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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 2

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

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Verses 1-7

Letter to Ephesus (2:1-7)

Over the years the church at Ephesus had been troubled constantly by false teachers, as Paul had warned (cf. Acts 20:17,Acts 20:29-30). The false teaching condemned in Paul’s letters to Timothy and in the letters of John was centred in Ephesus. Later the church in Ephesus was troubled by the Nicolaitans, who taught that Christians could best demonstrate their freedom from rules and regulations by eating food that had been offered to idols and joining in immoral behaviour.

At the outset of his message, the risen Christ praises the Ephesians for their hard work and patient endurance in opposing the evil teachers (2:1-3). Unfortunately, in the process their love for Christ has lost its original warmth. They have become harsh, critical and self-satisfied. They are warned that if they do not quickly change and regain their original spirit of love, the one who rules over the churches (see v. 1; cf. 1:12-13,16) will act in judgment and bring the church to an end (4-6). Those who triumph, however, will enjoy the fulness of eternal life in the world to come (7).

Verses 8-11

Letter to Smyrna (2:8-11)

Poor materially, but rich spiritually, the Christians in Smyrna were also severely persecuted. The persecution came mainly from the Jews, who thus showed that they were not God’s people, but Satan’s (8-9). But worse is to come, for the Roman authorities are going to launch a fresh attack on the Christians. Many will be imprisoned and some martyred, but this fierce attack will last only a limited period. Their Saviour, the eternal one who has himself conquered death (see v. 8; cf. 1:17-18), will not allow death to touch their souls. Through him they have victory and eternal life (10-11).

Verses 12-17

Letter to Pergamum (2:12-17)

The difficulties of the church in Pergamum were mainly connected with the religious system known as Emperor worship, which in the province of Asia had its headquarters in Pergamum. Christians on the whole had stood firm and refused to join in the Emperor worship. At least one, Antipas, had been martyred (12-13).

But as at Ephesus, there were some who taught and practised Nicolaitan teachings. Like Balaam, they caused God’s people to sin by joining in idolatrous feasts and practising immorality (14-15; cf. Numbers 22:1-40; Numbers 25:1-9; Numbers 31:16). The divine judge (see v. 12; cf. 1:16) is about to act against them with swift punishment. But those who refuse to join in the idolatrous feasts will be invited to join in God’s heavenly feast. He will give each a special blessing known only to the giver and the receiver. This blessing is likened to the engraved white stone which, according to a custom of those days, was given to people invited to an important feast as evidence of their right of entry (16-17).

Verses 18-29

Letter to Thyatira (2:18-29)

There had been considerable progress in the church at Thyatira (18-19). Yet this church also had been corrupted by teaching that encouraged participation in idol feasts and their associated immorality.

In Pergamum the false teachers were men and were likened to Balaam. In Thyatira the teacher was a woman and is likened to Jezebel, whose false religion was similarly characterized by idolatry and immorality (20; cf. 1 Kings 16:31-33; 2 Kings 9:22; 2 Kings 9:22). This false prophetess is now given a final warning, for the penetrating eyes of the righteous God see all that she is doing (see v. 18; cf. 1:14-15). If she does not turn from her sins, God will punish her and her followers with sickness, disease or death, according to the extent of each person’s sin (21-23).

On the other hand, those who are faithful to the end will be rewarded when Christ returns (24-25). Victorious believers will share the royal rule of their victorious Lord. The ‘night’ of suffering will be over, and Christ the ‘morning star’ will be with them for ever (26-29).

Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Revelation 2". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/revelation-2.html. 2005.
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