Here are some things that I have found that are common with all seven letters written to the seven literal churches or congregations in Asia.
#1. Each letter is addressed to the angel, or more specifically each letter is addressed to a single individual messenger of that particular church by name; EPHESUS, SMYRNA, PERGOMOS, THYATIRA, SARDIS, PHILADEPHIA, and LAODICIA.
#2. Every letter begins with a clue leading the reader to know that it is Jesus himself who is the one speaking to or telling John what to write to the seven churches.
All these descriptions are identified with Jesus.
#4. Then following this greeting Jesus says something good about the first six churches quickly followed by a reprimand on where they need to improve. Only the last church, LAODICIA is given a reprimand without any exhortation first.
#5. Then every letter to each church is closed with these words: "He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the CHURCHES." Notice that each letter begins in the singular form but always ends in the plural form. "Unto the angel of the CHURCH (singular) write..." "...hear what the Spirit says unto the CHURCHES (plural). This is one of the things that causes me to believe that each church of today may contain some of the same characteristics of these seven churches that are or were in Asia. So then, hear what the Holy Spirit of Almighty God is saying to YOU dear child of God in these letter to ALL church denomination! Read the WARNINGS given to YOU in the letters to the seven churches, because these warnings are for YOU! Do NOT be DECEIVED by those who CLAIM that these letters are not written to the church of today. The WHOLE Holy Bible is written to YOU! Now the Old Testament was written to the children of Israel, but we still need to read and study the Old Testament so we can show the Jews the PROPHECIES of Jesus being their Messiah. We the church are under the NEW COVENANT and the WORDS of the NEW covenant are written in the NEW Testament.
#6. Then Jesus gives this WARNING to each and every church, "To him that OVERCOMES..."
Now that you have and overview of the letters to the seven churches in Asia let's go back to verse one of chapter two and take a closer look at each verse. I only feel comfortable sharing my opinion when I can back it up with others scriptures so you may find that I skip over a lot of things, which I myself cannot explain with SOUND scriptural support. So if you have any questions please feel free to stop and write me at any time and I will do my best to answer your questions as the Holy Spirit brings more things to light. You can email me at MarkATAMatterOfTruth@Gmail.com with your question if you have any.
Rev. 2:1 " UNTO the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things says he that holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;"
Just in the book of Revelation alone the word the English word SEVEN is used 54 times in the King James version of the Bible. The number 7 is identified with the meaning of perfection, completeness or maturity. If you would like to know more about the number 7, then please read the study called "THE AMAZING NUMBER 7".
The question has been asked of me, "Is there more than one true church?" And if not, then "Which church is the one true church?" I believe that the body of Christ is ONE body with many members. Each member has their own function or purpose in the body just as each different denomination throughout history has had a part in the function of the body of Christ, which is basically to spread the gospel.
So even though we are told of SEVEN churches I believe these seven churches were all part of the one true church being is seven different locations of CONGREGATIONS, who were all ONE in mind and purpose, just as there are MANY different churches or congregations of believers and even many different church denominations in the world today, there is but ONE true church where we all basically have the same fundamental message that Jesus died for our sins and we are saved or born again by BELIEVING this simple message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There were DIVISIONS in the early church as well and Paul rebuked them for there divisions.
Next the wording RIGHT HAND shows us authority such as the right hand of God. Jesus is holding the seven stars in his right hand showing us that the seven churches are the authority of God in all the earth. And Jesus walking in the midst of the churches signifies that it is through Jesus, and in the NAME of Jesus that we have this authority. For a deeper understanding of this authority please read the studies entitled "IN THE NAME OF JESUS" and "THE POWER AND AUTHORITY OF THE BELIEVER"
Now as I said in chapter 1 the seven stars, which are the seven angles may be liter angelic being assigned to each congregation of believers. I personally believe that we all have an angelic being assigned to each of us. Our guardian angel if you will. So Jesus given these angel authority to protect us when we BELIEVE and keep the teachings of Jesus. I also said that these angels may be messengers or pastors over each congregation who have been given authority to teach the flock given to their care.
The phrase "seven golden candlesticks" can be compared to Zechariah 4:1-14. In this passage of scripture in the Old Testament we see the seven golden candlesticks all connected as ONE. These verses are describing the candlestick that God gave specific instructions on how to make in Exodus 25:31-37. Verse 36 of Exodus tells us that this candlestick of seven lamps shall be ONE beaten work of PURE GOLD. The only way to get PURE gold is to try it in the fire seven times. In Zechariah 4:9,10 we see that these seven lamps of this candlestick of pure gold are the EYES of the Lord, which run to and fro in all the earth.
"The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts has sent me unto you.(Now I personally believe that this is a prophecy and a type or shadow of Jesus, because Jesus is the one who builds the house of God made without hands speaking of us the church being the temple of the living God. We also know that Jesus is the author and FINISHER of our faith. And we know that Jesus is the FOUNDATION of the church. So Zerubbabel is a figure or shadow pointing to Jesus meaning that what was written about Zerubbabel also applies to Jesus. What I mean about what is written is that some, much or all that is written may apply. In other words, we cannot always apply everything in history written in the Bible to apply to Jesus)
10. For who has despised the day of small things? For they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel WITH those SEVEN; they (speaking of us the church that will judge the angels and the wicked WITH Jesus) ARE the EYES of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth."
The church is the body of Christ. We are his hands, his feet, his voice, and his eyes. In other words, we, the church, ARE the seven EYES, which ARE the seven SPIRITS that are before the Lord that are spoken about in Revelation 1:4 where John sent us greeting from the seven Spirits that are before the throne of God, and then again in Revelation 5:6, we read about the seven eyes, which says,
"And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven EYES, which ARE the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth (or which run to and fro in the whole earth)."
The horns and the eyes are a PART of the BODY of the Lamb. We, the church, are the BODY of Christ. We are in essence the hands, the feet, the EYES, and the mouth or voice for our Lord Jesus Christ sent forth into all the earth. Every true born again Christian has the Holy Spirit of God DWELLING IN them. Our spirit communicates with the Spirit of God dwelling in us. And Proverbs 20:27 teaches us that the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord SEARCHING all the inwards parts to know our HEART. In short the EYES of the Lord dwells IN a man or woman. The spirit of man is the LIFE of God IN man, as in, ALL of mankind. This is NOT the same as the Holy Spirit dwelling in BELIEVER ONLY. And the Holy Spirit dwelling in ALL believer is NOT the same as being FILLED with the Holy Spirit. Read the related studies on the Holy Spirit.
On to the next verse.
Rev. 2:2 "I know your WORKS, and your labor and your patience, and how you can not bear them which are evil; and you have tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and has found them liars:
This verse tells us that Jesus knows our WORKS both good and bad. He begins by exhorting us with a word of praise, because we would not tolerate sin among us. Jesus knows when we cannot even tolerate those who claim to be Christians, but who we find to be liars by judging the fruit that they bare, and thus we separate ourselves from them, so that their leaven would not leaven the whole lump. Now I want you to pay close attention as you read the letters to the seven churches when we get there as to how much EMPHASIS Jesus places on our WORKS and how we MUST without fail OVERCOME sin, if so be, we desire to receive the reward that Jesus promises to ONLY those of us who OVERCOME.
Rev. 2:3 "And has borne, and has patience, and for my name's sake has labored, and has NOT fainted.
To me this verse is saying that sometimes we have to sit patiently and bear hearing things with which we do not agree, because we represent the name of Jesus, and to make a scene, so to speak, would be bringing shame to his name. So for his name's sake it is sometimes better to sit patiently and listen, while others mock us, while some refuse to believe in God, and while some teach false doctrine.
Now please understand that we are not to faint or compromise what we know to be the truth. We are not to be ashamed of being a Christian when we are mocked. We are not to give up on people when they refuse to believe the gospel. And we are not to change what we know is the truth just so some will not be offended by the truth. If a person is offended by the truth it is because the truth is not in them. This does not mean that they are not saved, but rather that they have been deceived by the enemy to sincerely believe that what they are teaching is the truth.
For example every true born again Christians knows the TRUTH that Jesus suffered and died for their sins and they are never offended by someone who argues and debates with them that there is no God and Christianity is a waste of time. No we do not get offended, because we know the TRUTH and it is THEY who get angry with us for sharing the TRUTH with them. They are the ones who do not have the truth and are moved by the spirit of offense, defensiveness, and attacking the one sharing the truth.
One thing I have learned that once I share the TRUTH that God has revealed to me, I then let God do his work in the individual, because arguing and getting into strife seems to only cause division and more strife. I have found that the TRUTH will always rise up and shine forth in the end, even though sometimes at the beginning it is rejected at first. Be PATIENT and suffer the mocking for our Lord's name sake and do NOT faint in what you have been shown by the Holy Spirit to be the TRUTH. It seemed that I was alone in much of what I teach for decades, but now God has open many hearts to receive the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of God. So God sees our patience, our labor to share the truth, and the persecution we have received for the name of Jesus and the truth's sake.
Rev. 2:4 "Nevertheless I have somewhat against you, because you have left your first love."
After first finding something positive to say about us Jesus then gives us a reprimand. Jesus warns us to be careful of leaving our first love. I personally believe that our first love is the enthusiasm and zeal we all possessed when we first came to know Jesus as our personal savior. We could not wait to tel everybody about the joy in us. That love to share God was fire in our bones. But over time we grow cold and we must stir those embers to burn hot once again. This is something I find that I must continually stir up within myself. Love is the driving force behind all that we do. If you LOVE your job, then it is no longer a JOB.
Paul said you can have all faith, even faith to move mountains, but without LOVE you are nothing. A person can be blessed with great financial wealth, but if they have not LOVE, then they will only consume that wealth upon themselves. And what is it Jesus said, if a man gain the whole world and loses his own soul? What did it profit that man? The Bible tells us that even our faith works BY LOVE. Please read Galatians 5:6,which says,
"For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision; but FAITH which WORKS BY LOVE."
We all need to examine our hearts to see if our motives are directed BY LOVE. In 1 John we read that if one SAYS that the love God and they do not love their fellow man, then the love of God is NOT in them. In other words, at times it is not what you say but what you DO that really shows your LOVE. Let us have love and compassion for one another. Moving on to the next verse.
Rev. 2:5 "Remember therefore from whence you are fallen, and REPENT, and DO the first WORKS; OR ELSE I will come unto you quickly, and will REMOVE your candlestick out of his place, except you repent."
And Jesus is not going to count to three like some do to their kids. Jesus says REPENT or ELSE. that means we had better be found to be that GOOD and FAITHFUL servant when he comes again OR ELSE he will REMOVE of candles stick. Proverbs 24:20 warns us that God will PUT OUT the candle of the wicked.
"For there shall be NO reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be PUT OUT."
Sin is what cause a person to be WICKED. Evil means NOT doing what God teaches us to do. God is not speaking about vile people, but rather workers of INIQUITY or sin even those little white lies. No LIAR shall inherit the kingdom of God. So REPENT speedily when you give into temptation and sin. So NOT make excuses saying things like, "Well every body lies. And at least I am not as bad as so and so." Well it may be that so and so REPENTS quickly and does NOT make excuses.
Every time we slip and fall into sin we need to repent immediately and do the first works motivated by LOVE. I don't know about you, but when I first came to know the Lord I was consumed in my whole being with finding out what pleased God, and then I focused all my energy on doing that which God showed me to do. Walking free from sin was my primary focus where God lead me to victory ONE sin at a time.
Thinking back I believe the first sin that God dealt with me about was that of lying. So being a man of integrity became my driving passion. Once integrity became my LOVE, then lying was no more a temptation like it used to be, then stealing became my next trial to overcome, then the lust of the flesh and anything that was not the truth began falling away, because I learned how to speak TRUTH in every area of my life. I spoke God's word to myself and the enemy as well even though the enemy kept trying to make me think that I was lying, because what I was speaking forth was not yet manifested in my life. What I mean by this is that God showed me how to speak what I desire to BE and NOT what was already in my life. After I became of DOER of what God taught me and not a hearer only, then my lifestyle began to change. People began to see a difference in me. I was a new creature. For a deeper understanding of what I mean by this please read the study entitled "THE POWER OF OUR WORDS!"
The point I am trying to make is that if there is sin in your life, REPENT. To repent means to make a complete turn around and go the other way. At first it will seem like you repent and turn right around and do the same thing again. Please see the study "TRUE BIBLICAL REPENTANCE" for a deeper understanding on this subject of repentance. And then follow up by reading the study "HOW YOU CAN LIVE YOUR LIFE FREE FROM SIN!" We can not take the word of God lightly! When Jesus returns for his church and he finds us to have sin in our lives he will REMOVE the candlestick from us and we will be cast into outer darkness. Take HEED to the words Jesus spoke to us as a WARNING to us saying, Depart from me you that WORK INIQUITY, or you who are living in SIN, because it will be like I never knew you if you have sin in your life when you die or when I come again in a moment and a twinkling of an eye!
Now I realize that we all sin from time to time and most of us repent immediately so I am not speaking of this, but rather those who are EXCUSING their sin and living in a lifestyle of sin. I am speaking of those who are excusing their sin saying that it is NOT sin. I do not have to point the finger at you for you KNOW who you are. Next verse.
Rev. 2:6 "But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate."
In other words, Jesus is saying, "I will say this much for you that you hate the DEEDS of the Nicolaitans which I myself also hate."
Now I don't remember where I heard this, but I heard that the Nicolaitans liked to lord over the people. That is to say, those in authority in the church would abuse their power and cause the LAITY, which are the ordinary people in the congregation, to serve them, rather than those in authority serving the people.
Strong's exhaustive concordance defines Nicolaitians as followers of Nicolas. The word Nicolas means victor over the people. In other words, the doctrine or teaching of the Nicolaitans is to teach separation of God's people into two classes, the ruling class known as the clergy, and the common people known as the laity. Something to think about. When the leaders in the church begin to EXPECT to be served and looked up to, then they are in danger of being like the Pharisees who loved the praises of men. Jesus said I come not to be served, but rather to serve. Moving on.
Rev. 2:7 "He that has an ear, let him HEAR (or pay close attention to and truly understand) what the Spirit says unto the CHURCHES (plural meaning each and every one of us no matter what church denomination you attend): To him that OVERCOMES will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
I believe we not only need to hear what the Spirit is saying in these letters to the churches, which is to ALL believers, but we must also hear and obey that small still voice of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us, who leads and guides us into all truth and bears witness with our spirit the things that are true. We need to search the scriptures daily to find out for ourselves if what we are being taught by others is truly and soundly based upon the WHOLE word of God.
Also pay very CLOSE ATTENTION to the promise that Jesus makes to ONLY those of us in the church that OVERCOME! Jesus is saying to ONLY those of us who OVERCOME that he will give to us ETERNAL LIFE. In other words, if you do NOT overcome and you do NOT repent and you are NOT found to be that good and faithful servant that endures unto the END, then Jesus equally PROMISES that he will NOT give you the right to eat of the tree of life. You will NOT inherit the promise of ETERNAL LIFE. And you will be cast into outer darkness.
Do NOT be DECEIVED by the FALSE teaching of once saved always saved. For an exhaustive in-depth study in God's word that puts forth all the evidence on both sides of this highly controversial subject of the O.S.A.S. doctrine against the clear word of Almighty God that plainly teaches that the latter part our the receiving the END of our salvation is CONDITIONAL upon our WORKS please read the study "DOES THE BIBLE TEACH THAT ONCE YOU ARE SAVED THEN THEY ARE ALWAYS SAVED?"
This brings us to the end of the letter to the church Ephesus.
Rev. 2:8 "And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things says the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;"
This phrase "The first and the last" is found seven times in the Bible (Rev. 1:11, Rev. 1:17, Rev. 2:8, Rev. 22:13, Isaiah 44:4, Isaiah 44:6, Isaiah 48:12). And of these seven times three are found to be Jesus speaking and I myself personally believe the remaining four refer to Almighty God the Father. This one found in this passage is definitely referring to Jesus as the one who is speaking.
This phrase, the first and the last, is interpreted by some that Jesus existed before he was born of the virgin Mary and became flesh and thus Almighty God HIMSELF. I personally do not believe this to be Biblical.
The literal meaning of the word "FIRST" means to the the before most, which means to be the one preferred ABOVE others. The word "last" in this context of Jesus being the HEAD of the church being FIRST and deserving to be SERVE humbles himself to be LAST and SERVE us.
Almighty God as well loved us WHILE we were yet sinners. God SO LOVED the world that he gave his ONLY begotten Son FOR US. Almighty God the Father is FIRST or above ALL yet he is MINDFUL of his creation of mankind to serve us by never leaving nor forsaking us. Again Jesus spoke what ever his God and Father TOLD him to speak. So personally I myself do NOT see that Jesus saying these words prove that Jesus is Almighty God himself. I do believe that Jesus came out from God just like Jesus said. Please read the study "WHAT DOES GOD INCARNATE MEAN?"
We also see that Jesus died, but now Jesus is alive for evermore, and I hear it said that Jesus dying and alive evermore is what first and last means, but this cannot be what this phrase means, because Jesus is not the last one to be given eternal life. I talk more in depth on this phrase, the first and the last, in the study on the deity of Jesus. Also this phase "the first and the last" refers to Jesus being the first man to offer himself as a sacrifice to redeem mankind back to God and Jesus is the last man that will ever need to be offered as a sacrifice for mankind. And Jesus is the first and the last to be highly exalted and given the highest name above every other name. God will not share this glory with another.
Some dogmatically demand that because Jesus identifies himself with some same phrases that the Father identifies himself proves that Jesus is Almighty God himself. Please read the study "Revelation 17:4 WHO IS THE KING OF KINGS?", which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is NOT saying that he is THE ALMIGHTY God anywhere in the Bible. But for now back to this verse by verse study in the book of Revelation here in chapter 2.
Rev. 2:9 "I know your WORKS, and tribulation, and poverty, (but you are rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are of the synagogue of Satan."
Jesus knows our WORKS and the things we suffer. He knows those who are in poverty, but he tells them that they are rich. Now there are two schools of thought here. It could be that Jesus was saying though you be poor in the eyes of the world you are rich in me. In other words, your circumstances on earth in this present life do not determine your joy, because your TRUE treasures are stored up in heaven. In some cases I have seen that the poor are the most joyous people, so do not allow circumstances to steal your joy in the Lord. This life is but a vapor compared to eternity. And the wealth of the unjust is laid up for the righteous in the world to come.
Or Jesus could be saying, Let the redeemed say so. In other words, Jesus is saying I see your poverty BUT why? Can you not see that I have provided your every need, so why are you choosing to live in this state of poverty when I have made you rich. Again something to think about. On to the next part of this verse.
There will be those that say they are Christians, but whose actions prove otherwise. And there will be those that say they are Jews, but in truth they are followers of the god of this world, Satan. Please read the study "WHO ARE THE TRUE JEWS?" and other related studies, because some are wrongly teaching that they are the true Jews and the Jews in Israel are fake Jews. Recently I had one claiming to be one of the TRUE Jews write to me and his attitude was that of be far superior than Gentile Christians. I asked him what ever gave him the idea the Jews who become Christians are ABOVE the Gentile Christians and he quoted Romans 3:1,2, which says,
"What advantage then has the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?
2. Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God."
This means that the gospel is to the Jews FIRST and then God turned to the Gentiles. And when I told him the meaning of this verse in Romans that he quoted me he became very hostile toward me. His spirit was of the synagogue of Satan and not of God. Now I myself have this gut feeling, so to speak, that the FIRST shall be LAST and the LAST shall be FIRST. Next verse.
Rev. 2:10 "Fear none of those things which you shall SUFFER; behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried; and you shall have tribulation ten days: be you FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH, and I will give you a crown of life."
Jesus exhorts us not to FEAR any of those things we may SUFFER. Now nobody really likes the idea that we will have to suffer some persecutions and such for believing in the one true God and sharing the gospel or this good news with others. Some of us may suffer prison and others death, but no matter what we suffer we must be found FAITHFUL unto death BEFORE we can be crowned with ETERNAL LIFE.
The thing that I want to point out to you is that Jesus warns us to hold fast and be FAITHFUL unto DEATH, which tells me that there is going to be some pretty SEVERE SUFFERING for the sake of the gospel for some believers. It is already this way with Muslims who become Christians particularly in Muslim dominated countries. They are be killed by their OWN family members in some cases and turned in or over to the leaders by their family members in other cases.
Keep in mind that the opposite of what Jesus says here is equally true and if one is NOT found to be FAITHFUL unto DEATH, then Jesus will NOT give them a crown of eternal life. Therefore unless we remain faithful unto the end to not deny Jesus as the Christ, the SON of the living God, then we will NOT obtain eternal life in the world to come, if so be that a believer denies Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
We cannot just simply read over verses like these and pretend they mean something else. The plain and simple TRUTH is that if we DENY that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died for our sins and was raised from the dead, then Jesus will DENY us. For a deeper understanding of this please read the study "DOES the BIBLE TEACH that ONCE YOU ARE SAVED THEN YOU ARE ALWAYS SAVED?" . But for now let us continue with this study.
The word crown in the Greek is "Stephanos", which means VICTORY wreath, and is translated 7 times as "Stephen". The word crown in all its forms is found 85 times in the Bible. The number 85 can be written as 5 x 17, where the number 17 is associated with victory and the number 5 is the number for grace. It is only through grace that is given to us from Almighty God through faith that we can attain victory over sin, fear, doubt, and unbelief, in order to receive eternal life in the world to come.
The question has been asked will we actually receive a literal golden crown to wear, or is it just a symbol showing that we have victory and authority over Satan? Either way I believe all the glory and honor will be given back to him that sits on the throne, Almighty God, the Father, himself and to his Son Jesus whether the crown is literal or figurative of a victory crown for overcoming sin and the lies of Satan.
Revelation 4:10 says it this way,
"The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that lives for ever and ever, and CAST their CROWNS before the throne, saying,
11. You are worthy, O Lord, to receive GLORY and honor and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created."
Now again these crowns may be literal crowns or they may be symbolic crowns, as in, as we give glory honor and praise to Almighty God for the gift of eternal life, and being HIS workmanship overcome sin THROUGH his eternal Spirit dwelling in us by believing HIS promises in HIS word. So then, we are in essence casting our crowns before him by giving ALL the GLORY to HIM. In other words, Jesus says, Well done my good and faithful servants crowing us with praise and then we cast the glory of this crowning praise directed to us back to the Father.
The word of God teaches us that we who are found to be faithful will receive the CROWN of LIFE. Please read James 1:12, which teaches us that ONLY the ones who ENDURES temptation shall be BLESSED by receiving the CROWN of LIFE or ETERNAL LIFE.
"Blessed is the man that ENDURES temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the CROWN of LIFE, which the Lord has promised to them that LOVE him."
So then, from this verse of scripture I myself personally do not necessarily see that the CROWN of life is a LITERAL physical crown that we will wear on our heads, but rather we are crowed with ETERNAL LIFE in the world to come. It may be a literal crown, but I cannot say for sure one way or the other. Here is one more verse I found that may give us some more insight. Please read Revelation 2:10, which says,
"Fear none of those things which you shall suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried; and you shall have tribulation ten days: be you FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH, and I will give you a CROWN of LIFE?
Still to ME, I see this CROWN be a representation for ETERNAL LIFE and NOT a literal CROWN that we will wear in the world to come or cast before the throne of God. To be crowned is to bestow the honor upon someone. When squire is crowned or dubbed to knighthood the honor of becoming a knight is bestowed upon him. He does not receive a literal crown. Here is one final verse that causes me to think along these lines. Please read Revelation chapter 3 and verse 10, which says,
"Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which you have, that no man take your CROWN."
To ME, this verse is saying be SURE that no man DECEIVES you into losing your promise of ETERNAL LIFE. There are a couple of verses in Ezekiel chapter 21 that hint at the wicked having a crown right now in this world, which we can obviously see that the wicked are not wearing literal crowns. Then when the wickedness is come to full where none will seek after God, then their crowns will be taken from them and given to the righteous and lowly at heart. The wicked have a candle now, but that candle will be put out if the do not repent and turn from their wickedness. So no I myself do not see our crown as a literal crown that we wear on our heads in the world to come, but rather our crown is symbolic of ruling and reigning WITH Jesus during the 1000 years. Moving on to the next verse.
Rev. 2:11 "He that has an ear, let him HEAR what the Spirit says unto the churches; He that OVER COMES shall NOT be hurt of the second death.
Again only he that OVERCOMES shall receive eternal life and be free from the power of the second death. This is vitally IMPORTANT, so please do NOT take this lightly, because IF a true born again Christian does NOT ENDURE unto the END by REMAINING FAITHFUL to God and his word, then THAT UNFAITHFUL Christian will NOT RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE in the end, but will be cast out into outer darkness to await the SECOND DEATH.
DO NOT be DECEIVED by the FALSE DOCTRINE of ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED!
Again please read the detailed Biblical SOUND in-depth study on this subject entitled "Does the BIBLE teach that ONCE a person is SAVED, then they are ALWAYS SAVED?"
Getting back to the subject at hand, so what exactly is the second death? We know from 1 Corinthians 15:26 that the last enemy to be destroyed is DEATH. And in Revelation chapter 20 we see that DEATH and HELL are cast in the lake of fire along with all those who were not found written in the book of life, and this is called the SECOND DEATH.
I believe that at this point at the END of the 1000 year reign of
Jesus that all of mankind, that is to say, all of HUMAN kind, that
has DISOBEYED the word of God will be RESURRECTED from the dead to
face JUDGMENT and will be been found GUILTY before Almighty God in
their SIN. Then these WICKED of human
be DESTROYED in the lake of fire. In other words, all of the WICKED
of human kind will NOT RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE, but rather will be
DESTROYED in the lake of fire, which is the SECOND
Please read Revelation 20:6 first, then we will skip down to verse
then, you DEFINITELY want to be one who takes part in the FIRST
resurrection, which I will explain when we get to this verse later on
in this verse by verse study of the book of Revelation, but for now read verse 14, which tells us that the
SECOND DEATH is the lake of FIRE.
"The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out WITHOUT MIXTURE into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:"
Now the words, "WITHOUT MIXTURE" I believe SEPARATE the WRATH of God that is being poured out on the FALLEN ANGELS from the WRATH of God being poured out upon FALLEN MANKIND. YES fallen man will receive TORMENT with FIRE, but I do NOT believe this TORMENT will be a forever and ever TORMENT of SUFFERING in an ETERNAL FIRE of HELL as some Christians teach.
Number one, because both HELL and DEATH are cast INTO this lake of FIRE to be DESTROYED. YES, the JUDGMENT will be ETERNAL, in that, once the JUDGMENT is made there will be ABSOLUTELY NO CHANCE of a REVERSAL of that FINAL judgment. In other words, this judgment is FINAL and has no chance of an appeal. So in that respect, the JUDGMENT is ETERNAL. Another verse that I believe supports my belief is the very next verse Revelation 14:11 which says,
"And the SMOKE of their torment ascends up for ever and ever: and they have NO REST day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receives the mark of his name.
Now to me it is clear that the SMOKE of their TORMENT of being DESTROYED in the lake of fire is what LASTS for all ETERNITY as a REMINDER for all those who REMAINED FAITHFUL to God never to REBEL against his commands. And the fact that they have or that they RECEIVE NO REST to me simple means that they do NOT RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE EVER. In other words, no matter how many days go by, they will NEVER EVER be given ETERNAL LIFE, who worship the beast and his image and whosoever receives the mark of his name.
I believe that this man-made DOCTRINE of eternal TORMENT in hell fire has caused many to leave the faith and many to never embrace the faith. I believe it is a FALSE DOCTRINE and I address in the studies called "IS THE DOCTRINE OF HELL BIBLICAL?" and "Does Revelation 20:10 Teach ETERNAL TORMENT?". But for now, let us return to our verse by verse study in Revelation here in chapter 2.
This brings us to the end of the letter to Smyrna and the beginning of the letter to Pergamos.
Rev. 2:12 "And to the angel of the church of Pergamos write; These things says he which has the sharp sword with two edges;"
Hebrews 4:12 says,
"For the WORD of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any TWO EDGED SWORD, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and morrow, and is a discerner of thoughts and intents of the heart."
Then in Rev. 19:15 we see Jesus riding a white horse and out of his mouth going a sharp sword. So putting these verses together we can conclude that the weapon of choice is the WORD of Almighty God going forth from our mouth. Jesus defeated the devil by the speaking the word of God saying to the enemy, "It is written..." And we are to do the same.
Rev. 2:13 "I know your WORKS and where you dwell, even where Satan's seat is: and you HOLD FAST my name, and have NOT denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwells."
The phase "even in those days" is one of the things that leads me to believe that characteristics of all seven churches can be found throughout every period of the history of the church age.
I have heard some speculate that Satan's seat is Rome. There is certainly a lot of evidence that SEEMS to point in this direction, but I personally do not Rome is the seat of Satan. You see when we observe from this verse is that of this church's location, which was in PERGAMUS, the city that was the capitol, so to speak, of Asia minor in the day of John.Then this verse seems to be teaching us that it must have been harder to serve the Lord and remain faithful in that location, because Jesus tells us they remained faithful EVEN though they dwelt in the very place where Satan reigned. And yet they did not deny their faith in Jesus no matter how brutal things got, even when some were being martyred among them.
This whole area where the seven churches of Asia are located is now modern day Turkey, but was is those days the people worshiped idols and followed the Babylonian religion and all laws for this area of Asia came from the city of Pergamus. This city was the center of paganism have many temples and altars to their pagan gods. One such altar was believed to be the altar of the Greek god Zeus, which many believe is what Jesus is calling Satan's seat. For more information on Satan's seat please see the history of Pergomon's Altar.
The name Antipas comes from two Greek words, "anti", which means against, and "pater", which means father or fathers. I will leave the speculation to you, but coming from a Roman Catholic background myself and IN the LIGHT of the WHOLE word of God I can see how some have concluded that ROME is Satan's seat, because of the title of "FATHER" that the clergy from the priest up to the pope himself are called. And ANTIPAS, which means AGAINST the FATHERS was MARTYRED for his FAITHFULNESS to Jesus. Or is it just a COINCIDENCE that his NAME means AGAINST the FATHERS?
But HISTORY shows us that Antipas was the bishop of the church at Pergamus, who is said to have been put to death by the pagans on the altar of Zeus. It is said that Antipas was casting out so many devils that the pagans put him to death by placing him in a bronze bull and lighting a fire under the bull as a sacrifice to Zeus.
Now the main thing that I myself see in this verse by the location of Pergamus being in modern day Turkey, is that some considered Turkey to be the seat of Islam. Now many in Islam are Arabs, but NOT all Arabs are Muslim. In fact many Arabs are Christians. But Arabs according to the Bible are descendants of Abraham through the linage of Ishmael. Thus Arab Muslims who follow Islam are AGAINST what their "FATHERS" taught. Again I will leave the speculation to you, the reader.
I myself find the phrase Jesus used in this verse saying, "EVEN in THOSE days" of Antipas they remained faithful, which leads me to look for FUTURE days in that area of Turkey where the seat or throne of Satan is. This is just another reason why I myself see far more Biblical evidence pointing to ISLAM as being the MARK of the beast where some claim Roman Catholicism in antichrist and the mark of the beast. Please read the study "COULD ISLAM BE THE MARK OF THE BEAST?" Moving on to the next verse.
Rev. 2:14 " But I have a few things against you, because you have THERE THEM that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto IDOLS, and to commit fornication.
Rev,2:15 " So have you ALSO them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate."
Rev. 2:16 "REPENT; OR ELSE I will come unto you quickly, and will fight against THEM with the sword of my mouth."
So then, from verse 14 and 15 we can see that perhaps BOTH the Babylonian religion and idol worship were in this place or area where this church of Pergamus was located AND there may have been the ruling of the clergy OVER the laity or common believers as well. Here is what I gleam from these verses. Jesus says, I have a few things against you, and one of them is that there are SOME among you who hold to the doctrine or teachings of Balaam, who caused many to stumble and depart from my ways, by teaching them to eat things sacrificed to idols.
Now in the early days of the church, when Constantine made Christianity to be the belief system for all the people under his reign even if they were pagan idol worshipers, there began to become MIXTURE of pagan beliefs with Christianity. Therefore obviously since one cannot be forced to believe the truth of the whole word of God these many, who were in fact PAGANS where brought into the church in AMONG the TRUE Christians and the TRUE Christians under the order of Constantine were forced to ACCEPT the PAGANS into their fold. Now obviously the church cannot convert all of these PAGANS overnight, so this little LEAVEN began to CORRUPT the TRUE CHURCH and many of the PAGAN rituals were ADOPTED into the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH and given new names that Christians could accept. In other words, a PAGAN festival would now be renamed as a feast day for a saint. For more on the errors of the Roman Catholic church please see the related studies in the menu.
Jesus also said that they hold the doctrine or teachings of the NICOLAITANES, which as I said earlier was the teaching that SEPARATED the CLERGY from the lower class of people called the LAITY, which is EXACTLY what the Roman Catholic church system even to this day is based upon. This SEPARATION of classes of people where the CLERGY lords over the common people is very widely taught in this religious system of CATHOLICISM. The laity is NOT to question what they are taught by the priest who are taught not to question what they are taught by the bishops then the cardinals then the pope himself being infallible.
Then Jesus says, REPENT, or TURN AWAY FROM this or else I will come unto YOU quickly and will fight AGAINST THEM that do NOT REPENT.
For me personally I have come to see too many teachings and practices in the Roman Catholic church for me, myself to REMAIN under it's teachings, so I left the Catholic faith to embrace the teachings of the Holy Spirit, who leads and guide a true believer into ALL TRUTH.
However, I do believe that some Catholics are true sincere born again believers, and thus a part of the one true church. Therefore I find it hard to interpret these verses as referring to the Roman Catholic church. I do not see Jesus fighting against his church, but I do see in many places in the Bible where Jesus will fight against the countries that are today Islamic dominated countries.
Many Muslims are repenting and coming to Jesus and they are being Martyred for their faith in Jesus by their OWN people even their own family members. And there is a MERGING of Christianity with Islam called CHRISLAM. Please read the study "COULD ISLAM BE THE MARK OF THE BEAST?"
Rev. 2:17 "He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches; To him that OVER COMES will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and I will give to him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows saving he that receives it."
The word MANNA means bread from heaven. Jesus once said to his disciples you do not know what bread I eat of. The disciples did not understand. In other words, the bread that Jesus was eating was HIDDEN from them. You see my dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, to simply do the WILL of the Father was all the food Jesus needed.
The word manna is found 19 times in the Bible. Fourteen times in the Old Testament and five times in the New Testament. The number 19 is the number associated with faith, which is one of my favorite numbers. The number 14 bears the meaning of salvation or FORGIVENESS of sins and the number 5 is the number for grace. We are saved (14) by grace (5) through faith (19). Jesus is also called the bread of life from heaven. And bread is symbolic to teaching. So hidden manna or hidden bread could as well mean hidden teaching that Jesus will give to those who overcome. Since this hidden manna is not given to us until we overcome it is most likely not to know what this hidden teaching is now in this present world. Some things were shown to Paul, which he could not utter to men in this life.
word here for stone in the Greek is "psephos" which is
found only three times in the Bible, two of which are in this very
verse translated as stone. The only other time this word is found it
is translated as voice against. This word means vote, and white
signifies innocence. So the white stone may signify a vote for
innocence with our name written upon it. Or perhaps a name of a
hidden sin that we have been forgiven and have now been found
innocent that only we know about signifying that we all have a voice
against us but we were made INNOCENT by the blood that Jesus shed for
us. Just a thought.
Rev. 2:18 " And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things says the Son of God, who has his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;"
The phrase "These things says the SON OF GOD", and the description of Jesus that follows leaves no doubt that Jesus the Son of God is the SECOND voice that John heard, and it is this voice of the SON of God telling John what to write to the seven churches which are in Asia.
Rev. 2:19 "I know your WORKS, and charity, and service, and faith, and your patience, and your WORKS; and the last to be more than the first.
Jesus said I know your WORKS.........And your WORKS. Service is a work. James said I will show you my faith by my WORKS. It takes WORK to have patience. And how many know that charity (or love) is hard WORK. It most certainly seems that Jesus was pleased with their WORKS. I want you to keep in MIND the importance of our WORKS and we will see where this will lead later on. .
Rev. 2:20 "Notwithstanding I have a few things AGAINST you, because you suffer that women Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols."
Rev. 2:21 "And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not."
Rev. 2:22 "Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they REPENTS of their DEEDS (or EVIL WORKS)."
Rev 2:23 "And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searches the reins and hearts: and I will give unto EVERY ONE of YOU according to your WORKS."
Rev. 2:24 " 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 speaks; I will put upon you none other burden."
Rev. 2:25 "But that which you have already hold fast till I come.
Rev. 2:26 "And he that OVERCOMES, and keeps my WORKS unto the end, to him will I give power to the nations:
Rev. 2:27 "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.
Rev. 2:28 "And I will give him the morning star.
Rev. 2:29 "He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches."
After giving this church a compliment Jesus says NOT WITHSTANDING I have a few things AGAINST you. In other words, all your good works don't excuse what you neglected to do. I have a few things against you, BECAUSE you are suffering that women Jezebel that calls herself a prophetess to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols. One of the meanings of the word suffer in this instance is to TOLERATE EVIL. How much evil are we tolerating all around us?
In verses 21-24 I want to draw your attention to the pronoun use. Jesus begins by speaking to the church with a compliment soon followed by a rebuke. In this rebuke Jesus says I have a few things against YOU because YOU tolerate and allow this women Jezebel. Now notice the change in the pronoun use in the following verses.
"And I gave HER space to repent of HER fornication; and SHE repented not. Behold I will cast HER into a bed, and THEM (which may also include you, because you were complacent and did nothing to warn her of her sins, and thereby giving your consent, but the THEM definitely speaks of those) that commit adultery with HER into great tribulation, except THEY repent of THEIR deeds. And I will kill HER children with death."
Then in the last part of verse 23 the pronoun use changes back to YOU.
"...I will give unto every one of YOU according to YOUR works."
In verse 24 we see that God will not put on us more than we can bare.
"But unto YOU I say, and unto the REST in Thyratira as many as have NOT this doctrine, and have NOT known the depths of Satan, as THEY speak, I will put upon YOU none other burden."
Here is this verse 24 we see the importance of true sound Biblical teaching of doctrine. Then in verses 25-29 we are told to hold fast to that which we already have. And those who OVERCOME will rule the nations with Jesus and he will give us the MORNING STAR.
"But that which you have already hold fast till I come.
26. And he that OVERCOMES, and KEEPS my WORKS unto the END, to him will I give power over the nations:
27. And he shall rule them (the nations) 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 (Jesus) will give him (speaking of him that OVER COMES will Jesus give) the MORNING STAR.(keep in mind that Lucifer means the MORNING STAR)
29. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches"
And he that OVERCOMES will be given the right to rule the nations. Jesus said in Matthew 24 that false prophets and false teachers would arise and if it were possible would deceive the very elect. Hold fast to the sound teaching that is thoroughly rooted in the word of God.
Jesus said here that he would give those of us that OVERCOME the MORNING STAR. We read in Isaiah 14:5-17 that Lucifer is cast down to the sides of the pit, which to me, is where Satan is bound for 1000 years in the bottomless pit. In other words, Jesus cast down the enemy Satan to the pit and at the end of the 1000 years when Satan is loosed for a short time he will deceive the nations one last time and then Satan will be judged by those of us who OVERCOME him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.
"That you shall take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How has the OPPRESSOR ceased! The golden city ceased!
6. He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hinders.
7. The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing.
8. Yea, the fir trees rejoice at you, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since you are laid down, no feller is come up against us.
9. Hell from beneath is moved for you to meet you at your coming: it stirs up the dead for you, even all the chief ones of the earth; it has raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.
10. All they shall speak and say unto you, Are you also become weak as we? Are you become like unto us?
11. Your pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of your viols: the worm is spread under you, and the worms cover you.
12. How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How are you cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13. For you hast said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
15. Yet you shall be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
16. They that see you shall narrowly look upon you, and consider you, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;
17. That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?"
1 Corinthians 6:2,3 teaches us that we who have over come will judge the world and the angels. In other words, we will judge Satan and the other fallen angels. The word Lucifer is translation from the Hebrew word "helel" and means shining one and MORNING STAR. So then, for me, I see Jesus giving us, who have OVERCOME Satan, the right to JUDGE Satan, the MORNING STAR, in the last day. Satan accuses us before God now trying to lay all the blame on God saying that he and mankind were created to be rebellious and it is not his fault that he rebelled against God. Please read the study "UNDERSTANDING WHY?" to learn why God allows evil to exist in this present world and why God lets Satan loose again after he has bound him for a 1000 years.
I don't know if it has any significance but the first three letters that were written to the first three churches in Asia all ended with "He that has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches," followed by "He that overcomes".... And the last four letters that were written to the last four churches in Asia end with "He that overcomes"....followed by "He that hath an ear".... This brings us to the end of the letter to the church of Thyratira and to chapter three of the book of Revelation.