A Study of Revelation

Rev. 2: 1-7
2:1* ¶ “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:
2* ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false;
3* and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary.
4* ‘But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
5* ‘Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place–unless you repent.
6* ‘Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7* ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’

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This is most likely the same church that received the book of Ephesians. Ephesus was an important city in the Roman providence of Asia. It had an excellent harbor which helped it become a great commercial city and export center.

 

Ephesus was also a city of religious importance under Roman rule. It became a center of the emperor cult and eventually possessed three official temples, one of these known world wide as the “Diana of Ephesians.”

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John is told to write to the “angel” of the church of Ephesus. Revelation is a book of symbols, the term “angel” in the book of Revelation when used in reference to a church is NOT to be understood as a literal angel, it is to be understood as representing certain characteristics and responsibilities of the church of Christ. The angels represent those who Christ holds in His right hand.

Since Christ holds all Christians in his right hand the term “angel” represents all faithful Christians who are God’s “messengers” on earth. The Bible often uses heaven and heavenly things symbolically in the New Testament. For example

Eph 2:4-7
4* ¶ But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5* even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
6* and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
7* so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

The “heavenly places” is a reference to the church in the New Testament.Revelation 12:12 uses this same image to talk about the spiritual dwelling place of Christians on earth.

Consistently through the book of Revelation, then, the Angel represents all the Christians of a congregation. Just as angels are literally dwelling in heaven with God today, we are figuratively dwelling in God’s heavenly place, the church, here on earth.

Rev. 2:2-3
2* ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false;
3* and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary.

The church at Ephesus was doing many good things and laboring long and hard for the Lord. This is commendable, we must, as the Lord’s Church be involved in doing the things of God, but this also points out that those things must be done for the right reasons


Rev. 2:4

4* ‘But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

Jesus condemned this congregation for this reason: They had left their first love.

Matt 22:37
37* And He said to him, “’YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’

Though they were performing works which the Lord had commanded, they were being done without love. Like a slave who does what his master commands him to do, the church at Ephesus was doing the work of the Lord, but they were not doing it out of love.

Revelation 2:5
5* ‘Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place–unless you repent.

They were commanded to “do the deeds you did at first.”

Our first duty as a Christian is to Love God. If we do this first all our other duties will fall into place.

They were commanded to repent even though they were doing good works. We can never work our way to heaven on our own accord. We must do good works for the right reason, because we Love the Lord. If they did not begin to do the first works, Jesus said he would remove their candlestick.

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Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

Since the candlestick is the symbol for the true church, removing the lampstand means that this congregation would no longer be considered the true church of our Lord. It would be no better off in God’s sight than those who practice error. The candlestick, the true church, was and is the spiritual light unto the world, and if it were removed, it would no longer give that light.

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