Jesus Speaks to the First of Seven Churches -Revelation Chapter 2 Verses 1-7

Originally, I was going to follow last week’s post with “WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE CHURCH IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION?” but I noticed that the blog posts I would be referring to were not transferred from our old website.

So, I am going to first re-post what I will be referring to for you to be able to follow my thoughts.

Here we go:

Revelation 2:1
To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands,

The Lord Jesus Christ is speaking to John and telling him what to write to the church of Ephesus.

In verse 1 Jesus is emphasizing the description of Himself which we read in chapter 1:

Revelation 1:13
and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.

Revelation 1:16
He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.

Ever wondered who or what the seven stars and the seven golden lampstands represent?  To answer this question, we must refer back to Revelation 1:20 which states: 

“the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.

That was commentary to Revelation chapter 2 verse 1, now lets move on to:

Revelation 2:2-4
I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil.  And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.  Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

After complementing the Ephesians for their works, labor, intolerance of evil, and ability to discern false apostles and deal with them accordingly, the Lord confronted them with their tragedy being that they left their first love!  William MacDonald comments:  “The fire of their affection had died down.  They were still mostly sound in doctrine and active in service, but the true motive of all worship and service was missing.”  Apparently they were not in the whole counsel of God. Paul had warned them in Acts 20:27-31 and Ephesians 6:13-14a.

Acts 20:31  For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.  Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.  For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.  Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.

Ephesians 6:13-14a 
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth,

William MacDonald says:  “It isn’t surprising that God’s Word tells us the first piece of armor is truth.  We must take the responsibility to seriously uphold His truth.  But it is also necessary for the truth to hold us—accountable”.

Revelation 2:5
Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.

W. MacDonald comments: “If they would fail to remember and to repent, the Lord would remove the lampstand at Ephesus; that is, the assembly would cease to exist. Its testimony would die out.”

What does it mean to do the first works? Let’s look what the Lord says about that:

John 22:37-39
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’This is the first and great commandment.And the second is like it:‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

The answer is obvious. LOVE the LORD your God! The church in Ephesus had fallen away from it.

How are we doing in this respect? Are we always putting the Lord first? Is Jesus Christ Lord of our life?

Revelation 2:6
But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

W. MacDonald says that “we cannot be sure who the Nicolaitans were”. However, they are mentioned again in Revelation 2:15 immediately following the doctrine of Bālaam in Revelation 2:14, and the Lord repeats His hatred of their deeds and their doctrine. Their teaching, it seems, is that of the false prophet Bālaam—the wicked apostate who loved the wages of unrighteousness (Numbers 22:7; Numbers 25:1-2; 2 Peter 2;15).

Revelation 2:14-15
But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine ofBālaam, who taught Bālak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel,to eat things sacrificed to idols,and to commit sexual immorality.
Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

Numbers 22:7
So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the diviner’s fee in their hand, and they came to Balaam and spoke to him the words of Bālak.

Numbers 25:1-2
Now Israel remained in Acacia Grove,and the people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab. They invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods.

2 Peter 2:15
They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Bālaam the son of Bēor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;

The doctrine of Balaam and of the Nicolaitans are doctrines the Lord hates.  W. MacDonald adds: “This doctrine includes things sacrificed to idols and sexual immorality and the practice of preaching for hire (Numbers Chapters 22 to 25)”.

2 Peter 2:15 …who loved the wages of unrighteousness;

 – which brings us to

1 Timothy 6:10
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Revelation 2:7
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will giveto eat fromthe tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.

The Ephesians’ overcoming would prove the reality of their conversion experience. W. MacDonald states: “In general, however, an overcomer is one who believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  See

1 John 5:4-5
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Quoting W. MacDonald: “The world’s methods are a monstrous scheme of temptations, always trying to get us to lose our focus on God and from what is eternal, and seeking to occupy us with what is temporary and sensual. People of the world have become the victims of temporary, passing things. Only the believer who is born of God can actually overcome the world, because by faith (1 John 5:4-5) he is able to rise above the temporary, perishing things of this world and to see things in their true, eternal perspective. It is not the great scientist or philosopher or psychologist, but the simple believer who realizes the difference between things which are temporary and things which are eternal.”

The scientist might know a lot of information, but the difference between knowledge and wisdom is this: A knowledgeable man can know a lot of information, but with wisdom from God a man can tell what is true or false about the things he knows.

Coming back to our question asked above:
Are we always putting the Lord first? Is Jesus Christ Lord of our life?

OUR FIRST LOVE IS GOD –the Father, Son and Holy Spirit—!
First God, second our family, and third our country!

All Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

William MacDonald quoted from “The Believer’s Bible Commentary