The City is Laodicea was found on the road to Colossae some forty miles southeast of Philadelphia. The city had become wealthy under Roman rule and were known for their production of wool garments. They were so wealthy in fact that after an earthquake in 60 A.D. the city had rebuilt itself off its own resources. There had been references to the existence of the church up into the fourteenth century, but now the city is nothing but ruins. Paul mentioned Laodicea in his letter to Colossae.
Revelation 3:14 – And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: “The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.”
CHRIST THE ETERNAL AND FAITHFUL WITNESS: Christ called Himself the “Amen” which mean “so be it,” something He used frequently during His time when He walked amongst us. As Dr. Walvoord states it: “As a title for Christ it indicates His sovereignty and the certainty of the fulfillment of His promises.”
He also called Himself the faithful and true Witness, which tells us that he see all and knows all. Within our minds and in our actions and when the time comes and those that do not understand why they are standing before the Great White Throne instead of in the audience looking upon the judgment that is soon to follow will then simply look upon the Glorified Jesus and they will instantly know the answer without even having to ask the question.
Revelation 3:15-16 – “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
Christ does not mince words with those that lived in Laodicea. It made it clear and plain. Without works and faith together you are dead and a bitter taste unto God and must be cast out of the Body.
James 2 (KJV) – 14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Christ makes it very clear he would rather you be cold or against God then to be lukewarm. But what are works? The key to works is found within the two new commandments given to us by Christ:
Matthew 22(KJV) – 34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 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.
Revelation 3:17-18 – “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.”
This is also today’s church which has been seduced by the luxuries of this soft and pampering world we now live within. Even now the children revolt against their elders. Thinking they know better than those that have been in this world longer. They have been so spoiled that they wish to have everything just handed over to them. This is selfishness to the extreme. This is the total opposite of placing God first and treating all those about you as you would wish to be treated yourself. The golden rule is dead and it was killed by those that wished to kick God totally out of the world. Well now as violence is on the increase. Different social groups begin to self-segregate, refusing in interact with none but their “own.”
Revelation 3:19 – “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent”
Christ here makes it clear that those HE LOVES he will “reprove and discipline.” So the next time you feel like accusing someone, especially someone who appears to be a Christian, of “judging,” remember it may not be.
2 Timothy 4(KJV) – 4 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 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; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
We are as Christians are instructed by the Bible to reprove, rebuke and to exhort and any that calls this “judging” are wishing to stay lukewarm and desire to be spit out of the Body of Christ.
Revelation 3:20-22 – “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
The city of Philadelphia now known as Alasehir has existed for a long time even though located in a region that suffered from earthquakes. It is twenty-eight miles southeast of Sardis.
Revelation 3:7 – And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: “The words of the Holy One, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.”
CHRIST THE HOLY SOVEREIGN: Jesus being the son of God and who walked amongst us to know us and then took our sins was given the keys of David upon His arrival in heaven. Between the time of His crucifixion and His resurrection Christ went into the hell itself and took the keys of death and hell. He is the holder of the keys and all actions go through Him. Any door of opportunities are opened and closed by Him. Biblically this is also associated with Isaiah 22:22 in reference to Eliakim the son of Hilkiah who was placed in charge of the kings treasure. As Dr. Walvoord says in his commentary: “The Philadelphia church, surrounded by paganism and wickedness, needed the assurance Christ gives that He has to power to bring about His sovereign will.”
Revelation 3:8-9 – “I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is about to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie – behold. I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you.”
Dr. Walvoord believes the image of an open door is in reference to opportunities for the witness of the gospel and to spread the word of that Jesus is the Messiah. Of all the options he listed this one makes the most sense. I do not agree with his opinion of the fallen away Jews though. Christ and God have never let their desire and love for the Jewish people fade. This does not mean that the Jewish people have done the same for Him. It has been twenty-five years since the destruction of the Temple by the Roman army. It is my personal believe that these Jews fell away in their true faith of God and had started to embrace the world about them since in their eyes God had abandoned them. Then to have the Christians of their city professing the Son of God and the Messiah made the Jewish congregation turn to wrath not only out of hearing a group profess of a true Messiah but also out of their falling away from their believe in God and their own guilt was a factor as well.
Revelation 3:10-11 – “Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.”
To me this praise given to the church of Philadelphia supports my above statement. For in prophecy the Jewish nation is not given this promise that the Christians are given. We are offered the Rapture while the Jewish nation is to stay upon the earth during the Tribulation to come.
Historically for the church as a whole this period of praise, worship, and ability to spread the gospel took place between the 1500s till the middle of the 1960s. After this the time of the great falling away started to take place and in my opinion was celebrated at Woodstock by Satan in 1969.
Revelation 3:12-13 – “The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from My God out of heaven and My own new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
To those that overcome and live a faithful life to Christ are promised glorious rewards in this closing. They who have an ear, let them hear.
Sardis the capitol of the country Lydia was located fifty miles east of Smyrna and thirty miles southeast of Thyatira. It was also located on the main trade caravan route. Much of the wealth for this city came from textiles, dyes and jewelry. Found near each other are the ruins of the Temple of Artemis and a Christian Church.
Revelation 3:1 – And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: “The words of Him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.”
CHRIST THE POSSESSOR OF THE SPIRIT: This is the first of two letters that have no commendation. Instead it goes straight into a rebuke. Here Christ is in possession of the seven spirits of God, the same which were shown before the throne of God in the first chapter of Revelation. This is a reference to the sevenfold character of the Holy Spirit as described in Isaiah 11:2-5. He also holds the seven stars which are the angels of the seven churches. This is to show Sardis that He has the power to judge them in righteousness.
Revelation 3:2-3 – “Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.”
Even though most were seen as dead to Christ, there were those that still has a spark of the life of Christ within them. His admonishment in these verses is to cause them to awaken from their decline unto death like the rest of those about them. Wealth and luxuries were all about them. The world was pleasing to look upon and so they felt contentment and peace. This wealth allowed them to live a life where the actions of faith were seen and heard, but the fruits they bore were dead and rotten.
It is also amazing how the hand of God works. For though this letter was written to the church of Sardis in the mid 90s A.D. God had planted His message to this church hundreds of years before. First in 549 B.C. when Cyrus the king of Persia conquered the city and again in 214 B.C. when Antiochus the Great conquered Sardis in the exact same way. It was at night and it was where the guards were not looking.
For the church as a whole this reflects the point in history between the time of the first discovery of the Americas (or rediscovery, however you wish to view that), till the time of the landing of the Puritans at Plymouth Rock. Within this time events like the later part of the inquisition were still in practice as well as the formation of the Church of England. Both of which were dead, but from them rose the Quakers and the Puritans.
Revelation 3:4-6 – “Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches.”
Here is a critical part of the Bible. Something many do not wish to hear or accept. For to do so would mean that they have to change their lives. That they need to awaken for the slumber unto to death.
The sentence is setup for what is to follow within these three verses. “Yet you have still a few names in Sardis,” is directly set to work with “and I will never blot his name out of the book of life.”
The other setup is “people who have not soiled their garments, and they walk in white,” which connects to “the one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments.”
Why is this important? To the first point. The way the sentence is worded at the beginning “yet you still have,” this implies that at one time their names were in the book of life. They had been saved, they had been known, they had been seen by God. So to the next point. They had white garments and they then soiled them and fell into death as a result.
John 15:1-2 – I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
2 Peter 2: 20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
So per the Bible the man-made doctrine of “once saved always saved” is just that man-made, a lie, a falsehood. Designed to put those not willing to hear to sleep unto death in the eyes of God. As was stated earlier to the church of Sardis we are to stay ever vigilant by learning the word of God, but staying true to the teachings of the Bible and not allowing in those things that are called sins, or allowing the luxuries of a soft and pampered life overwhelm us and send us into a sleep we will never awaken from.
The city of Thyatira is about forty miles southeast of Pergamum in a rich agricultural area. It was known for the making of purple dye. How the church of this community come into existence is unknown. What is known is that a woman named Lydia was brought to Christ by Paul in Acts 16.
Revelation 2:18 – And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: “The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.”
CHRIST THE HOLY ONE: Here Jesus introduces Himself as the “Son of God” instead of what He usually called Himself the “Son of man.” Since in every church how He describes Himself is part of the message to each church, how he depicts Himself is important. Here He is stating clearly that is the only way to God.
John 14:6 – Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
As Dr. Walvoord puts it: “The church of Thyatira was tolerating a departure from the true worship of Christ that was so serious that He responded with burning indignation and purifying judgment.”
Revelation 2:19 – “I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.”
COMMENDATION: None of the preceding churches were commended for their love of Christ, but this church is. Those that are loyal to God within this church truly are, but….
Revelation 2:20-23 – “But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am He who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.”
It is doubtful that the woman’s name was actually “Jezebel” it was a reference to the wife of Ahab of 1 Kings 16 who was known for her subtle corruption, immorality, and idolatry. This same influence has welcomed its way into this church and was corrupting it in the worst way possible. Jesus said He would cause her to fall ill and those that follow her practices into great tribulation.
Dr. Wolvoord found it notable that “adultery” was specifically called out against this church, since other churches has encountered “sexual immorality” as he states this: “is indicated, a reference to the violation of the marriage vow. Those in Thyatira who had sinned in this way had not only violated the moral law of God, but had sinned against their covenant relationship with God that bound them to inward as well as outward purity.”
This church is seen in the overall church throughout the Middle Ages. In this time Catholicism worshipped the mother of Jesus Christ and began placing statues everywhere. This is idolatry and also tries to approach God through someone that cannot and should not be used to gain access to God. Also in this time period took place such great events as the Plague, The Crusades, and various other hardships that devastated the population of humanity. From within this also came the Protestant Reformation which were those that saw the corruption within the Catholic Church and so separated themselves from it.
Dr. Wolvoord stated it this way: “The idolatry being tolerated in Thyatira also foreshadows the departure from the scriptural doctrine of the finished sacrifice of Christ. In the Middle Ages the false teaching of the continual sacrifice of Christ was advocated, transforming the observation of the elements of the Lord’s Supper into another sacrifice of Christ. This fundamental error of the church in the Middle Ages has been corrected in modern Protestantism by the recognition of the bread and the cup as symbols, but not the sacrifice itself, which Christ performed once and for all on the cross of Calvary, In contrast to the false doctrine exalting the Virgin Mary, Christ introduces Himself to the church of Thyatira as the Son of God, The One to whom alone we owe our redemption and in whose hands our final judgment rests.”
As I stated in part 1 of this series that the doctor was not a fan of Catholicism, but he himself was blind to the erroneous teaching of “once saved always saved,” which in itself is leading to the great apostasy and will be witnessed later in the letters that follow.
Revelation 2:24-25 – “But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold the teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. Only hold fast what you have until I come.”
Here is the first time in all the letters that a group is singled out within a local church as being true to Christ and He encouraged them to continue to do so. This also shows that the idea that these churches do truly reflect the church as a whole throughout the centuries could be fact. Since as mentioned above the Reformation took place, separating those that saw the corruption within the Catholic Church and like Martin Luther who started it, left that church behind. Here also is made mention for the first time of Jesus return to earth in His second coming.
Revelation 2:26-29 – “The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
In this closing Jesus promises those that overcome will be shepherds unto the nations that exist after His return and as God gave Him authority, He shall pass that authority on to those that prevail.
Pergamum was a prominent religious centered city that was north of Smyrna. Within it were multiple religions and cults that worship various gods that were known throughout the known world at that time. Here a small group had come together in all honesty to worship Christ. This letter from Jesus is His message to them.
Revelation 2:12 – And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: “The words of Him who has the sharp two-edged sword.”
CHRIST THE JUDGE: The sharp two-edged sword refers to the Word of God. As stated in Dr. Walvoord’s commentary on the book Revelation: “Its representation as a double-edged sword indicates on the one hand the way God’s Word, by its promise and message of salvation, cuts loose the chains of sin and condemnation that bind the helpless sinner. On the other hand, the same Word is the means of condemnation and refection of those who refuse the message of grace. The Word of God is both the instrument of salvation and the instrument of death.”
Revelation 2:13 – “I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.”
COMMENDATION: Jesus gives them praise for continuing to exist in as He Himself states “where Satan dwells.” He also mentions a man named Antipas who had been martyred. Nothing is known of him save that he died for Christ who called him His “faithful witness.” Those there tried to stay faithful to His name.
Now there are those that believe that the gods in all the ancient Polytheistic cultures were none other than the fallen angels which included their leader Satan. When you actual think upon it there is some credence to this being true. So Jesus making the statement that this is “where Satan’s throne is” could actually pertain to a temple of Zeus which was one of the gods worshiped here since most times Statues of him showed him seated upon a throne.
Revelation 2:14-15 – “But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teachings of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. So also you have some who hold the teachings of the Nicolaitans”
Here is the last time the “Nicolaitans” are mentioned and again no detail is given and so their acts fall into the darkness of history only to ever be seen again upon the day of the Great White Throne Judgment when their membership will stand exposed before God as He passes judgment upon them.
Also mentioned thou is the false prophet Balaam found in Numbers 22-25. In Numbers 31 we find that he had advised King Balak to corrupt Israel by tempting them to intermarry with pagan women and begin worshiping their wife’s gods in acts which included eating sacrificed food and precipitating various sexual immoralities. Some within the church had fallen prey to these practices. The same is true today for those churches that have embraced and welcomed homosexuality into their churches.
This same mentality is the mentality that embraced the church as a whole soon after Constantine allow them to worship God freely and openly. Shortly after attempts to bring into it the use of pagan rituals which entered the church and began to defile the structure of the church. This is also per Dr. Walvoord where the beginning elements of Catholicism began to take hold with the church adding rituals which were never given to the church by Christ.
Revelation 2:16 – “Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.”
Again I turn directly to the words of Dr. Walvoord: “In this abrupt command, Christ issued a sharp word to the church at Pergamum – and their modern counterparts. Even though many in the church at Pergamum had been faithful and one of their number had dies as a martyr, it was still true that the church was being invaded by an evil so serious that Christ warned He would fight against it. There is no alternative to continued impurity and compromise with the truth but divine judgment. The apostasy that is seen in it early stage in the church at Pergamum has its culmination in the still-future apostate church in Revelation 17, which is ultimately brought into divine judgement by Christ, the Head of the church.”
Revelation 2:17 – “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who received it.”
Again there is the exhorting for those that can hear to hear, for not all will. For those that do hear and overcome the sins listed against the church of Pergamum they are promised not only a special mana that is hidden to the world, but they are to receive a white stone on which a name only known to the Trinity and those that are given this stone.
The city of Smyrna was about thirty-five miles north of Ephesus. It too was a wealthy city, second only to the afore mentioned city south of it. Today though Smyrna still exists yet under a new name. It is the third largest city in Turkey and is called Izmir. It was a commercial center at that the end of the first century since it had a good harbor.
Revelation 2:8 – and to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: “The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.”
CHRIST THE ETERNAL ONE. When the Glorified Christ called Himself “the first and the last” He identified Himself with God, who in the first chapter of Revelation was referred to as “the Alpha and the Omega.” This statement showed that not only was He the Son of God, but was as well God even though He has taken human form as is denoted in the next part of the salutation. He was the one “who died and came to life.” This shows that even though He took human form He has always been and always will exist since he rose from the dead upon the third day.
By Him dying and rising also shows God’s love for all, by the fact that Christ came down and suffered for our sins and became our replacement for the death we all so deserve. However, He rose from the dead as we are promised to stand a live before His Father the Lord God, clean and unblemished by the sacrifice of His blood.
Revelation 2:9 – “I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the lander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan”
Those that followed Christ in the city of Smyrna were under persecution. To the point that they had been denied the ability to possible work within the city making them destitute. They most likely resorted to menial tasks to get by and survived, but still stayed loyal to their belief in God and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.
Amongst those that were against them were those that were once of Jacob, but had abandoned their belief in God to a belief in the world and all that includes and so they embraced their new master Satan.
Revelation 2:10-11 – “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.”
This persecution they were experiencing was only the beginning of their trials. They would strife and hold onto their faith and become strong in their belief that God and His Son are both real.
It is recorded that approximately sixty years later the bishop of Smyrna named Polycarp was burned alive on a Saturday, for the historian and commentator Ryrie states that the wood gathered was in part was provided by the fallen away Jews that gathered this wood on the Sabbath.
Even though under persecution Jesus exhorts them to stand fast to their faith and belief in Him. For by doing so even though it may last their entire life upon this planet it is remember that this life here is like the blink of an eye to what the rest of our true life will be like in length. For Jesus promise them the “crown of life” another reference to eternal life. All life that will last billions of years.
The persecution the church as a whole was also in the process as it was for those at Smyrna. It continued until Constantine granted Christians the freedom of worshiping within the Rome Empire in the early part of the fourth century.
The letters to the churches begins in chapter 2 of the book of Revelation. Now to understand the letters we must understand the cities themselves and the time period. The book of Revelation was written in the last decade of the first century A.D. Sixty years after Jesus walked upon the earth. John is an old man now and exiled to the isle of Patmos by the Roman Emperor Domitian. Most that has actually seen Christ are old like John or have gone on to be with Christ if they called Him their Savior.
Ephesus at the end of the first century was the most prominent city in Asia Minor. In fact all seven of these cities, either ruins or still standing in some form, are found within the boundaries of Turkey.
Of the seven churches Ephesus is the only one of the seven churches mentioned in the book of Acts, as well as having a letter sent to them that become a part of the Bible, the book of Ephesians. Evidence supports that pastor at large for Ephesus was Timothy of first and second Timothy, but as mentioned before most that actually had walked or met Christ were gone now.
The state of the church in the 90s A.D. were the next generation of people that chose to become Christian. Most were raised from birth on the tales and stories of the miracle worker know as Jesus Christ that rose from the dead, but they had never actually seen Him.
Revelation 2:1 – To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: “The words of Him who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.”
CHRIST THE SOVEREIGN JUDGE: The Glorified Christ is shown here to be holding the seven stars or angels of the seven churches, as well as He walks amongst the seven golden lampstands which are the churches themselves. This to me means Christ Himself as toured the churches first hand and is fully prepared to comment upon their state and what He thinks needs to be done in each to correct any issues that are found. The holding of the stars means that not only that He has authority over the churches, but they are in fact sanctioned to exist under His blessing. So those within it have stated they wish to be a child of Christ and have bowed before Him and asked Him into their lives.
Revelation 2:2-3 – “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.
COMMENDATION: Christ as seen that those in Ephesus have been diligent in their faith and have even tested those that paraded themselves to be messengers of Christ, but were found to be false. So here Jesus finds things happening within this church that please Him and so it states has such.
Revelation 2:4-5 – “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.”
INDICTMENT: The word “love” used here is “Agapen” is the deepest most meaningful type of love and because they have fallen from this first love they were seen by Christ Himself as of having a major problem because he used the word “repent” meaning to turn around, do a 180.
When Christ walked amongst us He added two commandments to the ten we already had. The first and most important of these was to Love God with all our heart, mind and soul. To love God with the human trinity to show love to the Holy Trinity. To love God though His the Son the Lord Jesus Christ so completely means we are to place God first and foremost in all that we do. Every single action that we do must be done thinking of: “How would Jesus do this?” “How would God want me to do this?” Every single action we do in our lives and every single day of our lives.
These were teaches that this church knew for the gospels had been in their possession at this time, and they had heard these very words spoken of from within them.
This re-emphasizes just how important it is to live like an image of Christ 365 days a year not just on Sunday or when it is convenient. For Christ Himself says to “repent” for they had strayed away from their love for Christ. Their hearts had cooled for God and thus opened the door for a falling away and due to this falling away Jesus threatened to remove their lampstand. The lampstand was removed in 431 when the last inhabitants of Ephesus were forcibly removed by the Turks.
Revelation 2:6 – “Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”
Who the “Nicolaitans” were no one knows. The mere fact that any true history of them has ceased to exist shows just how much Jesus Christ despised them, for all we have left of them is a meager mention of their name twice in this book and both times it is not in a flattering light.
Revelation 2:7 – “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant at eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”
Here we see that not all will hear the words and understand them and that this message is given through the Holy Spirit. Those that do hear and overcome are promised to eat of the “tree of life,” in other word granted eternal life in the service of God.
Here we see how as a church as a whole at the end of the first century was starting to drift away from Christ. For they had not seen Him. They did not know Him as a person, but a tale told to them by their elders. This is true now as well in many. They see God and Jesus as a story, a fairy tale. Not realizing Jesus was real and there is evidence that still exists that say yes Jesus is real and what He did was real as will and what He offers to all is just as real.
This last week I started restudying the book of Revelation. To do this I decided this time as I did with the Book of Daniel to use a commentary to gain a better insight into the word of God. Now I have tried more than one and found only one to be really of any true worth.
The Walvoord Commentary series is what I would recommend. In most areas with them I have had little conflict with what was represented. I did find that Dr. John F. Walvoord, or the editors, since he has gone on to be with Christ, that he is anti-Catholic, but he gives a good argument for this in one the churches to be discussed. I also found him to be pro-Baptist, which I actually feel is not a good thing. He had the belief of “once saved always saved.” This, I personally believe, has become an open door to apathy thus helping to create the state of the falling away from God we are now experiencing in Christianity today.
Now it is important to get a grasp upon the most important element within the Bible, especially the New Testament. It was written for those that have already become true followers of Jesus Christ. It is for those that have fallen to their knees and bowed before Him and asked Him into their hearts. It is a guide book into striving to become a true reflection of our Savior. So when John is writing these letters to the seven churches it is to those that committed within their hearts to truly be Christian. Now most in this world say they are Christian, because they have gone to church when they were young in most cases, but they never truly surrender their lives to following the Son of God. This is apathy, this is a sin. This is why people have such a hard time understanding the Bible, let alone striving to follow it teachings. They think they are Christian, but in reality they aren’t. This has occurred not only due to Catholicism, but also due to Baptist teaching, both of which are man-made doctrines and not given by God through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus gave us the true baptism which occurs after you commit your heart and soul to Christ, something that is impossible for a baby to do. Christ gave us the taking of unleavened bread a simple of His body and of wine the symbol of His blood. These are the only ceremonies given to the Church. He also taught that those that have been saved can fall away from their salvation due to freewill. Christ Himself made this clear in John 15. It is reinforced in 2 Peter 2 as well as in two of the letters going to be discussed in this series. For these letters were given to the “messengers” of the seven churches and so as Christ says at the end to every church “He that hath an ear, let him hear…”
Here is an important element that the Walvoord Commentary brought to light to me that when thought upon actually makes sense. The state of the churches even though contemporary for they can exist as contemporaries in other churches that now exist. However, this is what I found enlightening is that the state of the churches are also linear. Meaning they follow one after the other throughout the church age. The first church being the church at the time the letters are written to the last church being the state of the church as a whole is at the time when it is near the end of times or the time for what is stated within Revelation to actually take place.
But that does not mean I have to set back and allow it to happen without making some effort to help others to know that God is real. I have been a glimpse into His plan. It is sad. It is joyous. It is horrifying. It is miraculous.
What is going to happen will allow the book of Revelation to occur as stated. God said He would use even those that do not know Him to accomplish His goals. His plans. His destiny for humankind and I have never seen such evidence of those that do not know Him being so proud and open to do so.
I will not share what I have been given. For I know it would not be accepted or seen for what it is, but it will allow me to move forward. It will allow me to understand when it is time to move on to the next chain within the promised eternal life.
The writing is clear as day for those that are willing to accept God. That which must take place for the return of Christ is going to happen and it will involve many to suffer.
There will be those that protected and stood up for others and they will find out too late that they supported the wrong people. They will learn too late that they too should have seen the truth as it was shoved down their faces over the last decade.
Never since the time of World War II has the world so quickly and eagerly changed for the worst and hardly any see things for what they truly are. In that war God used it to bring His people home, to fulfill prophecy. Now more prophecies are to come to pass.
It is all there, before us all, but very few listen, very few see.
For prophecy to be fulfilled it must happen soon, but how long is soon? Only God knows the answer to that one, but still the writing is on the wall for all to see yet very few will open their eyes.
So go ahead and compound your sins against nature. For who created the natural order? Who said it must be a certain way and no other? Yet many in humankind have embraced the mentality that they themselves control their own destiny. Many others will say that their god is the true god and only through what they say can things truly go as planned, all the time unaware that the true God has set certain events in motion per His design, per His purpose, and most will never realize it till it is too late.
Most will continue to live in their little world of their own creation. Supplanting the true Creator with their “human” god and they will see the horror that they have unleashed upon themselves. Never realize it was they that caused it. For God shall turn them over to unrighteousness. A word that has multiple sides and all are sharp and painful to the touch.
I can say no more. Yes it is cryptic. Yes it is vague, but that is how it is to be. I will still try and reach those that are willing to tear the scales form their eyes and for them I am joyous for when all is said and done. ALL will know the true God and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, just not all will be able to celebrate this realization.