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Bible Commentaries

The Bible Study New Testament

Revelation 2

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

The Church in the World. Chapters 1 - 3. (Matthew 28:20) [Chapters 1 to 3form the basic foundation of this entire book. Revelation is made up of "picture symbols," which, like "modern art," are intended to express an idea. Each of these picture-symbols presents one central idea. Be careful not to try to give a "deeper meaning," any more than is necessary to bring out this central idea. To evaluate these, ask: (1) How much description forms the entire picture-symbol? (2) What is the central idea?]


Verse 1-2

To the angel of the church in Ephesus. To the evangelist. See note on Revelation 1:20. This is the message. See Revelation 1:13; Revelation 1:16; Revelation 1:20. I know what you have done. This church had a good past record. They had worked hard; they had aggressively carried out the Great Commission in a spirit of patience; they had fought for the Faith (Jude 1:3) and tested those who made the claim to be apostles (1 John 4:1-3).


Verse 3

You are patient. All the Devil could do to them did not make them give up!


Verse 4

You do not love me. A very serious charge! Paul had planted the church here about 52 A.D. (Acts 18:19-21). This church was more than forty years old as Christ dictates the letter to John. A second generation has grown up who do not have the intense enthusiasm, spirit, and love which the first generation church had. Christ was not "real" to them. (Compare Joshua 24:31; Judges 2:7; Judges 2:10.) They were fiercely zealous for truth, yet they did not love Christ! [This lack of love characterized the Pharisees. They were fanatics for truth (as they understood it) but despised everybody else (Luke 18:9-12). One who despises others, will come to despise God as well!]


Verse 5

Remember how far you have fallen! (1) They had been at a high spiritual level. (2) They had lost their hold on Christ and had dropped into the pit of spiritual defeat [but they did not know it!]. (3) Turn! They must actively recapture this love. It is AGAPE - an act of will. "I will love God; I will love fellow man." See 1 John 4:15-21. If you don't. This warning speaks to every church which has lost its "first love." It will cease to exist, if it does not turn from its SIN [IT IS A SIN NOT TO LOVE] and recapture the Spirit and Power of Christ!


Verse 6

Here . . . in your favor. The Nicolaitans taught that Christian liberty gave permission to live immorally. They were right to hate what the Nicolaitans did [not the Nicolaitans themselves].


Verse 7

If you have ears. A grim warning to listen carefully. To those who have won the victory. God's promise! Christian life is a battle. Tree of life. Note the stress on LIFE. [See Genesis 2:9; Genesis 3:22; Revelation 22:2. ] Garden of God. Paradise (2 Corinthians 12:2-4) - the home of God's people.


Verse 8

To the angel of the church in Smyrna. To the evangelist. See note on Revelation 1:20.


Verse 9

I know your troubles. Being a Christian at that time often meant losing your Job, and hardship followed. The Lord tells those believers that they must not let themselves fall into self-pity. They are poor - yet rich in spiritual things (Matthew 6:20; Matthew 19:21; Luke 12:21). Their Lord knows all this! Evil things said against you. These who claimed to be Jews slandered Christ and accused Christians before the Roman officials (and did what they could to get Christians fired from their jobs). See Acts 13:50; Acts 14:2; Acts 14:5; Acts 14:19; Acts 17:5; Acts 21:27-30; Acts 24:2. These "Jews" are no longer God's people.


Verse 10

Do not be afraid. You may suffer, but do not fear. The Devil. He is the power behind those who claim to be Jews. ["Jew" in the Bible is applied to different groups of people. Sometimes it means specifically the Pharisees, Sadducees and teachers of the Law (the group who rejected Christ).] Your troubles will last ten days. A definite, full, but short period of time. See Matthew 24:22; 2 Corinthians 4:8-9; 1 Peter 1:6-9. Be faithful to me. Not just until death, but even if it costs you your life! Crown of life. Note the emphasis on victory over death! (See also 2 Timothy 4:7-8. )


Verse 11

Not be hurt by the second death. Life eternal to those who win the victory! The second death is eternal separation from God (Revelation 20:14).


Verse 12

To the angel of the church in Pergamum. To the evangelist. See note on Revelation 1:20. Sharp two-edged sword. See Revelation 1:16.


Verse 13

I know where you live. They lived in a center of Satan-inspired idol worship. ‘Christians were asked to burn incense to the fetish of the emperors and to say "Caesar is our Lord." You are true to me. They resisted the temptation to repudiate Christ to save themselves. They kept their faith even when Antipas was martyred. [The identity of Antipas is not known.]


Verse 14

A few things. Probably, they emphasized individuality to the point where church discipline was ignored. In the error of Balaam (Numbers 25:2; Numbers 31:16) false teachers at Pergamum taught Christians to join in the feasts of idols and the sex orgies. They may have taught that this was allowed in order to escape persecution.


Verse 15

In the same way. Nicolaitans - see Revelation 2:6.


Verse 16

Tum from your sins. Forgiveness requires turning from sin first. If not I will come. A grim warning to the unrepentant.


Verse 17

If you have ears. Listen! Hidden manna. The bread of life is Jesus Christ - hidden from the world. A white stone. The symbol of being pronounced "not guilty." It implies victory over sin and the Devil. A new name. Symbolic of the new relationship the Christian will have with God and Christ in that Eternal World (compare 2 Corinthians 5:17-21).


Verse 18

To the angel of the church in Thyatira. To the evangelist. See note on Revelation 1:20.


Verse 19

I know what you do. They had. done the opposite of the church at Ephesus. They had continued to grow stronger in their "first love," and showed this in the way they helped the poor.


Verse 20

But here Is what I have against you. Here in Thyatira, labor guilds were centered around an idol. Sex orgies and drunkenness were part of the activity of these guilds. Obviously a Christian could not take part in this sort of thing, Song of Solomon, he lost his job! This created terrific pressure on the Christians to participate in these orgies, so he could keep his job and feed his family (see 1 Peter 4:4; compare 1 Corinthians 7:26-28). Jezebel, the wife of Ahab, symbolizes seduction, idolatry and immorality [ 1 Kings 16:31; 1 Kings 18:4; 1 Kings 19:1-2]. Here "Jezebel" symbolizes a faction in the church who developed an "easy way out." What they said must have been this: "You can't conquer sin unless you experience it. If you learn the deep things of Satan by worshiping the idol and joining the orgy, you will be a better Christian." The church at Thyatira was permitting this, but the One whose "eyes blaze like fire" is not to be fooled! He has said: "You must be holy, because I am holy" (1 Peter 1:16).


Verse 21

I have given her time. It is God's wish that everyone would turn from sin. Even Jezebel is offered the opportunity to repent. (See why Jesus came! John 3:16-17.)


Verse 22

And so I will throw her. A "bed" and "terrible suffering" are symbolic of God's wrath. Those who refuse to turn from their sin bring upon themselves certain punishment!


Verse 23

I will also kill her followers. A grim threat of Divine vengeance upon those who "follow Jezebel" (by participating in this sin). Then all the churches will know. God loves us (see Romans 5:8-11) and wants to bless us. But sin brings punishment, sometimes in this life (see Ananias and Sapphira - Acts 5:1-11).


Verse 24

But the rest of you. Some were faithful and had not followed the false way of Jezebel. Any other burden. Only to avoid the sins of the faction. [Compare Acts 15:28-29.]


Verse 25

But you must hold firmly. To the gospel of Christ which the apostles had taught them.


Verses 26-28

To those who win the victory. The world may seem to be winning now, but it is the Christians who really are ruling the world right now at this time! (See Revelation 8:3-5; Revelation 5:8-10; Romans 5:17.) I will give them authority. A just reward for the suffering Christian! (Compare Luke 19:17; 1 Corinthians 4:20.) The morning star. The right to share in Christ's glory! (Compare Revelation 22:16; 2 Peter 1:19.) If you have ears. Grim warning to the wicked; confident hope to the friends of God!

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 2:4". "The Bible Study New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/revelation-2.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

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