Christ’s message to the Churches
Chapters 2 & 3 of Revelation contain Christ’s letters addressed to 7 churches which actually existed. John received this by a vision and they contain many personal lessons for the church. May we remember John was taken to the Lord’s day and looking back at the Church Age. To John it is prophecy of the future, but to us, we are living in the last phase of the Church Age. We will study them first historically and then look at them dispensationally of this Church Age, then for the Personal lessons.
These 7 churches are named for the city they were in. Some of these cities are only ruins today, but Philadelphia, Smyrna and Pergamos still exist, but their names have been changed. Each letter is addressed to the angel of that church, referring to the pastor or ruling elder, responsible as head of the local assembly under Christ.
The first church addressed is Ephesus which Apostle Paul had a Bible school there for 2 years, so the people were well founded in the truth and purposed to take their place in the heavenlies where the church is provisionally seated (Eph. 2:4-7).
Rev. 2:1, To each church, Christ as Judge appears in one of His official guises as Judge, who walketh in the midst of the 7 golden candlesticks (the church). To Ephesus He comes a “He that holdeth the 7 stars in His right hand.” He has the authority over the ministers. In Acts 20:29 Apostle Paul called the elders of Ephesus unto him and warned them saying, After my departing grievous wolves shall come in not sparing the flock. Some heeded that warning and held fast to the truth, but some failed. In each of these churches there were overcomers.
Vs. 2-3, Also each letter starts with “I know thy works.” The Judge sees and knows the works of everyone whether they stand for the truth or not. There are 9 things listed for which Ephesus is commended.
V. 4, But one thing is said against them, they abandoned their first or preeminent love for Christ. Saints, we need to nurture our love for Christ by studying His Word and yielding to Him, so that our love grows and we come to love Him as our Bridegroom. The first step to failing the Lord, is not giving Him first place in our lives.
V. 5, Three words stand out in this verse, “remember,” “repent” and “do.” Remember, be mindful that you have fallen from your place in the heavenlies. Their state had deteriorated when they began to mind earthly things. The result should be to Repent and Do the first works or chief works out of love for Him. If they do not repent, He would remove their candlestick out of his place. A candlestick speaks of light. He would remove the overcomers from that place (separation as the result of judgment).
V. 6, He commends them again, “thou hatest the deed of the Nicolaitanes,” their deeds are clergy over laity, lording it over the people, not ruling in love. The Lord says, “Which I also hate.” But this is how the church began to go, which is diffidently a deterioration.
V. 7, Every letter ends with, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” We have a responsibility to listen to what He has to say. Let us hear with the ear of our heart. A reward is promised to the overcomers of each church or the condition described there. The promised reward to the overcomers of Ephesus, “I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”
Satan destroyed the first paradise that man had in the beginning, but Christ triumphed over that and by His death and resurrection has brought man into a relationship where man will be in God’s paradise and feed on Christ for ever (He is the tree of life).
Next issue: Christ’s letter to Smyrna