REVELATION STUDY GUIDES

CHAPTER 2

“The Seven Churches”

Introduction:

Chapter 2 introduces you to the seven (7) churches in Asia Minor and what the Lord had to say to - and about each church. In this chapter we will not only discuss the churches but we will also shed light into the place, time, and the societal changes that took place in history in these particular periods of time. You’ll be amazed at what took place in these great churches and cities and how the Lords rebuke unveiled these churches.

Chapter 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 the seven golden candlesticks;
2: I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
3: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
4: Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
5: Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
6: But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

(Verses 1 - 7: The Church of Ephesus - The church at the end of the Apostolic age:

Ephesus was the capital of pro-consular Asia. It was about one mile inland from the eastern portion of the Aegean Sea. A great theater, seating about 50,000 people was there (see Ac. 19:31). Also, one of the Seven Wonders of the world, the Temple of Diana (Artemis), located in Ephesus. Rivaling Jerusalem and Antioch, Ephesus proved to be a very powerful springboard for influencing the world for Christ.

When Paul visited Ephesus in A.D. 55 it was a thriving, progressive city. Forty years later when John wrote this message, the inhabitants had lost their zeal. They were still sound in doctrine but had lost their first love (Christ). Christ threatens to remove their lamp stand (Rev. v5). In verse 6 Christ states that he hates the deeds of the Nicolaitans.

The Nicolaitans were a heretical group, holding similar views to the teachings of “Balaam” and “Jezebel.” Their deeds were immoral and impure. Non Jews could become Christian’s without first becoming Jewish converts. But many Jewish Christian’s, who had always been prejudiced against the pagan Gentiles, thought that Gentiles should not presume to call themselves followers of the Messiah unless they were first circumcised and obedient to the laws of Moses. In other words, the Jewish believers tended to see themselves as the center, instead of seeing the centrality of Christ.)


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;
9: I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
10: Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
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.

(Verse 8 - 11: The Church of Smyrna - The period of the great persecutions, to A.D. 316: According to Mythology, Amazon Smyrna, the founders of Smyrna, wore a high crown on her head. In John’s day, the followers of the goddess of Cybele wore a laurel wreath (crown), and were faithful to Rome and its paganism. Followers of Christ were severely persecuted because they did not wear such a crown. Polycart, a disciple of John, was martyred in Smyrna in A.D. 155. Faithful to the end Polycart died saying - “eighty and six years have I served Him, and He has done me no wrong. How can I speak evil of my King who saved me?” Christ gives them encouragement and not rebuke. The synagogue in Smyrna was not composed of all Jews who rejected the gospel. Christ promises the crown of life. Christ himself is the one raised from the dead (Rev. 1:18; Rev. 2:8), is the ultimate source of truth and life, life from the dead.

Our Lord Jesus is the First, for by him were all things made; he was before all things, with God, and is God himself. He is the Last, for he will be the Judge of all. As this First and Last, who was dead and is alive, is the believer’s Brother and Friend. He must be rich in the deepest poverty, honorable amidst the lowest abasement, and happy under the heaviest tribulation, like the church in Smyrna. Many who were rich as to this world, are poor as to the next; and some were poor outwardly, are inwardly rich; rich in faith, in good works, rich in privileges, rich in gifts and rich in hope. Where there is spiritually plenty, out ward poverty may be well borne; and when Gods people are made poor as to this life, for he sake of Christ and a good conscience, he makes all up to the in spiritual riches. Christ arms them against coming troubles. Fear none of these things; not only forbid slavish fear, but subdue it, furnishing the soul with strength and courage. It should be to try them, not to destroy them. Observe, the sureness of the reward. “I will give thee”. They shall have the reward from Christs own hand. Also how suitable it is: “a crown of life.” the life worn out in his ser vice, or laid down in his cause, shall be rewarded with a much better life, both in the agonies of it, and as it is eternal death: it is indeed awful to die, and to always be dying. If a man is kept from the second death and wrath to come, he may patiently endure whatever he meets with in this world.)


12: And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
13: I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.
14: But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balaam to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
15: So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
16: Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
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.

(Verse 12 - 17: The Church of Pergamos - The church under imperial favor, A.D. 316 to the end:

The city was a religious “seat” several cults, notably “EMPEROR WORSHIP” as well as Asclepius - the goddess of healing was also honored here. This gods symbol was a serpent, which was a symbol of the “devil.” The temple of Zeus in Pergamos housed the room - “WHERE SATANS SEAT WAS” (Rev. 2:13).

*** VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE ***

Hell is not open fur business just yet as some people may thing and are often taught by the church. Satan is not restrained from the earth yet. Revelation chapter 2:13 verifies where his throne was at that time in history. Job chapter 1:7 states the he went before the Lord and stated that he “was going TO AND FROM IN THE EARTH, and from WALKING UP AND DOWN IN IT!” Ezekiel chapter 28:13-19 states the he was in the Garden of Eden where Adam was created. Genesis also states the Satan deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Revelation chapter 20:1-3, states that Satan will not be restrained until Christ’s return at the end of the Seven (7) Year Tribulation Period, and held in chains until the end of the 1000 year Millennium period where Christ reigns on earth. He will be chained and restrained (bound), by a great and mighty Angel in the Abyss (a temporary - bottomless pit - NOT HELL), and he will be temporarily loosed after the 1000 years for a season. The Antichrist and the False Prophet will be cast into the lake of fire burning with brimstone (Rev. 19;20 - This is HELL.).

When the Antichrist and the False Prophet are put into the “Lake of Fire and Brimstone”, this SAINTS is the first time that Hell is actually put to use. Satan is then cast into Hell at a later time upon the great White Throne Judgment.”

Pergamos (Pergamum) - also possessed the oldest temple in Asia Minor devoted to Emperor Worship. Other subtler satanic influences were present as we learn from the mention of Balaam and the Nicolaitan’s in Revelation 2:6. Ballam (Numbers 22:5), gave Balak advise leading to eh incident in Numbers 25:1-4, where Israel went astray after false gods and practiced sexual immorality. Similarly, Jezebel (Rev. 2:20 ) and other professing Christian’s in several churches were indulging in sexual pleasures offered by their pagan environment. The church of Pergamos had not denied the faith, either by open apostasy, or by giving way so as to avoid the cross. Christ commends their steadfastness, but reproves their sinful failures. A wrong view of gospel doctrine and Christian liberty, was a root of bitterness from which evil practices grew. Repentence is the duty of churches and bodies of men, as well as those or particular persons; those who sin together should repent together.

Christ promises the “hidden manna,” (Rev 2:17), which may be alluding to the manna kept preserved in the Most Holy Place of the tabernacle (Exodus 16:33 & Hebrew 9:4). Christ also promises the “White Stone,” - as a symbol of purity. In verse 16 Christ says he will fight them with God’s word if they do no repent.)


18: And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;
19: I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.
20: Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
21: And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
22: Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
23: And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
24: But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.
25: But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.
26: And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
27: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
28: And I will give him the morning star.
29: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

(Verse 18 - 29: The Church of Thyatira - A.D. 500 - 1500, the triumph of Balaamism and Nicolaitanism):

The incarnated son of Zeus, Apollo, the Sun God, was the chief diety and guardian of the city. Love is strong here (Rev. 2:19), but not doctrinal purity (Rev. 2:20-23). The leader of the deviant group in the church at Thyatira is a woman called “JEZEBEL,” who seduces the people into sexual immorality and idolatry, which were two (2) major forms of indulgences in pagan Asia Minor in social affairs, where food dedicated to idols and prostitution might be present. Jesus promises authority over the nation (Rev. 2:26), to those people who felt powerless in worldly ways. Christ promises the “Morning Star,”(Rev. 22:28), to the victors. Elsewhere, Christ is referred to as the “morning star” (Rev. 22:16). The brightness of a star suggests the connection with the promise of God, and that the church and Christian’s will show forth light that reflects the original light of Christ (Rev. 1:13,16).

All Christian’s should earnestly desire that their faith last works may be their best works. Yet this church connived at some wicked seducers. God is known by the judgments he executes; and by this upon seducers, he shows his certain knowledge of the hearts of men, of their principles, designs, frame, and temperance. Encouragement is given to those who kept themselves pure and undefiled. It is dangerous to despise the mystery of God, and as dangerous to receive the mysteries of Satan. Let us beware of the depths of Satan.

AMEN