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 first love.

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 that.

(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 completely.

(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 teachers.

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.