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The Message to the Seven Churches a. To the Church in Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7). As we go through this and the other churches we have to ask a few questions:. If Jesus wrote us a letter what would he say? Would he say something about doctrine? Something about our love? What would he say?

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The Message to the Seven Churches a. To the Church in Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7)

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The Message to the Seven Churches a. To the Church in Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7)

As we go through this and the other churches we have to ask a few questions:

  • If Jesus wrote us a letter what would he say? Would he say something about doctrine? Something about our love? What would he say?

  • Which of the seven churches do we most look like?


  • Most important city in Asia Minor

  • Fourth most important city in all the Roman Empire

  • About 250,000 lived there at that time


  • Acts 19:19 Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.

  • Famous for the temple of Artemis

  • Domitian had named Ephesus “guardian” of the imperial cult

What from the Bible can you remember about Ephesus?

Paul at Ephesus

  • Paul preached for them two times

  • Acts 18:18-21So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow. And he came to Ephesus, and left them there; but he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to stay a longer time with them, he did not consent, but took leave of them, saying, "I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing." And he sailed from Ephesus.

Paul at Ephesus

  • Acts 19:1-20

  • The second time he was there he stayed some three years

  • Paul in Acts 20:16-38 meet the elders from Ephesus at Milieus

  • Paul wrote an epistle to them


  • Acts 18:18-19 Aquila and Priscilla

  • Acts 18:24-26 Apollas Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.


  • 1 Timothy 1:3-4 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.

  • Apostle John preached for them

  • In AD 115 Ignatius wrote an epistle to them

Revelation 2:1

  • To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:

Revelation 2:2-3

  • "I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.”

What they are doing right


  • Word used 80 times in the New Testament

  • 2 Cor. 8:23 If anyone inquires about Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker concerning you. Or if our brethren are inquired about, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ.

  • 2 Corinthians 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles <652> of Christ.

1 John 4:1-3

  • Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

Revelation 2:4

  • Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

What was their first love?

  • Some say it was their love of God

  • This does not make sense

  • Most likely brotherly love

Brotherly Love

  • John 13:34-35 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.“

  • John 15:12 "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

1 John 2:8-11

  • Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

1 John 3:14-16

  • We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

Realize to have the right doctrine and not the right attitude is still sinful behavior

Revelation 2:5

  • "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.

Revelation 2:6

  • "But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Who are the Nicolaitans?

  • According to Irenaus this comes from Nicolas of Acts 6 and his followers who were Gnostics.

  • Acts 6:5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch


  • Irenaus said they taught it was right to indulge in fleshly pleasures, it was not a sin.

  • Eusbius says that Clement of Alexandria speaks of him and his ghastly behavior

  • It is also possible this is a symbolic name it comes from Nike which mean conqueror Balam of the OT name means the same thing

Revelation 2:7

  • "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God."

To each church a piece of heaven is promised

  • Here it is the tree of life

  • Genesis 2:9 And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

  • Genesis 3:24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

Tree of Life

  • Revelation 22:2 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

  • Revelation 22:14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.

It is important to remember that when sin is involved there is always the opportunity to repent

The Message to the Seven Churches a. To the Church in Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7)b. To the Church in Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11)


  • 35 miles North of Ephesus

  • Apollonius of Tyana (A.D. 1?-96?) wrote: “For though your city is the most beautiful of all cities under the sun, and makes the sea its own, and holds the fountains of Zephyrus, yet it is a greater charm to wear a crown of men than a crown of porticoes, for buildings are seen only in their one place, but men are seen everywhere, and spoken about everywhere, and make their city as vast as the range of countries which they visit.”


  • This is where Polycarp died in AD 155

  • About 100,000 lived in the city

  • Were attracted to Rome before they became the great world power

  • In 195 BC they built the first temple to an emperor

  • They built a temple to Tiberius

Revelation 2:8

  • "And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life:

Revelation 2:9

  • "I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

Persecuted Church

  • Had lost their material possessions

  • They were still rich

  • What makes a person rich or poor?

“Synagogue of Satan”

  • Some say this was gentiles who claimed to be Jews

  • Some say it was rebel or radical Jews

  • Most likely they were Jews, but they were not spiritual Jews

Romans 2:28-29

  • For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.

  • Romans 9:6 But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel,

Philippians 3:2-3

  • Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh

Possibly violent to Christians

  • Remember Jesus has the right to say this type of thing, we may not

  • Jude 9 Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"

Revelation 2:10

  • "Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

Ten days

  • Symbolic, represent fullness, it is going to bad

  • Promise of crown of life

Revelation 2:11

  • "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death."‘

  • Remember the title Jesus used of himself to this church

II. The Message to the Seven Churches a. To the Church in Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7)b. To the Church in Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11)c. Pergamum (2:12-17)


  • 40 miles north of Smyrna

  • 15 miles inland

  • It was once the capital of Asia (the province)

  • Had a library that was second only to Alexandria

  • Most important center of emperor worship in Asia minor


  • They had a temple to Augustus it was up on a lofty rock citadel

  • They also had a temple for Zeus, Dionesus, and Athena

  • The alter to Zeus was 120’ x 112’ x 18’

  • The inscription said to “Zeus the Savior”


  • The temple to Asclepius was there as well. God of healing. There was a medical hospital and college there.

  • The serpent was the chief symbol of their city’s deity

  • This is the only NT reference to the city

Revelation 2:12

  • "And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword:

  • What is the two-edged sword?

Revelation 2:13

  • "I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.

Satan lives there, throne of Satan

  • What does this mean?

Rev. 2:14-15

  • "But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.

  • 15 "Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.


  • Who was Balaam?

  • Numbers 22-24

  • Deut. 23:4-5; Joshua 24:9-10; Neh. 13:2; Micah 5:6; 2 Peter 2:15; Jude 1:11

  • Known for his love of money

  • He was asked to curse Israel, God said no and turned his curse around


  • He introduced pagan women to the Jews Numbers 25:1-9; 31:16

  • He was killed by Joshua’s troops Num. 31:8; Joshua 13:22

  • Balaam symbolized claiming allegiance to God, but you compromise to the world to gain in this world


  • The church apparently got involved in civic events that involved paganism

  • Possible they got involved in being at places where vial behavior happened

  • The Jews had a government exception to this in turn they had to pay a 2 drachmas tax

  • Christians took advantage of this as long as they could


  • Paul’s missionary journeys made Christians less Jewish

  • The Christians began to step back from the Jews in the 60’s and 70’s

  • Some may have made excuses by saying they were following Matthew 22:21 and Romans 13:1

  • They said to evangelize they had to be part of it


  • Heb. 10:34; 13:3

  • 1 Peter 4:14-16; 5:9’

  • Is there a danger for Americans to fall into this same trap?

  • What can we do to stay pure?

Revelation 2:16

  • ‘Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.

  • Peace with the world can mean war with God

  • Remember Balaam was killed with the sword

Revelation 2:17

  • "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it."

“hidden manna”

  • In chapter 11 the ark of the covenant and manna is in the ark

  • Exodus 16:33-34; Heb. 9:4

  • If you are invited to have manna you are invited into heaven

“white stone”

  • Token of acquittal given by the judge in a court case

  • Token used to gain access to the marriage supper or some formal occasion where authority for admission must be given

  • Token granted as a special privilege of honor to public heroes with purchase of power in the market place

  • Token given for protection in contrast to charms—this was genuine

“new name”

  • Associated with the stone gives power and authority to the possessor.

  • Name only known to the chosen

  • Most likely the name of Jesus Christ see 3:12

II. The Message to the Seven Churches a. To the Church in Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7)b. To the Church in Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11)c. Pergamum (2:12-17)d. Thyatira (2:18-29)


  • 40 miles Southeast of Pergamum

  • Was well known for trade guilds

  • Acts 16:13-14

  • One noted trade guild was the bronze and coppersmiths

Revelation 2:18

  • "And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass:

Feet of bronze

  • Rev. 1:15 and 2:18 use this word calkolibanov chalkolibanon for “fine bronze”

  • This is the only known time this word is used in all of Greek literature

  • Used here because of guild of metal workers, they would have known its technical meaning

Revelation 2:19

  • "I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.

  • How can we show love, service, faith and patience? How can we show our works?

Revelation 2:20-23

  • "Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.”

Who was Jezebel?

  • 1 Kings 16:31

  • 1 Kings 18:4, 13

  • 1 Kings 19:1-7

  • 1 Kings 21:5-25

  • 2 Kings 9:7, 10, 22, 30

Who is Jezebel in this text?

  • Could be the wife of a leader in the congregation

  • Could be a woman of great influence in the congregation and the community

  • Most likely a name to designate someone totally sold out who tried to influence others to do the same

  • What does the text specifically say she was doing?

How can we ensure that no false teaching takes place?

Revelation 2:24-25

  • "Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. But hold fast what you have till I come.”

“deep things of Satan”

  • False teachers like the Gnostics of the next century, may be claiming secret, deep knowledge, and these secrets are now designated as having Satan for their author, not God as we claimed

Revelation 2:26-29

  • "And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations— ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’ — as I also have received 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."

Authority over the nations

  • Rev. 21:24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.

Iron Scepter

  • Image of Judgment

  • Rev. 19:2 "For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.“

  • Ps. 2:9

Morning star

  • To the Romans Venus was the morning star

  • It was a symbol of victory

  • Could be symbolic of eternal life

  • Rev. 22:16 "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star."

  • Idea here would be that Jesus is clothed with the glory of the brightest star, and it is a sign that the dawning of a new day is at hand.

It was reported that there was no church in the city at the end of the second century. Epiphanius that that it later became a nest for Montanism.

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