CHAPTER 2 - verses 1-7

The seven churches are not seven different time periods throughout history. Seven letters are given, to seven congregations, in order to set them apart, and to show them that God wants to communicate with His people. (All these congregations have professed faith in Messiah) These messages have a sanctifying influence in the lives of believers, so that they might bear
testimony to the truth of G-d’s redemption (both the means and the outcome of it). The letters all follow a similar format. First, a different aspect of Messiah’s character, or personhood, is revealed to each congregation. G-d then reveals to them that He knows their deeds (works) – good and bad. Near the end of each of the letters He gives criteria that, if adhered to, enable them to be overcomers. Each of the letters end with an expression: ‘Him who has ears let him hear what the Spirit says to the congregations’. Here, it is not speaking exclusively to the congregation that the letter is addressed to, but is relevant for ALL congregations – plural – through all time.


Verse 1: “To the messenger of the congregation of Ephesus write: Thus says the One who holds in His right hand the seven stars, the One who walks in the midst of the seven golden menorahs.”  

Messiah is holding these leaders (stars) in His hand. They find support from Him, for the calling which they have been commanded to carry out. This verse also reemphasizes that Messiah is with us, among us, in our midst. As believers, we could never faithfully carry out what God has called us to do, unless His Presence, by means of the Holy Spirit, was with us. (Exodus 33v15-16)


Verse 2: “I know your works, your labour, and your patience. For you are not able to tolerate those who are wicked. And you have tested those who say that they are apostles but are not. For they have been found to be liars.”

God does not evaluate us for salvation (this was given, to us, as a gift from Messiah Yeshua, when we responded to the gospel – Ephesians 2v8-9). There is a judgement coming for everyone, but for believers this is a judgement of works. (1 Corinthians 3v10-15) It is a judgement based on the responsibility we were given (Luke 19v12-26). Our deeds will be either pleasing, to God, or shameful. It is significant that the first thing Messiah emphasizes about this congregation is that it did not tolerate wickedness in its midst. We are called to deal ruthlessly with wickedness. (1 Corinthians 5v13) ‘Tested those’ relates to discernment. Believers are called to exercise discernment. We are to hold people and teachings up to the Word of G-d (Acts 17v11). Discernment is one of the outcomes of the Holy Spirit working and moving in our lives. We are called to make a distinction between right and wrong. True and false. (Malachi 3v18) At the time of the end, strong delusion will come and will lead people astray. (2 Thessalonians 2v11) There needs to be a body of believers that speak, teach and warn others in ways that people need to hear.


Verse 3: “You have done much, and you have patience, and on account of my name you have not grown tired in doing good.”


Verse 4: “But I have this against you: You have left your first Love”. 

Ephesus was a place of great learning. This church knew a lot. Knowledge had given them discernment and wisdom, but they were doing things out of rote behavior rather than out of
love or acknowledgement of God. They knew truth, but this truth did not produce intimacy.


Verse 5: “Remember from where you have fallen. Repent and do your former works. But if you do not, behold I am coming unto  you quickly, and I will remove your lampstand (menorah) from its place if you do not repent.”

God called this congregation to ‘remember’ that they had been lost and without hope. (Ezekiel 16v4-14) But G-d had loved them, and the world (John 3v16), so much that he had redeemed them by His own blood. (1v5) This congregation had forgotten this.
‘Repent’, in Hebrew, means a change in direction. In Greek, it is depicted by two words: meta (with) and noieo (knowledge). Repentance has to do with responding to truth. Knowledge, yes, but based out of a love for G-d – what He has done in loving us and giving of Himself. ‘Former works’: G-d wants them to behave in the way they did when they first came to faith. He
wants the response, from all of us, to be out of the love that we have received. We love because He first loved us (1 John 4v19) If we aren’t responding out of love, then we will not be able to bear proper testimony, as we should. ‘But if you do not’ – God is speaking about free will. The menorah’s (our) purpose is to manifest light (Matthew 5v14-16). This light represents the Glory of God. God will ‘remove’ the vessel that is not displaying His glory, as this vessel is disobedient, rebellious and shows a lack of the truth of salvation. An outcome of salvation is to reflect G-d’s glory. If our lives do not reflect Him it is an indication
that we are not truly saved. David was called a ‘man after G-d’s heart’ (Acts 13v22). One of the reasons for this was because
he was quick to repent. When G-d’s conviction comes upon a believer, we need to be quick to repent. Unwillingness to repent is a sign that one is not a believer.

Verse 6: “But this you have: That you have hated the works of the Nikolasim, those which I hate also.”

The word ‘Nikolasim’ (Nicolaitans) is two Greek words. The first means ‘conquering’, and the second, ‘people’. These Nikolasim were people who loved to rule over or dominate other people. They infiltrated the house of G-d in order to build themselves up. They liked authority – not to submit to it, but to be it. They didn’t lift people up. They came to push them down and
triumph over them.

Verse 7: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the congregations. The one who overcomes, I will give to him to eat from the Tree of Life, which is in the garden of God.”

That ability to listen, to hear, to understand the Holy Spirit, is an outcome of salvation. There were two trees in the Garden of Eden. The Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life. Adam and Eve ate from the wrong tree, because they were disobedient. They did not listen to the counsel of God but listened, instead, to that of the enemy. Christ redeemed us, from the curse
of the law, by hanging on the tree for us. Our tree of Life. (Galatians 3v13). ‘Garden of God.’: Here is another example, for us, of how John, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, took an Old Covenant passage (Isaiah 51v3) and wove it into a New Covenant
context. In the Kingdom of God we are not going back to a garden experience, in and of itself. We are going to be in a new and improved garden – “The Garden of God”. He is going to be there! The Eternal Presence of God will be with us, for eternity!


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