Revelation Chapter #2
Chapter #2 is about the Church on the Earth. The Church is the bought and paid for Bride of Christ. In the first 3 chapters of this Book the Church is mentioned 19 times. Yet from chapter 4 through chapter 20 it is not mentioned at all. The logical question at this point would be, why not. The Book of Revelation is about what was, what is, and what will be. So, chapters 2 and 3 are mostly focused on the now. You will see that after chapter 3 the Church leaves the Earth. This is the answer to why the Church is not spoken of in chapters 4-20. These chapters cover what will yet be, what will happen.
When Jesus addressed these 7 Churches in Asia Minor He had a three fold message for them. His 7 messages to these 7 Churches of the late first century were direct in their meaning. By the way, the ruins of these 7 Churches still exist today if you ever feel like taking yourself a modern day vacation to the area to visit them. In John’s writing it is also obvious that he knew these Churches personally as well as there local traditions and conditions and that they knew him. Each message to each of the Churches was also a composite picture of the individual Church. All Churches are made up of individual people and they, like people, will tend to have their own personalities about them. An example would be the Church in Philadelphia and it is easy to see within our own mind and heart that the Lord addresses each Church on these matters. You see, every Church then and now must be uniform in that Jesus Christ is The Head of The Church. We must all walk our lives individually by the examples that Jesus lived and spelled out for us, as the Churches that we attend must also do. The Church is the Body of Christ, Jesus is the Head of The Church, it is not the other way around. Chronologically a panoramic history of the Church is given within these 7 Church addresses beginning from the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem. If you will notice there are 7 periods of Church history written within these 7 addresses.
Ephesus represents the Apostolic Church and Laodicea represents the Apostate Church. The prophetic pictures John paint for us within these two addresses to these two Churches have for the most part been fulfilled. Partially this is what help in making these early chapters so interesting. John painted a well defined format that The Lord used in each of the letters to these 7 Churches. If you can remember from Chapter #1 there was some features from the Glorified Lord that was emphasized in the address to each Church, a particular thing that was emphasized for its own reason.
The Lord starts off His address to each Church with “I know your works.” Then in most cases The Lord salutes each Church with a Commendation and then a Condemnation. But, in the cases of the Churches in Smyrna and Philadelphia He gave no condemnation. The reasons for this are simple, Smyrna was a martyr Church and Philadelphia was a missionary Church that was effectively getting out His Word. But it is also very noteworthy to notice that the Church in Laodicea received no commendation. This is because it was an apostate Church, a Church that had fallen away from the teachings of God in which it had been founded upon. Each of the 7 letters to the 7 Churches ends with the following warning, “he that has an ear let him hear what The Spirit says.” If you were wondering why these particular 7 Churches were chosen out of the hundreds that existed at that time, their location is something to consider. This area is where modern day Turkey and Greece are located. This area had a lot of importance within the Roman Empire as it is and was where the East meets the West, this is so in the case of trade, cultures and religion.
In chapter #2 you will find The Lords words to the first 4 Churches. In verses (1-7) to Ephesus. In verses (8-11) to Smyrna. In verses (12-17) to Pergamos. Then finally in verses (18-29) to the Church in Thyatira. The letters to the other three Churches you will find in chapter #3, these Churches are Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. Now, if you would please consider the words The Lord had to say to these first four Churches. “Unto the Angel of the Church of Ephesus write these things which The Lord Himself has to say to them.” “I know your works and your labor and your patience. How you can not tolerate them which are evil. And how you have tried them which say they are Apostles and are not, and you have found them to be liars. Also how you have borne burdens and have been persistent and for My Names sake have labored and have not become weak. Never the less I have something against you, because you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you are fallen and repent and practice your first works, or else I will come unto you quickly and will remove your Candlestick our of it’s place, unless you repent.” “But there is one thing that you hate. That is the deeds of make believe Christians, which I also hate. He that has an ear let him hear what The Spirit is saying unto the Churches. To him that overcomes this world I will give to eat of the Tree of Life which is in the midst of the presence of God.” You see my friends, there is such a thing as falling away from The Truth of God and there is no such thing as once saved always saved.
Now the message from Jesus to the Church at Smyrna. ” To the Angel of the Church in Smyrna write; these things The Lord has to say to you, He which is the first and the last, which was dead and is alive.” “I know your works and your tribulation (times of great affliction) and your poverty (but you are rich). I know the blasphemy of those which say they are Jews and are not, but are of the Synagogue of Satan, fear none of those things which you shall suffer. Behold, the Devil will cast some of you into prison that you may be tested and you shall have tribulation. But if you are faithful unto death I will give you a Crown of Life. He that has an ear to hear, let him hear what The Spirit says unto the Churches. He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the Second Death.” (Second death means the permanent separation from God). Again my friends, The Lord says very plainly that we must remain faithful until our death. These Churches that do not teach this are not teaching God’s Word.
Now lets read the letter to the Church at Pergamos. “To the Angel of the Church in Pergamos write these things say’s He which has the sharp sword with two edges. I know your works and where you live. I even know where Satan’s Seat is. I know that you fold fast to My Name. And that you have not abandoned My Faith. Even in those days when Antipas was My faithful martyr who was slain among you where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you because among you there are those that hold to the doctrine of Balaam who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel. To eat things which had been sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication. You also have among you those that follow the teachings of make believe Christians which is something I hate. Repent, or else I will come unto you quickly and will fight against you with the sword of My mouth. He that has an ear let him hear what The Spirit has to say to the Churches. To him that overcomes this world I will give them to eat of the hidden manna and will give them a White Stone. And in the Stone a new name written which no man will recognize except for he that receives it.” My friends, the same thing again and again, we must remain faithful through the time of our own death. Also, that it does matter very much what the Churches are teaching to their flock. Also, it is the duty of the Body of the Church to know what the Truth is by studying God’s Word daily. It is the duty of the Body of the Church to always insist that the Church Leadership is teaching God’s Word.
Now for the last of the 4 Churches of chapter #2, Thyatira. “Unto the Angel of the Church in Thyatira write, these things saith the Son of God who has His Eyes like unto a flame of fire and His Feet are like fine brass. I know your works and charity and service and faith and your patience. But I still have a few things against you because you allow that woman Jezebel which calls herself a Prophetess to teach and to mislead My Servants to commit fornication and to eat things that have been sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent of her fornication but she did not repent. Behold I will cast her into a bed and those that promote pagan religious ideas with her into great troubles, unless they repent of these deeds. I will kill her offspring with death and all the Churches shall realize that I am He which Judges the wills and the hearts. And I will give unto everyone of you according to your works. But to you I say and unto the rest in Thyatira and for those who do not practice pagan doctrine and have not experienced the depths of Satan as they speak; I will put upon you no other burden. But the faith and the doctrine which you already have, hold firmly until I come. He that overcomes and maintains My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations. He that has an ear let him hear what The Spirit saith unto the Churches.” Friends, as you can easily see The Lord Jesus does have many things to say to the Churches then and to the Churches now, just as He has a lot to say to the individual person then and to you and I today.