Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 2:1

"To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:
New American Standard Version
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  1. Adam Clarke Commentary
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  37. Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms
  38. Whedon's Commentary on the Bible
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Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Angel of the Churches;   Church;   Ephesus;   Minister, Christian;   Scofield Reference Index - Life;   Thompson Chain Reference - Angels;   Ephesus;   The Topic Concordance - Hate;   Knowledge;   Repentance;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Stars, the;   Titles and Names of Ministers;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Angel;   Ephesus;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Apocalyptic literature;   Ephesus;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Hand, Right Hand;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Patience of God;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Church;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Ephesus;   Synagogue;   Timothy, the First Epistle to;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ephesus;   Revelation, the Book of;   Worship;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Asia;   Church;   Ephesus;   Magi;   Nicolas;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Abomination of Desolation ;   Angels;   Angels of the Seven Churches;   Ascension of Isaiah;   Ephesus ;   Gold ;   Image;   Lamp Lampstand;   Numbers (2);   Session;   Star;   Star (2);   Walk (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Ephesians, Epistle to the;   Ephesus ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Angel;   Ephesus;   Sepharvaim;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Angel;   Ephesus;   Seven;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Synagogue;   Tim'othy;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Synagogue;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Revelation of John:;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Apostle and Apostleship;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for October 30;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Unto the angel of the Church of Ephesus - By αγγελος, angel, we are to understand the messenger or person sent by God to preside over this Church; and to him the epistle is directed, not as pointing out his state, but the state of the Church under his care. Angel of the Church here answers exactly to that officer of the synagogue among the Jews called ציבור שליח sheliach tsibbur, the messenger of the Church, whose business it was to read, pray, and teach in the synagogue. The Church at Ephesus is first addressed, as being the place where John chiefly resided; and the city itself was the metropolis of that part of Asia. The angel or bishop at this time was most probably Timothy, who presided over that Church before St. John took up his residence there, and who is supposed to have continued in that office till a.d. 97, and to have been martyred a short time before St. John's return from Patmos.

Holdeth the seven stars - Who particularly preserves, and guides, and upholds, not only the ministers of those seven Churches, but all the genuine ministers of his Gospel, in all ages and places.

Walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks - Is the supreme Bishop and Head, not only of those Churches, but of all the Churches or congregations of his people throughout the world.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-2.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The Epistle to the Church at Ephesus

The contents of the epistle to the church at Ephesus - the first addressed - are these:

(1)The attribute of the Saviour referred to is, that he “holds the stars in his right hand, and walks in the midst of the golden candlesticks,” Revelation 2:1.

(2)he commends them for their patience, and for their opposition to those who are evil, and for their zeal and fidelity in carefully examining into the character of some who claimed to be apostles, but who were, in fact, impostors; for their perseverance in bearing up under trial, and not fainting in his cause, and for their opposition to the Nicolaitanes, whom, he says, he hates, Revelation 2:2-3, Revelation 2:6.

(3)he reproves them for having left their first love to him, Revelation 2:4.

(4)he admonishes them to remember whence they had fallen, to repent, and to do their first works Revelation 2:5.

(5)he threatens them that, if they do not repent, he will come and remove the candlestick out of its place, Revelation 2:5; and,

(6)he assures them, and all others, that whosoever overcomes he will “give him to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God,” Revelation 2:7.

Unto the angel - The minister; the presiding presbyter; the bishop - in the primitive sense of the word “bishop” - denoting one who had the spiritual charge of a congregation. See the notes on Revelation 1:20.

Of the church - Not of the churches of Ephesus, but of the one church of that city. There is no evidence that the word is used in a collective sense to denote a group of churches, like a diocese; nor is there any evidence that there was such a group of churches in Ephesus, or that there was more than one church in that city. It is probable that all who were Christians there were regarded as members of one church - though for convenience they may have met for worship in different places. Thus, there was one church in Corinth 1 Corinthians 1:1; one church in Thessalonica 1 Thessalonians 1:1, etc.

Of Ephesus - On the situation of Ephesus, see the notes on Acts 18:19, and the introduction to the notes on the Epistle to the Ephesians, section 1, and the engraving there. It was the capital of Ionia; was one of the twelve Ionian cities of Asia Minor in the Mythic times, and was said to have been founded by the Amazons. It was situated on the river Cayster, not far from the Icarian Sea, between Smyrna and Miletus. It was one of the most considerable cities of Asia Minor, and while, about the epoch when Christianity was introduced, other cities declined, Ephesus rose more and more. It owed its prosperity, in part, to the favor of its governors; for Lysimachus named the city Arsinoe, in honor of his second wife, and Attalus Philadelphus furnished it with splendid wharves and docks. Under the Romans it was the capital not only of Ionia, but of the entire province of Asia, and bore the honorable title of the first and greatest metropolis of Asia. John is supposed to have resided in this city, and to have preached the gospel there for many years; and on this account, perhaps, it was, as well as on account of the relative importance of the city, that the first epistle of the seven was addressed to that church. On the present condition of the ruins of Ephesus, see the notes on Revelation 2:5. We have no means whatever of ascertaining the size of the church when John wrote the Book of Revelation. From the fact, however, that Paul, as is supposed (see the introduction to the Epistle to the Ephesians, section 2), labored there for about three years; that there was a body of “elders” who presided over the church there Acts 20:17; and that the apostle John seems to have spent a considerable part of his life there in preaching the gospel, it may be presumed that there was a large and flourishing church in that city. The epistle before us shows also that it was characterized by distinguished piety.

These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand - See the notes on Revelation 1:16. The object here seems to be to turn the attention of the church in Ephesus to some attribute of the Saviour which deserved their special regard, or which constituted a special reason for attending to what he said. To do this, the attention is directed, in this case, to the fact that he held the seven stars - emblematic of the ministers of the churches - in his hand, and that he walked in the midst of the lampbearers - representing the churches themselves; intimating that they were dependent on him, that he had power to continue or remove the ministry, and that it was by his presence only that those lamp-bearers would continue to give light. The absolute control over the ministry, and the fact that he walked amidst the churches, and that his presence was necessary to their perpetuity and their welfare, seem to be the principal ideas implied in this representation. These truths he would impress on their minds, in order that they might feel how easy it would be for him to punish any disobedience, and in order that they might do what was necessary to secure his continual presence among them. These views seem to be sanctioned by the character of the punishment threatened Revelation 2:5, “that he would remove the candlestick representing their church out of its place.” See the notes on Revelation 2:5.

Who walketh in the midst, … - In Revelation 1:13 he is represented simply as being seen amidst the golden candlesticks. See the notes on that place. Here there is the additional idea of his “walking” in the midst of them, implying perhaps constant and vigilant supervision. He went from one to another, as one who inspects and surveys what is under his care; perhaps also with the idea that he went among them as a friend to bless them.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-2.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

REV:2

This chapter contains the first four of the seven letters to the churches which received these special communications from the Lord Jesus Christ through the apostle John as intermediary, these being: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum and Thyatira. But what do the letters mean? Are they to be understood as prophetic revelations regarding the seven successive ages of church history? Many scholars, of course, who take such view of them rather confidently interpret these seven ages of the church thus:

The Church Addressed / Typifies:

Ephesus -- The apostolic period

Smyrna -- The period of persecution

Pergamum -- The times of union with the state of Rome

Thyatira -- The Dark Ages

Sardis -- The Reformation

Philadelphia -- The evangelization movement

Laodicea -- The final period before the Second AdventSIZE>

G. Campbell Morgan made the above applications.[1]

A deep respect is felt for the sincere students of the Holy Scriptures who accept this and similar views of these seven churches; but there are a number of considerations which forbid our agreement with them:

(1) The applications simply do not fit. Sardis, for example, could not possibly represent the church of Jesus Christ during the age of Reformation, because this, as regards the true church was a time of its greatest zeal and purity.

(2) The conditions typical of each of these seven congregations, from the very beginning of the Christian era, and until the present time, are to be found simultaneously existing in all the ages of the church. Right now, there are "brotherly love" churches (Philadelphia), "lukewarm" churches (Laodicea), and even "wicked" churches (Sardis), etc.; and we find full agreement with Criswell who wrote:

All seven co-exist together: some that are aflame with missions (Philadelphia), some that are paying the price with their lives (Smyrna), some that are cooling off in their devotion (Ephesus), and some that are taking it easy in Zion (Laodicea).[2]

(3) These letters appear here in their normal geographical sequence, each in turn being next on the list for anyone attempting to visit all seven. They have nothing to do with any chronological succession of churches or conditions to the end of time.[3]

(4) Furthermore, all seven of these churches existed simultaneously in a relatively small area at the time John wrote. This is a powerful suggestion that the various conditions pointed out would continue to exist simultaneously throughout history, which they do, as a matter of fact.

(5) Added to all this is the absolute lack of any solid agreement as to when one age terminated and another age began. For these, and for other reasons that will appear in the comments on these letters, they shall be regarded here as applicable in their entirety to all generations. In fact, the material addressed to each church was, at the time John wrote, applicable to all. As Hinds pointed out:

It is unnecessary to conclude that these very short letters were sent separately to the respective churches. Each congregation received all of them, with the rest of the book.[4]

The repeated admonition "Hear what the Spirit saith to the churches" makes what is written to any one of these applicable to all the "churches."

Despite our disagreement with what for many is the normal understanding of these letters, it must be admitted that, "There is a remarkable coincidence between these seven letters and the sequence of periods suggested."[5]

[1] G. Campbell Morgan, An Exposition of the Whole Bible (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1959), pp. 533,534.

[2] W. A. Criswell, Expository Sermons on Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1962), p. 43.

[3] R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John's Revelation (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Augsburg Publishing House, 1943), p. 82.

[4] John T. Hinds, A Commentary of Revelation (Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1962), p. 34.

[5] Ralph Earle, Beacon Bible Commentary, Vol. 10 (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1967), p. 489.

To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, he that walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks:

EPHESUS

This is actually the second inspired letter to Ephesus, the canonical book of Ephesians having, in all probability, been directed to this same congregation. See the introduction in my Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. Regarding the city itself:

It was the major city of the great Roman province of Asia which embraced a large area of what is now Asia Minor. Its history reached into the remote past, tradition claiming that it was originally founded by the Amazons. Blaiklock stated that the "city was at least ten centuries old when Paul entered it."[6] Alexander the Great captured it in 334 B.C.; but one of his generals, Lysimachus, inherited it; but by the times of the apostles, it was a thoroughly Roman city, but with a Culture deeply colored by the pagan associations with the city's past. Artemis, the principal deity (the Biblical Diana), actually went back to the old Asiatic goddess of nature; but by Paul's time her worship had taken on a different character. Symbolized by a monstrous object of worship (reportedly having fallen from heaven, and possibly a meteorite) that resembled roughly a human female figure with grotesque multiple breasts, her temple, four times the size of the Athenian Parthenon, had become in the days of the apostles perhaps the most important building in Asia. It was a combination of the Bank of England, a city of refuge, a manufacturing and commercial center, and the heart of the whole pagan area. The original temple burned the night Alexander the Great was born; and later, he offered to give his wealth to rebuilding it, if they would inscribe his name on the portal. The Ephesian priests declined with the comment that it was not appropriate for one God's name to be inscribed on the temple of another God! The character of that temple as a city of refuge resulted in the entire sanctuary area, a quarter of a mile in all directions, becoming one of the vilest collections of thieves, murderers, and lawless persons ever known on earth.[7]

By the times of the apostles, the harbor had begun to silt up, and Ephesus was rivaled by other cities. It was, in a sense, a decaying metropolis; and some have supposed that the general character of the city may have contributed to the waning ardor of the Ephesian congregation.

Despite this, it was far and away the most important city of the entire area when John wrote, and it was appropriate enough that the first of these letters should have been addressed to the congregation in Ephesus.

Ephesus with its great temple continued until 262 A.D., when it was sacked and destroyed by the Goths. The Edict of Theodosius closed all the pagan temples about 389 A.D.

Today, a Turkish village, Ayassoluk, the modern representative of ancient Ephesus, stands about a mile northeast of the ancient city.[8] In view of the wretched history of this city in the post-apostolic period, one must conclude that God did indeed remove her candlestick out of its place.

The angel of the church ... See introduction for discussion of this. It cannot be that a literal angel is meant, because that would involve supposing that God sent a message through a mortal to a supernatural being. It cannot mean the local bishop, pastor, or other officer of the church; because it would not be in harmony with the justice of God to believe that such a human officer would have been condemned, or complimented, for what other humans were doing. The angel here is fully accountable for the condition of the church, and this demands the thought of some kind of personification, or by extension, every Christian. After all, every Christian is kept firmly in the Saviour's right hand.

The seven stars in his right hand ... All of these letters reflect the magnificent description of the Christ given in the foregoing chapter, the particular details chosen for the reference to Christ in each case being usually understood as especially appropriate to the time and circumstance in each city. Christ's holding the stars in his hand, as here, suggests the utmost concern of the Lord for every single one of the Christians, the waning love of the Ephesians for each other (as some think) being a tacit denial of the great truth thus symbolized.

Walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks ... This indicates the active, constant, and persistent energy in which Christ is concerned with the welfare of every church and every Christian.

[6] E. M. Blaiklock, Cities of the New Testament (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1965), p. 62.

[7] E. J. Banks, ISBE, p. 961.

[8] Encyclopedia Britannica (Chicago: William Benton, Publisher, 1961), Vol. 8, p. 644.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-2.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write,.... Of the city of Ephesus; see Gill on Revelation 1:11 and see Gill on Acts 18:19. The church here seems to have been founded by the Apostle Paul, who continued here two years, by which means all Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, Acts 19:10; of this church; see Gill on Acts 20:17; it is named first, because it was the largest, most populous, and famous, and was nearest to Patmos, where John now was, and most known to him, it being the place where he had resided; and it was the place from whence the Gospel came to others, and spread itself in lesser Asia; but especially it is first written to, because it represented the church in the apostolic age; so that this letter contains the things which are, Revelation 1:19; and in its very name, to the state of this church in Ephesus, there may be an allusion; either to εφεσις, "ephesis", which signifies "desire", and may be expressive of the fervent love of that pure and apostolic church to Jesus Christ at the beginning of it; their eager desire after more knowledge of him, and communion with him; after his word and ordinances, and the maintaining of the purity of them; after the spread of his Gospel, and the enlargement of his kingdom in the world; as well as after fellowship with the saints, and the spiritual welfare of each other: the allusion may be also to αφεσις, "aphesis", which signifies "remission", or an abatement; and so may point out the remissness and decay of the first love of these primitive Christians, towards the close of this state; of the abatement of the fervency of it, of which complaint is made in this epistle, and not without cause. This epistle is inscribed to the angel of this church, or the pastor of it; why ministers are called angels; see Gill on Revelation 1:20; some think this was Timothy, whom the Apostle Paul sent thither, and desired him to continue there, 1 Timothy 1:3, there was one Onesimus bishop of Ephesus, when Polycarp was bishop of Smyrna, of whom he makes mention in his epistleF24Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 3. c. 36. to the Ephesians, and bids fair to be this angel; though if any credit could be given to the Apostolic ConstitutionsF25L. vii. c. 46. the bishop of this place was one John, who is said to be ordained by the Apostle John, and is thought to be the same with John the elderF26Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 3. c. 39. , the master of Papias; but though only one is mentioned, yet all the elders of this church, for there were more than one, see Acts 20:17; are included; and not they only, but the whole church over whom they presided; for what was written was ordered to be sent to the church, and was sent by John, see Revelation 1:4; the letter was sent to the pastor or pastors, to the whole body of ministers, by them to be communicated to the church; and not only to this particular church did this letter and the contents of it belong, but to all the churches of Christ within the period of the apostolic age, as may be concluded from Revelation 2:7.

These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand; the Syriac version reads, "that holds all things, and these seven stars in his right hand"; for the explanation of this character of Christ; see Gill on Revelation 1:16; only let it be observed how suitably this is prefixed to the church at Ephesus, and which represents the state of the churches in the times of the apostles; in which place, and during which interval, our Lord remarkably held his ministering: servants as stars in his right hand; he held and protected the Apostle Paul for two years in this place, and preserved him and his companions safe amidst the uproar raised by Demetrius the silversmith about them; here also he protected Timothy at a time when there were many adversaries, and kept the elders of this church pure, notwithstanding the erroneous persons that rose up among them; and last of all the Apostle John, who here resided, and died in peace, notwithstanding the rage and fury of his persecutors: likewise Christ in a very visible manner held all his faithful ministers during this period in his right hand, safe and secure, until they had done the work they were sent about, and preserved them in purity of doctrine and conversation; so that their light in both respects shone brightly before men. Moreover, as this title of Christ is prefixed to the epistle to the first of the churches, and its pastor or pastors, it may be considered as relating to, and holding good of all the ministers of the Gospel and pastors of the other churches; and likewise of all the churches in successive ages to the end of the world, as the following one also refers to all the churches themselves:

who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; see Gill on Revelation 1:12; see Gill on Revelation 1:13; Christ was not only present with, and took his walks in this church at Ephesus, but in all the churches of that period, comparable to candlesticks, which held forth the light of the Gospel, and that in order as the antitype of Aaron, to him these lamps, and likewise in all his churches to the end of the world; see Matthew 28:20.

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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-2.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Unto 1 the angel of the church of Ephesus write; 2 These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

(1) The former part of this book is comprised in a narration of those things which then were, as John taught us, in (Revelation 1:19) it belongs wholly to instruction, and in these two next chapters, contains seven places, according to the number and condition of those churches which were named before in (Revelation 1:11) shown in (Revelation 1:12) and distributed most aptly into their pastors and flocks, (Revelation 1:10) which verse of that chapter is a passage to the first part. Every one of these seven passages has three principal parts, an introduction taken from the person of the reprehension of that which is evil: an instruction, containing either an exhortation alone, or a dissuasion opposite to it, and a conclusion stirring to attention, by divine promises. This first passage is to the pastors of the church of Ephesus. {(2)} The introduction in which are contained the special prayers of Christ Jesus the author of this prophecy out of (Revelation 1:6), (Revelation 1:13).
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-2.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Revelation 2:1-29. Epistles to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira.

Each of the seven epistles in this and the third chapter, commences with, “I know thy works.” Each contains a promise from Christ, “To him that overcometh.” Each ends with, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” The title of our Lord in each case accords with the nature of the address, and is mainly taken from the imagery of the vision, Revelation 1:12-16. Each address has a threat or a promise, and most of the addresses have both. Their order seems to be ecclesiastical, civil, and geographical: Ephesus first, as being the Asiatic metropolis (termed “the light of Asia,” and “first city of Asia”), the nearest to Patmos, where John received the epistle to the seven churches, and also as being that Church with which John was especially connected; then the churches on the west coast of Asia; then those in the interior. Smyrna and Philadelphia alone receive unmixed praise. Sardis and Laodicea receive almost solely censure. In Ephesus, Pergamos, and Thyatira, there are some things to praise, others to condemn, the latter element preponderating in one case (Ephesus), the former in the two others (Pergamos and Thyatira). Thus the main characteristics of the different states of different churches, in all times and places, are portrayed, and they are suitably encouraged or warned.

Ephesus — famed for the temple of Diana, one of the seven wonders of the world. For three years Paul labored there. He subsequently ordained Timothy superintending overseer or bishop there: probably his charge was but of a temporary nature. John, towards the close of his life, took it as the center from which he superintended the province.

holdethGreek, “holdeth fast,” as in Revelation 2:25; Revelation 3:11; compare John 10:28, John 10:29. The title of Christ here as “holding fast the seven stars (from Revelation 1:16: only that, for having is substituted holding fast in His grasp), and walking in the midst of the seven candlesticks,” accords with the beginning of His address to the seven churches representing the universal Church. Walking expresses His unwearied activity in the Church, guarding her from internal and external evils, as the high priest moved to and fro in the sanctuary.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-2.html. 1871-8.

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

1. Ephesus was the New York of Western Asia — the metropolis of idolatry, honored with the Temple of Diana, which occupied two hundred years in building, and was one of the seven wonders of the world. Such was the importance of this city that Paul actually spent three years there preaching the gospel when he founded the Church. This was written a generation after the death of Paul, of the people converted and sanctified by his ministry. Many had back-slidden, and many more doubtless had come into the Church unsaved; still, however, they were pertinaciously orthodox.

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Godbey, William. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/revelation-2.html.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

In Ephesus (εν Επεσωιen Ephesōi). Near the sea on the river Cayster, the foremost city of Asia Minor, the temple-keeper of Artemis and her wonderful temple (Acts 19:35), the home of the magic arts (Ephesian letters, Acts 19:19) and of the mystery-cults, place of Paul‘s three years‘ stay (Acts 19:1-10; 20:17-38), where Aquila and Priscilla and Apollos laboured (Acts 18:24-28), where Timothy wrought (1 Tim. and 2 Tim.), where the Apostle John preached in his old age. Surely it was a place of great privilege, of great preaching. It was about sixty miles from Patmos and the messenger would reach Ephesus first. It is a free city, a seat of proconsular government (Acts 19:38), the end of the great road from the Euphrates. The port was a place of shifting sands, due to the silting up of the mouth of the Cayster. Ramsay (Letters to the Seven Churches, p. 210) calls it “the City of Change.”

These things (ταδεtade). This demonstrative seven times here, once with the message to each church (Revelation 2:1, Revelation 2:8, Revelation 2:12, Revelation 2:18; Revelation 2:1, Revelation 2:7, Revelation 2:14), only once elsewhere in N.T. (Acts 21:11).

He that holdeth (ο κρατωνho kratōn). Present active articular participle of κρατεωkrateō a stronger word than εχωνechōn in Revelation 1:16, to which it refers.

He that walketh (ο περιπατωνho peripatōn). Present active articular participle of περιπατεωperipateō an allusion to Revelation 1:13. These two epithets are drawn from the picture of Christ in Revelation 1:13-18, and appropriately to conditions in Ephesus describe Christ‘s power over the churches as he moves among them.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-2.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Ephesus

Ephesus was built near the sea, in the valley of the Cayster, under the shadows of Coressus and Prion. In the time of Paul it was the metropolis of the province of Asia. It was styled by Pliny the Light of Asia. Its harbor, though partly filled up, was crowded with vessels, and it lay at the junction of roads which gave it access to the whole interior continent. Its markets were the “Vanity Fair” of Asia. Herodotus says: “The Ionians of Asia have built their cities in a region where the air and climate are the most beautiful in the whole world; for no other region is equally blessed with Ionia. For in other countries, either the climate is over-cold and damp, or else the heat and drought are sorely oppressive” (i., 142).

In Paul's time it was the residence of the Roman proconsul; and the degenerate inhabitants descended to every species of flattery in order to maintain the favor of Rome. The civilization of the city was mingled Greek and Oriental. It was the head-quarters of the magical art, and various superstitions were represented by different priestly bodies. The great temple of Diana, the Oriental, not the Greek divinity, was ranked among the seven wonders of the world, and Ephesus called herself its sacristan (see on Acts 19:27). To it attached the right of asylum. Legend related that when the temple was finished, Mithridates stood on its summit and declared that the right of asylum should extend in a circle round it, as far as he could shoot an arrow; and the arrow miraculously flew a furlong. This fact encouraged moral contagion. The temple is thus described by Canon Farrar: “It had been built with ungrudging magnificence out of contributions furnished by all Asia - the very women contributing to it their jewels, as the Jewish women had done of old for the Tabernacle of the Wilderness. To avoid the danger of earthquakes, its foundations were built at vast cost on artificial foundations of skin and charcoal laid over the marsh. It gleamed far off with a star-like radiance. Its peristyle consisted of one hundred and twenty pillars of the Ionic order, hewn out of Parian marble. Its doors of carved cypress wood were surmounted by transoms so vast and solid that the aid of miracles was invoked to account for their elevation. The staircase, which led to the roof, was said to have been cut out of a single vine of Cyprus. Some of the pillars were carved with designs of exquisite beauty. Within were the masterpieces of Praxiteles and Phidias and Scopas and Polycletus. Paintings by the greatest of Greek artists, of which one - the likeness of Alexander the Great by Apelles - had been bought for a sum equal in value to £5,000 of modern money, adorned the inner walls. The roof of the temple itself was of cedar-wood, supported by columns of jasper on bases of Parian marble. On these pillars hung gifts of priceless value, the votive offerings of grateful superstition. At the end of it stood the great altar adorned by the bas-relief of Praxiteles, behind which fell the vast folds of a purple curtain. Behind this curtain was the dark and awful shrine in which stood the most sacred idol of classic heathendom; and again, behind the shrine, was the room which, inviolable under divine protection, was regarded as the wealthiest and securest bank in the ancient world “(“Life and Work of St. Paul,” ii., 12).

Next to Rome, Ephesus was the principal seat of Paul's labors. He devoted three years to that city. The commonly received tradition represents John as closing his apostolic career there. Nothing in early Church history is better attested than his residence and work in Ephesus, the center of the circle of churches established by Paul in Ionia and Phrygia.

Who walketh ( ὁ περιπατῶν )

More than standeth. The word expresses Christ's activity on behalf of His Church.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-2.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

Write — So Christ dictated to him every word.

These things saith he who holdeth the seven stars in his right hand — Such is his mighty power! Such his favour to them and care over them, that they may indeed shine as stars, both by purity of doctrine and holiness of life! Who walketh - According to his promise, "I am with you always, even to the end of the world." In the midst of the golden candlesticks - Beholding all their works and thoughts, and ready to "remove the candlestick out of its place," if any, being warned, will not repent. Perhaps here is likewise an allusion to the office of the priests in dressing the lamps, which was to keep them always burning before the Lord.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-2.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Unto the angel of the church. This expression, which is used in reference to each of the seven churches, has been generally understood to refer to the several presiding officers, upon whom would devolve the duty of receiving and communicating such epistles. It is, however, perhaps, not certain that any actual office is intended. The term may be used, in accordance with the general style and manner of this book, symbolically, that is, as a personification of the spirit and influence by which the several churches were characterized; for it does not appear to be elsewhere used to signify presiding officers over the church; and besides, from other allusions to these churches, it would seem that there was no one officer who had them particularly in charge. James 5:14. Tit. 1:5.) However this may be, it is plain that the instructions and warnings contained in these epistles, thus addressed in form to the angels of the churches, are plainly intended for the members in general. See Revelation 2:10,11, and other similar modes of expression.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/revelation-2.html. 1878.

Scofield's Reference Notes

angels

The natural explanation of the "messengers" is that they were men sent by the seven churches to ascertain the state of the aged apostle, now an exile in Patmos (cf) Philippians 4:18 but they figure any who bear God's messages to a church.

churches

The messages to the seven churches have a fourfold application:

(1) Local, to the churches actually addressed;

(2) admonitory, to all churches in all time as tests by which they may discern their true spiritual state in the sight of God;

(3) personal, in the exhortations to him "that hath an ear," and in the promise "to him that overcometh";

(4) prophetic, as disclosing seven phases of the spiritual history of the church from, say, A.D. 96 to the end. It is incredible that in a prophecy covering the church period, there should be no such foreview. These messages must contain that foreview if it is in the book at all, for the church does not appear after Revelation 3:22. Again, these messages by their very terms go beyond the local assemblies mentioned. Most conclusively of all, these messages do present an exact foreview of the spiritual history of the church, and in this precise order. Ephesus gives the general state at the date of the writing; Smyrna, the period of the great persecutions; Pergamos, the church settled down in the world, "where Satan's throne is," after the conversion of Constantine, say A.D. 316. Thyatira is the Papacy, developed out of the Pergamos state: Balaamism (worldliness) and Nicolaitanism (priestly assumption) having conquered. As Jezebel brought idolatry into Israel, so Romanism weds Christian doctrine to pagan ceremonies. Sardis is the Protestant Reformation, whose works were not "fulfilled." Philadelphia is whatever bears clear testimony to the Word and the Name in the time of self-satisfied profession represented by Laodicea.

mystery (See Scofield "Matthew 13:11").

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Revelation 2:1". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/revelation-2.html. 1917.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

THE CHURCH IN EPHESUS

‘Unto the angel of the Church of Ephesus write.’

Revelation 2:1

Of the various Churches in the Roman province of Asia during the second half of the first century a.d., seven are selected by the author of one of the Apocalypses comprised in what we know as the Book of the Revelation to receive brief epistles containing references to their condition, and with those references such warnings, encouragement, praise, blame, as the circumstances demanded.

The Church in Ephesus is earnestly and plainly warned of the gravity of her condition. She is in peril of final rejection, notwithstanding her toil, her patience, her doctrinal fidelity. She must get back to her old level. She must remember ‘from whence she is fallen.’

Surely this epistle has its lessons for us whether as a religious community or as individuals.

I. Does it not warn us as a Church against relying too much on mere doctrinal accuracy, on formal exactitude, on conformity to traditions however venerable, for a continuance of the Divine blessing? It is so easy to persuade ourselves that the Lord is with us, because we have the threefold ministry, because the sacraments are duly administered by us, because we are in the true succession, because we are the historic Church. It is so easy—so fatally easy—to rest our confidence on such things and to forget that more is required, if we are to continue our work as a Church, to fill the position assigned to us, to be worthy of the recognition of the Ascended Son of Man. Might we not adapt the language of the epistle somewhat thus, so as to apply with suggestive force to ourselves? I know thy works, thy labours, thy history. I know that thou hast been scrupulous in ordinations and forms of service. Thine has been a great record; if there was once stagnation, there is now activity. But I have this against thee that thou art wanting in spiritual power. Beware lest thy light be quenched and thy glory lost beyond recovery.

II. And what of ourselves?—We pride ourselves on our churchmanship, on our religious privileges, on our spiritual inheritance. But what of our inner lives? What is the truth as to the personal relation in which we stand to Christ? What is the measure of our individual love for Him? How far are we willing to sacrifice ourselves in His service? How deep is the joy we find in the thought of Him, in the anticipation of one day seeing Him ‘face to face’? ‘Remember.’ Does memory speak to us in words of reproach? The past was so much better and worthier than the present. The zeal was so much keener. The prayers were so much more earnest. The Bible reading was so much more devout, we got so much more out of it. The presence at the Lord’s Supper was so much more fruitful. Once we did love Him with all our hearts and souls. But now that love has grown less earnest, less inspiring, less uplifting. Formalism has taken the place of enthusiasm; orthodoxy there is still, but not, not, the old burning spirituality. We have not lost faith; we have not broken away from the creeds; we have not cast away the habits of worship; but the bright flame of ‘the first love’—the love of years ago—has sunk low or gone out. If that be so, then what is our religious condition? Can we really think that all is right with us? Can we really suppose that we are in no sort of danger, that whatever may happen to others we at any rate will not be among the castaways? ‘Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I come to thee, and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent.’ Such is the warning!

III. There is also the promise.—‘To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.’ The tree of life! The Paradise of God! The leaves of healing! These are the figures of speech. The realities may be ours, even ours. Life for ever! Life unweakened by disease! Life unclouded by the shadow of death! Life in all its glory! Life in all its vigour and grace and beauty! The life of angels and archangels! The life of the saints! The life of the Son of Man. Such is the reward which will be God’s gift to us, if we overcome.

Rev. the Hon. W. E. Bowen.

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/revelation-2.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

Ver. 1. Unto the angel] This was Timothy, as some think; who not stirring up the gift of God that was in him, had remitted somewhat of his former fervour. By the style here given him ("angel") he is monished not more of his dignity than of his duty. That angel at Bochim, 2:1, is thought to have been Phineas. And some interpret that of Solomon, "Neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error of the priest," Ecclesiastes 5:6. It is good counsel to ministers that one gives, Angelorum induistis nomen, induite et naturam, ne sit (ut digit nonnemo) nomen inane, crimen immane: Ye have put on the name, put on also the nature of angels; lest an empty name fill up the measure of your sins.

Of the church of Ephesus] εφεσις or εφεσι. Languishing Ephesus hath not her name for nought; for she was so named of remissness or slackening her hold, wherewith she is here upbraided, Conveniunt rebus nomina saepe suis.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-2.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Revelation 2:1

From Whom the Epistle Comes.

I. The form that John beheld in the opening vision, and at whose feet he fell down as dead, was that of the glorified Jesus, arrayed as a royal Priest, holding seven stars in His right hand. The holding has energy in it; none can pluck them out of His hand. These stars are explained to be the angels of the Churches. Through them as chosen agency the Lord is pleased to impart light to the Churches. The fact that the Lord holds the stars in His right hand seems to symbolise that they belong to Him, are dependent upon Him for their place and lustre, are His gift for the illumination of His people, and give. Him pleasure by their clear shining. They are not like torches, consuming their own substance and speedily going out; they derive their light from the source of light.

II. The main idea to be apprehended from the symbol of a golden candlestick is that a Church is designed to hold up and hold forth the word of life. It is not merely that individual believers are lights in the world and ought to let their light shine, but a Church viewed as a community ought to do so. This design is to be carried out in part by the various arrangements and methods whereby a public exhibition is made of the Gospel. These methods may be included under the general head of preaching, which is the proclamation of the Gospel without selecting your audience, and irrespective of moral condition, culture, social rank, nationality, geographical limits, or any other distinction between man and man.

III. The Lord walketh in the midst of the candlesticks. This walking in the midst implies inspection. But we must not be misled, as if this inspection were designed only for a terror and a check to evil. The Lord's searching eye is welcome to the believer. Knowing this, we may not only be willing to have His light shine in upon us, but we may well pray that He would search and know our heart, in order that He may lead us in the way everlasting.

J. Culross, Thy First Love, p. 14.


I. We have in this symbol important truths concerning the Churches and their servants. Note (1) that the messengers are rulers. They are described in a double manner: by a name which expresses subordination and by a figure which expresses authority. I need not do more than remind you that throughout Scripture, from the time when Baalam beheld from afar the star that should come out of Jacob and the sceptre that should rise out of Israel, that has been the symbol for rulers. It is so notably in this book of Revelation. (2) The messengers and the Churches have at bottom the same work to do. Stars shine, so do lamps. So all Christian men have the same work to do. The ways of doing it differ, but the thing done is one. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man for the same purpose: to do good with. And we have all one office and function, to be discharged by each in his own fashion—namely, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (3) Again, observe the Churches and their messengers are alike in their religious condition and character. There is such a constant interaction and reciprocal influence that uniformity results. Either a living teacher will, by God's grace, quicken a languid Church, or a languid Church will, with the devil's help, stifle the life of the teacher.

II. Note the Churches and their work. (1) The Church is to be light—light, silent, gentle, and itself invisible. (2) The Church's light is derived light. (3) It is blended or clustered light.

III. The text shows us the Churches and their Lord. He is with them to hold up and to bless. His unwearied hand sustains, His unceasing activity moves among, them. He is with us to observe, to judge, and, if need be, to punish. Let us hold fast by the Lord, whose blood has purchased, and whose presence preserves through all the unworthiness and the lapses of men, that Church against which the gates of hell shall not prevail.

A. Maclaren, Sermons in Manchester, 2nd series, p. 150.


To Whom the Epistle is Sent.

The letter to Ephesus is addressed "unto the angel of the Church." It is an unwarranted inference that Christ is hereby putting the Church at a distance. He is simply employing the most natural instrumentality that could under the circumstances be employed to communicate with them and to restore them to their first love.

I. Who or what, then, was the angel of the Church of Ephesus? According to one view, he was a purely spiritual being, appointed of the Lord to be the guardian or ministering angel of that particular Christian community. A second view makes the angel of the Church a purely ideal figure or personification, having no real, but only an imaginary, existence, and intended, in a highly symbolical book, to denote the manner of spirit characterising the particular Christian community. A powerful objection to both these views is that a letter, written with pen and ink on paper or parchment, is required to be put into the hands of the angel, to be communicated to the Church, which could not be done if he were a celestial being or a mere ideal personification or symbol.

II. Without entering into discussion, I can say that we must regard the angel as a name either for the eldership collectively, or for a single individual occupying a place of service and responsibility under Christ, and the natural channel of communication with the Church—in all likelihood a lowly, undistinguished man. He who knows and believes the great message of the Gospel has a right to tell it forth and expound it to his fellow-men. I do not say that he has a right to be listened to that is for the hearer to judge. The man to whom the Lord gives fitness for this service and whom He calls to it is in so far the Lord's "angel" or messenger; and in each of the seven Churches there was, as a matter of fact, one such man as Christ's minister, known and acknowledged to be such by his brethren. The letter, however, while it is directed to the angel and while it undoubtedly touches him first, is not a personal and private one. It is for universal use. Every age needs it, and every age is summoned to listen.

J. Culross, Thy First Love, p. 1.


Reference: Revelation 2:1-7.—Expositor, 1st series, vol. ii., p. 186.


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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/revelation-2.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Revelation 2:1.— The second and third chapters contain the seven epistles to the seven churches of Asia; which are particularly addressed, because, as is commonly believed, they were under St. John's immediate inspection. He constituted bishops over them. He resided much at Ephesus, which is therefore named the first of the seven. The main subjects too of this book are comprised in sevens; seven churches, seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven vials; as seven was also a mystical number throughout the Old Testament. There are likewise in these epistles several innate characters, which are peculiar to the church of that age, and cannot be so fully applied to the church of any other age: They have, therefore, rather a literal, than a mystical meaning; but, notwithstanding this, they contain most excellent spiritual and moral preceptsandexhortations,commendations and reproofs, promises and threatenings, which may be of infinite use to the church in all ages. The form and order of the parts is nearly the same in all the epistles—First, a command to write; then some character and attributes of the speaker, taken from the vision in the first chapter, and appropriated to the matter of each epistle; then commendations or reproofs, with suitable promises or threatenings; and then, in all, the same conclusion, He that hath an ear, let him hear, &c.

The first epistle is addressed to the church of Ephesus, as it was the metropolis of the Lybian Asia, the place of St. John's principal residence, and one of the most celebrated cities in Asia: but though once so magnificent and glorious, it is now become a mean village, with scarcely a single family of Christians dwelling in it. So strongly has the denunciation in Revelation 2:5 been fulfilled! See Acts 19:1.

Unto the angel—of Ephesus That is, the bishop, or presiding officer of the church. There was an officer of the synagogue, who had the name of angel; and, from his office of overlooking the reader of the law, he was called episcopus, or bis

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/revelation-2.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Note here, 1. That the church of Ephesus, with the other six churches of Asia, were, at the time of St. John's writing, very flourishing churches, favoured as much with the special presence influence of Christ as ever any churches were.

Note, 2. That these churches are written to as a sort of types of all the Gentile churches unto the end of the world, and patterns also which the Gentile churches were to take warning by, Christ hereby declaring what all other churches, offending and declining in the same manner, might expect.

Note, 3. That the first church St. John is commanded to write unto, is the church of Ephesus, and what is written is directed to the angel, the bishop, the president and chief minister in that church, to be communicated to all in the church, both ministers and people, as that which nearly concerned them all.

Note, 4. That Christ in the beginning of every epistle doth notify himself by some one of those characters which he gave of himself in the former chapter, either as the faithful and true witness, or as the first and the last, or as having the seven stars in his hand.

Thus here, These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand.

Mark, he holdeth the stars in his hand, to show his power, supporting and directing them, for the good of his people. It is added, that Christ walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. Which expression denotes Christ's gracious presence with them, his strict observation of them, his tender care over them, his protecting and defending of them in doing their duty to him, his encouraging or reproving, his rewarding or punishing, as there should be cause: These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, and walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.

Learn hence, 1. That the ministers of Christ are stars, yet but stars, they shine but with a borrowed light, with a light derived from the sun: they shine but for a time, the day hastens when these stars shall disappear for ever.

Learn, 2. These stars are in the right hand of Christ, in his power, and at his disposal; he appoints them their orbs where they shall shine, and appoints them also their time for shining.

Learn, 3. That the church is a candlestick, a golden candlestick. As a candlestick has no more light than what is put into it, and must by continually maintained by a new supply of oil, such is the state of the church; and as a candlestick is a moveable thing, remove the candlestick, and the light is removed with it: so when God removes the light of the gospel from a people, he unchurches them.

Farther, the church is called is called a golden candlestick, because as gold is the purest of metals, and excels other metals in preciousness, so God expects his church should differ as much from the world, as gold doth from common clay.

Learn, 4. That there is a special gracious presence of Christ with his church in all her adminstrations. He walks in the midst of the golden candlesticks; it denotes his presence with them, and this presence, and a joyous presence.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-2.html. 1700-1703.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 2:1. Ephesus, vying with Smyrna (Revelation 2:8) and Pergamos (Revelation 2:12) for the precedence in Asia, is called πρώτη μητρόπολις(906) (first metropolis). But neither does this political relation determine the precedency of the three churches, nor is Ephesus named at the head of them all as the proper residence of John, as Hengstenb. asserts under the presumption of the Apostolic-Johannean authenticity of the Apoc.: cf. on Revelation 1:11.

At Ephesus, which, in the times of the Apostle Paul, was the chief city of Ionia, lying on the Cayster and near the sea, known for its worship of Diana,(907) and especially distinguished for its trade and fine Grecian culture,(908) and at present in ruins, alongside of which is the village of Ajosoluk,(909) Paul had collected a congregation of Jews, and especially of heathen, and had cherished it with great love.(910) At his departure he spoke of the dangerous errors with which the churches would be visited,(911) of which there is still no trace in the Epistle to the Ephesians, not even in Ephesians 4:14; Ephesians 5:6. At the time of 1 Timothy 1:3, Timothy was superintending the church there: many expositors who regard the “angel” of the church as the bishop imagine, therefore, under a double error, that our Apocalyptic epistle is directed to Timothy.(912) Cf. also Introduction, sec. 3. The designation of the Lord, in whose name the prophet writes, is from Revelation 1:13; Revelation 1:16, only that instead of ἔχων we find now κρατῶν τ. ἑπτ. ἀστ., so that Christ is presented as though he held the stars fast,(913) protecting and supporting them, so that it depends only upon him,(914) if possibly by an act of judgment he cast them out of his hand.(915) So, also, is the περιπατῶυ, κ. τ. λ., in comparison with Revelation 1:13, where Christ appears altogether in the midst of the candlesticks. Yet even in the περιπατεῖν there does not lie so much the idea of walking to and fro, as rather that his presence is a living and actual one.(916)

The entire designation of Christ, which in general expresses his essential relation to the churches, occurs on that account fittingly in the first of the seven epistles, which, indeed, form not a mere aggregate of accidental individualities, but, as the number seven already shows, an important unity. Even in the manifestation of Christ, what first meets the eyes of the seer is how the Lord is in the midst of the candlesticks.(917) In no way, therefore, does “this item inwardly and strictly cohere with the metropolitan position of the Ephesian congregations as the universal type of the apostolical church.”(918)

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/revelation-2.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 2:1. τῷ ἀγγέλῳ, to the angel) There is a most weighty reason for these seven epistles. When the people were about to receive the law at Sinai, they were first purified: the same people, when the kingdom of God was now at hand, were prepared for it through repentance, by the ministry of John the Baptist; and now the Christian Church is furnished with these epistles, in order that they may worthily receive so great a Revelation (just as the writer himself had previously been prepared to receive it by his banishment and alarm). For the object of the writing is, that the Church, putting away from the midst of itself evil men, after due admonition, and evil things, may be prepared rightly to embrace and preserve this most precious deposit, this Revelation of such great moment, which the heavenly beings themselves honour with such profound adorations, and also to behold great events, to receive the most abundant enjoyments, and to avoid woes; the epistles themselves being interspersed with glowing sparks from the remaining part of the Revelation, and those most fitted to arouse the attention and prepare the way for the understanding of what is revealed; and the renovation of the Church by repentance, as is befitting, is placed before the sight of the rainbow, ch. Revelation 4:3. Whosoever therefore wishes to be a suitable hearer of the Apocalypse, he ought to observe the admonitions of these seven epistles;(23) for then he will learn, from the pattern which they afford, how the Apocalypse is to be applied to all men and all ages. Some have attempted to show that the seven epistles, comprised in ch. 2 and 3, refer to seven periods of the Church, their historical sense being either preserved, or (which is worse) set aside. The celebrated D. Lange, in Comm. Apoc. f. 34, seq., preserving the historical sense, extends the prophetical sense from the time of John as far as to the destruction of the whore and the beast. But we have shown that the applying of the seven epistles to seven periods is the work of human subtilty. See Erkl. Offenb. pp. 285–295. The epistles then plainly had reference to the seven churches in Asia, and especially to their angels: and whether at that time, when the book was sent from Patmos to Asia, other churches were to be compared with these seven, or not, the subordination of these churches under John is here considered; and from this all hearers, of all places and times, whether good, bad, or varying in character, ought to apply to themselves the things which equally concern them. Each address to the angel of the church is concluded with a promise, which is given to him that overcometh.— τῆς) The Cod. Alex. τῷ,(24) and that not through carelessness. For it has it three times, τῷ ἐν ἐφέσῳ ἐκκλησίας· τῷ ἐν περγά΄ῳ ἐκκλησίας (in Latin you might say, angelo ecclesiastico, qui est Ephesi, Pergami: to the angel of the church, who is at Ephesus, and at Pergamos); and, τῷ ἐν θυατίροις. These are the very three angels who are partly praised and partly blamed: and the language is more directly aimed at these in the epistles, than at the other two pairs, who are without exception either praised or blamed.— ἐν ἐφέσῳ, at Ephesus) In that city Timothy both flourished for a long time, and died shortly after the giving of the Apocalypse. Polycrates, a bishop of Ephesus, described the martyrdom of Timothy: but this writing, as many others, has been interpolated by the diligence of the later Greeks, in such a manner, however, that the principal facts remained, and were preserved from interpolation in the more simple copies. This Polycrates therefore, in Ussher de Anno Solari, f. 96, says, that the festival of the Catagogia(25) celebrated by the unbelievers at Ephesus, took place on the 22d day of January; and that on the third day afterwards Timothy was put to death by them, while Nerva was Emperor, Nerva did not see the 22d and 24th of January, as Emperor, except in the year 97, when he reigned alone, and in the year 98, when he reigned together with Trajan; and died shortly afterwards, on the 27th of January. Therefore also the Apocalypse had been sent to Ephesus, a short time only before the death of Timothy. I do not, however, think that he is the person aimed at in the address of the Apocalypse. Timothy was an Evangelist, not an angel of one church; and he also, if at the close of his life he could have declined from his first love, he would assuredly have been admonished of his approaching death, as we may believe, no less than the angel of the church at Smyrna.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-2.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

REVELATION CHAPTER 2

Revelation 2:1-7 What John was commanded to write in commendation or

reproof to the angels of the churches of Ephesus,

Revelation 2:8-11 Smyrna,

Revelation 2:12-17 Pergamos,

Revelation 2:18-29 Thyatira.

Chapter Introduction

Some things are to be observed of all the epistles, before we come to the particular epistles.

1. God’s writing in this form, (as a man to his friend), speaks Christ’s love to the church, his spouse.

2. There were not seven books written, but one book in which these seven epistles were, out of which each church, or the church in its several periods, might learn what concerned it.

3. These epistles concerning matters of faith and manners, are written plainly, not in mysterious expressions.

4. The scope of them all is to instruct, reprove, commend, and comfort.

5. They are all directed to the ministers of the churches, as their heads, but the matter concerns the whole church.

6. It is also observed, that Christ, in the beginning of every epistle, notifieth himself by some one of those things mentioned in the vision in the former chapter.

Revelation 2:1,

These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars, Revelation 1:16 Revelation 2:8, The first and the last, which was dead and is alive, Revelation 1:17,18 Re 2:12. These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges, Revelation 1:16 Revelation 2:18, The Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet like fine brass, Revelation 1:14,15 Re 3:1. He that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars, Revelation 1:4,16 Re 2:7, He that hath the key of David, that is holy and true, that openeth, & c., Revelation 1:5,18 Re 2:14, The faithful and true witness, Revelation 1:5.

Ephesus was the principal city of Asia the Less, it lay in the western parts of it, upon the Ionian Sea; a city of great riches and trade, but much given to idolatry and superstition, famous for the temple of Diana. Paul was there twice; at his second coming he stayed thereabouts three years, Acts 18:1-20:38. He was by a tumult driven thence into Macedonia, and left Timothy there, 1 Timothy 1:3. It appears from Acts 20:17, that there were more ministers there than one; but they were all angels, and from the oneness of their business are all called an angel.

These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand; that is, Christ, Revelation 1:16,20, who hath put an honour on his ministers, showeth special favour to them, and will protect them.

Who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; who hath a special eye to his church, being not an idle spectator, but present with his church, to observe how all in it walk and perform their several parts, and is at hand, either to reward or punish them.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-2.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Ангелу Старейшина, или пастор, церкви (см. пояснение к 1:20).

Ефесской Это был город внутри острова, в 3 милях (4,8 км) от моря, но широкое устье р.Кейстер соединяло его с морем, и город имел самую большую гавань в Асии. Через Ефес проходило четыре торговых пути, поэтому он стал известен, как ворота в Асию. Это был центр поклонения богине Артемиде (греч.), или Диане (рим.), чей храм был одним из 7 чудес Древнего Мира. Павел служил здесь 3 года (Деян. 20:31) и позже, на пути в Иерусалим, встретил старейшин Ефеса (Деян. 20). Тимофей, Тихик и Апостол Иоанн – все служили в этой церкви. Иоанн был в Ефесе, когда его арестовали по повелению Домициана и сослали на о. Патмос, что в 50 милях (80 км) к северо-западу от города.

семь звезд См. пояснение к 1:16.

семи золотых светильников См. пояснение к 1:12.

(2:1 - 3:22) Хотя эти 7 церквей действительно существовали в Асии, они представляют типы церквей, которые вечно существуют в истории. То, что Христос говорит этим церквам, значимо на все времена.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-2.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

The seven epistles to the seven churches of Asia have a remarkable agreement in their structure. They all begin with the same form of address, with which is connected one or more of the attributes of the Son of God, as given in the first chapter. Then follow the words, "I know thy works," with reproofs, commendations, warnings, and encouragements adapted to the case of each church. They all close with the solemn call: "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches"; and with a promise "to him that overcometh," which varies with each church. In the case of the first three churches, the call to hear precedes the promise; in that of the other four, the reverse is true. We are to understand each address as sustained by all the attributes of the Son of God named in the other addresses, and each promise as including all the good contained in the other promises. From the seven different conditions of the seven churches addressed, arises such a manifoldness and completeness of instruction as adapts these epistles to the spiritual wants of all Christ’s churches in all ages. They are expressed with wonderful vividness and power, and should be earnestly studied by all-teachers and taught-who hope to find, at the last day, their names not blotted out of the Lamb’s book of life, but confessed by him before his Father, and before his angels, chap Revelation 3:5.

Holdeth the seven stars in his right hand; these words express Christ’s supreme power and authority over all the rulers and teachers of his churches. From him they receive it; and to him they must render their account at the last day.

Walketh in the midst-candlesticks; words which represent Christ’s constant presence with his churches. For their qualifications for usefulness, and for their fidelity and success, ministers and Christians are dependent upon Jesus Christ. He sees their thoughts and feelings as well as their outward conduct, and he requires that they be not only sincerely, but earnestly devoted to his service.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-2.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

Here begins the Lord's Message to the seven Churches. This Chapter contains what was commanded to be delivered to four of them; namely, Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, and Thyatira. And the Chapter closeth with a solemn Admonition, which is repeated to each: to hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/revelation-2.html. 1828.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

The Letter To The Church In Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7).

‘To the angel at the church in Ephesus write, These things says he who holds the seven stars in his right hand, he who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands.’

Each message is written ‘to the angel’ of the church. While it has been suggested that this could mean the leader of the church that is unlikely as we have no grounds for thinking that at this stage churches had an overall bishop. Larger churches, including the church at Rome, had a plurality of bishops. (Even the Roman Catholic historian, Duchesne, speaks of ‘the ghost of poly-episcopacy in the Roman church’. Any so-called line of bishops for the earliest centuries is quite frankly unreliable).

Nor does the use of the term ‘angel’ in a book filled with supernatural angels tie in with this usage. We can therefore say with confidence that genuine angels are in mind, the angels responsible for those particular churches (as there were angels who took responsibility for countries - Daniel 10:13; Daniel 12:1). But the churches are guaranteed that theirs at least are good angels for they are in His right hand (in contrast with some of the angels who affect the course of nations). Note, however, that the content of the message is directly directed to the churches themselves (Revelation 1:11).

The fact that the letters are addressed to the angels gives the messages a sense of timelessness. John has been transferred to ‘the Lord’s day’ and he is to write to churches who are from that viewpoint in the past. Thus the messages are addressed to their angels for transmission into the past. This emphasises the surreal nature of John’s encounter.

It should be noted that while Scripture constantly reminds us of these heavenly beings who support the people of God, nevertheless they are always kept in the background. They are there as a quiet assurance, not to be magnified. In no way are they to be venerated for they are our fellow-servants (Revelation 19:10; Revelation 22:9). They are ‘ministering spirits sent to serve the heirs of salvation’ (Hebrews 1:14).

This church, which on the whole is doing fairly well, is reminded of the closeness of the presence of Christ. He walks among them and holds their angel in His right hand, i.e. has full control over, and provides full protection for, their angel. The mention of His ‘walking among them’ looks back to Genesis 3:8 where God walked in the Garden of Eden, for the promise to overcomers is the restoration of ‘Paradise’ (Revelation 1:7). It can also be compared with Deuteronomy 23:14 where it is said ‘the Lord your God walks in the midst of the camp to deliver you, therefore your camp shall be holy so that he see no unclean thing in you and turn away from you’. So His walking among them reminds them that, while He is there to strengthen and encourage them, He also expects them to walk in holiness, for He is also very much aware of all that goes on.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/revelation-2.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

1. Destination and description of Christ2:1

Ephesus was a leading seaport and the capital of the Roman province of Asia. Paul had evangelized it and used it as a base of operations for at least three years ( Acts 18:19-21; Acts 19; 1 Corinthians 16:8). Timothy had labored there ( 1 Timothy 1:3) as had the Apostle John. [Note: See my comments on1:9.] It was the largest city in Asia Minor and was "the Vanity Fair of the Ancient World." [Note: William Barclay, Letters to the Seven Churches, p12.] Ephesus was definitely the first recipient of four New Testament books ( Ephesians, 1,2Timothy, and Revelation) and possibly four more (John"s Gospel and his three epistles). Paul also wrote1Corinthians from Ephesus. It was a very important city in the early history of the church.

The "angel" who was the primary recipient of this letter was probably the representative of the Ephesian church who carried this letter, along with the rest of Revelation, to the church at Ephesus. [Note: Thomas, Revelation 1-7, p128.] By the end of the first century there were probably many house-churches that composed the body of Christ in Ephesus (i.e, "the church in Ephesus"). The messenger would have made the letter known to the congregation when he read it publicly. It seems unlikely that God would have sent the letter to a spirit being. The word translated "angel" usually refers to a heavenly messenger in the New Testament, but it describes human messengers as well (cf. Matthew 11:10; Mark 1:2; Luke 7:24; Luke 7:27; Luke 9:52). Another view is that the reference is to the prevailing spirit of the church personified. [Note: Mounce, p85.] However, "angel" is a very unusual term to describe such a spirit.

John described Jesus Christ figuratively as the One in authority over the churches" leaders and One who knew their situations. He was watching over them (cf. Revelation 1:13; Revelation 1:16).

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-2.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 2:1. The first church addressed is that of Ephesus, the city in which St. John himself is reported, according to the unanimous tradition of Christian antiquity, to have spent the closing period of his life. Yet, even if we adopt the later date for the composition of the Apocalypse, we can hardly suppose that we are to find in this circumstance the reason why Ephesus is first mentioned. It is more reasonable to think that the importance of that church in itself, together, it may be, with the special particulars of its internal condition, determined the place which is now assigned to it Ephesus was the most influential city of Asia Minor, the meeting-place of Eastern and Western thought, renowned not only for its commercial relations, but for that magnificent temple of Diana which was looked upon as one of the wonders of the world (Acts 19:27). St. Paul showed his sense of its importance by spending in it no less than three years of his busy life, and by using it as one of the great centres of his missionary labours. The angel of the church, that is, as we have seen, not its bishop or presiding pastor, but the church itself viewed as the appointed interpreter and messenger of Christ’s purposes to the world, is now addressed by St. John.

First of all we have a description of Him from whom the message comes, taken from the description already given of Him in chap. 1, and more especially from Revelation 2:13; Revelation 2:16. There is a peculiar fitness in the selection for the first Epistle of these, the obviously prominent characteristics of the Lord as He is brought before us in that chapter; but there is nothing to lead us to think that the Church at Ephesus, viewed by itself, is more representative of the universal Church than any other of the seven. Two points of difference between the description of the Redeemer here and in chap. 1 are worthy of notice:—(1) The substitution of the word holdeth fast for the word ‘hath’ of the latter (Revelation 2:16). The first of these words is much stronger than the second, and denotes to retain firmly in the grasp (comp. chaps. Revelation 2:25, Revelation 3:11). It is therefore employed in the present instance with peculiar propriety, when the aim of the Seer is to set forth not so much the glory of the Lord Himself, as the power with which He retains His people under H is care, so that, even when decay has begun to mark them, they shall not be allowed finally to perish (John 10:28). (2) The word walketh for the simple being or standing of chap. Revelation 1:13, in order to indicate not merely that Christ’s people surround and worship Him, but that He is engaged in observing and protecting them. Not one of their backslid ings or errors escapes His notice: they have no weakness which He will not strengthen, no want which He will not supply.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-2.html. 1879-90.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Revelation 2:1. Unto the angel — That is, to the pastor, presiding elder, or bishop, called an angel because he was God’s messenger (as the word angel signifies) to the people, or his minister appointed to serve them. “That there was one pastor,” says Doddridge, “who presided in each of these churches, is indeed evident from the expression here used; but that he was a diocesan bishop, or had several congregations of Christians under his care, can by no means be proved. Nor is there the least hint of it in any of these epistles.” Of the church of Ephesus — Concerning Ephesus, see note on Acts 19:1, and the preface of the epistle to the Ephesians. The first letter is addressed to the church in this city, as it was the metropolis of the Lydian Asia, and the place of St. John’s principal residence. According to Strabo, it was one of the best and most glorious cities, and the greatest emporium of the Proper Asia. It was called by Pliny one of the eyes of Asia, Smyrna being the other; but now, as eye-witnesses have related, it is venerable for nothing but the ruins of palaces, temples, and amphitheatres. It is called by the Turks Ajasaluk, or the temple of the moon, from the magnificent structure formerly dedicated to Diana. The church of St. Paul is wholly destroyed. The little which remains of that of St. Mark is nodding to ruin. The only church remaining is that dedicated to St. John, which is now converted into a Turkish mosque. The whole town is nothing but a habitation for herdsmen and farmers, living in low and humble cottages of mud, sheltered from the extremities of weather by mighty masses of ruinous walls, the pride and ostentation of former days, and the emblem in these of the frailty of the world, and the transient vanity of human glory. The Rev. H. Lindsay, Chaplain to the Embassy of Constantinople, in a letter to the British and Foreign Bible Society, relative to the present state of the Apocalyptic churches, dated Jan. 10, 1816, says, “The town consists of about fifteen poor cottages. I found there but three Christians, two brothers, who keep a small shop, and a gardener. They are all three Greeks, and their ignorance is lamentable indeed. In that place, which was blessed so long with an apostle’s labours, and those of his zealous assistants, are Christians who have not so much as heard of that apostle, or seem only to recognise the name of Paul as one in their calendar of saints. One of them I found able to read a little, and left with him the New Testament in ancient and modern Greek, which he expressed a strong desire to read, and promised me he would not only study it himself, but lend it to his friends in the neighbouring villages:” so strikingly hath the denunciation been fulfilled, that their candlestick should be removed out of its place. Write — So Christ dictated to him every word. These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand — To signify that he is the great support of his ministering servants, and directs their several situations and motions in the churches. Such is his favour to them, and care over them, that they may indeed shine as stars, both by purity of doctrine and holiness of life. Who walketh — According to his promise, I am with you always, even to the end of the world; in the midst of the golden candlesticks — Beholding all their works and thoughts, and ready to remove the candlestick out of its place, if any, being warned, will not repent. Perhaps here is likewise an allusion to the office of the priests in dressing the lamps, which was to keep them always burning before the Lord.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/revelation-2.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

-7

To the Angel of the church of Ephesus. The great St. Timothy, who was bishop of Ephesus, died a glorious martyr about this time. But as for the admonitions and reprehensions given in these letters, we must take notice, that they are given to the faithful of each church, and not only to the bishops, as it appears by the words so often repeated. (Witham) --- Angel. This could have been no other than St. Timothy, who was then bishop of Ephesus. We must not suppose the faults, which are reproved by St. John, to belong individually to St. Timothy, but to some members of the Church. (Bossuet, and others) --- These things, with he who holdeth, &c. That is, Christ, or the Angel, who represented Christ, as appeareth by his titles repeated out of the last chapter. --- And hast not failed, or fainted, in opposing the teachers of false doctrine. --- Thou has left thy first charity, or first fervour, a common, yet a very dangerous disposition, and especially in a bishop, charged with the care of those under him. --- Do penance....practise the first works, return to thy first fervour, or I will remove thy candlestick out of its place. The church of Ephesus is threatened, as in danger to lose its faith, which faith should be transplanted and received in other places. It is said what God has divers times permitted, that churches flourishing in the profession of the true Christian faith should be perverted by infidelity and heresy, while the faith hath been planted in other kingdoms of the world. I need not bring instances, where candlesticks have been removed out of their places. (Witham) --- The Nicolaites were an infamous sect, who disturbed the rising Church by the superstitions and all the impurities of paganism. See St. Augustine, de hæresib. --- To him, to every one that overcometh, I will give to eat of the tree of life, (that is, eternal happiness, differently expressed in these letters) which is in the paradise of my God. It is spoke in the person of Christ, as man. (Witham)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-2.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Unto = To.

angel. See Revelation 1:20.

church. App-186.

Ephesus. Not for those addressed in Ephesians, on whom all blessing is bestowed by grace. Here blessing is promised to overcomers only.

holdeth. Occurs eight times in Rev. Compare App-172. See Colossians 2:19. Hebrews 4:14; &c.

seven stars. See Revelation 1:16, Revelation 1:20.

candlesticks. See Revelation 1:12, Revelation 1:13, and compare Leviticus 26:12. Deuteronomy 23:14, &c. 2 Corinthians 6:16.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-2.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

Each of the seven commences with, "I know thy works." Each contains a promise, "To him that overcometh." Each ends with "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." The title of our Lord in each accords with the address, and is mainly taken from the imagery of the vision, Revelation 1:1-20. Each of the addresses has a threat or a promise, and most have both. Their order seems ecclesiastical, civil, and geographical: Ephesus first, as the Asiatic metropolis (termed 'the light' and the 'first city of Asia'), nearest to Patmos, where John received the letter to the seven churches; also being that church with which John was especially connected; then the churches on the west of Asia; then those in the interior. Smyrna and Philadelphia, the most afflicted, alone receive unmixed praise. Sardis and Laodicea, the most wealthy, receive almost solely censure. In Ephesus, Pergamos, and Thyatira, there are some things to praise, others to condemn-the latter preponderating in Ephesus, the former in Pergamos and Thyatira. The different states of different churches, in all times and places, are portrayed, and they are suitably encouraged or warned.

Ephesus - famed for the temple of Diana, one of the seven world-wonders. For three years Paul laboured there. He subsequently ordained Timothy superintending overseer or bishop: probably his charge was but temporary. The praise and blame accord with Timothy's character. The zeal against self-called apostles and the Nicolaitanes, the unwearied labour, and the declension from first love, are not inapplicable: the promise, Revelation 2:7, accords with 2 Timothy 2:4; 2 Timothy 2:6. Paul's death, and the charge in the pastoral letters to Timothy, may have changed his position from superintendent of many churches to Bishop of Ephesus. He was only 35 when the pastoral letters were addressed to him. Now he was advanced in years. But all this is conjecture. John, toward the close of life, took Ephesus as the center from which he superintended the province.

Holdeth, [ kratoon (Greek #2902)] - 'holdeth fast in His grasp,' as Revelation 2:25; Revelation 3:11 : cf. John 10:28-29. Christ's title as 'holding fast the seven stars (Revelation 1:16 : only, for having is substituted holding fast), and walking in the midst of the seven candlesticks,' accords with the introduction, Revelation 1:16; Revelation 1:20. Walking expresses His unwearied activity in the Church, guarding her from internal and external evils, as the high priest moved to and fro in the sanctuary.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-2.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

II.

(1) Unto the angel of the church of (literally, in) Ephesus.—On the word “angel,” see Note on Revelation 1:20, and Excursus A. Adopting the view that the angel represents the chief pastor or bishop of the Church, it would be interesting to know who was its presiding minister at this time; but this must be deternined by another question, viz., the date of the Apocalypse. Accepting the earlier date—i.e., the reign of Nero, or (with Gebhardt) of Galba—the angel is no other than Timothy. Some striking coincidences favour this view. Labour, work, endurance, are what St. Paul acknowledges in Timothy, and which he exhorts him to cultivate more and more (2 Timothy 2:6; 2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Timothy 4:5). Again, against false teachers he warns him (1 Timothy 1:7). Further, there is “a latent tone of anxiety” in the Epistles to Timothy. The nature with which he had to do was emotional even to tears, ascetic, devout; but there was in it a tendency to lack of energy and sustained enthusiasm. “He urges him to stand up, to rekindle the grace of God, just as here there is a hint of a first love left.” (See Prof. Plumptre, Ep. to Seven Churches.)

Ephesus.—The chief city of Ionia, and at this time the most important city in Asia. It possessed advantages commercial, geographical, and ecclesiastical, and, in addition, great Christian privileges. It was a wealthy focus for trade; it reached out one hand to the East, while with the other it grasped Greek culture. Its magnificent temple was one of the seven wonders of the world; the skill of Praxiteles had contributed to its beauty. The fragments of its richly-sculptured columns, now to be seen in the British Museum, will convey some idea of its gigantic proportions and splendid decorations. But the religious tone induced by its pagan worship was of the lowest order. Degrading superstitions were upheld by a mercenary priesthood; the commercial instinct and the fanatical spirit had joined hands in support of a soul-enslaving creed, and in defence of a sanctuary which none but those devoid of taste could contemplate without admiration. But its spiritual opportunities were proportioned to its needs. It had been the scene of three years’ labour of St. Paul (Acts 20:31), of the captivating and convincing eloquence of Apollos (Acts 18:24), of the persistent labours of Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:26); Tychicus, the beloved and faithful, had been minister there (Ephesians 6:21); Timothy was its chief pastor.

These things saith he. . . .—The titles by which Christ is described at the opening of the seven epistles are mainly drawn from Revelation 1. The vision is found to supply features appropriate to the needs of the several churches. The message comes in this epistle from One who “holdeth” firmly in His grasp (a stronger word than “He that hath” of Revelation 1:16), and walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. The Church at Ephesus needed to remember their Lord as such. The first love had gone out of their religion; there was a tendency to fall into a mechanical faith, strong against heresy, but tolerant of conventionalism. Their temptations did not arise from the prevalence of error, or the bitterness of persecution, but from a disposition to fall backward and again do the dead works of the past. There was not so much need to take heed unto their doctrine, but there was great need that they should take heed unto themselves (1 Timothy 4:16). But when there is danger because earnestness in the holy cause is dying out, and the very decorum of religion has become a snare, what more fitting than to be reminded of Him whose hand can strengthen and uphold them, and who walks among the candlesticks, to supply them with the oil of fresh love? (Comp. Zechariah 4:2-3; Matthew 25:3-4.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-2.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
the angel
8,12,18; 3:1,7,14
church
1:11
holdeth
1:16,20; 8:10-12; 12:1; John 5:35
walketh
1:12,13; Ezekiel 28:13,14; Matthew 18:20; 28:20
Reciprocal: Exodus 25:31 - a candlestick;  Exodus 25:37 - seven;  Exodus 27:21 - Aaron;  Exodus 37:17 - the candlestick of;  Exodus 37:23 - GeneralLeviticus 24:4 - the pure;  Leviticus 26:12 - I will;  Numbers 4:9 - GeneralNumbers 8:2 - General2 Samuel 7:6 - walked;  1 Kings 7:49 - the candlesticks;  1 Chronicles 17:6 - walked;  1 Chronicles 28:15 - the candlesticks;  Psalm 46:5 - God is;  Psalm 68:18 - that;  Jeremiah 8:19 - the Lord;  Jeremiah 29:1 - of the letter;  Ezekiel 44:15 - the sons;  Ezekiel 46:10 - GeneralZechariah 1:8 - among;  Zechariah 2:10 - and I;  Zechariah 4:2 - a candlestick;  Matthew 5:14 - the light;  Matthew 24:31 - his angels;  Luke 8:16 - when;  Luke 10:2 - the Lord;  John 10:2 - he that;  Acts 18:19 - Ephesus;  Romans 1:7 - To all;  2 Corinthians 3:3 - the epistle;  Philippians 1:1 - the bishops;  1 Thessalonians 5:12 - and are;  1 Timothy 1:3 - charge;  2 Timothy 1:18 - Ephesus;  Revelation 1:4 - to the;  Revelation 1:19 - and the things which are;  Revelation 10:4 - I was;  Revelation 14:13 - Write;  Revelation 19:9 - Write

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-2.html.

Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts and Themes on Revelation

Watchman, What Of The Night?

Revelation 2:1.

The mention made of "stars" and "candlesticks" (or rather "lamp stands") shows that it is night. It is the world"s night; it is the Church"s night. It is night all around. Day needs no lamps nor stars; night does both, for the outside earth and the inside chamber. Accordingly, both are provided, and shall continue burning, with more or less of brightness, until the day dawns, and the day star arises. The "night" was far spent in the apostle"s days; but it was not over, nor is it over yet. Just before the Son of man was betrayed, it is written, "It was night" (John 13:30)—as if, in every sense of the word, night was reigning then; so, before the Son of man shall come again, when Antichrist, the representative of him who is "the ruler of the darkness of this world," shall be at his height, there shall be night—deep, dark night—night for the Church and for the world.

These seven epistles take this for granted. They are written for saints and for churches who are enveloped in this night. They are representatives of the Church universal, in all ages and lands. Their symbols speak to us in these last days. They tell us our need of stars and lamps; of light coming from above, or out from the holy place where the seven-branched candlestick was; of light kindled by God Himself, and by the Great High Priest, before whose throne are the seven lamps of fire ever burning (Revelation 4:5).

I. WHO is He who thus walksHe gets many names and designations in this book of the Revelation—"Son of man;" "the First and the Last;" the "First-begotten of the dead;" the "Faithful Witness;" the "Root and Offspring of David;" the "bright and morning star;" the "Prince of the kings of the earth;" the "King of kings, and Lord of Lords." He appears before us in priestly clothing; yet He shows Himself also as King. It is as Priest and King that He appears in the midst of His churches—as such they are to acknowledge Him. In the Epistle to the Hebrews we see Him specially as Priest; in the book of Revelation, as King—King of saints, King of nations; and all throughout this latter book it is kings and nations that are spoken of, warned, threatened, and judged. He stands forth as King of nations, as Prince of the kings of the earth—thus declaring His connection with nations and kings; declaring also the duty of kings and nations to acknowledge and serve and glorify Him—to lay their honors and their treasures at His feet; declaring also the sin of those who would not have Him reign over them, and also the fearful judgments on all such.

It is with the sins and the judgments of nations and kings that this book has specially to do; all because He is so specially announced in it as "King of kings." A nation"s laws ought to acknowledge Him as such; the king"s scepter ought to have that name inscribed on it; the national resources ought to be consecrated to Him; and all government ought to recognize Him as the source of authority and power, the fountainhead of wisdom and counsel. Earth does indeed disown Him; men reject His yoke, His authority, His sovereignty. We see not yet all things put under Him; but not the less does the Father claim for Him the homage and the crowns of earth; and not the less is the sin of earth"s kingdoms for refusing His authority. He is, in all senses and in all His characters, the rejected One—rejected by His own Israel; by His professing Church, by the world to which he came—rejected as Prophet, as Priest, and as King.

II. WHERE does He walkAmong the seven golden candlesticks. These candlesticks are on earth, and He is in heaven; yet He walks among them, as He said, "Lo, I am with you always." It is with His churches that He ever is; not with these seven alone, but with His whole Church (complete, yet manifold; one, yet seven), through all ages, in all the earth. The seven epistles are the utterances of this Glorious One while walking. He looks, and He speaks. He comes up first to one candlestick, and then to another, and then to another. It is in the midst of His many churches, or His one Church (for both are true), that He is ever walking.

III. WHAT does this walking meanIt seems to say that He has come down from heaven, that He has left the throne where He was sitting, and is now moving about among His churches on earth.

(1) He is near—A present Christ is specially taught us here—Jesus in the midst of His saints and His churches, as in the upper chamber of Jerusalem. He is near to all of them, even the backsliding; and near to Laodicea and Sardis, as to Ephesus and Philadelphia.

(2) He watches over them—"I know your works". His eye, the eye of the watchful Priest and King, the eye of the watchful Savior and Shepherd, is upon them. He inspects them, oversees them, cares for them, values them, delights in them, takes a personal interest in their welfare.

(3) He supplies their need—This need is constant, but He is as constant—unwearied, long-suffering, faithful, loving. All his fullness is at hand for each of them. He sees if their light grows dim, and seeks to rekindle it, and make it burn the brighter. Nothing is lacking on His part to meet all need—to strengthen all weakness.

(4) He mourns over their sins—He is faithful to notice sin, and to warn against it—just as He is faithful to pardon it when confessed. His holy eye detects the sin. His loving, tender heart mourns over it. There is no anger, no fury here. All is gentleness and grace. He mourns over Ephesus for leaving her first love; over Pergamos for allowing sin; over Sardis for death; over Laodicea for lukewarmness. He feels these things profoundly. He is not indifferent to them, as if he did not care whether His lamps burned bright or not. He mourns over every sin; He longs to supply every need.

(5) He cheers them with the promise of victory and recompense— As if He would say to each, "Fight on, for I am with you!. Faint not, for I, with all my fullness, am near! Shine on, for I delight in your brightness, and will enable you to shine. And my reward is with me, to him who overcomes!

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Bonar, Horatius. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts and Themes on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bch/revelation-2.html.

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation

THE SPIRIT'S ADDRESS TO EPHESUS

(Revelation 2:1-7).

1. — "To the angel of the Church in Ephesus write." The same form of words is repeated in the introduction to each of the seven churches. The Authorised Version, in Revelation 2:1, reads "of Ephesus," and in Revelation 3:14 "of the Laodiceans," but in the Revised Version the respective readings are correctly given as "in Ephesus" and "in Laodicea." The churches in these cities were composed of professing Christians, not of the pagan inhabitants, as the Authorised Version would imply. Each of the epistles is addressed to the "angel" of the Church. We have in these addresses the voice of the Spirit to the churches (v. 7, etc.), and of the Lord Himself, but they are not directly spoken to. Paul wrote to the saints in Ephesus (Ephesians 1:1). John to the angel of the Church. Why this? Intimacy characterises the former. Distance distinguishes the latter. The reason for the more distant style of address employed by John is found in the fact that the Church had sunk so low morally that the Lord could only address it through its representatives or angels, not spiritual beings, but men.

Some writers, as Dean Alford, argue for the guardianship of literal angels over the churches, and consider that these guardian angels are here addressed. But such a theory seems to us far-fetched and untenable. The Spirit on earth and the Lord on high make the Church their special subject of care. The spiritual powers in heavenly places learn through it God's manifold wisdom (Ephesians 3:10); lessons, too, of godly order are taught these heavenly beings (1 Corinthians 11:10). But the care of the Church is committed to higher and better hands than that of angels. Besides, it would be absurd to think of angels failing in their duty. They "do His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His Word" (Psalms 103:20); whereas the angels of the churches are justly blameable, being held responsible for the moral state disclosed. Thus the words to the angel, "I have against thee," "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent," etc., seem quite inapplicable to God's angels who are spoken of as "elect" and "holy," and hence preserved from falling. It has, however, been more commonly understood that the "angel" represents a bishop, or presiding presbyter. But Scripture affords not the slightest countenance for the modem bishop of a diocese, or the more ancient bishop of a Church. Elders or bishops refer to the same persons (Acts 20:17; Acts 20:28). The term "elder" directs attention to the age and experience of the man, whilst that of "bishop" or "overseer" to spiritual oversight. The man and his work are thus respectively signified in the terms "elder" and "bishop." Elders were made bishops, and there were several such in various assemblies, as in Ephesus (Acts 20:17) and in Philippi (Philippians 1:1). Timothy, Onesimus, and John have had the questionable honour thrust upon them by speculative divines of being after Paul's time the respective angels of the Church in Ephesus.

To insist upon a necessary application of the term "angel" to bishop or presbyter seems forced; besides, the other symbol used of the same persons, namely, "stars" (Revelation 1:20), would forbid such exclusive application. The "stars" are appointed to shine, to reflect the light of Heaven in the dark night of the Church's history. A person occupying the highest official position in the Church might not be a "star." We regard the angel of the Church as symbolically representative of the assembly in its actual moral state. Representation is the thought. Hence in this book, the waters (Revelation 16:5), the winds (Revelation 7:1), the abyss (Revelation 9:11), and fire (Revelation 14:18) have each their representative angel. According to this view the angel of the Church may signify more persons than one. We would emphasise the remark that not official but moral representation is the idea conveyed in the word "angel" as used in connection with the seven churches. While, therefore, the Spirit has in view each local Church, and the assembly as a whole, yet each Church is addressed in its representative, and it will generally be found that in most companies of saints there are those who morally lead, apart altogether from official status.

THE SEVEN STARS AND SEVEN GOLDEN LAMPS.

1. — "These things saith He that holdeth the seven stars in His right hand, that walketh in the midst of the seven golden lamps." The descriptive titles of Christ towards each of the churches are almost wholly taken from the detailed account of His Person as presented at the close of chapter one. In Revelation 1:20 the stars are seen on His right hand; in Revelation 3:1 He has the stars; but here a more intense action is intimated, He holds them. The stars are the Church's light bearers. They derive their light from Him, they are subject to His power, and sustained by Him. He guides, controls, and holds them fast. What a strength to the tried servant! How fitting, too, that the absolute authority of Christ over all responsible to shine for Him during the dark night of His absence should be shown at the commencement of this epitome of Church history in these two chapters.

The ecclesiastical place of our Lord (Revelation 1:13) is in the "midst" of the seven golden lamps; but here He walks in their midst, taking note of every corporate and individual difficulty. He observes if the lamps shine. He is present to sustain the vessels of testimony. His help is instantly available in every circumstance of need. The Church will never find itself in a position in which it is deprived of the active service of Christ, Who walks in and out amongst the churches, observing their ways, and according praise and blame. He trims each lamp, or, when it is proved utterly unfaithful, may remove it from its place of responsibility on earth. But this character of truth in no wise enfeebles the everlasting security of the Church, against which the gates of hades shall not prevail (Matthew 16:18), nor against any individual member thereof (Romans 8:38-39).

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Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sor/revelation-2.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

See the comments on last verse of the preceding chapter for explanation of the angel. This letter is written to the same church at Ephesus to which Paul wrote his epistle bearing that name. The beginning of this church is recorded in Acts 18:19. Before John wrote his letter to it the congregation had been placed under elders ( Acts 20:17). The Authority for this letter identifies himself by repeating Revelation 1:13, but adding the significant fact that he walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. This signifies that Christ is present (in spirit) and knows what is going on in the churches of the brotherhood.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-2.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 2:1

Revelation 2:1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

"Unto the Angel of the Church of Ephesus, write," etc..

This first epistle written to the Ephesian Church (and all the other six epistles to the other six churches), doth contain three general parts; viz. First, a preface. Secondly, The narrative of the matter either commended or reproved. Thirdly, the conclusion of the epistle.

"Ephesus"

Ephesus was the chief city in Asia the less, situated toward the Ionian Sea, where the Apostle Paul preached the gospel with great success (though not without some opposition; Acts 19:9-10; Acts 19:18-20). So mighty grew the word of God and prevailed, that there this church was planted by Paul, and watered by Apollo, Timotheus and Arastus, ministers of Jesus Christ, { Acts 18:24-25; Acts 19:1; Acts 19:22} unto which church the Apostle Paul afterwards wrote that epistle, entitled, The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians. What is said in general touching this and all other gospel churches, you may read in the exposition of Revelation 1:11.

This Ephesian Church, at the first planting thereof, was a particular congregation consisting of a few baptized believers, who were separated from the profane idolatrous gentiles and their idol temples; also from the formal superstitious Jews and their synagogues, by the ministers of Christ, and congregated together to worship God in spirit and in truth visibly, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of God blamelessly, according to the order of the gospel. {read Acts 19:1-3; Acts 19:5-7; Acts 19:9; Ephesians 1:1-2; Ephesians 1:13-14; Ephesians 2:19-22; Ephesians 4:1-3; Ephesians 4:15-16}

The angel of this church, and the angels of the other six Asian Churches, were not of the holy elect celestial angels of God, those ministering spirits, { Hebrews 1:14} nor was this angel any one of the apostles of Christ, though there were some in this church at that time, who said they were apostles, but were not, as appears from Revelation 2:2. Nor was this angel any one individual man or minister, that had the superintendence over, or precedence above all the other ministers in this church, as being the Apostle John's delegate or substitute in his absence; for we read not of any such in this prophecy of the Revelation.

"Angel,"

But by Angel in this and all the other epistles written to the seven churches in Asia, we are to understand the episcopacy, presbytery, and ministry in each particular church, unto whom the charge, oversight, care and government thereof was committed by the Holy Spirit, whom the Apostle Paul called touv presbuterouv, Acts 20:17 and episkopouv, Acts 20:28; elders and bishops, among whom none were lords over God's heritage, { 1 Peter 5:1-3} mhd wv katakurieuontev twn klhrwn, not as them that over-rule the clergy; Arias Mont. Neg; ut dominantes cleris. So the word "Angel" in all these seven epistles, is a noun collective, comprehending all the bishops and presbyters, called elders, { Acts 20:17} in this Church of Ephesus, so in all other churches of Christ in Asia, and elsewhere.

"These things saith be, that holdeth the Seven Stars in his right hand," etc.

By holding ministers "in his right hand" is signifying Christ's powerful and gracious protection over them for their safety and preservation: {see Revelation 1:16} Did not Christ by his Almighty power, hold up and keep safe his faithful ministers, the powers of this world would soon cast down those stars from the ecclesiastical heaven, silence the ministers of the gospel, and exile them, and persecute them even unto death; as the Roman, pagan emperors did, and as the Roman powers and prelates did, when God suffered then so to do, but Christ hath these "Stars in his right hand" and none can pull them out of his hand: And when Christ sets before his faithful ministers an open door, none can shut it. { Revelation 3:7-8}

"Who walketh in the midst of the seven golden Candlesticks".

Christ's walking "in the midst of the Candlesticks" implies, first, his special and spiritual presence in the Christian saints, according to his gracious promise. { Matthew 18:20} Secondly, his inspection into the church's condition, administrations, gifts, operations, and ordinances; seeing and observing their order and the steadfastness of their faith; also beholding their decent and reverent behavior and gesture in the public worship of God; and especially looking into and taking notice of the holy, spiritual, and heavenly frame of the hearts of his ministers and members. { Revelation 2:23} Thirdly, his protection and preservation of his churches in their liberties, privileges and administrations. { Revelation 3:8-10} Fourthly, his observation of what disorders, corrupt opinions, false doctrines, male-administrations, and what formality, contentions, divisions, schisms, or sinful separations are among his churches; as appears by what he commanded his servant John to write unto these seven churches, in the second and third chapters. {Read Revelation 2:5; Revelation 2:14; Revelation 2:20; Revelation 3:2; Revelation 3:15-17}

There is a special and spiritual presence of Christ with his churches of saints, and his peculiar providence and protection is towards them for their preservation in all his ways. { Matthew 18:20; Revelation 3:8-11}

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-2.html.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Revelation 2:1. To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These things saith he who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks amid the seven golden lamps. It is not accidental that exactly in this epistle, which begins the series, predicates are attributed to Christ, which mark his unrestricted power over the seven churches, and their angels (and hence also over the church in Ephesus and its angel). These predicates, at the same time, form here the foundation of the threatening in Revelation 2:5, and of the promise in Revelation 2:7. The first is taken from ch. Revelation 1:16. The holding, however, here is stronger than the having there; the distinction between the two is plainly indicated in Revelation 2:25; Christ holds them fast, so that no one can pluck them out of his hand, whether he is minded to protect or to destroy them. The second predicate is from ch. Revelation 1:12. There Christ is in the midst of the seven golden lamps, here he walks in the midst of them The walking points to the circumstance, that the being of Christ in the midst of his church is one of continued activity, that he is everywhere at hand whether the occasion may require him to chastise or to help her. A glance at him who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks is the best antidote against a false security as well as despair.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-2.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

I. EPHESUS.—The Church of former faith and power, but present decline, Revelation 2:1-7.

1.Ephesus—The messenger who bore this epistle to Ephesus would have a sea route through the blue AEgean, of sixty miles, a brief trip for a modern steamer. Of the great and noble city into whose harbor he arrives we have given some account in our notes on Paul’s visiting the city and founding the Church, in Acts 19:1. Paul came down upon the city from the interior high-lands; our messenger approaches it, reversely, from the sea. How Paul here found a few believers in John the Baptist, preached in the school of Tyrannus, encountered Diana of the Ephesians, and founded the Ephesian Church, we have duly noted in that chapter. How afterwards Paul, returning from his final missionary tour, called the elders of Ephesus to a last interview with himself at Miletus, (see our map,) we have noted on Acts 20:17-38. Paul’s warning to the elders should be read before reading this epistle to this same Ephesus. Next we have the epistles of Paul to Timothy at Ephesus, and we see Timothy either briefly or permanently at that city. John arrived there probably soon after the commencement of the Roman war against the Jews, or after the fall of Jerusalem, and was banished to the rocky isle of Patmos by the Emperor Domitian. And now this epistle of Christ to Ephesus gives us the last glance at the Church and city furnished us in the New Testament. After that we must go to history for a knowledge of their destinies.

Historically, Ephesus had ever maintained an eminence among the cities of Ionia. In the earliest times, before their conquest by the Persians, Ephesus was head of the confederacy of twelve cities. Under the Romans, while the other cities tended to decline, its favourable commercial position, and the munificence of its Roman rulers, rendered it the emporium of Asia Minor. The Bishop of Ephesus, in later times, was a Metropolitan and a Patriarch. But when, in 1308, it submitted to the Turk, its inhabitants were transported to Tyraeum and there massacred.

Write—Mohammed wrote, or at least claimed to have written, his own Koran; but Jesus Christ dictates to another to write. It is not recorded that he ever wrote, except mysteriously, upon the pavement. His majestic words, uttered as by the voice of many waters, and penned by his apostle, were, doubtless, received at that apostle’s Ephesus as virtually written by Christ’s own hand. To none but these seven Churches did Christ ever address a written epistle, yet in these seven Churches are we all represented. What he wrote to them he writes to us.

Was one copy of each single epistle carried to each single church, or was the whole Apocalypse carried to the whole in a single volume or roll? We think that the whole first three chapters are one Christophanic Apocalypse; but as each epistle was truly for all the seven, (and really for us all,) and as the title and introductory parts preface all the epistles as a unit, we may believe that the whole first three chapters were, either in separate copies or in one common circular for each in succession, sent round to the whole circuit of Churches in the order in which they are named. Each Church could then transcribe its own copy, with the common understanding that this body of epistles was the harbinger of a further and great Apocalypse, with which it was to be a unit, and which was soon to be received from their own great apostle, now in Patmos. When, after the death of the savage Domitian, John and the other banished Christians were returned to their homes by the Emperor Nerva, Domitian’s successor, John resumed his apostolic circuit around the seven Churches, and may have reduced the Apocalypse to a unit, so that no separated copies survived.

These things—The two clauses by which the divine Speaker describes himself here, are taken from St. John’s description of his person, Revelation 1:13; Revelation 1:16. They describe his authority over the Churches, and are beautifully appropriate to the metropolitan Church of Ephesus, the Church of St. John’s own residence.

Holdeth—Is here a different word from had, in Revelation 1:16, and a stronger, signifying graspeth, or holdeth fast. It asserts strongly this power and possession, as if each Church were a gem in his grasp and at his disposal. None can pluck them from his hand, (John 10:28,) and it is his to exalt them to heaven or cast them down to hell, according to their faithfulness or apostasy. When, therefore, these letters patent came from Christ at Patmos, with what earnestness did both he that readeth to the congregation and they that hear within the congregation, listen to the words of this prophecy! Revelation 1:3.

Walketh—In St. John’s description, Revelation 1:13, he is apparently standing, but here he walketh. He walketh in the midst of the’ golden candlesticks, to watch the strength or fulness of their blaze, to supply the oil of grace, to trim their dead wicks, and to remove them when their lustre, in spite of his every care, persistently dies away. These seven Lydian Churches, lying on the soil of Asia as their names lie on our little map, know that the glorious Lord is walking around their circuit—that he is even present while they listen to his golden letters.

 

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-2.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 2:1. The political and commercial primacy of Ephesus, conjoined with its prestige as a centre for the Imperial cultus which flourished beside the local cult of Diana, lent it œcumenical importance in the Eastern Empire. Christianity had for about half a century already made it a sphere and centre, and its position was enormously enhanced after the crisis of 70 A.D. in Palestine, when Asia Minor became one of the foci of the new faith (cf. von Dobschutz, pp. 100 f.). The description of the speaker is carried on from Revelation 1:12; Revelation 1:16; Revelation 1:20, with for (the church is neither to be plucked nor to be dropped from his hand) and the addition of to (activity and universal watchfulness, cf. Abbott, pp. 196 f.), touches which make the sketch more definite, but which are too slight to be pressed into any significance, unless one supposes a subtle general contrast between the ideal of the churches—“a star shining by its own inherent light”—and their actual condition upon earth which, like the lamp, requires constant replenishing and care, if its light is not to flicker or fade.

 

 

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 2:1". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-2.html. 1897-1910.