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.
In Revelation 2:1-7-Church of Ephesus -although the letters to the churches happened in the past, they are messages that are important for us today.
These are ongoing messages that every era should live by.
The 7 churches mentioned in Revelation 2 and 3 were all in Asia Minor, which is present day Turkey.
Revelation 2:1-7-Church of Ephesus
1 John is explaining to the church of Ephesus that it is Christ that is writing to seven stars (the leaders of seven Churches) and they are to read the notes to their candlesticks (the people – their “Church”).
Many evil people lived in the city of Ephesus .
Jesus says he is “in the midst of the “Church” of the people and holding them securely.
I know your works – we must always remember that Jesus see’s everything.
2-3 God is praising the Church of Ephesus for having endured hardships and not grown tired.
God praises the congregation of the Ephesus Church, for not putting up with the evil people.
Even though the church of Ephesus is standing solid amid evil.
Furthermore, the Lord praised the church for testing those who say they are apostles and are not.
And then finding them to be liars.
Praised for having stayed true to God, for their patience and that have not stopped grown tired of living for Jesus.
4 Never-the-less – there was something bad within them that Jesus also saw.
God tells the Ephesus church to “do the first works” and to repent for having left their “first love”.
Because, they have fallen somewhat.
Some of the goodness remains, but they are drifting away.
However, enough of their faith remains that they couldn’t tolerate evil.
Then, the Lord explains to the Ephesus church that they are not quite up to the standard of faith they had been.
5 God tells the people to remember back to when they were first saved (the happiness, love and joy they felt).
Especially remember their willingness and obedience.
That is to say, go back to those feelings and repent that they have fallen somewhat.
If they don’t repent and “step up” then God will remove the candle (Jesus Christ) from them.
6. One of the first seven men ordained to the diaconate was Nicolas.
Who were the Nicolaitans that Jesus speaks of? (Also seen in Revelation 2:15)
Diaconates were leaders (like Deacons) elected by the apostles to minister to the community of believers in Jerusalem.
Further more, it was their job was to enable the apostles to concentrate on ‘prayer and the ministry of the word’.
Nicolas’ many followers were called the Nicolaitans. However, they had fallen away from the correct doctrine and were inventing their own “better” version of Christianity.
God tells the Church of Ephesus that he hates the works of the Nicolaitans.
And tells the Church that he sees that they also hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans.
7 A note for all Christians (not just the Church of Ephesus).
Everyone who hears this message; let them listen to what the Spirit said to ALL the Churches.
All people (throughout history) who reads or hears this message – pay attention!
Those who belong to Jesus and can overcome the earthly sins are granted to eat from the tree of life, which is amid the Paradise of God (heaven).
8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning, and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
The letters of Revelation 1:8-20 to the Churches follow a common pattern:
The Lord first addresses each church and identifies himself.
Then defines things that he knows about the church in question.
Afterwards, the Lord gives a challenge or reproach.
Followed by a promise.
God includes a caution to each church. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches”, although sometimes this comes before the promise and sometimes after.
God instructs John to write to the seven Churches of Asia everything that he has seen and heard.
Although the letters differ in length in accordance with the needs of each community, all conclude with an appeal to hold fast and to listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
That is to say, that Christ promises the churches that every person who conquers their failures, will be rewarded.
At the time of this message, there were about sixty church’s in Asia . Meaning, we must realize that the seven were chosen specifically for their type of worship.
John did not choose which of the churches to write to, Jesus did.
The Lords message were not given to any one church, but to the seven different churches in John’s era. (plural).
We (even today) must take heed to the warnings of the Lord’s message.
That is to say, open the ears of our heart and receive Jesus in His fullness.
8. Alpha and Omega.
God is the beginning and is the end which denotes God is the whole.
Beginning and the end – which is and was and which is yetto come.
These titles apply to, who God is right now, always was and always will be in the future.
That is to say, this title is applied to the Father, Holy Spirit and Jesus as they are part of the trinity of God.
Jesus will be reigning over people in the future.
God is the Almighty.
Also, God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is all powerful.
The Revelation is coming. So, prepare yourself, by reading the Book of Revelation.
9. So John begins writing.
Companion in tribes and in kingdom.
John is a Christian suffering persecution which other Christians also suffer.
Christians are a group that spreads the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Patience of Jesus.
John is bearing what he (and other Christians) must bear just as Jesus did.
Island of Patmos for the word of God and test of Jesus Christ.
John was spreading the word of God to all people. Because of that, the Romans banished John to prison.
And for preaching about Jesus Christ, as the Son of God.
10. John tells us he was under the influence of the Holy Spirit on the Lords Day.
After Christ died the apostles kept the Sabbath.
In Acts 3:1 Peter and John went to the Temple.
It was 3 o’clock in the afternoon when they went into the Temple to attend the prayer service.
When the sacrifices were taking place, Peter and John were not inside the Temple,
In other words, they were only entering the Temple for the daily prayer service.
The apostles kept one day per week as the Lords Day.
Does it matter which day we hold Church Service on?
Most Christians meet on the first day of the week (Sunday) because that’s the day Jesus rose from the grave.
Christians should always set aside one day of the week, as the Lord’s day.
Apart from the Lord’s Day, Christians should use every day to praise and worship the Lord. In other words, not just on one day per week.
Revelation 1:10 A great voice sounded like a trumpet.
A voice like a trumpet was meant to get John to pay attention.
Moses was also called by a voice like a trumpet when he was to receive the 10 Commandments.
This voice came suddenly however, John already knew he was in Divine Inspiration.
Revelation 1:8-20 Sees Jesus
11. I am Alpha. (See 1:8 above)
Write in a book what you see.
John is being told to write as it is presented to him.
We must keep in mind everything that John is seeing, hearing, and experiencing. As a result, he is trying to describe from his own perspective. That is to say, from his own era.
He is directed to write about it and then send it to the 7 Churches.
12. John turned to see who spoke to him and saw 7 golden candlesticks.
The lamps represent the 7 Churches that John was to write letters to.
As for the candlesticks, they emitted the light of God that shone in them.
Furthermore, golden usually means something precious to God.
The seven candlesticks, we are told here, are the seven churches in John’s era. They are however, symbolic of all churches for then and now.
The Church is not the building but the people (Christians).
A candlestick is not a light. It is however, the holder for the Light.
These candlesticks lift the Light up for all to see.
Therefore, Christians (candlesticks) are to tell and show others about the Light (Jesus).
13. In the midst stood one like the Son of man.
John was at the transfiguration of Jesus and had already seen a glimpse of what Jesus would be like in Heaven.
Although John had seen Jesus as Son of man, he is now seeing Him as the second person of the Godhead.
14-15. John describes what Jesus looks like.
John’s description gives us a picture of a High Priest in amongst and watching over his people.
Jesus was wearing a long garment. In other words, the long garment shows a mark of high authority.
Girt about the paps and golden girdle. Also, these items showed the rank of his priesthood.
Hair was white. Similarly speaks of as ancient. While the white shows purity.
Eyes – flames of fire. As a result, his eyes were all seeing and penetrating.
Fine brass feet – fire = judgement.
We know that brass was used at Israel’s altar for sacrifices. In the same way, the 7 candlesticks in the Holy Place of the sanctuary in the Old Testament era were used.
Voice – very powerful and loud.
16. In Jesus’ right hand he holds 7 stars and out of his mouth went a 2 edged sword – Jesus will interpret these for John.
7 Stars – Are messengers. Although, some believe they are angels. I don’t think they are heavenly angels because Jesus is speaking of the 7 church’s.
Most likely, they are (angels) key elders or Pastors/Ministers representing each of the 7 Churches.
2- Edged sword – this sword is the Word of God that comes out of Jesus’ mouth.
As a result, the word will pronounce judgement.
12For 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.
17. John was totally overwhelmed by this vision of Jesus.
It was so overwhelming that John fainted.
Even though John knew Jesus on this earth, seeing Jesus now made John faint.
18. I am he that liveth and have the keys of hell and of death.
Jesus was once dead but now lives forever more.
John realizes that he is in the presence of his friend Jesus whom he had known in the flesh and then again at Pentecost.
Although John fainted at the sight of Jesus, Jesus confirmed to John that yes he was indeed the Jesus that John knew and loved from earth.
I believe Jesus was there to put John at ease in this strange situation.
I have the keys of hell and death.
Jesus willingly went to the cross. He gave up his life for our salvation.
Because Jesus had the power to die and rise from death, he now has the power and authority to save Christian’s from death.
Jesus also holds the key to hell. Many believe Satan holds those keys but he does not.
Furthermore, Satan himself will banished to hell, and will not be the leader of it.
19. John is commanded by the Lord, to write regarding the past, present, and future.
God has made it clear that the tribulation period coming, will be a horrible time to go through.
Further to that, the Lord told John there has never has there been such a time in all the earth’s history.
And as a result, there never will be such a time again.
20. Jesus kindly interprets his own hidden images for John.
The seven lampstands are the seven churches.
In the same way, the stars in his right hand represent the angels the seven churches.
People have different opinions who the angels represent.
Some people believe because John writes the word “angel” they are guiding angels watching over the churches.
Still, other’s believe the angels are leaders/pastors/ministers, the key elders.
Why do some people believe they are key elders? Because, the Lord directs John is to write to the angel of each Church.
They are representing each of the seven churches because