Revelation : Chapter 1
Before you begin reading my breakdown of Revelation 2, please read the chapter in its entirety first. Here is a great website to use : BlueLetterBible
As we know from Chapter 1 Jesus is giving John a revelation of things which were, things which are and things which are to come. Along with this revelation he is being told to send a message to 7 specific Churches which were located in Asia Minor (present day turkey). These 7 messages are what makes up chapters 2 and 3. Here is a map of these Church’s historic locations..
The biggest mistake theologians today tend to make is claiming that these are prophetic Church Ages. As I have said in previous posts, this theory falls apart very easily. Right now we have Churches all across the world that could fit the bill of any one of these Churches, and it has been that way all throughout history. I do not ascribe to any Church age theory because, in my humble opinion, it is a false teaching that doesn’t come from scripture. Instead, it comes from the margin notes of Cyrus Ingerson Scofield. In other words, it is the doctrine of man and not the doctrine of the Bible.
Dispensationalism is a cancer in the theology of todays Churches and makes it nearly impossible to understand the book of Revelation and other Bible prophecies. As I always say, when we let the Bible define itself and speak its truth to us, instead of accepting man’s truth, it becomes much more clear and easy to understand. It is called the book of Revelation for a reason. It is meant to reveal to us things “which must shortly come to pass” (Rev 1:1), not make them harder to understand.
The takeaway from chapters 2 and 3 is that these messages were sent out and recorded so that not only these Churches would read them, but also so that we might one day read them and gain insight from them. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
Chart Made by Pastor Stephen Anderson / FaithfulWordBaptistChurch
The chapter text will be red to make it easily distinguishable.
Revelation Chapter 2 (KJV)
The Church of Ephesus
“(1) Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; (2) 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: (3) And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.“
Verse 1 is an echo back to Chapter 1 where we learn that Jesus is the one holding the 7 stars in his right hand and is in the midst of the 7 golden candle sticks. Right out of the gates Jesus is telling this Church that he knows that they are hard working, patient, and good at rooting out false teachers and false doctrines..
“(4) Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. (5) Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.“
Here he is telling them that they have left their first love, and that they need to repent and do the first works. What are the first works? The first works that Christ sent the Apostles out to do was to preach the Gospel to everyone. It is very easy for a Church to get so caught up in doing other works that they forget the most important one: preaching the Gospel. Christ himself said that he came to save that which is lost (Mat 18:11; Luk 19:10). His main message to them here is to remind them where they came from (a sinful life), get them to repent and start going out and preaching the Gospel again.
“(6) But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. (7) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.“
According to history the Nicolaitanes were a group of heretics claiming to be Christians. Jesus is giving a nod back to the Church at Ephesus being good at deciphering good from evil, the true message of scripture from false doctrine. He ends his message with great promise, “to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life” in heaven. You might be wondering what He means by “overcometh”. This concept is explained in 1 John 5:4-5, “4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” Therefore, through faith in Christ – our salvation – we overcome the world.
The Church of Smyrna
“(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.“
Jesus tells the Church at Smyrna that he knows they are going through tribulations, and that they are financially poor, but he reassures them that they are rich. This is a nod back to 2 Corinthians 8:9 which says, “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”
I’m going to spend some time here so that we understand who the end of verse 9 is talking about when it says “them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” We must correctly identify this group before we move along. I’m sure for some this may seem controversial, and may be hard to swallow considering that our Churches have been heavily influenced by Zionism. Interestingly enough, there are Jews today that have been constantly trying to show people that Judaism and Zionism are diametrically opposed.
A big clue is that they “say they are Jews, and are not”. That eliminates a lot of people right out of the gates. The only people who claim to be Jews are those who practice or follow the religion Judaism. Now, you might be thinking.. “wait.. but they really are Jews!” But, are they truly? Lets take a look at Romans 2:28 to see what the Bible tells us.. “28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither [is that] circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God.” This passage makes it clear that there are people that claim to be Jews and really are not. This is telling us that the Old Testament laws are not what makes someone a Jew but that “circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit”. Lets also take a look at Philippians 3 because we need to make sure we understand this concept. Keep in mind, Philippi is a city of Macedonia. Paul is writing to the gentiles there. Philippians 3:3 says, “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh”. According to this passage the true circumcision is made up of those who “rejoice in Christ Jesus”. Now, I’ll tie this all back together: does the religion of Judaism “rejoice in Christ Jesus”? No, the religion of Judaism has rejected Christ as the messiah.
Therefore, we as New Testament believers need to understand that the Religion of Judaism A) is not the circumcision, and B) is what the New Testament refers to as the “synagogue of Satan”. Judaism, according to the New Testament, is an anti-christ religion. For further proof just look at 1 John 2:22-23 “22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [(but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also].” In layman’s terms, if you don’t have the Son then you don’t have the Father.
Before I receive all kinds of emails and comments telling me I’m antisemitic or racist, please understand.. this has nothing to do with nationality, and everything to do with religion. There are many people of Jewish heritage in this world that accept Christ, but these passages clearly aren’t referring to them. They are referring to those who have rejected Jesus as Messiah and are practicing, according to the New Testament, an anti-christ religion.
“(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.“
It is interesting that in verse 9 we learn that Christ rejecting jews are the “synagogue of satan”, and then here in verse 10 it says “behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison.. and ye shall have tribulation 10 days. This is persecution of Christians by the will of the Jews, but it goes on to say “be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life”. We know during the tribulation of Daniels 70th week that Christians will suffer the same persecution. In Mat 24:9 when Christ is giving a prophecy of His second coming He says, “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake”. This falls perfectly in line with the 5th seal that we will see later on in Revelation 6:9-11. Last but not least, they are told “He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death”. As we will see later on in Revelation 20:14 the second death is the “lake of fire”.
The Church of Pergamos
“(12) And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; (13) I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.“
Verse 12 is reinforcing the fact that Christ is the one giving these messages: “he which hath the sharp sword with two edges”. We know from scripture that the two edged sword is the Word. Heb 4:12 says, “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”. Also, we should be noticing a pattern by now: the theme that those who follow Christ go through persecution and tribulation.
“(14) But 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. (15) So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate. (16) Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. (17) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; 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.“
Here Christ is telling them that he knows that they are holding to false doctrine. Back in verse 6 we learned that the Church at Ephesus was holding strong against the false doctrine of the Nicolaitanes. We see that the Church at Pergamos had fallen victim to those false doctrines among others. They are given a warning to repent, and we see Christ saying that if they “overcometh” they will “eat of the hidden manna” in heaven, and they will be given a “white stone” with a new name in it.
The Church of Thyatira
“(18) And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; (19) 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.“
Here we have Christ commending the Church at Thyatira. They have been charitable, good servants, faithful, and patient. This is a Church that is going out and doing great works for the Lord, however..
“(20) Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. (21) And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. (22) Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. (23) And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.“
Christ says he knows that this Church has allowed a woman named Jezebel to teach (“calling herself a prophetess”), and is seducing others in the Church into false doctrine and fornication. This also may get slightly controversial, and I don’t want to spend too much time on this subject, but 1 Timothy 2:11-12 says, “11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence”. Now, I know that may sound harsh and not very “21st century” (if it offends you please take the time to read the last 3 verses of 1 Timothy 2), but we should be following the word of God not the word of the world. The world has been trying to change the roles of men and women for a long time and thanks to the Rockefeller’s funding the Women’s Liberation Movement, guess what happened? They got the mothers out of the house hold, into the job market basically doubling income tax (they love that tax money), and the kids in public schools to be indoctrinated by the world instead of Godly parents. Now we have even been seeing an enormous war on homeschooling. Seems to me like “social equality” has been used as a guise for ruining the Biblical family model (maybe something I will write about in the future).
What happened at Thyatira is that they allowed a woman to teach in the Church, which is position of authority, and it opened a door for sin. Now, in many ways this could be applied to both men and women who are teaching false doctrine in the Church and leading others into fornication, but I won’t argue that scripture is telling us that the women specifically should be learning instead of teaching in the Church.
“(24) But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. (25) But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. (26) And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: (27) And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. (28) And I will give him the morning star. (29) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.“
The message ends with Christ telling those that aren’t involved with these false teachings to keep doing what they are doing, because as we saw in verses 18-19, He did have a lot of good things to say about this Church. Finally we see yet another promise made to those who “overcometh” and stays true to Christ until the end, be it natural death, death at the hand of the enemy, or the glorious day of His return.
This concludes my breakdown of chapter 2. In Chapter 3 we will read about the last 3 Churches: Sardis, Philedelphia and Laodicea…
As always thank you for reading! Please feel free to comment or email me at email@example.com with any questions.
Your brother in Christ Jesus