Revelation 2 "Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; 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: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 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. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 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 G-d. And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; 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. 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. 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. And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; 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. 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. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 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. And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of G-d, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; 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. 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. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. 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. 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. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 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. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." (KJV)
The messages to the 7 churches are covered in chapters 2 and 3.
This is a three-fold message to the churches "groups of believers".
1) The contemporary purpose: That Y'shua had a direct message to seven literal churches existing at that time.
2) The composite purpose: These messages are to be applied by all churches existing in all ages.
3) The chronological purpose: That the characteristics of these churches serve as a prophetical view of seven periods in history from Pentecost (the start of the Church Age) to the rapture (the end of the Church Age).
There is a pattern to the messages to each church:
1) Y'shua is described differently to each church to fit their situation.
2) Each church's good qualities and strengths are recognized.
3) Their faults are noted.
4) Then Y'shua demanded they correct the problem.
5) After the message to each church Y'shua says: "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Here those with spiritual sense are urged to act. Some do not have this spiritual ear and will not heed the warning.
6) Finally each church is given a promise to encourage them to heed Y'shua's warning.
Revelation 2:1-7 Ephesus - name means "desirable" The Apostolic church age. (A.D. 30-300) - First love lost.
Ephesus was a large city in western Turkey. The temple of Diana (Artemis) was located in Ephesus. If you are interested in learning more about the church at Ephesus (see Acts 18:19-21; 19; and 20:17-38)
The Nicolaitans From the Greek Niko - to conquer and laos - "people". Meaning to conquer the laity (the average believer). This is referring to Y'shua's hatred of a church hierarchy.
The Apostolic Church period saw the writing of the B'rit Hadashah (New Testament) and an attempt to evangelize the known Roman world.
Revelation 2:8-11 Smyrna - name means "myrrh" The Martyr church age (A.D. 100 313) -. The Persecuted Church.
Smyrna is modern day Izmir, Turkey.
The temple of Zeus (the supreme Greek G-d) and the temple of Cybele (G-ddess of nature) were located in Smyrna.
Myrrh was used to embalm dead bodies. The believers in Smyrna were severely persecuted. Both Jewish and non-Jewish believers in Y'shua were persecuted during the corresponding church age. (A.D. 100 313).
Note verse 10 "the devil shall cast you into prison" The devil (Satan) is behind the wicked schemes of evil men.
The "Crown of Life" is also known as the Martyrs crown. (See also James 1:12) It is one of the crowns believers can earn. This is not one I hope to earn. (of course this is not talking about salvation) Different crowns will be discussed later in Chapter four.
Revelation 2:12-17 - Pergamos - name means "marriage" The Compromising church age. (A.D. 314 590) Tolerates false teachers.
On the acropolis the temple of Athena, an alter to Zeus, and the temple of Escuapius stood.
The alter to Zeus had a base over 100 ft sq and 40 ft high.
Escuapius was a pagan G-d whose idol was in the form of a serpent.
Acropolis (Greek) akron - top; polis city - hence an acropolis is a high fortified hill-city.
The "Doctrine of Balaam" was the teaching that the people of G-d should intermarry with the heathen and compromise in the matter of idolatrous worship. (See Num 31:15-16)
Pergamos means pergo "tower" gamos "marriage". This makes us think of its "tower" to Athena and Zeus and to its "marriage" of Christianity with paganism.
Known as "Satan's seat".
It has been said that since Satan could not drive the Church out of the world by persecution during the Smyrna period, he attempted to drive the world into the church in the Pergamos era.
Revelation 2:18-29 Thyatira -name means "continual sacrifice" The Roman Catholic Church age. (A.D. 590 1517) - Dominated by a powerful false prophet.
Lydia was from Thyatira (see Acts 16:14-15)
The church of Thyatira was allowing pagan worship to enter their church. The false prophetess "Jezebel" was teaching immorality and idolatry and she was unrepentant.
During the period represented by this church, the church became corrupt.
It sought to combine Christianity with pagan philosophy and heathen religious
rites so that much of the ritual of the church at that period is directly
traceable to comparable ceremonies in heathen religion. During the middle
ages the false teaching of the continual sacrifice of Y'shua was advocated
transforming the observance of the elements of the L-rd's Supper (Pesach)
into another sacrifice of Y'shua.