Revelation 2

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Holy Spirit would say to the Church, and let him beware lest by turning a deaf ear to the voice of the Spirit he lose his faculty of spiritual hearing and thus grow cold toward Christ, be without victory in tribulations or find himself an apostate carried away by every wind of doctrine. Those are bound to be overcomers under every test whose faith keeps them in vital touch with Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church (1 John 4:4).

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.

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.

6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 Nicolaitans, 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.

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.

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.

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.

Revelation 2:1-7 – ​Renew Thy First Love

   Each of these letters consists of three parts: 1. The introduction, specifying some characteristic from the vision of the preceding chapter, which is appropriate to the need of the church addressed. 2. A description of the condition of the church. 3. A promise to the overcomer, following the successive revelations of God in the Old Testament, which begin with the tree of life and include the manna, the conquest of Canaan, the glory of the Temple, and the reign of Solomon.
   We may go far in outward activity for the cause of the Redeemer and yet be threatened with the removal of our candlestick. Full of labor, opposed to wicked men and false teachers, persistently orthodox, not fainting in the day of trial; and yet, if love be wanting, nothing can compensate. Is the complaint true of us, that we have lost our first love? The exuberance of its emotion may have passed with the years, but has it been replaced by a deep, all-constraining, and masterful devotion to our Lord? It is the Spirit’s prerogative to shed abroad His love in our hearts and to teach us to love Him. But none of us can acquire that love without perpetually feeding on the Tree of Life, which is the emblem of Himself, Genesis 2:9; Revelation 22:2, 14, 19. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Revelation 2:8-11 – ​“Be Thou Faithful unto Death”

   This epistle has a new pathos and significance if we connect it with “the blessed Polycarp,” who almost certainly was the angel or chief minister of the church in Smyrna. He was the disciple of John. Irenaeus who lived a generation later, tells how, in early boyhood, he had heard from the lips of Polycarp what John had told him of our Lord’s person, converse, and earthly ministry.
   How sweet the comfort of this epistle must have been to him in the closing scene of his life, when, at eighty-six, he was sentenced to be burned! Notice how every line of it had a message for him, as for all who are called to follow in his steps. The Savior reminded him that beyond the suffering of this brief life a crown awaited him, which would abundantly reward his fidelity.
   What music there is in those inspiring words! Even Peter’s crown of glory and Paul’s crown of righteousness seem to fade in comparison with this “crown of life.” The thought of it enabled Polycarp to say at the stake, “I give thee hearty thanks that thou hast brought me to this hour, that I may have my part in the cup of thy Christ, unto the resurrection of eternal life, through the operation of thy Holy Spirit.” —Through the Bible Day by Day

Revelation 2:10 – ​Above the voices of many waters, the mighty breakers of the sea, the Lord sits as king upon the flood; yea, the Lord sitteth as king forever. A storm is only as the outskirts of His robe, the symptom of His advent, the environment of His presence. His way lies through, as well as in the sea, His path amid mighty waters, and His footsteps are veiled from human reason. Dare to trust Him; dare to follow Him! Step right down into the ooze of the sea, to find it rock; go down into the mighty depths, to discover that the very forces which barred your progress and threatened your life, at His bidding become the materials of which an avenue is made to liberty. (F.B. Meyer)

​Revelation 2:10 – On one of those battlefields where Austria suffered disastrous defeat when the bloody fight was over, and the victors were removing the wounded, they came on a young Austrian stretched on the ground, whose life was pouring out in the red streams of a ghastly wound. To their astonishment he declined their kind services. Recommending others to be removed, he implored them, though he might still have been saved, to let him alone. On returning some time afterward, they found him dead—all his battles o’er. But the mystery was explained. They raised the body to give it burial, and there, below him, lay the colors of his regiment. He had sworn not to part with them, and though he clung to life, would not purchase recovery at the price of his oath, and the expense of a soldier’s honor. (Guthrie)

Revelation 2:12-17 – ​Beware of Evil Teachers

   Notice the Lord’s commendation of the church at Pergamos (from which we get our word parchment). He recognizes their peculiar dangers and their difficulties–where Satan’s seat is. It was an honorable thing to have held fast Christ’s name under such circumstances. To hold fast His name is to be loyal to Him in all circumstances. Not to deny His faith is to hold fast to the essential facts and doctrines of primitive Christianity, undeterred by the blandishments or threats of the world. 
   For the doctrine of Balaam, we must turn to Numbers, Numbers 22-24, and then especially to Numbers 25:1 and Numbers 31:16. Balaam had failed to curse, but though he had thereby forfeited his prestige and payment, he won them back by advising Balak to corrupt the morals of Israel and so break their union with Jehovah. The Nicolaitanes apparently promulgated similar tenets, and in their proud and wealthy city were prepared to admit orthodoxy of doctrine so long as it was combined with laxity of morals. But Christ cannot for a moment tolerate such a conjunction. His judgment sword must vindicate the purity of His Church. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Revelation 2:17—I will give him a white stone.

​   There is every reason to suppose that this white stone is a diamond, and that it stands for the Urim and Thummim stone, which the high priest wore in his breast-plate, and which he consulted for the oracles of God. It probably darkened with the Divine No, and grew lustrous with Yes.
   The believer may have direct knowledge of the will of God.—You may have your white stone. If only your heart is right with God, you may know his will for your path, not only by the pillared cloud of outward circumstances, but by the inner bearing of the heart. By a quick intuition you may know what God’s mind is, both when you kneel in prayer and when you are called on to act. Only the surface of the inner life must be unruffled and pure; there must be no anxious agitation, no blurring miasma of sin.
   Each revelation of God’s will carries with it a deeper knowledge of Himself.—On the Urim stone were engraven the mystic characters of the Divine name. On these no eye but Aaron’s might rest; so, deep in our heart, these revelations of God’s nature are given, which are direct and special for each loving and obedient soul. Eye hath not seen nor heart conceived what God says to his children about life and death, and Himself, and their relationship, and the glorious future.
   Such revelations are in proportion to our overcoming life.—If you are perpetually yielding to sin and impurity, and being trodden down by the heel of passion, such communications from the Infinite will be rare and indistinct. To him that overcometh, not once for all, but perpetually, shall be made the revelations of God. —Our Daily Homily

Revelation 2:18-29 – ​“Hold Fast Till I Come”

   Note that Jesus does not hesitate to appropriate the sublime title–the Son of God. His eyes penetrate profoundest secrets, and His advent leaves a trail of purity like fire behind Him. He recognizes the many good qualities of His church at Thyatira, but accuses her of having raised no protest against the woman Jezebel. She had actually permitted the promulgation of soul-destroying error, with most disastrous results.
   This Jezebel apparently taught that there were deep philosophies in the heathen system around them, and the result was that the professing servants of Christ were led into complicity with the outward corruption of heathendom. An evident attempt was being made to graft on to Christianity the mysteries of darkness, which were in direct antagonism to the purity of the teachings of Christ.
   Notice the contrast between her works and my works, Revelation 2:22, 26. The saints who are true to Christ shall be associated with Him in His Kingdom, but best of all they are made to possess the Morning Star, that is, they now stand with their Lord in the dawn of a new era. Already the day has dawned and the Day Star has arisen in their hearts, II Peter 1:19. —Through the Bible Day by Day