Reading through Revelation, Chapter 2:1-7



Revelation 2:1-7

1599 Geneva Bible

The Revelation of Saint John the Apostle

1 John is commanded to write those things which the Lord knew necessary to the Churches of Ephesus.

Unto the Angel of the Church of Ephesus write, These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, and walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.

I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear with them which are evil, and hast examined them which say they are Apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars.

And thou wast burdened, and hast patience, and for my Name’s sake hast labored, and hast not fainted.

Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works: or else I will come against thee shortly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou amend.

But this thou hast that thou hatest the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Let him that hath an ear 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.


my two cents 

What does it mean to “have left thy first love”? This has puzzled and convicted me. To ‘have left’ is an action that was taken. Is it to abandon our initial all-consuming love for the Lord, His Word, and fellowship with other Christians? These go together, brethren. Please correct me, if correction is needed! 


Most Christians probably wonder who the Nicolaitans were, so to better understand them, I’ve included two helps: one from Matthew Henry’s Commentary at Biblegateway.com, and the other from Bible Study Tools: 

The Nicolaitans were a loose sect who sheltered themselves under the name of Christianity. They held hateful doctrines, and they were guilty of hateful deeds, hateful to Christ and to all true Christians; and it is mentioned to the praise of the church of Ephesus that they had a just zeal and abhorrence of those wicked doctrines and practices. An indifference of spirit between truth and error, good and evil, may be called charity and meekness, but it is not pleasing to Christ. Our Saviour subjoins [appends] this kind commendation to his severe threatening, to make the advice more effectual.

Smith’s Bible Dictionary at Bible Study Tools:

Nicolaitans (followers of Nicolas), a sect mentioned in (Revelation 2:6; Revelation 2:15) whose deeds were strongly condemned. They may have been identical with those who held the doctrine of Balaam. They seem to have held that it was lawful to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication, in opposition to the decree of the Church rendered in (Acts 15:20; Acts 15:29). The teachers of the Church branded them with a name which expressed their true character. The men who did and taught such things were followers of Balaam. (2 Peter 2:15; Jude 1:11) They, like the false prophet of Pethor, united brave words with evil deeds. In a time of persecution, when the eating or not eating of things sacrificed to idols was more than ever a crucial test of faithfulness, they persuaded men more than ever that was a thing indifferent. (Revelation 2:13; Revelation 2:14) This was bad enough, but there was a yet worse evil. Mingling themselves in the orgies of idolatrous feasts, they brought the impurities of those feasts into the meetings of the Christian Church. And all this was done, it must be remembered not simply as an indulgence of appetite: but as a part of a system, supported by a “doctrine,” accompanied by the boast of a prophetic illumination, (2 Peter 2:1) It confirms the view which has been taken of their character to find that stress is laid in the first instance on the “deeds” of the Nicolaitans. To hate those deeds is a sign of life in a Church that otherwise is weak and faithless. (Revelation 2:6) To tolerate them is well nigh to forfeit the glory of having been faithful under persecution. (Revelation 2:14; Revelation 2:15)

EPHESUS (Ephesos, “desirable”) was one of the two most important cities of Asia Minor, Smyrna being the other.

Street scene at the archeological exacavations at Ephesus. Ephesus (Ancient Greek Ἔφεσος, Turkish Efes) was an ancient Greek city on the west coast of Anatolia, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey.Street scene at the archeological excavations at Ephesus.


Reading through Revelation, 2

 



Revelation 1

1599 Geneva Bible

The Revelation of Saint John the Apostle

1 12 Then the mystery of the seven Candlesticks and stars, 20 is expounded.

I John even your brother and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the Isle called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the witnessing of Jesus Christ.

10 And I was ravished in spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as it had been of a trumpet,

11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, that first and that last: and that which thou seest write in a book, and send it unto the seven Churches which are in Asia, unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

12 Then I turned back to see the voice that spake with me: and when I was turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks,

13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks, one like unto the son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and girded about the paps with a golden girdle.

14 His head and hairs were white as white wool, and as snow, and his eyes were as a flame of fire,

15 And his feet like unto fine brass burning as in a furnace: and his voice as the sound of many waters.

16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two edged sword, and his face shone as the sun shineth in his strength.

17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead: then he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not: I am that first and that last,

18 And am alive, but I was dead: and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen: and I have the keys of hell and of death.

19 Write these things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall come hereafter.

20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks, is this, The seven stars are the Angels of the seven Churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest, are the seven Churches.

Chiliomodi island in Patmos, Greece, photo by Waldviertler


 

Reading through Revelation


Revelation 1

1599 Geneva Bible

The Revelation of Saint John the Apostle

2 He declareth what kind of doctrine is here handled, 8 even his that is the beginning and ending.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly be done: which he sent, and showed by his Angel unto his servant John,

Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

John to the seven Churches which are in Asia, Grace be with you, and peace from him, Which is, and Which was, and Which is to come, and from the seven Spirits which are before his Throne,

And from Jesus Christ which is that  faithful witness, and that first begotten of the dead, and that Prince of the Kings of the earth, unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his blood,

And made us Kings and Priests unto God even his Father, to him, I say, be glory, and dominion for evermore, Amen.

Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him: yea, even they which pierced him through: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail before him, Even so, Amen.

8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, Which is, and Which was, and Which is to come, even the Almighty.


Geneva BIBLE

Photo: Hi540, Wikipedia


 

For Catholic readers and subscribers: the finished work of the Lord

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The Gospel of John, chapter 19

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Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, and said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands.

Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.

When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; and went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? 11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

12 And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Cæsar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Cæsar.

13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! 15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Cæsar. 16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified.

And they took Jesus, and led him away. 17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: 18 where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.

19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20 This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. 21 Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. 22 Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.24 They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.

25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. 29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: 34 but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. 35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. 36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. 37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.

38 And after this Joseph of Arimathæa, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. 39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. 40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. 42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

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Believe!

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Repent and trust in Jesus! I’m not saying to trust in some pretty picture of how an artist thought He looked, or a movie about Him that makes a lot of mistakes, but in Jesus Himself, as He is, as He is revealed in the Bible!

The Bible gets a lot of bad press. It’s an easy thing to mock, to talk about “Bible thumpers” and other things like that. But truly, He came to die for us, to reconcile us to His Father. We needed Him to do this for us, for we all have sinned, deserve to die, and have no way to make it right with God – no way to repay Him.

But Jesus accomplished what He came to do, and one day He will return. If you mock the idea of His return, because it is so long since He walked the earth, and because foolish or wicked people keep prophesying falsely about this, you need to remember what He said about it, and believe it:  

Matthew 24:44

44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

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Here is what the Old Testament – The Jewish Tanakh – says about His death on our behalf:

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Isaiah 53

King James Version 

53 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?

For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

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Here is what the Christian New Testament says about it:

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1 Corinthians 15

King James Version

15 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

(written by the apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit)

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Believe!

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