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 shortcomings 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 gains 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 are 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 were 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 brethren. 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 reasons 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 devil 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;
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 stands 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 tries 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 aflame, 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 teachings 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 Revelation Three