Revelation 2, Sermon by Wilfred Starrenburg

The revelation of Jesus Christ to the 7 churches

7 Churches in AsiaIn chapters 2 and 3 we find the revelation of Jesus Christ given to the 7 churches in Asia, these 7 churches are mentioned by name in Revelation 1:11. The apostle John was familiar with these 7 churches and therefore were physically existing churches. Each church had its specific problems. Some commentators claim that the description of the first six churches has already passed in the past two centuries. The last church presents the one we live in today. I personally disagree. These 7 churches are a clear picture of the different believers through the past two centuries and today of all believers individually.
In the New Testament, the number 7 occurs a 88 times, of which 56 times in Revelation. This makes it clear that 7 in Revelation has a special function: 7 stars, 7 golden candlesticks, 7 churches, 7 messages, 7 seals, the Lamb has 7 horns and 7 eyes, 7 angels, 7 trumpets, 7 plagues, 7 spirits before the throne, 7 heads are seven mountains, 7 fiery torches, 7 Spirits of God, great reddish dragon with 7 heads with 7 crowns, etc.
See also Bible study Revelation.

Revelation 2, The Church of Ephesus

Ephesus (/ˈɛfəsəs/; Ancient Greek: Ἔφεσος Efesos; Turkish: Efes; may ultimately derive from Hittite Apasa) was an ancient Greek city on the coast of Ionia, three kilometres southwest of present-day Selçuk in İzmir Province, Turkey. It was built in the 10th century BC on the site of the former Arzawan capital by Attic and Ionian Greek colonists. During the Classical Greek era it was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League. The city flourished after it came under the control of the Roman Republic in 129 BC. The city was famed for the nearby Temple of Artemis (completed around 550 BC), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Among many other monumental buildings are the Library of Celsus, and a theatre capable of holding 25,000 spectators.
Ephesus was one of the seven churches of Asia that are cited in the Book of Revelation. The Gospel of John may have been written here.[9] The city was the site of several 5th-century Christian Councils (see Council of Ephesus). The city was destroyed by the Goths in 263, and although rebuilt, the city's importance as a commercial centre declined as the harbour was slowly silted up by the Küçükmenderes River. It was partially destroyed by an earthquake in AD 614. The ruins of Ephesus are a favourite international and local tourist attraction, partly owing to their easy access from Adnan Menderes Airport or from the cruise ship port of Kuşadası, some 30 km to the South.
Ephesus, as part of the kingdom of Pergamum, became a subject of the Roman Republic in 129 BC after the revolt of Eumenes III was suppressed. The city felt Roman influence at once; taxes rose considerably, and the treasures of the city were systematically plundered. Hence in 88 BC Ephesus welcomed Archelaus, a general of Mithridates the Great, king of Pontus, when he conquered Asia (the Roman name for western Asia Minor). From Ephesus, Mithridates ordered every Roman citizen in the province to be killed which led to the Asiatic Vespers, the slaughter of 80,000 Roman citizens in Asia, or any person who spoke with a Latin accent. Many had lived in Ephesus, and statues and monument of Roman citizens in Ephesus were also destroyed. But when they saw how badly the people of Chios had been treated by Zenobius, a general of Mithridates, they refused entry to his army. Zenobius was invited into the city to visit Philopoemen, the father of Monime, the favourite wife of Mithridates, and the overseer of Ephesus. As the people expected nothing good of him, they threw him into prison and murdered him. Mithridates took revenge and inflicted terrible punishments. However, the Greek cities were given freedom and several substantial rights. Ephesus became, for a short time, self-governing. When Mithridates was defeated in the First Mithridatic War by the Roman consul Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Ephesus came back under Roman rule in 86 BC. Sulla imposed a huge indemnity, along with five years of back taxes, which left Asian cities heavily in debt for a long time to come.

The words of Jesus Christ to the congregation at Ephesus. He, who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks among the seven golden candlesticks, is a repetition of the last verse in Revelation 1. The candlestick with the 7 arms is found in the Holy of the tabernacle and the Temple. Only the priests, and the believer is a royal priest, was allowed to enter the Holy Place.
The true apostles were the 12 apostles chosen by Jesus during His life on earth. Judas betrayed Jesus and hanged himself. In his place came the apostle Paul, personally called by Jesus and appointed on the road to Damascus. There were believers in the Ephesian church who called themselves apostles. They were false apostles, NOT appointed by Jesus and possibly never even seen Jesus alive. They brought false doctrine. The true believers in the church at Ephesus denounced and rebuked them and found them false. Today, too, believers call themselves apostles when they have never seen Jesus, who lived on earth 2,000 years ago. They are false and many teach false doctrine and elevate themselves above fellow believers. Jesus praises the believers in the church of Ephesus who persist in repenting these false apostles. They persist in the pure teaching and have not grown weary in the punishment of the false teachings. However, a chill may have occurred. They no longer admonish in love, but with harsh loveless words. Perhaps understandable in itself. We look at our time where there is many false preaching and false tolerance. Sin and repentance is no longer preached in many churches. Because Jezus has already died for ALL sins. Hell does not exist. All this is contradictory with which Jesus and the Bible teaches. The family consists of a husband and wife, but churches no longer preach this. Tolerance of abortion, euthanasia, genero, communism, etc.
Jesus calls to return to the first love, because they too have come to faith from the corrupt world. They too have lived in that world of satan with prostitution, longing for a worldly life, no worship of God the Father.
CandlestickHowever, if they do not return to that first love, then Jesus will take away the candlestick (= menorah). Exodus 25:31-32 And you shall make a lampstand of pure gold. The base and the shaft of the lampstand shall be made of hammered work; its cups, its capitals, and its flowers shall be of one piece with it; and there shall be six branches going out of its sides, three branches of the lampstand out of one side of it and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side of it. Zechariah 4: And the angel who talked with me came: What do you see? I said, "I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it, and seven lamps on it, with seven lips on each of the lamps which are on the top of it. And there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left. What are these, my lord?" This is the word of the LORD: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts. What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand? These are the two anointed who stand by the Lord of the whole earth.
The menorah was one of the objects in the tabernacle and later in the temple. It is a constant reminder for the Jewish people to be a light to the world, as God expects them to (Isaiah 42:6).
The menorah is also called the ets chaim. That is Hebrew for tree of life and refers to the tree in paradise through which Adam and Eve could have gotten eternal life. Jesus calls Himself the Bread of Life. In Him, the tree of life is available to people again. Jesus is also the Light of the world. Thus He is the real embodiment and meaning of the menorah.
So if the believer does not convert back to the first love, then Jesus will take away the inner peace of that believer and his or her light will no longer shine in the world (in my opinion no longer preaching the gospel). Because work without love is dead.

Nicolaitans is a compound word: Nikos: victory, triumph, dominance over the slain. Laos: someone who triumphs over the people. The significance of Nicolaitans is that the bishops and prelates of the Church are dominant over the church members, because they have been obliged to submit to the arbitrary and absolute rule, including their teaching, of the pastors, which God hates. This counteracts to 1 Peter 5:1-3 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed. Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock. Let that be a lesson to pastors who beat themselves on their chest, dominate their churches, set a bad example for the church members, and do not respect the commandments of Jesus and the Bible.

Revelation 2, The Church of Smyrna

Smyrna (= myrrh) was an important city in Asia Minor, on the west coast of present-day Turkey. Location and economic significance. The city was located on the Aegean Sea, about 65 km north of Ephesus, in a powerful trading location on the Aegean Sea. She had a beautiful harbor, with a narrow mouth that was easily defensible and lockable in wartime. An important trade route ran to the east. After Ephesus, it was the second most important export center.
Culture. Smyrna was home to a famous stadium, a library, and the largest public theater in Asia. The famous "Golden Street" ran around Mount Pagus. At the beginning and end was a temple for a local god and for Zeus. The acropolis on Mount Pagus was called "the crown of Smyrna."
The city with about 220,000 inhabitants had a high culture with a lot of religion. She issued coins with the caption, "The First of Asia in Beauty and Size." She was therefore known as "the jewel of Asia Minor".
Bond with Rome. Smyrna had a special bond with Rome and with the imperial cult. On the side of Rome, the city fought against Carthage. It was the first city in the ancient world to build a temple for the Dea Roma (the Roman guardian goddess par excellence). She was chosen over ten other cities to build a temple for Emperor Tiberius.
Smyrna's allegiance to Rome and the large Jewish community there, which was particularly hostile to Christians, made it difficult to live as a Christian in Smyrna. Well-known martyrs died in her and a lot of martyr's blood flowed, including that of Polycarp, who was burned because he did not want to recognize the emperor as Lord.

The words of Jesus Christ to the church at Smyrna. This says the first and the last, who was dead and became alive. A repetition from Revelation 1:18. Jesus created the earth in Genesis 1 with man on the sixth day, He was the First. He is the Last, He will create the New Earth and New Heaven and rule forever. He died at the Cross of Golgotha and was the First to rise from the dead and will live Forever.
The persecution of the Christians in Smyrna was great, from both Gentiles and Jews. The Jews had rejected Jesus as their Messiah, and with that they had chosen to serve satan. John 8:39 They answered him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would do what Abraham did. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning. That is why their synagogue of Satan is mentioned here.
Jesus comforts the believers in Smyrna that they did not need be afraid. They can be tortured and even killed. But that is just the human body on earth. Their soul and spirit go to paradise after death on earth and at the Rapture of the Church to Heaven. Therefore do not be afraid.
Prosecutions may have started when this letter was read at Smyrna and ended by an order from Emperor Nerva. We do not have a good explanation of these ten days.

Jesus promises that whoever is faithful to death, which will certainly be true in the Great Tribulation and refuse the mark of the Beast, will receive the crown of life. Whoever remains steadfast will not experience the second death (= the lake of fire Revelation 20: 11-15).

Revelation 2, The Church of Pergamum

Pergamum or Pergamum (/ˈpɜːrɡəmən/ or /ˈpɜːrɡəmɒn/; Ancient Greek: Πέργαμον), also referred to by its modern Greek form Pergamos (Greek: Πέργαμος), was a rich and powerful ancient Greek city in Mysia. It is located 26 kilometres (16 mi) from the modern coastline of the Aegean Sea on a promontory on the north side of the river Caicus (modern-day Bakırçay) and northwest of the modern city of Bergama, Turkey. During the Hellenistic period, it became the capital of the Kingdom of Pergamum under the Attalid dynasty in 281–133 BC, who transformed it into one of the major cultural centres of the Greek world. Many remains of its impressive monuments can still be seen and especially the outstanding masterpiece of the Pergamum Altar. Pergamum was the northernmost of the seven churches of Asia cited in the New Testament Book of Revelation. The city is centered around a 335-metre-high (1,099 ft) mesa of andesite which formed its acropolis. This mesa falls away sharply on the north, west, and east sides, but three natural terraces on the south side provide a route up to the top. To the west of the acropolis, the Selinus River (modern Bergamaçay) flows through the city, while the Ketios river (modern Kestelçay) passes by to the east.
In 88 BC, Mithridates VI made the city the headquarters in his first war against Rome, in which he was defeated. The result of this war was a stagnation in the development of the city. At the end of the war, the city was stripped of all its benefits and its status as a free city. Instead, the city was henceforth required to pay tribute, accommodate and supply Roman troops, and the property of many of the inhabitants was confiscated. The members of the Pergamene aristocracy, especially Diodorus Pasparus in the 70s BC, used their own possessions to maintain good relationships with Rome, by acting as donors for the development of city. Numerous honorific inscriptions indicate his work and his exceptional position in Pergamum at this time. Roman provinces and client states in Asia Minor in 63 BC. Pergamum still remained a famous city and the noteworthy luxuries of Lucullus included imported wares from the city, which continued to be the site of a conventus (regional assembly). Under Augustus, the first imperial cult, a neocorate, to be established in the province of Asia was in Pergamum. Pliny the Elder refers to the city as the most important in the province[18] and the local aristocracy continued to reach the highest circles of power in the 1st century AD, like Aulus Julius Quadratus who was consul in 94 and 105. Yet it was only under Trajan and his successors that a comprehensive redesign and remodelling of the city took place, with the construction a Roman 'new city' at the base of the Acropolis. The city was the first in the province to receive a second neocorate, from Trajan in AD 113/4. Hadrian raised the city to the rank of metropolis in 123 and thereby elevated it above its local rivals, Ephesus and Smyrna. An ambitious building programme was carried out: massive temples, a stadium, a theatre, a huge forum and an amphitheatre were constructed. In addition, at the city limits the shrine to Asclepius (the god of healing) was expanded into a lavish spa. This sanctuary grew in fame and was considered one of the most famous therapeutic and healing centers of the Roman world. In the middle of the 2nd century, Pergamum was one of the largest cities in the province, along with these two, and had around 200,000 inhabitants. Galen, the most famous physician of antiquity aside from Hippocrates, was born at Pergamum and received his early training at the Asclepeion. At the beginning of the third century, Caracalla granted the city a third neocorate, but the decline had already set in. During the crisis of the Third Century, the economic strength of Pergamum finally collapsed, as the city was badly damaged in an earthquake in 262 and was sacked by the Goths shortly thereafter. In late antiquity, it experienced a limited economic recovery.

Pergamum templeThe Pergamum temple is located in Berlin. Therefore, there are rumors that the Beast will be worshiped here, because satan was worshiped in this temple at Pergamum.
The words of Jesus Christ to the church at Pergamum. This is what He says, Who has the two-edged sharp sword. A repeat from Revelation 1:16. The double-edged sharp sword makes a definitive division between true Christians who live under the control of the Holy Spirit (the wise virgins) and the false Christians whose lives are the worldly lusts (the foolish virgins).
Pergamos was a city where there was so much sin and wickedness that the Lord says satan had his earthly headquarters there. And right in the middle of that city, God had placed His church. Antipas was a person who stood for the truth of God, even if it meant standing alone. He was a man of conviction and not someone to spoke to people's mouth. Those who know God do not have to look around to see how many people believe what they wish to believe. They are willing to stand alone before the Lord and, if necessary, even against everyone in the world. Antipas was such a man. And as a result, he was killed. If he had been an everybody's friend, he could have escaped death. He was killed because he clung to the revealed truth of God and made no concessions. People probably called him narrow-minded, stubborn, difficult-to-handle and not good-headed. But it did not matter to him. He stood before His Lord in truth, against all sin, world uniformity, compromise, disobedience to God's Word and the devil. Here we are talking about a man who threatened the kingdom of satan. Would satan see too you as such a great threat? After his death, the town of Pergamum deteriorated rapidly, and no one took over his duties. That is the sad history of many churches.
Although the soothsayer Balaam spoke piously, his heart was focused on reward from king Balak (Jude 11). Although forced by God to bless Israel, Balaam then advised Balak to seduce the Israelites into fornication with Moabite women. He is a model of wickedness and apostasy. Although many Christians have accepted Jesus as their Savior, their hearts remain in the world. There is absolutely no question of an actual conversion to Jesus Christ as Lord. Balaam's fate was his death by the Israelites. The Christian who does not truly repent and leave worldly life will find his or her death in the lake of fire (with a lot of luck on the New Earth). The warning in verse 16: Repent, but if not, I (Jesus) will fight you with the sword of my mouth. My mouth is the Bible. Double-edged because faith gives eternal life, on the other hand unbelief and disobedience brings death to the lake of fire (John 6:60-66).
The manna was the food that the Israelites had to gather daily in the desert. It was given again every day. The hidden manna is the New Testament, the Word of Jesus, the deliverance from sin through Jesus Christ. It was hidden manna in the Old Testament. However, this hidden manna must be read and studied daily by the Christian, full of the Holy Spirit. It is the daily spiritual food for the believer.
The white stone is an all-purpose cleaner ideal for cleaning all smooth surfaces without scratching. The efficient operation of the white stone is very effective. The white stone can effortlessly clean, stainless steel, chrome, glass, sanitary ware, bathtubs, sinks. For the kitchen, all pots, tiles, hobs and ceramic hobs can be cleaned without any problem and in a safe way. In addition, using the white stone will also significantly extend the life of your surfaces. What a description! It is Jesus Christ who perfectly cleanses the Christian from all pollution. May I say the Holy Spirit, Who convicts of sin. Jesus Christ who extends life and gives you eternal life.

Revelation 2, The Church of Tyatira

Thyateira (also Thyatira) (Ancient Greek: Θυάτειρα) was the name of an ancient Greek city in Asia Minor, now the modern Turkish city of Akhisar ("white castle"). The name is probably Lydian. It lies in the far west of Turkey, south of Istanbul and almost due east of Athens. It is about 50 miles (80 km) from the Aegean Sea.
It was an ancient Greek city called Pelopia (Ancient Greek: Πελόπεια) and Semiramis (Ancient Greek: Σεμίραμις), before it was renamed to Thyateira (Θυάτειρα), during the Hellenistic era in 290 BC, by the King Seleucus I Nicator. He was at war with Lysimachus when he learned that his wife had given birth to a daughter. According to Stephanus of Byzantium, he called this city "Thuateira" from Greek θυγατήρ, θυγατέρα (thugatēr, thugatera), meaning "daughter", although it is likely that it is an older, Lydian name. In classical times, Thyatira stood on the border between Lydia and Mysia. During the Roman era, (1st century AD), it was famous for its dyeing facilities and was a center of the purple cloth trade. Among the ancient ruins of the city, inscriptions have been found relating to the guild of dyers in the city. Indeed, more guilds συντεχνία suntechuia (syndicate) are known in Thyatira than any other contemporary city in the Roman province of Asia (inscriptions mention the following: wool-workers, linen-workers, makers of outer garments, dyers, leather-workers, tanners, potters, bakers, slave-dealers, and bronze-smiths). In early Christian times, Thyateira was home to a significant Christian church.

The words of Jesus Christ to the church at Tyatira. A repeat of Revelation 1: 14-15. Jezebel was the wife of the Israeli king Ahab. In 1 Kings she is sketched as an imperious woman who perseveres at all costs. Jezebel completely controlled her husband and king and worshipped Baal and Astarte. Israel's prophets she had them killed for a good part. Here the name of Jezebel is used for false prophetess who does not important about the God-given order, and seduces God's servants into all kinds of idolatry. The false prophetess who lead to fornication and eating of idol sacrifices. How do we not see this in our time. Pastors who claim that everything is allowed, seeking their own wealth, do not care about their neighbors, a tolerance for everything, including what is clearly forbidden in the Bible. God's Word, the Bible is no longer taken literally. Jesus being God is denied. The Sonship of Jesus is denied. The resurrection from the dead of Jesus is denied. So what is still the value of faith? If there is no forgiveness of sin, no life after death? So what is the meaning then of Christian faith?
Behold, I will throw these false teachers and pastors on a sickbed, and I WILL THROW INTO BIG TRIBULATION . These pastors will stay behind at the Rapture of the Church and go through the Great Tribulation. And their followers will go through the Great Tribulation with them and die.
I will search kidneys and hearts, and reward everyone according to his or her works. If they do not repent in the Great Tribulation and follow the Beast, their fate is the second death, the lake of fire. If they repent, they are likely to die through the hand of the Beast, but gain eternal life on the New Earth. The call is to endure and hold on until the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the Great Tribulation. Then the 1,000-year Kingdom of Christ will begin. If they hold fast to the end, they will reign as kings with Jesus (the power given over the Gentiles).