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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Revelation 2

Verses 1-7

  1. Intro:
    1. Prayer, for Lisa Chesney(Mark): Aggressive lymphoma.
    2. Cindy Arnold, Marlene, & Kim: Servant Serving Servants, Albania Update.
    3. Prayer: Lord as we read this, please read the contents of our lives to see if we are doing everything but the 1 thing…loving You!
  2. 7 Churches Intro:
    1. We now step into our 2nd part of our outline(from 1:19) “The things which are”.
    2. The “Postman of Patmos”(John) as he pens 7 Important messages to 7 Important churches!
    3. Map – Note Patmos. Circle in order clockwise. Starting with Ephesus near the coast.
    4. Why is Christ 1st dealing with the church?
      1. Because judgment begins where? (1 Pet.4:17) “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?”
      2. So Jesus deals with these 7 churches before he deals with the lost world.
    5. Why were these 7 churches singled out?
      1. 1:11 “to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”
      2. Why not Philippi? Why not Corinth? – There were more popular churches, there were larger churches, there were more needy churches.
    6. Some say because, these 7 represent 7 consecutive time periods of church history.
      1. Though this is fascinating, intriguing, & we find some correlations when we examine each era, we clearly find the merits & weaknesses of not one particular church…but all 7! (Shepherd’s Notes; pg.6)
      2. What seems plausible at 1st, becomes something forced & artificial in the end.
      3. We need to be careful in spiritualizing the 7 churches, as they were real churches who had real strengths & weaknesses.
      4. Ephesus/Neglected Priorities; Smyrna/Satanic opposition;
        Pergamos/Religious Compromise; Thyatira/Immoral Practices;
        Sardis/Spiritual Apathy; Philadelphia/Lost Opportunities;
        Laodicea/Material Prosperity. [David Hocking]
    7. 4-Fold Reference:
      1. Local - To the churches actually addressed.
      2. Admonitory - An admonition to all churches of all time periods as tests by which they may discern their true sp. state. Note:2:7 “churches”
      3. Personal - In the exhortations “he who has an ear” & in the promises “to him who overcomes.” (vs.7)
      4. Prophetic - The progress of its spiritual state until the end of the church age!
    8. So why these 7?
      1. Geographically – They were readily accessible to one another & the world.
      2. Historically – They each had strengths to commend and/or weaknesses to correct.
      3. Spiritually churches of every age share the same strengths & weaknesses as those historical churches. (Ibid; pg.6)
    9. Which each of the churches there is 1st a positive affirmation, then a corrective discipline, & 3rd, a motivating promise!
    10. Q: Have you ever evaluated a church or a ministry?
      1. You should have when you moved in this area.
      2. When you came here what did you use as a measuring guide? 2.10.2.1. The building? the amount of members?
    11. Only Jesus Christ can see the true condition & give a true evaluation!
      1. Jesus here “peers into the pews” of 7 churches, & gives them each a report card!
      2. Just as an ultrasound technician places the probe onto the mothers stomach, & views & measures the growth, & watches for any abnormalities, so does Christ w/His babies!
    12. 2 of the churches are given no affirmation(Sardis & Laodicea);
      2 of the churches are given no discipline(Smyrna & Philadelphia).
      1. These churches represent the good & bad in churches everywhere & in every age.
      2. As we go through these over the next 7 weeks be thinking, which of these churches would you join & why?
  3. …BUT HAVE NOT LOVE! (1-7)
    1. EPHESUS! (1)
    2. Background: A great commercial center; it bore the title “The Supreme Metropolis of Asia”; it had the great Temple of Artemis/Diana(1 of the 7 wonders of the ancient world)
      1. It was an important gulf city, a crucial export center, they had sea trade, 3 main routes converged there. It was wealthy, politically influential, & a very pagan city.
      2. Paul did the church plant there. Timothy followed up. Later John.
    3. Holds & walks – Jesus’ hands & feet are emphasized here.
      1. Jesus is in the midst of the churches & He knows what is going on.
      2. Holds - When God has a hold of something it speaks of divine security, sovereign control.
      3. Walks – represents His continual presence in his church.
    4. Who cares what men say of your church or denom. …What does Christ think of it?
      1. Isn’t it interesting what we look at in a church, verses what Jesus looks for & commends or condemns in them!
      2. We ask: Is it a mini or a mega-church? –Hymns or contemporary music?
      3. We say, “wow it’s successful because they have so many home studies, or programs. They do concerts! They have awesome retreats.”
      4. What would you expect Christ to hone in on w/the churches?
    5. Note: 1 point of the description of Jesus in 1:13-16 is used for each of the churches
      1. The specific attribute of Christ that applied to the particular needs of the church is emphasized in the message.
    6. EPHESUS, BATTLE TESTED & ORTHODOX! (2,3)
    7. Religious busyness! (a status symbol in many churches today)
    8. Remember He’s speaking to those “inside” the church!
      1. This was a Serving church - a “Saint Martha’s” if you will. Not the Catholic Church in town, but a reference to Mary & Martha.
        1. “Works” - They were busy doing the works of the Lord!
      2. This was a Sacrificing church - “Labor” = toil to the point of exhaustion.
      3. This was a Steadfast church - “Patience/perseverance” = endurance under trial.
        1. They were also known as The Dura-cell Bunny Church!
        2. They were Christian marathoners, disciplined, determined!
    9. This was a Separated church - They didn’t tolerate those that are evil, & they tested visiting ministers!
      1. They were the Pit-Bulls of orthodoxy; guardians of truth; chasing away false teachers.
      2. They knew How to defend the doctrines of the Word, but forgot Who the doctrines pointed to! (Chuck Swindoll; pg. 15; The 7 Churches.)
    10. (3) They were tired in their labor, but not of it!
      1. They were a busy church with high spiritual standards.
      2. In every way this was a successful church from the human standpoint!
    11. LOVE IS PRIMARY! (4)
    12. The Righteous Bro’s sang, “You've lost that loving feeling - Oh, that loving feeling - You've lost that loving feeling - Now it's gone, gone, gone - Whoa-oh”
      1. Was Christ singing the same?
      2. He had one bone to pick with them!
    13. Love is primary, & w/o it the church has no reason to exist! (read again!)
    14. After hearing of all the positive things this church was doing it’s surprising to discover they had left(not lost) there 1st love.
      1. I guess you could say like Jeremiah…I guess the honeymoon’s over!
        1. Read Jer.2:2.
      2. No amount of separation, sacrifice, or service, can make up for your lack of love toward the Lord.
    15. 1 Cor.13:1,3,13 “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal”…“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing…but the greatest of these is love.”
    16. When Paul wrote his letter to this “Ephesian church” earlier & referred to Love 20x’s!
      1. 1st mention Eph. 1:4 “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,”
      2. Last mention (last verse) 6:24 “Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.”
    17. Isn’t this the very question Jesus asked Peter(3x’s)? Do you love me?
      1. There is always the danger of a love grown cold!
      2. It’s not a hatred of Christ, not even being mad at God; it’s indifference, it’s apathy, it’s lack of interest, lack of concern.
      3. Christ is more concerned what we do with Him, then for Him! (Warren Wiersbe; Outlines of the NT.)
        1. Labor is no substitute for love.
      4. To the public, the Ephesian church was successful; to Christ it had fallen.
      5. Peter do you love me? Ephesus? CCM? Put your name in the blank?
        1. The love of Christ compels/controls me! 2 Cor.5:14
    18. BEING RESTORED TO 1ST LOVE STATUS! (5)
    19. Remember – “keep on remembering”…What you’ve lost; cultivate a desire to regain that close communion again!
      1. The prodigal “remembered” his home!
        1. This is the 1st step to the road back.
      2. Reminisce! Flip back the pages in your mind. Take a walk down memory lane!
      3. What do you remember about your 1st date? (mine & Kel’s)
      4. What do you remember about 1st being saved?
        1. The freshness of God’s word; being enraptured in Worship; hanging out after bible studies talking to friends.
    20. Repent “Repentance is the admission that the fault is ours. It is the acceptance of responsibility for our failure & our fall!” (Barclay)
      1. The prodigal son said, “I have sinned”; Saul said, "I have sinned.…Indeed I have played the fool and erred exceedingly."
      2. (Spurg) “Christ & we will never be One, until we & our sin are Two!”
    21. Repeat - “Do the 1st works” - The sorrow of repentance is Not to drive a man to despair; it is meant to drive him to 2 things:
      1. [1] Drive him to fling himself on the grace of God saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner!”
      2. [2] Drive him to Action that we may bring forth fruits w/repentance! 3.21.2.1. (i.e.) a changed life!
      3. Notice they are to Do their 1st works, not to Feel their 1st feelings!
    22. (Message) “Turn back! Recover your dear early love. No time to waste, for I’m well on my way to removing your light from the golden circle.”
    23. The danger to the churches is that Christ would remove their testimony. He would rather have a city in the darkness than to have a lampstand out of His divine will.
      1. 8 churches close their doors every day in the U.S. - 6 open.
    24. “The church that loses its Love will undoubtedly lose its Light,…no matter how doctrinally sound it may be!”
      1. The glorious city of Eph. retained its vigor till the 5th cent. but now is a heap of stones today, silt 7 miles inland!
      2. The local church is to shine as a light in the world. W/o true love for Christ, it’s true light will go out.
    25. NICOLAITANS! (6)
    26. “Nicolaitans” [nikao=victor, laos=the people] “To conquer the people”, a sect who lorded over the people [inventors of clergy/laity].
    27. OVERCOMERS! (7)
    28. Tree of life – lost in Eden; regained in Paradise.
      1. Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, & eat, and live forever (Gen.3:22)
        1. 3.28.1.1. (i.e.) live forever separated from God!
      2. The thief on the cross was promised this Paradise by Jesus.

R.A.Torrey, Revival needs 3 things:

  1. Only a few Christians to get thoroughly righteous w/God themselves!
  2. Bind themselves together in a prayer group to pray!
  3. Put themselves at the disposal of God for Him to use as He sees fit!

Verses 8-11

  1. Intro:​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
    1. SMYRNA - The Persecuted church! (Myrrh/a bitter herb) A suitable name for a church facing persecution.
      1. The Myrrh plant when its crushed gives off a beautiful fragrance,…so this church of Smryna!
      2. Wes - Share on Sudan.
    2. Open - Nero Description (pg.46 Phillips)
  2. DESTINATION (8a)
    1. Smyrna Today:
      1. “The church Persecuted has always come out Pure, the church Pampered has always been Polluted!”
      2. Ungers Bible Dict. says it is still an important seaport city. Its name today is called Izmir. It has 200,000 pop. 1/3 of which are Christians.
    2. Smyrna Background:
      1. Mentioned only here in scrip.; 35 m. N. of Ephesus; It was known as the loveliest cities of Asia. It dates back to the time of David(1000bc).
      2. Beauty - Men called it the ornament of Asia, The crown of Asia, The Flower of Asia.
        1. The city began at the harbor; it traveled the narrow foothills; then behind the city there rose the pagos, a hill covered w/Temples & noble buildings. (These encircled Smyrna’s hill). They were spoken of as “The Crown of Smyrna”.
        2. Aristides likened it unto a great statue (Barclay pg.90).
        3. They even had a Stadium & a Library!
      3. Trade - It was in a strategic spot that commanded the trade from the whole Hermus valley.
      4. Politics - Long before Rome ruled the world Smyrna cast its lot w/Rome, never to waiver(since 195 bc).
      5. Smyrna was a Cicero said, “One of our most faithful & our most ancient allies!”
      6. Religion - Across the Pagos hill was a street of gold (from Zeus’ Temple to the Temple Cybele’s)-[necklace].
      7. Other Temples included: Apollo, Nemesies, Aphrodite, & Asclepios.
      8. The Jews were esp. numerous & especially influential. {ie. They gave 10,000 Denari for the beautification of the city.}
        1. They were very hostile to Christianity, because they drew most of their converts from Judaism.
        2. They persuaded the Roman authorities to persecute them.
        3. The most famous was “Polycarp”(Bishop of Smyrna) - Martyred on Sat. Feb.23rd, 155 ad.
          1. Read - Barclay (pg.93,94)
  3. DESCRIPTION (8b)
    1. 1st & Last” - This is a tremendous Promise to the Christians. {Come what will, from the 1st day of life to the last; happen what will, The Risen Christ is w/us!}
      1. And if w/us till the end…then of whom shall we be afraid?
      2. Read - Julian (pg.99)
    2. Since Smyrna was going through persecutions Jesus relates to them as the “One who died & came to life”, thus assuring them the hope of the res.!
      1. No matter what experience God’s people may have, their Lord identifies w/them. {death, pain, rejection, backbiting, etc.}
      2. The Risen Christ is one who has experienced the worst that life could do to Him.
      3. “Deaths sting was stolen, & Hades Victory was vanquished!”
  4. COMMENDATION (9)
    1. Tribulation” - “They were trying to crush the Christianity out of them!”
    2. Poverty” - “Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God.” Lk.6:20
      1. James 2:5 “Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?”
      2. Ptocheia(ptwceia) - Absolute poverty, complete destitution.
    3. Rich” - God does want you to be “wealthy”…spiritually wealthy!
      1. They were rich - They lived for Eternal values that could never change, riches that could never be taken away.
      2. Read - 2 Cor. 6:4-10(esp.10) & 2 Cor.8:9.
    4. Slander” - The instigators of persecution was the Jews. It was from them the slanders came.
      1. You see this over & over in Acts @ Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Thes. (ie. Acts 13:50 “But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region.”)
    5. 6 slanders the Jews raised so Rome would persecute them:
      1. [1] Accused of being Cannibals! Why? (Comm.)
      2. [2] Accused of having orgies of lust & immorality! (Agape/Love feasts)
      3. [3] Accused of breaking up the family! (Lu 12:53 "Father will be divided against son and son against father, etc.”)
      4. [4] Accused of being atheists! (cuz they didn’t have any image s of their God).
      5. [5] Accused of being Politically disloyal (cuz they wouldn’t say, “Caesar is Lord”)
      6. [6] ​​​​​​​Accused of being Incendiaries{incinerate}! (cuz they foretold the end of the world in flames & disintegration.)
    6. Synagogue of Satan” - John takes a favorite expression of the Jews & reverses it. They loved to call themselves the “Assembly of the Lord”. {Synagogue = Assembly} So he says to them your of the “Assembly of the Devil!”
    7. John Wesley said of a certain man who was presenting a crude, cruel & savage, picture of God: …“Your God is my Devil!”
  5. EXHORTATION (10)
    1. No Condemnation here! (nor in Phil. church)
      1. The very trials that afflicted them assured them of deliverance from any lack of ferverancy for the Lord & kept them from any impurity or compromise w/evil.
    2. Do not Fear!” - “Would they be Fearful or Faithful?”
    3. Suffer” - If you haven’t suffered yet, cheer up…you will!
      1. 2 Tim. 3:12 “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
      2. Q: Are you silent when you should be speaking? (speak up for what is right)
      3. Q: ​​​​​​​Are you inactive when you should act? (video store/Ed Elder)
      4. Q: ​​​​​​​Are you faithful under a lil pressure?
      5. The best way to escape persecution, resentment, or criticism is to hide you faith(light under a bushel).
      6. Stand up for life, values, morality. {Michael & Summer}
    4. indeed the devil…” - He knows the Devils plans & was in complete control of the situation. {Some would be imprisoned, & tried as traitors to Rome!}
    5. Tested” - Read Job 23:8-10(esp.10)
    6. Ten Days” - Brief time? or, The 10 Roman persecutors(Nero-Diocletain)?
      1. It was an expression for a short time, which was about to end.
      2. Gen.24:55 “But her brother and her mother said, "Let the young woman stay with us a few days, at least ten; after that she may go."
    7. Be faithful unto death” - “Loyalty even when death is its price!”
    8. Crown” - Jesus Christ is no man’s debtor!
      1. The other place crown is found is James 1:12 “Blessed is he who endures…”
      2. Here the “temptation” is to buckle under persecution!
  6. PROMISE (11)
    1. “They may not have enjoyed the approval of men, but they certainly received the Praise of God!“
    2. They trusted in Him so they were “overcomers”(Victors in the race of faith) & as overcomers, they had nothing to fear.
      1. Ps.118:6 “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
      2. Even if they were martyred, they would be ushered into glory, wearing Crowns!
      3. They would never have to face the 2nd death(lake o fire) [Rev.20:14, 21:8]
    3. It costs to be a dedicated Christian, in some places more than others!
      1. As end time pressures increase, pers. will also increase; & God’s people need to be ready.
      2. The world my call us “poor Christians”, but in God’s sight we are rich!

Verses 12-17

  1. WANTED: BOUNCERS IN PERGAMOS! (12-17)
    1. INTRO! (12)
    2. Pergamos – “Height or elevation”.
      1. The city was built on a cone-shaped hill(1000’ high).
      2. 80 miles north of Ephesus. It was the Political capitol of Asia.
      3. They had one of the largest Libraries of antiquity w/200,000 books (all manuscripts).
        1. One of the products the city was famous for was its paper or parchment. Pergamos was the 1st place where skins were used for writing on, which replaced the parchments.
      4. The Library was later sent to Egypt as a gift from Mark Anthony to Cleopatra! {Guess she liked to read? “Here honey the library of congress!”}
    3. Sharp 2-edged sword – (preceded by 1:16; & before 2:16)
    4. COMMENDATION! (13)
    5. Satan’s throne is & Satan dwells –
      1. Mystery cults of Babylon set up their headquarters there.
      2. The official Center for Emperor Worship(started here).
        1. They had their 1st temple dedicated to Augustus Caesar(reigned when Jesus was born)
      3. The Askelpios center – They had a temple dedicated to Askelpios (the god of healing) whose insignia was the entwined serpent on the staff. (still a med. symbol today!)
        1. The Asklepieion was a kind of Mayo Clinic of the ancient world.
      4. The Lord commends the church for its steadfastness in the “epi-center” of Satan’s domain!
        1. They remain faithful even on Satan’s Turf!
        2. Note: The church isn’t told to get out of “Las Vegas; Laughlin; Pechanga!” [C.C.Pechanga hmmmm – would we even think of it?]
    6. Didn’t deny the faith, even during persecution –
      1. They held to their faith even when it might have cost them their lives!
      2. “Faith” - Heb.11:32-35a - “Some By Faith subdued kingdoms & escaped the edge of the sword.”
        1. Heb.11:35b-38 – “Others, Through Faith were tortured & slain w/the sword.”
        2. Heb.11:39 - “All these obtained a good testimony through Faith.”
    7. Antipas My faithful martyr – Show relief.
      1. Persecution during the time of Domitian.
        1. [he would have been killed in John’s lifetime]
      2. Some ancient writers tell us he was enclosed in a red-hot brazen ox & thus burned alive w/great pain, yet in steadfastness.
      3. God knew all about this humble believer who lived & died for Christ.
        1. “He calls his sheep by name”
        2. 2 Tim.2:19, “Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His.”
    8. CONDEMNATION! (14,15)
    9. Some held bad doctrine – (not even “the churches” stance, yet still effected the body)
    10. But…they were too tolerant of false doctrines!”
      1. They were drifting into Worldliness & Carnality!
      2. Some resisted the flow, but the majority were being swept out to sea!
      3. Being willing to die for the faith is no substitute for living the faith! (Warren Wiersbe; Outline of the NT.)
    11. Doctrine of Balaam – His story is in Numb.22-25
      1. Moabite King Balak was scared regarding Israel coming up from Egypt, as saw what they did to the Ammorites.
      2. Invited Balaam(a hireling prophet) to come curse them for him. Tried to no avail. So, “If you can’t curse em, corrupt em!”
      3. Balaam gave King Balak advice to “made friends w/Israel”!
        1. Israel, instead of instituting “neighborhood watch”, became “good neighbors!”
        2. They wedded the world, to get worldly advantages.
      4. Satan decides, “If you can’t beat em, join em…so he does!”
      5. The meat sacrificed to these idols was served at their banquets.
      6. Often sexual immorality was a part of these banquets.
        1. The issue wasn’t eating the meat, but actually participating in idolatrous feasts & sexual sin.
    12. Doctrine of Nicolaitans –
      1. What begins with deeds in one church(Ephesus vs.6), is now a settled doctrine in another!
      2. This church is now divided into “priests” & “people”.
        1. As Protestants we still deal with this, just without the titles!
          1. Many in church still see, the pastor is the minister of the church, when we all are supposed to be!
      3. Don’t compromise but resist!
        1. Antipas said, “no compromise”; many in the church said, “let’s take the easy way out.”
        2. Illustration: many years ago we had a church night at Mulligan’s. I watched as little Ali Irwin had 1 foot on the dock & 1 one the boat...& it slooooowly separated, & in she went!
          1. Many Christians are trying to live with one foot on the dock & one on the boat.
      4. “While the Christian must live in the world, he should not let the world live in him!”
        1. “We are to be like the fish that live in salt water...yet...don’t… taste...salty!”
    13. REPENT! (16)
    14. Repent – His constant charge and command to His own is “Repent!”
      1. “Change or I will come to you and I will remove your lampstand”.
    15. Antipas felt the sword of Rome, but the church at Pergamos would feel the sword of Christ if they did not repent!
    16. A little girl said to her mother, “I know why flowers grow;…they want to get out of the dirt!”
      1. Q: Do you want to get out of the dirt? - “Repent, is the wake up call to the church!”
      2. What drives the plant up?...the power of the Sun.
        1. any plants like the sunflower follow the sun East to West.
        2. We also must follow the Son, growing away from the earth & unto heaven!
      3. “The influence of a Holy Life is often the greatest contribution we can make to the salvation of men.”
    17. PROMISE! (17)
    18. Hidden Manna – Food from God. Angel food cake. The Messianic Banquet aka The Marriage Super of the Lamb.
      1. Jesus is the real manna for Christians to live on.
    19. A White Stone – is ambiguous! (just like it was to you when you walked in & received yours) - This may stand for many things. - A white stone had many meanings in ancient society!
      1. [1] Rabbinic legend – that precious stones fell from heaven along w/the manna. (William Barclay; Rev.2:12-17.)
      2. Followers of Christ This would represent the precious gifts of God to His people.
      3. [2] Ancient Law courts – white & black stones were used for registering the verdict of Juries. {black for condemnation; white for acquittal}
      4. Followers of Christ are acquitted in the sight of God because of the work of Christ.
      5. [3] The Thracians & Scythians kept an urn in their house & each day they threw either a white stone in for a Happy day, or a black stone for ever Unhappy day; at the end of their lives the stones were counted to distinguish whether they had a wretched or a Happy life!
      6. Followers of Christ we can have the joy that no man can take from us (Jn.16:22)
      7. [4] Wear an amulet or charm (lucky jewelry: a piece of jewelry worn to provide protection against evil, injury, disease, or bad luck)
        1. A very common custom in the ancient world.
        2. On the pebble was a sacred name; to know a god’s name was to have certain power over him, to be able to summon him to one’s aid in time of difficulty & to have mastery over demons.
        3. It was also known to be doubly effective if no one else knew the name inscribed on it!
      8. Followers of Christ maybe he will place around your neck, not a good luck charm, but maybe a small stone that would represent more of what a “promise ring on a chain” represents in our culture. With a special name of Himself on it...just for you! (explain His Names/titles thru Scripture are to reveal more of himself to us)
      9. [5] Friendship – when 2 people, seeking to seal a friendship, broke a stone into 2 & each retained a half, which gave access to each others home. (Willmington’s Bible Handbook.)
      10. Followers of Christ here is guaranteed access to His home & promise of His friendship!
      11. [6] Admission to a feast – if there was an expensive & restricted feast often they would use a white stone for admission...much like an exclusive club today.
      12. Followers of Christ here is your ticket to His feast.
    20. *Pull out your stone!* [there was no polished white stones in our whole valley today!]
      1. [7] Victory - In Rome a great Gladiator was the admired hero of all.
        1. Often a gladiator had to fight on until he was killed in combat.
        2. But if he had a specially illustrious career, when he grew old, he was allowed to retire in honor.
        3. Such men were given a white stone w/the letters SP on it. 2.21.1.3.1.SP stands for the Latin Spectatus which means a man whose valor has been proved beyond a doubt.
        4. “Tried, tested, proved; esteemed!” (Latin dictionary)
        5. Followers of Christ one day saint you WILL receive a stone. Maybe it will say, “tried, tested, proved, & esteemed”?
          1. Maybe, SP” Spectatus?
      2. The best I could do was “Tope” but your Messiah will provide you with “White” representing your quauntum leap in purity!
    21. A New name –
      1. New (καινός keenos)– “not only in point of time but also in point of quality; nothing like it has ever been made before!” (Barclay)
        1. Also: new Jerusalem(3:12); new song(5:9); new heavens & new earth(21:1); God makes all things new(21:5).
      2. You are special! – you will be identified with Yeshua as you have won the Victory!
    22. End: Last picture, I took on a spiritual day at the beach in Oceanside.
      1. The constant drip on the “river rock” knocks off the edges & makes it smooth.

Verses 18-29

  1. DESTINATION “THYATIRA” (18A)
    1. Thyatira has the longest message to the church in the smallest city.
    2. It was a military town.
    3. It had no rel. center of worship(ie. Caesar worship/ or Greek worship).
      1. It did have a local hero-god his name was Tyrimnus(on their coins/was on horseback w/a battle-ax & a club).
      2. They did have a fortune-telling shrine, presided over by a female oracle called the Sambathe.
    4. It was a great commercial center - esp. for the dyeing industry; & the trading of woolen goods.
      1. * Name this lady!!!* “She was born in Thyatira; she later made her home in Philippi; she was the 1st European we know of to embrace Christianity; she made her living in the prosperous cloth dyeing profession; …her favorite color was purple??? [Lydia,Acts 16:14]
        1. Purple - a color obtained from the secretion of a species of shell-fish (the Murex trunculus) which was found in the Mediterranean, and particularly on the coasts of Phoenicia and Asia Minor. The coloring matter in each separate shell-fish amounted to only a single drop, and hence the great value of this dye. Robes of this color were worn by kings.
      2. They had many trade Guilds(associations). Guilds of workers in: “wool, wood, leather, linen, bronze, makers of outer garments, dyers, potters, bakers, & slave-dealers!”
      3. Most likely to refuse to join one of these guilds, would be like not joining the “union” today(in some trades). (They would have to give up commercial prosperity!)
    5. The present name of the city is Ak-Hissar (white castle); pop. 15-20,000.
    6. Thyatira, was an unimportant city w/a very important Problem!
  2. DESCRIPTION (18B)
    1. Son of God” - There was in Thyatira a special temple to Apollo (sun god).
      1. Maybe this is why He conveys Himself as the Son of God[only here/Rev]
    2. Eyes & Feet” - Since John’s message was one of severe warning & judgment, this is why he describes the“flaming”eyes, &“refined” brass feet.
  3. COMMENDATION (19)
    1. They had Motivation, Ministry, a Message, & the rt. Mentality!
      1. A proper Motivation…Love - They weren’t guilty of mere rel. activity. *Only church to be commended for Love!!!*
      2. An effective Ministry…Service!
      3. A right Message…Faith!
      4. A tough Mentality - Patience!
    2. So can we say, “All is well?”………No!……… “All is well that ENDS well!”
      1. Like Pergamos they tipped their hat to “Tolerance” [They tolerated sin]
      2. This church had no persecution from the outside, the threat came from inside the church(where most churches fall)!
  4. CONDEMNATION (20-23)
    1. He takes 3 verses because there is allot to expose & condemn!
      1. “It is quite poss. for a church to be crowded, because it’s people come to be entertained instead of instructed, & to be soothed & petted instead of to be challenged & confronted w/the fact of sin & the offer of salv.” [Are we a successful Christian Club rather than a Christian Congregation?}
    2. The church was “allowing”(permitting/tolerant towards) a false prophetess to influence the people & lead them into compromise, her name…Jezebel! {The female Judas}
      1. Her name might not have been Jez., but she was a true Jez. in her actions!
      2. As we’ve been learning Thurs. nights, she was the Idolatrous Queen who enticed Israel to add Baal worship to their rel. ceremonies.
        1. She dined(partied) w/450 Baal prophets, & 400 prophets of Ashtarte(1 Kings 18:19).
      3. There were Prophetess in the O.T.… Miriam, Deborah, & Huldah; In the N.T.… Anna, & the 4 virgin daughters of Philip.
    3. She promoted Immorality & Idolatry! She called for a Compromise w/the world (ie. “share in the ceremonies & feasts of the trade guild, what’s the big deal?”)
      1. “It’s Jezebel who stands up in our church today & says, “what’s the big deal about this sin in my life, it’s my life…it’s none of your business!”
    4. Their problem is still a universal problem today, “How far is too far?” “How far can the Christian compromise w/the world?
      1. Of course we don’t apply this question to our finances(how far w/o bankruptcy?); or to our kids (see how close you can get to the edge of the cliff w/o falling Johnny); to our spouse (how far can I flirt honey?); to our Lord (what’s the farthest I can backslide & still be a Christian?)
    5. Compromise is: but the sac. of one rt. or good in the hope of retaining another, too often ending in the lost of both!
      1. Story - “Tenant late w/his rent again, landlord said, we got to settle this! - “I’ll meet you half way, I’m ready to forget 1/2 of what you owe me.” …Great! I’ll meet you half way,…“I’ll forget the other half!”
      2. NO Compromise!
        1. Read #11 pg.586 (Hoyt)
        2. Read pg.352,353 (Amer.) “Thom. Jeff. library”
        3. Read pgs. 702,3,4 (Amer.) “John Witherspoon”
    6. Sexual Immorality: Why is sex so serious?…Because relations outside of marriage hurt someone! {L.A.B.}
      1. [1] It hurts God - it shows we prefer to follow our desires instead of Gods word. {whether it means Sexual Immor. or Sp. Infidelity}
      2. [2] It hurts Others -It violates the commitment so nec to a relationship
      3. [3] It hurts Us - It often brings disease, & it has adverse affects on our personality.
      4. [4] It hurts Families, Communities, & even Nations - It destroys the relationships upon which these institutions are built!
      5. “Did you know Christians are built w/the same sex drive in them as non-bel.’s?” But we should know how to possess our vessel! 1 Thes.4
    7. vs.22 - “Sickbed” - Sexbed to sickbed!
    8. Unless they Repent” - Breath of fresh air!
    9. vs.23 - “Into great trib” - you mean the repentant will miss it?
    10. Kill & Death” - He promised to judge her & her followers(children). {Her Obituary is in 2 Kings 9:30-37}
    11. I am He who…” - Another claim of deity!
      1. Taken from Jer. 17:10 “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.” {Now what if I said it about myself?}
      2. He’s the mind & heart searcher!..He’ll judge both Motives & Actions
      3. His “eyes of fire” had searched out their thoughts & motives, & He makes NO mistakes!
    12. Let’s compare Thy. w/Eph.:
      1. Eph. was weak in their Love, But was faithful to judge false teachers!
      2. Thy. was growing in their Love, but was too Tolerant of false doctrine!
        1. Both extremes must be avoided in the church.
        2. Paul says, the proper equation is truth + love.
        3. Not Unloving Orthodoxy, nor Loving Compromise!
  5. EXHORTATION (24,25)
    1. vs.24 - To those who have not trafficked w/Jez.…“No other burden”, other than keeping from immorality & Idolatry! {An echo of Acts 15:28,29 “ For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”}
    2. vs.25 - “Till I come” - 1st mention of His coming for His church(rapture)!
  6. PROMISE (26-29)
    1. vs.26,27- God’s people will live & reign w/Christ during the mill.Rev.20:4
      1. He will set up a perfect kingdom w/perfect justice!
      2. Rebellious men will be like clay pots, easily broken to pieces!
    2. vs.28 - “Morning Star” - [LAB] “A morning star appears just before dawn, when things are coldest & darkest. When the world is at its bleakest point, Christ will burst onto the scene, exposing evil w/His light of the truth & bringing His promised reward!”
    3. vs.29 - We might be like:
      1. Smyrna who was the most sp. of the 4 (though it probably didn’t look like it at the time/persec.) - God sees “inside”!
        1. 1 Cor.4:5 “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God.”
      2. Pergamos & Thyatira was so tolerant of evil, it grieved the Lord, & it invited His judgment!
      3. Ephesus who was zealous & orthodox, but had lost their devotion to Christ! or, Thyatira who’s love was increasing, yet lacking discernment that is nec. to keep the church pure!
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Revelation 2". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/revelation-2.html. 2017.