As we move into Chapter two, and then three, it is necessary to look into the history and circumstances of each city, Verse 1
as a whole, so that we may better understand the circumstances of each church and the message that they are receiving.
It will become evident that the cities were largely pagan and that the churches consisted of converted Jews and pagans.
The Epistles tell us that there was much dissension between the formerly Jewish Christians and the formerly pagan Christians and that both were persecuted by both the pagans, who usually held the positions of authority, and also by the unconverted Jews.
A study of relativistic pagan society reveals a life of brutal drudgery and a hopelessness for any thing better - EVER!
This was the only relief in a life devoid of hope for purpose, fulfillment and joy. This was/is the empty space in anyone's soul that can only be filled by the Spirit of God, the Father, the Almighty.
In what is to come, Christ lays bare the true state of each individual church and this state can be seen in the churches of history and in the state of the churches of today.
We gain this understanding from the fact that only seven churches were selected from the multitude that existed in John's time and by the fact that, at the close of each letter, there is a statement that the Holy Spirit is speaking to the churches.
As we encounter the number seven applied to these churches we tend to focus on the fact that seven is symbolic of perfection, yet we will find that these churches are far from perfect.
(A) That Christ always describes himself by a characteristic suited to the circumstances of each particular church regardless of whether the message promises encouragement or terror.
(B) each epistle is directed to the angel or messenger of the church. These would likely be the pastors because they are the mouth of God for the congregation. Once again we see that revelation was written to be understood by all and to be declared publically.
(C) each epistle is concluded with a promise of eternal glory and happiness for victorious believers and a solemn call to every reader and hearer to seriously learn and apply the contents of these letters to their lives.
Similarly, this could also mean that this congregation had been distracted by the busyness of the activities of the world around them to the point that their ardent love for Jesus had cooled due to neglect.
In our lives, we need to consider if our own love for the Lord has lost its initial passion, if we too have been distracted by the busyness of the world
perhaps a busyness that Satan has strewn in our path for just that reason perhaps a busyness that Satan has strewn in our path for just that reason.
Is a call to remember who they were those 30 years ago and to return to that state of affairs quickly before Jesus removes their candlestick #, extinguishing their light unto the world. Verse 5
This hearing admonition is repeated seven times in Revelation. Verse 7
The future tense indicates the rewards still available for adequate repentance.
This tree of life is the one in Eden and which will be found anew in the New Jerusalem.
In this we see a direct challenge to the temple of Artemis, which was a refuge for criminals, because Jesus is saying that He is the only effective refuge from our sinfulness.
Of particular note is the observation that Jesus is speaking yet He is saying that the Holy Spirit is speaking.
Just as the Bible repeatedly states that God the Heavenly Father and Jesus are One, here we are finding that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are One. We have confirmation from the mouth of our Lord and Saviour that the Holy Trinity is a reality.
We might want to give substantial reflection to what we are encountering in this because God the Father Almighty does nothing by chance - including choosing this particular church as an example to all, for every day, given what we now know.
The early church father Polycarp, a disciple of John, was martyred here.
These deep things of Satan are the depths of occultism in practice. Jesus promises those who reject such things that there will be no additional burdens (tribulations) placed upon them, which is an indication of the Rapture.
speaks of the second coming and the need to hold fast to the true doctrine of Christianity until then, as well as the rewards for doing so. Verse 25 - 26
To the members of the church who do persevere in the face of temptation and persecution, and who judge all according to their works and act accordingly,
No church on earth is without its flaws, errors and weaknesses. Far too many have glaring iniquities and false teachers.
Perfection commences in Heaven but the striving for perfection should be a life long vocation.
It is a wondrous state of affairs, and a greater mercy, that Jesus Christ communicates His warnings, directions, and encouragements to all who call themselves Christian, whether pastor or congregant.
We have just seen this in Revelation and the warnings remain just as valid in this day. We have just seen this in Revelation and the warnings remain just as valid in this day.
Jesus' own characteristics, which we are to emulate, and His parables, teachings and commandments of the Gospels and Revelation, which we are to learn from and adapt to, answer exactly every question a seeker will encounter.
Jesus has a critical and divine acquaintance with each seeker and their concerns.
Jesus immediately takes kind and loving notice of the graces, services and sufferings for His sake and how diligently His followers oppose what is evil and perform what is good.
Graciously, Jesus dwells among those who are truly His and those who are diligently seeking Him; and He supports, furnishes and directs those who are His ministers;
He begins and assists all that concerns them in time and eternity; and He lives for them as their risen and exalted Redeemer.
With tender compassion Jesus reminds us of the deviations and irregularities in our beliefs and faith and He unfailingly calls each of us to repentance and reformation.
May God grant to all the wisdom and determination to heed the call!
The multitude of promises Jesus has made to all who would but listen, encourages all to faithfully wrestle against every known sin in themselves and in others.
Spiritual and Heavenly are the delights He bestows upon those who heed and sure is their security from eternal damnation.
If only we remain faithful to Christ, infinite is the glory, acceptance, pleasure, excellence in endeavour, and power over evil opposers, that will be our reward.
For those who refuse to heed the warnings of Jesus, awful are the threats He has made and tremendous are His judgements upon imposters, hypocritical professors and obstinate sinners!
No boast of deep and devilish understanding, no power in deceiving His people nor in the persecution of His people - no power at all -
can screen the perpetrators of these things from the righteous and destructive judgement of Jesus Christ.