Revelation Chapter Two
Messages to the Seven Churches
There is a common pattern given in the letters to the seven churches. Commendations, warnings, and blessings with exception to Sardis and Laodicea which do not receive commendations. Also the phrase "He that hath an ear, let him hear", is repeated to all seven churches. This emphasizes that only those who are true believers are able to hear the Spiritual message of God (Mark 4:11-12) (John 14:17) (Luke 24:45) (Acts 16:14) (1 Corinthians 2:14). A few things must be mentioned in relation to the seven churches. These were seven literal churches in the time of John's writing of the Revelation that were in Asia (Revelation 1:11). Spiritually, they are messages to all churches of all time throughout the church age. Note the use of the plural form of "churches" in the call to hear, such as in (Revelation 2:7) (Revelation 2:11) (Revelation 2:17) etc. Some interpret the seven churches to be the progression of the spiritual condition of the church up until the end of the church age. The early church represented by Ephesus in the first century as a whole, through to the last church Laodicea, where we find it in its final state of apostasy before the great tribulation begins.
One Biblical truth that must be understood to have a clear understanding of Revelation, is that during the tribulation period, the local churches will be completely apostate.
They will remain that way until the Lord returns at the end of the tribulation. However, a great multitude of people will be saved outside of the congregations prior to the Lord's
return. This will be expounded upon throughout this study. With this in mind we can understand and see the progression of the church throughout the church age by the
kingdom parables of Matthew Chapter 13. We will briefly examine three, starting with the Tares among the Wheat
(Matthew 13:24-30). The Lord Jesus tells us that there will be true believers along with unbelievers mingled in the church together, represented by the Tares among the Wheat. Next we have the mustard seed (Matthew 13:31-32). This shows us the kingdom of heaven upon the earth starts out very small, but grows into a tree. We know Jesus is the root and the believers are the branches (Isaiah 11:10) (Romans 11:13-24) (John 15:1-6). However the birds of the air. which are the unbelievers/false prophets (Ephesians 2:2) (Mark 4:4) (Mark 4:15) come and lodge in the branches (Revelation 18:2). Later in this study we learn that the apostate church is referred to as Babylon (Revelation 17:5) (Revelation 17:18).
Finally, we have the leaven (Matthew 13:33). Here the leaven represents false doctrines (Matthew 16:12) (Galatians 5:9) which eventually works its way throughout the meal "the church" until it becomes completely leavened "apostate". This is a sad fact, but God allows it to accomplish His plans according to His divine purpose (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12).
To Ephesus: Commendation, Warning, Blessing
1 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;
saith he Jesus (Revelation 1:13-16)
2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
works (James 1:25) (James 2:20) (James 2:26)
labour (1 Corinthians 15:58)
patience (Hebrews 12:1-3) (James 1:3-4)
apostles requirements of (Acts 1:21-22)
3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
not fainted (Galatians 6:9)
4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
thy first love Jesus must always be first (Matthew 10:37)
5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
Jesus calls for repentance or He will..
remove thy candlestick we have learned from (Revelation 1:20) that the candlestick represents the church. The candlestick in the original is a lampstand (strongs#3087), and is not the light producer itself. We know that Jesus is the source of all light (John 1:9) (1 John 1:5)
(1 Thessalonians 5:5). The result is darkness, a spiritually dead church, which we will learn to be the case during the tribulation period
(2 Thessalonians 2:7). Jesus and the true believers will no longer be in the local corporate church (Revelation 18:23).
6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
Nicolaitans appears to be those who profess themselves to be Christians, yet live licentiously.
7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
eat of the tree of life The Lord Himself supplies all our spiritual healing (Genesis 2:9) (Revelation 22:2) (Revelation 22:14). The blessing is Jesus Himself in which we have eternal life.
To Smyrna: Commendation, Warning, Blessing
8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
saith Jesus (Revelation 1:17-18)
9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
poverty (2 Corinthians 8:9)
rich in Jesus (Ephesians 3:8) (Philippians 4:19)
Jews those who say they are true believers, but are not (Romans 2:28-29)
synagogue of Satan (2 Corinthians 11:13-15) (John 8:30-47)
10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
Fear (Matthew 10:28)
tried (James 1:2-4)
tribulations (Matthew 24:21-22) (John 16:2)
crown of life the blessing is eternal life in Jesus Christ
11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
second death the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14)
To Pergamos: Commendation, Warning, Blessing
12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
saith he Jesus (Revelation 1:16) (Hebrews 4:12)
13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.
Satan's seat Satan is shown to have authority in Pergamos.
seat denotes authority, and rulership
As long as we are in the world, we can expect persecution (1 Peter 5:8). We can expect physical persecution along with spiritual persecution as Satan
mingles truth with lies through his false prophets
(2 Corinthians 11:14-15).
not denied my faith (2 Timothy 2:12)
Antipas The treatment of Antipas is the common manner in which the true believers of God have been persecuted from the beginning and is what we must expect (Matthew 23:34-35). Count the cost of discipleship (Luke 14:28-30).
14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
Balaam in summary, the doctrine of Balaam is represented as the doctrine of false prophets in context with (2 Peter 2:15) (Jude 1:11). For a complete study on Balaam, Read Numbers Chapters 22-25.
15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
Nicolaitans Here we have the same from (Revelation 2:6). Note how this church is poluted with several false doctrines.
16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
Repent or else judgement will come quickly (Revelation 19:15). God will judge His churches that practice spiritual fornication, and will be expounded upon in this study.
17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
will I give the fallowing are all attributes of Jesus Christ Himself. He is our reward.
Hidden manna (John 6:49-58)
white stone (1 Corinthians 10:4) (1 Peter 2:6) who is white as snow (Revelation 1:14)
new name new in Christ (Isaiah 62:2) (Isaiah 65:15)
no man/saving he that receiveth salvation necessary (John 1:12-13)
To Thyatira: Commendation, Warning, Blessing
18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;
saith the Son of God Jesus (Matthew 16:16) (Revelation 1:14-15)
19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.
works/works Appears to be growth in faithfulness in this church by the double application of the word works. However, in the next few verses we find idolatry present.
20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. 21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
Jezebel she was the wicked wife of King Ahab who tried to destroy the worship of the Lord and replace it with the worship of Baal. She was also a false accuser of the righteous. For a complete study about Jezebel, read I Kings Chapters 16, 18, 19, 21, and 2 Kings Chapter 9. Jezebel is here represented as more apostasy which is present in this church.
23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
searcheth the reins and hearts (Jeremiah 17:10)
24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.
The Lord will protect His own from the corruptions of the doctrines of false prophets, and lead them into truth (John 16:13-15).
25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. 26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
Those in Christ Jesus will rule and reign with Him, and also partake in the judgement of this world (1 Corinthians 6:2-3) (Jude 1:14-16) (Revelation 19:11-16).
rod of iron (Revelation 12:5) (Revelation 19:15) (Psalms 2:9)
potter (Isaiah 30:8-14)
Jesus gives us authority through the power of His Word (Hebrews 4:12) and Spirit (Acts 1:8). The Gospel brings both Grace and Judgement
(2 Corinthians 2:14-17).
28 And I will give him the morning star.
The blessing Jesus gives is Himself (Revelation 22:16).
29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Only those who are true believers are able to hear the Spiritual message of God (Mark 4:11-12) (John 14:17) (Luke 24:45) (Acts 16:14)
(1 Corinthians 2:14).