Revelation 2:1-7 Ephesus
Letter to Ephesus [EF uh suhs]
When John wrote Revelation, Ephesus had been there for over a thousand years.
I am a lay person. I use three different commentaries listed below.
It would make me sound like one who does not have the authority (Matthew 7:28-29)
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture will be quoted from the New American Standard Bible (NASB)
If you do not have a Bible, I invite you to go to BibleGateway.com or another online Bible.
Go to Revelation 2
You want to use the Bible you are familiar or use the verses written here and pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you.
The seven churches listed in chapter 1 and described in chapter 2 and 3 are representative of churches today.
If you are a parent, you know the strengths and weaknesses of your children. You give them guidance as they are growing and maybe impart some wisdom when they are adults. Jesus stayed close to His churches and is giving them guidance.
Easley tells us that “Jesus created a letter-writing formula:”
1. Characteristic of the sender
2. Compliment to the recipients
3. Criticism against the recipients
4. Command to the recipients
5. Commitment to all who overcome. (33)
Let us review from Revelation 1:20
The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches.
The seven lampstands are the seven churches.
Ephesus is on the west coast of Asia Minor ( Map A ), so you can see it is an important trading center. Ephesus was the primary harbor in the province of Asia. (By law incoming Roman governors had to enter Asia through Ephesus.) The city was located on the Cayster River about three miles upriver from where it flowed into the sea. Those disembarking at the harbor traveled along a magnificent, wide, column-lined road (the Arcadian Way) that led to the center of the city. (MacArthur, New Testament Commentary: Revelation 1-11. [Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1999], 57)
Map used by permission from Free Bible Images
Silt from the Cayster River filled up the harbor. Ephesus is about 6 miles from the Aegean Sea. (Easley, Holman New Testament Commentary: Revelation. [Nashville: B&H, 1998], 45)
The city amphitheater seated 25, 000.
There were several temples for several different gods.
Artemis was a fertility goddess. Her temple was one of the most magnificent ones. (Acts 19)
Its ruins have been found by archaeologists. It was about 400 feet long by 200 feet wide.
“A large Jewish population thrived in Ephesus, and Christianity was fully established with the two-year ministry of Paul during his third missionary journey (Acts 19).” (Easley, 45)
Characteristic (Easley, 34)
1. “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand
Seven stars are the leaders in the seven churches.
They are being held in Jesus’ right hand.
They are his Pastors, deacons, or elders, as He uses His supreme authority with His human leaders.
The One who walks among the seven golden lampstands
Jesus is walking near His churches observing the churches, the congregation, and the leaders.
Compliment (Easley, 34)
2. This begins with “I know” as does each of the seven churches.
Jesus knows what is going on in each of His churches.
He knows our deeds, work (toil) and perseverance.
You cannot hide from Jesus.
You cannot tolerate evil men
He also knows that the church in Ephesus cannot tolerate evil men.
You put to the test those who call themselves apostles
They had tested and removed evil men (maybe some women but they are not mentioned)
They are not, and you found them to be false
The church even found some calling themselves apostles but found them to be false!
3. The church in Ephesus had preserved
And have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary.
Imagine being told by Jesus that you are there for His name’s sake and did not grow weary.
Criticism (Easley, 34)
4. But I have this against you
I have always been told if you cannot take the heat get out of the kitchen!
I would hate to hear Jesus telling me what he had against me. How about You?
Judgement is coming!
What did He have against them?
That you have left your first love.
Has your church lost the love it previously had for Jesus? For each other? For the lost?
Command (Easley, 34)
5. Repent and do the deeds you did at first
1. Remember those days when you were first in love with Jesus.
2. Repent that you lost this love toward Jesus and others.
3. Do the things you did when you first loved Him. (MacArthur, 63)
Repent or I will remove your lampstand—unless you repent.
This is a judgement on the church. Is your church being judged?
6. Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
We do not know who the Nicolaitans [nik oh LAY ih tuhnz] were.(Easley, 46)
“The Nicolaitan teaching included two moral errors: open practice of sexual immorality (perhaps at a pagan temple) and open participation in eating food that had been sacrificed to idols (probably also at a pagan temple)”. (Easley, 46)
But Jesus complimented them on hating their sin.
(Hate the sin and not the sinner.)
Commitment (Easley, 34)
7. He who has an ear
There are three elements in the commitment, which comes at the end of each of the seven letters.
He who has an ear
This person is addressed. He is probably a church member who hears and heeds the message. Matthew 11:15
Let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches
Not only do we need to hear but we need to take action.
To him who overcomes
This person is praised. (1 John 5:4-5)
I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.
Tree of life (Genesis 2:9)
Paradise of God is heaven. Will you eat of the tree of life with Jesus?
( Chart A ) is a Summary of the Churches in Revelation 2
( Chart B ) is a Summary of the Churches in Revelation 3
( Chart C ) Messages to the Seven Churches Revelation 2 and 3
In this article Scripture quotations taken from the NASB1995. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation.
Easley, Kendell H., Holman New Testament Commentary: Revelation. Nashville: B&H, 1998
MacArthur, John. New Testament Commentary: Revelation 1-11. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1999
McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume V. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983