Two Important Things the World Needs to Know About Jesus
1.) He is all-powerful, yet loving.
2.) He will never forsake his Church.
As we just saw in Chapter 1, the seven stars represent seven angels and the seven golden lampstands represent seven churches. Since we are following the Golden rule of Interpretation, we will say this letter was directed to the angel over the church in Ephesus, the same angel who presides over the Ephesus period of the Church Age.
Jesus told John to write this letter, and it is Jesus who holds the seven angels in his right hand and walks in the midst of the seven churches. Jesus is the one who controls the angels and the one who will never leave or Forsake his Church. He is obviously a person of great power and love who has a message for the church in Ephesus and the Ephesus period of the Chruch Age.
Rev. 2:2 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:
Rev. 2:3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
Eyes of God Are Everywhere
The penetraiting Eyes Of Jesus are everywhere beholding the evil and the good. He knows everything we do. He knew that the Ephesus church toiled with gread difficulty, and he recognized their perseverance under trial. This church refused to tolerate evil men in their congregation that falsely claimed to have known and seen Jesus. These evil men were put on trial and found guilty oflying.
Jesus noted how the Ephesus church remained faithful, even though it was surrounded by immorality and pagan beliefs. This church stood firm against religious deception in the nameof Jesus.
Rev. 2:4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
Rev. 2:5 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.
In spite of all the good things about the church in Ephesus, there was a problem. There was a decline in the people's relationship with Jesus because they had stopped loving him the way they once did.
Jesus asked 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. They must stop Backsliding or they will die out. The choice was theirs.
Many mistakenly believe the early Christians of the Ephesus church period got on a spiritual mountain top and stayed there. When the period began, the people's highest priority was Jesus. As time went on, they started backsliding. By the end of the period, they needed to get back to their First Love.
Rev. 2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
Love The Person, But Hate The Sin
Exactly who the Nicolaitans were, and what they did, is anyone's guess. Some say they were a cult that tried to create a ruling class of priests in Ephesus church. Others say they taught that Christians could sin because what is done in the flesh does not affect the spirit. Still others say they taught that Christians needed to indulge in sin to understand it. Whoever they were, and whatever they did, the church in Ephesus hated it. And so did Jesus.
During the Ephesus period, many groups tried to introduce false doctrines and false practices into the Church. What they were doing was repulsive to Christians, and more importantly, it was repulsive to Jesus.
Jesus didn't say he hated the Nicolaitans, but he did say he hated whay they were doing. This is a classic example of New Testament teaching-Jesus (loves the person, but hates the sin.)
Our Lord said this would continue throughout the Church Age, but he also spoke of a time at the end of the age in with false messiah and false prophets would preform miracles to deceive the world and even confuse the elect
1.) Sin is the transgression of the Law; breaking God's rules 1 John 3:4.
2.) Sin is knowing to do good but not doing it James 4:17.
3.) Sin is anything that is not of faith; not trusting in God Romans 14:23
4.) Sin is all unrighteousness; wickedness 1 John 5:17.
5.) Sin is a disease of the soul; the inner part of man that lives forever Psalm 41:4.
6.) Sin is foolishly thinking we can ignore God Proverbs 24:9
Rev. 2:7 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.
Although this letter was specifically addressed to the church in Ephesus, the last line is addressed to anyone who will listen. he has a blessing for those who overcome. After Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden they were forbidden to eat the fruit of the tree of life. Apparently there was something on that tree that could cause a person who ate it to live forever. It amounted to a permanent cure for death. Jesus promises to give overcomers the opportunity to eat from that tree. It was located in the Garden of Eden, but now is located in paradise.
3 Steps to Overcoming Sin
1.) Remember that height from which you have fallen (your first Love).
2.) Repent of your backsliding or falling away.
3.) Restore the good deeds you did at first.
Rev. 2:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
The church in Smyrna was experiencing great persecution, so Jesus reminded them that he is the (First and the Last), the (Alpha and Omega). He is the one who created al things, and the one who will end all things.
Just like this church, Jesus was alsso persecuted. His enemies (falsely accused him, beat him, spit on him, ripped out his beard, crowned him with thorns, and naled him to a cross where he died).
When You're Persecuted, Remember:
1.) Jesus has always existed.
2.) Jesus will never cease to exist.
3.) Jesus died.
4.) Jesus triumphed when he rose from the dead.
Rev. 2:9 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.
Laying Up Your Treasures In Heaven
Jesus knows what his Church is facing. He knows every prayer, evey hymn, evey gift, every Sunday School lesson, every sermon, every visit, every good thing, and every bad thing. He knows about the poerty of the Christians in Smyrna. He knew they were serving under the most difficult of circumstances. Their property was being seized and many had no source of personal income.
Those of us who live today often think of poverty in terms of not having enough money to live comfortably. In a real sense, that is exactly what poverty is, but in a higher sense, poverty is not having an acceptable relationship with God. In that sense these Christians were rich. They were children of God and were destined for heaven. They were laying up their treasures in heaven. We can be rich in the temporary things of this world and poor in the permanent things of heaven, or we can be poor in the temporary things of this world and rich in the permanent things of heaven.
Jesus also knew about a group in Smyrna who falsely called themselves jews. They even called their place of worship a sunagogue, inferring that it was the synagogue of the Lord. But Jesus called it the Synagogue of Satan. Even today some religious pretenders call themselves members of God's Church, but Jesus knows their really members of Satan's church. It does not matter what we call ourselves because Jesus knows his sheep
Rev. 2:10 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.
Do Not Be Afraid
Jesus knew that Satan intended to attack these Christians, so he had a word of encouragement for them; Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28
In a sense, there is no real power except that which comes from God. Satan may test us, but only because God allows it in order that we may be strengthened.
Jesus told his people they would be persecuted for ten days. Exactly what these ten days mean is not certain, but history reveals that there were ten distinct periods. of intense persecution during the Smyrna period. During this Satan let loose all the forces of hell in an effort to stamp out the fledgling Church. Christians were beaten, jailed,, tortured, and killed, yet Jesus urged faithfulness. He even promised a Crown Of Life Refer toCrown of Life to those who stood fast. Many did, even unto death.
Remember This ---->Heavenly Crowns for Overcomers
1.) The Incorruptible Crown
(I Corinthians 9:24-27).
2.) The Crown of Rejoicing (I Thessalonians 2:19,20).
3.) The Crown of Life (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10).
4.) The Crown of Righteousness (II Timothy 4:8).
5.) The Crown of Glory (I Peter 5:2-4).
Rev. 2:11 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.
A Second Death
Once again Jesus turns from addressing a specific church to addressing anyone who will listen. No other church, and no other individual can do our listening for us.
We have already noted we can be overcomers by our faith in Jesus Christ. Now we learn that faith in Jesus is also rewarded with victory over the second death. The Bible teajches that there are two deaths; a first death and a second death. The first death is as the end of things. Think of it as a separation. The first death is a seperation of the soul and spirit from the body. The second death is a separation of the soul and spirit from God. A person would be better off having physical death be the end of things than to die this second death-being cast into the lake of fire forever and having eternal separation from God.
If we are born just once, we will die twice, but if we ar born twice, we will die just once.
Rev. 2:12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
Compromise was the big problem for those under this angel's authority. It was caused by a merging of church and state. The church in Pergamum allied itself with the world.
Jesus identified himself as the one who has the sharp double-edged sword is the Word of God. Jesus reminds this church that he will deal with it through the Bible. It is a book that can create or destroy, heal or afflict, soothe or trouble. And it is always successful.
What Does Compromising Church Need To Know?
That Jesus wields a sword called the Word of God. Watch Out!!!
Rev. 2:13 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.
Don't Back Off
Jesus knows where his Church is. This particular church was located in a city run by heathen intellectuals - a city given over to idolarty and the temply worship of: Athena, Caesar Augustus, Dionysus, Asklepios, Hadrian, and Zeus. Satan had a large power base there and his rulers of darkness were a major force to be reckoned with.
Satan's power was strong, but the power of the Holy Spirit was stronger. These Christians refused to surrender. They didn't back off, and greater words could not be spoken of anyone than was of Antipas. He was a "(Faithful Martyr)".
The Faithful honor God, and God honors the faithful!!!
Rev. 2:14 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 stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
Rev. 2:15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
Satan's vicious attack from outside the church was failing, but he had a growing danger brewing inside the church. Within its walls were two groups of people who called themselves Christions but did not measure up. Both groups were very liberal on their view of what sin is. One espoused the teachings of Balaam. The other espoused the teachings of the Nicolaitans.
To properly understand the teachings of Balaam, we have to go back to the Old Testament. Balaam, a prophet, took money from a king named Balak to pronounce a curse on Israel. When God stopped Balaam, Balaam told Balak to have women of his country intermarry with the Jews. These women could then tempt their Jewish husbands to sin against God. Balak used these women to entice the Children of Israel into idolatry and fornication. There were those in Pergamum, and also during the Pergamum period, who were doing the same thing. They were liberal on sin and were enticing others to sin.
The teachings of the Nicolaitans were more complicated. As far as we know, they believed a person's spirit is inherently good and a person's flesh is inherently evil. They also belived that it had no effect on the spirit. In essence they wer saying, "Live it up; immorality doesn't matter." That tickled some people's ears. They liked the idea of loose living, but Jesus was not pleased. He knew that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough (1 Corinthians 5:6). A little compromise would eventually corrupt a lot of people.
Rev. 2:16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
Our Spiritual Sword
Jesus warned the church in Pergamum to stop following the Nicolaitans. In the Old Testament, we learned that the children of Israel eventually killed Baalaam (along with King Balak and his nation) with a sword. Here in the New Testament, we learn that Jesus warns loose-living members of this church that he will fight them with a spiritual sword, the Bible, if they do not change their evil ways. the Bible is the effective weapon against sin in the Church because it confronts the sinner with his sin.
Our Spiritual Sword is the Bible Which;
1.) Reveals all things that pertain to life and godliness II Peter1:3.
2.) Shines the light of God on our failures John 3:20.
3.) Reveals the true will of God I Thessalonians 4:3.
4.) Convicts us of sin John 8:7.
5.) Reveals the love of God John 3:16.
6.) Reveals the judgment of God Romans 14:10.
7.) Calls for repentance Acts 2:38.
Rev. 2:17 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.
Manna From Heaven
The hidden manna takes us back to another Old Testament story. As the children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness they ran short of food. They began to complain, so God fed them Manna From Heaven. When the manna fell, Moses told Aaron to collect a pot full and hide it in the ark as a reminder to future generations that god had met their needs. Since we cannot see Jesus, he is our Hidden Manna. He promises that we will never hunger spiritually because he is always with us.
The white stone is a reference to the way votes were cast at the courts of justice in John's day. When a case was tried, the jurors voted by dropping stones into an urn: black for guilty or white for innocent. Jesus promises that overcomers will be found innocent when God judges all things. Because of the shed "Blood Of Jesus" overcomers are set free form the "Penalty Of Sin.
The new name that no one knows has many interrpretations, but the most common one seems to be that overcomers will receive a white stone bearing a secret name of Jesus. It will symbolize that each one of us has a special, intimate relationship with him. We will know him by a very personal name that no one else knows.
Think about it. We will be innocent, never junger, and have a personal relationship with Jesus. Jesus promises to take care of his people and provide for their future. Overcomers will enter God's glory with many rewards from a Lord who loves each one of us.
Rev. 2:18 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;
Eyes Of Fire and Feet Of Bronze
Jesus is the Soon of God, which reveals his relationship to the God, the Father.
Jesus goes on to further identify himself as the one whose eyes are like a blazing fire. His fiery eyes depict his penetrating insight, his anger, and his attitude toward the adulterous nature of the church in Thyatira and its church period. His eyes are burning with strong displeasure as he looks upon the wickedness of this church.
Jesus describes himself as the one whose feet are like burnished bronze. This is a reminder that he will judge his Church. Those who bring evil into the Church in the name of Christianity are begging to be judged by the Son of God.
Rev. 2:19 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.
We Are What We Do
The Bible teaches that all believers witll appear before the judgment seat of Christ. This is not the "Great White Throne Judgement" where only the lost will appear. It is the judgment seat of Christ where heavenly crowns will be given. To be a Righteous Judge, Jesus must know how we lived. Concerning this church, he knew:
1.) Their deeds. We are what we do! Christians do the works of Christians. Those who do not do the works of Christians, are not Christians.
2.) Their love. When people turn to God they receive the Holy Spirit in their heart. The first fruit of the Holy Spirit is love. Love is of God , and God's people will love.
3.)Their Service. Service is a ministry. The purpose of the Church is not for entertainment, enhancing out image, or doctoring our sore toes. Its purpose is service to God.
4.)Their faith. Genuine faith is something that can be seen. It produces good deeds. It is how an unbelieving world sees Christ in us.
5.)Their perseverance. This is often called long suffering in the Bible. It is the fourth fruit of the Holy Spirit. Many in this church endured under great pressure for long periods of time.
6.)Their last works. This church was doing more and more. That should be the goal of every church: to grow, to do more, to reach more people, and to increase in good works.
Rev. 2:20 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.
Rev. 2:21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
Something Jesus did not like was the fact that this church was using a false teacher named Jezebel. History shows that she was a priestess at a pagan temple. She was also deeply involved in fortune-telling but was passing herself off as a phophetess of God. She was enticing God's people to depart from the faith. Instead of teaching them th be faithful, she was teaching them to commit fornication. Insead of teaching them to avoid idolatry, she was teaching them to eat food sacrificed to idols. Instead of leading them to Jesus, she was leading them astray.
This is a good example of what "inclusiveness" does. The church leaders in Thyatira thought their inclusiveness would bring in more people. They wanted to make more people comfortable at church, so they allowed Jezebel to tickle their ears with heresies.
Jesus was patient with Jezebel. He gave her plenty of time to repent, but those who are caught up in the occult find it difficult to change. Such is the case with Jezebel who persisted in her sin.
Jesus gave the Thyatira church appoximately one thousand years to turn around. This is why some call it the Devil's Millennium. Jesus held his peace while the Church cooperated with false teachers. Multitudes were led astray. Instead of repenting, some in charge of the Church often had the true servants of God killed.
Rev. 2:22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
Playing With Fire
This church is a forerunner to the harlot church in Chapter 17. When we reach this chapter we will study events that will occur during the Tribulation Period, and we will learn that world leaders will turn on the harlot church and destroy it with a vengeance.
Jezebel was a spiritual harlot at Thyatira. Harlots are known for comitting sins in bed, so jesus warns this church that he will make a bed for Jezebel and her adulterous followers. He will put them in bed together and cast them into intense suffering. If a church wants to play with fire, Jesus will let it play with fire. If it does not repent, he will eventually let it die out and pay for its sins. False teachings should never be tolerated".
Rev. 2:23 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.
You Get What You Do
Some would argue that Jezebel was entitled to her own beliefs, but her beliefs were passed on from generation to generation. Her children followed in her footsteps and also led others astray. The Bible says, "Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God" Romans 11:22. (Everyone needs to keep in mind these two natures of God: 1.) He is good, but 2.) he will judge sin.) He is good, but he will be no more tolerant of spiritual adultery in our day than he was in Jezebel's day. The offspring of Jezebel's teaching will suffer the same fate as Jezebel. They will suffer the second death and be cast into the lake of fire.
When Jesus talks about being the one who searches hearts and minds, he is reminding us that he looks inside us to our inner most core. He looks to see what our real affections are. he looks at our emotions, desires, and thoughts. Nothing is hidden from him.
When Jesus talks about giving to everyone according to their deeds, he is talking about the coming judgment. Every person will be judged in the future. There will be degrees of reward in heaven and degrees of punishment in hell. Everyone will receive according to what they did on earth.
Rev. 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, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.
Rev. 2:25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.
Jesus is talking to those in Thyatira who either rejected Jezebel's teachings or who were unaware of it. He promised not to place any other burdens upon them. They were already serving under difficult circumstances, so he would not ask anything more of them.
He did have some advice though. Hold on to your love, faith, ministry, patience, and ever-increasing works. Hold on to these until I return. This is another reference to the Rapture. Refer to Rapture It is also another indication that there is some overlapping of the seven church periods. It tells us that there will be some people in every church period who have characteristics of other church periods.
Satan's Attack on the Church
1.) I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan
2.) You remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city - where Satan lives (Revelation 2:13).
3.) Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have learned Satan's so - called deep secrets (Revelation2:24).
Rev. 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
Rev. 2:27 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.
Rev. 2:28 And I will give him the morning star.
If you refuse to follow Jezebel's teachings, refuse to do her works, continue in the works of Jesus, persist until your death or Christ's return, you will receive a position of power over the nations.
Be a faithful believer and you will rule over nations with a strong, loving hand. You will break those who resist your authority like a potter breaks bessels of clay. You will receive power and authority from Jesus in the same way he received power and authority from God the Father.
The planet Venus is called the morning star because it is the brightest object in the sky just before the sun rises. It is sometimes a guide to navigators who use it to determing their location on earth. The Bright and Morning Star is also one of the names of Jesus, so when he promises to give the morning star to the overcomer, the gift is himself. This is a promise that Jesus will indwell in the believer, that he will never leave the believer, and that he will guide the believer during the dark or difficult times of life.
Believe and receive or doubt and go without!!!
Rev. 2:29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Faithful Unto Death
We have already seen this same statement four times. The fact is, Jesus ends every letter with this same exhortation. It is a command for all to listen and pay attention to what is in these letters. History tells us that the followers of Jezebel did not listen, just as many churches today are not listening. Yet some in Thyatira were faithful unto death, just as some today will be faithful unto death. Before the Tribulation Period begins, Jesus will remove his faithful from the earth. True believers will not suffer the terrible events found later in Revelation, but instead will be removed from this earth in what whknow as the Rapture. In Revelation 13:9 we read, He who has an ear, let him hear. The question is, why did Jesus leave out that last part about what the Spirit says to the Churches? Why does he say seven times, He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the chuches, and then suddenly shorten it by saying, He who has an ear, let him hear? Could it be that the Church is no longer on earth?