Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 2:5

Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.
New American Standard

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Backsliders;   Candlestick;   Church;   Ephesus;   Impenitence;   Repentance;   Scofield Reference Index - Life;   Repentance;   Thompson Chain Reference - Candlestick;   Privileges;   The Topic Concordance - Hate;   Repentance;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Call of God, the;   Repentance;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Ephesus;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Apocalyptic literature;   Ephesus;   John, letters of;   Lamp;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Backsliding;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Patience of God;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Abraham;   Candlestick;   Revelation of John, the;   Thyatira;   Timothy;   Timothy, the First Epistle to;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Repentance;   Revelation, the Book of;   Works;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Asia;   Magi;   Nicolas;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Lamp Lampstand;   Repentance;   King James Dictionary - Else;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Ephesians, Epistle to the;   Song of Solomon;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Sepharvaim;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Ephesus;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Tim'othy;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Candlestick;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Ephesus;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Candle;   Revelation of John:;  
Devotionals:
Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life - Devotion for April 1;   Every Day Light - Devotion for March 25;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Remember - Consider the state of grace in which you once stood; the happiness, love, and joy which you felt when ye received remission of sins; the zeal ye had for God's glory and the salvation of mankind; your willing, obedient spirit, your cheerful self-denial, your fervor in private prayer, your detachment from the world, and your heavenly-mindedness. Remember - consider, all these.

Whence thou art fallen - Fallen from all those blessed dispositions and gracious feelings already mentioned. Or, remember what a loss you have sustained; for so εκπιπτειν is frequently used by the best Greek writers.

Repent - Be deeply humbled before God for having so carelessly guarded the Divine treasure.

Do the first works - Resume your former zeal and diligence; watch, fast, pray, reprove sin, carefully attend all the ordinances of God, walk as in his sight, and rest not till you have recovered all your lost ground, and got back the evidence of your acceptance with your Maker.

I will come unto thee quickly - In the way of judgment.

And will remove thy candlestick - Take away my ordinances, remove your ministers, and send you a famine of the word. As there is here an allusion to the candlestick in the tabernacle and temple, which could not be removed without suspending the whole Levitical service, so the threatening here intimates that, if they did not repent, etc., he would unchurch them; they should no longer have a pastor, no longer have the word and sacraments, and no longer have the presence of the Lord Jesus.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-2.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen - The eminence which you once occupied. Call to remembrance the state in which you once were. The duty here enjoined is, when religion has declined in our hearts, or in the church, to call to distinct recollection the former state - the ardor, the zeal, the warmth of love which once characterized us. The reason for this is, that such a recalling of the former state will be likely to produce a happy influence on the heart. Nothing is better adapted to affect a backsliding Christian, or a backsliding church, than to call to distinct recollection the former condition - the happier days of piety. The joy then experienced, the good done, the honor reflected on the cause of religion, the peace of mind of that period, will contrast strongly with the present, and nothing will be better suited to recall an erring church, or an erring individual, from their wanderings than such a reminiscence of the past. The advantages of thus “remembering” their former condition would be many; for some of the most valuable impressions which are made on the mind, and some of the most important lessons learned, are from the recollections of a former state. Among those advantages, in this case, would be such as the following:

(a)It would show how much they might have enjoyed if they had continued as they began, how much more real happiness they would have had than they actually have enjoyed.

(b)How much good they might have done, if they had only persevered in the zeal with which they commenced the Christian life. How much more good might most Christians do than they actually accomplish, if they would barely, even without increasing it, continue with the degree of zeal with which they begin their course.

(c)How much greater attainments they might have made in the divine life, and in the knowledge of religion, than they have made; that is, how much more elevated and enlarged might have been their views of religion, and their knowledge of the Word of God. And,

(d)such a recollection of their past state as, contrasted with what they now are, would exert a powerful influence in producing true repentance; for there is nothing better adapted to do this than a just view of what we might have been, as compared with what we now are.

If a man has become cold toward his wife, nothing is better suited to reclaim him than to recall to his recollection the time when he led her to the altar, the solemn vow then made, and the rapture of his heart when he pressed her to his bosom and called her his own.

And repent - The word used here means “to change one‘s mind and purposes,” and, along with that, “to change one‘s conduct or demeanor.” The duty of repentance here urged would extend to all the points in which they had erred.

And do the first works - The works which were done when the church was first established. That is, manifest the zeal and love which were formerly evinced in opposing error, and in doing good. This is the true counsel to be given to those who have backslidden, and have “left their first love,” now. Often such persons, sensible that they have erred, and that they have not the enjoyment in religion which they once had, profess to be willing and desirous to return, but they know not how to do it - how to revive their ardor, how to rekindle in their bosom the flame of extinguished love. They suppose it must be by silent meditation, or by some supernatural influence, and they wait for some visitation from above to call them back, and to restore to them their former joy. The counsel of the Saviour to all such, however, is to do their first works. It is to engage at once in doing what they did in the first and best days of their piety, the days of their “espousals” Jeremiah 2:2 to God. Let them read the Bible as they did then; let them pray as they did then; let them go forth in the duties of active benevolence as they did then; let them engage in teaching a Sunday school as they did then; let them relieve the distressed, instruct the ignorant, raise up the fallen, as they did then; let them open their heart, their purse, and their hand, to bless a dying world. As it was in this way that they manifested their love then, so this would be better suited than all other things to rekindle the flame of love when it is almost extinguished. The weapon that is used keeps bright; that which has become rusty will become bright again if it is used.

Or else I will come unto thee quickly - On the word rendered “quickly” ( τάχει tachei), see the notes on Revelation 1:1. The meaning is, that he would come as a Judge, at no distant period, to inflict punishment in the manner specified - by removing the candle-stick out of its place. He does not say in what way it would be done; whether by some sudden judgment, by a direct act of power, or by a gradual process that would certainly lead to that result.

And will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent - On the meaning of the word “candlestick” see the notes on Revelation 1:12. The meaning is, that the church gave light in Ephesus; and that what he would do in regard to that place would be like removing a lamp, and leaving a place in darkness. The expression is equivalent to saying that the church there would cease to exist. The proper idea of the passage is, that the church would be wholly extinct; and it is observable that this is a judgment more distinctly disclosed in reference to this church than to any other of the seven churches. There is not the least evidence that the church at Ephesus did repent, and the threatening has been most signally fulfilled. Long since the church has become utterly extinct, and for ages there was not a single professing Christian there. Every memorial of there having been a church there has departed, and there are nowhere, not even in Nineveh, Babylon, or Tyre, more affecting demonstrations of the fulfillment of ancient prophecy than in the present state of the ruins of Ephesus. A remark of Mr. Gibbon (Decline and Fall, iv. 260) will show with what exactness the prediction in regard to this church has been accomplished.

He is speaking of the conquests of the Turks. “In the loss of Ephesus the Christians deplored the fall of the first angel, the extinction of the first candlestick of the Revelations; the desolation is complete; and the temple of Diana, or the Church of Mary will equally elude the search of the curious traveler.” Thus, the city, with the splendid temple of Diana, and the church that existed there in the time of John, has disappeared, and nothing remains but unsightly ruins. These ruins lie about ten days‘ journey from Smyrna, and consist of shattered walls, and remains of columns and temples. The soil on which a large part of the city is supposed to have stood, naturally rich, is covered with a rank, burnt-up vegetation, and is everywhere deserted and solitary, though bordered by picturesque mountains. A few grainfields are scattered along the site of the ancient city. Toward the sea extends the ancient port, a pestilential marsh.

Along the slope of the mountain, and over the plain, are scattered fragments of masonry and detached ruins, but no thing can now be fixed on as the great temple of Diana. There are ruins of a theater; there is a circus, or stadium, nearly entire; there are fragments of temples and palaces scattered around; but there is nothing that marks the site of a church in the time of John; there is nothing to indicate even that such a church then existed there. About a mile and a half from the principal ruins of Ephesus there is indeed now a small village called Asalook, a Turkish word, which is associated with the same idea as Ephesus, meaning, The City of the Moon. A church, dedicated to John, is supposed to have stood near, if not on the site of the present mosque. Dr. Chandler (p. 150,4to) gives us a striking description of Ephesus as he found it in 1764: “Its population consisted of a few Greek peasants, living in extreme wretchedness, dependence, and insensibility, the representatives of an illustrious people, and inhabiting the wreck of their greatness. Some reside in the substructure of the glorious edifices which they raised; some beneath the vaults of the stadium, and the crowded scenes of these diversions; and some in the abrupt precipice, in the sepulchres which received their ashes. Its streets are obscured and overgrown. A herd of goats was driven to it for shelter from the sun at noon, and a noisy flight of crows from the quarries seemed to insult its silence. We heard the partridge call in the area of the theater and of the stadium … Its fate is that of the entire country; a garden has become a desert. Busy centers of civilization, spots where the refinements and delights of the age were collected, are now a prey to silence, destruction, and death.

Consecrated first of all to the purposes of idolatry, Ephesus next had Christian temples almost rivaling the pagan in splendor, wherein the image of the great Diana lay prostrate before the cross; after the lapse of some centuries Jesus gives way to Muhammed, and the crescent glittered on the dome of the recently Christian church. A few more scores of years, and Ephesus has neither temple, cross, crescent, nor city, but is desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness.” See the article” Ephesus” in Kitto‘s Cyclopedia, and the authorities there referred to. What is affirmed here of Ephesus has often been illustrated in the history of the world, that when a church has declined in piety and love, and has been called by faithful ministers to repent, and has not done it, it has been abandoned more and more, until the last appearance of truth and piety has departed, and it has been given up to error and to ruin.

And the same principle is as applicable to individuals, for they have as much reason to dread the frowns of the Saviour as churches have. If they who have “left their first love” will not repent at the call of the Saviour, they have every reason to apprehend some fearful judgment, some awful visitation of his Providence that shall overwhelm them in sorrow, as a proof of his displeasure. Even though they should finally be saved, their days may be without comfort, and perhaps their last moments without a ray of conscious hope. The accompanying engraving, representing the present situation of Ephesus, will bring before the eye a striking illustration of the fulfillment of this prophecy, that the candlestick of Ephesus would be removed from its place. See also the engravings prefixed to the notes on the Epistle to the Ephesians.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-2.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Remember therefore 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.

Remember ... How often has the Lord admonished his human children to remember! "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth" (Ecclesiastes 12:1); "This do ye in remembrance of me" (1 Corinthians 11:25); "Remember how he spake unto you" (Luke 24:6); "Remember his holy covenant" (Luke 1:72); "Remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things" (Luke 16:25), etc. There are actually three "R's" in this passage: Remember ... Repent ... Reform.

Repent and do the first works ... This is one of the most important clauses in the whole passage; it is the key to understanding what had happened. What were those first works which the Ephesians had stopped doing? They were the commandments of the Lord. Oh, to be sure, they were carrying on an extensive program of works, but such things were not the work of faith. The interpretation that fills many of the commentaries with the view that the Ephesians had all the works they needed misses this point altogether. It was not a question of their having discharged their full obligation regarding works, but a case of their having failed in this very category. They were not, at the time of John's writing, doing the "work of faith"; they were doing their own thing religiously. Such things, no doubt, were indeed good works, else Christ would not have commended them; but the first obligation of every Christian and every church on earth is to do the works Christ commanded. This failure, of course, was due to their having left their first love; and the shameful condition of this congregation is the Biblical exhibit of much that is going on right now in the so-called Christian world of the present time.

Did the Ephesian church heed the admonition here given? It would appear that, for some little time, at least, they did so. Bruce noted, "That the church at Ephesus paid heed to this warning is a fair inference from the testimony of Ignatius, who commends it for its faith and love."[19]

Or else I come to thee, and will remove thy candlestick ... This reference to the "coming" of Christ is not to the Second Advent, but to a visitation of providential judgment upon the Ephesians unless they repented. As McGuiggan put it: "This coming depends upon whether or not they repent; if they repent, he will not come and remove their candlestick."[20] Beasley-Murray observed that:

Such statements in no wise conflict with the truth of the final appearing, a fact which theologians have not always remembered when speaking of the "coming" of Christ, as though the recognition of these lesser appearings in any way invalidated the truth of the great appearing.[21]

The final coming of Christ in the Second Advent will occur, irrespective of any group's repenting or not.

Remove thy candlestick ... This does not refer to any total destruction of a church or of a city, but to the removal of the impenitent from any effective status as a lampstand of the truth in Jesus Christ. Many a church has continued to enjoy life on earth long after their utility as an effective instrument of spreading the gospel of Christ has perished. Such churches have indeed had their "candlestick" removed.

It is wise, here at the outset of Revelation, to observe that, "The coming of Christ, as here and elsewhere in the book, does not represent an imminent coming of Christ to end the world.[22] As Caird expressed it, "The conditional threats to Ephesus, Pergamum and Sardis are evidence that an imminent Parousia was not one of the events which John believed was bound to happen soon."[23]

[19] F. F. Bruce, A New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1969), p. 637.

[20] Jim McGuiggan, The Book of Revelation (West Monroe, Louisiana: Wm. C. Johnson, 1976), p. 46.

[21] G. R. Beasley-Murray, The Book of Revelation (Greenwood, South Carolina: The Atlantic Press, 1974), p. 1283.

[22] J. W. Roberts, The Revelation of John (Austin, Texas: R.B. Sweet Company, 1974), p. 39.

[23] G. B. Caird, op. cit., p. 32.

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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 2:5". "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

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen,.... Believers cannot totally and finally fall away from the grace which they have received; but they may fall into sin, and from a degree of grace, and the exercise of it, as these first and pure churches did, from some degree of their love to God, and Christ, and one another; and therefore are called upon to remember, mind, and observe from what degree of it they were fallen; in order to bring them under a conviction and acknowledgment of their evil, and a sense of their present state, and to quicken their desires after a restoration to their former one:

and repent; of their coldness and lukewarmness, of the remissness of their love, and of those evils which brought it upon them:

and do the first works; of faith and love, with the like zeal and fervour, which will show the repentance to be sincere and genuine; so the Arabic version reads, "and exercise the former works, to wit, charity" or "love". The Jews have a sayingF2Misn. Bava Metzia, c. 4. sect. 10. ,

"if a man repents, do not say to him, "remember" מעשיך חראשונים, "thy first works";

which they seem to understand of evil works; but former good works are to be remembered and done, to show the truth of repentance for evil ones,

Or else I will come unto thee quickly; not in a spiritual way, to pay a love visit, nor in a judicial way, to take vengeance or inflict punishment, but in a providential way, to rebuke and chastise:

and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent; or thee out of the candlestick, the pastor from the church, either by persecution or by death; or else the church, and church state itself, signified by a candlestick; See Gill on Revelation 1:12; and may design a shaking and an unsettling of it, which is sometimes done by violent persecutions, and by false teachers and their doctrines, and by the divisions and contentions of saints among themselves; and by the former particularly was there a change made in the state of this apostolic church, when it passed into the Smyrnean one, which was a period of great persecution and distress; for this cannot be understood of the total removing of the church state itself quickly, no, not of Ephesus itself; for though there is not now indeed, nor has there been for many hundred years, a church of Christ in that place, yet there was one till the times of Constantine, when there was none in any of the other seven cities, and a long time after; See Gill on Acts 20:17; which shows, that this was not a commination or threatening of divine vengence to that church literally, but to the state of the church, which that represented; nor does it intend the utter abolition of that church, for the apostolic church still continued, though it ceased to be in the circumstances it was before,

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-2.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

whence — from what a height.

do the first works — the works which flowed from thy first love. Not merely “feel thy first feelings,” but do works flowing from the same principle as formerly, “faith which worketh by love.”

I will comeGreek, “I am coming” in special judgment on thee.

quickly — omitted in two oldest manuscripts, Vulgate and Coptic versions: supported by one oldest manuscript.

remove thy candlestick out of his place — I will take away the Church from Ephesus and remove it elsewhere. “It is removal of the candlestick, not extinction of the candle, which is threatened here; judgment for some, but that very judgment the occasion of mercy for others. So it has been. The seat of the Church has been changed, but the Church itself survives. What the East has lost, the West has gained. One who lately visited Ephesus found only three Christians there, and these so ignorant as scarcely to have heard the names of St. Paul or St. John” [Trench].

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". "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

5. Here comes in God’s terrible rebuke for apostasy, loving call to repentance, and importunate appeal to come back and do their first works over; i.e., get religion again. So here we see a Church whom God pronounces perfectly orthodox, and against whom there is not an insinuation immorality or disloyalty; yet God condemns them, pronounces them backsliders, and appeals to them to come and get their first religion again.

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Godbey, William. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". "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

Remember (μνημονευεmnēmoneue). Present active imperative of μνημονευωmnēmoneuō “continue mindful” (from μνημωνmnēmōn).

Thou art fallen (πεπτωκεςpeptōkes). Perfect active indicative of πιπτωpiptō state of completion. Down in the valley, look up to the cliff where pure love is and whence thou hast fallen down.

And repent (και μετανοησονkai metanoēson). First aorist active imperative of μετανοεωmetanoeō urgent appeal for instant change of attitude and conduct before it is too late.

And do (και ποιησονkai poiēson). First aorist active imperative of ποιεωpoieō “Do at once.”

The first works (τα πρωτα εργαta prōta erga). Including the first love (Acts 19:20; Acts 20:37; Ephesians 1:3.) which has now grown cold (Matthew 24:12).

Or else (ει δε μηei de mē). Elliptical condition, the verb not expressed (μετανοειςmetanoeis), a common idiom, seen again in Revelation 2:16, the condition expressed in full by εαν μηean mē in this verse and Revelation 2:22.

I come (ερχομαιerchomai). Futuristic present middle (John 14:2.).

To thee (σοιsoi). Dative, as in Revelation 2:16 also.

Will move (κινησωkinēsō). Future active of κινεωkineō In Ignatius‘ Epistle to Ephesus it appears that the church heeded this warning.

Except thou repent (εαν μη μετανοησηιςean mē metanoēsēis). Condition of third class with εαν μηean mē instead of ει μηei mē above, with the first aorist active subjunctive of μετανοεωmetanoeō f0).

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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)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". "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

Thou art fallen ( ἐκπέπτωκας )

Lit., hast fallen out.

Repent ( μετανόησον )

See on Matthew 3:2; see on Matthew 21:29.

I will come ( ἔρχομαι )

Rev., correctly, I come.

Quickly

Omit.

Will remove thy candlestick

“Its candlestick has been for centuries removed out of his place; the squalid Mohammedan village which is nearest to its site does not count one Christian in its insignificant population; its temple is a mass of shapeless ruins; its harbor is a reedy pool; the bittern booms amid its pestilent and stagnant marshes; and malaria and oblivion reign supreme over the place where the wealth of ancient civilization gathered around the scenes of its grossest superstitions and its most degraded sins” (Farrar, “Life and Work of Paul,” ii., 43,44).

John employs the verb κινέω remove(Rev., move ) only in Revelation, and only once besides the present instance, in Revelation 6:14, where, as here, it signifies moving in judgment.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". "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

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

It is not possible for any to recover the first love, but by taking these three steps, 1. Remember: 2. Repent: 3.

Do the first works. Remember from whence thou art fallen — From what degree of faith, love, holiness, though perhaps insensibly.

And repent — Which in the very lowest sense implies a deep and lively conviction of thy fall. Of the seven angels, two, at Ephesus and at Pergamos, were in a mixed state; two, at Sardis and at Laodicea, were greatly corrupted: all these are exhorted to repent; as are the followers of Jezebel at Thyatira: two, at Smyrna and Philadelphia, were in a flourishing state, and are therefore only exhorted to steadfastness. There can be no state, either of any pastor, church, or single person, which has not here suitable instructions. All, whether ministers or hearers, together with their secret or open enemies, in all places and all ages, may draw hence necessary self-knowledge, reproof, commendation, warning, or confirmation. Whether any be as dead as the angel at Sardis, or as much alive as the angel at Philadelphia, this book is sent to him, and the Lord Jesus hath something to say to him therein. For the seven churches with their angels represent the whole Christian church, dispersed throughout the whole world, as it subsists, not, as some have imagined, in one age after another, but in every age. This is a point of deep importance, and always necessary to be remembered: that these seven churches are, as it were, a sample of the whole church of Christ, as it was then, as it is now, and as it will be in all ages.

Do the first works — Outwardly and inwardly, or thou canst never regain the first love.

But if not — By this word is the warning sharpened to those five churches which are called to repent; for if Ephesus was threatened, how much more shall Sardis and Laodicea be afraid! And according as they obey the call or not, there is a promise or a threatening, Revelation 2:5,16,22; Revelation 3:3,20. But even in the threatening the promise is implied, in case of true repentance.

I come to thee, and will remove thy candlestick out of its place — I will remove, unless thou repent, the flock now under thy care to another place, where they shall be better taken care of. But from the flourishing state of the church of Ephesus after this, there is reason to believe he did repent.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-2.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

And will remove thy candlestick; that is, take away from them the religious privileges which they would not rightly improve.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/revelation-2.html. 1878.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

REPENT!

‘Repent, and do the first works.’

Revelation 2:5

The text teaches:—

I. The inseparable moral connection between inward feeling and outward action.—Repent and do.

II. The outward aspect of humiliation and regret which the text wears for the sinner and the backslider.—‘Repent’—change your purposes and plans, and do now what you should have done years ago.

III. The inner heart of life and hope which this command bears in it for all men.—Repent! It can yet be done. There is not a more blessed thought in God’s Word. It is indeed God’s message of hope to men.

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/revelation-2.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

Ver. 5. From whence thou art fallen] viz. From thy former feelings and present fitness for God’s kingdom, Luke 9:62.

And repent] See the practice of this second repentance in the relapsed spouse returning to her old husband, Song of Solomon 5:6. {See Trapp on "2 Corinthians 7:11"} See an excellent letter of the Lady Jane to that apostate Harding, sometime her chaplain, Acts and Mon. fol. 1292, and what sweet counsel Bradford afterwards gave the same Harding, lb. fol. 1564, besides the example of Mr Bartlet Green, martyr, fol. 1680.

And do the first works] Begin the world again (as the Nazarite was to do that had broken his vow, Numbers 6:1-27), and, to set thee up afresh, make a gathering of prayers, and see that thy works be better at last than at first.

And remove thy candlestick] Sins are the snuffs that dim our candlestick and threaten the removal of it. And surely if we repent not, a removal thereof may be as certainly foreseen and foretold as if visions and letters were sent us from heaven, as to these seven Churches. There is a prophecy in Thelesphorus, reported, that Antichrist shall never overcome Venice, nor Paris, nor London; but we have a more sure word of prophecy here. This nation is sick of a spiritual pleurisy; we begin to surfeit on the bread of life. When God sees his mercies lying under table, it is just with him to call to the enemy to take away.

Except thou repent] Minatur Deus ut non puniat. God therefore menaceth, that men may be warned. As a bee stings not till provoked; so neither doth God punish till there be no remedy, 2 Chronicles 36:16. Currat ergo poenitentia, ne proecurrat sententia, saith one; mittamus preces et lacrymas cordis legatos, saith another. Haste, haste, haste, to meet the Lord with entreaties of peace; lest we be laid waste as Sodom and desolate as the people of Gomorrah, Isaiah 1:9.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-2.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Revelation 2:5

The Cure of what was Wrong.

How shall old, faded love be revived? In reply to this question, a great many plans have been proposed and urged, while the Lord's own method has been either overlooked or perversely set aside. The directions He gives are few and simple, but they go to the very core of the matter, whether it be a single individual who has left his first love or a whole Church. Let us mark the things that He names, and the order in which He names them. Memory, conscience, will, are called into play.

I. "Remember whence thou art fallen." That is sure to be painful, but it is the first step towards healing. There was a better estate, an estate that has been left by thine own fault; thou art "fallen" from it. Remember this better estate; call it up again into memory; live the old days over again, those days of heaven upon earth when the name of Jesus sounded so sweetly in your ears, and joy dwelt in your soul. Take the best of them, the most heavenlike of them, and in thought live them over again. This is one of the most blessed uses of memory, and it is the first step in a return to first love.

II. "And repent." This is the Lord's second word of direction. It is an absolutely vital word. He who summons to repentance will see to it that nothing of needful grace is lacking. He "gives" repentance, and we are to take this for granted without need of argument, however dull or insensible our hearts may have become. This word "repent" is one of the profoundest words in the Bible, however superficially modern evangelism or modern legalism may deal with it. It does not indicate mere regret, such as may be caused by the consequence of our actions. That regret may be the beginning of good, but of itself it is not repentance. Repentance is a change in the mind. It implies a true sense of sin and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ. It is the turning of the inner being from sin to God.

III. The Lord's third word is this, "And do the first works." They might seem at Ephesus to have ground for saying, "We have never ceased working from the very beginning," and in a sense they had not. But their works were not the same as at first; in a measure the love was out of them, the love that not merely made them vital, but gave them beauty in the Lord's sight. The summons to do the first works is, therefore, a summons to begin, as it were, over again, throwing love into every deed. To secure compliance He adds this word of warning: "Or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent." He will bring salutary fear into play as well as gratitude, love, and hope. It is not loss of the soul that is threatened, but loss of the privilege of usefulness and the suppression of them as a Church. The sure way to ruin and extinguish a Christian Church as a light in the world is that it should lose its love.

J. Culross, Thy First Love, p. 86.


Backsliding.

Those who have fallen in the Church and those who are fallen from the Church are both to be found in the midst of us. The world abounds with backsliders in heart and in life; and if the census could be taken of the multitudes now irreligious, of the prayerless households and Sabbathless families, the result would be something absolutely appalling.

Consider:—

I. Some of the ordinary causes of falling: (1) adverse or persecuting influence brought to bear upon the soul; (2) an overweening attachment to the present world; (3) self-confidence; (4) a neglect of secret intercourse with God. Only the heart that has renewed its strength on the mount can maintain its consistent walk with the multitude and its influential citizenship in the world, and it is certain that many of the temptations under whose terrible pressure so many are apt to yield would either be entirely disarmed, or would assail with diminished power, if the soul were strengthened from the onset by secret fellowship and prayer.

II. The signs that it has taken place. The Scriptures speak of individuals who may have left their first love, while many of the characteristics of a religious profession continue to be maintained, backsliders in heart, who hang on as useless encumbrances to a Church from which their affections are estranged. Minor apostacy prepares the way for greater; the restraints of conscience once violated, the gap grows wider and wider; easy is the descent to perdition, and you are speeding thither. Your only safety is in a renewed application to the Saviour, who has promised to heal your backslidings and to love you freely.

W. M. Punshon, Sermons, p. 51.


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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/revelation-2.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Revelation 2:5. Will remove thy candlestick out of his place, As this threatening is addressed to the church of Ephesus, though much better than some other churches, it is reasonable to believe, that, like other denunciations, it was also intended to awaken the rest. It intimates how terrible a thing it would be to have the gospel taken away from them: and indeed it has been executed upon them all in a very awful manner; for, ruined and overthrown by heresies and divisions within, and by the arms of the Saracens from without, Mahometanism prevails throughout those countries, which were once the glory of Christendom; their churches turned into mosques, and their worship into superstition.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". 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

We had Christ's commendation and reprehension of the church of Ephesus before, we have this admonition and exhortation now. The words before us are partly monitory, and partly minatory; monitory in the former part of the verse, Remember from whence thou art fallen and repent.

Note here, That Christ did not surprisingly come upon this church at unawares; they were admonished before chastised, warned before laid waste; Christ doth premonish before he punishes. In the minatory part we have a great guilt and sin supposed, a great judgment for that guilt denounced, the unchurching of them that had committed it; and the means prescribed for the averting of that judgment, to wit, repentence.

Learn hence, 1. That a people professing religion and godliness may fall.

2. That fallen professors should and ought to remember from whence they are fallen.

3. That fallen professors should be repenting professors, and do their first works.

4. That without repentance and reformation, God will certainly remove a people's candlestick, take away the gospel from them, as the severest judgment which he can inflict upon them.

Remember, repent, and do the first works, else I will remove thy candlestick out of its place: that is, such a tempest of persecution shall arise, as will shake your tottering candlestick out of its place. The universal church only has a promise of stability; any particular church may be unchurched finally.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-2.html. 1700-1703.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 2:5. (29) εἰ δὲ μὴ) This is spoken absolutely without a verb, Revelation 2:16; ἐὰν μὴ, with a verb, presently after in this verse, and Revelation 2:22, ch. Revelation 3:3; Revelation 3:20.— ἔρχομαί σοι καὶ κινήσω) The coming of the Lord was about to take place at one time; and the denunciation of His coming was made first at Ephesus, etc., lastly at Laodicea. [In these denunciations the idea of nearness of approach increases: Revelation 2:16; Revelation 2:25, ch. Revelation 3:3; Revelation 3:11; Revelation 3:20.—Not. Crit.] The verb ἔρχομαι is used so constantly in the present, that it remains so even when followed by a future: ἔρχομαι καὶ κινήσω· ἔρχομαι καὶ πολεμήσω, Revelation 2:16. See also John 14:3. The angel ought to effect much, on account of his close tie of connection with his own church.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". 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

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen; that is, in what degree thy love was formerly, and compare it with what it is now.

And repent; repentance in man, signifieth both the change of the heart and of the actions.

And do the first works; recover thy former warmth of love, and zeal for good works.

Or else I will come unto thee quickly; if thou do not, I that know thee, and walk in the midst of thee, will show myself an enemy to thee.

And will remove thy candlestick out of his place; and unchurch thee, and say unto thee, Lo-ammi, You are not my people. Which threatening is long since made good; for where is now the famous church of Ephesus?

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". 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

сдвину светильник твой Суд Божий положит конец церкви Ефесян.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-2.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Do the first works; devote thyself as earnestly and heartily to my service as at the beginning.

Remove thy candlestick; extinguish the light of thy church-an awful warning which Christ fulfilled long ago to the church in Ephesus, that has been for centuries extinct, and which he has fulfilled to many unfaithful churches since.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-2.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 2:5. The exhortation to the church now follows in three parts:—(1) Remember therefore from whence thou hast fallen; her first condition being regarded as a height; (2) and repent, by contrasting thy present with thy former state; (3) and do the first works; for it is the duty of the church to ‘abide’ in Christ: ‘Even as the Father hath loved Me,’ says Jesus Himself, ‘I also have loved you; abide ye in My love’ (John 15:9). ‘Works’ are here to be understood in that widest sense of the word peculiar to St. John. The Lord does not bid His Church act as if acting were everything and feeling nothing. Feeling is rather the thing mainly thought of. There was no want of action: what was needed was the love which alone makes action valuable (cp. 1 Corinthians 13).

or else I come unto thee; not the final judgment, or the Second Coming of the Lord; for, in that case, we should hardly have had the words ‘unto thee’ attached to the warning, but a special coming in judgment, an earnest and symbol of the great Coming at the last.

And will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent. The removal of the church’s candlestick denotes removal from her high standing and privileges in the sanctuary of God. There is nothing here of what has been described as simply ‘the removal of the candlestick, not the extinction of the candle; judgment for some, but that very judgment the occasion of mercy for others.’ The word ‘move’ is in the Apocalypse a word of judgment (cp. chap. Revelation 6:14), and there is no thought of anything else in the warning given. Surely also, it may be remarked in passing, the warning distinctly shows us that the ‘angel’ of the church cannot possibly be its bishop. ‘Thy candlestick!’ where is the Church spoken of as if she belonged to any of her office-bearers? She is always the Church of Christ. Contrast with ‘thy candlestick’ ‘My sheep,’ ‘My lambs’ (John 21:15-17).

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". "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 2:5. Remember therefore, &c. — It is not possible for any church, or individual Christian, whether public teacher or private member, that has lost the first love, to recover it, but by taking the three steps here spoken of. 1st, Remember; 2d, Repent; 3d, Do the first works. Remember from whence thou art fallen — From what degree of faith, love, holiness, though perhaps insensibly; and repent — Have a deep and lively conviction of thy fall, be humbled and truly sorry for it before God, earnestly desiring to be pardoned and renewed, and bringing forth fruits worthy of repentance in all respects; do the first works — Outwardly and inwardly, otherwise thou canst never regain the first love; or else thou must expect that I will come unto thee quickly — In some awful dispensations of providence. By this word is the warning sharpened to those five churches which are called to repent, this admonition belonging equally to them; (for if Ephesus was threatened, how much more shall Sardis and Laodicea be afraid!) and according as they obey the call or not, there is a promise or a threatening, Revelation 2:5; Revelation 2:16; Revelation 2:22; Revelation 3:3; Revelation 3:20. But even in the threatening the promise is implied in the case of true repentance. And will remove thy candlestick out of its place — This threatening, considered as addressed to the angel or pastor of the church, meant, Unless thou repent, I will remove the flock now under thy care to another place, and put it under the care of another pastor, where it shall be better taken care of. Considered as addressed to the church, it implies that it should no longer continue to be a church, if the members of it did not endeavour to recover their lost ground, and to shine at least with their former lustre; but that the hedge of discipline should be broken down, and the light of the gospel removed from them. From the flourishing state of the church, however, at Ephesus, for a time after this, there is reason to believe that both the pastor and his flock did repent, although, not long after, they declined again, and fell lower than ever; and this church, with the other churches addressed in these letters, was ruined and overthrown by heresies and divisions from within, and by the arms of the Saracens from without. So that Mohammedanism prevails and prospers in all those countries which were once the glory of Christendom, their churches being turned into mosques, and their worship into superstitions; even Ephesus, which was once so magnificent and glorious a city, being become, as is observed on Revelation 2:1, a mean, sordid village, with scarcely a single family of Christians dwelling in it.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/revelation-2.html. 1857.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

from. Omit.

art fallen = hast fallen.

repent. Compare Leviticus 26:40-42. Deuteronomy 30:1-3. Daniel 9:3, Daniel 9:4. Matthew 4:17. Acts 2:38; &c. Contrast Ephesians 1:3. App-111.

else = if (App-118) not (App-105).

will. Omit.

quickly. The texts omit.

remove = move, as Revelation 6:14.

except. If (App-118) not (App-105).

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". "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

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

Whence - from what a height.

Do the first works - which flowed from thy first love. Not merely 'feel thy first feelings,' but do works flowing from the same principle as formerly (Galatians 5:6).

I will come - `I am coming' in special judgment on thee.

Quickly. So B omitted in 'Aleph (') A C, Vulgate, Coptic versions.

Remove thy candlestick out of his place - "remove" the Church from Ephesus elsewhere. 'Removal of the candlestick, not extinction of the candle, is threatened here; judgment for some, the occasion of mercy for others. The seat of the Church has been changed; the Church itself survives. What the East lost, the West has gained. One who lately visited Ephesus found only three Christians, and these so ignorant as scarcely to have heard the names of Paul or John' (Trench).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". "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

(5) Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, . . . and do the first works.—It is argued that we have here evidence that the later, or Domitian, date of the Apocalypse is the true one, since it describes a fall in spiritual life which might have occurred in thirty years, but would hardly have taken place in the few years—ten at the utmost—which elapsed between the visit of St. Paul (Acts 20:29-30) and the reign of Nero. But greater changes than a decay of this kind have passed over communities in equally short periods. We have seen nations pass from imperialism to republicanism, from the fever-heat of radicalism to the lethargy of conservatism, in shorter space. Has not the past decade shown marvellously rapid movements in the Church of our own land! The change, moreover, in the Ephesian Church was not so great as the advocates of the later apocalyptic date would describe. There is at present little outward sign of decay; they have resisted evil and false teachers; they have shown toil and endurance; but the great Searcher of hearts detects the almost imperceptible symptoms of an incipient decay. He alone can tell the moment when love of truth is passing into a noisy, Pharisaic zealotism; when men are “settling down into a lower state of spiritual life than that which they once aimed at and once knew.” Such a backsliding is “gentle, unmarked, unnoticed in its course.” Further, it must not be forgotten that the Apostle did express his presentiments of coming danger, and specially warned the elders (Acts 20:28) to take heed unto themselves; and in his Epistle (Ephesians 6:24) he gives in his closing words the covert caution that their love to Christ should be j an incorruptible, unchanging love: “Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruption” (“sincerity,” English version). The advice now given is, “Repent, and do the first works.” The advice is three-fold: remember, repent, reform. Remember the love of the past peaceful hours. “How sweet their memory still!” “There are ever goads,” says Archbishop Trench, “in the memory of a better and a nobler past, goading him who has taken up with meaner things and lower, and urging him to make what he has lost once more his own.” (Comp. Luke 15:17, and Hebrews 10:32.) So Ulysses urges his crew to further exertions.

“Call to mind from whence ye sprung:

Ye were not formed to live as brutes,

But virtue to pursue and knowledge high.”

—Inf. xxvi.

Remember, but also repent, and repent in true practical fashion; for Love will recognise no repentance but that which is confirmed in the doing of the first works. It must be a repentance whereby we forsake sin. “Christ does not say, ‘Feel thy first feelings,’ but, ‘Do the first works.’” “An ounce of reality,” says a modern novelist, “is worth a pound of romance.”

Or else I will come . . .—Better, Or else I am coming unto (or, for thee, in a way which concerns) thee, and (omit “quickly,” which is wanting in the oldest MSS.) will remove thy candlestick out of its place, unless thou shalt have repented—i.e., unless the change shall have come before the day of visitation. The “now they are hid from thine eyes,” is not yet spoken for Ephesus.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-2.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
Remember
3:3,19; Ezekiel 16:61-63; 20:43; 36:31; 2 Peter 1:12,13
thou art
Isaiah 14:12; Hosea 14:1; Galatians 5:4; Jude 1:24
and repent
16,21,22; 3:3,19; 9:20,21; 16:9; Acts 17:30,31
and do
19; 3:2,3; Isaiah 1:26; Jeremiah 2:2,3; Hosea 9:10; Malachi 3:4; 4:6; Luke 1:17
else
16; 3:3; Matthew 21:41-43; 24:48-51; Mark 12:9; Luke 12:45,46; 20:16
Reciprocal: Exodus 25:31 - a candlestick;  Exodus 40:24 - GeneralLeviticus 24:4 - the pure;  Psalm 85:8 - but;  Proverbs 6:23 - lamp;  Ezekiel 18:30 - Repent;  Matthew 3:2 - Repent;  Matthew 13:12 - from;  Matthew 24:12 - the love;  Matthew 25:7 - GeneralMatthew 25:29 - shall be taken;  Luke 22:61 - And Peter;  Acts 26:20 - repent;  Romans 11:22 - otherwise;  1 Corinthians 11:31 - General2 Corinthians 13:5 - Examine;  Philippians 3:16 - whereto;  1 Timothy 5:12 - their;  Hebrews 10:32 - call;  Revelation 3:16 - I will spue thee out

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-2.html.

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation

THREATENED WITH JUDGMENT.

Revelation 2:5. — "Remember therefore whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; but if not I am coming to thee, and I will remove thy lamp out of its place, except thou shalt repent." The Lord has a positive, definite cause of complaint against the angel. "I have against thee that thou hast left thy first love." It is the only thing for which Ephesus is censured, but, oh, how serious! The coming shipwreck of the professing Church, its public and nauseous rejection by Christ is here traced to its root, first love given up. The Lord never forgets His joy in the first love of His people. "Thus saith the Lord; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after Me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown" (Jeremiah 2:2). Judah's first love is never forgotten by Jehovah; the Church's first love, too, is equally remembered by the Lord, and desired by Him, which, in fact, "Ephesus" really means. Now if the threatened judgment is to be averted there must be a recovery to "first love" and "first works," hence the two admonitions needful to this end are "Remember" and "Repent." Remember the moral elevation you once occupied, remember the heights of love, "the mountain of myrrh" and "the hill of frankincense" once trod in fellowship with the everlasting Lover of your soul! To what depths you have fallen! Repent. Judge the state of heart which has led to the first step in the downward course. Thus memory and repentance are presented as the two factors in recovery from a backsliding state. "Quickly" should be deleted. Ample time is given for restoration. The removal of the lamp as a light bearer in no wise weakens the question of eternal security of all who build on Christ — the Rock of Ages. Speaking in general terms, we may say, the lamps which once shone so brightly, and especially in the renowned capital of Ephesus, have been taken out of their place, and the gross darkness of Mohammedanism now wraps its deadly folds around these seven cities of proconsular Asia. A like removal awaits the western profession of Christianity. Unfaithfulness, whether corporate or individual, must be judged, and the present miserable condition of Ephesus, now known as Agiosalouk, is an object lesson to all. Has Christendom continued in the goodness of God? It has not, and "gross darkness" shall yet cover these lands, once brilliant with the light of the Gospel (Isaiah 60:2). According to the interpretation adopted in this Exposition we regard Ephesus as representing the Church in a special phase of its condition, a condition characteristically present at the close of the first century. We are pleased to know that love and faith were in a measure rekindled, and the lamp trimmed in the Ephesian assembly, so that in the third Ecumenical Council (A.D. 431) it gave forth no uncertain sound on the great underlying truth of Christianity, the incarnation of our Lord. But the hour of doom nevertheless came. In like manner various partial recoveries have been granted to the Church at large, but its doom, too, is fixed.

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Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". "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

From whence thou art fallen. They had fallen from a condition of fervent love for Christ and his cause to one of legal or technical formality. Repent. They have not been charged with doing anything wrong; everything they did was right as far as the acts themselves were concerned. It was what they were-not doing that made up the Lord"s objection to them; they were right affirmatively but wrong negatively. Yet they were told to repent, which shows a disciple may be condemned for what he is not doing. (See Hebrews 2:3.) Do the first works means those extra acts of love they did in the beginning of their service to Christ, not that they must repeat the first principles of the Gospel. I will come quickly. He was already walking round midst all the churches, but this means He will come specifically to this particular church to judge it. Will remove thy candlestick. Now we can see the reason for the remarks at Revelation 1:12 about the seven candlesticks being separate items. That makes it possible to remove one without disturbing the others. Another important thought is signified in this circumstance, namely, the churches of Christ are independent units as to their government and have no official connection with each other. It should be noted further that notwithstanding the complaints the Lord had against the church, He did not threaten to remove its candlestick (which would be His way of rejecting this church) unless it failed to repent. In connection with this case it is well to consider Matthew 11:20 where Jesus upbraids some wicked cities "because they repented not." In Luke 13:3; Luke 13:5 He declares certain ones will perish "except they, repent." In 2 Peter 3:9 the wicked need not Perish if they will "come to repentance." This group of kindred passages gives us an insight into the principle on which God deals with mankind. A church (or individual) does not forfeit its standing with God at the mere point of doing wrong (else we all would be falling daily), but it is when it does wrong and refuses to repent of it.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". 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 2:5

Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

This verse contains, first, Christ's counsel unto this church and her angel. Secondly, his commination if they repent not and reform. To "remember" in this place, implies, first, a calling to mind their former lively Acts, fruits, and exercise of love to Christ and his saints, etc. and secondly, to compare them with the heartless, lifeless acts and fruits of their love to Christ and his saints, now, and of late days; and thirdly, to consider from whence they were fallen.

"And repent"

To repent is to sorrow after a godly manner, as they did, { 2 Corinthians 7:9-11} which worketh repentance to salvation: And to

"do the first works,"

implies a performing with zeal and confidence those duties of love to Christ and his saints etc. which this church, her ministers and members did at their first conversion, and in the day of their first espousals.

"Or else, I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent"

In this commination, we have, first, the punishment which Christ threatened, "and will remove thy candlestick out of his place." Secondly, his patient waiting for their repentance; or else, except thou repent.

"remove thy candlestick out of his place"

Christ may be said to "remove the candlestick out of its place," first, when he suffers and adversaries or enemies either by hostility or persecution, so to disperse and scatter them, that they cannot meet together as a church with one accord in any one place, or part of that city visibly to worship God in the administrations and ordinances of the gospel. Secondly, when Christ suffers and false teachers or brethren among them, to cause divisions, schisms, and sinful separations through errors, contentions and heresies, whereby the church is divided and broken in pieces; so that the ministers and members do utterly refuse to assemble themselves together to worship God: Or, thirdly, when Christ forsakes the church, and will not walk with them any longer, but denies them his spiritual presence, and refuseth to hold communion with them, because they refute his counsel, will not repent nor reform what is amiss, but hold fast their sin obstinately; whereby they provoke the Lord to reject them. { Revelation 3:16}

A true, visible, constituted, particular church of Christ may sin away their church estate by their iniquity and impenitency. { Hosea 2:1-5; Revelation 3:16} And a church of Christ may become a synagogue of Satan, God hath removed those and other golden candlesticks out of their places, for their impenitency added unto their Transgressions.

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Bibliographical Information
Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-2.html.

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

Revelation 2:5. Remember therefore from whence thou hast fallen, and repent and do the first works. But if not, I will come to thee (shortly), and remove thy lamp out of its place, if thou repent not. Bengel: "After a backsliding it is needful and salutary to repent," ch. Revelation 3:3. That from which the angel had fallen, is the earlier glorious state, the engaging time of youthful love. Allusion is made, as appears, to Isaiah 14:12, "How art thou fallen from heaven, thou fine morning-star!" The shortly is wanting in several MSS., and has probably been pressed into the text from the parallel passages, Revelation 2:16, Revelation 3:11, Revelation 22:7; Revelation 22:12; Revelation 22:20. The shortly is perhaps too strong here. If the lamp is removed from its place, the church vanishes from the number of the churches of Christ. The promises, which are given to the whole of Christ's church, grant no charter to individual churches to become lukewarm and to fall away; as, notwithstanding the glorious privileges and promises of Israel, the greater part of them were cast out of the kingdom of God and given over to perdition; Matthew 21:43, comp. Revelation 22:11, where our Lord declares, that the same thing should be repeated on the Christian field. Bossuet: "If the life of the gospel goes out in some one region, it is not therefore extinguished, but is only removed elsewhere, and transferred to another people."

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-2.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

5.Remember—A calling to remembrance the days when his heart was rich with his first divine love, is often the first inspiring impulse for the backslider to return.

First works—For that early love was not a mere emotion ending where it begun, within the feeling, but put itself forth in works.

I will come—Greek present tense, I come, or, am coming; but remove is in the future, showing that the present of come implies vividness of conception. The come does not designate the second advent, for which parousia is the unequivocal word, as noted in 2 Peter 3:4. This coming is the interposition of Christ to remove the Church of Ephesus. This removal some interpreters apply to the transfer of the primary episcopate elsewhere. Others, to the transfer of the Christian Church from east to west, from Asia to Europe. We can easily imagine how the necessity of uttering this threat to his own Ephesus should touch the heart of St. John.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-2.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 2:5. , from what a height. Contrast Cic. ad Attic. iv. 17: “non recordor unde ceciderim, sed unde resurrexerim”. To realise that a decline has taken place, or to admit a lapse, is the first step and stimulus to amendment (see the fine passage in Bunyan’s preface to Grace Abounding, and the “Hymn of the Soul,” 44, 45, in Acts of Thomas). Once this is brought home to the mind ( , a prolonged effort), repentance quick and sharp ( , aor.) will follow, issuing in a return to the first level of excellence ( ), i.e., to the initial charity (2 John 1:6; 2 John 1:8; love shown in deeds). The way to regain this warmth of affection is neither by working up spasmodic emotion nor by theorising about it (Arist. Eth. Nic. ii. 4), but by doing its duties. (“The two paracletes of man are repentance and good works,” Sanhed. 32). It is taken for granted that man possesses the power of turning and returning; the relation of Christ’s redeeming death to the forgiveness of sins throughout the Christian life, although implied, is never explicitly argued (as in Hebrews) by this writer. The present ( .) emphasises the nearness of the approach, while the future ( .) denotes a result to follow from it. either a dat. incommodi or (more probably) a local dat. (rare in classical literature, cf. Aesch. Pr. ver. 360) with “the sense of motion to a place,” (Simcox, Lang. N. T. 81), if not an incorrect reproduction of Heb. (as Matthew 21:5, Blass). Cf. Journ. Theol. St. iii. 516. . . ., (“efficiam ut ecclesia esse desinas,” Areth.); not degradation but destruction is the threat, brotherly love being the articulus stantis aut cadentis ecclesiae. So, in a remarkable parallel from Paul (Philippians 2:14-16), quarrelsomeness forfeits the privileges of Christ’s care and service, since the function of being , depends upon concord and charity in the church ( ). A slackened sense of the obligation to mutual love formed the cardinal sin at Ephesus; to repent of this was the condition of continued existence as a church; utility or extinction is the alternative held out to her. The nature of the visitation is left unexplained; the threat is vague, but probably eschatological. The Apocalypse, however, knows nothing of the Jewish idea that Israel’s repentance would bring the advent of messiah (cf. Schürer’s Hist. II. ii. 163, 164), as though the transgressions of the people hindered his appearance.

 

 

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Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-2.html. 1897-1910.

The Bible Study New Testament

5. Remember how far you have fallen! (1) They had been at a high spiritual level. (2) They had lost their hold on Christ and had dropped into the pit of spiritual defeat [but they did not know it!]. (3) Turn! They must actively recapture this love. It is AGAPE – an act of will. “I will love God; I will love fellow man.” See 1 John 4:15-21. If you don’t. This warning speaks to every church which has lost its “first love.” It will cease to exist, if it does not turn from its SIN [IT IS A SIN NOT TO LOVE] and recapture the Spirit and Power of Christ!

 

 

 

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Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 2:5". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/revelation-2.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.