
    3. Do the first works
      • For this we need His Love who in turn compels us to obey Him with zeal in our heart.
      • To experience His love we need His Holy Spirit within us first and then on Holy Spirit upon us continuously.
        1. Before we believe and commit our life to Him Holy Spirit is with us.
        2. First we need to believe and commit our life to Him (i.e. born again) so that God will give His Holy Spirit to us which resides within us forever and ever as a indwelling Spirit. This is just an one time experience.
          • John 14:16 - 15 "If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever-- 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
          • Eph 1:12-14 - 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
        3. After we commit our life to Him for the first time from then on we need His Holy Spirit to be upon us to lead a powerful and witnessing life and to overcome the world. For this we need to be filled with His Holy Spirit continuously. This is also called Baptism of Holy Spirit, receiving of  Holy Spirit, anointing of Holy Spirit. This is not just an one time experience. As a Christian walk we need to continuously filled with His Holy Spirit.
          • Acts 1:8 - But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
          • Acts 2:1-4 - 1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
            • Following are few references in Acts chapter they filled by the Holy Spirit again and again:
            • Acts 4:8 - Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders of Israel:
            • Acts 5:29-31 - 29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus." 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
          • Eph 5:18 - 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.
          • Gal 5:24-26 - 24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
          • Jude 20, 21 - 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
          • How to filled with this Holy Spirit? By simply going to Him and ask Him with humble and sincere heart.
            • Luke 11:13 - 9 "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"
      • By continuously filling in His Holy Spirit we need to do the first works, which suggests restoring the original fellowship that was broken by our sin and neglect. For the believer,  this means
        • prayer,
        • Bible reading and Meditation - Allowing Him explain the scriptures so that we can apply in our life, Asking question and Looking towards Him for the answers.
        • obedient service - complete dependence to Him and yielding to the Holy Spirit's leading,
        • Worship
        • Sharing about Jesus to others.
  • The church of Ephesus was in danger of losing its light!
    • The church/believer that loses its love will soon lose its light, no matter how doctrinally sound it may be.
  • Or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place: Jesus gives them a stern warning.
    • Unless they repent, He will remove their light and His presence. When their lampstand is removed, they may continue as an organization, but no longer as a true church of Jesus Christ.
    • It will be the church of Ichabod, where the glory has departed
      • 1 Samuel 4:21 - (1-11: Death of Eli's sons in Philistine and Ark captured by Philistine. 12: Death of Eli) 19 Now his(Eli)  daughter-in-law, Phinehas'(Eli's son) wife, was with child, due to be delivered; and when she heard the news that the ark of God was captured, and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bowed herself and gave birth, for her labor pains came upon her. 20 And about the time of her death the women who stood by her said to her, "Do not fear, for you have borne a son." But she did not answer, nor did she regard it. 21 Then she named the child Ichabod, saying, "The glory has departed from Israel!" because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 And she said, "The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured."
    • Apparently, at least in the short term, the Ephesians heeded this warning. In the early second century (not too long after John wrote), Ignatius praised the love and the doctrinal purity of the Ephesians. “You, who are of the most holy Church of the Ephesians, which is so famous and celebrated throughout the world . . . you, being full of the Holy Spirit, do nothing according to the flesh, but all things according to the Spirit. You are complete in Christ Jesus.” (Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians, Chapter 8. From the Ante Nicean Fathers Volume 1, page 52)
    • From what Ignatius wrote, it seems that the Ephesians returned to their first love without compromising doctrinal purity. That isn’t always an easy balance to keep, but the Ephesians apparently kept it, at least for a time.
    • I will come is not referring to the Lords return (2nd coming), but to His coming judgment then and there as a disciplining process - Heb 12.
      • The glorious city of Ephesus is today but a heap of stones and no light is shining there.
  • Individual believers within the church may be true to the Lord, no matter what others may do.
  • Are we guilty of same neglect?

Another Jesus's +ve Comments:

6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

  • They hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans
  • Νικολαΐτης Nikolaïtēs - root Gk word nikē - Victory/Counqure, and laity - the body of religious worshipers, as distinguished from the clergy (- the group or body of ordained persons in a religion, as distinguished from the laity.).
    • Irenaeus (writing in the late second century) described what he knew of the Nicolaitans: “The Nicolaitanes are the followers of that Nicolas who was one of the seven first ordained to the diaconate by the apostles. They lead lives of unrestrained indulgence. The character of these men is plainly pointed out in the Apocalypse of John, as teaching that it is a matter of indifference to practice adultery, and to eat things sacrifice to idols.” (Against Heresies, book 1, chapter 26. From the Ante Nicean Fathers Volume 1, page 352)
    • Hippolytus, a student of Irenaeus (writing in the early third century) associated the Nicolaitans with the Gnostics: “There are, however, among the Gnostics diversities of opinion . . . But Nicolaus has been a cause of the wide-spread combination of these wicked men. [He] departed from correct doctrine, and was in the habit of inculcating indifferency of both life and food.” (Refutation of all Heresies, book 7, chapter 24; ANF volume 5, page 115)
    • Others have emphasized the root meanings of the words that make up the name Nicolaitans. Nikao-laos means literally “to conquer the people.”
      • Based on this, some point to presumptuous claims of apostolic authority and to the heart that sets up hierarchies and separates the “clergy” from the “laity.” Perhaps the Nicolaitans fulfilled all these aspects, being both an idolatrous immorality and a presumptuous, hierarchical, “hidden mysteries” system typical of Gnosticism.
        • All God's people are Kings and Priests - 1 Peter 2:9, Rev 1:6
        • All God's people has direct access to the Father through the blood of Christ - Heb 10:19ff
      • Pergamos Church in Rev 2:12-17 follows this principal.
        • Rev 2:14-15 - 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
        • NIV Rev 2:14-15 - 14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. 15 Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
      • To conquer the people/worshiper/believer or Lord it over.
      • Some Lord over the Church and robbed the people of their liberty in Christ
        • Luke 11:46 - And He said, "Woe to you also, lawyers! For you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.
        • Acts 15:10 - 10 Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they."
        • 3 John 9-11 - 9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. 10 Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church. 11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.

Jesus Addresses to All:

7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God." '

  • He who has an ear: This qualifies everyone - or at least everyone who will listen.
    • This letter was not only written to the church at Ephesus in the Apostle John’s day. It is written to us, and to all Christians throughout the centuries.
  • Let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches: Each one of these seven letters apply to all churches.
    • We must hear what the Spirit says to the churches - not just to one church.
    • These letters - each of them - were meant to speak to you, if you will only have an ear to hear what the Spirit says
      •  “There were not seven books written, but one book in which these seven epistles were, out of which each church, or the church in it several periods, might learn what concerned it.” (Poole)
      • “The churches of the land are sprinkled all over with bald-headed old sinners whose hair has been worn off by the constant friction of countless sermons that have been aimed at them and glanced off and hit the man in the pew behind.” (H.W. Beecher)
  • To him who overcomes: Jesus makes this promise to him who overcomes
    • This is for all churches referred in Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 26, 3:5, 12, 21, 21:7
      • Jesus expects every believer to overcome this world and its power. We are not alone He is there to help us to overcome.
    • In these seven churches, over comers are not a super spiritual but rather the true believers whose faith has given them victory.
      • 1 John 5:4-5 - 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
      • John 16:7-14 - 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
      • Rom 1:16-17 - 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."
      • NIV: 16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."
      • NLT: 16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes – Jews first and also Gentiles. 17 This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, "It is through faith that a righteous person has life."
      • Rev 12:11 - 10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
    • We might say that we overcome by our close association with Jesus, who is the ultimate over comer.
      • John 16:33 - These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.".
      • John 15:5 - I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing
      • Jude 20, 21 - 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
  • I will give to eat from the tree of life: The promise for these over comers is a return to Eden, a restoration, and eternal life.
    • This is meant first in the eternal sense of making it to heaven, which was no small promise to a church that was threatened with the removal of Jesus’ presence. It is also meant in the sense of seeing the effects of the curse rolled back in our own lives though walking in Jesus’ redeeming love.
      • Gen 2:9 - And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
      • Gen 2:16-17 - 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
      • Gen 3:22-24 - 22 Then the Lord God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever"-- 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.
      • Rev 22:2 - In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
      • Rev 22:14 - Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.
  • In the midst of the Paradise of God:
    • Originally, the word Paradise meant “a garden of delight.”
    • Eventually, it came to mean “the place where God lives.” Where God is, that is Paradise!
  • Outcome of God's Preaching/overseeing the Church:
    • Apparently, at least in the short term, the Ephesians heeded this warning. In the early second century (not too long after John wrote), Ignatius praised the love and the doctrinal purity of the Ephesians. “You, who are of the most holy Church of the Ephesians, which is so famous and celebrated throughout the world . . . you, being full of the Holy Spirit, do nothing according to the flesh, but all things according to the Spirit. You are complete in Christ Jesus.” (Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians, Chapter 8. From the Ante Nicean Fathers Volume 1, page 52)

 

Church of Smyrna

8 "And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, 'These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life:

  • Angel is messenger/Pastor of the church
    • Read Rev 1:20
    • The message is to the whole church.
  • Smyrna:
    • It is 40 miles north of Ephesus. See the map.
    • The name Smyrna means bitter.
    • The name Smyrna comes from the word myrrh, a sweet-smelling perfume used in embalming dead bodies.
    • The city remains a functioning community today called Izmir.
    • Smyrna was a large, beautiful, and proud city. It was a center of learning and culture, and was proud of its standing as a city. “Smyrna was an outstandingly beautiful city. It claimed to be the ‘Glory of Asia.’” (Barclay)
    •  Smyrna was a rich city. “Smyrna was a great trade city . . . Smyrna stood at the end of the road which served the valley of the river Hermus, and all the trade of that valley flowed into its markets and found an outlet through its harbor. It had a specially rich trade in wines. Smyrna, like Ephesus, was a city of wealth and commercial greatness.” (Barclay)
    • From history that it was a city deeply committed to idolatry and the worship of the Roman Emperor. On one famous street in Smyrna, called the “Golden Street,” stood magnificent temples to Cybele, Apollo, Asklepios, Aphrodite, and a great temple to Zeus. But the worship of those pagan gods was dying out. The real focus was on the worship of the Roman Emperor.
      •  In 196 B.C. Smyrna built the first temple to Dea Roma - the goddess of Rome, the spiritual symbol of the Roman Empire. Once the “spirit” of Rome was worshipped, it wasn’t much of a step to worship the dead Emperors of Rome. Then it was only another small step to worship the living Emperors, and then to demand such worship as a evidence of political allegiance and civic pride.
      • In 23 A.D. Smyrna won the privilege (over 11 other cities) to build the first temple to worship the Emperor Tiberius Caesar. Smyrna was a leading city in the Roman cult of Emperor worship.
      • The Roman Emperor Domitian (81-96 A.D.) was the first to demand worship under the title “Lord” from the people of the Roman Empire as a test of political loyalty. According to ancient church history, under the reign of Domitian that John was banished to the Island of Patmos where he received this vision.
      •  “Emperor worship had begin as spontaneous demonstration of gratitude to Rome; but toward the end of the first century, in the days of Domitian, the final step was taken and Caesar worship became compulsory. Once a year the Roman citizen must burn a pinch of incense on the altar to the godhead of Caesar; and having done so, he was given a certificate to guarantee that he had performed his religious duty.” (Barclay)
      • “All that the Christians had to do was to burn that pinch of incense, say, ‘Caesar is Lord,’ receive their certificate, and go away and worship as they pleased. But that is precisely what the Christians would not do. They would give no man the name of Lord; that name they would keep for Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone. They would not even formally conform.” (Barclay)
  • Church of Smyrna:
    • The Church was persecuted for their faith.
    • Except here nowhere in the rest of the Bible this church was referred.
  • Who is saying these?
    • The First and the Last: Jesus chose this title from His initial appearance to John (Revelation 1:11, 1:17) to speak of His eternal character. The First and the Last are titles that belong only to the Lord, Yahweh, according to Isaiah 41:4, 44:6, and 48:12.
      • For more details Read notes in Rev 1:11, 17
    • Who was dead, and came to life:
      • Jesus chose this title from His initial appearance to John (Revelation 1:18) to remind the Christians in Smyrna that they serve the risen Lord, victorious over death.
        • The association with death - and the ultimate victory of resurrection - is throughout this letter. The name Smyrna comes from the word myrrh, a sweet-smelling perfume used in embalming dead bodies.
        • This Church was persecuted and many martyred for their faith, which explains why the Lord emphasized His death and resurrection as he opened His message.
      • Death could not hold Jesus, and it cannot hold His people.
      • No matter what experiences God's people may have, their Lord identifies with them.
      • For more details Read notes in Rev 1:18

Jesus's +ve Comments:

9 I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

  • I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich)
    • For more details about work read notes in Rev 2:2
    • The Christians of Smyrna knew poverty because they were robbed and fired from jobs in persecution for the gospel. Early Christians joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven (Hebrews 10:34). This kind of economic persecution was one important reason why Christians were poor in Smyrna. Even today, this is a common form of persecution against Christians (RSS attacking in India especially we saw in Orissa).
      • Heb 10:34 - NLT - You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail. When all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew you had better things waiting for you in eternity.
    • They are rich in God.
      • Every outward circumstance said that the Christians in Smyrna were poor, even destitute. But Jesus saw through the circumstances to see that they are really rich. “Sweet smelling Smyrna, the poorest but purest of the seven.” (Trapp)
      • if Jesus considered them rich, then they were rich. Our estimation of ourselves is far less important than God’s estimation of us.
      • In contrast, the Christians at Laodicea thought they were rich, but they were really poor (Revelation 3:17). Laodicea was a poor rich church. Smyrna was a rich poor church. Better to be a rich poor church than a poor rich church.
        • Rev 3:17 - Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'--and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked--
      • Material riches are an obstacle to the Kingdom of God, an obstacle that some do not overcome (Mark 10:23-25). There is nothing wrong with having money; the trouble is that money so easily “has” us.
      • Often, material riches are acquired and maintained at the expense of true spiritual riches. In the glory days of the Renaissance Papacy, a man walked with the Pope and marveled at the splendors and riches of the Vatican. The Pope told him, “We no longer have to say what Peter told the lame man: ‘Silver and gold have I none.’” His companion replied, “But neither can you say, ‘rise up and walk.’”
  • I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan
    • Historically, we are told there was a large and hostile community of Jews in Smyrna. But this tells us that a true Jew is one who trusts God and believes in Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:3). Others may be Jews ethnically - which still has its place before God - but they are not Jews spiritually before God.
      • Phil 3:3 - For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh,
        NLT - For we who worship God in the Spirit are the only ones who are truly circumcised. We put no confidence in human effort. Instead, we boast about what Christ Jesus has done for us.
      • Rom 2:25-29 - 25 For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? 27 And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law? 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.
      • 2 Cor 11:13-15 - 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
        NLT - 13 These people are false apostles. They have fooled you by disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 But I am not surprised! Even Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no wonder his servants can also do it by pretending to be godly ministers. In the end they will get every bit of punishment their wicked deeds deserve.
      • 2 Cor 12:7 - And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
        NLT - 7 even though I have received wonderful revelations from God. But to keep me from getting puffed up, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud. 8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, "My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. 10 Since I know it is all for Christ's good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

  •  Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer.
    • Do not fear: Literally, this is better translated “stop being afraid.” The Christians in Smyrna suffered under persecution, and they were afraid. Sometimes we think that Christians who endure persecution are almost super-human, and we sometimes don’t appreciate the depths of fear they struggle with. There were things which they were about to suffer, and Jesus wanted them ready to stand against those things.
    • Do not fear God is working behind the scene on our behalf.
  • Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison:
    • Like Satan attacking Job and Peter with the permission of God.
    • According to Jesus, the persecution about to come against the Christians of Smyrna was from the devil. At the same time, it was measure and limited by God. Surely, the devil wanted to imprison them for a longer time, but God limited the tribulation to ten days.
    • Being thrown into prison was severe persecution. In that day, prison was never used to rehabilitate someone, and rarely used to punish someone. Normally, you were thrown into prison as you awaited trial and execution.
    • “For a man to become a Christian anywhere was to become an outlaw. In Smyrna above all places, for a man to enter the Christian Church was literally to take his life in his hands. In Smyrna the church was a place for heroes.” (Barclay)
    • “This ‘tribulation’ does not mean the common trials to which all flesh is heir. Some dear souls thing they are bearing their cross every time they have a headache. The tribulation mentioned here is trouble they would not have had if they had not been Christians.” (Havner)
  • That you may be tested:
    • If this attack came from the devil, then why couldn’t these Christians in Smyrna just rebuke Satan, and stop the attack?
      • Because God had a purpose in their suffering, and so He allowed it. God uses suffering to purify (1 Peter 1:6-7), to make us like Jesus (Romans 8:17), and to makes us truly witnesses of Him. In all ages, the blood of the martyrs has been seed for the church.
        • 1 Peter 1:6 - 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls.
        • Rom 8:17,18 - 17 and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
    • “The saints at Smyrna had not been given a pep-talk on ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People.’ They had no testimony on ‘How Faith Made Me Mayor of Smyrna.’ They were not promised deliverance from tribulation, poverty and reviling. In fact, the worst was yet to come.” (Havner)
    • Most specifically in this case, God allowed this attack so that they may be tested, in the sense of being proven. Through their suffering, God would display the true riches of the church in Smyrna to everyone, including themselves - even though He knew they were rich already.
    • The Christians in Smyrna would be tested, but they passed the test. This church, compared to the other six, has no evil spoken against it. Only this church among the seven survives today, and it has survived through centuries of Roman and Muslim persecution.
    • That you may be tested: God is interested in testing us also. We may not have the same opportunity to suffer for Jesus that the Christians in Smyrna had, but we can have their same heart. We may never be in a place to die a martyr’s death, but we can all live a martyr’s life. But many Christians avoid persecution of any kind by conforming so much to the world that they are no longer distinctively Christians. This wasn’t the case with the Christians in Smyrna. They were tested and they passed the test.
  • You will have tribulation ten days: Commentators on the Book of Revelation have long debated the meaning of these ten days.
    • Some think that John really means ten years of persecution. “As the days in this book are what is commonly called prophetic days, each answering to a year, the ten years of tribulation may denote ten years of persecution; and this was precisely the duration of the persecution under Diocletian, during which all the Asiatic Churches were grievously afflicted.” (Clarke)
    • Others think that John really means persecution over the reign of ten Roman Emperors. “The first under Nero, a.d. 54; the second under Domitian, a.d. 81; the third under Trajan, a.d. 98; the fourth under Adrian [Hadrian], a.d. 117; the fifth under Septimus Severus, a.d. 193; the sixth under Maximin, a.d. 235; the seventh under Decius, a.d. 249; the eighth under Valerian, a.d. 254; the ninth under Aurelian, a.d. 270; the tenth under Diocletian, a.d. 284.” (White, cited in Walvoord) iii. Still others have taken stranger approaches: “Others observe, that in ten days are two hundred and forty hours, which make up the number of years from 85, when the second persecution began, (under which John at this time was) to 325, when all the persecutions ceased.” (Poole)
    • Others say that ten days is simply an expression of speech: “The expression ten days is not to be taken literally; it is the normal Greek expression for a short time.” (Barclay)
    • However, there is no compelling reason to believe it means anything other than ten days of severe persecution, with an emphasis on the idea that it is a limited time.
      • 1 Peter 1:6 - 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls. 
  • Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life:
    • Rev 22:12 - "And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
    • James 1:12 - 11 For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits. 12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
    • This letter to the Christians in Smyrna may apply least of all to modern, western Christians. To this point, we simply don’t face the kind of persecution the Christians in Smyrna experienced. Polycarp was a remarkable example of both the persecution and the courage of early Christians.
      • The year after Polycarp returned from Rome, a great persecution came upon the Christians of Smyrna. His congregation urged him to leave the city until the threat blew over. So, believing that God wanted him to be around a few more years, Polycarp left the city and hid out on a farm belonging to some Christian friends. One day on the farm, as he prayed in his room, Polycarp had a vision of his pillow engulfed in flames. He knew what God said to him, and calmly told his companions “I see that I must be burnt at the stake.”
      • Meanwhile, the chief of police issued a warrant for his arrest. They seized one of Polycarp’s servants and tortured him until he told them where his master was. Towards evening, the police chief and a band of soldiers came to the old farmhouse. When the soldiers found him, they were embarrassed to see that they had come to arrest such an old, frail man. But they reluctantly put him on a donkey and walked him back to the city of Smyrna.
      • On the way to the city, the police chief and other government officials tried to persuade Polycarp to offer a pinch of incense before a statue of Caesar and simply say “Caesar is Lord.” That’s all he had to do, and he would be off the hook. They pleaded with him to do it, and escape the dreadful penalties. At first Polycarp was silent, but then he calmly gave them his firm answer: no. The police chief was now angry. Annoyed with the old man, he pushed him out of his carriage and onto the hard ground. Polycarp, bruised but resolute, got up and walked the rest of the way to the arena
      • The horrid games at the arena had already begun in earnest. A large, bloodthirsty mob had gathered to see Christians tortured and killed. One Christian named Quintis had boldly proclaimed himself a follower of Jesus and said he was willing to be martyred. But when he saw the vicious animals in the arena, he lost courage and agreed to burn that pinch of incense to Caesar as Lord. But another young man named Germanicus didn’t back down. He marched out and faced the lions, and died an agonizing death for his Lord Jesus Christ. Ten other Christians gave their lives that day, but the mob was unsatisfied. They cried out, “Away with the atheists who do not worship our gods!” To them, Christians were atheists because they did not recognize the traditional gods of Rome and Greece. Finally, the crowd started chanting “Bring out Polycarp.”
      •  When Polycarp brought his tired body into the arena, he and the other Christians heard a voice from heaven. It said, “Be strong, Polycarp, play the man.” As he stood before the proconsul, they tried one more time to get him to renounce Jesus. The proconsul told Polycarp to agree with the crowd and shout out “Away with the atheists!” Polycarp looked sternly at the bloodthirsty mob, waved his hand towards them and said, “Away with those atheists!” The proconsul persisted. “Take the oath and revile Christ and I’ll set you free!” Polycarp answered, “For eighty-six years I’ve served Jesus; how dare I now revile my King?” The proconsul finally gave up, and announced to the crowd the crime of the accused: “Polycarp has confessed that he is a Christian.”
      • The crowd shouted, “let the lions loose.” But the animals had already been put away. The crowd then demanded that Polycarp be burnt. The old man remembered the dream about the burning pillow, and took courage in God. He said to his executioners, “It is well. I fear not the fire that burns for a season and after a while is quenched. Why do you delay? Come, do your will.”
      • They arranged a great pile of wood, and set up a pole in the middle. As they tied Polycarp to the pole, he prayed: “I thank You that You have graciously thought me worthy of this day and of this hour, that I may receive a portion in the number of the martyrs, in the cup of Your Christ.” After he prayed and gave thanks to God, they set the wood ablaze. A great wall of flame shot up to the sky, but it never touched Polycarp. God had set a hedge of protection between him and the fire. Seeing that he would not burn, the executioner, in a furious rage, stabbed the old man with a long spear. Immediately, streams of blood gushed from his body and seemed to extinguish the fire. When this happened, witnesses say they saw a dove fly up from the smoke into heaven. At the very same moment, a church leader in Rome named Iraenus, said he heard God say to him, “Polycarp is dead.” God called his servant home
    • But the day of martyrs is definitely not past. All over the world, Christians face persecution, especially in Asia, Eastern Europe, and in the Muslim world. Some people estimate that more Christians have suffered for their faith and have been martyred in the 20th Century than in all previous centuries combined.
      • A May 1994 news item illustrates this: The gruesome martyrdom of a pastor in central India led to several hundred conversions to Christianity. A former Hindu who had changed his name to Paul James was murdered by a crowd of extremists as he spoke in a field prior to a Feb. 20 church service in the Phulabani district.
      • “Jesus, forgive them,” eyewitnesses said James called out as his assailants cut off his hands and legs, and severed his torso. The attackers also decapitated James, an outspoken believer who had planted 27 churches. The murder has drawn heavy media attention in the area, which is charged with Hindu-Muslim tensions. Some, but not all, of James’ assailants reportedly have been caught.
      • The attackers’ hatred and violence have left many Indians wanting to emulate the love shown by the victim, said K. Anand Paul, head of Gospel to the Unreached Millions. “The gospel is spreading because of persecution,” said Paul, who has been beaten seven times and kidnapped once by fanatical religious groups. “We are risking our lives to do this. People need to pray for us.” (National and International Religion Report, May 2, 1994)

Corrective Steps:

  • No Corrective Steps given.

Jesus Addresses to All:

11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death." '

  • He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches:
    •  Read Rev 2:7
  • He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.:
    • Read Overcomers in Rev 2:7 notes
    • second death - Those who overcome in Jesus will never be hurt by the second death. The second death is hell, the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14 and 21:8). Though Satan has threatened and attacked their life, Jesus promises His overcomers that death is conquered for them.
      • Rev 20:11-15, 21:8

 

Church of Pergamos

12 "And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, 'These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword:

  • Angel is messenger/Pastor of the church
    • Read Rev 1:20
    • The message is to the whole church and individual believers.
  • Pergamos/Pergamum:
    • It is north east of Symrna. See the map.
    • Now it is called Bergama in modern day Turkey.
    • The name Pergamos means "married".
    • Pergamos was the political capital of the Roman Province of Asia the Less.
    • When John wrote, Pergamos had been the capital city of the region for more than three hundred years.
    • The city was a noted center for culture and education, having one of the great libraries of the ancient world, with more than 200,000 volumes.
    • Pergamos was also an extremely religious city.
      • It had temples to the Greek and Roman gods Dionysus, Athena, Demeter, and Zeus.
      • It also had three temples dedicated to the worship of the Roman Emperor.
        • Some 50 years before Smyrna won the honor of building the first temple to Tiberius, the city of Pergamos won the right to build the first temple to worship Caesar Augustus in the Roman province of Asia.
    • Pergamos was especially known as a center for the worship of the deity known as Asclepios. Represented by a serpent, Asclepios was the god of healing and knowledge.
      • There was a medical school at his temple in Pergamos.
      • Because of the famous temple to the Roman god of healing, sick and diseased people from all over the Roman Empire flocked to Pergamos for relief
      • “Sufferers were allowed to spend the night in the darkness of the temple. In the temple there were tame snakes. In the night the sufferer might be touched by one of these tame and harmless snakes as it glided over the ground on which he lay. The touch of the snake was held to be the touch of the god himself, and the touch was held to bring health and healing.” (Barclay)
  • Church of Pergamos:
    • Except here nowhere in the rest of the Bible this church was referred.
  • Who is saying these?
    • He who has the sharp two-edged sword: Jesus chose this title from His initial appearance to John in Rev 1:16
      • The description of the sword helps us to associate it with the mouth of Jesus. Jesus will confront this church with His word, and they will feel the sharp edges.
      • Sharp two-edged sword: Jesus will use this sharp two-edged sword to make some separation among the Christians in Pergamos as said in following passage
        • Hebrews 4:12: For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Jesus's +ve Comments:

Hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith:

13 I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.
KJV - 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 Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.
NASB - `I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.
NIV - I know where you live--where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city--where Satan lives.
NLT - "I know that you live in the city where that great throne of Satan is located, and yet you have remained loyal to me. And you refused to deny me even when Antipas, my faithful witness, was martyred among you by Satan's followers.

  • I know your works:
    • Rev 2:2 for work
  • Where you dwell, where Satan's throne is:
    • In many ways, Pergamos was a stronghold of Satanic power.
      What made it such a stronghold? There are many different opinions.
      • Some believe it is because Pergamos was a center of pagan religion, especially of “Asclepios Soter” or “Asclepios Savior.
      • Some believe it was because Pergamos had a huge throne-like altar dedicated to the Roman god Zeus.
      • Some believe it was because Pergamos was a center for the ancient Babylonian priesthood but this is tough to prove conclusively.
      • Others believe it was because Pergamos was the political center of the worship-demanding Roman government.
  • And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.
    • Jesus praises the Christians of Pergamos because they
      • hold fast to His name
      • did not deny His faith.
        • It is always important to make sure that the faith we hold on to is the faith that belongs to Jesus.
          • KJV - Rom 3:22 - 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
          • KJV - Acts 3:16 - And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
            NKJV - And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
            NIV - By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.
          • KJV - Gal 2:16 - Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
          • KJV - Gal 3:22 - But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
            NASB - But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
            NKJV - But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
            NIV - But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
          • KJV - Rev 14:12 - Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
      • It also means that they did not deny their faith in Him (NIV - You did not renounce your faith in me, NLT - you refused to deny me)
        • KJV - Luke 17:5 - 5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. 6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
        • KJV - Luke 7:9 - (Centurion's requesting Jesus to heal hi servant - read from verse 2) 8 For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. 9 When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. 10 And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.
        • KJV - Luke 7:50 - (women in Pharisee's house wiping Jesus legs with fragrant oil & washed with tears - read from verse 36) And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
        • KJV - Luke 8:48 - 43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, 44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. 45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. 48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.
      • Summary:
        • Jesus Loved us first so He initiate the process by knocking at our door:
          • Rev 3:20 - Behold, I (Jesus) stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
        • He has to open our eyes to hear the good news (gospel) about Jesus Christ.
          • 2 Cor 4:4,6 - 3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest (otherwise) the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake. 6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
            NIV - 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
        • In what basis God opens spiritual our eyes or gives His Faith?
          • Jesus foreknew (1 Peter 1:2) beforehand about our response whether we believe and accept Him or not when He knocks our door.
          • He definitely knocks everyone of us not based on His foreknowledge about our response. In other words since He never shows partiality (Acts 10:34, Rom 2:11) so He gives everyone equal opportunity to know about Him (Rom 1:19,20).
          • Once if a person is ripen/matured/ready to believe and accept Him as Lord and Savior then He opens that person's spiritual eyes. So He opens a person's spiritual eyes only if that person will believe and accept him. In other words He opens a person's spiritual eye only at the time that person is ready to believe and accept Him as Lord and Savior.
          • If a person suppresses the truth deliberately (Rom 1:18-19, John 3:16-18) forever or never accept Him as Lord and Savior then he may not open their eye instead he gives debased/depraved (corrupt, wicked, or perverted.) mind (Rom 1:30).
            • John 3:16-18 - 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
            • Rom 1:18,19,24,2528 - 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened... 24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.... 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
            • KJV - Gal 3:22 - But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
            • 1 Peter 1:2 - elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
        • In our point of view even though we believe and accepted Him as Lord and Savior our of our own free will Salvation is Miracle and it is Gift of God. Because our response is insignificant/nothing when we compare to all the work He is doing behind the seen on our behalf. He is not just relaxing after His death and resurrection but He is keep on working on our behalf before and after accepting Him.
          • Eph 2:8-10 - 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it (in this it refers the saved/salvation not the faith) is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
        • We receive the Faith like mustard seed from Jesus. Even thought this faith belongs to Jesus once we received it belongs to us too. So we need exercise our faith because we are saved for His good works and we are His workmanship/masterpiece.
          • KJV - Gal 3:22 - But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
          • Rom 12:3 - For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
            NIV - For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
            NLT - As God's messenger, I give each of you this warning: Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you.
        • It is not enough just receiving the measure of Faith but we need to grow/increase in our Faith.
          • 2 Cor 10:15 - 14 For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ; 15 not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men's labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, 16 to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man's sphere of accomplishment.
            NIV - 14 We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ. 15 Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our area of activity among you will greatly expand, 16 so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in another man's territory.
            NLT - 14 We are not going too far when we claim authority over you, for we were the first to travel all the way to you with the Good News of Christ. 15 Nor do we claim credit for the work someone else has done. Instead, we hope that your faith will grow and that our work among you will be greatly enlarged. 16 Then we will be able to go and preach the Good News in other places that are far beyond you, where no one else is working. Then there will be no question about being in someone else's territory.
        • So every glory goes to Him because...
          • Heb 12:2 - looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
    • They are praise worthy because they were hold fast to His name and didn't deny His Faith during Antipas was martyred i.e. despite of their circumstance they are strong in Jesus.
      • One specific man among the Christians of Pergamos received a precious title (faithful martyr).
      • This same title (faithful witness) is held by Jesus also (Revelation 1:5).
      • Antipas was a man who followed Jesus, who was like Jesus.
        • Antipas is one of the great anonymous heroes of the Bible. History tells us nothing about him except for here. “It is much no ecclesiastical history makes mention of this martyr Antipas, which argues him to have been a person but of obscure note in the world; but Christ seeth and taketh notice of those little ones who belong to him, though the world overlooks them.” (Poole)
        • Antipas lived where Satan’s throne was. Yet he stood against the attacks and the evil around him. He fulfilled the meaning of his name, because Antipas means “Against All.”
        • Martyr is the ancient Greek word martus. “Martus is a most interesting and suggestive word. In classical Greek martus never means a martyr in our sense of the term. It always means a witness (read this verse in NASB also in Rev 1:5, 3:14, 11:3). A martus was one who said: ‘This is true, and I know it.’ It is not until New Testament times that martus ever means martyr.” (Barclay)

Jesus's -ve Comments:

14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

  • you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam,
    • What is the doctrine of Balaam?
      1. who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel,
      2. to eat things sacrificed to idols, and
      3. to commit sexual immorality.
        • Balaam was a prototype of all corrupt teachers.
        • According to Numbers 22-25 and 31, Balaam combined the sins of immorality and idolatry to please Balak, the king of Moab, because he could not curse Israel directly.
          • When Balaam counseled Balak, he taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel.
          • The stumbling block was connected with idolatry (to eat things sacrificed to idols) and sexual immorality.
        • If the church in Pergamos has those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, it shows they have tendencies towards both idolatry and immorality.
        • Sexual immorality marked the whole culture of the ancient Roman Empire.
          • It was simply taken for granted, and the person who lived by Biblical standards of purity was considered strange.
          • To keep from sexual immorality in that culture, you really had to swim against the current.
  • Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
    • Rev 2:6 about Nicolaitans.
    • Some in this Church controlling or ruling over innocent people/believers.
    • Jesus extremely hate this behavior.
    • The rebuke is not only against those who hold the doctrines of Balaam and those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. The rebuke is also against those in the church who allow them to continue (you have there those . . . you have those)
      • The Christians of Pergamos were like the Christians of Corinth as Paul wrote to them in 1 Corinthians 5:1-9. They were too “tolerant” and “accepting” of false doctrines and immoral living, and Jesus had to rebuke them. Satan couldn’t accomplish much by persecution, because many did hold fast, like Antipas. So Satan tried to accomplish his goals by using deception; first he used first violence, then he used alliance.
      • A difficult environment never justifies compromise. It is easy for a church in such difficulty to justify this compromise in the name of “we need all the help we can get.” But no church needs that kind of help.
  • Summary: It is unlikely that "things sacrificed to idols" is the same problem Paul dealt with in 1 Cor 8 and 10.
  • Believers today also face the temptation to achieve personal advancement by ungodly compromise. The name Pergamos means "married", reminding us that each local church is "engaged to Christ" and must be kept pure (2 Cor 11:1-4). We shall see later in Revelation that this present world system is pictured as a defiled harlot, while the church is presented as a pure bride. The congregation are the individual Christian that compromises with the world just to avoid suffering or achieve success is committing "spiritual adultery" and being unfaithful the Lord.

Corrective Steps:

16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.

  • Repent:
    • The simple word repent stands out.
    • Five of the seven churches are commanded to repent.
    • Repent is a command that applies to Christians, not only to those who first come to Jesus.
  • Or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.
    • Unless they do repent, the Christians of Pergamos will face the Jesus who has the two-edged sword. Judgment will begin at the house of God.
      • 1 Peter 4:17 - For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
    • The sword of My mouth: When Jesus comes against the Christians of Pergamos, He will confront them with His Word.
  • Antipas had felt the sword of Rome but the church at Pergaomos will fell the sword of Christ - the word (Heb 4:12) - if they did not repent.
  • This is not the reference to the Lords return but to a present judgment that comes to a church when it is disobedient to the word of God. The Lord presented Himself as "He which has the sharp sword" (Rev 2:12), so the church could not have been ignorant of its danger.

Jesus Addresses to All:

17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it." '

  • He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
    • Read Rev 2:7 notes.
  • To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat.
    • Read Overcomers in Rev 2:7 notes.
    •  God fed the Israelites with manna during the wilderness travels, and a part of the manna was placed in the Ark of the covenant (Ex 16:32-36; Heb 9:4-5) under Mercy Seat (Ex 25:17). Instead of eating "things scarified to idols" (Rev 2:14), the believers in Pergamos needed to feast on God's holy food the bread of life found in Jesus Christ through the word (Mat 4:4; John 6:32ff). The ark of the covenant is the thrown of God ( 2 Sam 6:2; Ps 81; Is 37:16; all NASB) in contrast to Satan's thrown which held authority in Pergamos (Rev 2:13).
  • And I will give him a white stone,
    • In the ancient world, the use of a white stone had many associations. A white stone could be a ticket to a banquet, a sign of friendship, evidence of having been counted, or as a sign of acquittal in a court of law. Jesus may have any one of these meanings in mind, but at the very least we know that it has the assurance of blessing.
      • “Others suppose there is an allusion here to conquerors in the public games, who were not only conducted with great pomp into the city to which they belonged, but had a white stone given to them, with their name inscribed on it; which badge entitled them, during their whole life, to be maintained at the pubic expense . . . These were called tesserae among the Romans, and of these there were several kinds.” Clarke then gives examples of the different kinds: “Tesserae conviviales, which answered exactly to our cards of invitation, or tickets of admission to a public feast or banquet; when the person invited produced his tessera he was admitted . . . But the most remarkable of these instruments were the Tesserae hospitales, which were given as badges of friendship and alliance, and on which some device was engraved, as a testimony that a contract of friendship had been made between the parties.”
    • In those days a white stone was put into a vessel by a judge to vote acquittal for a person on trial. It was also used like a "ticket" to gain admission to a feast. Both would certainly apply to the believer in the spiritual sense: he as been declared righteous through faith in Christ and he feasts with Christ today (Rev 3:20) and will feast with him in glory (Rev 19:6-9).
  • and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.
    • What is the meaning of this new, secret name promised to him who overcomes? Is it God’s name (Rev 3:12), or is it the believer’s name?
      • This is probably the believer’s new name, and the name itself is probably more important than the stone itself.
      • One idea behind this new, secret name is that it shows what an intimate relationship we have with God. When a couple is close, they often have “pet names” for each other. This is the same idea.
      • Another idea associated with the new name is simply the assurance it gives of our heavenly destination. Your name is there, waiting for you. It is as if your “reservation” in heaven is made.
      • Rev 3:12 - He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.

 

Church of Thyatira

18 "And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, 'These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass:

  • Angel is messenger/Pastor of the church
    • Read Rev 1:20
    • The message is to the whole church and individual believers.
  • Thyatira:
    • It is south east of Pergamos. See the map.
    • Thyatira means continual offering or perpetual sacrifice.
    • Thyatira was the smallest and least important of the seven cities Jesus addresses in Revelation 2 and 3.
    • The longest message was sent to church of a smallest city.
    • In history, we have no record that the Christians of Thyatira suffered any significant political or religious persecution.
      • “The elder Pliny dismisses Thyatira in the almost contemptuous phrase ‘Thyatira and other unimportant cities.’” (Barclay)
    • The city boasted a special temple to Apollo, the "sun god".
    • Thyatira was a military town as well as a commercial center with many trade guilds (An association of persons of the same trade or pursuits, formed to protect mutual interests and maintain standards). Wherever guilds were found, idolatry and immorality -the two great enemies of the early church -- were almost always present too.
      • Acts 16:14-15 mentions Lydia of Thyatira, who was a seller of purple cloth from the city of Thyatira.
        • “Thyatira was famous for the manufacture of a purple dye, and numerous references are found in secular literature of the period to the trade guilds which manufactured cloth.” (Walvoord)
        • “From the inscriptions which have been found in the neighborhood it is clear that Thyatira possessed more trade guilds than any other town of its size in Asia.” (Barclay)
  • 'These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass:
    • These things says the Son of God: Jesus first describes Himself with a title that emphasizes His deity.
      • He is Son of God.
      • The city boasted a special temple to Apollo, the "sun god" which explains why the Lord introduced Himself as " The Son of God [the only time in Revelation this tile is used]
      • In Jewish thought, to be the son of a thing meant you had the nature of that thing. The sons of the sorceress (Isaiah 57:3) had the nature of the sorceress. The sons of thunder (Mark 3:17) had a nature like thunder. So the Son of God has the divine nature, the nature of God.
    • Who has eyes like a flame of fire:
      • Jesus chooses this description of Himself from the presentation in Revelation 1:14 to emphasize the idea that His eyes look with a penetrating judgment.
      • Read detail notes of Rev 1:14.
    • His feet like fine brass:
      • Jesus chose this description of Himself from Revelation 1:15 to emphasize His purity, because brass is pure, and highly refined in the fire. It also emphasizes His steadfastness, because brass was the strongest known metal in the ancient world, and feet like fine brass would be strong and unmovable.
      • Read detail notes of Rev 1:15.
    • John had to deliver a message of severe warning and judgment to the congregation, which explains the description of the Lord's eyes and feet.

Jesus's +ve Comments:

19 I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first

  • I know your
    • Read Rev 2:2,4 notes for more details.
    • works, love, service, faith, and your patience;
      • Thyatira was the least significant city among the seven cities Jesus addressed. Yet they were not hidden to Jesus. Like each one of the churches, Jesus says to the church at Thyatira I know your works, love, service, faith, and patience.
        • The believers in Thyatira were a busy lot! They were involved in sacrificial ministry for the sake of others. What's more , their works were increasing and characterized by faith, love and patience; so the church was not guilty of mere "religious activity"
      • Compared to Ephesus church Rev 2:2,4 here these believers has faith that produces work, Love that produces service and hopefully has hope (which is not mentioned here) that produces patience. They are perfect in all these three main Christian virtues.
        • 1 Cor 13:13 - And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
        • 1 Thes 1:3 - 2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, 3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, 4 knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.
        • NIV 1 Thes 1:3 - We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
      • Jesus not only leave with this positive comment but continued the following:
    • and as for your works, the last are more than the first
      • This shows that they are growing in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
      • Read Rev 2:26 notes
        •  Rev 2:26 - And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations

Jesus's -ve Comments:

20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.

  • Nevertheless I have a few things against you,
    • Despite all the good Jesus sees in the church at Thyatira, there are significant problems.
    • No amount of loving and sacrificial works can compensate for tolerance of evil.
  • because you allow that woman Jezebel,
    • The center of the corruption at the church at Thyatira is a woman Jesus calls Jezebel. This may not have been her literal name, but a “title” that clearly represents a self-styled prophetess within the church, after the pattern of Jezebel in the Old Testament (1 Kings 16-21 and 2 Kings 9:30-37).
      • The name Jezebel had a powerful association. If we called someone a “Judas” or a “Hitler” it would means something strong. It’s also a strong thing to call this woman Jezebel. “She was one of the most evil characters of the Old Testament, who attempted to combine the worship of Israel with the worship of the idol Baal . . . Jezebel herself had a most unenviable record of evil.” (Walvoord)
      • Some ancient Greek manuscripts state the phrase that woman Jezebel as your woman Jezebel or your wife Jezebel. Based on this, some (like Dean Alford) have thought that Jezebel was the pastor’s wife, or that Jesus meant Jezebel was the pastor’s “woman” in a symbolic sense.
    • This shows the sin of the church of Thyatira. On the outside, they were a model church, showing works, love, service, faith, and patience. Yet there was significant corruption inside the church. The sin of the church was that they allowed this corruption.
      • It wasn’t necessarily a large group following Jezebel. A little leaven affect a whole lump of dough, and a few in immorality and idolatry will corrupt the whole church - especially if they influence others the way this Jezebel did.
        • 1 Cor 5:6 - 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
  • who calls herself a prophetess,
    • This claim is the main difference between Rev 2:14 and this verse.
    • This “Jezebel” at the church of Thyatira wasn’t really a prophetess, she only claimed to be one. Yet, it seems that the Christians there received her as a prophetess, and that’s why Jesus gives them this warning.
    • Jesus said this would happen in Matthew 24:11: Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. Those words were first spoken with a view to the end times, but there have always been those who call themselves prophets in the church, but are not.
      • Mat 7:15-20 - 15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
      • Mat 24:5, 11 - 5 For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. ... 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
      • 2 Peter 2:1-2 - 1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.
      • 2 Tim 4:3-5 - 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry
      • 2 Peter 1:20-21 - 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
  • to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.
    • Here, Jesus describes the specific sin of this woman “Jezebel.” Mainly, she was an immoral and ungodly influence on others, and led others into sin. Jezebel led others into immorality and idolatry.
    • The selective teaching of Jezebel was similar to the doctrine of Balaam that the Lord condemned to the church of Pergamos.[Rev 2:14].
    • She taught believers how to compromise with the Roman religion and the practices of the guilds, so the Christians would not lose their Jobs or their lives it is interesting to contrast the churches at Ephesus and Thyatira.
    • Because of the strong trade guilds in Thyatira, the sexual immorality and the eating of things sacrificed to idols was probably connected with the mandatory social occasions of the guilds. Perhaps a Christian was invited to the monthly meeting of the goldsmith’s guild, and the meeting was held at the temple of Apollo. “Jezebel” would allow or encourage the man to go - perhaps even using a “prophetic” word - and when the man went, he would fall into immorality and idolatry.
    • The draw to the guilds and their meetings was powerful. “No merchant or trader could hope to prosper or make money unless he was a member of his trade guild.” (Barclay) Nonetheless, Christians were expected to stand in the face of this kind of pressure. One ancient Christian named Tertullian wrote about Christians who made their living in trades connected to pagan idolatry. A painter might find work in pagan temples or a sculptor might be hired to make a statue of a pagan god. They would justify this by saying, “This is my living, and I must live.” Tertullian replied Vivere ergo habes? “Must you live?
    • My servants: This shows how terrible Jezebel’s sin was. She corrupted the servants of Jesus, and they belong to Him. Jesus said...
      • Mark 9:42 - "But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.
    • Later in this letter, Jesus will also reveal a link to the work of Jezebel and false doctrine
      • Rev 2:24 - Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden.
      • In the days of the New Testament, many non-Christian religions (such as the Ophites and various Gnostic groups) said they knew the “deep things of Satan.” The ancient Christian writer Tertullian says that if you asked a Gnostic about their cosmic mysteries, they would furrow their brow and say, “it is deep.” It may be deep - but deep into a dangerous hole.
      • How could Christians ever fall for the depths of Satan? Perhaps the deceptive reasoning went this way: “To effectively confront Satan, you must enter his strongholds, and learn his depths in order to conquer him.” People use similar reasoning in misguided spiritual warfare today.
  • Lesson for Us: The Ephesians church was weakening in love yet faithful to judge false teachers; while the people in the assembly at Thyatira were growing in their love but too tolerant of false doctrine.
    • Both extremes must be avoided in the church.
    • Speaking the truth in love is the biblical balance
      • Eph 4:15 - but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ
    • Unloving and orthodoxy and loving compromise are both hateful to God.

God's style of dealing issues:

21 And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent.

Did God gave time to repent?

  • And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality
    • God is long suffering. He suffers long with our bad irritating character.
      • 2 Peter 3:9 - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
    • He deals us patiently and He waits patiently. He is merciful and graceful.
    • We most of the time take His grace and mercy granted and live on our own way.

Does she repent?

  • and she did not repent.
    • Jesus’ greatest accusation is that this “Jezebel” did not repent.
    • She apparently rejects the work of the Holy Spirit in her heart, calling her to repentance.
    • In these words we see both the mercy and judgment of our Lord.
      • Time to repent shows mercy. God gives us time to repent, we should deal with others the same way.
      • And she did not repent speaks to the judgment of God. God gives time to repent, but it is not an unlimited time. There is a time when God says, My Spirit shall not strive with man forever (Genesis 6:3). This means that when God gives us time to repent, we must take advantage of that time and repent instead of continue in sin.
        • Gen 6:3 - And the Lord said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years."
    • Not only was the church of Thyatira tolerant of evil, but it was proud and unwilling to repent.

22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.

 Does God condemned because she didn't repent?

  •  Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed
    • God is so gracious. Instead of condemning/punishing her but still waiting for her repentance by allowing her to go through this sickness/trial.
    • Before Jesus tells the Christians in Thyatira what they must do, He first tells them what He will do. Jesus will chastise this Jezebel, and cast her into a sickbed, along with those who commit adultery with her.
      1. The reference to adultery is important. It speaks of both literal, sexual adultery and spiritual adultery. When these Christians honored other gods, they were unfaithful to the Lord who saved them.
      2. For this reason, the figure of a sickbed is fitting. They were guilty of adultery, both sexual and spiritual. It is as if Jesus says, “You love an unclean bed. Here, I will give you one, and cast you into a sickbed.”
      3. What was the sickbed? It could simply be an image of affliction. Or, it could be literal sickness that Jesus would allow in the lives of Jezebel and her followers as chastisement. We know from passages such as 1 Corinthians 11:30 that God can use sickness as a way to chastise us when we are in sin.
        • 1 Cor 11: 30 - 27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
      4. The ancient Greek word used here for bed “is also the word for a banqueting couch; and if that meaning is taken, the meaning is: ‘I will strike her down as she sits at her forbidden feasts.’” (Barclay)

Do the people (His Servants Rev 2:20) who commit sexual immorality escape because they were sinning because of the false prophetess's seduction?

  • and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation,
    • God chastens them too by allowing them to go through great tribulation.
      • 1 Cor 5:6 - 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
    • Since Jesus will cast those who not repented into great tribulation (last 7 Year Period before Jesus Christ comes) this Church symbolically represents some church group/denomination exist now till we are raptured.
      • The holy Catholic Church teaches that at the moment of the Consecration of the Mass, the bread and wine on the altar truly become the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. The bread and wine cease to exist, though the appearances and properties, or accidents, of bread and wine remain. This momentous change is known as transubstantiation - change of substance.
      • Since Thyatira means continual offering or perpetual sacrifice most commentators closely relates this church to the Catholic church because of Jesus's physical death every time they have communion (transubstantiation). So this church is prophetically referred Church age from 700AD till now.
    • Once God's followers are raptured not repented people will go through the great tribulation unless they repent of their deeds.
      • Rev 3:10 - Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
      • Matt 24:21 - For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
      • Rev 7:14 - And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
  • unless they repent of their deeds.
    • Jesus reveals the purpose for this chastening.
      1. First, it is to draw them to repent of their deeds. They wouldn’t listen to Jesus before, so He has to speak “louder” through a sickbed.
      2. Second, it is to give an example of holiness to other churches: and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts.
    • Heb 12:5-12 - 5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives." 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.

What should be the result/consequence of the not repented souls and their descendants/generations/heirs?

  • I will kill her children with death,
    • By nature their descendents never repent indefinitely. God foreknew this long before so he is saying this.
      • Ex 20:5 - 4 "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
        • Ezek 18:17 - Who has withdrawn his hand from the poor And not received usury or increase, But has executed My judgments And walked in My statutes-- He shall not die for the iniquity of his father; He shall surely live!
      • Rom 1:18 - For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
      • Rom 1:21 - because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
      • Rom 1:28 - And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
        • God knows their stubbornness of their heart and He never force them and respect their will/strong desire (He didn't created us Robot.). So, God is blessing their desire. By God's foreknowledge He elected before the foundation of this earth those who accept His invitation. Similar to that He also by His foreknowledge He knows those who reject Him and He knows these people's destiny i.e. hell.
          • 1 Peter 1:2 - elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
          • John 3:16-18 - 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
    • In fact the Lord threatened to use this assembly as a solemn example to "all the churches" not to tolerate evil. Jezebel and her children [followers] would be sentenced to tribulation and death! Idolatry and compromise are, in the Bible, pictured as fornication and unfaithfulness to the marriage vows (Jer3:6 ff; Hosea 9:1ff).
    • To kill with death means "to kill with Pestilence" [See NASB] God would judge the false prophetess and her followers once and for all.
  • and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts.
    • Jer 17:10 - I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.
    • Heb 4:12 - For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart
    • 1 Cor 2:10-16 - 10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For "who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
    • Ps 139:23-24 - 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.
  • And I will give to each one of you according to your works.
    • If they haven't repented then it would be condemnation and the degree of punishment based on their works: [Most probably they were not repented because they might have not believed in Jesus at all (not born again). May be born and brought up by the Christian family in that church.]
      • Rev 20:12 - 11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
    • If they repented and started following Jesus then this would be rewards:
      • Matt 5:11-12 - 11 "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
      • Matt 10:42 - And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward."
      • Matt 16:27 - For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
      • 1 Cor 3:5-15 - 5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, you are God's building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
      • Rev 11:18 - The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth."
      • Rev 22:12 - "And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
      • Following verse provides what Jesus is going to reward His followers.

What Jesus says to rest of the Thyatira believers?
What should be the result/rewards of the true followers of Christ and repented souls?

24 Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden.

  • Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say
    • There are few remnant didn't follow the false prophet but sincerely followed Jesus Christ.
    • In general this false prophets doctrine teaches the depths of Satan.
      • To defend Satan we do not want to learn his strategy and then fight back with him.
      • Eph 6:10-18 - 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints--
    • They had separated themselves from the false doctrine and compromising practice of Jezebel and her followers, which Christ denounces as "the depth of satan". Note the contrast below:
      • 1 Cor 2:10 - But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
  • I will put on you no other burden.
    • Matt 11:28-30 - 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

25 But hold fast what you have till I come.

  • There were many faithful, uncompromising Christians in Thyatira. To them, Jesus simply says hold fast!
    • They must not stop doing what is good.
    • They must not become distracted or discouraged from what Jesus wants them to be and to do.
      • Gal 6:9-10 - 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
    •  Jesus also tells them how long to hold fast: till I come. We are to “hang in there” and stand strong for Jesus until He comes. It’s only then that the battle will be over.
  • "Till I come" refers to Christ's return for His people, at which time He will reward them for their faithfulness (see Rev 3:3, 16:15, 22:7,17,20).
    • This is the first mention in Revelation of the Lord's coming for the church, the event we commonly call the Rapture [see 1 Thes 4:13-18] In contrast, the reference in
      •  Rev 1:7 is to Christ's return to earth in judgment, to defeat His enemies and establish His Kingdom [see rev 19:11ff]
        • Rev 1:7 - Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
      • Rev 2:5 to discipline the Ephesus church.
        • Rev 2:5 - Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place--unless you repent

26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations-- 27 'He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessels'-- as I also have received from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star.

  • Read Overcomers in Rev 2:7 notes.
  • keeps My works until the end
    • His Work:
      • Matt 5:3:12 - 3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
      • Matt 22:37-40 - 37 Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
      • Matt 28:19, 20 - 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
      • Matt 11:28-30 - 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
    • His Help:
      • Eph 2:8-10 - 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
      • Phil 2:12-13 - 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
      • Phil 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
    • Our Responsibilities:
      • Luke 9:23 - Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
      • John 14:15-17 - 15 "If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever-- 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
  • to him I will give power over the nations-- 'He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessels'-- as I also have received from My Father.
    • God's people will live and reign with Christ [see Rev 20:4]. When the Lord sets up His Kingdom on earth, it will be a righteous Kingdom with perfect justice. He will rule with a rod of iron Rebellious men will be like clay pots, easily broken to pieces! as prophesized in Ps 2:8-9.
    • Psalms 2:8, 9 - 6 "Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion." 7 "I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8 Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.'"
  • and I will give him the morning star
    • In two other places this morning star is referred in the Bible:
      • 2 Pet 1:19 - And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;
      • Rev 22:16 - "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star."
    • Morning star appears in the sky/heavens before the sun rises, so Christ will appear as the Morning Start to rapture His church to heaven before he appears as the sun of Righteousness to reign over the earth (1 Thes 4:13; Mal 4:2). Therefore overcomer is promised a part in Rapture.
    • The promise in Revelation 2:28 suggests that God's people shall be so closely identified with Christ that He will "belong" to them! but perhaps there is also an allusion to Satan, who wanted the kingdom to himself and who offered the world's kingdom to Christ if He would worship Him but once [Matt, 4: 8-11]. In Isaiah 14:12 Satan is named Lucifer, which in Hebrew means "brightness, bright star".
    • The compromising people in Thyatira were following " the depths of Satan" which would lead to darkness and death, God's overcomers, on the other hand, would share the "Morning star"

Jesus Addresses to All:

29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." '

  • Read Rev 2:7 notes.

Prophetically... (Note: Following dates are approximate.)

  1. Ephesus church represent churches during 32 - 150AD. Churches during and little after Apostolic period.
  2. Smyrna church represent churches during 151 - 311AD. Their 10 days prison represent persecution during 155AD.
  3. Pergamos church represent churches during 312 - 600AD. This is Constantine period and later.
  4. Thyatira church represent a particular group of churches or group denominations during 601AD - Till Now. As per the meaning of the name and the strong hold of a leader it represent present day Catholic Church (Read notes 2:18,22, 25)

Quiz:

  1. In which church few members will be thrown in prison by devil? - Rev 2:10
  2. Which church holds the doctrine of Balaam? - Rev 2:14
  3. Which church did good works, service and has patience with faith and clove the but still allow/follow the false teacher/prophet? - Rev 2:19,20
  4. Which church members go through Great Tribulation if they didn't repent? - Rev 2:22
  5. What are the corrective steps Jesus gave to Pergamos? - Rev 2:16
  6. Who's doctrine teaches the depths of Satan? - Rev 2:24
  7. To Which church Jesus warned that He will remove their church if they didn't repent? - Rev 2:5
  8. Which church did good works, labor and has patience but left their first love? - Rev 2:2 & 4
  9. What is the meaning of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira?
    • Ephesus means darling or loved ones.
    • The name Smyrna means bitter.
    • The name Smyrna comes from the word myrrh, a sweet-smelling perfume used in embalming dead bodies.
    • Pergamos means "married".
    • Thyatira means continual offering or perpetual sacrifice.
  10. What did Jesus foretell to faithful believers in Smyrna? - Rev 2:10
  11. Which church is rich in God's sight even though they are poor? - Rev 2:9
  12. Which church hates the deeds of Nicolaitans? - Rev 2:6
  13. Which church does not get any bad or -ve comments from Jesus? - Rev 2:8-11
  14. What are the corrective steps Jesus gave to Thyatira? - Rev 2:21-23
  15. To which church members Jesus promised His 2nd coming? - Rev 2:25
  16. Prophetically which Churches still exist till now and until rapture? - Rev 2:22 & 25

Summary:

As you review the first four messages to the churches, you can see the dangers that still exist for the people of God.

  • Like Ephesus, we can be zealous and orthodox, but at the same time lose our devotion to  (love towards) Christ.
  • Or like Thyatira, our love can be increasing yet lacking in the kind of discernment that is necessary to keep the church pure.
    • Phil 1:9-11- 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
  • Like Pergamos and Thyatira we may be so tolerant of evil that we grieve the Lord and invite His Judgment.
  • Would we have selected Smyrna as the most Spiritual church of the four? Probably not, yet the Lord did! We need to remind ourselves not to judge God's people by wrong standards, because only the Lord can see the heart
    • 1 Cor 4:5 - Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God.
  • God's exhortation to these churches [except Smyrna] is Repent! change your minds! It is not only lost sinners who need to repent, but also disobedient Christians.
  • If we do not repent and deal with sin in our lives and in our assemblies, the Lord may Judge us and remove our lampstand (Rev 2:3) How tragic it is when a local church gradually abandons the faith and loses its witness for Christ!
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