The Book of Revelation Chapter 2
Chapter two starts with letters written to the various churches mentioned in chapter one verse 11. Although these letters were written to the churches of that time, they are applicable to the churches today. As you read the verses, reflect on how they may relate to the church you are involved in or may have been in the past.
The issue with this first church as stated in verse 4 that says; “You have lost your first Love”. This is reference to the fact that the church has lost it’s dedication toward Jesus. Maybe that other issues within the church have taken priority over their dedication to Him. How many churches today seem to concentrate on other ‘business’ issues within their church compared to the amount of time dedicated to teaching the gospel? This is a common issue for churches today. And the instruction here is to repent and return to their first efforts of Love of the church;
The Loveless Church
“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. 6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”’ Rev 2:1-7
The removal of the lamp stand in verse 5 is reference to a quick judgement. The Niclations mentioned in verse 6 were a heretical group teaching false teachings of that time.
The Persecuted Church
The church of Smyrna is one of only two churches out of the seven John was to write to that did not find themselves confronted with a rebuke from the Lord. This church had remained faithful and although plagued with false teachers, they were given an assurance of their promise of reward for keeping their faith;
“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: 9 “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”’ Rev.2:8-11
The Compromising Church
These verses speak once again of the ‘Two edged sword’ which we have established as Jesus speaking with authority. Secondly there is a reference to Satan’s throne. Evidently, there were those in this church who actively were involved in various forms of sin including sexual immorality. Lastly, in verse 14, Balak was a Balaam worker tasked with leading the Jews to disbelief and to follow sinful actions of pagans;
“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.[a] 16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. 17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”’ Rev 2:12-17
The Corrupt Church
Jesus also rebuked those in this church who dwelled in sin. Jezebel, a name reference to Queen Jezebel was the source of their sinful acts. The reference to a sick bed is a judgement against them. Those who refuse to repent will experience eternal death. Lastly these verses reassure those who remain faithful will enjoy the close relationship with the ‘Morning Star’ - Jesus Himself.
“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 19 “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. 22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. 23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works. 24 “Now to you I say, and[h] to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. 25 But hold fast what you have till I come. 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations— 27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’— as I also have received from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star. 29 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’ Rev. 2:18-29