This portion of scripture, according to ESV commentary, is the "Beginning of the body" and it includes three letters to four of the seven churches: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergmum and Thyatria.
Ephesus-Christ is aware of the work, toil nd patient endurance. He notes that one thing he has against the church is that they have "abandoned the love you had at first." The commentary says that it could either be that they forgot the love/lost love for one another or the same degree of love for Christ--or both.
"abandoned the love you had at first"
- Jeremiah 2:2- "I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me int the wilderness, in a land not sown.
- Ezekiel 16:8- " When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you."
- vs. 43-"Because you have not remembered the days of your youth but have enraged me with all these things, therefore, behold, I have returned your deeds upon your head, declares the Lord God. Have you not committed lewdness in addition to all your abominations?"
- vs. 60- "Yet I will remember my covenant in the days of your youth and I will re-establish an everlasting covenant with you."
Smyrna-tribulation, poverty and slander of those who say they are Jews and are not. Two main topics: (1) Be faithful unto death and you will receive a crown of life. (2) that you may be tested.
(1)Be faithful unto death and you will receive a crown of life:
- Matthew 10:22-" You will be hated for my namesake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved."
- Hebrews 3:5-6: " Now Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, to testify to the things that were spoken later but Christ is faithful over God's house as a son. And we are in his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope."
(2)that you may be tested
- James 2:5- " Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom?"
- 1 Timothy 6:18- " They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share thus storing up treasures for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of what is truly life."
- Hebrews 10:34-"For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property. Since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession, an abiding one."
Church of Pergamum-The Holy spirit somewhat reveals a character quality with Jesus that corresponds with the church's weakness/is being challenged with. ie. "the words of him who has a sharp two-edged sword." And here the church is struggling with false witness and prophets.
"Satan's throne"-ESV Commentary: " pergamum hosted temples dedicated to "the divine Augustus and the goddess Roma" and to "Asklepios (the god of healing, symbolized by serpents) and a large altar dedicated to Zeus. The worship of the emperor as a god was also strongly emphasized, even required, in the province of Asia, and it was a major problem for Christians at the time. All of this qualifies Pergamum to be called the site of Satan's throne. Amid oppressive paganism, a believer named Antipas had sealed his testimony with his life, and Jesus shares with Antipas his own title, faithful witness."
Balaam-prophet seduced King moab to be both sexually and spiritually adulterous
Nicolatiains-spread the act of sexual and spiritual infidelity
"War with the sword of my mouth"
- Isaiah 49:2-"He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away."
- Ephesians 6:17-"....and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit which is the word of God."
- Hebrews 4:12-"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart."
- Revelation 19:15-"From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations with and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty."
-"Christ's eyes like a flame of fire, whose feet are like burnished bronze"
*ESV Commentary-Interesting little note I just wanted to highlight in the commentary, that this passage in regards to the metals is somewhat familiar to Thyatiran metal workers.
- Revelation 1:14-15
- Ezekiel 1:27
-Jezebel-prophetess: teaching and seducing servants to practice sexual immorality and eat food sacrificed to idols. She could be hypothetically speaking or an actual woman who was a prophet.
- 1 Kings 16:30-33; 19:1-2: These passages describe the queen of Tyre, King Ahab's wife named Jezebel who suggested the Israelites to worship false gods etc...In (19:1-2) she wanted to kill Elijah the prophet
- Babylonian prostitute
- This woman had time to repent, or symbolic of the church having time to repent, but she or they didn't.
-"I will give to each of you according to your works"
- Matthew 16:27-"For the son of man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.
-ESV Commentary-"reward only to those have taken up the cross"
-hold fast what you have until I come. The one who conquers and who keeps my works till the end, to him I will give authority over the nations."
- Psalm 2:88-"Ask me and I will make the nations your heritage and the ends of the earth your possession."
- Daniel 7:14-" And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations and languages should serve him."