Revelation Chapter 2
Today these words still find new and special meanings on an individual basis. One can not put a personal interpretation upon these words and expect every individual to understand, or agree. The Spirit moves in strange ways which can not be fully understood by our limited capacity. The letters to the seven churches have been composed mush like the parables Jesus used to teach as He walked among men. Just as Jesus walks among the seven candlesticks (churches) these letters have been given to us to reach across all languages, cultures and generations.
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;
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:
3. And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
As with all of the churches, Jesus explains, He knows all of our works. He sees them, and bears our burdens with us. Here are given a few of the attributes of a laborer for Christ. Patience: KJV Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. KJV Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. KJV 2 Peter 1:6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
Another attribute mentioned is the ability to judge the words of others, to see if they are true or not. (thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:) So how do we gain the ability, the knowledge to try the words from others? KJV 2 Samuel 22:31 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him. KJV Psalms 12:6 The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
The only way to judge the words of another person is to measure them against the word of God. There is no other way. KJV Psalms 5:5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity. KJV Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise. KJV Proverbs 14:33 Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known.
4. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
What is this first love? KJV Exodus 20:6. And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. KJV Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. KJV Deuteronomy 11:1 Therefore thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway. KJV Psalms 119:47. And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved. 48. My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes. KJV John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
The authority of the Bible tells us the first love is keeping the commandments of God. How else can one learn to love themselves, their neighbor or God, unless they learn to love God’s commandments? KJV Matthew 22:37. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38. This is the first and great commandment. 39. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
So many books have been written about the suffering of Jesus. Is that all the mind of the author can comprehend of the life of Jesus? There have been so few books written about the true life and love fulfilled by Christ. His life was complete in the Father and the commandments. A life complete in love, and giving, from the first breath taken, through the last words spoken upon the cross. KJV John 19:30. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
From the concordance we find. Strong’s Ref. # 5055 from GSN5056; to end, ie. complete, execute, conclude, discharge (a debt): Not only was Jesus referring to the end of the sacrifice He came to provide, but the final payment of the debt man had incurred.
Each of us has had our paths cross with one or two people, who live their lives with an understanding of the commandments, and a light about them which permeates the love God intended for all of us to experience. Have we paid close enough attention to these people, to learn what they have been sent to teach us? Or have we simply passed these lessons off as being unimportant because they were so much unlike the world.
Consider the lessons of that first love in your own life? That feeling that no power in this world could ever shake. The attachment for that one special person. Have you ever written off that love as a misguided, undereducated bundle of feelings with no real meaning? Have you forgotten the commitments felt in your heart when you secretly made those vows before God, to love that person for the rest of your life? What about the sacrifices you were willing to make? The goal was to live that one true love. At that moment you knew you had to put the other person first to succeed.. As you prayed you knew there was no other way. You knew true love was a sacrifice. There was no other way around it. Has that sacrifice just become too much to bear? Have you just simply rejected the concept of self sacrifice?
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. 6. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
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.
Verse seven contains one of God’s the promises. Why did God choose to write Revelation with each letter to the churches containing a little glimpse of Heaven? When we put the texts together we receive one of the largest descriptions of Heaven found in the Bible. Is this a message showing united churches will provide a much better view of Heaven? Imagine the picture of Heaven we could give to the world if all Christians, in every denomination would all work together to bring every soul to Jesus. That is itself would be a picture of Heaven.
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; 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.
Here again we are shown Jesus knows the people He is writing to, even though they are the worshippers of Satan. Does this illustrate a church that thinks it follows Jesus, but in fact is following Satan? Can that actually happen? Has it happened? Bible provide tells us we should be constantly on alert for the attacks of Satan. No matter what demonination we choose, we are still in danger of being deceived by Satan.
KJV Psalms 109:5. And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love. 6. Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand. 7. When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin. 8. Let his days be few; and let another take his office. Here we have a prophesy about Jesus standing before the high priest during His trial. The first example shows how a leader of the Jewish nation gave himself over to the influence of Satan.
KJV Matthew 4:10. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Even Jesus was tempted by Satan, which proves that none of us is above temptation. Do any of us even realize to what extent we are being tempted? Okay so you may think that you are smart enough to know right from wrong. Of course most of us know how to choose the right and proper path. It is easy isn’t it? Let us look at a few more example from the Bible to see just how easy it is to stay on the straight and narrow.
KJV Matthew 16:23. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Here is a prime example of one that never saw it coming. And how many times did Peter fall? More then this one example. And don’t forget Judas. KJV Luke 22:3. Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve
So do you feel you are above temptation? Did you know that for every word of encouragement that comes your way, Satan has a plan to steal it away. KJV Mark 4:15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.
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. 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.
Those who have an understanding of the love of God have no fear of prison, tribulation or even death. Here lies a promise to all of those that follow God. There will be no fear of the second death.
There has been some question as to what the second death actually is. The corect answer con only be found within the words of the Bible. KJV Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. KJV Revelation 20:13. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. KJV Revelation 21:8. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
There should be no confusion on this subject. Either you follow God and receive the first resurrection and live with Him forever. Or you follow Satan and all of his ways and get tossed in a lake of fire to face the second death.
12. And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
Again we see Christ described as the one with the two edged sword. In chapter one we have been shown Jesus’ sword is the word of God. A two edged sword can cut both ways. What does it mean to cut both ways? Does it mean there is a good way, and a bad way to cut? Or is this just a way to raise our attention to what is written next? The Lord is good at leaving little flags in the Bible to let us know we should be paying attention. There is always a good reason for something to be repeated three or more times in the Bible. Jesus Himself would always say, “verily I say” to alert the listener, and readers, He is about to say something important. The next two letters deal with warnings to churches falling prey to Satan. A subject we need to pay close attention to in every time and age, and not simply discount it as being a former work of Satan.
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.
Here is an interesting note. The name Antipas is mentioned only once in the Bible. It is, mentioned in a verse that is describing both the seat of Satan and a martyr. Looking at the word Antipas we see the word “anti” meaning opposite. Here is what the Greek dictionary says about the name Antipus.
Strong’s Ref. # 493 Antipas Pronounced an-tee’-pas contracted for a compound of GSN0473 and a derivative of GSN3962; Antipas, a Christian: Strong’s Number: 473 Transliterated: anti Phonetic: an-tee’
Text: a primary particle; opposite, i.e. instead or because of (rarely in addition to): –for, in the room of. Often used in composition to denote contrast, requital, substitution, correspondence, etc. So the Greek word used here actually denotes, and tells us that the “anti” or opposite of Satan is martyred.
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 stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
15. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
We all remember Balaam from KJV Numbers 22:5. He sent messengers therefore unto Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying, Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me: 6. Come now therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me: peradventure I shall prevail, that we may smite them, and that I may drive them out of the land: for I wot that he whom thou blessest is blessed, and he whom thou cursest is cursed.
There are always going to be churches that seem to be following God, but show satanic opposition to other churches following the same God. They search for reasons to justify the judgment they pass down. But what is the real reason one Christian church persecutes another? It may be simply for profit, or because one group feels they are so superior to all the other churches. They use excusses like, we need to put away the old ways. Or they may feel they can ignore the Old Testament because everything is fulfilled or done away with? Today the world is filled with people standing upon their own mountain throwing down curses upon God’s people.
Why is it 2000 years after the beginning of Christianity, churches are still fighting among one another? Some claim they are the only church to have to truth. Why do some churches feel they have a direct line to God, no one else can have? Which one is right? Are any of them without fault? Or has each church been given just a little insight to the truth? How do we know? Is it safe to accept the beliefs of others? How will we know we are not being lead astray?
16. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
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.
Doesn’t the Lord just love closing His letter with a promise about Heaven.
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;
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.
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.
Once again we see an introduction written in a manner there can be no mistake Christ is addressing His church. The question Jesus has for the church of Thyatira is, “why do you allow this woman Jezebel, a false prophetess to teach in your church?” What does this woman Jezebel represent?
KJV 1 Kings 16:31 And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. KJV 1 Kings 18:4 For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.) KJV 1 Kings 18:19 Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table.
Jezebel was a daughter of a Gentile king, a worshipper of Baal. She influenced an already corrupt king of Israel, leading the nation further into idol worship. She attempted to assassinate the prophets of God and set up her own prophets, followers of Baal as the religious leaders over Israel.
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.
This may be one of the most important symbols used in the Bible. The symbolic meaning of the bed has close ties to a relationship, and marriage, both a continuing theme throughout the Bible. The Lord uses a virgin to illustrate a faithful follower, and a whore, one that lies in a bed with others as an unfaithful person, a false religion, or a lost soul.
KJV Hosea 7:14. And they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds: they assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against me. KJV Amos 6:4 That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; KJV Micah 2:1 Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand.
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.
We still don’t have a clear view of what Jezebel represents. That would be a very lengthy study. There are many illustrations of an unfaithful woman scattered through out the Bible. Verse 23 introduces the key word children, which will provide additional details.
KJV Psalms 144:11 Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood: KJV Isaiah 30:9 That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: 10. Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: KJV Jeremiah 5:7 How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses.
The children referred to verse 23 do not follow God. They follow false religions. They work to control the prophets, and the word of God they teach to others. Here again the practice of false religion is compared to adultery.
KJV Ezekiel 16:44 Behold, every one that useth proverbs shall use this proverb against thee, saying, As is the mother, so is her daughter. 45. Thou art thy mother’s daughter, that lotheth her husband and her children; and thou art the sister of thy sisters, which lothed their husbands and their children: your mother was an Hittite, and your father an Amorite. 46. And thine elder sister is Samaria, she and her daughters that dwell at thy left hand: and thy younger sister, that dwelleth at thy right hand, is Sodom and her daughters. 47. Yet hast thou not walked after their ways, nor done after their abominations: but, as if that were a very little thing, thou wast corrupted more than they in all thy ways. 48. As I live, saith the Lord God, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters. 49. Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
To summarize the letter to Thyatira thus far. We see a church forming of false worship great enough to warrant a special warning seen in the comparison to Jezebel. This church practices control and deceit, attempting to set up, and control the prophets (those that speak to the people) in a way that only smooth things are spoken to the people.
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.
With God there is always a show of mercy, judging the individual instead of the group as a whole. God assures His followers that when they may be surrounded by deceptions, those true to the word of God will not suffer the burdens represented by Thyatira. What could some of these burdens be? As in most cases they are burdens of mans own making. Burdens that would not be there had they followed God’s law. Worries, pain, and fears caused by the superstitions of Satan. Much like the superstitions illustrated in the life of king Saul, who was used and controlled by Satan until he met his death. When Satan could no longer use Saul to do his bidding, he took pleasure in announcing the punishment facing Saul and his sons.
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.
28. And I will give him the morning star.
29. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
As always Jesus closes His letter with a positive outlook on the future, a glimpse of Heaven. This is what lead me to read the book of Revelation with a desire to understand God’s promises. The promise and prophesy most mentioned in the Bible was repeated to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. KJV Genesis 12:7 And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land. This was not a promise of earthly land, but the promise of a Heavenly home, free of all the trials and tribulations of this world. A world prepared by Christ for all of His followers. A home forever.
- COPYRIGHT 2006-2011 BY DENNIS HERMAN
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