Revelation 2:1-29 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Letters to Four Churches
Comments for Study 2

Revelation 2:1-29
Memory Verse: 8

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I. In Ephesus (2:1-7)

>1. What does it mean "to the angel of the church"?

* Revelation 2:1 "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands:"

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>What do you know about Ephesus? (Acts 18:19-21, 24-26, 19:1, 17, 26; and 1 Cor. 16:8-9; and 1 Tim. 1:3-4)

* Acts 18:19-21 "They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. But as he left, he promised, "I will come back if it is God's will." Then he set sail from Ephesus."

* Acts 18:24-26 "Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately."

* Acts 19:1 "While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples"

* Acts 19:17 "When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor."

* Acts 19:26 "And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that man-made gods are no gods at all."

* 1 Corinthians 16:8-9 "But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me."

* 1 Timothy 1:3-4 "As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work--which is by faith."

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>What was true about them that was commendable? (2-3)

* Revelation 2:2-3 "I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary."

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>2. Who is a Christian's first and forever love? (4; Matt. 22:36-40)

* Revelation 2:4 "Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love."

* Matthew 22:36-40 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

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>How do we show are love? (5; John 14:15)

* Revelation 2:5 "Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place."

* John 14:15 "If you love me, you will obey what I command."

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>If they that started good fell back into a sinful life, isn't it possible for us to do the same? (1 John 2:1, 5:18-20)

* 1 John 2:1 "My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One."

* 1 John 5:18-20 "We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true--even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life."

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>3. Who are the Nicolaitans and what did they practice? (6)

* Revelation 2:6 "But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate."

* "Nicolaitans" -Heretical group in the early church who taught immorality and idolatry. They are condemned in here and in verse 15 for their practices in Ephesus and Pergamon. Thyatira apparently had resisted the false prophecy they preached (Rev. 2:20-25). The Nicolaitans have been linked to the type of heresy taught by Balaam (Num. 25:1-2; 2 Pet. 2:15), especially the pagan feasts and orgies that they apparently propagated in the first-century church. (Holman Bible Dictionary)

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>What is promised him who overcomes?

* Revelation 2:7 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God."

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>What is the tree of life? (Gen. 2:8-9, 3:22-24; Prov. 3:18-19, 11:30, 13:12, 15:4)

* Genesis 2:8-9 "Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground--trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil."

* Genesis 3:22-24 "And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life."

* Proverbs 3:18-19 "She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed. By wisdom the LORD laid the earth's foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place;"

* Proverbs 11:30 "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise."

* Proverbs 13:12 "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life."

* Proverbs 15:4 "The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit."

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II. In Smyrna (2:8-11)

>4. What do you know about Smyrna? (8)

* Revelation 2:8 "To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again."

* "Smyrna" -A major city on the West coast of Asia Minor, the modern city of Izmir, Turkey. It had good harbor facilities, was at the end of a major road, and was surrounded by rich farmland. Smyrna gave its loyalty to the Romans at an early stage (about 195 B.C.) and never wavered. The Romans often rewarded Smyrna for its loyalty. The city was headquarters for the imperial cult of emperor worship in that area of the empire. Christians were persecuted by Jews and Romans. Polycarp was a famous Christian martyr who was burned at the stake in Smyrna about A.D. 156. (Holman Bible Dictionary)

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>Who does God call his people, whether Jew or Gentile? (9; Matt. 12:48-50)

* Revelation 2:9 "I know your afflictions and your poverty--yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan."

* Matthew 12:48-50 "He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."

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>Why were some Jewish Christians talking about their Jewish heritage? (3:9; and 2 Cor. 11:3-5, 12:11)

* Revelation 3:9 "I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars--I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you."

* 2 Corinthians 11:3-5 "But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those "super-apostles."

* 2 Corinthians 12:11 "I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the "super-apostles," even though I am nothing."

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>5. Where does some suffering come from? (10)

* Revelation 2:10 "Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life."

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>Why?

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>What is promised the faithful?

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>What is the second death? (11, 20:6, 14-15, 21:8)

* Revelation 2:11 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death."

* Revelation 20:6 "Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years."

* Revelation 20:14-15 "Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."

* Revelation 21:8 "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."

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III. In Pergamum (2:12-17)

>6. What do you know about Pergamum? (12)

* Revelation 2:12 "To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword."

* "Pergamum" -Place name meaning, citadel.” A wealthy ancient city in the district of Mysia in Asia Minor.

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>What is a double-edged sword used for?

* "the sharp, double-edged sword"

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>What does it mean that Satan lives in their city? (13)

* Revelation 2:13 "I know where you live--where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city--where Satan lives."

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>How can believers keep their faith in Jesus under severe persecution and corruption?

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>7. What is Balaam's teaching and what does it mean that some teachers in their church was teaching his teachings? (14-15; 2 Peter 2:15-16; Joshua 24:9-10)

* Revelation 2:14-15 "Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans."

* 2 Peter 2:15-16 "They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness. But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey--a beast without speech--who spoke with a man's voice and restrained the prophet's madness."

* Joshua 24:9-10 "When Balak son of Zippor, the king of Moab, prepared to fight against Israel, he sent for Balaam son of Beor to put a curse on you. But I would not listen to Balaam, so he blessed you again and again, and I delivered you out of his hand."

* Preaching for a selfish gains including for power, prestige, material gains, and profit.

* Preaching that leads people away from obeying God and toward following the ways of the flesh.

>What should we do if we fall into the trap of those false gospels? (16)

* Revelation 2:16 "Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth."

* "Repent therefore!"

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>What does Jesus promise if we don't?

* "I will soon come to you" -That is the congregation.

* "will fight against them with the sword of my mouth" -them is those in the congregation following the false gospels.

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>How does and will Jesus fight with the sword of his mouth? (John 18:3-6)

* John 18:3-6 "So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, "Who is it you want?" "Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "I am he," Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground."

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>8. What is the first thing promised to the overcoming believers? (17a; John 6:63)

* Revelation 2:17a "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna."

* John 6:63 "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life."

* "I will give some of the hidden manna"

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>What is the meaning of the second gift? (17b)

* Revelation 2:17b "I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it."

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IV. In Thyatira (2:18-29)

>9. What do you know about Thyatira? (18)

* Revelation 2:18 "To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze."

* "Thyatira" -A city in the Lycus River valley. Although never a magnificent city, Thyatira was the center of a number of trade guilds which used the natural resources of the area to make it a very profitable site. Thyatira had a Jewish contingent out of which grew a New Testament church. One of Paul’s first converts from the European continent, Lydia, was a native of Thyatira (Acts 16:14). She probably was a member of a guild there which dealt in purple dye. (Holman Bible Dictionary)

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>What are the purposes of eyes and feet and why does Jesus mention his?

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>What good deeds did Jesus see in their congregation? (19)

* Revelation 2:19 "I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first."

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>10. Who was Jezebel in Israel's history and what grace was given to her New Testament counterpart? (20-21; and 1 Kings 18:4)

* Revelation 2:20-21 "Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling."

* 1 Kings 18:4 "While Jezebel was killing off the LORD's prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.)"

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>When she and her followers refused to repent what was promised to come? (22)

* Revelation 2:22 "So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways."

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>What can we learn from verses 23-25 about Jesus was what he wants from his own?

* Revelation 2:23-25 "I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan's so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you): Only hold on to what you have until I come."

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>11. What is promised him who overcomes? (26)

* Revelation 2:26 "To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations--"

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>How does Jesus' dealing with Jezebel foreshadow how sin will be dealt with in the Millennium kingdom? (27)

* Revelation 2:27 "'He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery'-- just as I have received authority from my Father."

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>What else is promised? (28-29) Notice that in verse 29 church is plural.

* Revelation 2:28-29 "I will also give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."

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