.Back to The Revelation Chapter One ........... Back to Home Page ............ Back to Site "Contents"


Notes for

Revelation Chapter Two

Part One

1. There is a pattern to these messages.

* Jesus introduces Himself in a special way.

* He praises the people.

* He mentions their fault.

* He gives a reward/promise.

Back to The Revelation Chapter Two

2. The historical perspective of these verses shows us the conditions in the professed Christian church from c. 31-100AD. (Dates are only approximations.) Ephesus was John’s home town.

Acts 19:1-20 It was also the home of many magicians turned Christian

And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: ...

And many that believed came, and confessed, and showed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.

Back to The Revelation Chapter Two

3. John 14:15-27

If you love Me, keep My commandments, and I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees Him not, neither knows Him: but you know Him; for He dwells with you, and shall be in you.

I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you....

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

John 16:13 It is the Spirit who runs the day-to-day operations on earth

Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.

Jesus addresses the leader of the church and says, "I have everything under control through My Spirit, trust Me."

Back to The Revelation Chapter Two

4. Acts 17:10 Faith comes by hearing the word of God

And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night to Berea: who coming there went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.

Jesus says of them that they have worked well, and were careful who they trusted. Like the Bereans, they checked the messengers and found many false ones.

Matthew 24:11-14 Jesus had told them before

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come.

1 John 4:1-3 John had reminded them also

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know you the Spirit of God: every spirit [messenger] that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

This church represents the majority of the professed Christians in the world during the years from 31AD to about 100AD.

In the days of the apostles the Christian believers were filled with earnestness and enthusiasm. So untiringly did they labour for their Master that in a comparatively short time, notwithstanding fierce opposition, the gospel of the kingdom was sounded to all the inhabited parts of the earth. (Acts 17:6). The zeal manifested at this time by the followers of Jesus has been recorded by the pen of inspiration for the encouragement of believers in every age.

At the first the experience of the church at Ephesus (as was the majority of Christians everywhere) was marked with childlike simplicity and fervour. The believers sought earnestly to obey every word of God, and their lives revealed an earnest, sincere love for Christ. They rejoiced to do the will of God because the Saviour was in their hearts as an abiding presence. Filled with love for their Redeemer, their highest aim was to win souls to Him. They did not think of hoarding the precious treasure of the grace of Christ. They felt the importance of their calling; and, weighted with the message, "On earth peace, good will toward men," they burned with desire to carry the glad tidings of salvation to earth's remotest bounds.

And the world took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus. Sinful men, repentant, pardoned, cleansed, and sanctified, were brought into partnership with God through His Son.

The members of the church were united in sentiment and action. Love for Christ was the golden chain that bound them together. They followed on to know the Lord more and still more perfectly, and in their lives were revealed the joy and peace of Christ. They visited the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and kept themselves unspotted from the world, realising that a failure to do this would be a contradiction of their profession and a denial of their Redeemer.

In every city the work was carried forward. Souls were converted, who in their turn felt that they must tell of the inestimable treasure they had received. They could not rest till the light which had illumined their minds was shining upon others. Multitudes of unbelievers were made acquainted with the reasons of the Christian's hope. Warm, inspired personal appeals were made to the erring, to the outcast, and to those who, while professing to know the truth, were lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.

Back to The Revelation Chapter Two

5. Acts 9:36-42 God’s character is shown by His disciples

Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. And because as Lydda was near to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent to him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them.

Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and showing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.

And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.

The "first love" (the honeymoon love) was for the spiritual education of their relations and friends. Then it expanded to those around them in the form of good works. God took delight in the fact that His church reflected the light of heaven by revealing the spirit of Christ in tenderness and compassion. The love that dwelt in the heart of Christ; the love that caused Him to give Himself a sacrifice for humanity, and to suffer with forbearance the reproach of men, even to the extent of being called a devil; the love that prompted Him to perform mighty works of healing during His ministry – this was the love that needed to be revealed in His disciples.

But they neglected to cherish [guard carefully] Christ’s compassion and tenderness and lost it! But they did not sense their spiritual fall. They did not know that a change had taken place in their hearts, and that they needed to repent. They were too tied up in rituals and doctrine and accusations. Self, as manifested in hereditary traits of character, spoiled the principles of the grand, good works that identified the members of Ephesus church as Christians. The Lord Jesus must show them that they had lost that which was everything to them. And as they lost their first love they increased in a knowledge of scientific theories originated by the father of lies but these could not help them

Back to The Revelation Chapter Two

6. John 6:53-54 How to get back to the first love

Then Jesus said to them, Verily, verily, I say to you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoso eats My flesh, and drinks My blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

Are you a follower of Christ? Then all that is written concerning the spiritual life is written for you, and may be attained through uniting yourself to Jesus. Is your zeal languishing? Has your first love grown cold? Accept again of the proffered love of Christ. Eat of His flesh, drink of His blood, and you will become one with the Father and with the Son.

The unbelieving Jews refused to see any except the most literal meaning in the Saviour's words. By the ritual law they were forbidden to taste blood, and they now construed Christ's language into a sacrilegious speech, and disputed over it among themselves. Many even of the disciples said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?

The Saviour answered them:

John 6:61-63

Does this offend you? What and if you shall see the Son of man ascend up where He was before? It is the spirit that quickens; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life.

The life of Christ that gives life to the world is in His word. It was by His word that Jesus healed disease and cast out demons; by His word He stilled the sea, and raised the dead; and the people bore witness that His word was with power. He spoke the word of God, as He had spoken through all the prophets and teachers of the Old Testament. The whole Bible is a manifestation of Christ, and the Saviour desired to fix the faith of His followers on the word. When His visible presence should be withdrawn, the word must be their source of power. Like their Master, they were to live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4.

As our physical life is sustained by food, so our spiritual life is sustained by the word of God. And every soul is to receive life from God's word for himself. As we must eat for ourselves in order to receive nourishment, so we must receive the word for ourselves. We are not to obtain it merely through the medium of another's mind. We should carefully study the Bible, asking God for the aid of the Holy Spirit, that we may understand His word. We should take one verse, and concentrate the mind on the task of ascertaining the thought which God has put in that verse for us. We should dwell upon the thought until it becomes our own, and we know what says the Lord.

In His promises and warnings, Jesus means me. God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that I by believing in Him, might not perish, but have everlasting life. The experiences related in God's word are to be my experiences. Prayer and promise, precept and warning, are mine. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me , and gave Himself for me. See Galatians 2:20.

As faith thus receives and assimilates the principles of truth, they become a part of the being and the motive power of the life. The word of God, received into the soul, moulds the thoughts, and enters into the development of character.

By looking constantly to Jesus with the eye of faith, we shall be strengthened. God will make the most precious revelations to His hungering, thirsting people.

You will find that Christ is a personal Saviour. As you feed upon His word, you find that it is spirit and life. The word destroys your natural, earthly nature, and imparts a new life in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit comes to your soul as a Comforter. By the transforming agency of His grace, the image of God is reproduced in you; you become a new creature. Love takes the place of hatred, and the heart receives the divine similitude. This is what it means to live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. This is eating the Bread that comes down from heaven.

Christ had spoken a sacred, eternal truth regarding the relation between Himself and His followers. He knew the character of those who claimed to be His disciples, and His words tested their faith. He declared that they were to believe and act upon His teaching. All who received Him would partake of His nature, and be conformed to His character. This involved the relinquishment of their cherished ambitions. It required the complete surrender of themselves to Jesus. They were called to become self-sacrificing, meek and lowly in heart. They must walk in the narrow path travelled by the Man of Calvary, if they would share in the gift of life and the glory of heaven.

Back to The Revelation Chapter Two

7. 3 John 1:9-11 One man had control over the church at Ephesus

I wrote to the church: but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, receives us not. Which is why, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he does, prating [or chattering] against us with malicious words: and not content with that, neither does he himself receive the brethren, and forbids them that would, and casts them out of the church [disfellowships them]. Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that does good is of God: but he that does evil has not seen God.

If the "light" is neglected, it passes on to the church of another time, Jesus warned.

But after a time the zeal of the believers began to wane, and their love for God and for one another grew less. Coldness crept into the church. Some forgot the wonderful manner in which they had received the truth. One by one the old standard-bearers fell at their post. Some of the younger workers, who might have shared the burdens of these pioneers, and thus have been prepared for wise leadership, had become weary of oft-repeated truths. In their desire for something novel and startling they attempted to introduce new phases of doctrine, more pleasing to many minds, but not in harmony with the fundamental principles of the gospel. In their self-confidence and spiritual blindness they failed to discern that these sophistries would cause many to question the experiences of the past, and would thus lead to confusion and unbelief.

As these false doctrines were urged, differences sprang up, and the eyes of many were turned from beholding Jesus as the Author and Finisher of their faith. The discussion of unimportant points of doctrine, and the contemplation of pleasing fables of man's invention, occupied time that should have been spent in proclaiming the gospel. The masses that might have been convicted and converted by a faithful presentation of the truth were left unwarned. Piety was rapidly waning, and Satan seemed about to gain the ascendancy over those who claimed to be followers of Christ.

It was at this critical time in the history of the church that John was sentenced to banishment. Never had his voice been needed by the church as now. Nearly all his former associates in the ministry had suffered martyrdom. The remnant of believers was facing fierce opposition. To all outward appearance the day was not far distant when the enemies of the church of Christ would triumph.

But the Lord's hand was moving unseen in the darkness and they needed to trust that He had it all under control. In the providence of God, working in a manner far removed from what any single Christian could have thought of, John was placed where Christ could give him a wonderful revelation of Himself and of divine truth for the enlightenment of the churches!

Back to The Revelation Chapter Two

8. Matthew 23:8-12 All are equal in God’s church

But be not you called Rabbi [or great one]: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all you are brothers and sisters. And call no man your father [in religious terms] upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be you called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

"Nico" = rulers .............. "Laos" = laity or members

The "deeds" of the Nicolaitanes

"Nicolaitanes" are people (both leaders and congregation) who believe in churches being controlled (for their own good, of course) by their prominent men. But Jesus had said, "All you are brothers", and we must each answer to our God for ourselves. We may help one another as "ministers" but not as "bosses" or as sole connectors to God.

Jesus was once asked to give an opinion on a worldly matter and replied as below:-

Luke 12:13-14

And one of the company said to Him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And He said to him, Man, who made Me a judge or a divider over you?

For a greater depth of understanding of this point, read this.

[Return to The Revelation Chapter Two]

[Return to Notes for The Revelation chapter 12]


The "doctrine" of the Nicolaitanes

The doctrine is now largely taught that the gospel of Christ has made the law of God of none effect; that by "believing" we are released from the necessity of being doers of the word. This is the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which Christ so unsparingly condemned.

Those who are teaching this doctrine today often have much to say in regard to faith and the righteousness of Christ; but they pervert the truth, and make it serve the cause of error. They declare that we have only to believe on Jesus Christ, and that faith is all-sufficient: that the righteousness of Christ is to be the sinner's credentials; that this imputed righteousness fulfills the law for us, and that we are under no obligation to obey the law of God.

This class claim that Christ came to save sinners, and that He has saved them. "I am saved," they will repeat over and over again. But are they saved while transgressing the law of God? - No; for the garments of Christ's righteousness are not a cloak for iniquity. Such teaching is a gross deception, and Christ becomes to these persons a stumbling block as He did to the Jews, - to the Jews, because they would not receive Him as their personal Saviour - to these professed believers in Christ, because they separate Christ and the law, and regard faith as a substitute for obedience. They separate the Father and the Son, the Saviour of the world. Virtually they teach, both by precept and example, that Christ, by His death, saves men in their transgressions.

But the word says the opposite.

Matthew 1:.21 There is a difference!

And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people FROM their sins.

[Return to The Revelation Chapter Two]

Romans 14:4

Who are you that judge another man's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Yes, he [the Christian] shall be held up: for God is able to make him stand.

Back to The Revelation Chapter Two

9. John 8:31-32

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If you continue in My word, then are you My disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

If you hear only the word of God, your ears will be closed to the folly and nonsense which surround you, and you will know the truth.

Back to The Revelation Chapter Two

10. Revelation 22:1-2 The tree is in heaven now but will be on earth

And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Back to The Revelation Chapter Two

11. Jesus knows what it is like to die for His faith.

Back to The Revelation Chapter Two

12. James 2:5

Hearken, my beloved brethren, Has not God chosen the poor of this world [yet] rich in faith, and [or as] heirs of the kingdom which He has promised to them that love Him?

Psalm 119:126 This time is right now

It is time for You, LORD, to work: for they have made void Your law.

Christ speaks of the church over which Satan presides as the synagogue of Satan. Its members are the children of disobedience yet claim to be Christians. They are those who choose to sin, who labour to make void the holy law of God. It is Satan's work to mingle evil with good, and to remove the distinction between good and evil. This helps to explain the multitude of churches all of which claim to believe the one Bible!

Matthew 13:25 Satan plants false ideas as well as people

But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

Matthew 24:24 The falsehoods will appear very true!

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Christ would have a church that labours to separate the evil from the good, whose members will not willingly tolerate wrong-doing (in themselves), but will expel it from the heart and life.

Romans 8:21-22

Because the creature [creation] itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now.

In another translation:

And the hope is that in the end the whole of created life will be rescued from the tyranny of change and decay, and have its share in that magnificent liberty which can only belong to the children of God! It is plain to anyone with eyes to see that at the present time all created life groans in a sort of universal travail. The New Testament in Modern English, J. B. Phillips 1960.

Today, as in the past, all heaven is watching to see the true church develop in the true science of salvation so that this "magnificent liberty" may come into being.

Back to The Revelation Chapter Two

13. They have no faults revealed, therefore are not condemned.

The "ten days" = the 10 years of persecution from 303 to 313AD by the emperors Diocletian and Galerius. The Christians were asked to be faithful to death because that was the way they had chosen to follow Jesus. For the first two centuries of the gospel dispensation it was considered the highest honour and privilege to die as martyr. They got this impression from words like those of the apostle Paul.

Acts 21:12-14 Willing and anxious to die

And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, What mean you to weep and to break my heart? For I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.

Paul had been warned on numerous occasions before this that he should not go to Jerusalem but he was determined to do so and therefore he sealed his own fate. It was not as Luke implies, "the will of the Lord." To those who do not fully understand that God is the God of life and Satan the god of death, such an end can seem good.

Hebrews 2:14-15 Jesus died to save us from death

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Luke 22:41-44 Jesus was anxious not to die

And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, saying, Father, if You be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done. And there appeared an angel to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

For more on the subject of death, see "The Gospel of the Resurrection."

Back to The Revelation Chapter Two

14. Revelation 20:6 There is a second death to consider

Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

They will receive the crown of life and overcome the second death. This death, unlike the first one, can have no resurrection. Therefore it is a permanent separation from the God of life. It has no power on the saints because they love Jesus and refuse to be separated from Him.

Back to The Revelation Chapter Two

15. Hebrews 4:12 Jesus introduces Himself as the Word of God

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Ephesians 6:17

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God...

Back to The Revelation Chapter Two

16. Daniel 5:1-5 The original centre of Satanic worship

Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. Belshazzar, while he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.

They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.

Babylon (Babel) on the Euphrates river had been the main site of Satan’s church (synagogue) since the building of the tower, but now Jesus tells us that Pergamos was his centre. Satan had a large medical work there, as well as the priesthood and associated rituals of sun worship which he had caused to be moved from Babylon at the time of its fall. As we have seen, Pergamos had become part of the Roman empire some time before this (133BC), but after this communication from Jesus the Babylonian "mysteries" were eventually transferred to Rome and since then, Satan's "seat" has been there.

For very great detail on this move from Babylon to Rome read "The Two Babylons", (300+ pages) by Alexander Hislop, available from most good Bible bookshops.

Back to The Revelation Chapter Two

Back to Home Page ............ Back to Site "Contents"