My Personal Understanding of Book of Revelation
William W Warner Jr
Commentary Book of Revelation
My personal Overview of the book of Revelation
Before we get into a major study of the book of Revelation, let me state this that I personally want it to be known that from the mind of this pastor that first and foremost I give God all, the glory and praise for Him for giving His Son This Holy and Divine Revelation to reveal unto His servants the things which must shortly come to pass. In addition, to praise God for every tribulation that He has brought me through and has taught me what I know in His Holy Word and what I write in this commentary about the Revelation of Jesus. In addition, to note that what I am writing in this commentary is both personal and theological, however, it is all about the Revelation of Jesus Christ the prophetic messages He sends to the seven churches as well as all, of the other events that will happen in the coming days. Furthermore, in this revision of what I have already posted on this website I will be getting deeper into the prophecy of this book of Revelation and yes there will be many revisions made to explain further the events of the coming days.
Every reader and student of the book of Revelation have questions and concerns about this book of prophecy. However, today one might say that back over the centuries or thousands of years that God has been giving a prophetic message of the coming days and the event that would happen, starting with the prophets of the Old Testament what I believe to be the essential information about the end of time. In addition, I strongly believe that the prophetic revelation of our Lord reveals the sequence of events that is contained in the pages of the book of Revelation. Ultimately, this prophetic word can be traced back to Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel, and Zechariah where the prophetic warnings began to be spoken by God unto His prophets. Therefore, by these prophets of old is just one of the reasons why we need to study and understand what the meaning of the Revelation of Jesus Christ means to Israel, and the church living in the last days.
Yet let me state early that I also strongly believe that as I study the book of Revelation I am reading the sequence of events that the inhabitants of the earth will face in the coming days. Let me be so bold as to state that to many believe that God is still hiding what will happen in the coming days and this is where the trouble begins with so many individuals.
Therefore, it should be stated early in this manner: Let me say this and I will continue to say it over and over that the book of Revelation for the most part is the most neglected book of the whole Bible and you can hear many opinions why it is neglected. Yet there is yet another point of view that needs to be stated which many individual state, that the book of Revelation is the mysteries or the hidden things of God and that it is not meant to be understood. If this were the case then why we are, able to hear what the Spirit of God is saying or revealing unto saints of the church living in the last days. Furthermore, then we need to consider two major elements of life which is process and discovery of why our Father in heaven has been revealing His Divine judgments into our lives from the very beginning when “God said, let us make man in our image and after our likeness” Genesis 1:26. The point is this that if we are created in God’s image and His likeness then it should be clear that God wants to say something to you or reveal something unto you.
There are many, many visions that reveals the events of the coming days which pertains to Israel, and the church living in the last days. Honestly the prophetic revelation of Jesus Christ is about the coming days as well as the prophetic warning of the coming days, in addition, it is about the blessing and reward for those who gain the victory by living in the will of God. Yes, to be honest you will find the bad recorded in the book of Revelation, as well as the good that is written in the book of Revelation, and finally you also will find the ugly in the book of Revelation.
The Holy Bible is full of prophecy which has been predicted of what God has spoken down through the generations of the creation of man and these prophecies of events that God told the prophets then have occurred the way that God proclaimed they would. Therefore, it is the prophecy of the book of Revelation that is going to awake this very world with a truth that God is going to pour out His wrath upon the inhabitants of this world. I feel and believe that this world and its inhabitants has just about reached the limit of God’s grace and mercy, because of our pride and arrogance of our greed and selfishness to the level where God will not tolerate it any longer. Therefore, this is just one of the things I feel that the prophecy of the book of Revelation is so vital for the church to teach and proclaim for I truly believe that our time is running out.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ is God’s way of revealing His course of action that is going to happen in the comings days, to Israel, the church, which is living in the last days. Yes, I further can say this with all honesty that the book of Revelation is full of God’s warning, God’s promises to all, of the inhabitants of the earth. Yes, during my years of ministry I have seen how people disregard the warnings of this prophecy of the book of Revelation concerning the fact that these catastrophic events are about to happen.
Also, all of these catastrophic events is about to come to pass, therefore, the reasons of why these prophetic and apostolic words are recorded in the pages of the book of Revelation which takes you all the way back to the prophetic word of the prophets of which is recorded in the pages of the Old Testament. Yes, I have done much studying and researching from many other commentaries and many other translations of the Bible to gain a full understanding of the prophecy of the book of Revelation. It is also well for me to note early that this personal commentary of which I am writing will contain many outlines as an objective study for my personal need to completely understand the prophetic word of this book of Revelation. Therefore, my hope and prayer is that as you study with me it will bring about a life changing experience regarding the prophetic and apostolic meaning of the prophecy of Jesus Christ our Lord.
The book of Revelation is the most controversial book in the Bible.
Yes, it can be state again, and again, that the book of Revelation has caused more major discussion and division between many denomination, churches, and families. Then this question I find to be in order: What is it about this book of Revelation that makes it so controversial? Yes, there can be many answers and opinions how to answer this question. One might say that it is over the interpretation or the promise of blessing to those who read and understand what is written and keeps the word of this prophecy. However, what I have heard stated many times during the many years of ministry is in this fact that the book of Revelation is so hard to understand and that is why I do not read or study Revelation.
Then if I was to ask you this question: Where does the greatest danger that can happen or take place to those professing Christians who take lightly the prophetic word of the book of Revelation? Yes, there could be many different opinions given of why so many take lightly the book of Revelation. Then the true answer should be this: can it be that many of us do not feel that we can find what is a truth that comes naturally for us. Yet one might feel and think that living a good Christian life is enough. I, feel and believe this that not only can this prophecy of the book of Revelation but also many other prophecies regarding these last days can be found within the pages of the Old Testament of the many prophetic warnings that our Lord and Savior taught to His disciples and commissioned them to forewarn the people of the coming days in the four gospels as well as the rest of the New Testament.
What is even more amazing is in this fact that according to many scholars and theologians of the Bible states that they state that there are 404 verses of scriptures in the book of Revelation and half of them make, reference to the Old Testament.
In my personal study of the book of Revelation the last book of the Bible or New Testament to my understanding holds the many keys for the future of the church and the world. In addition, I know and understand that there are four different methods or four major approaches to the interpretation of the book of Revelation. In today’s modern-day church I believe that it would be well to say that all, of these views are taught in one form or another.
The four views
The first is the “FUTURIST” that teaches an explicit forecast of how the future unfolds.
The second is “PRETERIST” which teaches that the prophecies were fulfilled in the first century.
The third is “HISTORICAL or PRESENTIST” this teaching states that the prophecies are being fulfilled now and since the resurrection of Christ and His Second Coming.
The fourth are the “IDEALIST” which teach that the book of Revelation does not refer to history of the bible or the church at all but is an allegory of conflict between good and evil.
It is well to bring out this reality first that there are many, many students of the Bible and Christians, who study devoutly and has what I believe is first in the question over who is the authentic author of the book of Revelation is? When you read from the many other commentaries, you find that some say that it is John who is the author, of the book of Revelation, however, you also find that there are some like me who believes that Jesus Christ Himself is the author of His Own Revelation which makes more of a logically understanding. Therefore, my own personal reason for saying that Jesus is the author is because of the manner the first chapter is written for the apostle John is writing what he hears the Lord speaking unto him. In addition, it is well to note in Revelation 1:1 there is a five-fold order of authentic authority of how the book of Revelation is to be unveiled. Note God first then Jesus next His servants and then signified by His angel unto His servant John. I stress this authentic authority to reveal, the what, when, who, how, and why the prophecy of the Revelation of Jesus is vital for the church today.
Furthermore, it is well for me to add this thought that all, of my years of ministry, of teaching, preaching, and my studying that I cannot recall of where that I ever gave any kind of a thought about the authentic authority of the servants of God having the responsibility to deliver the message of prophecy regarding the book of Revelation. When it comes right down to the whole truth which may sound harsh, however, I believe that there are many good Christians who for one reason or another miss the whole contexts or concept of authority in Revelation 1:1. Going yet another step further and I do not make light when I make this statement: for the modern-day Christians do not feel or believe that they have the authority to teach or proclaim the Revelation of Jesus Christ and the mysteries in the prophecy here in the book of Revelation, for they feel or believe that it is the duty of the pastor. If this be the case then how is it that the Revelation of Jesus Christ going to be revealed, that others may know and understand the prophetic events of the coming days as well as the wrath of God.
I have stated all of this to make myself clear that my personal study of this book of Revelation is taken out of the complete content of the Bible and what the Holy Ghost teaches me about the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Therefore, as we continue considering the recorded word written by the apostle John, then there is yet another thing which needs to be consider, that a revelation is one thing, and a record is another. In addition, what we call the Holy Bible is not a revelation, however, it is the written record of the revelation of God and His Son. Moreover, since the Bible has been recorded there have been countless generations have come and gone, and there are new revelations which have been recorded by the apostles which is the apostolic word of the New Testament.
Understanding Bible Prophecy
Many individuals and Christians have considered the book of Revelation to be a sealed book of God’s mysteries and unable to be understood about the last days before the Lord’s return. However, when we truly consider the word Revelation which comes from the Greek name “Apokalypsis”, which means a disclosure, a revelation or manifestation and to be revealed. So, we find that the book of Revelation is not only an open book, however, that its contents of revelation that are definite, are to be revealed to be therefore, intended to be revealed and understood by us. It is in fact a revealing of Jesus Christ Himself and His return.
Note carefully these first three verses of scriptures of Revelation 1. Furthermore, it is well to note that the title of the book of Revelation is singular not plural. I read somewhere about a minister that a man came an attack his knowledge and his interpretation of the book of Revelation. The man said, “you just don’t know anything about Revelations” using the plural meaning. The minister reply to the man you are completely right I don’t know anything about the book of Revelations. I never even seen that book. How many of us Christian embarrassed ourselves when we realize how we interpret the book of Revelation?
Chapter Study for Revelation
Three reasons of why I believe it is important to study the Book of Revelation.
Some may read the Bible however, they tend to shy away from a reading the book of Revelation for various reason. Let me give you three personal reasons, and good reasons of why we should study the book of Revelation.
FIRST REASON: Revelation reveals, much about the Divine person of Jesus Christ in all His glory and majesty. In addition: If you want to know this Jesus, of how He cares for what His Father has given unto Him then a study the book of revelation is in order. The book of Revelation is also in addition a book which I believe contains a full knowledge that reveals unto Jesus servants the things which identifies who He is as our Lord and Savior and who will reveal all of the things which must shortly come to pass Revelation 1:1.
Now the apostle John uses at least 27 attributes to describe Jesus in just the first chapter of Revelation.
Here is a list of these attributes to identify Christ Jesus.
I Am: Revelation 1:8, 11, 17, 18,
The Alpha: Revelation 1:8, 11
The Omega: Revelation 1:8, 11
He loves us: Revelation 1:5
The living one: Revelation 1
Faithful witness: Revelation 1:5
The first and the last: Revelation 1:11, 17
First born of the dead: Revelation 1:5
Every eye will see Him Revelation 1:7
His face was like the sun: Revelation 1:16
He is coming with the clouds: Revelation 1:7
Ruler of the kings of the earth: Revelation 1:5
Golden sash across His chest: Revelation 1:13
His feet like burnished bronze: Revelation 1:15
Everyone will mourn over Him: Revelation 1:7
Was dead but now alive forever: Revelation 1:
His eyes were like flames of fire: Revelation 1:14
Made us to be priests and kings: Revelation 1:6
One who is like the Son of Man: Revelation 1:13
Has the keys to death and hades: Revelation 1:18
Holds seven stars in His right hand: Revelation 1:16, 20
Clothed in a robe reaching to His feet: Revelation 1:13
His head and hair were white like snow Revelation 1:14
His voice like the sound of many waters: Revelation 1:15
Washed us from our sins in His Own Blood: Revelation 1:5
Who is and who was and who is to come: Revelation 1:4, 8
A sharp two-edged sword came out of His mouth: Revelation 1:16
A Personal Study of the Prophetic Words Found in
The Old Testament books for the References
Regarding the prophecy in the Book of Revelation
Daniel 2:28-29 God in heaven revealeth secrets—maketh known
Amos 4:13 and declareth unto man what is his thoughts
Revelation 1:4: Isaiah 11:2 the Spirits that will fall upon Christ:
Isaiah 42:1: I have put my Spirit upon Him
Revelation 1:5 First begotten of the dead:
Genesis 49:11 prophecy of Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey;
Psalm 89:27 the firstborn
Isaiah 55:4 I have given him as a witness to the people—a commander
Ezekiel 34:23 God will set up one shepherd
Revelation 1:6: Exodus 19:6; where God tells Israel that they will be “a kingdom of priests” a “holy nation” Isaiah 61:6 “ministers of God” “named priests of the Lord”
Revelation 1:7: Daniel 7:13; Vision, One like the Son of Man; clouds;
Zechariah 12:10-14 inhabitants of Jerusalem
Joel 2:28 After these days I will pour out My Spirit “dreams and visions”
Revelation 1:8: Isaiah 41:4 calling the generations from the beginning; Isaiah 43:10; servants I have chosen; 44:6 Lord of host, I am the first, and I am the last
Revelation 1:12: Exodus 25:37; Thou shalt make seven lamps; 37:23
Revelation 1:13: Daniel 7:13; Son of Man came with the clouds 10:5, I lifted up my eyes, and looked and behold a certain man clothed in linen; 16
Revelation 1:14: Daniel 7:9; whose garment was white as snow 10:6 the appearing of lighting
Revelation 1:15: Ezekiel 1:7 like the color of burnished brass, 24 like the of great waters; 43:2 his voice was like the noise on many waters; Daniel 10:6 and the voice of his words the voice of a multitude
Revelation 1:16: Judges 5:31 when he goeth forth in his might; Isaiah 49:2 And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword
Revelation 1:17: Isaiah 41:4 first and last; 44:6 and beside me there is no God; 48:12 the first and last; Daniel 8:17-18 fell upon my face—but he touched me; 10:9, 10, 12, 15, 19
Revelation 1:18: Hosea 13:14 power of the grave; I will be thy destruction
REASON 2: The book of Revelation offers a blessing for those who read, hear and keep the words of the prophecy of this book. Therefore, I can say that I cannot find no other book that promises a blessing for those who read the book. This blessing I speak of is found in Revelation 1:3 and this is the first blessing, and there are six more blessings offered to believers in this book of Revelation.
REASON 3: Revelation 4-22 speak of the things which shall take place at the coming days or the end times. Revelation has the highest percentage of verses of any book in the Old and New Testaments pertaining to future Bible prophecy. I believe that it is well to note that 82% percent of the Book of Revelation speaks of end time prophecy and the wrath of God. The book may be difficult to understand, however, that it should not stop any believer or Christian from diligently digging into the book and allowing the Spirit of God to guide them into all chapters of the book of Revelation.
Yes, there are many ways to teach or interpret the book of Revelation, however, I believe that when we study the book of revelation we begin a new spiritual journey of learning why Jesus is revealing what must come to past before He returns. This is a spiritual journey that you are about to take will be most challenging for a number, of reasons: First that it is an apocalypse language or literature filled with images, symbols, and numbers which has meaning where that it becomes frightening. In addition, you are challenged because of all, the conflicting interpretations over the prophetic word of the book of Revelation.
Therefore, to help you, I am going to make an outline in question and thoughts to describe “our new spiritual journey” through the book of Revelation.
The following outline has the many questions and many statement regarding that journey:
Why study Revelation?
What Revelation is not
First about the Revelation
What kind of Literature is Revelation?
What are the literary characteristics of apocalyptic?
For whom is the book written?
What shall we do about the controversy over the interpretation of Revelation?
What are the themes of Revelation?
Who is the author?
Where was it written?
How doe Jesus identify Himself?
Why was the apostle John on the Isle of Patmos?
Jesus concern for the churches:
How did John receive the visions?
What did it mean to be in the Spirit?
What did John hear?
What did he see?
What does Jesus look like in the vision?
What did Jesus say to John?
What is John to write?
What, or who, are angels?
Since the message to each church is given to the “angel” of the church, it raises then the question: Do all churches have angels?
About the church of Ephesus:
How did the church at Ephesus begin?
The description of Christ:
What does Christ commend about the church at Ephesus?
What is Ephesus rebuked for by Christ?
What is their solution?
What if they do not repent?
The works of the Nicolaitans:
The call to hear and to overcome:
About the church of Smyrna:
How did the church of Smyrna begin?
Why does Christ identify Himself as “First_Last”?
What does Christ know about them?
What is the message to the church at Smyrna?
What will be their reward of those who overcome?
About the church and city of Pergamum:
How doe Jesus identify Himself?
The Lord commends them for being faithful in a Pagan environment:
What is the Lord’s criticism?
Indifference of the church to the presence of the Nicolaitans is serious!
What are the promises to the faithful?
About the city and church of Thyatira:
Church at Thyatira how did it begin?
How does Christ identify Himself in this letter?
What are the strengths and weakness of this church?
There is a very serious problem in this church:
Who is Jezebel here and who is Jezebel of the Old Testament?
What is Jesus punishment for Jezebel?
What happens to them that remain faithful?
Who and what is the morning star?
About the church at Sardis:
How does the Lord identify Himself to Sardis?
What does the Lord commend them for?
How does a church die?
How can they change? The Lord gives five imperatives:
What if Sardis does not repent?
What will be the reward for the few that remain faithful to Christ?
The church at Philadelphia:
How does Jesus describe Himself to this church?
What does Jesus know about this church?
What does the Lord say about them that are persecuting these faithful?
There are three inscriptions which will be written upon the believers who endures:
About the church at Laodicean:
How did this church begin?
How does Jesus identify Himself?
Jesus’ assessment of this church:
How does this church view themselves?
How does Christ describe their spiritual condition?
What doe Christ ask them to do?
Buy wise counsel:
Jesus’ confronts this church to say bluntly than all, of the other churches:
How does Jesus promise respond to them that repent?
What is the reward to them that overcome?
What does John hear and see?
John sees the vision of the throne of God:
Someone sitting on the throne:
How is the someone described:
The surrounding around the throne:
From the throne:
Before the throne:
Who and what are the elders and living creatures doing around the throne?
What does the elders and four living creatures around the throne tell us?
What did John see?
The first revelation of the right hand of God:
What did the scroll look like?
The second revelation the mighty angel:
Why does John weep or cry?
Two prophecy from the Old Testament that describes Jesus:
What is the image of the lion of Judah?
What is the image of the root of David?
The third revelation the lion becomes the Lamb:
The Lamb’s act calls forth three hymns of praise:
First Hymn of praise: Revelation 5:9-10
The forth revelation is every creature in heaven singing:
The opening of the seals:
The four horsemen of the apocalypse are seal one through four:
The role of each of the horsemen:
The fifth seal is those who are crying under the altar “how long”:
The sixth seal the cry of the persecutors on earth:
Their questions: Who can withstand God’s judgment?
The sealing of the saint or the 144,000 servants of God:
What is the meaning of the four angels standing on the four corners of the earth?
The seal of the living God:
How do we interpret the seal?
What is it?
What does it mean to have come out of the “Great Tribulation”?
What is the promise to them who have been sealed?
The opening of the seventh seal:
How do the trumpet judgments relate to the inhabitants of the earth?
The prayers of the saints:
The woman clothed with the sun and moon:
The man child:
How is the dragon described?
How is the dragon’s tail described?
What is Satan’s plot to destroy the man child?
What is the woman’s flight into the desert?
The war in heaven:
The age-old question: What causes the war in heaven?
The heavenly phrase for celebrating victory:
How does the saints achieve victory?
War on earth:
The woman and the dragon:
The beast rising-up out of the sea:
Who is the dragon?
Who is the first beast?
Who is the second beast?
Who is the woman arrayed in scarlet?
The beast is granted to make war with the saints:
Who goes into captivity?
Who is killed by the sword?
The song of Moses and the Lamb:
The seven bowls:
Seven angels receive the bowls of wrath:
These are the seven bowls of God’s wrath:
The bowls of wrath are poured out upon the inhabitants of the earth:
The wedding banquet:
The Great Harlot:
John’s vision of the woman arrayed in purple and the beast:
The great harlot sitting upon many waters:
The woman who rides the red dragon:
The great Babylon has fallen:
The voice from heaven commands the believers to come out:
Three laments over Babylon:
The heaven and the saints rejoice:
The vision of a new heaven and new earth:
A scriptural tour of the New Jerusalem:
The river of life:
The tree of life:
We will have a new relationship with God and Christ Jesus the Lamb:
Jesus will be coming soon!
Again, and repeating the more I study the book of Revelation and write this commentary for my own personal knowledge it is for this reason also to give unto myself the incentive to be one of the faithful servants of the Lord Jesus Christ which He states that He will reveal His Divine revelation unto His servants. Furthermore, to give this pastor the spiritual knowledge and wisdom to teach the Divine an Holy Revelation to others that they will be prepared for the coming days. Moreover, I will continue to say in all the teaching that I do on this Revelation of Jesus Christ, is that time is running out and we need to make ready.
Here are some of the new thoughts or new revelations which has come to mind regarding the first three verses of Revelation 1 as well as the rest of the book of Revelation.
The first new thoughts are about authentic leadership and leaders of the church and who has been appointed them to that leadership and why it was given or handed down in the manner stated in Revelation
1. Then the opening text of scripture in the book of Revelation establishes the setting which contains the origin of how God gives authentic authority unto His servants. It is a Divine Revelation that has been given to inform believers or Christians of what lies ahead in, the near future. It is well to note how this verse of scripture states the authentic authority of whom is to bare record or testimony of the things that must shortly come to pass. In addition, I, further believe this to be the five-fold authority of who is to proclaim and teach the importance of understanding this prophecy of the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Below is an objective study outline
OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING REVELATION 1
INTRODUCTION AND BENEDICTION
Introducing the Revelation of Jesus Christ
Which God gave Him to show His servants
Regarding things which much shortly take place
Sent and signified by His angel
To His servant John, who bore witness…
To the word of God
To the testimony of Jesus Christ
To all things that he saw
Blessed is he who reads and those who hear this prophecy
Blessed are those who keep those things written in it, for the time is near
GREETINGS TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES
From John, to the seven churches in Asia
With grace and peace
From Him who is and who was and who is to come
From the seven Spirits who are before His throne
From Jesus Christ
The faithful witness
The firstborn from the dead
The ruler over the kings of the earth
Who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood
Who made us kings and priests to His God and Father
To Whom be glory and dominion forever and ever!
ANNOUNCEMENT OF CHRIST’S COMING
He is coming with clouds
Every eye will see Him, and they also who pierced Him
All the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him
Even so, Amen (so be it)
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End”
“Who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty”
THE VISION OF THE SON OF MAN
JOHN’S CIRCUMSTANCES LEADING UP TO THE VISION
Their brother and companion
In the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ
On the island called Patmos
For the word of God
For the testimony of Jesus Christ
In the Spirit on the Lord’s Day
WHAT HE HEARD BEHIND HIM
A loud voice, as of a trumpet
Saying to him
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last”
“What you see, write in a book”
“Send it to the seven churches which are in Asia…”
WHAT HE SAW, AND HIS REACTION
Turning to see the voice, he saw
Seven golden lampstands
In the midst of the seven lampstands, One like the Son of Man
Clothed with a garment down to the feet, girded about the chest with a golden band
His head and hair white as wool, white as snow
His eyes like a flame of fire
His feet like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace
His voice as the sound of many waters
In His right hand, seven stars
Out of His mouth, a sharp two-edged sword
His countenance like the sun shining in its strength
Seeing Him, John fell at His feet as dead
THE LORD’S WORDS TO JOHN
“Do not be afraid”
“I am the First and the Last”
“I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen.”
“I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”
“The things which you have seen”
“The things which are”
“The things which will take place after this”
“The mystery of the seven stars…and the seven golden lampstands”
“The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches”
“The seven lampstands…are the seven churches”
Compare these different translations of Revelation 1:1
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things that must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Revelation 1:1 KJV
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants- things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, Revelation 1:1 NKJV
[This is] the revelation of Jesus Christ [His unveiling of divine mysteries]. God gave it to Him to disclose and make known to His bod-servants certain things which must shortly and speedily come to pass in their entirety. And He sent and communicated it through His angel (messenger) to His bond-servant John, Revelation 1:1 Amplified
This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him concerning the events that will happen soon. An angel was sent to God’s servants John so that John could share the revelation whit God’s other servants. Revelation 1:1 NLT
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show unto his servants, (even) the things which must shortly come to pass: and he sent and signified (it) by his angel unto his servant John; Revelation 1:1 ASV
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must shortly take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, Revelation 1:1 NASB
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place; he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, Revelation 1:1 NRSV
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place; He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John; Revelation 1:1 NIV
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants what must soon take place; and he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, Revelation 1:1 RSV
A revealing of Jesus, the Messiah. God gave it to make plain to his servants what is about to happen. He published and delivered it by angel to his servant John. Revelation 1:1 MSG
This is the revelation which God gave to Yeshua the Messiah, so that he could show his servants what must happen soon. He communicated it by sending his angel to his servant Yochanan, Revelation 1:1 CJB
Outline for Study Revelation 1
Introduction or Analysis: Revelation 1:
The things which you have seen Revelation 1:1-3
My purpose for looking at so many translations is to get the full view of how Revelation 1:1 is interpreted. I state this as a pastor who believes in rightly dividing the word of truth in Christ Jesus.
A. God’s Servants: Revelation 1:1
1 The process of God
A God gave unto
B The foundation of truth to His servants
2 God’s inspired word or revelation: Revelation 1:1
A The substance of the revelation
1 Out of Divine thoughts
2 The word or revelation testified
B. To be a living witness: Revelation 1:2
1 To bear witness John 3:32; Matthew 17:1-13
C. Blessed is he that readeth Revelation 1:3
1 there is requirement or condition
a. read the word
b. hear the word
c. keep the word
D. John’s vision the message to the seven churches:
1 Seven Spirits of God
2 Christ faithful
3 Christ sacrifice
4 Spiritual kings
E. The vision of Christ Second Coming: Revelation 1:7-9
1 Coming with clouds
2 Overpowering presence
4 The God eternal
F. John’s vision on Patmos: Revelation 1:9-10
2 The Day of the Lord
3 Hearing Christ voice
G. The Seven Churches: Revelation 1:11-12, 20
1 The writing
2 The inspired word
3 The speaking
H. The Vision of the Glorified Christ: Revelation 1:13-15
1 Christ the robe of righteousness
2 One who searches the heart
I. Christ the chosen instrument: Revelation 1:16-18
1 The sword of the Spirit or the two-edged sword
2 The light of Christ
3 The touch of Christ
4 Christ our eternal life
J. Mystery of the seven stars or candlesticks: Revelation 1:19:20
Revelation one gives us an introduction or preface to the prophetic word of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
Up to this point of this commentary I have made some brief comments with outlines of how I will study this Divine Revelation of Jesus Christ which His Father gave to Him to show unto His servants the things which must shortly come to pass Revelation 1:1. As I begin to dig deeper into my personal study of the book of Revelation it is for this purpose to find the full and true meaning of the prophetic word of the book of Revelation or its messages to Israel, the church living in the last days. Yet it is well for me to state early that I will use various outlines and other examples from time to time to explain what the Spirit of God has revealed. Moreover, this personal commentary of this pastor will be a verse by verse study to find what Jesus our Lord is to reveal.
Again, let me state that there are many books throughout the Bible that speaks the prophetic word of the last days or the end of time and therefore those who are wise will study line by line and verse by verse and chapter upon chapter for gaining the knowledge of God and His Son’s revelation about the coming days. My personal warning that you be very cautious if anyone or group tells you not to study the word of God or that you do not need to study the Old Testament today because we are living under grace. Moreover, I believe that this is one of the many tactic of Satan to keep people from study the word of God.
The approach to understanding is that I strongly believe that one must first ask themselves this question. My very first question is to myself and it is this how are you going to approach this study for you writing your own personal understanding of the book of Revelation. Here are some of the questions I need to keep reminding myself regarding each text: They are one who wrote the book? Two to whom? Three when? Four Why? Five Where? Six What is the context? Seven What is the language which it has been written? Seven How do I answer these questions? Yes, before I am through my studying there will be many other questions regarding this prophetic book of Revelation.
Unveiling the Revelation of Jesus Christ Lets begin
Yes, it is well for me to note before I begin that key thoughts or phrases will be underlined.
The Preface of the Revelation of Jesus Christ
In this introduction to what I believe and understand to be the preface of the Revelation of Jesus Christ and my personal understanding for writing a commentary on the book of Revelation. There are hundreds or maybe even thousands of books written on the book of Revelation, therefore, this is just another one of those commentaries. However, this is a commentary which I am writing with my own personal understanding. My personal reason for writing this commentary is because the Spirit of God keeps opening, up my mind for a greater knowledge of the book of Revelation. I am sure that many will not agree with my understanding and that is ok.
There is one thing which I believe that is the most important issue that I bring to your attention, regarding my approach to the book of Revelation. My very first concern and greatest concern of, all, is over this fact, which is the lack of the teaching of the book of Revelation in the church today because time is running out. In addition, that one might think that all believe that this is the Divine Revelation of Jesus Christ does not pertains to the church now and that this prophecy is a long way off. However, let me be so bold as to say that this prophecy of Revelation is for Israel, the church, living in the coming days. Secondly, that the book of Revelation is the crucial warning regarding the coming days to Israel, the church as well as to the inhabitants of the earth that they might be saved.
The reason that I am stating it in this manner is because I believe that the saints of the church’s and their spiritual walk of faith in the days to come must have the knowledge of how to combat the evil hand of the dragon and the beast, as well as what will fall upon the inhabitants of the earth if they accept the beast and his mark, number, and image, moreover, the things which must shortly come to pass recorded in Revelation 1:1. In addition, I further believe that the book of Revelation holds the crucial key elements to help us face the spiritual battle of spiritual warfare, which will surely take place in the days to come.
However, the purpose and focus for writing this personal commentary about the book of Revelation and the last days or the coming days is to share with all people to whom the Lord God has called that they might have the knowledge of the coming days and about the events that will unfold in the coming days upon the inhabitants of the earth. Yes, for me to be quite honest to say that there are many different views or opinions by scholars, theologians, as well as by many Christians regarding the book of Revelation. Yet, there is another issue which needs to be addressed early in the writing of this commentary: The issue which is about how most common individuals regard or think about the book of Revelation, and all, of the symbolism which is used in the book of Revelation that seem very strange unto them and therefore, to most readers of the Bible especially the book of Revelation they leave it as a closed book. Moreover, the book of Revelation is a book of prophecy of our Lord Jesus Christ, of which the Lord makes known in verse three of Revelation 1 as well as a blessing to those who hear and read and keep the words of this prophecy. Therefore, I would encourage you to open, up your mind to a Divine Prophetic Word or Revelation of Jesus Christ that foretells the coming days and what will fall upon the inhabitants of the earth as well as the tribulation that will face the saints of the church before the Lord’s return to claim His Bride.
As I further study and write about the book of Revelation and what the Spirit of God has showed or revealed unto me a personal understanding to write a personal commentary about the book of Revelation at times I can say that it can be overwhelming. Let me state it in this way as well that I believe that not all, of the book of Revelation is symbols or symbolism for some of it is literal, and therefore, I further believe that it deals also with reality which must be taken literally for it pertains to life to come in the coming days. My logic for making this statement is for when we get to Revelation two and three we find that Jesus sends to seven churches His personal message to each church by giving them His Divine insight of what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong.
Another way of addressing the preface of Jesus revelation would be to state that it is what reveals Jesus Father’s plan and His purpose for giving His Son this prophecy to reveal unto His servants. Again, in the process of unfolding the Revelation of Jesus Christ is also about God’s plan for Israel, and the church living in the last days. Moreover, as we further look at what Jesus is revealing unto His servants why God is now revealing what He told Daniel to go his way for the words were closed and sealed till the time of the end Daniel 12:9. In addition, I believe that it is well to note that understanding the prophecy of the book of Revelation can also be your protection as a Christian from the counterfeit strategies of Satan that you may not fall under his control when the beast and the antichrist is revealed in the coming days.
Nevertheless, it is also well to remind you early that by stating that the book of Revelation holds many key elements of the future of what will happen to the inhabitants of the earth and how God will pour out His wrath upon all the inhabitants of the earth. In addition, say that the dragon and the beast, as well as the fall of Babylon is going to happen or take place in the coming days. You will find that God’s Son will reveal all these things which must shortly come to pass, that His Father revealed unto Him to show unto His servants and to have them written so that the servants would have a recorded of what is to come Revelation 1:1. Then one might ask who is the servants of the Lord Jesus Christ whom He is going to reveal all these things that must take place shortly in the church today? Well one might say that it comes by a prophet and that can be very true. However, what does the gospels and the epistles as well as the Old Testament state about servants of the Lord and whom will minister His message or prophetic word unto the church and the inhabitants of the earth?
Again, the book of Revelation holds many prevailing facts about this Divine Prophecy of our Lord Jesus Christ and what His Father has given unto Him regarding the coming days. Let me add this thought that the Lord Jesus Christ is now revealing His Father’s overall purpose to bring His chosen people back to Him and to put an end to all, of the evil upon this earth and make all things new in a new heaven and new earth Revelation 21. Before, I write any further again I believe it is well to state that you will see the word and term the inhabitants of the earth stated many times during the writing of this personal commentary. Furthermore, the writing of this commentary is also about the danger of ignoring the prophecy of Jesus Christ.
Regarding, what I stated earlier about many different views and opinions on this holy prophecy here in Revelation, let me take it a step further by saying again, that many still believe that the book of Revelation is a book of mysteries or the hidden or secret things of God because of what God told Daniel to do in the book of Daniel chapter 12 verse 9 that he was to seal up the book until the end of time. However, it must be repeated that here in this very first chapter of the book of Revelation and in the first text of scripture the Lord begins to make it clear that He is going to show or reveal unto His servants the things which must shortly come to pass. Again, what our God has had sealed up in the book of Daniel, the Father has now given unto His Son a Divine Revelation to reveal unto His servants the things which must shortly come to pass to proclaim the coming events of the coming days. What comes to my mind now is that Jesus has become the revealer of the things to come in the coming days. Furthermore, God and His Son is the only ones who can reveal the hidden or secret things of what must take place in the coming days.
In addition, regarding the hidden and secret things of God or the mysteries of God when it comes to the everyday common individual believing that they can interpret the hidden or secret things of God is that they feel unworthy to interpret God’s Word. According to the epistles of John we all have the knowledge of God and Paul also makes known that we have the mind of Christ, in addition, that we have the Holy Spirit which is our teacher of the things of God. Therefore, if we have that knowledge provided by God through God’s Spirit then we should be able to understand what the Lord is revealing unto His servants in these last days. The things I have just written in this preface are just a few of the reasons I feel so strongly about the fact that each, and every Christian should be concerned about the prophecy of the book of Revelation and the coming days.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
The Revelation of Jesus Christ should be evidently clear that the whole book of Revelation is about the unveiling or revealing of the things that God told Daniel to close, up the book until the end of time Daniel 12. Then it should be clear of what is being stated in this very first text of scripture that Jesus our Lord is getting ready to unveil the prophecy of the end of time. Consider this from this thought, in the sense of the word revelation when it is spoken it is commonly understood that something has been revealed or going to be revealed. It might also be understood in this manner that something that was hid before or unknown is about to be disclosed by a spoken communication to reveal the unknown.
Next thing that is to be consider is the phrase “which God gave Him”. This should be clear that God has now imparted or communicated unto His Son the revelation of the coming days or the end of time. Then we must remember what Jesus spoke unto in the gospel of John chapter eight when He stated: “Then Jesus said to them, When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.” (John 8:28 NKJV) Then one might say that what the Father gave unto Jesus to show unto His servants is to be communicated by the servants of Christ Jesus.
Before, I go any further let me state early that there has been a lot of theologically discussion over who is the author of the book of Revelation and the views over the events which I believe will soon take place if not already began. Therefore, because it is the Revelation of Jesus Christ there can only be one logically conclusion and the is Jesus Christ who has given the vision unto John to write what he sees and send it to the churches in Asia Revelation 1:11. Let me further stress that this is not the revelation of the apostle John it is the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Moreover, Jesus is the one whom God gave the revelation to, and Revelation1:1 makes it clear that Jesus was “to show unto His servants the things which must shortly come to pass”. For here in verse one it is clearly stated that this revelation was sent to John and then in verse eleven John is told to write it down what he sees.
To show unto His servants: Let me be so bold as to state here what I believe that when Jesus stated this that He meant all Christians who represents God and God’s word. Therefore, what Christ commands unto John in verse eleven that John was to write a book and send it to the seven churches should be clear that every Christian should know the contents of this book of prophecy. Then the word show commonly points out, to cause someone to see or one might go so far as to say to reveal insight that is appropriate.
However, anybody who has studies the Bible for any length of time needs to understand truly and fully understand the authentic authority and the five-fold ministry and its authority which is recorded in Ephesian 4:11 and Revelation 1:1. Moreover, the logic for repeating it over is that you and I being Christians then and the Christians today must truly and fully comprehend or understand the purpose of authority, as well as how badly this authority is abused by many who have been appointed to authority. Therefore, instead of teaching the saints how to prepare for the return of Christ or equipping the church for the work of ministry. In addition, let me remind you that Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus about the five-fold ministry and the purpose for that five-fold ministry for equipping the saints Ephesians 4:11-13. Even before you get to the book of Revelation Jesus in the gospels the Lord stated the prophetic warnings, and His apostles as well have written the prophetic warning about the false prophets, false teachers, and the spirit of antichrist.
Again, I further believe that it is well to repeat that for me as well as many Christians that there have always been questions about the authentic author of the book of Revelation. In addition, over the revealing of this prophetic revelation unto His servants, as well as other books of the Bible having the prophecy or revelation of the end times. Well as we open this personal study in the first chapter of the book of Revelation in the first verse you will find what I believe to be a five-fold order of authentic ministry of leadership and about who is the author and who is the writer. Jesus Christ is the author and God gave Him the revelation to show to His servants of the events that must shortly come to pass. It was sent and signified by His angel unto His servant John. Note the order of authentic leadership hand down in verse one we all know that God is the supreme authority and He gave the revelation unto His Son to show unto His servants. I make these comments to show the who, what, and how the prophecy of the revelation of Jesus Christ is to unfold by the order of authentic leadership and the given instructions in verse one. Not to be harsh about what I am about to state however, I believe that many Christians for one reason or another miss the whole concept of verse one especially the authentic order is handed down by God. Therefore, I believe that I am safe in saying that those of us who call ourselves servants are to be baring witness of the revelation of Jesus Christ our Lord.
So far, I have only dealt with the authentic authority God has given and now let me turn to the other important issues here in this first text of scripture. This text is also an announcement that it is a book about the Revelation of Jesus Christ and those who are commission. Yet another way of interpreting this first text of scripture is that it embraces the fact that it is a revelation or an uncovering of the things which must shortly come to pass.
However, one might also consider that this is a call from God and Jesus Christ I believe will make known the events which will take place leading up to new heaven and new Jerusalem coming down from God Revelation 21. Yes, this very opening text truly makes it clear that God through His Son is going to reveal or uncover the things to come.
Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. (Revelation 1:2)
Who bare: A key and vital thought which needs to be consider from this understanding regarding the Holy Scriptures that we as human-being are to bare the witness of God’s Word and the testimony of Jesus Christ. In addition, we are the human instruments as servants of the Lord with the credentials and credibility to bare that responsibility. Today do we bare record of the word of God? Now the apostle John is on the isle of Patmos for bearing the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. In addition, note that the text of scripture brings out the point of what John saw.
Verse two also opens with a very important fact about who is to bear the true witness of the word of God. When we put verse one and two together with authentic order of leadership of the servants then we in like manner are to bare record of what John saw and wrote. I stress this point further regarding what John saw, because of what John saw while he was present with Christ in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and what he saw in the vision of revelation. The word bare could be interpreted to communicate the word from God or to state the word of God. Therefore, we the church should also bare witness of the authentic testimony recorded in Revelation of Jesus. If you remember in the gospels John was with Christ on the mountain of transfiguration and saw Christ and now John is to continue baring witness of the things he has seen.
Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. (Revelation 1:3)
As we begin to unpack this third verse of scripture here in Revelation 1, let me state unto you what I believe first, for it is here where I believe that the rubber meets the road for all Christians and the leaders of the church. My logic for stating this in this manner to reflect the point where many of us Christians and leaders as well as pastors fall short and therefore we give away their blessing because of the way it is stated in this verse “BLESSED IS HE THAT READETH”. Yet I can also say that I have read the negative about this third text of scripture where I can state that is much discourse in regards over how to interpret this text of scripture. For some state that Christ is not going to bless you for just reading the book of Revelation. However, have you ever consider this fact that maybe, just maybe, that Christ our Lord is giving unto you His Divine incentive to read His prophecy.
NOTE: The point which needs to be made and stress and bear in mind is this that when any of us or any individual Christian says I do not read the book of Revelation because it is so hard to understand they turn down their blessing. My reasoning behind this statement is for two reason one because they do not read the prophecy of this book they cannot hear the words of prophecy. Furthermore, Paul also wrote this I have written a few things unto you read. In addition, Paul writes to Timothy and said unto him study to show thy-self approved. Two we are to keep the things that are written within the prophecy of revelation for the time is at hand we will gain the promise of reward.
The first thing that I feel that Christians need to understand about this prophecy of the Revelation of Jesus Christ is to state it over and over that it is a prophecy God gave this to His Son to give to His servants of the things that must shortly come to pass. The Christians, here on earth need to prepare themselves in a spiritual manner by reading, hearing, and keeping the words of this prophecy for receiving the kingdom of heaven which is to come. In addition, going back to verse two I further believe we as Christians are to bare the testimony or record of Christ and the things to come concerning the prophecy of the last days. However, I know that we are not in the same spirit as John was on that day that John received this prophecy.
Again, verse three to my way of thinking is the most important verse here in these first three scriptures for they offer a clear understanding of who Jesus will reveal unto His servants, who is to bare this revelation, and the most important is who is to be blessed by keeping this revelation.
Why I state this over about this third verse of scripture is because Christ state through what Christ states to John, “blessed is he that readeth,” KJV Christ starts or begins by offering a blessing to anyone who reads the word of this prophecy. Note this: that when we go back and consider what Jesus taught in His message on the Sermon on The Mount He started out with “blessed are those” which we call the beatitudes. Two is John state “hear the words of this prophecy” KJV therefore, what I feel is that Christ truly wants is for us to understand is that we need to have a spiritual hearing to hear the words of this prophecy. Third and finally that Christ wants each of us to be obedient to the words of this prophecy that we will gain all, of the other blessings promised in the book of Revelation.
for the time is at hand. Prophetically speaking as a pastor and teacher this is a key phrase that makes a clear red flag warning of the time, period that is at hand. Therefore, is a key phrase that should not be taken lightly or carelessly for I believe that it is a strong warning. Now we are in to the third text of scripture and the emphasis is clear “for the time is at hand”. It is like God’s Son is saying unto the church to make ready for His return.
Now within these five roles of authentic leadership then the question is: How does the church learn about who holds the proper role of authentic leadership? Yes, I know and understand that there are many who would say that they are not called to be a church leader. As we move forward to this fourth text of scripture I believe that we pay close attention to the whole content for it addresses the church then and even yet today for the revelation recorded here comes from Christ.
Note well this text of scripture
John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; Revelation 1:4 KJV
Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, Revelation 1:4 NKJV
To: The seven Messianic communities in the province of Asia: Grace and shalom to you from the One who is, who was and who is coming; from the sevenfold Spirits before the throne;
Revelation 1:4 Complete Jewish Bible
Again note well: that the key issues or elements of this text of scripture I have underlined
Now I am using three translations of the Bible here to compare this greeting to the seven churches. In addition, how does this greeting bring a message from Jesus Christ and the Father, and the seven Spirits before the throne.
The greeting to the seven churches
It also is well to note that most teachers and leaders of the church teach here that John is the one making the greeting to the seven churches, however, this is just one way to address this text of scripture. Yet to my own personal understanding that it is not only John, but God and Christ and, also the seven Spirits before the throne who are also greeting these seven churches. Now the apostle John now begins writing this greeting unto the seven churches in Asia Minor with grace and peace be unto them, therefore, by addressing that it is coming from the complete Godhead. In addition, this is also addressing the spiritual power of the Godhead in the kingdom of heaven.
Grace be unto you
Again, let me start by saying that grace is another subject where there is much discussion and discourse over grace as well as over what it means to the church and every Christian within the church. However, for the writing of this commentary let it be stated in this manner that Jesus, God, and the seven Spirits before the throne are sending Their favor or Their grace upon you.
In these next three key phrase, we need to remember what John wrote in the gospel of John verse one: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1 KJV) I believe it is well for me to bring out the point of God’s provision of grace that He is sending to the seven churches then a well as God is sending His grace unto the church today.
which is: which was which is to come
I strongly believe that one could interpret these three as the trinity, and Godhead that appeared unto Abraham in Genesis 18. The reason for using Genesis 18 is because that you will find that God reveals unto Abraham what He is going to do in the destroying of Sodom and Gomorrah. Yet there is also this key factor that in the content here in Revelation1:4 we find the revealing of the source in references the Eternal God, His Son, and His Spirit. One must also keep in mind that this text of scripture is also referring to the Godhead of the past, present, and the future.
Again, this commentary is about the Lord Jesus Christ revealing His prophetic revelation unto His servants. Therefore, I believe this question is in order: How does our human reasoning come to understand these three, which is, which was, which is to come, as well as our human belief? Moreover, I further believe that it is difficult to truly explain a complete understanding of these three regarding the Godhead. Yet, what I see and understand here in this text of scripture is that is the Lord’s prophetic introduction of His return.
from the seven Spirits which are before his throne
One of the important issues that I can see here in verse four is this: John relates the spiritual power of God by stating that it comes from the throne of God. Secondly, that this continues in verse five showing the Lord’s faithful unto His Father to go to the cross to save the people of whom God has called that they may have eternal life. Before we go any further it is well to note the number seven and its meaning, seven means complete or perfect number. The apostle John goes on to relate in this greeting the seven Spirits that are before the throne of God.
When I began to look at all, of the in-depth meaning of the book of Revelation and in verse four in Revelation one, I, began to have questions regarding “the seven Spirits of God”. Yes, as everyone else would ask: What are the seven Spirits of God? However, let each of us consider that these seven Spirits that are before the throne reveals the importance of Their holy function or operation within the church today. According to other interpreters of the Bible most of them agree that this is the prophecy given by the prophet Isaiah about the Spirits that would fall upon Christ Isaiah 11:2.
As described above
Spirit of the Lord
Spirit of wisdom
Spirit of understanding
Spirit of counsel
Spirit of might
Spirit of knowledge
Spirit of the fear of the Lord
As I further study on in the book of Revelation 4:5 I read again that these seven Spirits of God. However, what I further found was in Revelation 5:6 that these seven Spirits of God were sent out into the earth. If these seven Spirits of God were sent out into the earth the question which came to mind for what purpose was they sent? Yet today I am still searching the scriptures to find out why they were sent to the earth. Now it is some years later that during the writing of this commentary I am further seeking a deeper understanding of the Seven Spirits of God sent to the earth. The seven Spirits that was sent to the earth was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah in chapter eleven verse two.
From other writers and commentaries that there is many interpretations or understandings about the seven Spirits of God. Yes, you will find other places in Revelation where it states the seven Spirits four times, however, you also will find that the prophet Zechariah is given a vision with the lampstand in Revelation 1. The Revelation of Jesus Christ is filled with the number seven we therefore must remember that this is the number of perfection as well as the concept of perfection of God to fullest degree of speaking unto us through these seven Spirits of God is just one concept of the seven Spirits of God. I will deal more with these seven Spirits of God in Revelation four and five.
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, Revelation 1:5
The greeting continues only now it turns to the faithful witness of God which express God in Christ that His testimony is directed at the church. Consider the church as a reproduction of this testimony of Jesus Christ as a unity in Christ Jesus which is are means of salvation. In addition, for explaining this text of scripture when it comes to being a faithful witness is important to the church today: For we can consider these two testimony it either convicts or it acquit of our sins. In addition, it is well to note that the word faithful translated from the Greek language means reliable or trustworthy.
Therefore, when I consider the word trustworthy it reminds me of what is stated in the book of Numbers which states: God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make good? (Numbers 23:19 KJV) Furthermore, Jesus is the faithful witness in truth, and yet not solely His own witness, but that also of the Godhead. Nevertheless, we must also in addition remember what the scriptures states about having more than one witness to judge a matter Deuteronomy 17:6 and 19:15.
Now in this greeting we see that the apostle John is identifying Jesus as the true and faithful witness, however, one might also consider this as a prayer that the apostle is praying. However, it might also be that the apostle John is pointing out that by praying in this manner you are calling down the blessing of Jesus Christ who was the true and faithful witness for His Father in heaven. What are some of the other facts that we can pull out of these two texts of scriptures. The first thing I can relate to in the phrase “begotten of the dead” is the resurrection of Christ which when we come to Him we in like manner will be partakers of the first resurrection Revelation 20:6. Secondly, praying unto the one that loved us enough to go to the cross or lay down His life for us. The third thing I see is that we are made kings and priest unto God the Father to where we will live forever and ever Amen.
Key Thoughts and Words
God’s grace God’s throne
God’s peace God eternal Revelation 1:5
Christ the faithful witness
King of kings
The blood of Christ Revelation 1:6
Glorifying God Amen
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Revelation 1:6
Beginning with this understanding from the book of James chapter two verse five states: Listen, my beloved brethren: God has not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He has promised to them that love Him? (James 2:5 KJV) Yes, there are other passages of scriptures that relate that God has made us heirs or a vessel to where God will supply our needs. One might go so far as to say that we have been made a Royal family that has the destiny to live with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. As a family of God, it should be fully understood, clearly that we have an intimate relationship with God. Therefore, we should anticipate, our future association whit God and Christ Jesus in the kingdom of heaven.
Yes, I believe that all Christians or Believers are a spiritual priest. My view and logic is in regards of what Peter bring out in 1 Peter 2:9 where Peter states: But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9 NKJV)
Here in this text of scripture bring out the fact that we are to praise the Lord. Therefore, I believe that this means to do it with our highest esteem.
Behold, he cometh with clouds; and, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. Revelation 1:7
Again, I have underlined the important issues or phrases, which I believe to be understood by the church living in the last days. This text of scripture I also feel that it holds many key elements about Christ return or His Second Coming and the means of how He will come and what will take place with the inhabitants of the earth. One might also interpret that this text of scripture shows the glory and manifestation of Christ returning and therefore, every eye shall see which is a visible manifestation of Christ glory.
Behold, he cometh with clouds; This can truly be understood as Christ Second Coming the first resurrection of the saints of the church. Yes, as we the church looks for this joyful event to take place to see Him coming on the clouds which is the Lord to return. Yet I we study for to make ourselves ready for His return I believe that it is well to know and understand what the word of God states about the clouds in the heavens and the word of prophecy regarding the Lord’s return. In addition, one might consider the clouds from the Old Testament in connection, with God’s Divine activities with His creation to the people of Israel first and then with the church living in the last days.
One can look through the scriptures and find many texts that refers to the clouds and a cloud, as yes there is indeed makes over a, 150 references to the clouds, however, what I find is that few of them makes, reference to the natural clouds of which brings rain upon the earth. Moreover, I feel safe in saying that most of these refers to God and the nature of God and His Divine revelation and judgment over His creation. In addition, one might also relate that the clouds make, reference to how God associates with mankind as well as how God made His covenants with Israel and with mankind then and even now God is let us know that His Son is returning.
Here are just a few references to Christ return: Matthew 24:30, 26:64; Mark 13:26, 14:62; Luke 21:27 these refer to the saints of Christ and the fellowship to them that will be with Him forever.
every eye shall see him: Yes, I truly believe that all eyes shall see the Lord Jesus Christ when He returns to this earth at His Second Coming. It is well also to consider this reality that here the revelation could also be the way that the Lord is revealing that this is His final return and every eye shall see that return. Yet this brings up the age-old question how will the whole earth see this Divine manifestation of Christ coming back again to earth. As for this pastor the Spirit of God has not revealed this mystery unto me.
they also which pierced him: It is well to note early that we will have to begin to use more of the Old Testament prophecy to interpret each text of scriptures which refers to the prophecy of Christ. Yes, one could state as many scholars and theologians do that this phrase is referring to the Jews, however, maybe there is another thing to consider that just maybe Christ is referring to the people who do not accept Him as their salvation. However, one might interpret it in this manner that it is referring to our rebellion against God and Christ Jesus. In addition, you will find that this phrase here in Revelation 1:7 goes back to the prophet Zechariah 12:10 that contains these words “When they look on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a first-born.” Now in this phrase alone I further believe there are many things to consider about those who pierced Him, the reason for saying this is because of the many different opinions on this subject.
all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him: This can be interpreted as all tribes of the land or all nations of the earth. Revelation 1:7
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. Revelation 1:8
Between scholars and theologians as well as Christians there is much discussion as to whether to view the whole Godhead in this text of scripture. Now what I believe is that Christ is speaking about Himself in the context He is speaking. However, one might also interpret it as Christ is making a self-revelation. Now remember when you look at the Greek Alphabet you will find it saying from A to Z in English this can also refer to the sovereignty of God or that God is eternal. In addition, it represents totality everything that begins and ends whit Christ Jesus for He is Lord.
I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. Revelation 1:9
John now begins yet another important fact that should also tell the Christian people of today that John made it clear that he was a companion in tribulation as well. After I became a minister of the word of the Lord I began to see another side to this scripture, which it was spiritual. Consider this thought as well that John was facing the same spiritual tribulation with them. However, there is another tribulation coming that will mark the end of time and the wrath of God.
The apostle John here in this text of scripture, I believe that one could interpret it in this that John is saying I am a companion in your present afflictions. Yes, I further believe that John is referring to this understanding that patience is perseverance or endurance and therefore true Christians will endure through their tribulation for receiving the promise of God or the promise given here in the book of Revelation. The Lord also spoke about having tribulation and even being hated for His name sake or for the testimony you give unto others about your belief in Christ Jesus Matthew 5.
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Revelation 1:10
Here in verse 10, I believe that reveals the supernatural power of being in the Spirit. Yet there is another thing one might consider and that is the full intensity of the Spirit upon John that would prepare him for the visions he was about to see. Also, when I was a young man I heard it stated by some that John was in a trans when he heard that voice calling out. However, there is yet this possibility that John was being filled with the Spirit to understand the prophetic figures he would see in his visions, because the book of Revelation frequently states the different sounds being made.
The Lord’s day here is Sunday when John was in the Spirit when he heard the voice speaking unto him. Yet my personal understanding is that the apostle John here is revealing the beginning of his vision that will come for him to see and write and send to the seven churches Revelation 1:11. Yet I further believe that there is coming a time of tribulation not like any tribulation that was ever before the beginning of this world Matthew 24:21 and Daniel 9:26. Yet another way that I have heard it stated back when I was a young man that John was in a trans when he heard the voice of the Lord speaking unto him. Some many years later when I went into the ministry I began to see yet another truth regarding this text of scripture.
A great voice is mentioned in different places in the book of Revelation more often than any other book in the New Testament, in addition, they are usually referring to the last days or last things.
Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. Revelation 1:11
The apostle John is commanded to write what he sees!
Furthermore, the Lord now gives John the names of each that he is to send the scroll to. Consider this that all that John sees he is to put in one scroll to be sent to the seven churches that contains a letter or message for each church. In addition, one must also consider that Christ is dealing directly with each church. In Revelation 2 and 3 you will find Jesus dealing with each church characteristic, let me addresses it this way Christ deals with the good of each church, the bad of each church, and the ugly of each church.
To my understanding now the Lord is making clear whom are going to be the partakers or recipients of His Revelation for this reason He names the churches. Another way of interpreting it would be that the Lord is now giving unto us an introduction to the messages He is going send to the seven churches.
Write in a book or a scroll: These are seven distinct churches which represent cities and towns, however, the church today we might teach it in this manner.
One representive of various churches throughout church age.
Two representive of the various stages of church history.
Then there are those individuals who might ask why just seven churches or why only seven? It is well to note here that the number seven is used many times throughout the book of Revelation more than any other book in the Bible. The number seven means complete, completion or perfection. Yet the question might arise why did Christ choose these seven churches in preference to others?
And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; Revelation 1:12
The question that comes to mind: what if John had not turn to see who spoke? I do not know how anyone else feels about this statement of John’s but I feel we would not have these prophetic message of warnings, blessing, and promises stated here in the book Of Revelation. However, there is another side of this that God would not let Satan defeat Him without revealing unto His servants the things which must shortly come to pass. For our Father in heaven would have got another prophet to give this book of Revelation to the believers in Christ Jesus.
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. Revelation 1:13
From Revelation 1:13 through to verse 16 you will see the description of the Son of Man. Yes, it is well to note that most scholars and theologians agree that the Son of Man is described in the book of Daniel chapter 7:13. Let me add this thought that the term “Son of Man” is used many time in the four gospels.
Here are the scriptural references to the: “Son of Man”
(Matthew 8:20; 9:6; 10:23; 11:17; 12:8, 32, 40; 13:37, 41; 16:13, 27, 28; 17:9, 12, 22; Mark 2:10, 28; 8:31, 38, 9:9, 12, 31; 10:33, 45; 13:26; 13:34; 14:21, 41, 62; 15:39; Luke 5:24; 6:5, 22, 7:34; 9:22, 26, 44, 58, 11:30; 12:8, 10, 40; 17:22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 30; 18:8, 31; 19:9, 10; 21:27, 36; 22:22, 48, 69; 24:7; John 1:47, 51; 3:13, 14; 4:51; 5:27; 6:27, 53, 62; 7:23; 8:28; 9:35; 12:23, 34; 13:31).
Now we must consider this text of with why John states one like unto the Son of man and the Son of man relationship with the church living in the last days. The reasoning for starting with relationship is this that the Son of man is where He is standing in the midst of seven candlesticks which I believe could be interpreted as the church, because He is about to state His message to each of the seven churches.
clothed with a garment: One might interpret that the garment that Jesus is clothed here is the robe of righteousness. Yet one might also interpret that it is the garment of a high priest. In addition, one might also interpret it as Jesus is describing the garment He is wearing as our Great High Priest Hebrews 4:14-16. However, one might also interpret as the garment of His Royal office who is standing as a judge.
His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; Revelation 1:14
His hair as white as snow to my understanding means purity. However, His eyes as a flame of fire give to my understanding is the penetrating eyes of discernment which searches the very depth of our inter-being.
And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. Revelation 1:15
These three verses of scriptures are very important. Why? Because we can begin to understand what John is telling us about Christ. First is the purity of the Lord. Second is His eyes which are like a flame of fire tells me that the Lord can see the inter being of each individual person. Another way of stating this is Christ is the searcher of hearts. The third thing is the feet that is burned in a furnace tells to me that Christ must have went into the deeps of hell to show Satan that He had power over Satan.
And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. Revelation 1:16
Jesus now that He holds in His hand each of the messages that He will send to the seven churches. Let me also add that even today that each, and every minister is under the Divine authority of Christ Jesus and receive their message from Him.
The two-edged sword has His message which contains many things pertaining to the spiritual significance for His protection, and His sovereign control. It also could be interpreted as the sword of His judgment which would indicate His sovereignty as the Son of Man.
And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: Revelation 1:17
I can only image what John felt like by see Him in His heavenly glory for the apostle John had a human experience when Jesus was with mankind. What a revelation of the glory of God Almighty and His Son and you can find similar examples throughout the Bible.
I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Revelation 1:18
Jesus make it clear that we are not to fear for He is the one who holds the keys to hell and of death. In the gospel of Matthew 10:28 however, Jesus tells us the we are to fear the one who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell. Also, these verses of scriptures points, out that Christ is the only one who can conqueror death for us. In addition, this text of scripture refers to the resurrection of Christ and that He lives for evermore. Furthermore, that He has conquered death in His resurrection and He now holds the keys to hell and death.
Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; Revelation 1:19
The book of Revelation is full of the prophecy of the things, which must shortly come to pass. Also the things that the prophet have been show by Almighty God. Furthermore, the things which are here and now. And finally the things that must be hereafter.
The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. Revelation 1:20
Churches exist as light-bearers
Note: one of the things that Christ wants us to understand is what He is revealing to the people of the world of what is going to happen to them in the last days. I might also go on to point out that these riders are going fourth to pour out the wrath of God upon the earth and the church that is not faithful.
Chapter 2 Revelation Personal Commentary
We begin this chapter with an objective outline for studying about the seven churches. Moreover, you will find that each of these seven letters or messages contain a descriptive message for each church as well as a description of Jesus.
OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING REVELATION 2
LETTER TO THE CHURCH IN EPHESUS
THE LORD’S SELF-DESIGNATION
“He who holds the seven stars in His right hand”
“Who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands”
For their works, labor and patience
They cannot bear those who are evil, having tested those who say they are apostles but were liars
Their perseverance, patience and labor for His name’s sake, not growing weary
They hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, as does the Lord
CONDEMNATION AND WARNING
The Lord has something against them
They have left their first love
Remember from where they have fallen
Repent and do the first works
Or the Lord will come quickly and remove their lampstand from its place
EXHORTATION AND PROMISE
Hear what the Spirit says to the churches
To him who overcomes, He will give to eat from the tree of life in the midst of the Paradise of God
LETTER TO THE CHURCH IN SMYRNA
THE LORD’S SELF-DESIGNATION
“The First and the Last”
“Who was dead, and came to life”
For the works, tribulation, and poverty
But they are rich
EXHORTATION AND PROMISE
The Lord knows those who claim to be Jews but are a synagogue of Satan
Do not fear what they are about to suffer
The devil is about throw some into prison, that they may be tested
They will have tribulation ten days
Be faithful unto death, and He will give them a crown of life
Hear what the Spirit says to the churches
He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death
LETTER TO THE CHURCH IN PERGAMOS
THE LORD’S SELF-DESIGNATION
“Who has the sharp two-edged sword”
He knows their works, and where they dwell, where Satan’s throne is
For holding fast to His name
For not denying His faith even when Antipas was killed among them
CONDEMNATION AND WARNING
They have those who hold the doctrine of Balaam
Who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before Israel
To eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality
They have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which He hates
Repent or He will come to them quickly
He will fight against them with the sword of His mouth
EXHORTATION AND PROMISE
Hear what the Spirit says to the churches
To him who overcomes, He will give…
Some of the hidden manna to eat
A white stone with a new name written on it which no one knows except he who receives it
LETTER TO THE CHURCH IN THYATIRA
THE LORD’S SELF-DESIGNATION
“The Son of God”
“Who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass”
For their works, love, service, faith, and patience
Their last works are more than the first
CONDEMNATION AND WARNING
They allow that woman Jezebel
Who calls herself a prophetess
To teach and beguile His servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things
sacrificed to idols
Whom the Lord had given time to repent of her sexual immorality, but she did not
He will cast her into a sickbed
Those who commit adultery with her will have great tribulation, unless they repent
He will kill her children with death; and the churches will know that He searches the minds and hearts
He will give to each one according to their works
For those in Thyatira who do not follow her doctrine, or have not known the depths of Satan, as they call it, He places on them no other burden
EXHORTATION AND PROMISE
Hold fast what they have till He come
To him who overcomes and keeps His works until the end
He will give power over the nations, just as He received from the Father
He will give the morning star
Hear what the Spirit says to the churches
The messages to the seven churches written Here in Revelation 2 and 3 have a very distinct and descriptive message for each church then as well as the church today. In addition, for the modern-day church of today we can find a threefold meaning which has a bearing on how we study and teach these messages to the seven churches. The first of this threefold meaning should be in this are “primary association” with Jesus message to each church. Secondly, is on a “personal application” on how it applies to are life in the church as a Christian and how does it apply to the church on a whole. The third however, is the one I believe to be the most vital for the church today which is the “prophetic message” to each church then as well as today.
In chapters two and three the message sent to the seven churches are referred to as “the things which are” Revelation 1:19 KJV. Therefore, the message in these two chapters contain the Divine revelation pertaining to the church then to this present day in the doctrine of Jesus Christ as well as Christ warning to the church. Even with this true doctrine of Jesus Christ there are many Christians who worship with a casual attitude and are quite aware of The Sermon on The Mount are not aware of these Divine messages of Christ to the church.
Therefore, there are many shortcoming which exist in the church today which are a direct neglect of teaching the instruction given to the seven churches by our Lord. In addition, we need to consider this fact that each church needed a particular, message of instruction to help them with their spiritual state.
Note: Let me state here that the issues that I will be studying here in Revelation two and three will be on what Christ has dictated unto John what to write unto the angel of each of these seven churches, about what has taken place within each of these churches then regarding their doctrine and teaching within the church, as well as what will affect this modern-day church now and in the coming days. In addition, regarding what I believe to be the deep prophetic meaning of each message to each church then and today. Then what is the very first important issue that we need to consider over how the Lord’s message, and what it means to each of these churches, of how He makes His accusation of how each of these churches have broken the new covenant and their relationship with Him, with, the exception of two of these churches Smyrna and Philadelphia. My reasoning for stating this in this manner of how Jesus dictates His message to each church is to show unto you the Lord’s concerns over Israel and the Gentiles that make up the church in the world today.
The Lord also goes on dictating unto John His declaration by pronouncing His commendation to each church and His judgment on they are guilty in five of the churches their message or letter from Christ. However, I further believe that I would be safe in saying that Christ Himself is making clear that He as the judge is the one who will decide what happens to the guilty party within each church. Those who refuse to repent, would be judged, however the repentant would be redeemed. Furthermore, they would receive the promises of Christ.
As I begin to get further deeper into my study of the seven churches of Revelation, I believe that a brief introduction or forward is in order. As being a pastor for many years I have found that there are differences of opinion, differing views, and differing of methods of interpretation concerning the seven churches and the book of Revelation. I will admit that the book of Revelation does present some difficulty because of the language and it’s symbolic writing. Therefore, because of this many a good Christians avoids studying the book of Revelation and furthermore, even talking about it altogether. In addition, the majority of good teachers and preachers, if I may be so bold as to state that never approach the book because they believe it is so controversial or to mysterious to ever brother it for studying what is coming in the coming days concerning the wrath of God. Not only do I believe that this is foolish however, I believe that they rob the people from understanding the prophecy of this book that Jesus sent to the churches.
Woe to the unjust Christian!
I state this because many times when we study in the book of Revelation that we miss the main meaning of the character Jesus is relating in His Divine and prophetic message of warning that is regarding their character of the church then as well as to the character of the church today. I relate it in this manner because we need to look at each of these seven churches and their message of the what, where, when, and how Christ is giving unto them the warning of pronouncing a judgment beginning with especially five of the churches. Can Christian people be unjust when they have lost their compassion and love? Is leaving your first love regarding Christ Jesus our Lord unjust? These are just two questions to stress the fact of woe unto the unjust Christian.
When we look at character beginning with the first church, of the seven churches here in verse two of Revelation two, the first church then we need to look at or consider its outward appearances and the inward appearance of that at Ephesus. Then consider was it a very spiritual church that is in their work for the Lord, was it very active in labour, in patience, in regards to how they could not stand evil and tried them who said they were apostles and were not. In addition, they hated the deeds of the Nicolaitanes which Christ hated. Does this make them spiritual yes or no?
In this overview or introduction of the seven churches we need to address the issues or elements of the Revelation of Jesus Christ which Christ dictated or commanded John to write. Yes, there are many key elements of issues that we need to study in this Revelation of Jesus Christ pertaining to
the church then and what is the message for the church today. The first thing the reader needs to understand to what the office in the church as expressed in the scriptures the book of Revelation as angel to the church: “overseer,” “pastor” or “messenger” that has been assigned.
A Personal Study of the Prophetic Words Found in
The Old Testament books for the References
Regarding the prophecy in the Book of Revelation
The Seven Churches
The purpose for using all of these Old Testament scriptures is for giving understanding of the symbolism and language being used in the book of Revelation with the seven churches.
Revelation 2:4 church at Ephesus: Jeremiah 2:2,6 the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness; Ezekiel 16:8 entered into a covenant
Revelation 2:7: Genesis 2:9 tree of life; 3:22-24 tree of life in the garden; Proverbs 11:30 the fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; 13:12; Ezekiel 31:8 the garden of God
Revelation 2:12 church at Pergamos: Isaiah 49:2 a sharp sword Isaiah 51:16 And I have put my words in thy mouth; Isaiah 65:17 I create new heavens and new earth:
Revelation 2:14: Numbers 25:1-3 relating to when Israel turn away from God and the anger of the Lord God was kindled.
Revelation 2:17: relating to the hidden manna: Exodus 16:33-34 the manna therein; Isaiah 62:2; 65:15
Revelation 2:18 church at Thyatira: Daniel 10:6
Revelation 2:20 I Kings 16:31-32; II Kings 9:7, 22
Revelation 2:23 Psalm 7:9; 26:2; 28:4; Jeremiah 11:20; 17:10
Revelation 2:27 Psalm 2:7-9; Isaiah 30:14; Jeremiah 19:11
Unveiling the messages of the seven churches!
Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; Revelation 2:1
The message that Jesus sent to the church at Ephesus:
Jesus addresses the angel of the church 2:1
Jesus gives a self-description of Himself 2:1
I know thy works: Revelation 2:2
The lost love church Revelation 2:4
A call to repent “or else” Revelation 2:5
He that overcometh Revelation 2:7
He that hath an ear Revelation 2:7
Jesus Self-description of Himself
Ephesus: He who holdeth the seven stars in His right hand (seven means or stands for complete or completeness) (right hand = power, strength, authority) (seven golden candlesticks = churches)
Name and meaning of the church
Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7) name means “desirable” the apostolic church, the backslidden church, the church that had forsaken its first love, an active church in sound doctrine however deficient in love, the church of loss love.
As we begin with each of these churches it is well that we begin on this note. There are many ways to interpret what Jesus dictated unto to John to write; first unto “the angel of the church” could possibly be interpret to the spirit of the church, to the pastor of the church or the guardian of the church. No matter how we interpret angel of the church, I believe it would be appropriate to say that each message was sent by the Lord to encourage them in their trials and tribulation as well as to give instruction of how to overcome their trials and tribulation. You and I should also consider that each church and each message of Christ that Christ reveals unto them, their doctrine, discipline, and their love as well as their sins. Let me be so bold as to say that our Lord also points out their indifference with one another as well as their spiritual indifference.
As we study further, more in detail that this first text of scripture it reveals some very important things about the Lord’s introduction of Himself. The first important element is “He who walketh in the midst” brings out His Divine presence to the church. The second important element is “His hand that holds” up the church or His Divine support to the church where we and when we are deficient in love and grace one for another. And the third important element is “His Divine power and authority”. We can find the Divine activity in the power of God and Christ is active in the church then and today.
The first message addressed to the first church: “messenger, seer, pastor, angel” the Greek word for angel is “aggelos” in English “angel” however, the Bible regarding the human-being the human messenger (Matthew 11:10; Mark 1:2; Luke 7:24, 27; 9:52)
Christ holds the pastor and the church responsible for leadership in love.
General reference to pastors and their responsibility
1 Timothy 1:18-19; 4:12, 16; 5:20,22; 6:3-5, 17; 2 Timothy 1:8, 13; 2:2-3, 14; 3:5; 4:1-5; 1 Peter 5:7
Note again: each church the letter or message is addressed to the pastor or angel. The word angel can be interpreted as messenger, or pastor. As I have stated before angel simply means messenger or it identifies one as a messenger from the Lord. What is most vital to understand is that the pastors of all these churches then as well as today derive their message from Christ by the Holy Spirit and therefore is responsible to give that message to the church. By our Lord addressing His message to the pastor of the church He is placing the message in the proper perspective to the church with the proper authority given by the Lord or assigned by the Lord.
No matter how we interpret, I believe it should be appropriate to say that each of these messages which have been sent, to first to encourage, secondly to warn them of trails and tribulation that was to come again them. Again, take also into consideration that these seven churches and seven messages Christ reveals unto them their doctrine, discipline, their failing, and their love. When Christ states that He holds the seven stars in His right hand is stating unto the church of His sovereign power of Divine protection and that He holds that protection in His right hand. You could also interpret the right hand that it is also that Christ Divine hand of protection on the church was placed in His hand by His Father’s authority, however, it could also be interpreted that the right hand of supreme authority.
The point of logic in each message to the seven churches that God and Christ did not speak to any individual or group in each of these churches, however, they spoke directly to the angel or pastor whom they had appointed with the office and the responsibility of being a pastor. When we truly think about responsibility as pastor in any church today and what the Lord warns this church at Ephesus about then we also need to address the problem in the church today. One of the big or major problems within the church today comes by the means of television where that some pastor gain great power and glory and people in the church allow it. To put it in this manner it is wrong for any church to esteem its pastor or messenger to the point that it over shadows or over powers Christ and the Word of God. Nevertheless, it also is wrong to show little esteem or respect for the pastor or recognize that they are God’s messenger. (1 Timothy 5:17)
It also is well to keep in mind as we study the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 of what the Lord stated in Revelation 1:19 in Jesus introduction to these seven messages. The Lord gave these three important terms or elements that would affect the church in the days to come in Revelation 1: These are three major issues the first “the things thou hast seen” the second “the things which are” and the third “the things which shall be hereafter” taken from the King James Version. From the Complete Jewish Bible, it translates it in these words “So write down what you see, both what is now, and what will happen afterwards.” You can see in both, of these translations of the Holy Scriptures that they both address the three major elements which are the conditions found in the prophetic word of the book of Revelation regarding Israel, the church, and those who are living in the last days. I stress these three major points of Christ revelation because in the seven churches and the seven messages they hold a vast knowledge of Christ instructions of what is needed in the days to come.
I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: Revelation 2:2
I believe that Jesus is commending them for their church discipline with false apostles and false teachers. Another point that can be brought out is how they tried them and found them to be lairs. Jesus is also bringing out the fact of the knowledge of God and the good works. False apostles and false teachers is how false doctrine where it begins in the church, flock, or sheep and then these false teachers, prophets scatter the flock by leading the sheep astray. Furthermore, I believe that Christ knew about the saints of the church that they knew the truth from error regarding the word of God. I do not know about you but when the Holy Spirit of God points out to me that someone is trying to proclaim another gospel my blood boils. In addition, these saints boldly denounced all, of these false apostles and teachers as well as wicked men.
General reference to: Psalms 1:6; 1 John 4:1; 2 Corinthians 11:13; Job 17:9; John 15:9; Galatians 6:9; Hebrews 12:1; 1 Peter 1:13 to these words “tested, perseverance, endure patience”. Now we must also take into consideration these areas also first the scriptures prescribed patience (Ecclesiastes 7:8; Luke 21:19; Romans 12:12; Titus 2:2; Hebrews 10:36; James 1:4; 5:7;) the second thing we need to remember about patience is waiting on God (Genesis 49:18; Psalms 37:7; 40:1; Isaiah 25:9; 26:8; 32:2; Acts 1:4)
There was an old saying I heard when I was growing up “it is time to get down to business.” In Revelation 2:2 is where Christ gets down to business in His first message to the church at Ephesus where He makes His commendation as well as exposed those who claim to be apostle and were not. One might interpret it in this manner that these are the individuals within the church who are stating false doctrine and claiming to be something they are not. It is also well to note that in the early church those placed in leadership were alert to both mental and moral corruption that prevailed around them in addition, they saw to it that these sinful and corrupt individuals did not hold office in the church. Moreover, men were given oversight or position in the work of the church because of their spiritual power and spiritually not because of their social prominence or worth. They were intolerant to sin. In today’s modern church it makes little difference what men and women are in the church morally or spiritually, just so we get them to become members of the church for it is all about the numbers today. When we consider the church in Ephesus it was not concerned about the quantity of people, however, they was concerned about the quality in people. Jesus commends them for their spiritual discernment.
You find in verse two one phrase that is repeated seven times in Revelation 2 and 3 to each church “I know Thy works” therefore, I truly believe that our Lord is fully aware of what each church was doing in each of their works as well as He knows what will take place in the church work today. Throughout the New Testament from the four gospels and in the book of Acts and the epistles that it clearly teaches the necessity for the works of ministry and the works of the saints that they may enter, into the kingdom of heaven where we will be judged out of the book of deeds or works Revelation 20:12. However, there are many scholars and theologians as well as many Christians who will not agree with what was just stated.
Nevertheless, it is my understanding of what I read about in the seven churches and their message of how it states with a prophetic word for the church, in addition, it is stated through the rest of the book of Revelation where it clearly brings forth the prophetic word the apostles and of the word of the Lord that clearly defines and instructs the work with which each, individual has need of to enter the kingdom of heaven and to have eternal life.
Let us address it in another way: “I know thy works” the Lord is letting it be known that He knows both their good works and their bad works as well as their evil or ugly works that goes on in Christian living within the church. In addition, Jesus’ here is also demonstrates omniscience.
To the church at Ephesus, I know thy works (Revelation 2:2
To the church at Smyrna, I know thy works (Revelation 2:9
To the church at Pergamos, I know thy works (Revelation 2:13
To the church at Thyatira, I know thy works (Revelation 2:19
To the church at Sardis, I know thy works (Revelation 3:1
To the church at Philadelphia, I know thy works (Revelation 3:8
To the church at Laodicea, I know thy works (Revelation 3:15
There has been much written about the subject of “works or ministry” in the church today. To be very honest, I do not know your works or your ministry, however, I do believe that it is vital to know what the Spirit of God instructs us to do regarding the work of the Lord God Almighty today. The Lord addresses “their labour” this to my understanding it is their works in just one form of work of God in the church. Yet if we consider this fact of what Jesus stated here to Ephesus, “and how thou canst not bear them which are evil”, therefore, is this not a form of work in the ministry of the church to where we cannot bear evil. This is a hard-core issue to address without being completely honest and not to mix words. There are people, who are evil and do enter the door of the church with their false work and even their false doctrine, even though we the church know that the church is to be holy we still let them in. Jesus Himself warns in the gospels and by His apostles that have written in the epistles to be aware of false Christ, false prophets and false teachers who come in His Name. There are some people who are evil; and the spirit that drives them is evil, which I believe to be these spirits the first the spirit of Jezebel and the second to be the spirit of antichrist. Therefore, it is by these two spirits that the end results which shows within these individuals that their life tends to be evil. Jesus knew His apostles as well as the leaders of the church at Ephesus that they would not tolerate the presence of evil people who was among them and that they would prove them to be lairs and Jesus commended them that were false.
Furthermore, there is much that can be written on the subject, of works both good, bad, and ugly. Therefore, let me try to give you just a small glimpse of what has already taken place with the church at Ephesus and ask you is it part of the church make-up today. Where the church of Ephesus was in a city where the temple of Diana was, which was, a temple which I believe to be filled with the spirit of antichrist and evil works of the demonic forces, and with unholy compassion, therefore, note that this is also a personal outlook from my point of view. However, another way of addressing the temple of Diana today it is known as one of the seven wonders of the world. The church at Ephesus, therefore, had to be strong in the knowledge and doctrine of God’s Word. Furthermore, Jesus is not addressing those in the temple of Diana He is addressing the Christians in the church at Ephesus about knowing their works as well as their leaving their love for Him.
Is the church discipline necessary why or why not? What is the plain truth about discipline in the church? Does the church teach discipline? “If not why not?” Yes, I could write a deep theological issue to point out the view and give you the history of each of these churches, however, that does not give you or teach you the message Jesus sent to each church here in the book of Revelation. I further believe in this in my own personal understanding of Christ wanted, for us is to hear his commendation and to hear His warning about the loss or leaving our first love, as well as using the false doctrine, false teaching, false pastor, and false prophets in the church of the last days. In addition, how each church has its strong points and its weakness, loyalty, and their self-satisfied attitude?
“and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them lairs:” It is from these words of Christ that we can interpret that there was those who came among them at the church at Ephesus who claimed themselves to be an apostle or a special messenger of God and were not. However, I further believe that they were sent by Satan to bring a false word to corrupt the church of the living God with their evil doctrine. The angels or pastors in the day of Christ, that Christ sent to each church His message, He also knew that it was to test or determine their spirituality with a correctness to protect the church from this false doctrine. The leaders and the people at Ephesus knew the Word of God and its doctrine and they therefore, they quickly recognized that these were the false apostles and that their doctrine was false also and did not meet the standards or principles of God’s Word. It is well to note: God and Christ are not pleased nor will they bless those who listen or follow false apostles, prophets, and teachers
And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Revelation 2:3
General reference to persevering or perseverance
Job 17:9; John 15:9; Acts 13:43; Romans 2:7; Galatians 6:9; 2 Timothy 3:14; Hebrews 12:1; 1 Peter 1:13
Another key word for perseverance and that is endurance and being in contrast with patience and longsuffering.
In this text of scripture, we see Jesus pointing out how the church labors in persevering the name of Jesus and they do it with all, of their might. The apostle Paul also wrote about the church not growing weary for the sake of Christ, for in due season they should reap the promises of God if they faint not. (Galatians 6:9) Let us also take into consideration this fact, that if we do not endure the spiritual striving or to bear one another burdens we are not fulfilling the law of Christ Galatians 6:2.
This text is vital for the church to understand the meaning of “borne” It is used for many meanings in the Bible for example, Jesus said to “take up His cross and follow Him”. In other words, this means to bear the cross of Jesus. With the help of the Lord, I will try to relate some of vital significance of borne for the sake of Christ and His messages He sent. One of the significances is for every Christian to bear in their body the marks and strips that our Lord bore for us on the cross. In addition, it is the law of Christ to bear one another’s burdens. (Galatians 6:2) Another vital part of this is that every Christian is to be part of the root or vine to be the branch that bears the fruit of Christ. (John 15; Romans 11:18)
To “borne” also means that every individual that they are discharging within themselves the obligation of discipleship for the work of the Lord. Another issue in the word “borne” is to carry or to bring, which brings out the fact of what we carry around in our heart God and His Son’s word and Their love for us. The understanding that the Lord has given unto me is that we are not to be carried away with every wind of doctrine. (Ephesians 4:14; Hebrews 13:9) Finally to endure or enduring temptations or persecutions for out of them all, the Lord will deliver you. (2 Timothy 3:11)
The word patience here in Revelation can be viewed as the Christian character of the church and the condition of their patience that they bore. In Revelation 3:10 the word patience means that this is the word of Christ’s patience on His part imparted unto us. In addition, patience also can mean how we grow in trials of life and for God, and in the trials in how we handle that trial, in addition, how we carry forth the good news or the gospel of Christ’s message. I believe that Christ here in this text of holy scripture that He is pointing out the significance of how the church was discharging their duty of responsibilities against the evil doctrine around them. In other scriptures, it is stated as “be not weary” or “becoming weary”.
Now the apostle John and the apostle Paul both of them wrote much about endurance or trails that come during the time of suffering Romans 12:12. One might even be so bold as to say that endurance is necessary during our worse times or worse struggles Hebrews 12:7, and here are verse of Hebrews brings out a very important reality which deals with an event that will take place during the time of the rising of the beast and how we are to keep the Holy Commandments of God in the last days Revelation 13:10; 14:12. Furthermore, endurance brings the spiritual knowledge and the spiritual growth needed in this present day as our hope in entering into the kingdom of heaven.
There is yet another vital word we need to address in this text of scripture and the word is “forbearance”. Yes, the apostle Paul also addresses forbearance when he writes to the church at Corinth where Paul states “bears all things” 1 Corinthians 13:7. Also consider these texts of scriptures referring to forbearance (Ephesians 4:2; 6:9; Colossians 3:13).
Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Revelation 2:4
General Reference to loss or left their first love or grown cold
Jeremiah 2:2; Hosea 10:2; Matthew 24:12; 1 Timothy 5:12; Revelation 2:4
Other words for loss of love is “backsliding” and “forsaking” God in addition, forsaking Christ. Old Testament words would be estrangement and wanderers. Here are some references to forsaking God: (Ezra 8:22; Jeremiah 1:16; 2:13; Ezekiel 6:9; 2 Peter 2:15) Backsliding references: (Malachi 3:7-18; Galatians 4:9; Hebrews 10:38; Luke 9:62)
The Warning or the Bad News
Before, we begin to look at Jesus warning and what is seriously wrong. I strongly believe it is well to understand and take note to the way the Lord addresses this warning to Ephesus. He states “you, that have left your first love”. (NKJV) Jesus did not say that they did not have love at one time, however, that they did not have it now or anymore. Therefore, I ask you this question: What is the distinction between leaving or losing or left or loss of which Jesus is addressing here to Ephesus? Note: “have left” bring out my personal understanding is this if you have lost something you will not know where it is, however, if you have left something you know where you left it. Therefore, leaving it or left it is a deliberate act on are part, though it may not be one done suddenly. One might interpret that they had left their first love, yet everything on the outside looked the same. My logic is that if you were attending this church at Ephesus you might interpret they were doing all they could do that they were vague or negative in their feelings and yet would be hard to pin down. I believe this with all my heart and soul that a church or individual without love all is vain.
Here are seven warning signs that signal that a church or individual has left their first love.
1 Christ is no longer the central focus in their personal life and their Christian life.
2 They neglect relationship with the Lord and spend less time in prayer, worship and reading the Word of God.
3 They allow family, friends, job, and their own desires to come between their relationship with God and His Son.
4 There is a loss of intimacy in their relationship with God and His Son.
5 They are caught in a cycle of dead works of not completed works.
6 They are more tolerant of sin.
7 They will no longer have a burning passion for the lost or the non-Christian.
Jesus in each of five churches warns them, His church and literally states “Nevertheless I have this against you,” or “Yet I hold this against you” we must see and remember that these are the Words of Christ and are just as valid today as they were when He dictated them to John as well as each, and every church in the inhabitant of the earth or the world. Therefore, they are as applicable to our churches today as to the church at Ephesus. When it comes to the message of God and Christ Jesus in this phrase it is a serious matter and taken seriously because it is God and Christ who sent the message “I have this against you.” This should be a red flag for every Christian. In addition, Christ also in this text warns them that they had left their first love. Another way of stating this is “you have forgotten your first love” therefore, what I believe Jesus is saying to Ephesus as well as the churches today is that you are so busy, laboring, discerning, persevering church, and hating evil, that you have forgotten your Lord and your God. My point of understanding is this we have abandoned our personal relationship with Christ Jesus.
Yet here is another way of describing where we have left our first love it is in the word weakness. Jesus goes on to describe our weakness in these two ways the first one might say that the church; here at Ephesus were genuine Christians whose love had decreased since their conversion. In our term or thought of understanding their love had taken a back seat in their life as a Christian so they left it. Secondly, their lack of love proved this reality that maybe they had never really had it, when they been converted to Christ, meaning that their loss of their first love is another way of saying they were absence of love.
With this study of the message, Jesus sent to Ephesus I have been doing a lot more thinking more so about these other messages that Jesus sent to the other six churches. Going back to Revelation 1, Jesus appeared to John in His heavenly figure. Jesus also speaks to John with a loud voice like that of a trumpet, one might say to get John’s attention. As Jesus begins to critique the seven churches in His message to each church of course, we must understand that seven stands for the complete church then and today.
The focus of this text of scripture is on the evaluation of leaving or losing our first love. What does it mean to say to the church or any individual Christian that may have left or lost their first love? Is it telling them that they have abandoned their faith that they had at first? Now may I bring a word of caution so often the teaching is about the “agape love” to describe this verse of scripture? However, I do not feel or believe that Jesus is speaking about “agape love” here in this text of scripture for I feel that He was speaking the love that we had left. One of the things I believe Christ is saying is when He says, “remember from whence thou hast fallen” could mean from when you were called. Secondly, to get back to the level of enthusiasm you had for the Lord when you first left.
Moreover, I believe that Christ is looking at how this church was severing the congregation and the community with the depths of Christ and God’s love to be ministered to the congregation and the community. I also believe that the answer is quite simple that Jesus is saying to the church of Ephesus to rekindle their love for the first work and the foundational love that was preached. Why do we need to be reminded of our calling and Christ commandment to love one another especially now? In addition, one might also ask why does God and Christ keep reminding us throughout the Bible to keep Their commandments?
Let me be so bold as to state that it is obvious that the Lord is not talking about believers who once loved him, but those who ceased to love Him. My reasoning with this thought is that true love can never be quenched nor can it be left behind. In addition, anyone who ceases to love Christ and God never truly love them at all. Even the prophets of God in the Old Testament warned them about the fact that God’s people did sometimes to leave their first love. They did this by their indolence, neglect of duty, and through the cares of the world according to the prophet Jeremiah 32:38-40. I remember back to 1962 when I was baptized and how I felt at that time however, sometime later the coals of that fire die out and only a single coal was still burning because of the cares of the world. I state this to stir up your memory, and to see if there is still a little fire burning by stirring up the coals a little. Let the pastor be honest and proclaim honestly to you one of the most besetting sins is the sin of neglect of Christ and Christ love which is the sweet communion with our Savior.
To sum it all up is in the regards to what this church was doing, it was doing all the right things however not for the right reason. My reasoning is that when you lose the motivating force behind your love for Christ and your calling of doing the right things you have changed your calling and your love. Jesus was simply spelling it out that we need to remember our motivation that we had at first, which is therefore the most important. Furthermore, what Christ is saying that anything less than our first love for Him will result in the consequence of Him removing our lamp from His mist?
There are many Christian people that have left their first love of Christ shortly after they were saved. Yet it happens all the time. Yes, it has happened from the time that Jesus sent this message to the church at Ephesus with many people and many churches. The sad part of this is people still claim to be servants of Christ, but within themselves have established their own identity and requirement for Christian living. Therefore, by doing so they are no longer have the identity of their first love and the teaching of God’s Commandments to have no other gods before Him.
Let me be so bold as to state that it is obvious that the Lord is not talking about believers who once loved him, but those who ceased to love Him. My reasoning with this thought is that true love can never be quenched. In addition, anyone who ceases to love Christ and God never truly love them at all. Even the prophets of the Old Testament about the fact that God’s people did sometimes leave their first love. They did this by their indolence, neglect of duty, and through the cares of the world Jeremiah 32:38-40. I remember back to 1962 when I was baptized and how I felt at that time however, sometime later the coals of that fire die out and only a single coal was still burning because of the cares of the world. I state this to stir up your memory, and to see if there is still a little fire burning by stirring up the coals a little. Let the pastor be honest and proclaim honestly to you one of the most besetting sins is the sin of neglect of Christ and Christ love which is the sweet communion with our Savior.
Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. Revelation 2:5
In this text of scripture alone there are these elements or issues we need to consider the first is Christ call for remembering where we fall short or have fallen in our Christian living. The second is the need of repentance from our backsliding condition. The third is our returning to God “or else” we bring the judgment of which Christ speaks of being removed.
General reference to repentance: (Isaiah 22:12; Ezekiel 18:31; Matthew 3:2; Matthew 21:41; Luke 13:2-3; Acts 3:19; 8:22; 17:30) References to returning to God: (Hosea 6:1; 14:1; Malachi 3:7; Luke 15:20; 1 Peter 2:25) Reference to judgment spoken of by Christ and God through the scriptures and using this term “threated with judgment” Leviticus 26:17; Deuteronomy 28:15; 31:17; Jeremiah 7:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:12)
The church here at Ephesus received from Christ a very serious rebuke that there was now something lacking within the church at Ephesus which was about what they had left. There was now a certain defect in her and in her spiritual life, that was hidden, or perhaps, from the eyes of men, however, it was known by our Lord who reins in the hearts: therefore, a serious defect that would lead the church to be removed unless it remembers from where it had fallen, to repent, and to do the first work. According, to the context of this text of scripture it is not surprising that the Lord sharply rebukes the church at Ephesus as well as the urgent need to repent. Again, there are three vital elements in this text of scripture to be addressed the first the call to remember, repent, and do the first work.
It is easy to forget. Everyone has done it at one time or another. Some things that are forgotten is to check the front door to see if its locked when you leave the house and carries little or no consequence. However, forgetting all that God has done for us, forgetting the gift of salvation, is far greater consequences to be paid than anyone can imagine, for us to forget the good of God, is to open the door to the destructive force of Satan.
Let me say to you in this manner that the church at Ephesus had gotten so involved in “CHURCH WORK” that they had forgotten the purpose and reason why Christ instituted the church and the reason that Christ gave the church its commission to make disciples Matthew 28:19-20. In that day as well as today the fatal error then was the Jewish Scribes and Pharisees who were the religious zealots outwardly making a show of keeping the letter of the law of God? However, inside of their hearts, Jesus said they were dead and described them as white washed tombs, beautiful on the outside but full of dead men’s bones. (Matthew 23:37) If our work and service is not done out of love and faith for God and Christ Jesus it is worthless.
Therefore, that which is done by faith and love pleases God and Christ Jesus and it will be rewarded.
Remember is the key word which Jesus told them that they needed to do was “remember” to go back to where their fall began. My question is: Do you remember when and where you lost that love or left that love? Would I be safe in saying that many people or individuals and even those who claim to be Christians never have known Jesus as their first love? In other words, Jesus has always been second or someone else has been first and they therefore have made no commitment to be faithful to His love. First as Christians our love should begin with commitment and the first work in order, to have a proper relationship with the Lord. I will remind you that Jesus loved us first while we were yet sinners. Jesus’ first work was to deliver His Father’s message that salvation had come. Have these things become so far from you that it is hard to remember or relate to your first love for Jesus? It is a fact that people often leave their “first love” however, they continue as a good church going person.
When this happens, church and Jesus becomes to them more of a social event and a meeting place to get caught up on the latest gossip. Furthermore, the church becomes a place where they can interact with people. What I am saying is they do not come to praise or adore our Lord Jesus with a pure heart devoted to the Lord. As a pastor, I have seen it happen many times in the past, these individuals service to God becomes more of a labor than the labor of love. Moreover, it becomes nothing more than a Sunday morning practice to have certain rules and customs that they use. Jesus as our first love is keeping Jesus more than anything we have and not replacing Jesus with something else.
But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. Revelation 2:6
The church at Ephesus Jesus is now telling them of a virtue that they possess by hating the deeds of the Nicolaitans, and that He hated their deeds also. I must be honest with you, opinions greatly vary as to whom the Nicolaitans were and their doctrine which Jesus hated by scholars and theologians as well as many writers of the book of Revelation.
There is so much said and taught about Revelation 2:4 of having left our first love. However, I find that Jesus in addition also sent a message about the deeds that He hated. Jesus also stated here that there was some who held the same feelings in the church at Ephesus about the deeds of the Nicolaitanes. I believe that the Nicolaitanes were the people who lead other people into worship of pagan gods and to eat food sacrificed unto them. If you have really, studied the Bible, you know that God makes it clear that there shall not be no other gods before Him the first Commandment of God Exodus 20:3. Nicolaitanes were a group of people who practiced the living of sexual immorality, idolatry, and false doctrine and this is very detestable to God by their ungodly manner of living in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I further believe that Jesus meant for us to look, into His reasoning about the deeds and doctrine of the Nicolaitanes that He hated. What we can learn from the message that Jesus sent of anything and everything about their practice and doctrine? Jesus’ address to the churches and in those seven messages He deals with two of the churches about this practice and doctrine to the church at Ephesus and the church at Pergamos. The concepts or percepts that we must have “do not compromise with the things of the world or Satan and have lust of the flesh” that goes against the doctrine of God and what God requires of the church regarding His word for righteous living. Furthermore, we cannot compromise with the world in the worship of God by following the things of the world for this is the work of the flesh.
As we consider the message of Christ and look at Christ’s reason for making this statement known about this practice of the Nicolaitanes and to compromise with the world yes there will be a question that needs to be addressed. I further believe that there are many questions, that many will address that apply to Christian living in the church of the last days. What I am going to outline is by no means a complete understanding of the things that God and His Son hates about the practice of the Nicolaitanes and the work of the flesh. To be very honest the work of the flesh is so vast that it would take books to describe all, of the work of the flesh. I would suggest that you read all of the references and write them down so you can research them for your own personal understanding.
Outline of act and practices of the Nicolaitanes
The first commandment “have no other gods before me” Exodus 20:3, 5; Deuteronomy 5:9, 12:31, 16:22
Secondly, “proud or pride” Proverbs 6:17, 11:2, 13:10, 16:18, 21:4, 28:25
Thirdly is “liars” Psalm 63:11; Proverbs 19:5; Isaiah 44:25; Revelation 21:8 scripture reference for lying Genesis 3:4, 37:32; Matthew 28:13; Acts 5:8
Fourth is “murder or killing” Matthew 2:16; Acts 7:58; however the practice of the Nicolaitanes would also be the spiritual murder or killing of the Spirit of God in Christians.
The fifth “a wicked or evil heart that devises evil” Proverbs 6:18, 12:2; Zechariah 8:17
The sixth “a false witness” Proverbs 6:19; Zechariah 8:17
The seventh “those” who live in wickedness” Proverbs 6:18; Jeremiah 44:4; Hosea 9:15; Psalm 5:5, 11:5, 45:7
In Jesus’ message, we need to recognize how many times throughout the scriptures that the word hate is used. For example, how God tells us to hate idolatry. (Scripture references Deuteronomy 16:22; Proverbs 26:24; Luke 6:22) We must also consider what hate means one example means to oppose like our enemy. I believe we should hate men’s evil deeds however not hate men themselves. Notice that Jesus gives no direct word of hatred toward anyone, which keeps His word and His Father’s word, only the work and deeds of the Nicolaitanes.
Another important part of the reason that Ephesus hated the deeds of the Nicolaitanes was how they sheltered themselves under the name of Jesus, the name of Christianity or the church. Therefore, these Nicolaitanes held a false and hateful doctrines, and were guilty of not having a true Christian life and therefore, causing a spiritual indifference within the church. However, I must say in my own opinion that this group of people taught a false liberty and therefore causing many to sin against Christ and His church.
Again, ask yourself who were these Nicolaitanes? During my studies and research for this message Jesus sent to Ephesus in truth, opinions greatly vary as to who the Nicolaitanes were. In fact, I believe that these Nicolaitanes were people who manage to come into the house of the Lord God, who were never born again, who managed to make others believe they were Christian and were not. In addition, they began preaching a doctrine of heresies, and therefore abusing the grace and salvation of God.
From the Greek language Nicolaitanes literally means “conquerors of people,” while the Hebrew translation means, “destroyer of people.” Therefore, when we look at both, of these translations one could say that these were a group of people who attempts to conqueror people’s minds, or lord over, and then destroy the church of our Lord God. Another way of addressing this is their primary objective was to bring division to the house of the Lord, and cause confusion about the doctrine of God among the brothern. These people were driven by a blind vanity of their pride and fight against the will of God. In conclusion, all, of the deeds and doctrines of the Nicolaitanes were hated in the eyes of our Lord God. Furthermore, I would say any individual who is truly born again are loving the things of Christ and seek the deeper truth in the bond of fellowship with the Lord God.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. Revelation 2:7
Within these verses of scriptures in Revelation 2 and 3 were truly written to confirm the spiritual state of individuals within the church. These seven verses are addressed exclusively to the children of God. Every individual Christian of God has a spiritual attitude to hear what the Spirit of God is saying. When they become born again was born having spiritual ears, spiritual eyes, and with a spiritual mind. However, let me now relate this about spiritual hearing, we were created in the image of God and in His likeness then God created within us a spiritual ear to hear what He is saying. Therefore, we are Christians, who walk in the Spirit that the apostle Paul writes about, men and women who are, able to judge the things that the Spirit saith unto them that the natural man and woman cannot hear. Therefore, let me be so bold as to repeat myself that to the natural man and woman these spiritual things are foolishness and therefore have no ability to discern spiritual things. 1 Corinthians 2:14-15
Using the spiritual mind our spiritual minds which opens, up the spirit of the scriptures as the message of Christ written and is over all, of the churches in the world and every individual Christian. In addition, it should be the song of the heart of everyone that we are able to hear what the Spirit of God is speaking, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto him.” The Spirit of God is speaking the message of God and Christ for receiving Their message of instruction. Moreover, let me add this thought that it is not just enough for us to hear the message but for every individual Christian and the whole church to act accordingly to what the Spirit proclaim unto them.
I further believe that Jesus’ message that were sent by Him and through His Holy Spirit it continually brings instruction, warnings, and love by which we must follow and live. Sadly, to say if we do not hear what the Spirit is speaking, then there is no fellowship with the Lord, and we therefore become a ship in the middle of a stormy sea. The whole tragedy of it all is when we consider those who have tasted of the heavenly gifts and dismiss the very notion that the Holy Spirit continually communicates guidance, fellowship, and warnings to every servant of God are a ship with no sail. What is even the more tragic is that when the leaders of the church only communicates two things love, fellowship, and dismisses guidance and the warnings of God. Therefore, when these individual Christian become distracted from the initial outpouring of the Spirit of God their insight now has become centered on the things of self. Furthermore, by becoming distracted they are rejecting the power of God and the Holy Spirit, and therefore, become powerless to hear what the Spirit says unto them. What I am saying is what Paul wrote to Timothy regarding the people of the last days that they would have a form of godliness but denying the power of God. 2 Timothy 3:1-7 In addition, these individuals still have intact the form of godliness and continue to cling to Christian tradition, but denying the power of the Spirit which is needed in these last days.
Another thing, God will not force upon any of us His precepts, which we willingly reject. Within this concept, what happens is the Christian becomes powerless to hear the Spirit. To understand the message of having the ear to hear what the Spirit says, a study of the Holy Spirit is necessary for understanding the message Jesus sent to the seven churches and the message He is sending today. In, order for us, the church, to receive each of these promises given by Jesus our Lord here in Revelation 2 and 3 we must do as Paul wrote unto Timothy, we must fight the good fight of faith. 1 Timothy 6:12 any individual Christian who refuses to fight the good fight of faith, I believe, will not lay hold of eternal life.
Note again: Jesus Christ also tells here in His letters or messages to these seven churches “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches:” (KJV) therefore, this my personal feelings which is that we need to see the spiritual things that Christ is teaching the church then in these seven messages. What get my heart to pumping is when I look at the promise that Christ give to each, individual to them that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life in, the midst of God. If that does not get your heart to pumping then I would have say to you that you need to go back to the altar of prayer. In addition, what gets my heart to racing is the promise Christ gives in Revelation 3:21 where Christ promises if we overcome that He will grant that we can set down beside Him on His throne as He set down beside His Father on His throne.
The message Jesus sent to the church at Smyrna:
Leaving the message of the church at Ephesus we now travel to the church at Smyrna to the church that is going through extreme persecution. Again as we study this message to the church at Smyrna we must consider the power and preservation of a church that is under much persecution to keep the faith. In addition, remember that this kind of persecution is one means that purifies or purges the church. Yes, I know that no one wants to suffer for what he or she does not sincerely and whole-heartedly believe that they have a reason to suffer. However, let us consider just one of the reason what people do not stay with one church. For the real fact of the matter or the problem, we find in most individuals is they do not want to stay with one church is because the church is a despised, or a suffering church, however, the truth is whether you believe it or not, there is an enemy out there with spies which will tell the problems the suffering of which the church is having and tell you that you need to find another church.
Therefore, let me start by saying the true source of power of every church comes during their time of persecution when the church joins together in prayer that they will receive power from God by the Spirit of God they will be able to overcome their persecution. Moreover, a church that stands together or united together during their time of persecution, against their oppressors usually are united in their faith and our empowered by the Spirit of God. Furthermore, I believe that persecution with any church or with any individual brings these elements to the congregation of the church, purity, patience, spiritual strength, spiritual power, unity, as the results of persecution. Therefore, it is in these elements that Christ sends His message unto the church at Smyrna and tells them to remain faithful even unto death and He will give unto them a crown of life.
Repeating myself: If you are a student of the Bible you will find throughout the history of the church, and the Bible even then with these seven churches aa well as in many of our churches today and around the world, regarding purity and strength of the persecuted church that it describes the persecuted treatment of Christians then and today. Yet, in the modern-day church of today we read the scriptures here in the book of Revelation and pay so little heed to what Jesus is truly saying unto the church then and what the prophetic message or word is for the church today that the devil or Satan is about to cast some of us into prison because of our faith as well as what we believe about the word of God. Yes, the church today is going to be tested and yes, I strongly believe we will have tribulation for a short time.
As Jesus begins each of His messages unto the seven churches where He begins by stating “to write unto the angel”. In addition, Jesus also goes on to makes it clear when He states, “I know thy works”. I believe that Christ Jesus is saying unto each of these seven churches by stating that He knows their works, that He is well acquainted with their works of ministry as well as their tolerance of false doctrine within the church. The point is that Jesus knows our work during our tribulation, our poverty, and Jesus also knows them that blaspheme His Name, as well as them that are against Him. Moreover, this is one of the two churches that Christ does not rebuke or reprove because of the persecution they are facing from the Roman Empire and those who say they are Jews and are not but are of the synagogue of Satan.
Jesus addresses the angel of the church 2:8
Jesus gives a self-description of Himself 2:8
I know thy works: Revelation 2:9
Commendation of the church
The church undergoing persecution
He that overcometh He that hath an ear
And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; Revelation 2:8
General reference to Revelation 2:8: John 19:39; Isaiah 53:12; John 10:11; 12:23-24; Romans 5:6; 14:9; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Colossians 1:22; Hebrews 2:9; Revelation 5:9.
By Jesus introduce Himself as the first and the last He is also stating that He is the “eternal one.” In addition, Jesus is saying that He always existed in the past, present, and the future. In keeping in context with what Jesus dictated to John He also portrays Himself regarding His death on the cross and the one who was resurrected from the dead and lives again. In addition, Jesus is not only the eternal One He is the one that is our reminder He is the eternal Son of God.
Each of these churches had an angel, pastor or messenger from God that Christ sent His message or letter unto. In addition, each message also reveals Christ Himself in a manner which best suited His instruction to them, to this church it was a message of encouragement for them during their time of suffering and persecution by the Roman empire and Satan. Our Lord reminds them in a way to let them know that He had suffered and died and now lives again and that He had been triumphed over death or the He had defeated death and was the Master over it Hebrews 2:18. Also note that Christ was tempted and tried in all points as we are tempted and tried and the Lord Jesus Christ is now our High Priest or Great High Priest Hebrews 4:15-16.
Again, let me start by saying that this church of Smyrna plays a crucial role in describing the tribulation of life and the tribulation to come upon the church that I believe is right around the corner. It has been stated in this manner because there is much discourse on the subject about tribulation especially about what is written about the great tribulation regarding the church. Therefore, the role of this church holds a key element for those who hold fast even until death and in the Day of Judgment. I further believe that those who hold fast in their walk of faith will be commended for their faith on the Day of Judgment by our Lord. Yet what is most striking is when we are studying the contrast between two churches here in Revelation 2 and 3. Within these two churches Christ shows unto us by revealing that Smyrna is the poor rich church and Laodicea the poor rich church and yet they are completely different, one is faithful, while the other one makes Christ sick. Nevertheless, the elements are a poverty which is rich and a wealth which is poverty. It also may be well to state that the time will come when we will stand up before the Throne of our Lord and be counted.
This is the second message to the seven churches in Asia Minor which is written by the hand of the apostle John and dictated by our Lord. One of the important issues we need to remember as we study each of these messages is the description that Jesus gives about Himself to each church. When Jesus uses the term “the first and the last” Jesus is relating to the “I am” and that He existed before all things existed and that all things will exist until it is completed. In addition, He is the only one who holds the key to conquer death and give eternal life.
By looking at how Jesus addresses this church in Smyrna with these key points are 1 “The first and last” 2 “Which was dead and is alive.” What are some of the key factor in Jesus introduction of Himself? The first key factor it has been taught that He died and came to life again and therefore, conquered death by His resurrection. In addition, Jesus is the firstborn of many brothers and sisters to be part of the first resurrection and to live in the New Jerusalem Revelation 20:5-6. We are to teach that the first and last is “signifying that the Lord Jesus is the Alpha and Omega the beginning and the end”. I further believe that when Jesus addresses this church with this kind of an introduction of Himself for He knows the suffering that Smyrna is about to face. For the church is a prime example of persecution and suffering within the church as well as against the Roman Empire and at the hand of Satan.
It is also well to note this important factor that each of the messages of Jesus Christ to the seven churches holds a vital important prophetic meaning for the church then as well as the church today. Five of the seven churches messages contained a message of correction about their failures. However, Jesus does not give any criticism or correction to Smyrna at all.
The identification Revelation 2:8
The Commendation Revelation 2:9
A basic Foundation
The poor but rich Church
This city today from my studies say that the modern city which covers so much of the ruins of the ancient Smyrna that you are apt to miss the true beauty which was there as well as the persecution that went on there. I begin in this basic, foundation for this message to the church at Smyrna with these opening thoughts to illustrate a city where the temple of Diana was as wells as other temples of the false gods that was being worship in that day. Smyrna here Revelation 2 of Jesus message to them represents suffering and being a persecuted church under the reign of Nero and later Caesar. One would be safe in interpreting that if these Christians refused to worship Nero or Caesar and therefore they were persecuted and even burned at the stake because they would not worship Nero or Caesar. In addition, the Jewish population in Smyrna was sizable, and there were those who stated they were Jews, however, according to the message of Jesus they belonged to the synagogue of Satan, and them which were are of the synagogue of Satan were the ones that persecuted the Christians followers who walk strong in their faith in God.
Again Note: This is Jesus second message to the second church at Smyrna and if one traveled from Ephesus to Smyrna, you would travel the distance of about thirty-five miles to the north entering the city at what was called the “Ephesian Gate.” Smyrna is only mention here in the scriptures of here in Revelation 2; however, there is other literature about this city it is also well to note the wickedness and the opposition to the Christians recorded in that century.
The idea seems to be those who professed to be Jews, they were not true Jews; they indulged in a bitterness of reproach, and a severity of language, which showed that they had not the spirit of the Jewish religion or people; they had nothing which became those who were under the guidance of the spirit of their own Scriptures. That would have inculcated and fostered a milder temper; and the meaning here is, that although they were among the Jewish Christians, they were not worthy of the name. That spirit of bitter opposition was indeed often manifested in their treatment of Christians, as it had been of the Saviour; however, still it was foreign to the true nature of their religion.
This is just a very basic background of the church at Smyrna.
What make a church poor or rich? Have you ever thought about it? To most people when you say or speak of poor they think of the negative impression of having no money or asset to keep life productive. I say this because of what Christ stated unto them “I know thy poverty,” (but thou art rich). (Revelation 2:9 KJV) This church that might have lacked the worldly goods; however, their faith in God and Christ Jesus is about how they displayed their faithfulness, is why the Lord did not haft to rebuke them. In addition, their faithfulness also demonstrates the glory of God and Christ Jesus in the church. Even though the church of Smyrna was being crushed under the pressure of the Roman Empire they still brought forth their faithfulness unto the Lord.
It would be well to further note the riches that God values began in the very beginning and will last for eternity. Think of it in this manner that this value of God’s riches for His creation cannot be bought with money nor can mankind steal this richness of God. Therefore, being faithful is handling the riches of God in our lives and in the life of the church. One might say that Smyrna was poor in silver and gold and material possessions, however, the Lord said and proclaimed that they were rich when He stated, “Thou art rich.”
Their material poverty was offset by their spiritual riches which is their abundant blessing to receive a crown of life Revelation 2:10. It is well to understand that spiritual blessings, both in this life and the life to come, are inheritance given by our Lord. We the Body of Christ or Christians should take comfort with all assurance that the Lord knows our poverty, our tribulations that we receive while we walk by faith. Note: Even though Smyrna was the poorest of these seven churches, the Lord acknowledged these believers to be spiritually rich despite their lack of silver and gold.
Now we begin the second church in Revelation 2 and one might address it as the second period of church history. This time, period in the church history is a time of persecution. This is a short message or letter to the church at Smyrna that contains no rebuke, only the Lord’s commendation unto the church. This church was stated by Christ to be known as the one church that had within it the wickedness of those who claimed to be Jews but they were of the synagogue of Satan. Even in this part of church history it describes, prophetically, the conditions and the concepts of suffering and persecution of the church for their faith and our Lord brings them a message of encouragement and that their suffering will only be for a short time.
Smyrna means “myrrh” or Bittersweet
The question that comes to mind and keeps coming back in mind is regarding the message Jesus sent to each church. How does the church of today regard these seven messages of Christ? Do we regard them as just another message of prophecy or just another message? Moreover, do we in the church today even regard these seven messages or letters to the church at all? Yes, there are other questions regarding the church and the teaching of these seven messages of which are vital messages to be taught if we are going to enter, into the kingdom of heaven.
It seems like there is more teaching about grace and love and how we will be delivered out of all, of this suffering, and yet this word of prophecy given to each church regarding suffering, false prophets, and false doctrine that is recorded here in the book of Revelation. Moreover, the main point of logic is that we find this grace teaching, the teaching of love, is more pleasing rather than teaching the warning found in this prophetic word of Christ Jesus that the church will suffer and be tested by Satan, the beast, and those who say, and claim to be Christ like. Therefore, I further believe that is why this message to Smyrna is so vitally important today regarding the issue of suffering.
I believe this also, that this, is why Jesus was telling them these words of comfort when He tells them to have no fear of the things they must suffer for they are in His Hands. Furthermore, Jesus is giving them a word of assurance and comfort that nothing that is going to happen to them that He does not already know about what is going to take place. This is a Divine message of truth, comfort, and encouragement of which Jesus is sending to the church then and to the church today that suffering will occur in our lives, moreover, that Him and the heavenly Father is aware of all things.
Note: That after a person is saved is when hard times and suffering often happen. In addition, they are living right and still times are hard and things keep going wrong. Therefore, there is confusion to where each of us may ask “why are all these things happening?” It is sad to state that this is just one issue that many churches throughout the world does not teach, that there will be suffering and tribulation of life, however, what they do teach that if you give our life to Christ Jesus that everything will be good and that Christ will give them a better life. Yes, this is true up to a point: Then why did Christ Jesus tell this church at Smyrna to be faithful unto death if He did not know that they were going to suffer?
As I continue to study each of these messages of Jesus more closely, I look around, and see the suffering in the world today. How can we neglect these messages of Christ’s? Moreover, the time will come when the church of today will suffer and be persecuted for their faith as did the church of Smyrna suffered for their faith. I have said this because there are so many religious cults, which tells, me that we are living in the time when people will say they are Christians, and are not; however, are a synagogue of Satan, church of Satan, or children of Satan, as the word of Christ states here in His message to Smyrna. Furthermore, part of the suffering of the church will come by rejecting the messages that Jesus sent to these seven churches. Moreover, there are those who claim to belong to a church and do not belong to any church at all. I do not know what others interpret or how they interpret from what is written in this message to Smyrna, but I believe Jesus is telling the church and people then as well as today to stay strong in our suffering and our faith for it will only last for a short period, of time.
Smyrna has remained faithful, even in a city full of wicked doctrine and the Roman Empire’s Church. Even today, we do not express it as wicked doctrine we call it false doctrine even though the end results are the same it is wicked. I must commend this church for it must have been very watchful, not relaxed that they should have to repent because of not allowing false and evil doctrine to be taught in the church. I further believe that is why the Lord did not have any condemnation against this church. In addition, look at the promise the Lord made for this church. In addition, one might interpret that the church of Smyrna set forth the stage prophetically in the church history when the church was being persecuted by the Roman Empire and those who claimed to be of the church but was not Revelation 2:9.
Jesus Self-description of Himself
Smyrna: Saith the first and last= (the one that is eternal, the beginning and end) (was dead and is alive= death and resurrection)
Jesus addresses the church
Smyrna – No warning or condemnation, but it would endure a period of persecution a short time.
Meaning of the name Smyrna
Smyrna: (Revelation 2:8-11) Smyrna-name means “myrrh” The martyr church, the church that would suffer persecution or the poor rich church.
Myrrh was a fragrant spice which was used in Israel’s rituals. This spice had to be crushed or beaten small before it gave off its fragrance. So was it with the church at Smyrna, yet with all their persecution they gave off a sweet fragrance unto the Lord. In addition, Smyrna name also means a sweet perfume used in embalming dead bodies, also included in the holy anointing oil used in the Tabernacle worship recorded in the Old Testament exodus 30:23. In addition, from the root Hebrew word meaning “bitter” the resin was taken from a shrubby tree and had a bitter taste Psalm 45:8. I state this because was a little church in a commercial city and full of wickedness. Therefore, when we look at Jesus message and at Smyrna’s affliction, persecution, and death of the people and yet these people of the church endured for the sake of the Lord Jesus and God. Myrrh also has a bitter taste and a sweet smell. I further believe that this, is why Jesus stated no warning against them and had nothing bad to say about them.
Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11) represents the persecuted church or the suffering church. It is noteworthy to state that Smyrna is mentioned here in the book of Revelation in addition it is evident that this city was noted for its wickedness and its opposition to the gospel of Christ during this century.
I feel that it is noteworthy to state again that only two of the seven churches of Asia Minor which received from Jesus a message with no condemnation: Smyrna and Philadelphia. Let it also be made known that this does not mean that they did not have flaunts or were perfect and entirely void of sins. For Paul wrote that we all sin and come short of the glory of God Romans 3:23. I believe it would be safe in saying that there has never been a congregation that consists solely of Christians who makes up the body of the church that is a perfect congregation. However, the Lord is willing to forgive our sins and shortcomings as, long as we grow in love for Him with all devotion to Him, so long as our direction of our lives is moving forward in His grace and not downward.
We must again remember that the church at Ephesus where we study the downfall of the church at Ephesus, who yet labored for God, had left their love, and therefore they had left their fellowship and intimacy with Christ and the Father, now in the church of Smyrna how can we see or do we see the persecution and poverty at work for them to bring them into a closer relationship with Christ and the Father.
Jesus Christ also states to the seven churches “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches:” (KJV) again this is my personal feeling that we need to see the spiritual things and hear the spiritual things that Christ is instructing the churches then as well as today. Just one of the things that get my heart to pumping is when I look at the promise given to the church at Ephesus where Christ states that to him that overcometh that He will grant them the right to eat of the tree of life in, the midst of God. If that does not get your heart to pumping, then I would say unto you that you need to go back to the altar of prayer and find out why your heart is not pumping with joy over this promise of the Lord. In addition, what gets my heart to further racing is over the promise that Christ gives to the church of Laodiceans where that Christ promises to them that overcometh that He will grant that they can set down beside Him on His Throne as He set down beside His Father of His Throne Revelation 3:21. Now this is a promise that I personal want when I get to heaven.
Let me say this that it will be mentioned many, many times throughout this personal study of Revelation that the book of Revelation is filled with much symbolism and each of the churches holds that symbolism for then and for the church today. Therefore, the church of Smyrna is no exception. As we study the origins of each church and their names, as well as the spiritual repercussions within each message of Christ, therefore, one must fully realize that Christ in His messages that there is nothing accidental when it comes to His message to the church and His prophetic word for the church.
I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Revelation 2:9
General references to “tribulation, poverty, blasphemy, riches synagogue of Satan or children of the devil”
Tribulation a part of human or earthly experience: Deuteronomy 4:30; Matthew 24:21; John 16:33; Acts 14:22; Romans 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:4; Revelation 7:14: Poverty 2 Kings 17:12; Matthew 8:20; Mark 12:42; 2 Corinthians 6:10; 8:9: Blasphemy against Christ and we should also consider profanity: (Blasphemy against Christ: Matthew 12:31; Mark 3:28; 14:64; Luke 5:21; John 10:33; Revelation 13:5) (Profanity Exodus 20:7; Leviticus 19:12; Matthew 5:34; James 5:12) (Children of the devil or children of the world: Matthew 13:38; John 8:44; Acts 13:10; 1 John 3:10; Luke 16:8; 20:34; Ephesians 2:3; 5:6; Colossians 3:6)
This verse of scripture deals with the spiritual condition within the church of Smyrna.
To me these verses of scriptures state a lot about what the church was and how it is today in what I have underlined. However, I can only go by what the Holy Spirit of God teaches me in the statement I am about to make. “I know them in the church, who say they are Christian and are not.” Christ lets us know that our lives here on earth will have trials and tribulation. However, we are to be faithful unto Christ even unto death. Furthermore, if we are faithful even unto death look at what Christ has promise to give us a crown of life.
Repeating myself again: That it should be a Divine word of comfort to all Christians to know that Jesus and His Father knows our works. For they know our works, our trails, our tribulation, and our suffering for He is an all, knowing God. As for myself I take comfort in the reality that my Lord knows all and therefore, I trust His judgment in my life and for my life, and therefore, do all I can do to trust Him completely and rest in His Divine Grace. I state this because of what took place with the message Jesus sent to Ephesus about they left their first love and their intimacy with Him, however, with the church at Smyrna their persecution and poverty brought them closer to the Lord and therefore the Lord commended them for their relationship with Him in their suffering.
Jesus states to each church I repeat over and over, “I know thy works” therefore, we cannot escape this factor of the Lord’s message; we may be able to fool the people at church, our neighbors, and even those where we work, even the members of our own family. However, when it comes down to the truth the Lord Jesus knows our works therefore we cannot fool Him. Yet another way of addressing works here is Jesus knows that it is because of the works of Smyrna that they are being persecuted. In addition, our Lord focuses on their works and persecution that comes as the results of their works. For we find throughout the scriptures that the Lord searches the heart Jeremiah 17:10 and Romans 8:27 according, to the will of God. As I have study, the history of these seven churches some of the earliest persecutions seemingly done by those who claim to be Jews, however, they are of the synagogue of Satan.
After Jesus’ address to Smyrna, Jesus now addresses the cause of divisions within the church. First Jesus addresses His awareness to the opposition they are facing with the old Jewish source in Smyrna. It is well to be noted here that Jesus offers them words of encouragement and for them not to lose faith even in the worse of conditions. What is missing that most of us want to hear is not proclaimed by Jesus to Smyrna. Most every Christian wants to hear the missing component here in the message to Smyrna and that is that Jesus is going to relieve or deliver them out of their distress.
You and I must also take into consideration that life in Smyrna was dangerous because they were Christians and did not uphold the false doctrine and its teaching of the Roman Empire. The Roman authorities stood very much against them at Smyrna and refused to accept any other confession other than that of “Caesar” for he was their lord. I would say what was even worse and more hazardous was the opposition from those who said they were Jews but are a synagogue of Satan. Here in Revelation 2 and 3 relates these messages of Jesus and there are three oppositions we need to look at: the first is the Christian doctrine, the second is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, and the third is the doctrine of Balaam.
I believe that I would be safe in saying that the people in the church today would raise this nagging question: Why did not Jesus just deliver this faithful church from its persecution and suffering? I must be honest I can only give my honest opinion to answer this question.
Therefore, we must take into consideration each message of Jesus to find the answer. For any of us I believe that we have, to maintain our faithfulness as Smyrna did and accept whatsoever future the Lord has for us. In addition, I must say if Smyrna did not surrender their lives over in their day of persecution and in defense of the gospel and the word of God, they have a far better life to look forward to in the kingdom of heaven. Furthermore, we Christians need to remember continually that Jesus is in control over every circumstance that impacts each of our individual lives. Therefore, we need to put our faith and trust in the assurance of Jesus’ promises that He will chart each of our lives in the course that is best for each of us.
Again, reviewing my thought about tribulation. In referring to the church of Smyrna and their tribulation, Jesus assures them that He knows their oppression as well as their enemies that is causing their affliction. It seems like their persecutors were not just only the Roman Empire, and pagans, who would naturally offend the Christian faith, however there were also, in addition, those hostile Jews and Satan himself who are the persecutors. Therefore, we must also take into consideration the context of this scripture that states “I know the blasphemy of them who say they are Jews, but are the synagogue of Satan.”
When we speak of tribulation in this present day and time in life, especially our suffering on behalf of Christ and the cross when we delay the work the enemy, places the snares before us and we must therefore bring to the surface the true Spirit of God in faithfulness. Moreover, the enemy loves to bring diversion and deception when it comes to the Spirit of Truth in God’s Word, hoping to distract each of us from the work and ministry of the Lord and our truing calling from God. With Smyrna, we see that when trials and tribulations came and were ever present in their life, their souls had learned to depend on God, their focus was therefore singular with the purpose to fulfill the will of God and His Word.
“I know your poverty” If Christ and God knowing our poverty, many today would possibly say something to this effect “if God knows our poverty then why does He not do something about it?” When we look at the Greek word for poverty “ptocheia” which is far more than just “being poor; poverty.” It literally means: “destitution;” can also mean complete destitution. This is just one of many commentaries from the Greek interpretation of the meaning of the word poverty.
As the church at Ephesus brought out the reality of the start of the apostolic age of the church, therefore, the church at Smyrna brings out the period and age of suffering and persecution. Nevertheless, let us consider some of what the other apostles have written in the scriptures about poverty. Note: It may be well to consider the extreme poverty by the fact of the process of their persecution and suffering that Smyrna was facing from the Roman Empire and from those who claim to be Jews but were children of the devil who slanders the Word of God. Now James states it in this manner that the same spirit refers to “the poor of this world rich in faith” James 2:5. The apostle Paul states yet another manner of poor by using the verb, “as poor, yet making many rich” 2 Corinthians 6:10.
Those who say they are Jews
Now concerning this text of scripture about this group that says they are Jews but are of the synagogue of Satan. In addition, Jesus goes on to refer to those who say they are Jews and are not Romans 2:25-28. This text of scripture here in Romans makes it clear to be a Jew means more than to possess an outward appearance of being a Jew. These foes were tearing at the works Smyrna reputation with their false claims to be something they were not. One might also interpret this text of scripture as to say “I know your enemies” of those who say they are Jews and are not but are of the synagogue of Satan. One might also add that they were Jews by race but not by faith or one might say in their spiritual characteristics. In other words, they did not share the same faith that should be professed by godly people.
Here in verse nine we also must take note “I know the blasphemy” these are the individuals who fail to recognize that Jesus had come and fulfilled the prophetic words of the prophets in the Old Testament. In their physical characteristics were of Abraham their spiritual characteristics they did not share the same faith. Jesus refers to these people as children of the wicked one in the gospel of Matthew 13:38 and in the gospel of John Jesus refers to them as being of their father the devil John 8:44, while in the book of Acts states “thou child of the devil” Acts 13:10.
Now this synagogue in Smyrna we should also note that we should not make it known as the Sun City or any church anywhere else in the world. I bring out this point so that I do not paint a false picture that all Jews and all Gentiles are painted with the same picture.
Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the decil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faith unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Revelation 2:10
General references to “fear not, tested or life tested, imprisonment, faithfulness, persecution”. (Imprisonment Jeremiah 37:15; 38:6; Mark 6:17; Acts 5:18; 12:4; 16:23; 23:35; 2 Corinthians 11:23) (Persecution Jeremiah 20:2; 32:2; Daniel 3:20; 6:16; Acts 4:3; 5:40; Hebrews 11:36) (Life tested Psalms 17:3; Daniel 12:10; Zechariah 13:9; Malachi 3:3; Luke 6:48; 1 Corinthians 3:13; James 1:12) (Faithfulness Revelation 20:4; Matthew 24:45; Luke 19:17)
Jesus addresses this church or congregation with their present suffering as well as the future suffering that was yet to come. However, Jesus gives them words of encouragement that it will only be for a short time. Jesus acknowledges that He knows their tribulation and in addition, Jesus reveals that there will be even greater tribulation. The word of the Lord Jesus is also letting them know that they are about to experience the testing of their faith to fullest extent. The promise to them is that of assurance that they have nothing to fear even if they were martyred because they have died faithfully they will be given a crown of life.
He that hath and ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. Revelation 2:11
General references to: “he who has an ear, he who overcomes”.
(Hearing Nehemiah 9:20; Luke 12:12; John 14:26; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 1 John 2:27:) (Overcomers are given rewards: 1 John 2:13; 5:5; Revelation 2:7; 2:17; 2:26; 3:5; 3:21; 21:7; in addition, a promise to the temped and overcome.)
One of the most asks questions: What is the second death? You will only find it written four times in the book of Revelation: Revelation 2:11, Revelation 20:11 and 14 and Revelation 21:8 it has been taught that the “second death” means a permanent separation from God either by burning or some other form of annihilation, depending on one’s theology. In addition, the Holy Scriptures says very little about the second death and one might think that there would be more on this subject within the church, however, it should not really, come as a surprise to anyone that there is not very much study on this subject as there is. My reason and logic for this statement is that most Christian colleges or schools of theology do not believe that the church is subject to the second death.
The way that Jesus brings out this text of scripture, He states that them who overcome will not be harmed by the second death. One might also interpret this text of scripture in terms of the punishment in the lake of fire that means an eternal punishment. Jesus truly makes it clear that them that overcome will not be harmed with the second death.
What is the second death in the Holy Scriptures?
The second death is eternal separation from God for the unsaved. You can read about this in Revelation 2:11; 20:6, 14-15, and 21:8. The first death referred to in Matthew 10:28 is the physical death.
“Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6 NKJV).
“Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14-15 NKJV).
“But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8 NIV).
To me these verses of scriptures state a lot about what the church is today in what I have underlined. However, I can only go by what the Holy Spirit of God teaches me in the statement I am about to make. I know them in the church who say they are Christian and are not. Christ lets us know that our lives here on earth will have trials and tribulation. However, we are to be faithful unto Christ even unto death. Furthermore, if we are faithful even unto death look at what Christ has promise to give us a crown of life. My point is this that Christ knows our rejection of Him and the Holy Spirit and this is blasphemy.
The Church at Pergamos
And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; Revelation 2:12
General reference to: “Sharp two-edged sword” or “Sword of the Spirit” Isaiah 11:4; Isaiah 49:2; Ephesians 6:17; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Hebrews 4:12; Revelation 1:16
In Christ’s introduction of Himself to the church in Pergamos as the one who has the two-edged sword. (Revelation 2:12) What better way for Christ to introduce Himself to a church filled with false doctrine? To be more precise, that this sword of His mouth has the ability, to do spiritual surgery of the heart, however, it also is the healing word of God’s Son, which can perform the impossible. In addition, I believe that the sword of His mouth can in fact prick the mind, and can pierce the heart and touch our deepest emotion. Furthermore, if we open up our minds to the messages Jesus sent unto these seven churches we would begin to learn more than we have ever before regarding the prophetic messages unto the church then and the church today.
It is an awaking reality to see things like we have never seen before that helps our minds to learn the truth as we never saw it before. In addition, to learn to search and develop the truth in our lives like never before. The sword is also new birth for spiritual life and it is the key to open our spiritual ear to hear the spiritual knowledge given by the sword of His mouth. When we truly consider more precisely the fact that, the sword of Christ also judges our thoughts and attitude of our heart and has done so from the creation and will until He returns. As with the other messages to the other churches, we are confronted with the fact, that Christ knows our works and where we live.
Christ reminds Pergamum, of their steadfastness, of holding on to His Name and has not denied the faith. We must also take into consideration, that these messages in the book of Revelation describes in detail what will bring God’s judgment on the church and the struggle between the church and the false doctrine within the church. If I were to consider the religious environment of the church then and today’s church and the way of Christian life, would there be any difference? Yes! My reason for stating yes is due to this fact that because time is running out Satan has become more intense about destroying the church and the word of God in the church as well as our eternal life.
Since most of the book of Revelation is symbolism, and since the messages Jesus sent to the seven churches holds a deeper meaning in each of their names, it is only right to assume that the name of Pergamos has a deeper relevance as well. As I have study in this letter or message to the church at Pergamos, my thoughts are in two divisions. Let us study the church itself. 1. It is directly under the eye of Christ, and responsible to Him. 2. It was in a very situation why Christ sent His message.
Now looking at verse 12 it is well to note with Bible in hand, we cannot no longer be in doubt on this question; for at once there occurs to my memory the familiar passage of scripture found in the book of Hebrews, which tells how the Word of God is “quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword.”
As we see here to my personal understanding, the sharp two-edge sword means the Word of God that comes out of the mouth of Christ. Jesus describes Himself as the one who has the sharp two-edged sword in Revelation 1:16, which points to the judgment of Christ Jesus. In addition, good Bible teachers and pastors will refer or interpret the sword as the Word of God. The two-edged sword as I have stated is the Word of God that proceeds out of the mouth of Jesus Christ in judgment of the nations. (Reference to Isaiah 49:2; Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12-13; Revelation 19:15)
Since most of the book of Revelation is symbolism, and since the message Jesus sent to the seven churches holds a deeper meaning in each of their names, it is only right to assume that the name of Pergamos has a deeper relevance as well. As I have study in this letter or message to the church at Pergamos, my thoughts are in two divisions. Let us study the church itself. 1. It is directly under the eye of Christ, and responsible to Him. 2. It was in a very situation.
Now looking at verse 12 it is well to note with Bible in hand, we cannot no longer be in doubt on this question; for at once there occurs to memory the familiar passage of scripture found in the book of Hebrews, which tells how the Word of God is “quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword.”
A Basic, Foundation
This is the third message to the third church and now we will see a sharp contrast to the church at Smyrna. Yes, Smyrna was faced with persecution and this church is faced with enticement and corruption. Therefore, Satan to my personal understanding has only two ways of approach. If he cannot make you knuckle unto him with his hostility and persecution, he begins to entice you with the lure of the world. Yet another way of stating it is that he uses either intimidation or enticement. Also, consider this term by constraint or persecution that we saw in the message to Smyrna then also consider Satan approach by defiling men and women by beguiling them to compromise their faith by offering them worthless things in exchange for their eternal life. In addition, this church is being undermined by the corrupt practices and corrupt teaching with the doctrine of Balaam and have taught Balak to create a stumbling block before the children of Israel and Satan is still casting this stumbling block in the church today.
Outline of things to look for in this third message to Pergamos
Christ’s Message to Pergamos
What Christ thinks of the church
What Christ had against the church
Held the doctrine of Balaam
The doctrine of the Nicolaitanes
Reason for the crown of life
Christ’s counsel to the church at Pergamos
Christ’s challenge to the church at Pergamos
Danger of compromise in the church
Defilement and destruction through compromise
Encouragement to endure times of testing
Church in the center of heresy and apostasy
Scholars and theologians agree that when you study about the church at Pergamos that it is a compromising church. Therefore, there is one important fact that you need to look at with this church at Pergamos and that is how Christ deals with this compromising church, Christ is not presented as a loving, tender, compassionate Lord but a firm Lord making clear His judgment upon what they were doing. Yes, Christ points out unto them the things that are commendable in the church their faithfulness and their steadfastness during the face of opposition.
In this is a basic, foundation of the message to the church at Pergamos is in the period of church history and thought to have begun at the time of Constantine’s acceptance of the Christian cause, one of the religious leaders as well as a political leader. In early church history, this would be known as the time of the papacy of the Roman Catholic Church which was skillful in their doctrine of paganism with Christianity. The point of logic here is to point out where the turning point of where the church no longer opposed the Roman Empire and its false doctrine within the church one might say.
Pergamos is located about 49 miles from Smyrna and about 38 miles from Thyatira in Asia Minor. In one way one might interpret this church of Pergamos with all, of its temples and shrines of the Roman Empire a city as the city of sin because of all, of its prostitution and false spiritualties that existed there. Even the emperor there referred to himself as “savior.” Let us consider what took place with the pagan high priest and what role they played against the church at Pergamos that these high priests complained to the Roman governor that the prayer of Antipas was driving their spirits out of the city and hindering their worship of their false gods. As punishment, the governor order Antipas to offer a sacrifice of wine and incense to the statue of the Roman emperor and to declare that the emperor was lord and god. Antipas refused. So, Antipas was sentenced to death on the Altar of Zeus.
Let us begin this chapter with this line of thinking for it has been described by many scholars, theologians, pastors, and teachers in one form or another that there is not a square inch on earth or in heaven that there is a great conflict between God and Satan. It has been a battle since Satan was cast out of heaven between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. It is noteworthy to begin our study on this spiritual battle because of the spiritual warfare going on in the church at Pergamos for it is the city of the seat of Satan. Paul and John also taught that Satan held leadership over the world system 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2-3; 1 John 4:3-4; 5:19. This church of Pergamos is in a city where there are many who worship other gods that led to great sexual immorality and false doctrine in this city.
As for the third message or letter to the church at Pergamum or Pergamos, ether of these are correct, and it is a church engaged in compromise with the doctrine of Balaam. This message, you need to remember that the first message written to Ephesus; was about the church that had lost its first love. The second letter was to the church at Smyrna that was being persecuted. However, we now turn to a church that is compromising with false doctrine and our Lord shows them how they are compromising with the false doctrine as well as what is being taught that cause a stumbling block for many within the church. Let me state it in this manner also for your understanding that the church at Pergamos is a prime example of a church who is courting the world or another way of stating it is a church that is married to the world.
The Church’s Marriage to the Word
It is well to note that in this early church changed its strategy from persecuting the church to welcoming her. This took place in the fourth century under the rule of Constantine and became known as the Roman Catholic Church for it allowed the spiritual fornication of the doctrine of the Nicolaitans in the church. It is well to note that due to this marriage, the church lost its purity and became worldly. It is because the church entered, into a union with the world and the worldly things or the pagan things came into the church. Now if you remember the first Commandment it is clear that we are to have no other gods before God.
Our Lord Jesus Christ understood the trails that were going on in the church at Pergamos a visible church which was embracing the false beliefs of the Nicolaitans Revelation 2:14-15 see Numbers 22:5 and Numbers 25:1-4. These false doctrines refer to the idolatry in the Old Testament.
Again, it is well to notice that our Lord makes a description that relates His authority by stating the sword of His mouth which to my understanding means He will execute His judgment by the word of His mouth. As we go through this message we will see more of the Lord’s judgment given about what the church is doing both the good and the bad. Let me ask how does this message correspond with the modern-day church? Moreover, is the modern-day church comprising with the world today? It is also well to note that each, and every message refers to the author Jesus Christ which is telling John what to write unto the churches.
One of the things we might conclude, in this message regarding the church of Pergamos and rightfully so that this church was in a terrible place which was the seat of Satan. However, when looking at reality of the church today and asking this question: Is there really any difference from the world then and the world we live in today? In addition, yet another question: Does Satan have his throne or seat in this world now? Does Satan dwell here today? The apostle Paul addresses with yet another question “Is not Satan the “ruler of the darkness of this world”? (Ephesians 6:12 KJV) Is not Satan the “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience”? (Ephesians 2:2 KJV) Now the apostle Peter states it like this in 1 Peter 5:8 “the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he nay devour”. You can find many other scriptures that relate to Satan and his tactics.
Again, it is noteworthy to say that we the church today are engaged in this battle! Furthermore, do you understand the serious nature of that which goes on right before us, and of the spiritual battle we are engaged in? For our Lord sends a message to a church that holds to false doctrine that causes a stumbling block to commit fornication.
The message that Jesus sent to the church at Pergamos: Revelation 2:12-17 Jesus addresses the angel of the church 2:12 Jesus gives a self-description of Himself 2:12 I know thy works: Revelation 2:13 The church that compromise with idolatry There is a need to hold fast There is a need to repent There is a need to overcome He that overcometh He that hath an ear
Issues of the church Pergamos to be consider in the church today 1. Satan had established a seat of authority right amongst where true Christians would live and gather, and true Christians were suffering persecution and being slain, right in that same manner and where they dwelled. (Revelation 2:13) 2. False doctrines are being taught according to the spirit and method of the Old Testament teachings about Balaam, “who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.” (Revelation 2:14) 3. Additionally, there were those amongst them “that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.” (Revelation 2:15) 4. If they did not repent of all these conditions, Christ promises that He will come and fight against them “with the sword of my mouth.” (Revelation 2:16)
Jesus Self-description of Himself
Pergamos: Which hath the sharp sword with two edges= the Word of God or God’s Word brings judgment, sword of God’s commands, sword of the Spirit, Divine sword of protection, the sword of the Spirit of God’s words, and the negative and positive of God’s word, a spiritual weapon.
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. Revelation 2:13
General reference to: throne or seat of Satan; hold fast; faithful martyr; include steadfastness: (seat of Satan;
In the message Jesus sent to Pergamum first we see that Christ approves their faith and not denying His name. The Lord has brought to my understanding that Pergamum has the knowledge of God and the gospel of Christ. If you were to interpret the knowledge of God and the knowledge of the gospel: How would you put it into words for teaching? There are many ways to explain and teach the knowledge of God, many Christian teachers would teach it as the Old Testament and the laws of the Old Testament. However, you will find in the New Testament it is called spiritual law of God or the New Covenant Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Hebrews 8. In addition, some may say that it is the commandments of God. All of these would be right.
Christ lets this church know where He understands that they are living where the seat of Satan is. Another way of interpreting this is that Christ knows and understands that Satan lives here on earth in the midst of us. Therefore, that is why it is so important for us as Christians to hold fast to the name of Christ and not to deny our faith in Christ Jesus. This church also has to deal with a problem that all faiths have to deal with and that is the false doctrine that Satan tries to put in the heart of every believer.
Again is not ignorance one of the spiritual conditions of five of these churches for with each church Jesus addresses them differently and especially with this church He states “He knows where they dwell”. Jesus knew the struggles and difficulties they faced as well as the church today. Jesus points out the fact that He knows that they dwell where the seat or the stronghold of Satan’s evil schemes are as well as in Satan household. I have stated this many times during my ministry before and I believe it is important to remember that when we put evil in our minds Satan takes advantage of this and will use it against us at his convenience.
For example, you will find in Revelation 12:10 states that the accuser of brethren stand and accuses us day and night before the throne of God. This is just another reason why it is a very, very important fact that we keep in mind to be careful what we think or allow it to come into are mind.
The knowledge of the gospel of what this verse of scripture stating is “regarding Jesus, His name, and not denying His faith”. Here are three important issues to look at when teaching the message Jesus sent. First in the knowledge of the gospel is the name of Jesus and what has been done in His name, and what is yet to be done in His name.
Secondly, the Lord knows Pergamum has the knowledge by their action of holding fast His name. In addition, the Lord knows that His light dwells within them that are holding fast in His faith. The third is that Pergamum is also letting the Romans and Satan know that they have the knowledge of the gospel of Christ and Christ has given them wisdom and the knowledge of the truth in His name.
Notice this is one scripture in Jesus’ message that Satan does not want you to teach or proclaim “in the name of Jesus.” Because Satan knows if we are professing the name of Jesus’ we are holding fast unto our God and His Son and Their Word of Truth. Yet in confessing Jesus’ name, what we are doing is that we are confessing that we are saved by the blood of the Lamb.
What are other words we can use to explain “hold fast” one is “endurance”, two is “steadfast or steadfastness”, three is “to possess”, four “to keep”, five “to retain”, six is “to persevere or persevering”, seven “to stay” and finally “confessing” the faith and name of Jesus. James writes in these words “Blessed in the man that endureth temptation.” KJV James 1:12 While Paul states that “I have fought the good fight and have kept the faith.” To my logic, steadfastness means I am standing firm on my faith in the name of Jesus.
Moreover, what Pergamum is doing is persevering, the name of the Lord.
The Lord has already told them His commendation to holding fast His name and His faith however, Jesus was also letting them know that what they had done thus far would have to continue in the hardship and endure them until the end. Peter said it best “For this is thankworthy if a man for the conscience toward God endure grief, suffering, wrongfully.” KJV 1 Peter 2:19 What Peter states here I cannot help but feel that if any individual has this kind of conscience toward God and Christ Jesus that the Lord God Almighty will write their name in the book of life. Jesus also tells the church of Philadelphia to preserve His name so that no man takes away their crown.
The Son of God lets it be known three things about the church of Pergamos for He clearly states first that they live where Satan chair or seat which could also mean Satan hometown. The second thing the Lord makes known is the knowledge they have centered on being a faithful witness by not denying their faith in God. The third thing Christ the endurance they have under persecution. Another way of interpreting this is that Christ knows and understands that Satan lives here in the midst of us within the Body of Christ today. Therefore, it is very important for Christians today to hold fast to the name of Jesus Christ and do not deny the faith. The church of Pergamos has already been dealing with this problem that all faiths or churches today deal with the false doctrine of Satan who is still trying to put into the hearts of Christians and believers everywhere.
But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. Revelation 2:14
This text of scripture that we need to take notice of what Christ reproves. In addition, this scripture deals with the church in Pergamum about the false doctrine of Balaam and teaching of Balak. The message that Jesus sent for them as well as the church today that is the doctrine and teaching that cause spiritual warfare. Spiritual warfare is an area in which most will agree is the false doctrine of the word of God. Secondly, is the false teaching that cause stumbling blocks. Third is evil association. Christ proclaims that He reproves such evil association that causes stumbling blocks that cause one to commit fornication. A good example of this, say someone claims to be a Christian and continues to keep company with the drunkards and the world. They are in communion with evil. Paul writes in Thessalonians a direct command that they were to separate themselves from evil association, and to walk orderly before the Lord.
How would you relate the subject of spiritual warfare and its characteristics then and today? To begin with, spiritual warfare is what causes spiritual conflict within the body and spirit of man. Paul writes to the Romans that it is an inward battle and it wars against the law of the mind. Romans 7:23 Furthermore, it is the principle of an invisible foe which does not war against the flesh but against the spirit of humanity. It is a war of principalities and the power of darkness and the things of this world. Ephesians 6:12 Spiritual warfare is our fight of faith which in the end will show our profession of faith in the name of Jesus. 1 Timothy 6:12 Moreover, in this spiritual battle, it demands our entire consecration to keep from being tangled up with the affairs of worldly life.
So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate. Revelation 2:15
If you have been following the message Jesus sent, we have already given you some understanding of the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, what happens, and what the Nicolaitanes hope by bringing in division to the church of Christ. As I wrote earlier about the church at Ephesus and about the deeds of the Nicolaitanes and Christ praising the church for hating what He hated. Jesus now writes about another issue concerning what He hates, the doctrine and teaching of that doctrine by the Nicolaitanes which shows the darkness and evil of Satan.
Doctrines are the focus of the messages Jesus sent not only to the church at Pergamos regarding the spiritual indifference that comes about by false doctrine of the Nicolaitanes as well as the false doctrine of Balaam and Balac. These are doctrines that we must reject for it attacks the work and message that Jesus sent. The deeds of the Nicolaitanes are pagan gods, sexual immorality, and Jesus warns of its menace to the church of Christ or the bride of Christ. However, now we must deal with the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes which is the doctrine of Satan and his devils. To state it in plain language the doctrine that conquers people of the church. To give you a prime example is the time of Christmas and the story and practice of Santa Claus. Therefore, does the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes breath among us today in the church by this practice.
When the Lord sent the message to the church at Pergamos, it was for teaching about false doctrine of the Nicolaitanes. For this doctrine, we find it to be of pagan feast, worship, and most of all their sexual immorality and practice and behavior with the church. The best way I can state this is the heresies committed within the church. In the messages, Jesus sent there are three churches with false doctrine, deeds of heresies, two churches with the deeds and doctrine of Balaam and Nicolaitanes and the third church with the woman Jezebel and her seducing spirit to cause them to commit fornication. There has been much speculation about these three groups of people and what is taught. I realize there is so little information about them and therefore it is difficult to teach about them 100 percent.
Here in Pergamos, we see the “doctrine of Balaam” strictly condemned by Jesus. Therefore, for us to clearly understand this doctrine we need to go back to the Old Testament. To begin you need to read from the book of Numbers Chapters 22-24. You can find in part how the doctrine of Balaam began with the churches in Revelation two and three. Furthermore, you can see how the doctrine of Balaam was trying to get the house of Israel to become vulnerable to her enemies. Jesus’ main warning was about the fact of mixing doctrine and worship of false gods. Look at what Peter wrote in 2 Peter 2:15 about the wages of unrighteousness indicates to my understanding false teaching over gain and those who will compromise the doctrine of God for gain.
In addition, even though Jesus uses these names basically the warning is the same. I would therefore, ask this question, how does the deeds and doctrine work and live among the church today? Moreover, is this doctrine still in the church today? In addition, who uses the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes to manipulate others to use such doctrine against what Jesus hates? In other words, the best example I can use is this. If I get you to feel as if you must please me in order for you to be accepted by me, I therefore, can use my acceptance to control your life. That is not what the Lord wants the Lord Jesus wants you under His control not undermine.
However, the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes was about manipulation and control. Jesus does not use tactics of manipulation He wants us to be willing to support His doctrine and be part of the family of God. This, warning I would send out to you anyone you meet in the church that wants to rule with manipulation should be a red flag in your spirit. Also, consider this for any of us to submit to being under this so-called “authority” would have to renounce the authority of Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit. Moreover, would have to forget about salvation, grace, love, and God’s works, and enter into the dead works of Satan.
Maybe a better way of stating what Christ had against the church of Pergamos was in integrating the doctrine of Balaam with Christ Holy Doctrine or the doctrine of the New Covenant, which is the law of God written within the heart. What makes this integration worse is namely to defend this false doctrine of Balaam. We find in going back to the Old Testament how Balaam laid traps for the house of Israel for separating and dividing the word of God into doctrine of Balaam. You will see by reading about Balaam how he counseled the Moabites to tempt the house of Israel with sexual immorality that they might betray the word of God of that which they believed. Numbers 31:16
Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. Revelation 2:16
Jesus begins this verse of scripture with a direct order or command as well as a warning to them in the church at Pergamos, “repent or else” in, regards to them who hold the doctrine of Balaam and the Nicolaitanes. However, there is also a hidden truth that that we of the church today need to explore. That truth about being silent of what we are accountable to God and others around us. Being silent when we should have spoken up about the word of God in addition, our lack of testimony for Christ and His gospel.
This message Jesus sent was not only for the church at Pergamos it was on behalf of the church today. The testimony, which is spoken, and the testimony of how we walk with the Lord will help others and us. However, if we are content to remain in the state of silence and indifference and do not intercede to God in prayer for them their hearts will remain cold and indifferent to the truth of God’s will. If the church and myself are living in the truth those around us will do one of three things. One they will repent, two, they will rebel, and three they will flee. I say this with all honesty these are the only three avenues for those who are not of Christ.
The fact is if any individual is not living for God and Christ Jesus and they come into the midst of a congregation truly living for God has only these three avenues they can travel. I must also make known about the hidden truth is the church have too long taken a soft approach about the message of the Bible and the gospel of Christ. It is therefore, why the churches of today are full of false doctrines and need to repent. For example, Jesus teaching of the parable of the tares and wheat is evident in many congregations today making known that the day of harvest is fastly approaching. Matthew 13:24-26
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. Revelation 2:17
Christ lets this church know that He understands that they are living where the seat of Satan is. Another way of interpreting this is that Christ knows and understands that Satan lives here on earth in the midst of us. Therefore, that is why it is so important for us as Christians to hold fast to the name of Christ and not to deny our faith in Christ Jesus. This church also has to deal with a problem that all faiths have to deal with and that is the false doctrine that Satan try’s to put in the heart of every believer.
Seven times Jesus repeats Himself to each church “He who hath an ear” therefore; there must be a vital importance for the spiritual ear. Again, it is well to note that Jesus states seven times to hear what the Spirit says unto the churches. In addition, Jesus states seven times that to him who overcometh He will reward.
In current day of global unrest has given rise to uncertainty concerning the future. Religious or Christian animosity has ever increased due to terrorism’s attacks on the innocent and the list could go on and on. Social and religious indifference to sin has grown and many have lost their way in life because of moral depravity and not following the commandments of God and Christ. When parents fail to live a life of morality in their homes, the children suffer a lack of moral boundaries. Therefore, many parents seeking spiritual structure for their families are turning to God, seeking a life of hope for themselves and their children.
The Holy Bible, more than ever before, is perceived as the source for spiritual meaning of guidance and the key to obtain that spiritual food. Therefore, Christianity is a life lived according to God’s provision given in grace, mercy, and love established in the New Covenant. Those who invited Christ into their lives, worship God because of what God has given them through Christ in the New Covenant. Christianity is not a life lived by seeking what we can do to gain God’s favor through commitment and submission. However, it is a life lived loving God because of what He has freely given to those who believe in Christ, the Son of God. Furthermore, Christ Jesus is God’s answer to all issues of life we all face in a world of uncertainty.
Now what was stated above is an explanation is to set the stage for why we must become overcomers to where one day we will eat of the hidden manna. Let be so bold as to say that no spiritual person or Christian supposes, that they will eat of the hidden manna unless they have the Sonship or heirship of God. “Manna” is found in the Old and New Testaments, however, “hidden manna” is only found in the book of Revelation. The manna given to the Israelites while in the wilderness was a provision for their physical need for food. Therefore, this manna was a special food, prepared by God, containing everything necessary for the very sustenance to sustain life.
The Church in Thyatira
When addressing the church at Thyatira it is well to note that it follows in a basic pattern, in addition, I have gone through these seven messages or letters and have found common themes. It is message that has many good points, however, it also shows a church that is engaged in compromising with error and sin, the same as Pergamos.
The trouble here in the church of Thyatira in the message Jesus sent was rather with this fact that the church was with the constant temptation to mingle pagan ways of life, with the teaching of Jesus, therefore, resulting in a steady decline within the church. When we consider what was taking place within the walls of the church at Thyatira and what is taking place within the walls of the churches today are we the church at Thyatira? Even yet, today I can see the amazing extent of what was taking place then is still being carried out today. The point of reasoning is within this fact that there are no hidden or secret things with the Lord’s churches then or today’s churches. In addition, it is sad to say that when we look at Christian groups and their external activities and ministries of their Christian faith while moral decay quietly grows like a cancer within their life.
Notice something very important in Jesus’ introduction of Himself in Revelation it is the only time that I have seen or read where Jesus addresses Himself “as the Son of God.” What I found so interesting about this statement about the Son of God is that it is recorded 49 times in the New Testament. Another interesting thing I notice is this is the longest message Jesus sent to the seven churches, which I will entitle “the church of the false prophetess.” Note each message to each church begins with a revelation of a characteristic, or you could say the characteristics of the Lord Jesus Christ are being revealed in each message.
Why would Jesus be so intent on stressing His deity to this church in His message to them? I believe its significance is because of status of the church in tolerating the false prophetess, and the spiritual condition regarding their spiritual doctrine. Indeed, it is quite significant that Jesus uses the title of His name for it does not appear anywhere else in the book of Revelation. If you were studying the history of Thyatira, you would find that the main worship there was the religion of Apollo, the son of god, and the emperor, the incarnate son of god. What I am stating is that Jesus states His name to relate His authority over and above any other cult religion that existed in Thyatira and the rest of the world.
Key words and phrase
Revelation 2:18, angel, Son of God, his eyes like unto a flame, his feet like
A divine message, a divine vision, hearts known, hearts read, hearts searched, searcher of hearts
And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; Revelation 2:18
Picture this, a church or any church, if Christ addresses them saying His eyes are fixed like flame of fire. The figure of blazing eyes to my way of thinking is one who sees right through all, of my thoughts that I have in my heart. In other words, Jesus is saying to the church at Thyatira I see through all your deceptions for I know thy works. Yet another way of interpreting this of what Jesus through His purity of His eyes can look throughout the world and all, of its problems. A better description of Jesus here is for us to imply that Jesus as the Refiner of God’s people and this would be in, reference to Malachi 3:2-3 because of their false teaching and worship of false gods.
The description of feet like fine brass would display the characteristics of God the Purifier of the soul.
I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Revelation 2:19
Like the other three churches Jesus states, “I know thy works” the thing I find interesting about this church that Jesus states, “the last is more than the first.” According to this text, the first work would be the work of charity and the last would be patience. Therefore, if their patience were more than their first would it be because they were tolerating the false prophetess Jezebel. Charity means love and not like the church at Ephesus, they were doing more, however, I believe and feel that because of all, of the increase of sacrifice of things unto idols and the eating of that sacrifice was going against the word of the Lord.
Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. Revelation 2:20
Now when we study this verse of scripture it is well to consider that this text could relate to the spirit of Jezebel. This spirit of Jezebel is a strong evil spirit or demonic related to witchcraft. In addition, it is a seducing spirit, controlling spirit, a spirit for creating anxiety and difficulty in relationships. Especially to those individuals which were in authority in the church. Furthermore, when you are around this spirit of Jezebel you will tend to have the feeling of being disturbed or uneasy, frayed around the edges. The spirit of Jezebel target here is on leadership through the seducing all that is susceptible. Maybe another way of stating it for your understanding is spiritual bondage or the spirit of distortion.
Let us talk about Jezebel and Babylon
The spirit of Jezebel, as well as the spirit of antichrist is they are most subtle, in depth, and lethal of all spirits in my opinion. Let us begin our study of the spirit of Jezebel by going into the book of Zechariah 5:5-11 where we read of the woman in a basket called wickedness. She was pushed back into the basket until the proper time. I believe this is the Jezebel spirit. She has been held back and hidden until these last days. She will make her full manifestation in this last day move of Satan in the earth. In Revelation 17 the Jezebel spirit is seen as the great whore of Babylon. Babylon means confusion.
Natural Babylon is what we know as modern day world. It is the place where the Garden of Eden once existed. Also Nimrod defied God’s command to fill the earth and multiply by trying to stay in one place united. He led a rebellion against God by building a tower to reach into heaven in an attempt to dethrone God and set himself up as God. So God caused them to all speak in different dialects to force them to fulfill his command to fill the earth and multiply. Thus, the tower was called Babel and this is where Babylon gets its name. So we see that natural Babylon is a place of great rebellion. The Jezebel spirit can be summed up this simply it is the spirit of rebellion! You have not been in ministry long if you have not seen rebellion in the church!
The problem with Jezebel
The great problem in Thyatira was their tolerance of the woman Jezebel. Let me be so bold as to state that there was an enemy being harbored in the midst of their fellowship of the church. It is unclear whether “Jezebel” was the actual name of the female prophetess, or if this is a veiled reference to the Jezebel of the Old Testament, the evil queen who seduced Israel away from the worship of Yahweh into all sorts of idolatry (1Kings 16:31-33; 2Kings 9:22). We recall that in the previous letter to Pergamos reference was made to the teaching of the doctrine of “Balaam” in the Old Testament. It is common in the book of Revelation to find individuals, both present and future, being, described using terms, figures of people from the Old Testament. It is my opinion that “Jezebel” here according to many other teaching is a figurative reference to the wicked Old Testament queen found in the book of Judges. As far as my own personal thought, we must truly consider that she was a false prophetess she was using her influence not to promote holiness and purity, but to lead God’s people astray into immorality and idolatry, just as her namesake had done in a past generation.
As we have already noted, there was immorality and idolatry associated with the festivities of the local trade guilds as they honored their various patron deities. It may be that Jezebel had introduced the same sort of moral and doctrinal compromise that the Nicolaitans were seeking to introduce in Ephesus (2:6) and Pergamos (2:15). We note a clear progression in three churches in terms of their ability to withstand compromise: What was resisted at Ephesus was considered in Pergamos; what was considered in Pergamos was tolerated in Thyatira. Therefore, the church of Thyatira had surpassed to the degree that surpassed the churches.
And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Revelation 2:21
It is well to note here that the Lord makes a clear statement that He has given Jezebel the time to repent and yet she does not. The point that needs to be brought out is that Jesus has given Jezebel and her followers time to repent, however, they had apparently lost sight of the need for repentance. How and when does repentance slip away to where we commit spiritual adultery? Then I believe that this question is in order: Do we have this problem within the church today of having a Thyatira-type church?
Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. Revelation 2:22
In this text of scripture, we find yet another important issue that pertains to those individuals who commit the same adultery will be cast into great tribulation. Another way of interpreting this text is those who are committing adultery with her are defiling their relationship with God and His Son. One might also that the Lord is tell us clearly that by committing this act of spiritual adultery our entire relationship with God has fallen. Again, I further believe that this question is in order ask over: Do we have this problem within the church today of having a Thyatira-type church?
The key element for each of us to understand is in this phrase “except they repent of their deeds” there is no escape. The truth is that there are two churches in these seven churches that face essentially the same problem and yet are just the opposite for they both have faith, service, and endurance. However, this church has the problem that they are tolerating the woman Jezebel that calls herself a prophetess. One might honestly interpret that this woman Jezebel is leading them astray into idolatry and acts of sexual immorality just as the queen Jezebel did in the Old Testament.
And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. Revelation 2:23
I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: To my own personal understanding that this phrase clearly states gives us full proof that Jesus knows our hearts and that He has the power to read the heart. In addition, the rest of this text also relates that Jesus will reward everyone who has not followed, after Jezebel and her spiritual adultery.
But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. Revelation 2:24
For the church, today it is well to take note of this text of scripture for what the Lord is stating regarding false doctrine and to them that follow false doctrine to where it contaminates their life and the church with this false doctrine. Now the Lord goes on to state yet another vital issue that should put the fear of God in us when Jesus states “and which have not known the depths of Satan”. I know for a fact that from the years of ministry I have seen within the church and world many who have known the evil depths of Satan to where they used this, evil depths of Satan in their life as they speak.
But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. Revelation 2:25
This should be a clear statement unto every Christian that we are to stand firm of the faith that we have till the Lord returns.
Looking at the Promise 2:26-27
When looking at the promises is also looking at the reward for those have been faithful will have the privilege of reigning with Christ in His earthly kingdom; consider these scriptures Revelation 1:6, 12:5, 19:15,; Ps 2:8-9; 2 Tim 2:12; Rev 20:4-6. As with the other promises to the other churches, this one is not only a challenge, however, it also is quite different from the other promises.
And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: Revelation 2:26
Here Jesus gives the church of Thyatira a challenge to them that overcome. Jesus promises that those who overcome and keep His works unto the end will be given the responsibility or position of judgment over nations. Moreover, the Lord shows with the prospect that this promise of blessing to motivate not only the Christian but the unfaithful in the church to return to God, will for them and to encourage others to be faithful and persevere the works of Christ.
And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. Revelation 2:27
In verses 26 and 27 it is well to note that their rule will not simply that of executing judgment, however, also that of administering mercy and direction to them that are sheep in contrast to the goats. (Matthew 25:31-46) Believers or Christians who are faithful will receive power, rule, and authority in heaven from Jesus Christ and will “rule” consider these scripture reference to, Luke 19:11-27; 1 Cor 6:2-3; 2 Tim 2:12; Rev 3:21. While not all Christians or believers will remain faithful to God and the Lord Jesus Christ 2 Timothy 2:12, Jesus evidently describes believers or Christians as faithful to motivate them to remain faithful.
And I will give him the morning star. Revelation 2:28
I understand this text in this manner Jesus is giving the promise the faithful that the morning star is Jesus giving us Himself “the bright and morning star”.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Revelation 2:29
OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING REVELATION 3
LETTER TO THE CHURCH IN SARDIS
THE LORD’S SELF-DESIGNATION
“He who has the seven Spirits of God”
“…and the seven stars”
CONDEMNATION AND WARNING
They have a name that they are alive, but they are dead Their works have not been found perfect before God
Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain and are ready to die
Remember how they had received and heard
Hold fast and repent
If they don’t watch, the Lord will come upon them as a thief
There are few names in Sardis who have not defiled their garments
They shall walk with Him in white, for they are worthy
PROMISE AND EXHORTATION
He who overcomes…
Shall be clothed in white garments
The Lord will not blot his name from the Book of Life
The Lord will confess his name before My Father and His angels
Hear what the Spirit says to the churches
LETTER TO THE CHURCH IN PHILADELPHIA
THE LORD’S SELF-DESIGNATION
“He who is holy, He who is True”
“He who has key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”
The Lord has set an open door before them and none can shut it
For they have a little strength, have kept His word, and not denied His name
PROMISE AND EXHORTATION
Concerning the “synagogue of Satan” who claim to be Jews, but are not
He will make them come and worship before their feet
He will make them know that He has loved those in Philadelphia
Because the church has kept His command to persevere
He will keep them from the hour of trial
Which is coming to test those who dwell on the earth
Behold, He is coming quickly!
Hold fast what they have
That no one may take their crown
He who overcomes, the Lord will…
Make him a pillar in the temple of His God, and he shall go out no more
Write on him:
The name of His God
The name of the city of His God, the New Jerusalem which comes down out of
heaven from His God
His new name
Hear what the Spirit says to the churches
LETTER TO THE CHURCH IN LAODICEA
THE LORD’S SELF-DESIGNATION
“The Amen, the Faithful and True Witness”
“The Beginning of the creation of God”
CONDEMNATION AND WARNING
They are neither cold or hot
He wished they were cold or hot
But because they are lukewarm, He will spew them out of His mouth
They are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked
Though they say they are rich, wealthy, and in need of nothing
Therefore He counsels them…
To buy from Him:
Gold refined in the fire, that they may be rich
White garments, that their nakedness be not revealed
To anoint their eyes with eye salve, that they might see
As many as He loves, He rebukes and chastens; therefore be zealous and repent
He stands at the door and knocks; if any will hear Him and open the door, He will
come in and dine with him
PROMISE AND EXHORTATION (21-22)
To him who overcomes…
The Lord will grant to sit with Him on His throne
Just as He overcame and sat down with His Father on His throne
Hear what the Spirit says to the churches
Church in Sardis
Now we come the fifth church and Jesus fifth message and just as the other four messages had a unique message from Jesus with warning, or admonition and instruction this message also holds words for the church to live by. Again, the other four churches messages dealt with the spiritual condition of the church or its congregation. This message begins with and important phrase about the Lord Jesus Christ: “write these things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars” these seven Spirits was sent into the earth by God Revelation 5:6.
My reasoning for bringing up these seven Spirits of God is to point out Christ power and authority over all the churches then and still today. Jesus Christ our Lord is the sole source of light and truth and furthermore He is the spring of living water. Then it is from this source of light that opens, up the mind to where we can receive the message of Christ to strengthen, encourage us to seek the fellowship with God. In this introduction of the message to the church at Sardis is about being spiritually dead and that the work of God’s ministry was not complete before God.
Here is an outline for study
Introduction A dead church Overall the church was dead Some Christians were walking as the should But it seems Overall the Christians – they were asleep on the job – doing very little Just riding it out – no life to them And the church is full of unbelievers here
The message Jesus sent to the church at Sardis: Revelation 3:1-6 Jesus addresses the angel of the church 3:1 Jesus gives a self-description of Himself 3:1 I know thy works: Revelation 3:1 Recognize their Spiritual condition Remember what God has done for them Repent and get things right The church that’s ready to die He that overcometh He that hath an ear
Church in Sardis Means “Remnant” And they were a Dying Church
This is the fifth church of the seven churches in Asia Minor, and Ephesus fought hard to its doctrine and lost because of its left its first love and stood in the need of repentance to return to its first works. Now the church of Smyrna suffered persecution and remained faithful, however, she needed encouragement in, spite of her persecution to remain faithful even unto death. The church in Pergamos one might say that she married the world by tolerating or compromising with the evil doctrinal standards of Balaam, therefore, placing herself in danger of Christ and God’s judgment. Then the church in Thyatira, place herself in danger by allowing the heresy of the woman Jezebel and her seducing spirit to corrupt the leaders and therefore compromising with evil. Because of this heresy Jesus made it clear that those who committed adultery with her He would cast them into a sickbed with her and into great tribulation.
The message of Jesus to this fifth church at Sardis, where Jesus has John to write about what her spiritual reputation was, and losing that spiritual reputation she was in danger of Christ Coming in an unexpected judgment. If one was to teach this lesson in the traditional teaching they would teach in these five terms
“first would be the historical background of the church” in Sardis.
The second term “they would address the church of Sardis”,
the third would be “the condemnation of the church in Sardis”,
the fourth would be “the commendation that Christ gives unto the church in Sardis”,
and the fifth would be “the promise to them who overcomes”.
Jesus Self-description of Himself
Sardis: Seven Spirits of God, Seven stars
The Dead Church of Sardis
Out of all the churches mentioned in Revelation, I believe for me personally that Sardis is perhaps the saddest church story. Yes, Ephesus had left its first love, Laodicea was lukewarm, Thyatira and Pergamos struggled with false teachers, and doctrine however, Sardis is called a dead church. Perhaps we have all at one time or another, made reference to a particular organization or denomination and made the remarks to the effect that is a dead church. Therefore, by saying that, we imply that there is no spiritual enthusiasm within the congregation, little passion or love for the work of evangelism, or meager praise offerings offer up to the Lord at best. It’s one thing to have another human being deem a church as “dead”, however, it’s completely another story to hear the words from the Head of the Church…the Lord Jesus Christ Himself! Let us look today at the church at Sardis and hopefully learn from her example.
And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Revelation 3:1
Sardis the fifth church recorded in the book of Revelation and the fifth message Jesus sent. Just as it was with the other, churches Jesus sent a message of commendation, warning, and teaching message to the angel of the church of Sardis. The message to the church at Sardis holds within its message words for us in the church today as well. I believe that the words of this message of Jesus to actually, be relevant to describe many of the churches in this present day. Therefore, if we open our minds and look at the reflection of Jesus message and words which is of stern warning to the people of that generation to the people of this generation. I believe that it is relevant for us to compare that the light of God, that it may invade the corners of our minds with the truth that brings clarity to those who have ears and eyes to see and hear what the Spirit is saying unto the churches.
Just as it was with the other four churches, Jesus is dealing with the spiritual condition of the congregation rather than their location. In addition, Jesus has sent a personal message by saying “he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars.” Jesus is not only establishing His power and authority to Sardis but also that He is the sole source of the light of God’s truth. This truth is the river of righteousness, which flows from the kingdom of heaven. It is a Divine message that tells the church its measure of what is true and just. What I am saying is Jesus deems to the church what is necessary for rebuke, to exhort, to correct in His Divine measure.
Paul wrote this to Timothy about this fact that all scriptures are valuable for teaching the truth for convicting sin, correcting our faults and training us for Christian living. 2Timothy 3:15-17 In addition, I believe that Christ does not want us to be stupid or ignorant about our works and to get in control with full knowledge that is the same with God and with God’s word. I further believe that God and Jesus does not want weak-welled men and women that claims to be full of knowledge and yet never coming to the knowledge of truth.
In the fact that Jesus knows our works, that He knows everything that goes on within the church, within the fellowship of Christian brothers and sisters. Therefore, Christian brothers and sisters are to have total submission unto Him, for Jesus is the answer to for our conduct, our actions, our decisions, and how each of us how our lives are led. Jesus not only informs the church of Sardis the crucial facts of their works He relates He knows their every works.
As we continue our study on the seven churches
Out of all the churches mentioned in Revelation, I believe for me personally that Sardis is perhaps the saddest church story. Yes, Ephesus had left its first love, Laodicea was lukewarm, Thyatira and Pergamos struggled with false teachers, and doctrine however, Sardis is called a dead church. Perhaps we have all at one time or another, made reference to a particular organization or denomination and made the remarks to the effect that it is a dead church. Therefore, by saying that, we imply that there is no spiritual enthusiasm within the congregation, little passion or love for the work of evangelism, or meager praise offerings offer up to the Lord at best. It’s one thing to have another human being deem a church as “dead”, however, it’s completely another story to hear the words from the Head of the Church…the Lord Jesus Christ Himself! Let us look today at the church at Sardis and hopefully learn from her example not to be a dead church but a live church.
As with the other letters, we see that Jesus addresses this church in a very unique manner. Jesus says that He has the seven stars in His hand referring to the initial revelation to John in Rev. 1:20. I Believe that it is comforting to know that Christ holds the seven stars and that His ministers or servants are in the palm of His hand. The seven Spirits of God are mentioned throughout the book of Revelation. NOTE: We must be careful not to come away with the impression that there are 7 Holy Spirits in the bible, but rather we understand this to be different operations of the one and selfsame Spirit of God and Christ. The number 7 in the bible often represents fulfillment or completion the seven churches. Also, Jesus says again unto Sardis “I know thy works”, except what follows is anything but encouraging. Jesus states that they “have a name” that they are alive, but they are dead. I believe that it is important for you and me to realize that there are many out there who “have a name”, but that is no guarantee of spiritual vitality or true, but they have a name. There are many churches which are viewed as the most influential. There are many ministers who are viewed by the world as dynamic orators with tremendous leadership ability. But what really matters is not what people say about you, but what God says about you! Jesus was not impressed with the name they had made for themselves- He told them they were dead!
My personal introduction about the church at Sardis
I believe it is well to note that Jesus addresses this church with only rebuke as He did with the church of Thyatira. Therefore, we can believe that this church did not have a problem with living the Word of God; however, the reputation was that the church thought they were alive however; they were dead according to Jesus. As we continue to study, his message to Sardis we will see the serious of this kind of reputation with the Lord’s assessment or judgment of being a dead church. Let me be so bold as to make this statement. People who state or judge a dead Christian Church as a live one may be an individual without any spiritual discernment whatsoever; in other words a non-Christian. In this modern age of the church, the most rapidly growing churches are those that have turn to the means of entertainment as the means of attracting people. My personal logic behind this thought is that the church proclaiming of the gospel and God’s Word is more on emotion and believing that they are right with the Lord. Moreover, when churches cease to proclaim the spiritual issues of the Holy Scripture and the things written therein, the effects of the church are dead or about ready to die. If the church at Sardis was, dead or being a lifeless church it truly needed the seven Spirits of God.
I state this because of what Jesus position was and therefore He is stating unto the apostle John who is writing the message unto the angel at Sardis. The prophet Isaiah prophesied about the seven Spirits that would fall upon the Lord Jesus found in Isaiah 11:2.
These Spirits of the Lord God that come to rest upon Jesus for they are:
the Spirit of the Lord, Spirit of wisdom,
the Spirit of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel,
the Spirit of might,
the Spirit of knowledge,
and the Spirit of the fear of the Lord.
Our Lord Jesus Christ possesses the fullness of the Spirit of God. Therefore, Jesus reminds us, that we can do nothing apart from Him. When we consider this factor about “the one who holds the seven stars,” we see one who holds the seven stars holds the resources for provision for His Church.
To be honest in my own understanding I cannot give you a logical understanding of why the church of Sardis had a good reputation with the people. One might say that people looking from the outside of the church, that the reputation that looked good as far as being alive. However, Jesus states that they are dead this is a serious charge or diagnosis from the Lord. What are some of the signs that a church is dying or dead? First, a dying church rests on its past accomplishments and is satisfied with its presence condition. Secondly, a dying church is more concerned about their order of worship and their formal order tan about their spirituality. Thirdly, a dying church is more concerned about what is material growth than about their spiritual growth. Fourthly, a dying church is more concerned about social issues and social change than they are about seeing people changed by the power of God. The fifth, a dying church is more concerned with pleasing others more than pleasing God. The sixth, a dying church clings more tightly to its creeds, doctrines, and confessions than it does to the Word of God. Finally, a dying church is one, which has lost its conviction the Holy Scriptures is the Divine Word of God.
Therefore, as we study I believe we need to consider closely the Words of our Lord about a dying church. For there are truly words of warning and rebuke regarding the church then as well as the church today?
As with the other letters, we see that Jesus addresses this church in a very unique manner. Jesus says that He has the seven stars in His hand referring to the initial revelation to John in Rev. 1:20. I Believe that it is comforting to know that Christ holds His ministers or servants in the palm of His hand. The seven Spirits of God are mentioned throughout the book of Revelation. NOTE: We must be careful not to come away with the impression that there are 7 Holy Spirits in the bible, but rather we understand this to be different operations of the one and selfsame Spirit of God and Christ. The number 7 in the bible often represents fulfillment or completion the seven churches. Also He says “I know thy works”, except what follows is anything but encouraging. Jesus states that they “have a name” that they are alive, but they are dead. I believe that it is important for you and me to realize that there are many out there who “have a name”, but that is no guarantee of spiritual vitality or true. There are many churches which are viewed as the most influential. There are many ministers who are viewed by the world as dynamic orators with tremendous leadership ability. But what really matters is not what people say about you, but what God says about you! Jesus was not impressed with the name they had made for themselves- he told them they were dead!
Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Revelation 3:2
In this verse of scripture, we look at what Jesus, tell them what is needed for an extreme makeover or a spiritual overhaul. Jesus states to Sardis to “be watchful” this is an aspect of faith recorded throughout the Bible. Again our Lord states His words again about “works” which I believe Christ is talking about their spiritual reputation as well as their former work or service by which they gained, this current reputation for works they have not completed before God. One might be safe in saying that this was a large congregation for its day and was growing and the activity had an outward appearance that distinguished the congregation and yet it was a spiritual graveyard. Yes it seem alive, however, it was actually dead. Moreover, it had the name of a spiritual church and for vitality, however, one might interpret that it had no right to be called a spiritual church. It had a beautiful outward appearance and yet it was wearing its grave clothes.
Then Jesus goes on to says, “Strengthen the things which remain” a step to stay in good relationship with God. Any church then as well as today to have a good relationship with God must back up their works with the Word of God. One of my personal fears for many of the churches today bearing the name of Christ, which are very active, however, has no spiritual life within. A dead or dying church lives in the past, in addition, they are satisfied with the way things are and feel there is no need for change. If I may be so bold to say they are more concerned about what is comfortable than conviction, with money than with wining the souls of mankind.
This text of scripture also brings out the reality that there still was something still in the church of Sardis that there still was life and spiritual life that remain for the Lord told them to strengthen that which remained. For me personally can only strengthen what remains by moving out of the darkness into the light which is the light of Christ.
In addition, the Lord informs almost all, of the churches about their works; however, Jesus informs the church of Sardis of a crucial fact about their works was not complete before God.
Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Revelation 3:3
In this text of scripture we find that the Lord warns them at Sardis that they are to be watchful and strengthen and reinforce the good works they have already done in the past. Note: That there is one truth; however, unfortunately there are many interpretations of the scriptures as well as many interpretations regarding the seven churches. In addition, it is well to note that with each passing day, we have new churches with new doctrines that seem to spring up out of nowhere. Let me give you this example, in the spring of the year and the spring rains bring forth mushrooms, however, not all of them are edible, and some are even poisonous, so it is with new doctrines. It is within these doctrines that are floating around in the spiritual realm of the church that cripples the spiritual walk of faith and the works of ministry within the church today.
If any individual is uncertain as to what they should believe, go back to the Holy Scriptures for the source of truth that was foreordained before the foundation of this earth which is Divine Wisdom; and you can find the instruction for your soul. If I may be so bold as to state that the truth of God’s Word is not hidden, furthermore, it is not shrouded in mysteries, in addition, it is not reserved for a select few to make as a snack, the truth is that any individual who is desiring to receive the truth Christ and God’s Word is truth.
Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. Revelation 3:4
In this text of scripture Jesus lets it be known that are just a few within the church of Sardis attending that He finds walking in faith and are worthy. To these few Jesus tells that they He will walk with them and they shall be clothed in white. Moreover, the color of the garment will be the color in heaven for this color is stated many times in the New Testament. (Revelation 7:9, 14
He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. Revelation 3:5
Again Jesus mentions being clothed in white, garment of heaven. (Revelation 19:8) The real value of this text of scripture is this fact that these who are clothed in white Jesus makes it clear that these He shall never blot out their name from the book of life what a promise. Furthermore, one might interpret from these two verses of scriptures that these names were written in the book of life before the foundation of the world. Moreover one might also state that God foreknows who will accept Him and who will not. (Romans 8:29)
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Revelation 3:6
Church in Philadelphia
The message to the sixth church I feel and believe has a tremendous message that states what will transpire to them that remain faithful to God and His Son and do not bow to some other false god or doctrine but stay only true to God and Christ Jesus. This message to this church holds many key elements to them that remain faithful unto the Lord and the blessing they will enjoy by being faithful. In addition, I further believe that these key elements are in the one who has open a door that no one can shut. No matter which way you interpret this message it is upon the power and authority on the one that can open the door or who can close the door to the kingdom of heaven.
Moreover, this message is also about the spiritual power that can only be found in our Lord and Savior. As we study this message I believe that you will find these important things or important issues that Jesus states to the church in Philadelphia first Jesus acknowledges two important things one them that “are of the synagogue of Satan, which proclaims to be Jews and are not but do lie”. Jesus makes it clear unto them at Philadelphia that because they have kept the faith and have not worship with them of the synagogue of Satan that He will persevere them from the hour of temptation. One might interpret this statement as non-Christians, however, I do not know if this would be an accurate interpretation or a complete understanding of the Lord’s message to this church. My logic for stating it in this manner is to point out that each of us needs to make a self-identification to see if we have the key knowledge about those who claim to be Jews and are not but are of the synagogue of Satan. Moreover, how does this key phrase here in Revelation pertain to the church today?
In these seven messages to the seven churches, I believe that it is rather well to note again that only two of the seven churches that Jesus has nothing bad to say about them whatsoever. Furthermore, they receive no commendation as the other five churches here in Revelation 2 and 3.
The message Jesus sent to the church at Philadelphia: Revelation 3:7-13 Jesus address the angel of the church 3:7 Jesus gives a self-description of Himself 3:7 I know thy works: Revelation 3:8 The church with little strength He that overcometh He that hath an ear
A Church That Kept the Faith!
This church along with Smyrna is just two among the seven churches Christ has no condemnation or nothing bad to say about them. However, let me make this example unto you while people try to call themselves Philadelphians and showing a very distinct lack of brotherly love. This church Jesus addresses them as the one who holds the key of David. Note: this key could be what is known as the Davidic covenant, for in this covenant God says that He would out of the seed of David and after him, in him would God established a kingdom forever.
When Jesus introduces Himself as “he that is holy, he that is true,” I cannot personally find words humanly to describe the true and holy one of God. Yes, every Christian knows that He is faithful, true, just, and trustworthy and that we can count on that. The message that Jesus sent this church I find inspiring to me that makes me want to walk more faithful and not to listen to every wind of doctrine. This is a message that states that Christ and Christ alone holds the key to the kingdom of heaven.
As we continue to address each of these churches and the message sent to, each of the angels of each church from the Lord that He will fulfill all of prophesies regarding the covenant with David. I must remind you that these seven churches were selected by Jesus because they had faced particular, issues then that would address the church today. This church was a loyal church to Christ and with His word and name and therefore, Christ say that He has opened a door that no man can close.
Jesus self-description of Himself
Philadelphia: He that is holy, He that the key of David, He that openeth and no man can shutteth
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; Revelation 3:7
Where does this prophetic word of the key of David begin and why is it so important for the church of toady? You will find that the prophet Isaiah gave this prophetic word to give to Israel and now the Lord gives us His prophetic word to the church. In the words of the prophet Isaiah states “I will clothe him with your robe and strengthen him with your belt; I will commit your responsibility into his hand. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 22 The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; So he shall open, and no one shall shut:” Isaiah 22:21-22. This is the prophetic word of Jesus in the covenant with David. One might interpret the key of David as the key to death and the key to Hades (Revelation 1:18).
However, one might interpret it as that Christ has the key to eternal life and all, of these I believe to be right. Jesus now states by identifying Himself as the “true and holy One”. This phrase is common in the Old Testament which we find in the book of Isaiah 40:25; 43:15. The key here does more much more than open the way to just mankind it is the key that opens the way into eternal life and the kingdom of heaven.
I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Revelation 3:8
Again it is well to NOTE: that Jesus makes it clear that He knows are works. In addition, Jesus also makes it clear that He is in control of events that take place within the church and that He is the One who opens the door for He knows we have little strength.
Consider this example for understanding this text of scripture to some it is a word of encouragement while to others it is a word of rebuke. I state it in this manner because to some when you say you know what they are doing is encouragement while others it will bring this line of thought “no you do not know what I am doing or why I am doing it.” However, the words of the Lord is clear “I know thy works”: Logically the Lord God Almighty knows the very acts we do from the time we are born and our endeavors, even the intents by which we perform any certain task in life, whether it be for His glory or for our own vain glory here upon this earth. Therefore, Jesus Christ knows our works, our thoughts, and the desire of our heart today as well as He did when He had His message sent to the church in Philadelphia, the recipients of this message. In addition, there is absolutely nothing that can be hid from an all knowing and seeing God.
Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Revelation 3:9
One of the ways we could interpret this text of scripture that this will happen at the Great White Throne Judgment if not earlier according to what the prophet Isaiah writes in Isaiah 60:14. This text of scripture here in Isaiah is very clear that those who have afflicted you shall come, bowing to you.
Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Revelation 3:10
Here I believe that Christ states a promise that He will keep them from the hour of temptation as well as the trails that the whole world will face.
Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Revelation 3:11
Again this text of scripture is clear that Jesus is coming soon and that they are to hold fast in order that no man takes their crown. Yes, there will be those individuals who will say or state that the church has been say that Jesus is coming soon and that the church has been saying that for generations or for centuries. Nevertheless, despite this type of indifference the truth is that the Lord Jesus Christ will return and it will be sooner than you think because time is running out.
Jesus states here to this church that he is coming soon and what I believe about how to interpret this text of scripture is this way. That the time of deliverance is at hand or the time of Christ return for the church.
Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. Revelation 3:12
Let us notice the important factor in the promise that Jesus states here regarding them who overcome not only of this present day but also of the future blessing to come. The glory of the kingdom of heaven comes by overcoming the trails and suffering we do in this present age of time we call the last days. Therefore, the rule of this promise is without exception that we must overcome the suffering in, order to gain the reward of Christ to glorify Him that He may write His name upon us. Jesus also makes mention of a three-fold name to them that overcome that they shall bear. I would feel safe in stating that this express who they are and what they are before the Lord God Almighty.
Therefore, our Lord and Savior promises to the faithful Christian that they shall receive His Name, the Name of God, and the name of the New Jerusalem. To my personal understanding this promise is stating the highest degree that we can gain by walking in the commands of Christ and the commandments of His Father. No, we will never, be God or Christ; nor will we ever be; however, we will hold the highest possible manifestation or degree which is conceivable in the human creature as we exist between God and His people.
My point of logic is that for us as Christians we must hold the highest degree possible in the likeness of Christ and to reach the highest development in our relationship with God and Christ Jesus. In this relationship Jesus, has promised that we shall see Him, eat with Him, an talk with us, and sit with Him on His throne.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Revelation 3:13
The Church at Laodicea
It has taken a lot of time and searching the Bible and now it is time to write about the seventh message to the seven churches in Asia Minor. Yes, two of the churches had a good report from the Lord and He had nothing to say bad about these two churches. However, four of the others churches had words of commendation from the Lord, nevertheless, when we get to this seventh church the Lord has no commendation at all for this church, furthermore the Lord had nothing good to say to them at all. There is so much to write about this church in regards to why the Lord says that it makes Him sick.
As I begin to write this last message of Christ to the seventh church let me say that I will deal more with this message than I did the other six for this reason: For I believe that this seventh church has a message for today’s modern church because of these key elements first our human indifference and our spiritual indifference, secondly our half-heartedness and self-deception which is a spiritual sickness for our Lord prescribes in this message what it will take for us to have spiritual health. For from the beginning of creation God Himself has been giving His creation the Holy Word of what it would take to live and walk righteously before Him.
It is well to note that in the opening of Christ message to this church by stating to write the things that saith the Amen. I believe that Christ here first introduces Himself to rightly established His authority with them at Laodicea that what He promises will be certain. Let me addresses it in this manner that Jesus stating that He is the “Amen” He is characterizing His sincerity of a truth as He looks upon their lukewarmness, their indifference, half-heartedness, and their self-deception. My strong point of logic is that “the Amen” will not approve of their lukewarmness or have pleasure in their lukewarmness.
This message to the church at Laodicea is best known as a lukewarm church which is neither hot or cold that it is lukewarm and because it is lukewarm it makes Jesus sick. However, all, seven of the messages unto the seven churches one might say are right of point, about their condition and how does these messages fit the churches today. Perhaps just maybe that it fits all the churches all, over the world or all the nations in the world regarding the overall church which is in regards to our self-sufficiency. Then it can only be addressed in these questions: What then is the problem? Is it freedom? Is it prosperity? These are just three questions that can spell out why Jesus sent His messages unto seven churches then for the church today.
The message Jesus sent to the church at Laodicea: Revelation 3:14-22 Jesus addresses the angel of the church 3:14 Jesus gives a self-description of Himself 3:14 I know thy works: Revelation 3:15 The lukewarm church Church was rich financially, however, poor spiritually The church had no spiritual discernment He that overcometh He that hath an ear.
The Lukewarm church or the Self-satisfied Church
We have come to the last of the seven churches and it has taken us a while to arrive at this point in the seven messages that Christ sent, to which the apostle John writes Jesus message to the church in Laodicea. Before, we continue let me give you three issues or terms we should deal with in this church the first is “practically” these are the real message of Jesus dealing with the real problems. The second is “Prophetic” the words of this message portrays, the church of the last days beginning then through the various stages of the church history. Finally, “personally” this message should speak to every Christian within the church who reads the words of this message for it contains words for every congregation and every individual Christian. It is in these three issues where our Lord looks at the Laodicean church and sends them what He see personally about their lukewarmness and gives them the prophetic message or word how to change their life. For the practical side the Lord calls their attention to the three issues of lukewarmness, to buy counsel, and the call for life.
This church receives the most severe condemnation as is made known as the sick church. A church that makes Christ sick enough to state, that He will spue them out of His mouth. Therefore, I believe that it is a church that must be made known because of its spiritual condition that would make Christ sick.
When Jesus introduces Himself as, “He that is Holy, he that is true” I personally cannot find words humanly to describe the True and Holy One. Yes, every Christian knows that Jesus is faithful, just, and trustworthy and that we can count on that. However, this, message Jesus sent to my understanding may well be the prophecy concerning the church in the end times. There are many within the churches that see it this way. Notice how Jesus addresses this church and states something to this effect that they are a prideful thinking church and because they are rich and feel, they have need for nothing. However, with this church as well as others there are a few faithful that still believes God is still in control and His Son is their salvation. Nevertheless, there is much to be learned from this last message of Jesus.
In this introduction of Jesus is especially important in regards to believers and unbelievers, which represents the contrast of people today. Jesus also presents Himself as being the true and faithful witness from the beginning of creation. We could say that He presents Himself as ruler king of kings, and Lord of Lords. If the Christians in Laodicea were hot, then their zeal would show Jesus and the Father by their zealous works. If Laodicea were cold, then the Holy Spirit would help convict them of their sin and bring them back to salvation. However, lukewarm now that is another thing. Let us consider this concept: They think they are Christians, and they talk the talk in Christian words. In addition, they do works that looks like Christian works; they even show signs and wonders.
Therefore, because they consider themselves to be Christians they may even look like they are spiritually rich, however, they no longer respond to the power of conviction and teaching of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, they have nothing left for Jesus to judge; therefore, Jesus’ message is a last warning for the lukewarm church.
Jesus Self-description of Himself
Laodicea: Saith the amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God
And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; Revelation 3:14
Our Lord Jesus Christ here in His introduction of Himself that here is the message from “the Amen” “the faithful” and “true” “witness”, unto the church at Laodicea the lukewarm church. Here are three very important key phrase that you will need to look at “practically”, “personally” and “prophetic” as a spiritual diagnosed to your own spiritual-ness in your Christian life.
Is there a more faithful and true witness than Jesus Christ? According, to the Holy Scriptures Jesus is “the same yesterday and forever” Hebrews 13:8. Jesus was sent by His Father with a message of salvation and the kingdom of God Mark 1:14. I must also state that God’s message does not change and has not changed since Christ came nor will it change until Christ returns. Neither has Jesus message changed, however, men have tried to change it, just as they have the Old and New Testaments in our day and time.
The apostle Paul took Christ message to Asia Minor which Paul proclaimed on his first missionary journeys and then Jesus gave His message to the apostle John to write unto the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3. As servants of the Lord we are to proclaim His message of warning and love to the churches today especially His Divine Prophecy here in His messages unto the seven churches.
Jesus reveals in His opening words to the Church in Laodicea that He is the true and faithful witness. Another interesting thing or fact you will find that this is the only place in the Bible where “Amen” is used as a proper name. Another interesting point to bring out is that this church Jesus has no commendation but much to say about their lukewarm atmosphere within the church. In addition, we must take into consideration in this verse of scripture Jesus is emphasizing His authority from the beginning by stating “the Beginning of the creation of God”. Christ as the true and faithful witness did only what His Father commanded no matter what the consequences. Therefore, this shows a sharp contrast between Jesus and this church for the witness of Christ’s was faithfulness even to death on the cross.
To begin with we must therefore, address the problems within the church of Laodiceans, where they only witness their own self-righteousness in their spiritual works. Furthermore, this church was spiritually arrogant in its self-satisfaction according, to the words of Christ in this message to the church. Finally, it must have come as quite a shock when this church received Jesus message saying that they were spiritually lukewarm and that because of this He would spue them out of His mouth. Therefore, we must consider their works in their way, and why it made Jesus sick and moreover why that Jesus did not have anything good to say about their works.
Before I get further into this study of the church in Laodicea, it might be good to say this with all honesty that it is doubtful if anyone of us wants to compare ourselves with the church of Laodiceans because of all that Christ says about them that they were lukewarm. In addition, about their spiritual condition that they were neither cold nor hot.
My reason for stating this for someone may ask the question: What could possibly inspire any individual or group of people to make their boast that they are connected or affiliated with the church of Laodiceans? Furthermore, one could say that Jesus was saying to this church that they were spiritually sick and their sickness was their “self-pride, self-deception, and self-righteousness” is what plagues the church with sickness. My logic and reasoning is in this question: How do we identify ourselves today with the church of Laodiceans and the message Jesus sent?
I know thy works
Where and how do we begin to teach an understanding unto the church today that Christ was saying that these are Christians that are lost people that believe that they were saved. One of my personal beliefs or understanding regarding lukewarmness is found in the meaning of the word “indifference” in our personal life and life in the church by seeking the riches of the world.
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. Revelation 3:15
We are dealing with two important issues with the church then and the church today that we could say that is extreme, “cold nor Hot.” How do we compare these two issues with the other six churches? With the other six churches, are they worse than the church of Laodiceans? Is the church at Ephesus worse because of it lost its first love? With the other, five churches one with false doctrine, one a weak church with little strength, one with a false prophetess, and finally one that would suffer for a short time. Whatever, the concept that might rise in these seven churches they all know about the doctrine of Christ; therefore, I can make no excuse for not trying to give you each church commendation, warning, and promise that Christ revealed in each of His messages.
Let us consider this text of scripture in this light that these were not backslidden in the sense of doing or going into gross sin. These individuals still attended church and had not given up on their religion. Moreover, they were not bitter or opposing the work of the Lord, and probably assumed things were going fine! Yet these individual members were in truth only a hollow shell, not cold or hot! (Revelation 3:15) One might interpret that they had an attitude problem toward the Lord. What I am about to say may sound harsh and hard, however, the way that the Lord address this church also to many may sound harsh. They went through the motions out of habit not love. They only loved those who loved them! They had no witness or testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ or for His Father or His mission. Furthermore, they were not interested in making disciples, they were not interested in church growth. Personally, I believe that they would like to see church growth, but they were not willing to put forth the time or effort to try to win souls. Moreover, they did nothing!
Four areas to study on lukewarm church
Christ tells at Laodicea to buy counsel
Christ perception of a lukewarm church for counsel
Study references to promises
Revelation 3:14-17; Hosea 10:2; 7:8,9; Numbers 32:11; Luke 9:57-62; Proverbs 14:14; Hebrews 5:11; John 15:2,6; Exodus 32:33; Luke 16:15; Titus 1:16; Isaiah 44:20.
Each of these scriptural references, hold many key elements for giving you an understanding from the Old Testament as well as the New Testament of God’s and Christ’ perception of the church as well as individuals who are lukewarm.
Christ gives these prescriptions for counsel of a lukewarm church
Study references to promises
Revelation 3:18; Proverbs 23:23,26; Isaiah 55:1-7; Matthew 13:44-46; Psalm 19:7-10; 1 Peter 1:7; James 2:5; Psalm 132:9,16; Revelation 19:8; Ephesians 1:18; 3:8,9; Matthew 13:16.
Let me begin by saying I am not a doctor that knows or understands human sickness of the human body, however, I do know that this from my own life that before I was saved I personally needed a prescription for me to buy counsel from the Lord to change my way of life to fulfill my calling from the Lord God Almighty.
Christ Divine promise to a lukewarm church
Study references to promises
Revelation 3:19-22; Acts 3:19-21; 17:30,31; 2 Chronicles 7:14; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Acts 2:37-42; Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:28-30.
When it comes to the truth about the promises of the Lord Jesus Christ we are called to be obedient unto Him, His commands, His rebuke, in, order for us to gain eternal life in the kingdom to come. Therefore, from what I read and study from the Holy Bible that there is no higher proof from God and His Son of Their love then for Them to correct or rebuke us back to the path of Their Righteousness.
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Revelation 3:16
In the message that Jesus sent to this church one thing that stands out is the church experience that Christ tells John to write. Again, I must state that all who study the Bible knows that the church at Laodicea is the seventh church mentioned in Revelation 3. Here in Revelation 3:16: What are some of the reason other than being lukewarm? I believe that this message parallels to other prophecy regarding the last stage of the church before Christ comes again. Many people think that biblical prophecy about the end of the world and the battle of Armageddon are a Christian thing. For example, some of the best-known prophecies about the end of time are recorded in the books of the Old Testament. Now the apostle John writes about the spirit of antichrist as well as the antichrist in the epistles of John.
You would think that after Jesus says that He will spew them out of His mouth that they would change. However, then the question is did they? Yet another question: What is the handwriting of the wall to describe a lukewarm church? Yes, I will say this that the church will either become on fire for Him or either they will turn very cold with great apostasy for they cannot remain lukewarm. This apostasy is recorded in the scriptures is call the great apostasy or the falling away of people within the church before the son of perdition appears. The first prophecy of this apostasy is spoken of by Daniel 9:27. It also is spoken of or written by the apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-3 where it states “except there come a falling away first.”
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: Revelation 3:17
This is the verse of scripture to my understanding that tell of the attitude this church has taken and Jesus makes it clear what will happen to them because of this attitude. One attitude one might say is that they are self-centered and self-satisfied. In addition, they are content with themselves. What I believe is that this church represents the church of today which is the most deceived of all seven churches. I state this because it is filled with all sorts of half-truths and distorted and false doctrines. The point of logic is that they see themselves more totally different than what it really, is. Jesus makes it clear that they are so blind and deceived it clearly does not even understand what Jesus means. Maybe be a better way of saying it is Jesus is showing them that they believe what they are saying, yet there are things they do not know.
When we look at all the illness and terminal illness all around us one might interpret this church as being terminally ill and yet unaware of their illness. Furthermore, they do not understand that they are not only going to die spiritually they are going to die the second death. Jesus continues to reveal what their true spiritual condition is in their church.
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. Revelation 3:18
This text of scripture I believe is the verse that states Jesus advice to them on what to do. Another way of saying it is that they do not have the correct spiritual discernment. Therefore, their understanding of their condition is just the opposite of the truth. To my understanding this could truly indicate that the spiritual warfare at the hand of Satan deceptions have enter, into the congregation of the church and that is why Jesus places such a great warning to this church that they may see. Furthermore, this is a good reason to follow the advice that Jesus gives this church.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Revelation 3:19
This text of scripture it, is clear that Jesus rebukes them because of their lack of discipline.
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20
This text of scripture to my personal understanding is the greatest invitation ever given because the Lord Jesus Christ makes a personal invitation.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. Revelation 3:21
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Revelation 3:22
Yes, Jesus tells each church in His message unto the that they should let their spiritual ear hear what the Spirit say unto the churches.
Where is the Church after Revelation 3:22
Before we go any further into the study of Revelation there is an issue we need to address with this question? Where is the church after Revelation 3:22? I state this question because there has been much discourse about this subject. However, there is another question and it is why does Jesus have; John to write about the saints and the blood of the saints after Revelation 3. I assume it is because the word church is not mention or absence after Revelation 3:22 and therefore it is concluded that the church has been resurrected. In addition, it is important to examine the discourse or assumptions to clearly understand the book of Revelation and where the church is in the book of Revelation. Furthermore, I also believe we need to consider of whom the recipients are of the book of Revelation. From my personal study, I have found two words that I believe refer to the church one is “saints” and two “servants.” Jesus has John to write in Revelation 1:1 to whom are the recipients to receive the prophetic word or revelation about the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
Yet there are some who teach that the church will be raptured before the event of prophecy that begins in Revelation 4. I could say that this discourse is based on the argument that the church is not mention from Revelation 4-21. However, to me personally it is an assumption on their part rather than what the scriptures in Revelation states about the saints and the servants. Moreover, there is much evidence to prove that the saints will be living and functioning during the mark of the beast and the great tribulation. For example, “Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from? 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.” (Revelation 7:13-14 NKJV)
Furthermore, the saints are by serving God in His Temple, Revelation 7:15. Then there are the blessing that God and His Son promises unto them that are faithful and endure unto the end.
Special Study of the Seven Churches
The I’s of Revelation 2 and 3
I have been studying the book of Revelation for years and I thought that I had a good understanding of the prophecy of this book of Revelation until now. My logic and reason for making the above statement is that the Spirit of God open my eyes to a new revelation about Revelation 2 and 3 with the I’s of Christ and His Divine Revelation regarding the church. Never, ever before during all the years of my ministry did I look at or considered the deep understanding of the I’s of Christ Jesus our Lord. Moreover, the personal message of warning and promises that He states in the I’s of Revelation 2 and 3.
|Revelation 2 King James Version|
2 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.
7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.
14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.
16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;
19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.
20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.
25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.
26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
28 And I will give him the morning star.
29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Revelation 2 Complete Jewish Bible
The I’s of Revelation 2 and 3
In the identification of the I’s of Revelation 2 and 3 of Jesus’ messages to the seven churches it is to relate what Jesus tells us about the things He will do and why. Moreover, is it important for the church today why? Therefore, considering these 18 I’s here in Revelation 2 and 3 and the purpose for Jesus stating them to the seven churches. Personally, I believe that these 18 I’s are especially critical where Jesus specifically points out the church’s condition of what He will do and why He will do it. Yes, here in Revelation 2 and 3 are messages composed of many vital issues pertaining to the church of warnings and promises and Jesus proclaiming a universal message to the church that is living in the last days.
Each one of these I’s brings out an important message of application which applied to the church then and moreover to the church today. Furthermore, Jesus had written to these early Christian churches 18 vital things about what He saw and what was needed for the church to enter, into their reward. Therefore, I believe it is well for us today to take heed of the I’s of Revelation 2 and 3.
Now let us look at each of these I’s
Now I have used the red font because the I’s here in Revelation 2 and 3 are what Jesus states.
I know thy works
I know thy works
I will not blot out his name out of the book of life
Now I have listed above all, of the ways that Jesus states I in Revelation 2 and 3.
Again, let me state that I believe that Jesus is revealing unto the church and His servants in the I’s what He will give unto them that overcome and what He will do if they do not overcome the things of this world and the evil power of Satan.
Yes, I believe that all of us at one time or another have read Revelation 2 and 3 and have seen that Jesus states seven times “I know thy works” which is the introduction to telling the church what they our doing well and what they our doing wrong. Moreover, it is well to note how Jesus addresses each church in this statement of “I know thy works”.
The I’s of Revelation 2
I Know Thy Works Revelation 2
Let us consider this study under three sub-headings about “I know thy works”:
Here are three we need to examine carefully regarding works!
Critical examination of general conduct.
Commendation of faithful conduct.
Condemnation of unacceptable conduct.
In each Individual members within the congregation of the seven churches are examined for their conduct:
Here are some thoughts on examining our conduct or our works
First is are faithfulness in living in obedience and holiness unto the Lord. Then how is our faithfulness in walking in faith and obedience according, to the instructions given by Jesus here in the word of God and the Revelation of Jesus Christ, and how they are living according, to God’s and Jesus standard of holiness that is written regarding Jesus stating “I know thy works”.
Then secondly what are our motives behind all, of our actions in our works for the Lord. Therefore, our motives behind our actions are examined by the Lord whether they are genuine, and of pure intentions or of selfish interest that will not glorify God and His Son.
The third is the Ability to show love and live peaceably with others within the church and the world. Christians or Believers are required to follow peace of God that surpass all understanding with all mankind, in addition, to their lives unto holy living unto God first and foremost. In addition, we are also to love our neighbors as ourselves. In the Day of Judgment, we shall give account of our relationship with mankind in the terms of the love that we showed onto others and how effective we can live a life by living peaceably with others.
The fourth is also vital for it is a commitment to the service of God or the ministry of God in our lives. Therefore, we are to examine our commitment in faithfulness to the service of God, moreover, the sacrifice we should make in making ourselves available to God and His works.
Congregation are examined for their:
The very first is that of the congregation’s faithfulness in teaching the truth of the word of God. How faithful are we teaching the sound doctrine and guiding against error and falsehood?
The second thing we need to consider is the vigilance in recognizing satanic agents within the church by resisting them. Moreover, let me say that there are satanic agents creeping into the church unawares by transforming themselves to angels of light in order, to deceive innocent souls of the local congregation or local church that you are attending. Therefore, the congregation must be sensitive about these satanic agents to identify them and resist them and hidden works of the power darkness.
This third Commitment of any congregation is about how the congregation is to examine the preaching of Christ and His gospel to the lost world, or the apostasy going on in the church today in many forms in the preaching of the gospel of Christ and the Word of God. Furthermore, that any congregation that is not faithfully committed to the preaching the gospel of Christ and Him being crucified to save a lost world has a name that the church is living while the church is actually, dead.
Then the fourth is the ability to maintain a congregational peace and unity that Jesus prayed for in the gospel of John 17. There must be in addition a that love flowing among the brothers and sisters of the church to show that they actually belong to God, and this must manifest as a peaceful relationship without strife, envy, bitterness, backbiting or hatred.
COMMENDATION OF FAITHFUL CONDUCT
CONDEMMATION OF UNACCEPTABLE CONDUCT
The congregation were condemned for the following unacceptable conduct:
First the diminishing in intimate personal devotion to Christ.
Nevertheless, when a congregation is full of many individuals that are not having a healthy personal relationship with God, and His Son is therefore showing that they are a congregation of what Jesus stated to the church at Ephesus about that they had left their first love. Therefore, will we be a church that has left it first love and grown cold with the lack of a spiritual fire and with a godly conduct which affect our faithfulness in service unto the Lord God.
Second for departing from Biblical or Christian faith.
When any congregation start, or begins to compromise the truth of the word of God and the gospel of Christ which is the sound doctrine, are people that will start or begin to drift away from the Biblical faith or the Christian faith.
The third Bible calls every one or every individual to self-examination to discover whether one is still in the faith or not.
For tolerating immorality among church leader and persons of influence.
It is a terrible thing for any congregation where the leaders that are to uphold godly standards within the church are now the ones that are laying the foundations for immorality and all forms of wickedness pertaining to all of which I will say as satanic. Every child of God who is preparing to go to heaven at the end of their life here on earth must look into the lives of the leaders in their congregation that he or she finds himself or herself doing what Jesus instructs in Revelation 2 and 3 to ensure that they are actually following God and obeying His words of instruction. If not, those members of the congregations should be left for where they can see godly examples fitting for the church of the living God.
Fourth they are becoming spiritually dead or lukewarm.
It is well to note: Whenever there is sin and self-indulgence; the congregation will be lukewarm and lack the fire for a faithful service of being a servant of the Lord and them witnessing for the Lord and unto the Lord. I feel safe in saying that a lot of time will be wasted in settling quarrels among the members of the church and yes while there is hatred, bitterness, strife and other works of the flesh will be manifesting because of not being on fire for the Lord God Almighty.
The Fifth is for substituting outward and inward appearance that influence a real spirituality.
It is sad to say that today people measure success in ministry only by outward qualities such as the size of the congregation, the number of wealthy people and the wealth of the congregation, while real spirituality such as living in holiness, sharing love and being in unity are either relegated or given the second place.
Therefore, the essence of condemnation I know thy works is to call each of us to repentance because God would prefer to receive a repentant soul than to destroy them that He has created in His image.
The I’s to the Seven Churches of Revelation
The I’s to the Seven Churches of Revelation Who They Represent in This Day and Age
The Selection of These Particular Churches
Praise for their works
Condemnation for their works
Advice to keep their works on track
Challenge to overcome
Revelation 2 and 3 Spoken Directly by Christ About Works
To my personal understanding is there is only one book in the New Testament where Christ directly addresses to seven churches specifically that He knows our works regarding our conduct that will bring judgment and reward.
Seven Times Christ Repeats to Hear What He Says about He Knows our works
One might interpret that Jesus Christ our Lord is stating unto the church their spiritual state as well as how people will be judged for the quality of their work for the Lord God Almighty. In other words, Christ is setting the standards for our works as well as what His expectations for the church whether it is good works or whether it is bad works. Therefore, because many people do not read and study the seven messages to the seven churches do not truly understand Christ expectations for His church living in the last days. Furthermore, is the church passing or failing in their works in the commission that Christ gave the church to make disciples.
Church of Ephesus – Revelation 2:1-7
I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
Church of Smyrna — Revelation 2:8-11
I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
Church of Pergamum – Revelation 2:12-17
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.
Church of Thyatira – Revelation 2:18-29
I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.
Church of Sardis – Revelation 3:1-6
And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
Church of Philadelphia – Revelation 3:7-13
I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
Church of Laodicea – Revelation 3:14-22
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
What Jesus Knows about each Churches Works
The I’s of Revelation the I Will
I Will make A Pillar in the Temple of God
“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write upon 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 My new name.” (Revelation 3:12 NASB).
“He who overcomes (is victorious), I will make him a pillar in the sanctuary of My God; he shall never be put out of it or go out of it, and I will write on him the name of My and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which descends from My God out of heaven, and My own new name.” Amplified Bible [Isaiah 62:2; Ezekiel 48:35]
When it comes to pleasing God with their lives, those who failed did so for their own reason. Those of us that succeeded did so for our own reason. Therefore, success or failure does not just happen overnight. Neither does it “just happens.” Yes, there are problems that are often caused by a lack of dedication or love as some try to simply do as little as possible to overcome as the Lord Jesus Christ did. In addition, there are others who simply put off needful spiritual changes or spiritual obligations to God and His Son. Let me add this thought that sometimes it is a matter of ego or pride. Some have failed because they have just allowed themselves to be deceived by others into believing something that is false in the word of God. Furthermore, some have just simply not taken the time to read the word of God that they may prepare themselves for a successful life or a true life of faith.
Jesus makes promises, beginning each with these phrases: “To him who overcomes I will” in addition Jesus uses the term of “will I Grant” “I will write” “I will make” “I will confess” “I will not blot out” “I will come upon thee” “I will kill her children with death” “I will cast” “I will give unto every one” “I will give thee a crown of life” “I will give thee to eat”.
Let us all seek to understand what Jesus is saying to each of the churches then as well as us why the Lord uses various words for descripting the blessings or the promises for those who overcome or gain the victory. Therefore, we have good reason to have confidence in Jesus’ promises about overcoming here in Revelation 2 and 3.
A Pillar in the Temple of My God
Let us consider first, to understand the promises of Christ Jesus, again we must first learn what is meant by just one of the phrase “temple of My God”. The word “temple” signifies “dwelling place” and is usually used with the reference to Deity. Christians who are familiar with the Bible immediately think of the church as that of being,“God’s people” being the temple or dwelling place of God. 1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:21.
If the “temple” in this verse means the same thing, then it would say that as Christians overcome, their faith gives the church stability and they therefore become as pillars in God’s temple, or church. So, it the “temple” here is heaven, what does it mean to be made a “pillar” there? When one overcomes, he or she gains a permanent place in heaven like a physical pillar would be a permanent part of a physical temple. Heaven becomes home eternally. Note, this would not fit the church. It is sad to say that in the church today, I can overcome today, however, what about tomorrow that I can leave the temple and forfeit my crown.
So, Heaven does fit the context. Note text: Revelation 3:12 “I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore.” Jesus tells us that if we overcome now, for a little while, we will find a permanent place of joy, filled with wonderful experiences and great beauty and absolute confidence and security. In fact, this also fits with what the rest of these Bible Scriptures has to says about heaven John 3:36; 5:24; 14:1-3; Hebrews 5:9; 9:15; 11:10; 13-16; 1 Peter 1:4; Revelation 21:1-6; 22:5. Our hope of eternal life, of being forever with the Lord, motivates us to grow and endure and overcome so we may greet Jesus when He comes.
The Name of My God
Jesus also said, “and I will write upon him the name of my God”. We belong to God as His children. The apostle John is writing what the Lord is dictating about His promise to them that will overcome the things that test their faith, therefore, the writing of the name suggests a permanent relationship that is now fixed when we gain the victory. It is here, now, that we are children of God, members of His family. Our status becomes permanent in His eternal household if we overcome according to the apostle John in his epistles found in 1 John 4:4. At, this time, we still wait in hope to receive our inheritance as His children Colossians 1:12,13; Romans 8:14-17. Jesus is describing the moment of eternal victory for God’s people by using the illustration of God’s name being written on individuals who have overcome Romans 8:18-21; 23.
The Name of the City of My God
The Christian who has overcome is a citizen of Heaven. Those who have overcome have the right to enter the gates of the eternal city Revelation 22:14. There is no such city in this world but there is one waiting for us Hebrews 13:14; 2 Corinthians 4:17-5:1. We are citizens of heaven, and but pilgrims here. Our hearts are with that city Matthew 6:19-21. Our citizenship is there and we act and speak in this world as pilgrims, our residence is there. Philippians 3:20,21. Overcoming involves acting as heaven’s citizens 1 Peter 1:13-17; 2:11-12.
Jesus’ Own New Name
This certainly suggests that Jesus will share His glory with those who overcome. His “new name” signifies sharing all His glory; everything about Him which we cannot now fully comprehend. We have to wait until then to know this new name. This we will learn following His final victory over evil and death Revelation 19:11-13; Colossians 3:1-4; 1 John 3:1-3. Before that, we, too, must be changed into spiritual forms that are like His 1 Corinthians 15:42-44; 50-53.
aul said, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Jesus has shown us the way. But this is not something to be casual about. Overcoming by faith means being steadfast, diligent and dedicated. Faithful Christians today live in hope. What a privilege it is to wear that name today, so that one day we might also wear His new name; share His glory; wear the name of God; live in the city who’s maker is God, and be a pillar in the temple. It is to those who overcome that Jesus promises access to the tree of life and that the second death will not hurt them. He also promises hidden manna and a white stone. And He promises authority over the nations, and the morning star. He promises white garments to those whose names remain in the book of life and that He will speak for us in that final hour when no other friend will do. Revelation One