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Revelation 2

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7 LETTERS TO 7 CHURCHES

At the Feast of Pentecost in Jerusalem, the Church was born fifty days after Jesus’s resurrection at the Jewish Feast of Shavuot. See more Biblical Feast Days.

 

Gentiles joined the first Jewish converts, a people for the kingdom of God, spreading the Gospel. Persecution drove them out of Israel. By the time Jesus gave seven letters to seven Churches, the early Church was established in modern-day Turkey. 

 

Jesus picked seven of these early churches to convey a message layered with information for the Church through the ages and individual believers. 

HISTORY OF THE CHURCH

 

Note! 

Not all scholars agree that the seven churches of Revelation represent Church history. However, I want to include it since many do.

 

Church History - Revelation 1

THE FIRST FOUR LETTERS

 Revelation 2 contains the first four of these letters. For the other three churches see Revelation 3.
 
The first four of the seven letters to Seven Churches in Asia Minor
Revelation 2 - Seven Letters to Seven Churches

STRUCTURE OF THE SEVEN LETTERS

 

Every one of the seven letters in Revelation has the same 7-fold structure.

· An address. 

· An introduction. 

· A statement regarding that Church.

· A verdict regarding that Church.

· A command to that Church.

· An appeal.

· A reward.

THE SEVEN CHURCHES

 

EPHESUS

THE EARLY CHURCH

EPHESUS -7 Churches in Asia Minor
Church in Ephesus

 BACKGROUND 

Ephesus means “the desired one.” It was a political centre and a city of wealth and power. It had a vast library, a place of learning. Home to one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Temple of Artemis. It was also known as the Temple of Diana and attracted thousands of male and female temple prostitutes. The first Christians planted a Church amid the evil here in Ephesus.

 

INTRODUCTION

Revelation 2:1 “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holders the seven stars in his right hand, who wallets in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.” candlesticks. 

 

The seven candlesticks or lampstands and the seven stars directly reference Chapter 1, referring to the Church with Jesus in the centre. 

 

Revelation 2:2-3 “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. 

The Ephesians had the discipline to guard against false doctrine. Paul warned them years ago, and they took it seriously.

 

Acts 20:29 “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.”

 

LOVELESS

 

Revelation 2:4 “Thou hast left thy first love.” 

The Ephesians were working hard, and love for Jesus went out the back door. Subsequently, love for each other will fail.

 

REMEMBER AND REPENT

 

Revelation 2:5 “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent…”

Remember where you were when you first came to Jesus. Then, repent, change your mind, and return to the basics.

Revelation 2:6 “Thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.” 

A “Nicolaitan” was a follower of Nicolaus, a heretic. The word means “conquerors of people”, made up of two Greek words, “Nike” and “Laos”. It refers to presumptuous claims of apostolic authority, those who wanted to dominate over others. Jesus hated it, and so did this Church.

 

REWARD

 

Revelation 2:7 “To Him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” 

We know the Tree of Life will stand again in paradise. See Revelation 22:2. Thus, those loyal to Christ will be with Him in Heaven one day. 

 

SMYRNA

THE SUFFERING CHURCH

SMYRNA -7 Churches in Asia Minor
Church of Smyrna

BACKGROUND

 

The word “Smyrna” derives from the word “myrrh.” An aromatic resin used for burials extracted from a tree through hacking and crushing it.

Smyrna was the commercial centre of Asia and home to the persecuted Church. It was a time of martyrdom and suffering, and refusing to worship the pagan gods or the Roman emperor was an offence.

INTRODUCTION

 

Revelation 2:8 “…the Church in Smyrna… the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive.” 

This description speaks of Jesus Christ and His redemptive work at the cross.

 

Revelation 2:9 “I know… thy poverty, but thou art rich.” 

They are poor in the things of this world but rich from a kingdom perspective. 

“I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” 

The word Jew means “he who praises God.” But not all of them did because some had uncircumcised hearts. They did not praise God but blaspheme everything He stands for. 

 

BE FEARLESS

Revelation 2:10 “Ye shall have tribulation ten days.” Many emperors openly persecuted the Christians; Dioclesian was the worst, lasting ten years. 

 

BE FAITHFUL

“Be thou faithful unto death” and not as in all the other letters, “till I come.” And, for this, they will receive “a crown of life.” 

 

REWARD

Revelation 2:11 “He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” 

The second death is hell. See Revelation 20:14. Jesus encouraged them with the promise of an afterlife in Heaven.  

PERGAMOS 

THE COMPROMISED CHURCH

PERGAMON -7 Churches in Asia Minor
Church of Pergamos

BACKGROUND

 

Pergamos means “height.” Alternatively, it can mean “by marriage” when you read it as: “per” and “gamos.” Paganism crept in, and they yoked the Gospel with it into a marriage.

 

Whatever Satan cannot curse or crush, he will seek to corrupt. And this was happening big time here in the Church of Pergamos.

 

Note!

Remember the Tower of Babel? Babylon was the fountainhead of all idolatry. The priesthood always followed power and money, a rinse and repeat. When Cyrus conquered Babylon, the Babylonian priesthood migrated with the Persians. When the Greeks defeated the Persians, they relocated again and set up shop in Pergamon. 

 

They erected various pagan temples here, including the famous Temple of Zeus. And it became the occult capital of the world.

The same gods and myths of Babylon took on Greek labels in Pergamon and Latin in Rome. Thus, Ishtar, Astarte, Aphrodite and Venus are all the same goddess.

 

When the Romans conquered the Greeks, rinse and repeat, the priesthood moved to Rome. Subsequently, it became known as “The New Babylon.” 

 

When Constantine made Christianity legal in AD 312, many pagan traditions were imported into the Church. E.g. the robes, beads, candles, headdresses, mass and purgatory came with them.

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Revelation 2:12 “He that hath the sharp sword with two edges.” It speaks of Jesus, the Word of God, who will come to divide what they have yoked together. 

 

SATAN’S SEAT

 

Revelation 2:13 “Even where Satan’s seat is.” The Temple of Zeus was a place of pagan worship and blood sacrifices to venerate pagan gods and stood there. 

“Antipas was my faithful martyr” refers to the bishop of Pergamon, ordained by the Apostle John.

 

Note!

The story goes that Antipas cast out so many devils that the demons complained about it. So the pagan priesthood went to the Roman governor and complained that this man was driving their spirits out of town. Next thing, Antipas was sentenced to death on the Altar of Zeus in AD 92.

 

BALAAM AND BALAC

 

Revelation 2:14 “The doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel.”

Balaam was a false prophet in the Old Testament. The king of the Moabites, Balac, hired Balaam to curse Israel openly. He could not. But, under the table, he told Balac to send his prettiest girls to the Israeli camp to entice the men into fornication. See Numbers 22-31. Whatever Satan cannot curse or crush, he will seek to corrupt, was put to work.

 

Revelation 2:15 “Them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes.” 

The heresy of the Nicolaitanes that we saw in the Church of Ephesus is here in Pergamos too.

 

Revelation 2:16 “Repent, or else… I will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” 

Jesus is saying to the false witnesses in this Church, change your mind.

 

REWARD

 

Revelation 1:17 “I give to eat of the hidden manna.” 

Jesus Christ is the bread of life; those who depend on Him will make it through. The same way Israel made it through the desert when God supplied them with manna. 

Will give him a white stone.” Victors received a white stone at the games in ancient times. So Jesus promises victory to those who are faithful to the end.

THYATIRA

THE ADULTEROUS CHURCH

THYATIRA - 7 Churches in Asia Minor
Church of Thyatira

BACKGROUND

 

Thyatira was the smallest of the seven churches. It used to be called “Semiramis” and later was changed to Thyatira, which means “daughter” or “continual sacrifice.”

 

Note!

Make a mental note here because it is the onset of a much bigger problem. We will reencounter this woman and her daughters — more about it in Revelation 17.

 

Thyatira had many active trade guilds and was a centre of business and trade. For example, Lydia of Thyatira, a purple cloth seller, was mentioned in Acts 16.

 

INTRODUCTION

Revelation 2:18 “The Son of God”speaks of His divinity. “His eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass.” Fire and brass are Levitical symbols for judgment. This Church is in trouble.

Revelation 2:19 “I know thy works, and charity, and service.” Jesus noticed them doing good things for others.

 

 THE JEZEBEL SPIRIT

 

Revelation 2:20 “Thou sufferest that woman Jezebel.” 

In the Old Testament, Jezebel was the wife of Israel’s King, Ahab. She worshipped Baal and Astarte and encouraged Ahab to do the same. Subsequently, King Ahab led Israel into idolatry under the driving force of Jezebel. See 1 Kings 16.

 

Revelation 2:21 “And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.”

She was not going to change her mind. 

 

ADULTERY

 

Revelation 2:22-23 “I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.” 

Adultery here refers to spiritual fornication. God is jealous of us and does not share His glory with others. 

 

Isaiah 42:8

“I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.”

 

“And I will kill her children” refers to those associated with her, everyone seduced by her into committing adultery.

 

Note!

Astarte’s worship brings us back to ancient Babylon again. In Thyatira, worship of the Queen of Heaven, the mother goddess, persists. She originated as Semiramis, the consort of Nimrod and the mother of Tammuz.

In Egypt, the same mother goddess was Isis; in Persia, she was Ishtar. In Phoenicia, she was Athena, who became Venus. And in Rome, she was sneaked in under the name of Mary: same goddess, different names.

 

Revelation 2:24 “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.” 

Jesus was speaking to those who were against it, the overcomers in Thyatira.

 

Revelation 2:25 “Hold fast till I come.” We read for the first time Jesus mentions Him coming again and commanding the overcomers to stay faithful.

 

REWARD

 

Revelation 2:26 “To him will I give power over the nations.” The overcomers will rule with Christ during the Millennium on earth — more about this in chapter 19.

 

Revelation 2:27 “And He shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter. During the Millennial, Jesus Christ will reign on earth with a rod of iron, and He will not tolerate evil.

 

Revelation 2:28 “I will give him the morning star.” Jesus offered them Himself because He is the Morning Star. See Revelation 22:16. 

 

THE END

 

Where are the 7 churches of Revelation located today?

The seven churches, Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamon, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea, were in Turkey. Some remnants of the churches and their cities remain in modern-day Turkey and are major tourist attractions. 

Who wrote the the 7 letters to the 7 churches?

John, the disciple, wrote the whole Book of Revelation. He also penned the words of Jesus to seven literal churches of that time, but it also has spiritual significance for believers today.

BOOK OF REVELATION

Revelation, Scope and Sequence

Revelation, Introduction

Revelation 1

Revelation 2

Revelation 3

Revelation 4

Revelation 5

Revelation 6

Revelation 7

Revelation 8

Revelation 9

Revelation 10

Revelation 11

Revelation 12

Revelation 13

Revelation 14

SOURCES FROM THE WEB:

Missler, Chuck at koinonahouse.org

Korman, Baruch at  loveisrael.org

Barnett, John at dtbm.org

Ice, Thomas at pre-trib.org

Breaker, Robert at thecloudchurch.org

De Young, Jimmy at sermonaudio.com

BOOKS:

Johnson, Ken. Ancient Church Fathers.

Missler, Chuck. Daniel’s 70 Week’s: Profiles in Prophecy.

Hitchcock, Mark. 101 Answers to Questions About the Book of Revelation.

 

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