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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible

Revelation 2

 

 

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Introduction

Letters To the Churches
- Revelation Two -

The letters to the seven churches are very similar in the way they are designed. The letter is addressed to a certain church, like Ephesus or Smyrna. The letters include some introductory statements about Jesus like, "These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks."

The letters also contained a statement concerning the spiritual condition of the church like, "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: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name"s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted." After the condition of the church is stated Jesus gave His verdict of the situation like, "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love."

Each of the letters contained a command from Jesus to the church like, "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works." In most of the letters there were statements of commendation like, "But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate."

Each letter closed with an exhortation to all Christians, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." There was also a promised reward to all that would obey, "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." A careful study of these seven letters is of great benefit to children of God.


Verses 1-7

Letter to the church of Ephesus - Revelation 2:1-7 : The angle of the church is the messenger or preacher who would deliver the message. Paul had live and worked in Ephesus for three years. (Acts 20:31) Ephesus was the city where Aquilla, Priscilla, and Apollos labored. (Acts 18:24-28) It was a city where Timothy had labored. (1 Timothy 1:3) This was a place of great privilege. They had heard great preaching.

Ephesus was also a stronghold of Satan. The temple of Diana and other pagan temples were located there. (Acts 19:28) In a city where God"s authority was not respected Jesus described Himself as one with great power, "These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks." The sobering truth is that Jesus looked at His church in Ephesus and knew what was going on with them. He knew that they needed to repent! He also knew of all the good the church had done. "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..."

The church at Ephesus was a working church that was doctrinally pure. However, they had left their love for God or for the brethren. God called on this church to "Remember" and "Repent" and promised great blessings if they did. He said, "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 8-11

Letter to the church in Smyrna - Revelation 2:8-11 : In that day Smyrna was a beautiful and proud city. It was a center of learning and culture. To this church Jesus described Himself as, "the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive." What a joy it is to be reminded that we serve the risen Lord.

Smyrna was a very rich city, but because of persecution the Christians were very poor. Jesus knew the abuse these Christians endured at the hands of others. He expressed His thoughts concerning these brethren in the words, "but thou art rich." They lived in poverty, but they were truly rich.

God wanted the church at Smyrna to stand strong under the tests that would come. He said, "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." (Revelation 2:10) Jesus has no rebuke for these brethren, but He does have the promise of a crown.


Verses 12-17

Letter to the church in Pergamos - Revelation 2:12-17 : Pergamos was a noted Roman city. It was a center for culture and education. It had one of the great libraries of the ancient world. Jesus described Himself to this church as "He which hath the sharp sword with two edges." This sounds very much like Hebrews 4:12, "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged 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."

Jesus knew that these brethren lived in a place of terrible persecution yet they had not denied the Lord. There "Antipas" was described as "my faithful martyr." He is one of the great anonymous heroes of the Bible. There are many who just live, serve, and died quietly for the Lord who are truly heroes!

Even though their situation was very difficult it did not excuse the fact that they had tolerated some false teachers. Jesus said, "I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate."

The promise to these brethren was, "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."


Verses 18-29

Letter to the church in Thyatira - Revelation 2:18-29 : Thyatira was the smallest of all the cities to whom letters were written. Jesus said of them, "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."

Despite all the good in this church they had allowed one that Jesus identified with the title "Jezebel" to bring corruption to some. She was an immoral and ungodly influence on others. Her sins had been tolerated. It is sad but sin is often tolerated in the church even today.

Perhaps the greatest challenge Jesus gave was simply this, "hold fast till I come."

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Revelation 2:4". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/box/revelation-2.html. 2014.

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