John was instructed to write the letter unto the angel of the church of Ephesus saying; “These things said he that hold the seven stars in his right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. (Revelation 2:1). Revelation 2:1–3 not only is a message written to the church of Ephesus it also is identifying Jesus Christ as the their protector, and His ultimate power and His authority over the seven churches as He holds the seven stars in His right hand and walks in the mist of the seven golden lampstands. Jesus has his eyes continuously are on the seven churches.
Ephesus is a major city on the West coast of Asia Minor (modern Turkey) and a center for the worship of the goddess Artemis who was the most important deity to the people of Ephesus. Paul spent more than two years ministering in Ephesus. (Acts 19). Paul wrote 1 Corinthians from Ephesus. The message to the angel of the church at Ephesus reveals that some people had come to the church who claim to be apostles but are not such in the eyes of the seer (Revelation 2:2). John was happy with the church in Ephesus because they agree with him that these are false apostles, but we learn nothing of their teachings. (Murphy. 2012 pg 102).The message that Jesus gave to John to give to the Church of Ephesus was:
Jesus knows your works, which is an act, deed, thing done: the idea of (Strong. 2001. #2041), and your labor that is intense labor united with trouble and toil (Strong. 2001. #3985), and your patience [1) steadfastness, constancy, endurance 1a) in the New Testament the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings. (Strong. 2001. # 5281)], and how you canst meaning to be able, have power whether by virtue of one’s own ability and resources, or of a state of mind, or through favorable circumstances, or by permission of law or custom (Strong. 2001. #1410) not bear that is to bear what is burdensome (Strong. 2001. # 941), them which are evil meaning troublesome, injurious, pernicious, destructive, baneful (Strong. 2001. #2556): and you have tried [to try, make trial of, test: for the purpose of ascertaining his quality, or what he thinks, or how he will behave himself (Strong. 2001. #2873),] them which say they are apostles meaning a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders, (Strong. 2001. #652), and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne that is to bear what is burdensome (Strong. 2001. #941), and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast labored, and hast not fainted that is to grow weary (Strong. 2001. #2577). (Revelation 2:2-3).
Revelation 2:4–5 Jesus admonished the church of Ephesus:
Jesus said to the church of Ephesus “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 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.” (Revelation 2:4-5).
They loved the Lord in the beginning, but now no longer with their whole heart, soul, and mind. Jesus tells the church of Ephesus they must remember the beginning of their ministry and try to get back to the loving the Lord Jesus Christ with their whole heart, soul, and mind. Jesus also tells the church of Ephesus what they must do and what will happen to them if they fail to repent or perform the works they did at first. They must change their lifestyle and conduct, that is, they must repent. Jesus will remove the lampstand from its place, which means that as a congregation they will experience a complete spiritual shutdown. If they do not repent then Jesus will come to them and will remove their lampstand from its place.
Jesus commends one thing the church of Ephesus did:
But this thou hast, that thou hates the deeds that which one undertakes to do, enterprise, undertaking (Strong. 2001. #2041) of the Nicolaitans, a sect who were charged with holding the error of Balaam, casting a stumbling block before the church of God by upholding the liberty of eating things sacrificed to idols as well as committing fornication (Strong. 2001. #3531), which I also hate. (Revelation 2:6).
The good thing the church of Ephesus had was they did not hesitate to remember the true teachings of the Word of God. Jesus commended the church of Ephesus for their faithfulness to the Word of God. They opposed the false apostles and had sent these wicked men from their midst. Then they hated the works of the Nicolaitans just like the Lord Jesus Christ hated their works.
Encouragement to the church of Ephesus:
“He that hath an ear [metaph. the faculty of perceiving with the mind, the faculty of understanding and knowing (Strong. 2001. #3775)], let him hear [to attend to, consider what is or has been said; to understand, perceive the sense of what is said (Strong. 2001. # 191)] what the Spirit said unto the churches; to him that overcomes, that is of Christians, that hold fast their faith even unto death against the power of their foes, and temptations and persecutions (Strong. 2001. #3528) will I give to eat of the tree of life [life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, in the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions (among them a more perfect body), and to last forever. (Strong. 2001. #2222)], which is in the midst of the paradise of God [the upper regions of the heavens. According to the early church Fathers, the paradise in which our first parents dwelt before the fall still exists, neither on the earth nor in the heavens, but above and beyond the world (Strong. 2001. # 3857)].” (Revelation 2:7).
This message given to the church of Ephesus was also given to the other six church. This message expresses the capability of a person or church to perceiving with the mind, gaining understanding and knowing what the Spirit is expressing. This messages goes beyond the capability of a person to hear and requires the individual or church to be willing to listen to and obediently do as the words of the Spirit of the Church of Ephesus dictate. The promise given to the overcomer, which is of Christians that hold fast their faith even unto death against the power of their foes, and temptations and persecutions, will have the right to eat from the tree of life. Genesis 2:9 tells us “And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Then again in
Genesis 3:22 “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” Because of the sin of Adam and Eve the LORD God drove them out of the Garden of Eden; and placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim’s, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. (Genesis 3:24). Every follower of Christ receives the promise of eternal life and all the other promises that he grants the believer including those who overcome will eat from the tree of life. The tree of life is identified as being in the midst of the paradise of God. While Jesus hung on the cross he told the “malefactor” “today shalt thou be with me in paradise”. (Luke 23:43).
Murphy, Frederick J. (2012). Apocalypticism in the Bible and Its World: A Comprehensive Introduction: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
Strong, James. (2001).The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
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MLA Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne “The Church of Ephesus:.” Becker Bible Studies Library June 2015.<https://guidedbiblestudies.com/?p=2882,>.
APA Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne (2015, June) “The Church of Ephesus:.” Becker Bible Studies Library. Retrieved from https://guidedbiblestudies.com/?p=2882,.
Chicago Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne (2015) “The Church of Ephesus:.” Becker Bible Studies Library (June), https://guidedbiblestudies.com/?p=2882, (accessed).