Message to Ephesus
Verse 1 – “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:
Ephesus was one of the largest and most powerful cities in the Roman Empire. It was devoted to the worship of Diana (Artemis), the fertility goddess, and the emperor of Rome, who was considered a god.
Verse 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;
Verse 3 – “and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.
Ephesus refused to tolerate sin among its members, even in the midst of a city that worshiped a pagan god.
We are living in times of widespread sin and sexual immorality. Too many are open-minded in the church calling them “choices of alternative life-styles.” However, when a body of believers begins to tolerate sin in a church, it is lowering the standards and compromise in its witness for God.
Verse 4 – “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
Verse 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.
In spite of all the good works they did, there was a decline in their relationship with Jesus, by not loving Him the way they once did.
When this church first began, like many churches today, their highest priority is Jesus. As time went on they started backsliding. When sin starts to creep in, a little here, a little there, we tend to not rejoice in the grace and forgiveness we have been given. Do you love Christ as much today as when you first believed?
The lost will come into a body of believers with all kinds of hang-ups and mess. However, they are not to stay that way after being born-again. The life-styles that are contrary to God’s Word have to go.
Verse 6 – “But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
There is not a lot written on the Nicolaitans, only what is written in Revelation 2:15. But it is supposed that their doctrine and practices held the same as the doctrine of Balaam. This passage relates to a class of people who were in the practice of seducing Christians to participate in the sacrificial feasts of the pagans.
Verse 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.” ‘
Message to Smyrna
Verse 8 – “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:
Verse 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.
Smyrna had a large population bitterly opposed to Christianity. When Domitian issued an edict declaring emperor worship mandatory for all inhabitants of the Roman Empire, he exempted the Jews from this requirement. The Jews did not want this religious freedom extended to Christians. Some of the Jews still had a bitterness against their own Jews who had become Christians.
Verse 10 – “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you in prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you a crown of life.
Verse 11 – “He who has ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” ‘
You may have noticed that Jesus didn’t find any faults with this church, He only encouraged them to remain faithful unto death. If they remained faithful to Him unto death, they would receive a crown of life and be spared of the second death, which will come at the final judgment to all those who reject Christ! This will take place at the Great White Throne Judgment.
Message to Pergamos
Verse 12 – “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword:
Verse 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.
This particular church was located in a city run by heathen intellectuals – a city given over to idolatry and the temple worship of Athena, Caesar Augustus, Dionysus, Asklepios, Hadrian, and Zeus. Satan had a lot of power there, but the Holy Spirit was stronger.
Verse 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.
Verse 15 – Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which things I hate.
To understand Balaam and Balak, you have to go back to the Old Testament. Balaam was a prophet and Balak was a king who gave Balaam money to curse the children of Israel.
Here’s the jest of it: Balaam was told by Balak to have the women of his country to intermarry with the Jewish men and entice them to worship idols and commit idolatry. The people of Pergamum had become liberal about sin and were enticing others to sin.
As best we can tell about what the thinking of the Nicolaitans was, a person’s spirit was good and the flesh was evil. They believed what was done in the flesh had no effect on the spirit.
Verse 16 – ‘Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.
Jesus warned this church to stop following the doctrine of compromise. The body of believers were to follow the doctrine of the gospel not the Nicolaitans.
Verse 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 is written which no one knows except him who receives it.” ‘
Some of the manna that God fed the children of Israel which was placed in the Ark of the Covenant – thus hidden as a reminder for future generations.
Since we cannot see Jesus, He is our “hidden manna.” He promises that we will never hunger spiritually because He is always with us.
As far as the white stone: In John’s day a stone was used in the courts of justice in voting whether a person was guilty or innocent of a crime. The white stone was for innocent, black stone, guilty.
The new name, I believe is for the Christian, and that new name will be known by the person and Jesus only.
Message to Thyatira
Verse 18 – “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:
Jesus’ eyes depicts His penetrating insight. His eyes are blazing as He looks upon the wickedness of this church. His feet like fine brass is a reminder that He is the judge of His Church. Those who bring evil into the body of believers will be judged by the Son of God.
Verse 19 – “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.
Verse 20 – “Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and beguile My servants to commit sexual immorality and to eat things sacrificed to idols.
The original “Jezebel” was the wife of Ahab in the Old Testament and she was as evil as they come. This Jezebel had set herself up as a prophetess, but was nowhere near to God’s teachings. The church of Thyatira was allowing this woman to teach things such as sexual immorality to the believers.
Verse 21 – “and I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent.
Verse 22 – “Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation,m unless they repent of their deeds.
Now, we all know that adultery between people is sin and that in no uncertain terms should a person committing adultery be allowed in leadership in the church, but this is bigger than that.
Sin being allowed to run ram-pet in a church body, false teaching, and taking the focus off of Jesus in the church is all adultery. When a church turns itself into anything other than a place to worship the One True King, is playing with fire! These leaders in this church knew about her and what she was doing, and they allowed it!
Verse 23 – “And 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.
Do you not see that it is just as wrong to allow sin to take hold in a church as it is to participate in it? People today will argue that “Jezebel” was entitled to her own beliefs, but those beliefs had consequences to God’s judgment. Those beliefs were passed on from generation to generation. All those who follow are led astray. All those who follow or tolerate this teaching and belief system will suffer the second death and be cast into the lake of fire unless they repent.
Verse 24 – “But to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, and who have not known the depths of Satan, as they call them, I will put on you no other burden.
Verse 25 – “But hold fast what you have till I come.
Beware Christians of any new teaching that takes you away from the true doctrine of the gospel. Scripture teaches there is only one way to God and Salvation, and it means exactly what it says – through Jesus Christ.
Verse 26 – “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations –
Verse 27 – ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the potter’s vessels shall be broken to pieces – as I also have received from My Father;
I’m going to say something that is going to sound harsh to a lot of people, but we all need to know and understand this: “If you were baptized as an infant, were told you were saved at 6, 7, 8 because you attended a “vacation Bible school and so on and have lived a life unto yourself or anyway contrary to God’s word, you are not a true Christian!” I’ve been to too many funerals where I know the person laying in the casket was meaner than a snake, never lived one day for the Lord, and the relatives say things like, “Well, their in heaven now watching over us and I”ll see them again.” No they are not in heaven! Just because you love someone and they die, they do not become a saint. after death. The Bible says you will know them, meaning Christians, by their fruit. No fruit no Christian.
Scripture says over and over, “If you continue in My word and do My commandments…” If you continue in His word and follow His commandments and continue in His works unto the end, meaning death. Jesus says right here again, “If you keep My works,” until the end.
Verse 28 – “and I will give him the morning star.
The bright and morning star is also one of the names of Jesus, so when He promises to give the morning start to the overcomers, the gift is Himself and eternal life. Believe and receive, doubt and go without.
Verse 29 – “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to he churches!” ‘
Jesus ends each letter with this exhortation. Take heed and pay attention to the Holy Spirit living on the inside of each believer of what He says. Many churches today are allowing the spirit of “Jezebel” int their congregations. This should not be tolerated.