THE REVELATION #7-2:1-3:6

REVELATION #1 BEGIN HERE-SUMMARY REVELATION #7 2:1-3:6 REVELATION #13 15:1-17:7
REVELATION #2 TEACH IN CHURCHES REVELATION #8 3:7-3:22 REVELATION #14 17:5-19:5
REVELATION #3 INTRODUCTION REVELATION #9 4:1-6:8 REVELATION #15 COMMENTARY
REVELATION #4 WORSHIP REVELATION #10 6:9-8:13 REVELATION #16 19:6-21:8
REVELATION #5 TABLE OF CONTENTS REVELATION #11 9:1-12:16 REVELATION # 17 21:9-22:21
REVELATION #6 ABBREVIATIONS & REV 1:1-1:20 REVELATION #12 12:17-14:20 ______

 

Chapters 2 and 3
1703 to 1783-5A-4

 

THE SECOND PART
OF THE REVELATION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMENTARY REGARDING THE SEVEN CHURCHES
1704-5A-4

Beginning in Revelation 2:1 through 3:22, seven churches are listed. As previously mentioned, "seven" is the number often used in the Bible to mean "completeness." There were other churches in Asia; however, these seven appear to have been selected by the Lord to convey specific information.

Some may say that each church covers a specific time period, from the beginning of the church age until the Rapture. Others may say each church represents the entire time. There is a third opinion that says the church age extends until Jesus physically returns after the Tribulation. The Scriptures, however, do not clearly verify which of the first two positions are correct.

After extensive research, it is believed that both the first and second positions are correct. The seven churches do, indeed, represent specific time periods, dating from the beginning of the church age to the Rapture; however, there are certain elements within each church that can apply, in general, to all of the churches or times, from the first church through to the Rapture.

Let us remember, the Word of God is perfect. However, manís research of events, dealing with Scripture, may not be perfect.

WHAT EACH CHURCH MAY INCLUDE
1705-5A-4

In most of the churches, the following should be listed:

  • The name of the church
  • John told to write
  • Information about Jesus
  • Good things about the church (I know thy works)
  • Bad things about the church
  • Warnings about what may happen
  • What to do, also repent and exhortation to hold fast
  • Promises to him that overcometh
  • Rewards
  • If any man have ears to hear, let him hear

Of the seven churches, four now lie in ruinóEphesus, Pergamos, Sardis, and Laodicea.

THE FIRST CHURCH: EPHESUS
1706 to 1713-5A-4

THE FIRST CHURCH: EPHESUS
(Commentary)
1707-5A-4

Ephesus means "desirable." The city was a large, commercial center on the western coast of Asia Minor, between Miletus and Smyrna. The Temple of Artemis (called Diana of the Ephesians), one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, was there. In approximately 262, the Goths destroyed the temple and city. The city never regained its glory or first love. It was later attacked by the Arabs, Turks, and finally, the Mongols about 1403. Reportedly, the city, today, is desolate; its seaport is a marsh covered with reeds. It may have had a population of over one hundred thousand. Ephesus
had heard the Gospel from Timothy-ref 1 Tim 1:3; Tychicus-ref Eph 6:21; Paul-ref 1 Cor 16:8 and others.

By the time John had written this letter, the church would have been in the second generation of believers.

  • The Apostolic church had left their first love
  • The approximate period represented is from Pentecost to 160 A.D. (the Apostolic age)
  • Two descriptions of Jesus
  • Ten good things
  • One bad thing
  • Three items of advice on what to do
  • Two warnings
  • One reward

2:1. 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 (or among) THE SEVEN GOLDEN CANDLESTICKS. Ref Rev 1:20.

2:1. It begins saying,

UNTO THE ANGEL, which is followed by,

OF THE CHURCH OF EPHESUS. John is told to

WRITE; THESE THINGS SAITH (or are the words of). Next the subject turns to Jesus. The verse addresses Him as:

DESCRIPTIONS OF JESUS
1708-5A-4

1. HE THAT HOLDETH THE SEVEN STARS, which, as we have seen, are the angels of the seven churches. He is holding them

IN HIS RIGHT HAND. More information is given regarding Jesus, as it states,

2. WHO WALKETH IN THE MIDST OF (or among)

THE SEVEN GOLDEN CANDLESTICKS (or in the midst of the seven churches). These churches belong to Jesus; He purchased them. He is pictured walking in the midst of them.

2:2. I KNOW THY WORKS (or deeds), AND THY LABOR (or hard work), AND THY PATIENCE (or perseverance), AND HOW THOU CANST NOT BEAR THEM WHICH ARE EVIL (or tolerate wicked men): AND THOU HAST TRIED (or tested) THEM WHICH SAY THEY ARE APOSTLES, AND ARE NOT, AND HAST FOUND THEM LIARS (or false). Ref Pv 8:13.

2:2. Begins with a series of words that are repeated in the messages to each churchó

I KNOW THY WORKS. This is addressed to the church, in general, as well as the individual. God knows the works of His people, things done both in the open and in secret.

If number one is included, ten good things are listed regarding this church.

GOOD THINGS
1709-5A-4

1. I KNOW THY WORKS (or deeds). They had works for God.

2. AND THY LABOR (or hard work). This was a hard-working church.

3. AND THY PATIENCE (or perseverance). This church persevered through their hard labors and problems.

4. AND HOW THOU CANST NOT BEAR (or tolerate) THEM WHICH ARE EVIL. This church could not tolerate evil people as all of us should also be. We should HATEÖTHE EVIL WAY-ref Pv 8:13.

5. AND THOU HAST TRIED (or tested)

THEM WHICH SAY THEY ARE APOSTLES, AND ARE NOT, AND HAST FOUND THEM LIARS (or false). Those that claimed to be apostles were tested by Godís Word and proven to be false. This church was valiant for the truth and knowledge.

2:3. AND HAST BORNE (or persevered), AND HAST PATIENCE, AND FOR MY NAMEíS SAKE HAST LABOURED (or have endured hardships for My name-NIV), AND HAST NOT FAINTED (or grown weary).

2:3.

6. AND HAST BORNE (or persevered)

7. AND HAST PATIENCE

8. AND FOR MY NAMEíS SAKE HAST LABOURED (or have endured hardships for My name-NIV)

9. AND HAST NOT FAINTED (or grown weary).

10. BUT THIS THOU HAST, THAT THOU HATEST THE DEEDS OF THE NICOLAITANS, WHICH I ALSO HATE. (Note Rev 2:15.)

The words "labor" and "labored" are used. The word "patience" is used twice but in slightly different contexts.

Overall, the church was complimented for their hard labors, patience, perseverance, testing of false apostles, and hatred of the deeds of them that were evil.

Paul had ministered there for many years, about forty or more, before this letter in the Revelation was sent to them. Both Timothy and John had served there; Aquila, Priscilla, and Apollos had also worked in this city. The church was well-established in doctrine. Yet, apparently, the generation of Christians that followed did not have the same love and zeal of heart for Christ. Paul had warned, upon his departure, of wolves entering in not sparing the flock. He also warned of men, from among themselves, speaking perverse things. He told them, BY THE SPACE OF THREE YEARS I CEASED NOT TO WARN EVERY ONE NIGHT AND DAY-Acts 20:31.

2:4. NEVERTHELESS I HAVE SOMEWHAT AGAINST THEE, BECAUSE THOU HAST LEFT (or forsaken) THY FIRST LOVE.

2:4. Brings forth a warning.

NEVERTHELESS I HAVE SOMEWHAT AGAINST THEE. Although there are many good things about this church, God is still dissatisfied. The reason is,

BAD THINGS
1710-5A-4

1. BECAUSE THOU HAST LEFT THY FIRST LOVE.

They had left Jesus. Their relationship and attitude toward God was not right. Despite all the hardships and hard work they were doing, they left their first love. These had sound doctrine. Outwardly, they had the appearance of being a zealous, loving, God-serving group of believers. But, inwardly, there was a coldness. Perhaps, they had forgotten, WE LOVE HIM, BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED US-1 Jn 4:19. It was to the elders of Ephesus that Paul said, Acts 20:29-31-FOR I KNOW THIS, THAT AFTER MY DEPARTING SHALL GRIEVOUS WOLVES ENTER IN AMONG YOU, NOT SPARING THE FLOCK. ALSO OF YOUR OWN SELVES SHALL MEN ARISE, SPEAKING PERVERSE THINGS, TO DRAW AWAY DISCIPLES AFTER THEM. THEREFORE WATCH, AND REMEMBER, THAT BY THE SPACE OF THREE YEARS I CEASED NOT TO WARN EVERY ONE NIGHT AND DAY WITH TEARS.

Five of the seven churches are admonished for certain things they need to repent of.

2:5. REMEMBER THEREFORE FROM WHENCE (or the height from which) THOU ART FALLEN, AND REPENT (or turn from this sin), AND DO THE FIRST WORKS (or things you did at first-NIV); OR ELSE I WILL COME UNTO THEE QUICKLY, AND WILL REMOVE THY CANDLESTICK (or lampstand) OUT OF HIS PLACE, EXCEPT THOU REPENT. Ref Rev 2:16; Mk 12:30; Phili 1:21; 3:10.

2:5. The Lord begins by telling them what to do. He tells them,

REMEMBER THEREFORE FROM WHENCE (or the height from which)

THOU ART FALLEN. God is trying to cause them to remember where they were in the beginning, Who their first love is supposed to be. They had drifted away from Jesus, their first love, even though they were doing many works and even suffering for His sake. Just because a person is serving God, does not mean he remembers his first love as he ought. God not only wants us to serve Him, but He also wants our heart. The greatest commandment is to LOVE THE LORD THY GOD WITH ALL THY HEART, AND WITH ALL THY SOUL, AND WITH ALL THY MIND, AND WITH ALL THY STRENGTH-Mk 12:30. Our love for God should far exceed our love for anything else, including father, mother, wife, children, friends, or possessions. Let us remember, FOR TO ME TO LIVE IS CHRIST-Phili 1:21, and THAT I MAY KNOW HIM-Phili 3:10. We should be serving God not just because it is the right thing to do, but because of our overwhelming love for Him. We need to remember Godís love for us and His everlasting gift in light of eternity. As it is written, WE LOVE HIM, BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED US-1 Jn 4:19. The decline, in Ephesus, came not in a lack of service to God, but in their heartís devotion and love for Christ; this is where the backsliding began.

The next thing God tells them to do is

REPENT. This is a difficult message to get across to those that have labored and suffered for Jesus, but left their first love.

The third thing God tells them to do is,

AND DO THE FIRST WORKS. Remember the first works; repent and return to the first works.

ADVICE ON WHAT TO DO
(Godís mercy and long-suffering before judgment)
1711-5A-4

1. REMEMBER
2. REPENT
3. DO THE FIRST WORKS

Now God gives them a warning. When Godís advice goes unheeded, there is a penalty. This penalty for disobedience can be disaster. He had saidódo the first works

OR ELSE. These two words bring with them a warning. In other words, do it, "OR ELSE." Jesus continuesóor else

I WILL. The words here give a certainty of what will happen, if His advice is not obeyed.

COME UNTO THEE QUICKLY. How long is Jesus giving them to repent? It may be said, "REPENT...QUICKLY," or else judgment will come. What is the judgment?

I...WILL REMOVE THY CANDLESTICK (or lampstand)

OUT OF HIS PLACE. Some might say, by removing the candlestick, it will eternally affect oneís position with Jesus. Others might say, it will affect oneís eternal destiny. Close examination of the Scriptures should reveal the second position is correct. The verse ends with the words,

EXCEPT THOU REPENT.

 

WARNINGS
1712-5A-4

1. I WILL COME UNTO THEE QUICKLY.

2. IÖWILL REMOVE THY CANDLESTICK OUT OF HIS PLACE.

2:6. BUT THIS THOU HAST (or you have this in your favor-NIV), THAT THOU HATEST THE DEEDS (or practices) OF THE NICOLAITANS, WHICH I ALSO HATE.

2:6. The following is also covered in #10, under "Good Things" of this church.

BUT THIS THOU HAST (or you have this in your favor-NIV),

THAT THOU HATEST THE DEEDS (or practices)

OF THE NICOLAITANS, WHICH I ALSO HATE. In verse 15, the word "doctrine" (or teaching) is used regarding the Nicolaitans. Exactly who these Nicolaitans were is not clear. (See Rev 2:15.)

2:7. HE THAT HATH AN EAR, LET HIM HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT SAITH UNTO THE CHURCHES; TO HIM THAT OVERCOMETH WILL I GIVE (the right) TO EAT OF THE TREE OF LIFE, WHICH IS IN THE MIDST OF THE PARADISE OF GOD-Rev 2:1-7. P, Rew.

2:7. Begins with,

HE THAT HATH AN EAR. The letter is addressed to the church, in general; however, the message is directed to the individual, "HE" that hath an ear. Not everyone has an "ear" (or a heart) to hear Godís Word. These verses are not addressed to the unbeliever or the make-believe Christian; they are directed to the believers, the church. Even some that are believers can become hardened toward Godís Word and turn away. They no longer have an ear to hear correction. They no longer have a discerning heart to examine themselves by Godís Word to see their true position with Him. They can no longer discern right and wrong by Godís Word. Therefore, both collectively and individually, they are being told, "HE THAT HATH AN EAR" (or a heart) to understand,

LET HIM HEAR. The verse continues, "LET HIM HEAR"

WHAT THE SPIRIT SAITH UNTO THE CHURCHES. The Spirit of God is speaking. These same words are repeated in all seven churches. Note the word "churches" is used at the end. It is plural. While each church does cover events from a specific age, they are also intended for all church ages to consider and learn from.

The next words,
TO HIM THAT OVERCOMETH (or wins the victory), are words that carry with them a most important meaning. The word "him" pertains to the individual. As followers of Jesus, we are to overcome the world through faith. True Christians no longer follow the ways or people of this world. They follow Jesus (the Word). In doing this, they will go through many hardships. The world will think they are crazy. They may even be killed for the sake of the Gospel. True Christians are to be overcomers. Their faith in Jesus Christ enables them to overcome their personal desires, fears, lusts, and other things of this world. They overcome by faith; for they look FOR A CITY...WHOSE BUILDER AND MAKER IS GOD-Heb 11:10, even New Jerusalem.

BE NOT OVERCOME OF EVIL, BUT OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD-Ro 12:21. FOR OF WHOM A MAN IS OVERCOME, OF THE SAME IS HE BROUGHT IN BONDAGE. FOR IF AFTER THEY HAVE ESCAPED THE POLLUTIONS OF THE WORLD THROUGH THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, THEY ARE AGAIN ENTANGLED THEREIN, AND OVERCOME, THE LATTER END IS WORSE WITH THEM THAN THE BEGINNING. FOR IT HAD BEEN BETTER FOR THEM NOT TO HAVE KNOWN THE WAY OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, THAN, AFTER THEY HAVE KNOWN IT, TO TURN FROM THE HOLY COMMANDMENT DELIVERED UNTO THEM. BUT IT IS HAPPENED UNTO THEM ACCORDING TO THE TRUE PROVERB, THE DOG IS TURNED TO HIS OWN VOMIT AGAIN; AND THE SOW THAT WAS WASHED TO HER WALLOWING IN THE MIRE-2 Pe 2:19-22.

YE ARE OF GOD, LITTLE CHILDREN, AND HAVE OVERCOME THEM: BECAUSE GREATER IS HE THAT IS IN YOU, THAN HE THAT IS IN THE WORLD-1 Jn 4:4. HE THAT OVERCOMETH SHALL INHERIT ALL THINGS; AND I WILL BE HIS GOD, AND HE SHALL BE MY SON-Rev 21:7. The Christian life is a life of surrender, yielding, and obedience to Jesus, to Godís Word; as a little child surrenders, yields to, and obeys his father. Through "HIM" we overcome. As it is written, I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHICH STRENGTHENETH ME-Phili 4:13.

2:7. This verse continuesóto him that overcometh

WILL I GIVE TO EAT OF THE TREE OF LIFE, WHICH IS IN THE MIDST OF THE PARADISE OF GOD. The word "paradise" here signifies heaven. The "TREE OF LIFE" is first mentioned in Gen 2:9 and again in Gen 3:22,24. Those that eat of it shall live forever. It is also mentioned in Rev 22:2,14. Those that overcome, Jesus promises them,

"WILL I GIVE TO EAT OF THE TREE OF LIFE."

REWARD
1713-5A-4

1. "I GIVE TO EAT OF THE TREE OF LIFE."

THE SECOND CHURCH: SMYRNA
1714 to 1720-5A-4

THE SECOND CHURCH: SMYRNA
(Commentary)
1715-5A-4

The letter to the Smyrna church is the shortest of the seven.

Smyrna means "myrrh," a perfume. It needs to be crushed to release its fragrance. It can also mean bitterness, as myrrh was used for embalming the dead. When it was brought to Jesus, it may have conveyed the meaning that Jesus was to die. Smyrna was a suffering church, and many people were martyred. It is a seaport on the western coast of Asia Minor. It is approximately 40 miles north of Ephesus. From the time of John (about 90 A.D.) until about 312 A.D., Christians were continually persecuted. Here, the Christian martyr, Polycarp (a bishop), was burned to death between 156 A.D.-170 A.D. Smyrna was destroyed by an earthquake, about 178 A.D., but rebuilt. It was one of the few Asian cities to withstand Turkish attacks and among the last to fall to the Muslims. It is now the modern city of Izmir, one of Turkeyís largest. The population is several hundred thousand.

During this period, it was reported that the born-again Christians suffered great persecutions at the hands of Rome.

  • The persecuted and martyred church

  • The approximate period represented is 160 A.D. to 313 A.D (the suffering, martyrdom age)

  • Four descriptions of Jesus

  • Four good things

  • No bad things

  • Four items that would happen

  • Two items of advice on what to do

  • Two rewards

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.

2:8. AND UNTO THE ANGEL OF THE CHURCH IN SMYRNA WRITE. This is the same type of introduction as the church of Ephesus, except, it was written OF EPHESUS. Here, it is written, IN SMYRNA.

THESE THINGS SAITH (or are the words of). Next the subject turns to Jesus. The verse addresses Him as:

DESCRIPTIONS OF JESUS
1716-5A-4

1. THE FIRST AND

2. THE LAST. These same words appear in Rev 1:11. Jesus is before all things-ref Col 1:17. The verse continues,

3. WHICH WAS DEAD,

4. AND IS ALIVE. Jesus was crucified and died, but He rose from the dead. He is alive for evermore. It is noteworthy that both the death of Jesus and His resurrection are mentioned here, as this may be called the persecuted, suffering church; death awaited some of them, also.

2:9. I KNOW THY WORKS, AND TRIBULATION (or afflictions), AND POVERTY, (BUT THOU ART RICH) AND I KNOW THE BLASPHEMY (or slander) OF THEM WHICH SAY THEY ARE JEWS, AND ARE NOT, BUT ARE THE SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN. Ref Rev 3:18; Jn 8:33,37,39,44; Ro 2:28,29.

2:9. This verse begins with a series of words that are repeated in each of the churchesó

I KNOW THY WORKS. This is addressed to the church, in general, as well as the individual.

If number one is included, four good things are listed regarding this church.

GOOD THINGS
1717-5A-4

1. I KNOW THY WORKS (or deeds). They had works for God.

2. AND TRIBULATION (or afflictions). This church was greatly persecuted. The word "tribulation," used here, carries with it the idea of crushing grapes to make the juice come out.

3. AND POVERTY. This was a poor church in the material sense. They may have suffered the loss of all material possessions for the name of Jesus. They may have been denied a means of earning a living, because they followed Jesus.

4. BUT THOU ART RICH. Biblical wealth is not in terms of what you possess, but rather in terms of faith and laying up treasures in heaven. In the eyes of Jesus, this was a rich church. Undoubtedly, Satan had tried to compromise their faith and doctrine from within, but, apparently, was unsuccessful; they had no rebuke from the Lord.

As they were enduring great sufferings, they knew that Jesus was aware of what they were going through. This should have given them strength and comfort.

After Jesus gives the good things about this church, He then changes the subject, somewhat, as it is written,

AND I KNOW THE BLASPHEMY OF THEM WHICH SAY THEY ARE JEWS, AND ARE NOT, BUT ARE THE SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN. In the Ephesian church, there were those who claimed to be apostles but were not. Here are those that said they were Jews but were not. It may be said, these Jews were claiming to be of the synagogue of God, but they were really the synagogue of the devil. This indicates that the church in Smyrna was undergoing further difficulties from the Jews in that community.

The unsaved Jews said to Jesus, WE BE ABRAHAMíS SEED...ABRAHAM IS OUR FATHER-Jn 8:33,39. Jesus told them, I KNOW THAT YE ARE ABRAHAMíS SEED; BUT...MY WORD HATH NO PLACE IN YOU. IF YE WERE ABRAHAMíS CHILDREN, YE WOULD DO THE WORKS OF ABRAHAM. YE ARE OF YOUR FATHER THE DEVIL-Jn 8:37,39,44. In other words, if they were Abrahamís children, the words of Jesus would have a place in their hearts, and they would do the works of Abraham. ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS IMPUTED (or accounted, or counted) UNTO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS-Ja 2:23; Gal 3:6; Ro 4:3. Abraham was saved by faith. Jesus is pointing out two things here. There is a difference between being the seed of Abraham and being a child of Abraham. They were Abrahamís seed, but they were not Abrahamís children. To be transformed from Abrahamís seed to being a child of Abraham, one needs to be born-again.

Thus, they said they were Jews, but they lied. As it is written, FOR HE IS NOT A JEW, WHICH IS ONE OUTWARDLY; NEITHER IS THAT CIRCUMCISION, WHICH IS OUTWARD IN THE FLESH: BUT HE IS A JEW, WHICH IS ONE INWARDLY; AND CIRCUMCISION IS THAT OF THE HEART, IN THE SPIRIT, AND NOT IN THE LETTER; WHOSE PRAISE IS NOT OF MEN, BUT OF GOD-Ro 2:28,29.

These Jews blasphemed; they were "THE SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN." They did not believe Jesus was the Messiah; they rejected Him and despised the message of being JUSTIFIED BY FAITH-Ro 3:28. This would indicate there may have been a synagogue of unsaved Jews located there. Thus, we conclude their persecutions were coming from heathen Gentiles, Satan himself, and unsaved religious Jews. Often the worst persecutions come from the unsaved religious zealots. The early church was known by its poverty and persecution. Todayís church, especially in America, is known by its popularity and prosperity. Have we forgotten the verseóJesus HATH NOT WHERE TO LAY HIS HEAD-ref Mt 8:20?

2:10. FEAR NONE OF THOSE THINGS WHICH THOU SHALT SUF-FER: BEHOLD, THE DEVIL SHALL CAST SOME OF YOU INTO PRISON, THAT YE MAY BE TRIED (or to test you); AND YE SHALL HAVE TRIB-ULATION (or will suffer persecution) TEN DAYS: BE THOU FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH, AND I WILL GIVE THEE A CROWN OF LIFE. Ref Ja 1:12; Heb 5:8. P, Rew.

2:10. FEAR NONE OF THOSE THINGS WHICH THOU SHALT SUFFER. Again, we see a picture of a persecuted church. We see a church that went through great suffering and persecution, but were told not to fear, even though it is written, "THOU SHALT SUFFER." The Scripture says that Jesus LEARNED...OBEDIENCE BY THE THINGS WHICH HE SUFFERED-Heb 5:8.

Then Jesus becomes very specific.

THE DEVIL SHALL CAST SOME OF YOU INTO PRISON. Jn 8:41 says, YE DO THE DEEDS OF YOUR FATHER. The devil, working through his children, shall cast them into prison. Next the verse explains why they will be cast into prison, as it is written,

THAT YE MAY BE TRIED (or tested). Our walk with Jesus is a walk of testing, to see if we will continue to obey Himóno matter what the costóeven the cost of our life. Jesus suffered, so we also are called to suffer; however, the end of it all is to be with Jesus forever and ever. The verse continues,

YE SHALL HAVE TRIBULATION (or afflictions)

TEN DAYS. The Scripture is giving very exact events that were to happen to this church. These things, and more, would take place at an ordained time. Thus, we can say, while each church has a message for all times, each church is also covering a specific time period. Of these followers of Jesus that were to be cast into prison, Godís Word is telling them they would have afflictions, or tribulations, or great sufferings for TEN DAYS. Some believe the ten days represent ten of the Roman emperors that greatly persecuted the Christians; others believe the ten days denote ten years.

The verse continues,

BE THOU FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH. Despite the horrible things that they would suffer for ten days, Jesus tells them, "BE THOU FAITHFUL." Church history also records ten great persecutions during this period. While the suffering now can sometimes be very intense, yet faithfulness brings with it the reward of eternal life. The end of this intense suffering for these people was to be death. "BE...FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH." Jesus was the example of faithfulness unto death.

Many so-called Christians, when faced with death, will renounce their faith in Jesus in order to live. Yet in saving their life, now, they lose it for eternity. Many will be faced with either having their head cut off, during the Tribulation, or having their life spared by worshiping the image of the beast. Our faith will be tested. Will your faith stand this test? Tribulation (or suffering) WORKETH PATIENCE-Ro 5:3. Suffering demonstrates the reality of a personís faith and commitment. Holding fast and remaining faithful through all of this suffering is a sweet aroma or perfume unto God. Remember, Smyrna means myrrh. It is written, FOR WE ARE UNTO GOD A SWEET SAVOR (or aroma) OF CHRIST, IN THEM THAT ARE SAVED, AND IN THEM THAT PERISH-2 Cor 2:15.

The verse concludes with a promise. "BE...FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH,"

AND I WILL GIVE THEE A CROWN OF LIFE. For those that are martyred, a crown of life is promised.

THINGS THAT SHALL HAPPEN
1718-5A-4

1. THOU SHALT SUFFER
2. Some cast into prison
3.
YE SHALL HAVE TRIBULATION TEN DAYS
4. DEATH

ADVICE ON WHAT TO DO
1719-5A-4

1. FEAR NONE OF THOSE THINGS.
2. BE THOU FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH.

This is one of only two churches where it is not recorded that they were given any rebuke. Suffering seemed to help keep them pure in faith and trusting in Jesus.

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. Ref Rev 20:6,11,14; 21:8. P, Rew.

2:11. HE THAT HATH AN EAR, LET HIM HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT SAITH UNTO THE CHURCHES. (Note the commentary in part 1712-5A-4, under Rev 2:7, dealing with this subject.)

The verse concludes with an additional reward to those that meet one condition. That condition
is,

HE THAT OVERCOMETH. (Note the commentary in part 1712-5A-4, about overcoming.) The reward is,

SHALL NOT BE HURT OF THE SECOND DEATH. They might suffer death now, but no second death would occur. This could also be a warning for the unrepentant, as they would experience both the first death and the second. It is written, BLESSED AND HOLY IS HE THAT HATH PART IN THE FIRST RESURRECTION: ON SUCH THE SECOND DEATH HATH NO POWER-Rev 20:6.

One might ask, "What is the second death?" It is written, AND I SAW A GREAT WHITE THRONE, AND HIM THAT SAT ON IT, FROM WHOSE FACE THE EARTH AND THE HEAVEN FLED AWAY; AND THERE WAS FOUND NO PLACE FOR THEM. AND DEATH AND HELL WERE CAST INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE. THIS IS THE SECOND DEATH. AND WHOSOEVER WAS NOT FOUND WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF LIFE WAS CAST INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE-Rev 20:11,14,15. BUT THE FEARFUL (or cowardly), AND UNBELIEVING (or untrustworthy), AND THE ABOMINABLE (or vile), AND MURDERERS, AND WHORE-MONGERS (or sexually immoral), AND SORCERERS (or those who practice magic arts-NIV) AND IDOLATERS (or idol worshippers), AND ALL LIARS, SHALL HAVE THEIR PART IN THE LAKE WHICH BURNETH WITH FIRE AND BRIMSTONE: WHICH IS THE SECOND DEATH-Rev 21:8. 

REWARDS
1720-5A-4

1. A CROWN OF LIFE
2. SHALL NOT BE HURT OF THE SECOND DEATH

THE THIRD CHURCH: PERGAMOS
1721 to 1729-5A-4

THE THIRD CHURCH: PERGAMOS
(Commentary)
1722-5A-4

Pergamos (also called Pergamum) means "elevation" or "marriage." It may be said, "married to the world." This city was located about 20 miles inland from the city of Smyrna and was of Mysia, in northwest Asia Minor. It was the capital of the Roman province of Asia. It was noted for its science and medicine and had magnificent statues of Zeus, Donysus (Dionysius), and Athena. Pergamos was largely pagan and involved in idol worship. Here was also found the temple of Aesculapius, which included the wreathed serpent. Aesculapius was called the preserver and savior. The city appears to have been a very difficult place to live a Christian life. It had a huge library; paper was called "pergamena." About 312, Constantine became emperor of Rome; it is said he ended Christian persecution. Later, he professed Christianity and began molding church and state together. Pergamos became an important center for the state religion of Christianity. It was attacked by the Arabs about 716-717, lost its political power, and gradually fell into ruin. It is now a scene of desolation. There is a small town, named Bergama, found where the city once was.

  • A church of compromise and tolerance that did not hate sin; a "twice-married" churchótrying to be married to both Jesus and the world

  • The approximate period represented is 313 A.D. to 606 A.D.

  • Two descriptions of Jesus

  • Three good things

  • Four items of general information

  • Two bad things

  • One item of advice on what to do

  • Two warnings

  • Three rewards

2:12. AND TO THE ANGEL OF THE CHURCH IN PERGAMOS WRITE; THESE THINGS SAITH HE WHICH HATH THE SHARP SWORD WITH TWO EDGES (or sharp, double-edged sword). Ref Heb 4:12; Rev 1:16; 2:16.

2:12. AND TO THE ANGEL OF THE CHURCH IN PERGAMOS WRITE; THESE THINGS SAITH (or are the words of). Next the subject turns to Jesus. The verse addresses Him as:

DESCRIPTIONS OF JESUS
1723-5A-4

1. HE WHICH HATH THE SHARP SWORD

2. WITH TWO EDGES. The Word of God is the sharp sword with two edges; as it is written, THE WORD OF GOD IS QUICK, AND POWERFUL, AND SHARPER THAN ANY TWO-EDGED SWORD, PIERCING EVEN TO THE DIVIDING ASUNDER OF SOUL AND SPIRIT, AND OF THE JOINTS AND MARROW, AND IS A DISCERNER OF THE THOUGHTS AND INTENTS OF THE HEART-Heb 4:12; OUT OF HIS MOUTH WENT A SHARP TWO-EDGED SWORD-Rev 1:16; THE SWORD OF MY MOUTH-Rev 2:16. The Word of God, as a two-edged sword, divides and discerns. It has the ability to separate the Christians from the world and to judge and condemn the world for sin. It is life, and it is death. It is significant that Jesus is described as having the sharp sword with two edgesóthe Word, as this church had compromised Godís Word.

2:13. I KNOW THY WORKS, AND WHERE THOU DWELLEST (or where you live), EVEN WHERE SATANíS SEAT (or throne) IS: AND THOU HOLDEST FAST MY NAME (or you remain true to My name-NIV), AND HAST NOT DENIED MY FAITH (or you did not renounce your faith in Me-NIV), EVEN IN THOSE DAYS WHEREIN ANTIPAS WAS MY FAITHFUL MARTYR, WHO WAS SLAIN AMONG YOU (or in your city), WHERE SATAN DWELLETH (or lives).

2:13. This verse begins with a series of words that are repeated in each of the churchesó

I KNOW THY WORKS. This is addressed to the church, in general, as well as the individual. God knows the works of His people, things done both in the open and in secret.

If number one is included, three good things are listed regarding this church.

GOOD THINGS
1724-5A-4

1. I KNOW THY WORKS. They had works for God.

2. AND THOU HOLDEST FAST MY NAME (or you remain true to My name-NIV).

3. AND HAST NOT DENIED MY FAITH (or you did not renounce your faith in Me-NIV). These did not deny trusting in Jesus,

GENERAL INFORMATION
1725-5A-4

1. EVEN IN THOSE DAYS WHEREIN ANTIPAS WAS MY FAITHFUL MARTYR, WHO WAS SLAIN AMONG YOU (or in your city). Again, there is a specific person mentioned, who was slain, which also indicates a specific time period. People were undergoing persecutions for the name of Jesus. Antipas stood for truth; he would not compromise.

2. AND WHERE THOU DWELLEST (or where you live).

3. EVEN WHERE SATANíS SEAT IS (or his throne).

4. WHERE SATAN DWELLETH (or lives). It is noted that, at this time, Satanís dwelling place and throne were located at Pergamos. Yet Godís people, even though they dwelled in the city where Satanís throne was, still did not bow to the intense pressure that must have come upon them. They served God, remained true to the name of Jesus, and did not renounce their faith in Him; therefore, Satan changed his tactics.

2:14. BUT I HAVE A FEW THINGS AGAINST THEE, BECAUSE THOU HAST THERE THEM THAT HOLD THE DOCTRINE (or teaching) OF BALAAM, WHO TAUGHT BALAK TO CAST A STUMBLINGBLOCK BEFORE THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL (or entice the Israelites to sin-NIV), TO EAT THINGS SACRIFICED UNTO IDOLS, AND TO COMMIT FORNICATION (or sexual immorality). Ref Num 31:16; 22:1-25:9.

2:14. BUT I HAVE A FEW THINGS AGAINST THEE,

BAD THINGS
1726-5A-4

1. BECAUSE THOU HAST THERE THEM THAT HOLD THE DOCTRINE (or teaching)

OF BALAAM.

The church is to be made-up of born-again followers of Jesus Christ. It is not to include those that hold false doctrines. It is not to include people that would tempt the followers of Jesus to sin and to turn from God. First, Satan tried persecutions and death. However, this only seemed to strengthen the church. Then Satan began to change his tactics. He united the church and state. He also began to infiltrate the church with things that allure the flesh, such as sexual immorality. Organized religion was also initiated. The doctrine of the Nicolaitans was gaining a foothold.

The doctrine of Balaam was a message of compromise. (Note Num 22:1 to 25:9.) Balaam was a prophet, but he was covetous. Balak, the king of Moab, wanted Balaam to curse Israel. He made him a handsome offer. Balaam rejected this offer, but afterward compromised when a larger offer came. Despite being tempted three times, he did not pronounce a curse upon Israel. Nevertheless, a plan emerged. That plan was to mingle the attractive Moabite women with the men of Israelóit worked. The children of Israel also bowed down to their gods. As a result, Godís wrath was kindled against Israel. Twenty-four thousand died-ref Num 25:9.

As it is written, "THE DOCTRINE (or teaching) OF BALAAM,"

WHO TAUGHT BALAK TO CAST A STUMBLINGBLOCK BEFORE THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL (or entice the Israelites to sin-NIV),

TO EAT THINGS SACRIFICED UNTO IDOLS, AND TO COMMIT FORNICATION (or sexual immorality).

Regarding Balaam, MOSES WAS ANGRY WITH THE OFFICERS OF THE ARMY..."HAVE YOU ALLOWED ALL THE WOMEN TO LIVE?" he asked them. "THEY WERE THE ONES WHO FOLLOWED BALAAMíS ADVICE AND WERE THE MEANS OF TURNING THE ISRAELITES AWAY FROM THE LORD IN WHAT HAPPENED AT PEOR...NOW KILL ALL THE BOYS. AND KILL EVERY WOMAN WHO HAS SLEPT WITH A MAN-Num 31:14-17 NIV. The worldly religions of deception try to pull the people of God away from their sound doctrine and faith in Jesus. Apparently, Satan realized that if killing them did not work, but their faith grew stronger, then he had to spoil their sound doctrine by mixing it with other doctrines. Further, he brought in things that entice the fleshly nature and organized religionócorrupting the church from within.

2:15. SO HAST THOU ALSO THEM THAT HOLD THE DOCTRINE (or teaching) OF THE NICOLAITANS, WHICH THING I HATE.

2:15. Not only did they allow them that held the doctrine of Balaam in among themselves, they also had those that held the doctrine of the Nicolaitans.

2. SO HAST THOU ALSO THEM THAT HOLD THE DOCTRINE OF THE NICOLAITANS, WHICH THING I HATE.

Little is known of the Nicolaitans. This Greek word, when broken down, seems to mean "having an upper hand" or "to dominate" and also a part may signify "people." Therefore, this could signify a priestly class of people dominating the children of God, making them obey rules that are not in Godís Word. It can also carry the meaning of some form of organized structure or religion. The Nicolaitanís doctrine was rejected by the Ephesian church and is hated by God.

The church of Ephesus hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which God hated, also. Pergamos had become so corrupted that they had those that held the doctrine of the Nicolaitans among them.

It appears this church no longer hated sin. They tolerated wrong doctrines and no longer hated what Jesus hated. The church is supposed to be only followers of Jesus Christ, yet this might be called a church of compromise and tolerance that did not hate sin. The ways of the world, with its religious deception, had become integrated into the church of Jesus Christ.

It has been suggested that Satan greatly persecuted the Smyrna church, and many were martyred; however, they were sound in doctrine. The blood of martyrs is the symbol of the church. Satan could not make an inroad into the Smyrna church with deception and doctrines of compromise.

Therefore, he changed his tactics with the Pergamos church. Persecutions were eased; as a result, false doctrines, compromise, tolerance, deception, and a lack of hating sin began to enter the church and flourish. The church became corrupt. Satan appears to have accomplished more with deception, than he ever did with persecution and martyrdom. Multitudes were baptized, but very few of them were ever born-again. To be a "so-called" Christian was a popular thing. Combining the world with the church, will destroy the church. Perhaps they forgot, YE ADULTERERS AND ADULTERESSES, KNOW YE NOT THAT THE FRIENDSHIP OF THE WORLD IS ENMITY WITH GOD?-Ja 4:4.

Some may claim that the fourth century marriage of Christianity with the state was a triumph. What a deception! It was really a defeat for Christianity; the things that happened corrupted the church of Jesus Christ. 

Satan knows how to effectively use both persecutions and deception. Certainly, one message to this church is a warning against compromise.

2:16. REPENT; OR ELSE I WILL COME UNTO THEE QUICKLY, AND WILL FIGHT AGAINST THEM WITH THE SWORD OF MY MOUTH. Ref Rev 1:16; 2:5,12; Heb 4:12.

2:16. It begins by telling this Christian church what to do.

ADVICE ON WHAT TO DO
(Godís mercy and long-suffering before judgment)

1727-5A-4

1. REPENT; OR ELSE. Again, we see a very sharp and direct warningódo it or else. Godís warnings are not to be taken lightly. Repent of false doctrines, repent of compromise.

WARNINGS
1728-5A-4

1. OR ELSE I WILL COME UNTO THEE QUICKLY. How long is Jesus giving them to repent? The answer is a very short time. How fast will His judgment come? The answer is quickly.

2. AND WILL FIGHT AGAINST THEM WITH THE SWORD OF MY MOUTH. Jesus is warning them to repent, quickly, or else He will come and fight against them with His Word. What Jesus speaks will come to pass. Who can stand against God? Note, Jesus says that He will FIGHT.

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. P, Rew.

2:17. HE THAT HATH AN EAR, LET HIM HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT SAITH UNTO THE CHURCHES. (Note the commentary on these words under Rev 2:7.) When religious deception enters in, many no longer have an ear or a heart to recognize Godís truth.

TO HIM THAT OVERCOMETH. To him that overcomes all of Satanís devices, these promises are given.

REWARDS
1729-5A-4

1. WILL I GIVE TO EAT OF THE HIDDEN MANNA. We might say, being nourished by Jesus, the Bread from heaven, the Bread of life.

2. AND WILL GIVE HIM A WHITE STONE.

3. AND IN THE STONE A NEW NAME WRITTEN, WHICH NO MAN KNOWETH SAVING HE THAT RECEIVETH IT. The meanings of the stone and new name are not clear. Perhaps it shows the Lordís approval.

THE FOURTH CHURCH: THYATIRA
1730 to 1740-5A-4

THE FOURTH CHURCH: THYATIRA
(Commentary)
1731-5A-4

Thyatira means "sacrifice of labor" or "continual sacrifice." It was a church of compromise that embraced apostasy and tolerated wicked teaching. The name may also denote the false doctrine of "continual sacrifice," as some taught and also teach today, rather than the finished work of Jesus. Neither did it hate sin.

Thyatira is a smaller city, located between Pergamos and Sardis, approximately 40 miles southeast of Pergamum, in Lydia of Asia Minor. It became a military outpost that had to be reinforced, because it was located in a valley between sloping hills. It manufactured purple dye. Trade guilds promoted idolatry and excessive drinking. Arabs and Turks repeatedly attacked it, but each time it was rebuilt. It is now a Turkish town of about 50,000, called Akhisar. Twelve verses of Scripture are devoted to this church, the longest of any of the seven churches.

Lydia was from the city of Thyatira and was a seller of purple. She was converted through Paulís ministry-ref Acts 16:14.

Some of these same perverse doctrines that came forth from this age still exist in many churches today. (Note point five under "Bad Things.") 

  • Continual sacrifice

  • The approximate period represented is 606 A.D. to 1517 A.D.óby far, the longest of any of the seven churches

  • Three descriptions of Jesus

  • Six good things

  • Five bad things

  • Three items of advice on what to do

  • Four warnings

  • Two items of general information and items that shall happen

  • Three rewards

  • An additional two items of information

2:18. AND UNTO THE ANGEL OF THE CHURCH IN THYATIRA WRITE; THESE THINGS SAITH (or are the words of) THE SON OF GOD, WHO HATH HIS EYES LIKE UNTO A FLAME (or blazing) OF FIRE, AND HIS (or whose) FEET
ARE LIKE FINE BRASS (or burnished bronze). H.

2:18. AND UNTO THE ANGEL OF THE CHURCH IN THYATIRA WRITE; THESE THINGS SAITH (or are the words of). Next the subject turns to Jesus. The verse addresses Him as:

DESCRIPTIONS OF JESUS
1732-5A-4

1. THE SON OF GOD. This is #17, regarding "Jesus is" in the Revelation.

2. WHO HATH HIS EYES LIKE UNTO A FLAME (or blazing) OF FIRE

3. AND HIS FEET ARE LIKE FINE BRASS (or burnished bronze).

The descriptions of Jesus to this church are twofold. First, they are being reminded that Jesus is the Son of God. They are being reminded of His deity and that "HE" alone is the Head of the church. Others often refer to Jesus as the Son of a virgin or the Son of Mary. This church, however, began to place Mary on the same level as the Son of God or as a mediator between man and Jesus.

HIS EYES LIKE UNTO A FLAME OF FIRE. Next the church is given a picture of the glorified Jesus, Who shall return. It is a picture of His brilliance and the forthcoming judgment. One might consider this was done to remind them that they were to watch and be ready for the return of Jesus Christ. When Jesus was upon the earth, His eyes at times had tears. But now, His eyes appear to be set upon judgment, as evil had corrupted the church. Perhaps, they needed to be reminded to fear God. Some were not ready, as they were allowing ungodly doctrines.

HIS FEET ARE LIKE FINE BRASS. Jesus had walked long distances with these feet to bring forth Godís Word. His feet had been bathed with tears of repentance and dried with a womanís hair. They had been piercedónailed to the cross. But now, these feet are like fine brass; they will bring judgment. One day, they shall touch down upon the Mount of Olives. They will tread out the winepress at Armageddon. They will crush the serpent, and all of His enemies will become His footstool.

2:19. I KNOW THY WORKS (or deeds), AND CHARITY (or love), AND SERVICE, AND FAITH, AND THY PATIENCE (or perseverance), AND THY WORKS; AND THE LAST TO BE MORE THAN THE FIRST (or you are now doing more than you did at first-NIV).

2:19. Begins with a series of words that are repeated in each of the churchesó

I KNOW THY WORKS. This is addressed to the church, in general, as well as the individual. God knows the works of His people, things done both in the open and in secret.

If number one is included, six good things are listed regarding the church.

GOOD THINGS
1733-5A-4

1. I KNOW THY WORKS (or deeds). They had works for God.

2. AND CHARITY (or love). Note the word charity (or love) is used here. It was not used in the first three churches, except to denote that church one (Ephesus) had left their first love.

3. AND SERVICE

4. AND FAITH

5. AND THY PATIENCE (or perseverance)

6. AND THY WORKS; AND THE LAST TO BE MORE THAN THE FIRST (or you are now doing more than you did at first-NIV). This church was doing more works as time progressed, in contrast to the Ephesian church, which seemed to be doing less.

As one looks at these six items Jesus gives, it might be said that this was a very good church as evidenced by its works, love, faith, patience, etc.

2:20. NOTWITHSTANDING I HAVE A FEW THINGS AGAINST THEE, BECAUSE THOU SUFFEREST (or tolerate) THAT WOMAN JEZEBEL, WHICH CALLETH HERSELF A PROPHETESS, TO TEACH AND TO SEDUCE (or deceiving) MY SERVANTS TO COMMIT FORNICATION (or sexual immorality), AND TO EAT THINGS SACRIFICED UNTO IDOLS. Ref 1 Ki 16:31; 1 Ki 18-21; 2 Ki 9; Rev 2:24.

2:20. NOTWITHSTANDING I HAVE A FEW THINGS (or this) AGAINST THEE BECAUSE

BAD THINGS
1734-5A-4

1. THOU SUFFEREST (or tolerate)

THAT WOMAN JEZEBEL, WHICH CALLETH HERSELF A PROPHETESS, TO TEACH. Jezebel would seem to represent the Papacy. The name "Jezebel" has a twofold meaning. One meaning is "a chaste one," and the other is a "dunghill." She called herself a prophetess but was really a harlot and not called of God. As a prophetess, she would be claiming infallibility as she brought forth new doctrine. She was directing people to follow her teaching. She claimed that she was a representative of God, a prophetess. This may have been a forerunner of the unbiblical exaltation and worship of Mary.

2. AND TO SEDUCE (or deceiving)

MY SERVANTS TO COMMIT FORNICATION (or sexual immorality, or spiritual immorality),

3. AND TO EAT THINGS SACRIFICED UNTO IDOLS. It was during this period that the false doctrine of transubstantiation was introduced.

Perhaps, they forgot that it was a woman that hid leaven in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened-ref Mt 13:33. The leaven grew, multiplied, and corrupted the whole thing.

The church was being led astray by her wicked, adulterous teaching. The true church of Jesus Christ consists of born-again Christians. We are reminded of the scripture, IF THE BLIND LEAD THE BLIND, BOTH SHALL FALL INTO THE DITCH-Mt 15:14. No unsaved person should teach the children of God. Yet this church allowed a false prophetess to teach and mislead or seduce Godís children to commit wickedness or spiritual fornication, as well as to partake of idolatrous teaching.

While they served God and had love, faith, and patienceóthey lacked understanding of good and evil, right and wrong, the clean and the unclean. They seemed unable to discern this false prophetess and her fruits. They did not hate every evil way.

The church in Pergamos tolerated false doctrines and so did this church. Both churches winked at sin; they were allowing those things that Jesus hated.

We may be reminded of 2 Ki 9:22, Joram asked Jehu, IS IT PEACE?ÖAND HE ANSWERED, WHAT PEACE, SO LONG AS THE WHOREDOMS OF THY MOTHER JEZEBEL AND HER WITCHCRAFTS ARE SO MANY? The Jezebel of the Old Testament was the wife of Ahab. As a result of her, Ahab promoted the worship of Baal in Israel-ref 1 Ki 16:29-33.

4. Some had known this doctrine-ref Rev 2:24.

5. Some had known the depths of Satan-ref Rev 2:24.

During this period, images and pictures were worshiped, dead sinners were immortalized as special saints, the unbiblical doctrine of purgatory was decreed, the Bible was forbidden to laymen, and tradition was granted equal authority with the Bible. The churchís traditions and decrees actually supplanted Godís Word and made it of no effect. The church, through its decrees, undermined Godís Word and basically said, "God has not said." Multiple millions believed that Satanís church was the true church as they do even today. 

ADVICE ON WHAT TO DO
(Godís mercy and long-suffering before judgment)
1735-5A-4

2:21. AND I GAVE HER SPACE (or time) TO REPENT OF HER FORNI-CATION (or immorality); AND SHE REPENTED NOT (or she is unwilling) (or she does not want to repent of her immorality-NASB)

2:21. AND I GAVE HER SPACE (or time)

1. TO REPENT OF HER FORNICATION (or immorality, or immoral spiritual teaching and deeds);

AND SHE REPENTED NOT (or she is unwilling) (or she does not want to repent of her immorality-NASB). Here is an example of Godís great mercy. Jezebel, a false prophetess, was seducing Godís servants. Yet Jesus, in His long-suffering and mercy, gave her time to repent, but she repented not. Rome does not repent.

2. REPENT OF THEIR DEEDS (or ways)-ref Rev 2:22.

.2:25. BUT THAT WHICH YE HAVE ALREADY HOLD FAST TILL I COME. Rap, A.

2:25.

3. BUT THAT WHICH YE HAVE ALREADY HOLD FAST TILL I COME. This is for those in the church that had not followed the wicked teaching of Jezebel and had not known the depths of Satan. This godly remnant were advised to HOLD FAST to what they had. Here is the first mention of the return of Jesus in the seven churches, "HOLD FAST TILL I COME." In the churches to follow, two of them make similar references. 

Although this message was intended for the period of approximately 606-1517 A.D., it might be well for us to consider how the bad things from this age may apply to us today. There are two striking similarities: one, she was not willing to repent of her immoral teaching, and two, the coming of the Lord is mentioned. Some believe this indicates that the wicked, spiritual teaching of Jezebel would continue on past the Middle Ages. In a sense, we might couple the first three churches together and the last four together. The last four all begin to point toward things yet to come. The apostolic times are passed. The persecution by the Roman emperors has passed; however, the spiritual fornication of Jezebel continues until this day.

2:22. BEHOLD, I WILL CAST HER INTO A BED (of suffering), AND THEM THAT COMMIT ADULTERY WITH HER INTO GREAT TRIBULATION (or suffer intensely), EXCEPT THEY REPENT OF THEIR DEEDS (or ways). P, Rap, T.

2:22. BEHOLD,

WARNINGS
1736-5A-4

1. I WILL CAST HER INTO A BED (of suffering)

2. AND THEM THAT COMMIT ADULTERY WITH HER INTO GREAT TRIBULATION (or suffer intensely),

EXCEPT THEY REPENT. (Note #2 under "Advice.") Note the word, "them." God was about to purge those in the church that had turned from sound doctrine to this ungodly false teaching. The words, "great tribulation" also appear in Mt 24:21; Rev 2:22; 7:14.

2:23. AND I WILL KILL (or strike) HER CHILDREN WITH DEATH (or pestilence); AND ALL THE CHURCHES SHALL KNOW THAT I AM HE WHICH SEARCHETH THE REIGNS (or minds) AND HEARTS: AND I WILL GIVE (or repay) UNTO EVERY ONE OF YOU ACCORDING TO YOUR WORKS (or deeds).

2:23.

3. AND I WILL KILL (or strike)

HER CHILDREN WITH DEATH (or pestilence). The children or followers of Jezebel were being warned of impending judgment. Great suffering and death was about to come upon them. These are most severe warnings to those who partake of this teaching of spiritual fornication and idolatry.

4. AND I WILL GIVE (or repay)

UNTO EVERY ONE OF YOU ACCORDING TO YOUR WORKS (or deeds).

GENERAL INFORMATION
1737-5A-4

1. AND ALL THE CHURCHES SHALL KNOW THAT I AM HE WHICH SEARCHETH THE REIGNS (or minds)

2. AND HEARTS. Jesus is the One that searches the reins and hearts, not another. The judgment upon those that had departed from sound doctrine was to be so great that all the churches would know.

2:24. BUT UNTO YOU I SAY, AND UNTO THE REST IN THYATIRA, AS MANY AS HAVE NOT THIS DOCTRINE (or do not hold to her teaching-NIV), AND WHICH HAVE NOT KNOWN THE DEPTHS OF SATAN (or have not learned Satanís so-called deep secrets-NIV), AS THEY SPEAK; I WILL PUT UPON YOU NONE OTHER BURDEN (or I will not impose any other burden on you-NIV).

2:24. BUT UNTO YOU I SAY, AND UNTO THE REST IN THYATIRA,

 

REWARDS AND PROMISES
1738-5A-4

1. (Group one)-AS MANY AS HAVE NOT THIS DOCTRINE (or do not hold to her teaching-NIV),

(Group two)-AND WHICH HAVE NOT KNOWN THE DEPTHS OF SATAN (or have not learned Satanís so-called deep secrets-NIV),

AS THEY SPEAK; I WILL PUT UPON YOU NONE OTHER BURDEN (or I will not impose any other burden on you-NIV). The Lord was about to "clean house." But those that had not known this wicked doctrine or the depths of Satan would be sparedóno other burdens would be placed upon them.

2:26. AND HE THAT OVER-COMETH, AND KEEPETH MY WORKS (or does My will) UNTO THE END, TO HIM WILL I GIVE POWER (or authority) OVER THE NATIONS. Rew, M, JHM.

 

 

 

 

2:26. AND HE THAT OVERCOMETH. (Note the commentary on overcoming, under Rev 2:7.) The verse continues,

AND KEEPETH MY WORKS (or does My will)

UNTO THE END. This is the first reference in the churches that adds something to overcomingókeeping My works unto the end. The verse continues,

TO HIM

2. WILL I GIVE POWER (or authority)

OVER THE NATIONS. This is a clear reference to the Millennium, as the saints return with Jesus at His second coming; they will reign and rule with Him for 1000 years. Jesus will give them authority over the nations.

2:28. AND I WILL GIVE HIM THE MORNING STAR. Ref Rev 22:16; 2 Pe 1:19. Rew.

2:28.

3. AND I WILL GIVE HIM THE MORNING STAR. Jesus said, I AM...THE BRIGHT AND MORNING STAR-Rev 22:16. The church is awaiting the blessed hopeóthe MORNING STAR, Jesus.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
1739-5A-4

2:27. AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD (or scepter) OF IRON; AS THE VESSELS OF A POTTER SHALL THEY BE BROKEN TO SHIVERS (or He will dash them to pieces like pottery-NIV): EVEN AS I RECEIVED (authority) OF MY FATHER. Ref Ps 2:9. M.

2:27.

1. AND HE (Jesus)

SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD (or scepter)

OF IRON. This is referring to the Millennium, when Jesus shall reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. Jesus shall rule the nations with absolute authority.

2. AS THE VESSELS OF A POTTER SHALL THEY BE BROKEN TO SHIVERS (or He will dash them to pieces like pottery-NIV):

EVEN AS I RECEIVED (authority)

OF MY FATHER. Jesus returns after the Tribulation of those days. The earth is in rebellion against God. They shall be broken to pieces.  The authority to do these things comes from His Father in heaven.

2:29. HE THAT HATH AN EAR, LET HIM HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT SAITH UNTO THE CHURCHES.

2:29. HE THAT HATH AN EAR, LET HIM HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT SAITH UNTO THE CHURCHES. (Note the commentary on Rev 2:7.) In the previous three churches, the rewards followed this exhortation. Here, "he that hath an ear" ends the message to this church.

Some compare the teaching of Jezebel to the unscriptural exaltation of Mary. Also included, is the false doctrine of "the continual sacrifice," which is added to the finished work of Christ, by teaching a doctrine of works one must do. This supplants, nullifies, or makes of none effect the finished work of Jesus on the cross.

Consider, it is significant that the second coming of Jesus is mentioned; also a reference to dashing them (the nations) to pieces. Further, a description of Jesus during the Millennium as well as His reign with the saints is also mentioned.

The woman, Jezebel, is first mentioned in 1 Ki 16:31. It continues in 1 Ki 18 to 21 and also in 2 Ki 9, etc. She was responsible for idolatry in Israel and also persecuted Godís people.

FOR CONSIDERATION
1740-5A-4

What would be the result, if one mixed the teachings of Jezebel with the Babylonian Mysteries and sprinkled in some of the doctrine of Balaam and of the Nicolaitans with Christianity?

THE FIFTH CHURCH: SARDIS
1741 to 1748-5A-4

THE FIFTH CHURCH: SARDIS
(Commentary)
1742-5A-4

  1. Sardis means "prince of joy," or "remnant," or "those escaping," or "those who come out." The capital of Lydia was a proud, wealthy city. Sardis was located on the east bank of the Pactolus River, about 50 miles east of Smyrna and about 30 miles south of Thyatira. Jewelry, dye, and textiles abounded there. It was a magnificent city. The temple of Artemis was there. It was destroyed by an earthquake in the first or second century A.D., but was rebuilt with money from the Roman Empire. Slowly, it lost its affluence. It was located on high ground, surrounded by cliffs. As a result, they could relax and be confident that an invasion force would have a difficult time reaching them. Nevertheless, it was attacked by the Arabs about 716. Later, it was destroyed about 1403, as armies did scale the cliffs; their destruction came suddenly. Today, a small village remains, called Sart, among the ruins of Sardis.

  2. With four bad things and six items of advice, this dead church was the second worst of the seven. This Protestant church sprang out of the Reformation.

  3. The Bible had been forbidden to laymen for centuries. It was during this period that the printing press came forth. The first book to be printed with movable type was the Gutenberg Bible.

  4. Through the Reformation, religious freedom emerged. With this, however, came denominations and other doctrines, some biblical and some not. These new denominations were popular, but spiritually dead. Some of these same spiritually dead churches exist today. Many today view these denominationsóthat have a name as if they are alive and wellóas good churches. Yet, in Godís eyes, they are lifeless. They have certain intellectual insights, but are spiritually shallow; they donít understand what they say. Through the Reformation, they turned away from many rituals and idols, but they did not turn to the blessed hope; they were not waiting for the return of Jesus.

  5. Regarding this church and also many today, consider the following. A certain minister, in the U.S., had a casket brought in front of the church and then opened. He asked the congregation to come and look into the casket. A mirror had been placed within, so the one looking into the casket would see himself. They were in the church, but, spiritually, they were dead. Just because a church teaches Scripture and uses the name of Jesus, is no indication it is a repentant church that follows Jesus and brings forth good fruits.

  1. The church of the Reformation (the apostate church, the dead church)

  2. The approximate period represented is 1517 to 1750 A.D.

  3. Two descriptions of Jesus

  4. Five "marginally" good things (some might say no good things)

  5. Four bad things

  6. Six items of advice on what to do

  7. Two warnings

  8. Five rewards

3:1. AND UNTO THE ANGEL OF THE CHURCH IN SARDIS WRITE; THESE THINGS SAITH HE THAT HATH (or holds) THE SEVEN SPIRITS (or sevenfold Spirit-JNT120) OF GOD, AND THE SEVEN STARS; I KNOW THY WORKS (or deeds), THAT THOU HAST A NAME THAT THOU LIVEST (or you have a reputation of being alive-NIV), AND ART DEAD (or you are dead). Ref Rev 1:4,20.

3:1. It begins, saying, AND UNTO THE ANGEL OF THE CHURCH IN SARDIS WRITE; THESE THINGS SAITH (or are the words of). Next the subject turns to Jesus. The verse addresses Him as:

DESCRIPTIONS OF JESUS
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1. HE THAT HATH (or holds) THE SEVEN SPIRITS (or sevenfold Spirit-JNT120) OF GOD,

2. AND THE SEVEN STARS. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches-ref Rev 1:20.

The verse continues with a series of words that are repeated in each of the seven churchesó

I KNOW THY WORKS. This is addressed to the church, in general, as well as the individual. God knows the works of His people, things done both in the open and in secret.

If number one is included, five "marginally" good things are listed regarding this church.

GOOD THINGS
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1. I KNOW THY WORKS

2. THAT THOU HAST A NAME

3. THAT THOU LIVEST (or you have a reputation of being alive-NIV).

4. THE THINGS WHICH REMAIN-Rev 3:2. They had some good things that remained but were ready to die.

3:4. THOU HAST A FEW NAMES (or a few people) EVEN IN SARDIS WHICH HAVE NOT DEFILED (or soiled) THEIR GARMENTS (or clothes); AND THEY SHALL WALK WITH ME (dressed) IN WHITE: FOR THEY ARE WORTHY.

(This verse is also listed again further on.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Rev 3:1, listed previously)

3:4.

5. THOU HAST A "FEW" NAMES (or a few people) EVEN IN SARDIS WHICH HAVE NOT DEFILED (or soiled)

THEIR GARMENTS (or clothes).

There were just a few in Sardis that were holding on and had not gone astray.

The good things in this church are, at best, marginally good. It can almost be said that there are no good things.

The church at Sardis had a name that indicated life, but it was a dead church. However, most apparently thought it was a live, vibrant church, perhaps even a great church. They were blinded to what their true condition really was. It had only a few things that remained; these also were ready to disappear. Yet even in this dead, lifeless church, there were a few people that remained faithful and had not corrupted themselves.

Of the seven churches, this is the worst, except for the church of the Laodiceans.

BAD THINGS
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3:1. AND UNTO THE ANGEL OF THE CHURCH IN SARDIS WRITE; THESE THINGS SAITH HE THAT HATH (or holds) THE SEVEN SPIRITS (or sevenfold Spirit-JNT120) OF GOD, AND THE SEVEN STARS; I KNOW THY WORKS (or deeds), THAT THOU HAST A NAME THAT THOU LIVEST (or you have a reputation of being alive-NIV), AND ART DEAD (or you are dead). Ref Rev 1:4,20.

3:1.

1. AND ART DEAD (or you are dead). On the outside, this looked like a church that followed Jesus Christ. It considered itself as being alive, but on the inside it was dead.

2. THINGS WHICH REMAIN, THAT ARE READY TO DIE-Rev 3:2. There were a few things in this church that were not yet dead, but were close to being dead. This appears to be a church wherein all sound doctrine had disappeared; the bit of sound doctrine that remained was about to also disappear. They had become deceived and had defiled themselves with sin.

3:2.

3. I HAVE NOT FOUND THY WORKS PERFECT (or complete)

BEFORE GOD. The works of this dead church were not perfect or complete. Their doctrine and works were not as they ought to have been.

4. Nearly everyone in Sardis had defiled their garments-ref Rev 3:4. Nearly everyone in this church had turned from sound doctrine and good, complete works.

ADVICE ON WHAT TO DO
(Godís mercy and long-suffering before judgment)
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3:2. BE WATCHFUL (wake up), AND STRENGTHEN THE THINGS WHICH REMAIN, THAT ARE READY TO DIE: FOR I HAVE NOT FOUND THY WORKS PERFECT (or complete) BEFORE GOD (or in the sight of My God-NIV).

3:2.

1. BE WATCHFUL (wake up). This church was being admonished to wake up to their pitiful condition. Before a person can strengthen things and repent, he needs to recognize and understand his wretched condition.

2. AND STRENGTHEN THE THINGS WHICH REMAIN, THAT ARE READY TO DIE. The few things that this church still had, which were about to die, Jesus is admonishing to strengthen them. Wake up, and donít let them die.

3:3. REMEMBER THEREFORE HOW THOU HAST RECEIVED (or what you have received) AND HEARD, AND HOLD FAST (or obey it), AND REPENT. IF THEREFORE THOU SHALT NOT WATCH (or wake up), I WILL COME ON THEE AS (or like) A THIEF, AND THOU SHALT NOT KNOW WHAT HOUR (or what time) I WILL COME UPON THEE. 1 Thes 5:4. P, Rap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Rev 3:4, listed previously)

3:3.

3. REMEMBER THEREFORE HOW THOU HAST RECEIVED (or what you have received). The church is being told to remember what they once received. Remember Jesus.

4. REMEMBERÖ(what you have)ÖHEARD. The church is being told to remember the things they once heard. Remember sound doctrine. This blind and dead church that thought it was really alive is told to remember, to consider, to wake up.

5. HOLD FAST (or obey) what you have received and heard.

6. REPENT.

Note the progression: wake up, strengthen what remains, remember what you received, remember what you have heard, hold fast, and repent.

WARNINGS
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IF THEREFORE THOU SHALT NOT WATCH (or wake up),

1. I WILL COME ON THEE AS A THIEF,

2. AND THOU SHALT NOT KNOW WHAT HOUR I WILL COME UPON THEE.

In each of the last four churches (# 4,5,6,7), there are obvious, or not so obvious, references to the return of Jesus Christ. In these admonitions, the church is being warned what the consequences of not watching, or not waking up, would be. If the church would wake up, it should repent. But if it did not, the resulting judgment would beóJesus would come on them as a thief. The thief comes to destroy. The next judgment would beóthey would not know when the thief would come. Thus, they would be unprepared and perish. They needed to wake up, look, and strengthen. They needed to remember, hold fast, and repent, or it would be too late. This message is to all of Godís people that have become spiritually dead and have forgotten what they received and heard. To them, Jesus will come as a thief, and they will not know or understand when He will come upon them. Jesus does not come as a thief to the born-again believers that are watching and ready.

Verse 3 does not state Jesus will come, but Jesus will come "upon thee." However, the words "coming as a thief" and "not knowing what hour" are often used in connection with the coming or return of Jesus Christ, specifically to those that are not watching or ready.

REWARDS
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3:4. THOU HAST A FEW NAMES (or you have a few people-NIV) EVEN IN SARDIS WHICH HAVE NOT DEFILED (or soiled) THEIR GARMENTS (or clothes); AND THEY SHALL WALK WITH ME (dressed) IN WHITE: FOR THEY ARE WORTHY. P, Rew, Res.

3:4.

1. THEY SHALL WALK WITH ME

2. (Dressed) IN WHITE: FOR THEY ARE WORTHY.

3:5. HE THAT OVERCOMETH, THE SAME (or like them) SHALL BE CLOTHED IN WHITE RAIMENT (or dressed in white); AND I WILL NOT BLOT OUT (or erase) HIS NAME OUT OF THE BOOK OF LIFE, BUT I WILL CONFESS (or acknowledge) HIS NAME BEFORE MY FATHER, AND BEFORE HIS ANGELS. Ref Rev 7:14.

3:5. HE THAT OVERCOMETH (Note the commentary on overcoming, under Rev 2:7.) The verse continues,

3. THE SAME SHALL BE CLOTHED IN WHITE RAIMENT (or dressed in white). White denotes the righteousness of God.

THESE...HAVE WASHED THEIR ROBES, AND MADE THEM WHITE IN THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB-Rev 7:14.

4. AND I WILL NOT BLOT OUT (or erase) HIS NAME OUT OF THE BOOK OF LIFE.

5. BUT I WILL CONFESS (or acknowledge) HIS NAME BEFORE MY FATHER.

6. I WILL CONFESS (or acknowledge) HIS NAME BEFORE...HIS ANGELS.

This spiritually dead church seems to have had only a few walking with Jesus that reaped the rewards of eternity.

Note the reverse meaning of this scripture: He that does not overcome, shall not be clothed in white raiment, and will be blotted out of the book of life, and will not have his name confessed before the Father and His angels.

Many of todayís churches, in America, are large and beautiful, but on the inside they are spiritually dead. They are filled with many new doctrines and ideas, but sacrifice, submission, obedience, godliness, holiness, and true repentance are left out.

3:6. HE THAT HATH AN EAR, LET HIM HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT SAITH UNTO THE CHURCHES.

3:6. HE THAT HATH AN EAR, LET HIM HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT SAITH UNTO THE CHURCHES. (Note the commentary on Rev 2:7.) In the first three churches, the rewards followed this exhortation. In the fourth and fifth churches, "he that hath an ear" concludes the message.

 

REVELATION #1 BEGIN HERE-SUMMARY REVELATION #7 2:1-3:6 REVELATION #13 15:1-17:7
REVELATION #2 TEACH IN CHURCHES REVELATION #8 3:7-3:22 REVELATION #14 17:5-19:5
REVELATION #3 INTRODUCTION REVELATION #9 4:1-6:8 REVELATION #15 COMMENTARY
REVELATION #4 WORSHIP REVELATION #10 6:9-8:13 REVELATION #16 19:6-21:8
REVELATION #5 TABLE OF CONTENTS REVELATION #11 9:1-12:16 REVELATION # 17 21:9-22:21
REVELATION #6 ABBREVIATIONS & REV 1:1-1:20 REVELATION #12 12:17-14:20 ______

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