- Revelation 2:1-7
- The Church at Ephesus
- (Rev 2:1 KJV)
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;
Now John begins to write the letters to the seven churches. All the
information written to the seven churches can be applied to every church
congregation which will come on the scene until the last day. While
Christ focused His attention on these seven churches, it must be noted
that all the churches must heed the admonition given in these verses. We
read that Christ holds the seven stars in his right hand.
(Isa 41:10 KJV) Fear thou not; for I am
with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee;
yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my
righteousness. The right hand is always
associated with the power of God and it is Christ who upholds those who
are placed into church leadership, primarily the Pastor, since it is
they that bring the message to the congregations. When the Pastor is a
student of the Bible, his messages will be biblically correct but if he
begins to combine worldly beliefs with the word of God, then the message
becomes adulterated and there is danger of being removed from the true
churches of Christ unless they repent. The word “walketh” in the Greek
is in the present tense and active voice. This means that Christ is in
the midst of the churches till the end of time. The active voice means
that the subject is doing the action of the verb. The subject being
Christ who is walking among His churches. Notice that He does not
dispatch an angel to do the work but He Himself, since he paid the
eternal price for the Elect within those congregations, is intimately
involved with every congregation and this is why we see so much detail
in the seven letters resulting in encouragements and warnings.
(Rev 2:2 KJV)
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:
Here the Lord is stating that He knows the works of this church. The
words “I know” in the Greek carries with it the meaning of “understand
or know fully.” The Lord Jesus is fully cognizant of the conditions
which prevail in every church. He also knows the labor which this church
has done. The word “labour” carries with it the meaning of “toil,
weariness, or trouble.” So the Lord is fully aware of all the troubles
and toils this church has gone through. He is also aware of their
patience which carries with it the meaning of “endurance.” He also knows
how this church cannot bear those that are evil. We are told that the
evil they are experiencing are those who claim to be apostles and are
false. These apostles were nothing but liars. Christ had commended this
church for realizing that these false apostles were nothing but liars.
Jude speaks much of the false teachers who come into an assembly to try
and seduce the people with their false teachings. It is interesting that
this church did not just accept these people but tried them to see if
they were real apostles. The modern church can learn from this
especially when someone comes into the church and claims to be a prophet
or apostle. They need to be tried as in a court of law.
(Rev 2:3 KJV)
And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured,
and hast not fainted.
The commendation continues with the Lord knowing that they have borne or
sustained during this time and did endure the false teachings which
would have destroyed the church. The Lord commend them for laboring in
His name during this time. (Heb 6:10 KJV) For God is not unrighteous to
forget your work and labour of love, which ye have showed toward his
name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. He
commends them that even during the time when false teachers were
attempting to divide the church that they did not faint. The word
“faint” carries with it the meaning of “becoming weary or fatigued.” The
church at Ephesus had continued to remain strong even though there were
false teachers among them. They had kept their testimony and the true
teachings which sustained them during these satanic attacks.
(Rev 2:4 KJV)
Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy
Even though the Ephesian church had such great zeal for the work of the
Lord, they had fallen prey to giving themselves to the work of the Lord
without giving themselves to the Lord. This is a common occurrence with
many Christians. They will have time for the Lord’s work but never have
time for the Lord. They may neglect their prayer time or devotional time
because they are too busy in the work. The word “left” in the Greek
carries with it the meaning of “willful abandonment or neglecting for a
long time.” How many Christians in their personal lives fail because
they work voraciously for the Lord? Many times the victims includes
others like their families. There have been many in the ministry who
have neglected their families for the work of the ministry. Our first
love must be the Lord Jesus Christ and the work must become second to
(Rev 2:5 KJV)
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.
Christ now commands them to remember the past when there was love in the
church and when people were more apt to be concerned about each other.
The word “remember” is in the imperative mood which makes it a command.
The words “thou art fallen” carry with it the meaning of “fall off or
from, drop away.” He is telling them to remember those early days of the
church and also of their own conversion. It is a shame that when
Christians first become saved, they have great love and zeal for the
Lord but after a while, they begin to lose that initial love and then
fall into a routine which may lead them away from the Lord while being
in the work of the Lord. The Lord now tells them to repent which is also
a command. That word “repent” means “a change of mind.” The first works
they are to do would have been the works of love when they were first
saved and working for the Lord was motivated by loving the Lord. Notice
that if they do not repent, then the Lord stated that He would come
quickly and remove their candlestick. The word “quickly” carries with it
the meaning of “speed or shortness.” So the Lord does not expect His
commands to be voted on as the modern church does, His commands are to
be obeyed posthaste. He commands this church to return to their
Christian roots immediately or else they will be removed from the living
churches of Christ and then the false teachers will take over
(Rev 2:6 KJV)
But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes,
which I also hate.
The Lord now commends them again that they hate the deeds (works) of the
Nicolaitanes, which He also hates. The word “hate” means to “detest or
abhor.” The word “Nicolaitanes” is a compound of two Greek words “nikos
and laos” which together means “conqueror of the people.” Now this name
is very similar to the Hebrew meaning of “Balaam” which means “lord of
the people.” If you remember that Balaam had tried to curse the
Israelites for Balak, king of Moab, but could not. Balaam was an
apostate false prophet. Ephesus was the headquarters of the cult of
Diana, also called Artemis. Now the Nicolaitanes may have attempted to
bring the pagan teachings and works of Diana into the church and the
true Christians knew that it was false and abhorred that teaching.
Although not much is known about the Nicolaitanes, yet, if the Lord and
true Christians hated their deeds or works, then it is probably
associated with idolatry which the Lord has hated since the time of
Babylon. The cult of Diana pervaded the city of Ephesus and no doubt
tried to destroy the Ephesian church with its teachings.
(Rev 2:7 KJV)
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.
Here the Lord states that only those who have spiritual ears will be
able to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Those who are
unsaved will be unable to understand the spiritual commands of the Lord.
If you notice that the Spirit is not just speaking unto the church at
Ephesus, but He is speaking to churches, which means that this letter
with its warnings are not just directed at Ephesus but at all the
churches. This letter is a warning to all the churches that they are to
beware of false teachings and false prophets who would desire to destroy
the church. (Acts 20:29 KJV) For I
know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among
you, not sparing the flock. Paul knew that
after his home going that false prophets would descend upon the church.
Ephesus was one of the churches founded by Paul and he projected
correctly as within 30 years the Ephesus church was attacked by false
Then we are told that those who overcome will be allowed to eat of the
tree of life. The only ones who overcome are those who overcome in
Christ. (Rev 22:14 KJV) Blessed are
they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of
life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
Eating of the tree of life means to be partakers of eternal life with
the Lord Jesus Christ who is the tree of life. This tree of life is in
the paradise of God also known as Heaven.
(Luke 23:43 KJV) And Jesus said unto
him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
(2 Cor 12:4 KJV) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard
unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
Both Paul and the thief on the cross had experience with paradise. Paul
was caught up into paradise, the third Heaven and the thief on the cross
went to paradise upon his physical death. The Paradise of God is an
eternal return to that relationship God had with people before sin had
entered the world.