Revelation Chapter 2

The seven churches symbolically represent seven time periods giving us a panoramic view of church
history from Pentecost to the Rapture.  The messages are not just letters to particular churches in that
time period alone, but were messages (warnings) the church through the ages.

Several estimations of these time periods exist, but the most popular appears to be as follows:

Ephesus -                 Pentecost to 100 AD
Smyrna -                  100 to 312 AD
Pergamum -             312 to 590 AD
Thyatira -                  590 to 1517 AD
Sardis -                    1517 to 1750 AD
Philadelphia -           1750 to 1900 AD
Laodicea -                1900 to Tribulation Mid-point

Ephesus (Pentecost - 100 AD)

·        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 candle-sticks;

The seven lampstands represent these seven churches.  The first is the church at Ephesus.

The letter is addressed to the angel of the church, suggesting that pos-sibly this is the human leader of
the church and not an actual angel.  Some, however, believe that this verse indicates that each church
has an angel stationed to it. Though the passage doesn't necessarily prove that each church has a
guardian angel, I personally believe there are angels all around us all the time.

Consider the story of Elisha:

2 Ki 6:17  And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the
LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses
and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

Remember here that Jesus is always among the lampstands - churches.  

Mt 18:20  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

·        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

I know your deeds . . . The eyes of the Lord are everywhere.  He watches and He knows all things.  He is
watching carefully over each of us.

Pr 15:3  The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

He knows everything we do.  He knew about the labors and the difficul-ties of the Ephesian church.  He
noted their perseverance under trial.  He knew they refused to tolerate evil men in their congregation
that falsely claimed to have known and seen Jesus.  He noted how the church had remained faithful,
even though they were surrounded by immorality and pagan beliefs.  They stood firm against deception,
and Jesus was aware of it.

A quick look at some major denominations today reveals that false teachings and ungodly practices
have been accepted and incorporated into the church.  (Homosexual churches and ministers, same sex
mar-riages, permissiveness, divorce rates, adultery rationalized and rede-fined, etc.)

·        4-5.  Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love . . .

Backsliding - Though they were doctrinally strong, there was a decline in the people's relationship with
Jesus.  Doctrinally strong but spiritually weak describes this church.

This church period was the first century of Christianity.  Second gen-eration believers may have lost the
zeal of the first converts.  Histori-cally, generations decline in faith, and a new wave of revival must take
place.  We see this throughout the history of Israel and of the church.

First love - Jesus told them to recall the relationship they once had with him, to take inventory of their
lives, and to turn from the things of the world and back to him.  If they did not, he warned that they would
lose their right to exist as a church.  

Backsliding isn't just going against God; it is cooling in your relation-ship with him.  I believe many
churches and believers today have com-promised and backed off so much that they could hardly be
called the church any more.  They have become simple religious clubs.  We've compromised so much
we don't see sin as sin anymore.

Jesus advises - remember, repent, return

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.

It may be worth noting that when the Lord sees what you are doing wrong, he also sees what you are
doing right.  

Opinions vary as to who the Nicolaitans were and what they taught.  Some say they tried to create a
ruling class of priests in the church.  Others say they taught a doctrine of freedom that gave license to
sin - that what is done in the flesh has nothing to do with the spirit.  Others say they promoted sin so that
we might, through experience, under-stand sin.  Whatever it was that they taught, Jesus certainly did not
approve of it and commended the church for refusing it.

This is a last day message for sure.  Jesus warned that many would come in his name, claiming to be
him and deceiving many.  

Mt 24:4  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.  
Mt 24:5  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.  

Mt 24:11  And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.  

2Ti 4:3  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall
they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

Jesus predicted that this kind of thing would continue and increase to-ward the end, and that false
Messiahs and false prophets would de-ceive the world and even the elect of the church.

2 Ti 3:2  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blas-phemers,
disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  
2 Ti 3:4  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

What is sin?  A definition:
The breaking of God's rules -             1 John 3:4
Failing to do what you know is right - James 4:17
Anything that is not of faith -              Romans 14:23
All unrighteousness -                         1 John 5:17
A disease of the soul -                       Psalm 41:4
Independence from God -                  Proverbs 24:9

·        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 para-dise of God.

After Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden they were forbidden to eat of the fruit of the tree of
life.  Apparently it would have made them live forever.  Jesus now promises to give overcomers the
oppor-tunity to eat from that tree.

What does it mean to overcome?  To live a victorious Christian life; to obey God and conquer sin; to do
His will and not be defeated.  Do this and you'll be an overcomer.
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