REVELATION 2

I. MESSAGE 1: EPHESUS LEFT HER FIRST LOVE 2:1-7

II. MESSAGE 2: SMYRNA ENDURES SUFFERING 2:8:11

III. MESSAGE 3: PERGAMOS COMPROMISES DOCTRINE 2:12-17

IV. MESSAGE 4: THYATIRA TOLERATES A FALSE TEACHER 2:18-29

Seven messages are given to the seven churches. This begins where John says, "the things that are," 2:1-3:22

Messages from Christ are given to seven local churches in Asia Minor. The number seven indicates that these churches are representative of all churches. In fact there is some truth to the idea that the conditions existing in these churches have existed in churches in every period of history. There is also a theory that the conditions that existed in these churches in the order in which they are listed are symbolic of seven periods of church history from the time of John to the end of the world.

The first message is to the church at Ephesus. Their virtues are extolled first. Christ commends them for their works, for their intolerance of evil and their discernment of false doctrine. The word Ephesus comes from a word meaning to "let go" or "allow." It is interesting that the charge against them is that they have let go of their first love. They had probably slowly moved away from or let go of their primary love. The city of Ephesus was famous for the temple of the goddess Artemis (Diana). This temple was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The believers resisted the external evil, but lost their spiritual fervor.

The second message is to the church at Smyrna. The name Smyrna means bitter. There were bitter water in this region which accounts for its name. Smyrna was located on a high elevation and was known as "the Beauty of Asia." There was a temple to the emperor Tiberias in the city, and Smyrna was famous for its worship of Caesar. The Lord held the church at Smyrna in the highest regard of the seven churches, because it had endured intense suffering. No condemnation is pronounced against this church.

The third message is to the church at Pergamos. The first part of the word is from "pergos" meaning a tower, and the last part from "gam" meaning to unite. The church at Pergamos was located in a terrible environment. The Lord commends the church because it held firm the name of Christ and had not denied the faith. The charge against them is that some of them hold the doctrine of Balaam. This refers to Numbers chapters 22 through 25 and 31:15-16. This event is where Balaam advised Balak to entice Moabite women to seduce the men of Israel. Nicolaitans may have been a false teacher who lead them astray. There was a temple to Augustus Caesar in the city. In verse 17, a promise is made to the overcomers that they will be given a white pebble. This may allude to the Urim of high priest, signifying light.

The fourth message is to the church in Thyatira. The word Thyatira comes from "thuos" sacrifice and "ateires" unweary. Thyatira is commended for her works, love and faith. One of the chief problems in the church is that they have allowed a woman like Jezebel of The Old Testament to teach and influence them.

 

TEXT (w/Scofield Notes)

(Rev 2:1 KJV) Unto the angel[1] of the church[2] of Ephesus write[3]; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

1 "ANGEL": See Rev 1:20, note

2 "CHURCH": <Churches> (local): vv. 1,7,8,11,12; Rev 2:17. (Acts 8:3; Phil 1:1, note)

3 "WRITE": <Inspiration:> vv. 1,8; Rev 2:12. (Exo 4:15; 2 Tim 3:16, note)

(Rev 2:2 KJV) 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[1]:

1 "LIARS": 1 John 4:1

(Rev 2:3 KJV) And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake[1] hast laboured, and hast not fainted[2].

1 "SAKE": Heb 12:1 - 3

2 "FAINTED": Gal 6:9

(Rev 2:4 KJV) Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

(Rev 2:5 KJV) Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent[1], 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.

1 "REPENT": <Repentance:> v. 5; Rev 2:16. (Mat 3:2; Acts 17:30, note)

(Rev 2:6 KJV) But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes[1], which I also hate.

1 "NICOLAITANES": The name "Nicolaitans," according to early church fathers (Ignatius, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Hippolytus), refers to those who, while professing themselves to be Christians, lived licentiously. What in Ephesus was "deeds" (v. 6) became in Pergamum a "doctrine" (v. 15).

(Rev 2:7 KJV) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit[1] saith unto the churches[2]; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree[3] of life[4], which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

1 "SPIRIT": <Holy Spirit> (N.T.): vv. 7,11; Rev 2:17. (Mat 1:18; Acts 2:4, note)

2 "CHURCHES": <Churches> (local): vv. 1,7,8,11,12; Rev 2:17. (Acts 8:3; Phil 1:1, note)

3 "TREE": "The tree of life" is one of the many allusions in Revelation to Genesis. In order to keep fallen man from eating of "the tree of life," God drove him from Eden and placed cherubim at the gate to guard the way to the tree (Gen 2:9; 3:22,24). "The tree of life" appears three times in Rev 22 (vv. 2,14,19 [Gk.] ), where the new paradise is described. In the N.T. the word translated "tree" (Gk. <xulon>) is used of the cross (Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Gal 3:13; 1 Pet 2:24). It is through Christ's death on the tree that mankind may have eternal life. He "bore our sins in his own body on the tree."

Gen 2:9; Rev 22:2,14

4 "LIFE": <Life> (eternal): vv. 7,10; Rev 3:5. (Mat 7:14; Rev 22:19)

(Rev 2:8 KJV) And unto the angel[1] of the church[2] in Smyrna write[3]; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive[4];

1 "ANGEL": See Rev 1:20, note

2 "CHURCH": <Churches> (local): vv. 1,7,8,11,12; Rev 2:17. (Acts 8:3; Phil 1:1, note)

3 "WRITE": <Inspiration:> vv. 1,8; Rev 2:12. (Exo 4:15; 2 Tim 3:16, note)

4 "ALIVE": Rev 1:17 -18

(Rev 2:9 KJV) I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say[1] they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue[2] of Satan[3].

1 "SAY": Rev 3:9

2 "SYNAGOGUE": Cp. John 8:30 - 47; 2 Cor 11:14

3 "SATAN": <Satan:> vv. 9,10,13; Rev 2:24. (Gen 3:1; Rev 20:10)

(Rev 2:10 KJV) Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil[1] shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried[2]; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown[3] of life[4].

1 "DEVIL": <Satan:> vv. 9,10,13; Rev 2:24. (Gen 3:1; Rev 20:10)

2 "TRIED": <Test-Tempt:> v. 10; Rev 3:10. (Gen 3:1; James 1:14, note)

3 "CROWN": <Rewards:> v. 10; Rev 3:11. (Dan 12:3; 1 Cor 3:14, note)

4 "LIFE": <Life> (eternal): vv. 7,10; Rev 3:5. (Mat 7:14; Rev 22:19)

(Rev 2:11 KJV) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit[1] saith unto the churches[2]; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death[3].

1 "SPIRIT": <Holy Spirit> (N.T.): vv. 7,11; Rev 2:17. (Mat 1:18; Acts 2:4, note)

2 "CHURCHES": <Churches> (local): vv. 1,7,8,11,12; Rev 2:17. (Acts 8:3; Phil 1:1, note)

3 "DEATH": <Death> (the second): v. 11; Rev 20:6. (John 8:21; Rev 20:14, note)

(Rev 2:12 KJV) And to the angel[1] of the church[2] in Pergamos write[3]; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges[4];

1 "ANGEL": See Rev 1:20, note

2 "CHURCH": <Churches> (local): vv. 1,7,8,11,12; Rev 2:17. (Acts 8:3; Phil 1:1, note)

3 "WRITE": <Inspiration:> v. 12; Rev 2:18. (Exo 4:15; 2 Tim 3:16, note)

4 "EDGES": Rev 1:16

(Rev 2:13 KJV) I know thy works and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's[1] seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith[2], even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr[3], who was slain among you, where Satan[4] dwelleth.

1 "SATAN'S": <Satan:> vv. 9,10,13; Rev 2:24. (Gen 3:1; Rev 20:10)

2 "FAITH": Cp. 2 Tim 2:12

3 "MARTYR": The word "martyr" derives from the Gk. <martus> ("martyr") which appears eighteen times in its various forms in this book as in 1:2,5; 3:14; 19:10; 20:4; etc.; it later came to denote <one who died because of his faithfulness in such witnessing,> as here.

4 "SATAN": <Satan:> vv. 9,10,13; Rev 2:24. (Gen 3:1; Rev 20:10)

(Rev 2:14 KJV) But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam[1], who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

1 "BALAAM": The "doctrine of Balaam" (see 2 Pet 2:15 and Jude 11, notes) was his teaching Balak to corrupt the people who could not be cursed (Num 31:15 - 16; 22:5; 23:8) by tempting them to marry women of Moab, defile their separation, and abandon their pilgrim character. It is that union of the world and the church which is spiritual unchastity (James 4:4). Pergamum had lost the pilgrim character and was living (v. 13) where Satan's throne was (v. 13), i.e. in the world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11).

(Rev 2:15 KJV) So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes[1], which thing I hate.

1 "NICOLAITANES": See 2:6, note

(Rev 2:16 KJV) Repent[1]; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth[2].

1 "REPENT": <Repentance:> vv. 16, 21,22; Rev 3:3. (Mat 3:2; Acts 17:30, note)

2 "MOUTH": 2 Th 2:8; Rev 19:15

(Rev 2:17 KJV) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit[1] saith unto the churches[2]; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna[3], and will give him a white stone[4], and in the stone a new name written[5], which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it[6].

1 "SPIRIT": <Holy Spirit> (N.T.): vv. 17,29; Rev 3:6. (Mat 1:18; Acts 2:4, note)

2 "CHURCHES": <Churches> (local): 2:17,23,29; 3:1,6,7; Rev 3:13. (Acts 8:3; Phil 1:1, note)

3 "MANNA": Exo 16:33 -34; John 6:49 - 51

4 "STONE": Signifying approval

5 "WRITTEN": Isa 62:2; Rev 3:12; cp. John 1:42

6 "IT": Cp. Rev 14:3

(Rev 2:18 KJV) And unto the angel[1] of the church[2] in Thyatira write[3]; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass[4];

1 "ANGEL": See Rev 1:20, note

2 "CHURCH": <Churches> (local): 2:17,23,29; 3:1,6,7; Rev 3:13. (Acts 8:3; Phil 1:1, note)

3 "WRITE": <Inspiration:> 2:18; 3:1,7; Rev 3:14. (Exo 4:15; 2 Tim 3:16, note)

4 "BRASS": Rev 1:14 -15

(Rev 2:19 KJV) I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith[1], and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

1 "FAITH": <Faith:> v. 19. (Gen 3:20; Heb 11:39, note)

(Rev 2:20 KJV) Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel[1], which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

1 "JEZEBEL": 1 Ki 16:31 -32

(Rev 2:21 KJV) And I gave her space to repent[1] of her fornication; and she repented not.

1 "REPENT": <Repentance:> vv. 16, 21,22; Rev 3:3. (Mat 3:2; Acts 17:30, note)

(Rev 2:22 KJV) Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

(Rev 2:23 KJV) And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches[1] shall know that I am he which searcheth[2] the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

1 "CHURCHES": <Churches> (local): 2:17,23,29; 3:1,6,7; Rev 3:13. (Acts 8:3; Phil 1:1, note)

2 "SEARCHETH": Jer 17:10

(Rev 2:24 KJV) 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[1] of Satan[2], as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.

1 "DEPTHS": 2 Tim 3:1 - 9; cp. 1 Cor 2:10

2 "SATAN": <Satan:> v. 24; Rev 3:9. (Gen 3:1; Rev 20:10)

(Rev 2:25 KJV) But that which ye have already hold fast till I come[1].

1 "COME": <Christ> (second advent): v. 25; Rev 16:15. (Deu 30:3; Acts 1:11, note)

(Rev 2:26 KJV) And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

(Rev 2:27 KJV) 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[1] received of my Father.

1 "I": <Day> (of the LORD): v. 27; Rev 6:17. (Ps 2:9; Rev 19:19)

(Rev 2:28 KJV) And I will give him the morning star[1].

1 "STAR": Rev 22:16; cp. 2 Pet 1:19

(Rev 2:29 KJV) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit[1] saith unto the churches[2].

1 "SPIRIT": <Holy Spirit> (N.T.): vv. 17,29; Rev 3:6. (Mat 1:18; Acts 2:4, note)

2 "CHURCHES": <Churches> (local): 2:17,23,29; 3:1,6,7; Rev 3:13. (Acts 8:3; Phil 1:1, note)