Revelation 1-2

Sunday Evening Bible Study

May 6, 2001


The book of Revelation was written down by the apostle John around AD 95.  He will tell us himself a little about the background of the book …

Revelation 1

:1  The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

revelationapokalupsis (“apocalypse”) – laying bear, making naked; a disclosure of truth, instruction  concerning things before unknown

Sometimes this book is mistakenly referred to as “Revelations”, but it is a single “Revelation”, belonging to Jesus Christ.  The revelation was given to Jesus by God the Father, and the purpose of the revelation was to show Jesus’ servants what was up ahead.  An angel was used to pass the information on to the apostle John.

:2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

John is simply saying that he has faithfully written down the things he’s seen.

Note:  The content in the Revelation is very “visual”.  John is describing the things he’s “seen”.

:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

The book of Revelation is unique in that it comes prepackaged with a blessing!  There is a blessing to the one who is reading and a blessing to the one who is listening, but the blessing seems conditional upon obeying the things that are in the book.

Keep in mind, the “reading” and “hearing” have to do with how the book was taken from church to church, how a messenger would take the book and read it to the church, which in turn would be “hearing”.


Don’t be afraid of the book

At first glance, the book of Revelation is kind of intimidating.  There are lots of strange visions, strange creatures, and symbolic references.
But God intended that the book be read, heard, and followed.
The more you read the book, the easier it gets.

:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

John adds his own greetings to the churches that are addressed in the book.

him which is, and which was, and which is to come – this is a reference to God the Father.  One of the attributes of God is His “immutability”, the fact that He never changes.  This is a part of what God’s name “Yahweh” means, the “I AM”, the Eternally Existing One.

the seven Spirits – this may be a reference to the seven angelic beings that will take part in the Revelation, but I wonder if it isn’t a reference to the Holy Spirit.

The number seven is consistently used throughout Scripture as a number representing perfection or completeness.  When Isaiah describes the Spirit of the Lord being on Jesus, he writes,

(Isa 11:2 KJV)  And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
If you count the characteristics of the Spirit (including “of the Lord”), you will find SEVEN characteristic traits.

When you also see that Jesus is mentioned in the next verse, you see that the entire Trinity is being referenced.

:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

first begotten of the dead – He is the first one to be raised from the dead who will never again be subject to death.  He is the principle person who has been raised from the dead.

princearchon – a ruler, commander, chief, leader.  Jesus is the King of Kings, the leader of all rulers.

him that loved us – this is coming from the apostle who leaned upon Jesus’ chest during the last supper.  He has known Jesus up close.  He knows just how much Jesus loves him.

washed us from our sins in his own blood – Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins, washing us with His own blood.

:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.


Apply the Bible

I find this verse helpful because when I read Old Testament passages meant for kings or priests, I realize I need to pay attention!
I am a king because I will rule and reign with Jesus when He comes back.
I am a priest because I act as a go-between to help people come to know God.

:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

he cometh with clouds – referring to His Second Coming, Jesus said,

(Mat 24:30 KJV)  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

they also which pierced him – a reference to:

(Zec 12:10 KJV)  …and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son …

:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

Alpha and Omega – the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.  Jesus is the beginning and the ending of all things.

:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

companion in tribulation – Tough times had hit the church, and John knew what his readers were going through.

Persecution of Christians began under Caesar Nero, around A.D.64 with the burning of Rome. But under Emperor Domitian, the persecution got really bad (A.D.91-96).

From Fox's Book of Martyrs: (pg.6-7)

The emperor Domitian, who was naturally inclined to cruelty, first slew his brother, and then raised the second persecution against the Christians. In his rage he put to death some of the Roman senators, some through malice; and others to confiscate their estates. He then commanded all the lineage of David be put to death.
Among the numerous martyrs that suffered during this persecution was Simeon, bishop of Jerusalem, who was crucified; and St. John, who was boiled in oil, and afterward banished to Patmos. Flavia, the daughter of a Roman senator, was likewise banished to Pontus; and a law was made, “That no Christian, once brought before the tribunal, should be exempted from punishment without renouncing his religion.”

Church tradition tells us that John was sentenced to die by being thrown into a vat of boiling oil.  Yet when he was thrown in, he was unhurt by the oil.

Left with no other way to dispose of this "pest", John was exiled to the island of Patmos, where he received this vision.

Patmos – An island 10 miles long, 6 miles wide, 50 miles off the coast of Ephesus, from modern Turkey.

:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

There are two main ways of looking at this verse:

1)  He was being a spiritual guy on Sunday. He was “in the Spirit”, he was walking in the Spirit on Sunday, which became known through church tradition as “the Lord’s day”, due to the resurrection.

2)  He was in the dimension of the Spirit world, transported to the time known as “the day of the Lord”.

It could be translated, “I was in the Spirit unto the day of the Lord”.
I think this fits the whole book much better, since the book is mainly about the times we know as “the day of the Lord”.
The Day of the Lord
The “day of the Lord” is a technical phrase found in the Bible that refers to a specific period of time, the time of the end, the time of God’s judgment.  For example:

Joe 2:31  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. (AV)

:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

We’ll see the location of the cities when we get to chapter two.

:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;

John turns to see who it is who is speaking to him.  He sees a vision of Jesus in His resurrected body.

candlesticks -  luchnia - a (candlestick) lamp stand, candelabrum.  This is the same word that is used in the Septuagint to describe the Menorah, the seven-branched oil lamp that was to be in the Tabernacle.  But these appear to be seven separate, free-standing lampstands.

:13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

girt about the paps with a golden girdle

(NLT)  …He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest.

:14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

:15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

His feet are glowing like heated metal.

His voice has the quality of a roaring waterfall.

:16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

Is John describing something that is purely symbolic, or is he describing something that he has actually seen?

Both.  John’s description is too real to just be symbolic.  And yet as you read on, you will find that at least some of the things that John sees have symbolic significance (like the stars representing “angels”).

:17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

This is a typical response to someone who has seen something straight from the realm of the spirit, from the realms of heaven.  People who have seen visions of God on the throne, or even angelic beings have all fainted away as dead.  Isaiah (Is. 6); Daniel (Daniel 10).

:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Jesus is describing Himself.

:19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

The key to Revelation:

This is a very important verse because it gives us the basic outline of the rest of the book.  There are three groupings of things that John is told to write about:

“the things which thou hast seen”
This is what John has already seen, the vision of Jesus in chapter one.
“the things which are”
These are things in the present age, the church age, referring to the content of chapters 2-3, the letters to the seven churches.
“the things which shall be hereafter”
This refers to the rest of the book, the things that shall be “after” the “things which are”.  These are the future things, the things that shall take place after the church age.
John will even repeat this phrase in the Greek (meta tauta) when he starts this section in chapter 4 to let you know that he is starting this last section of things to come –

(Rev 4:1 KJV)  After this (meta tauta) I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven …

When you grasp how this works out in the book, it helps you to see how the book is laid out prophetically.

Some people want to say that the things in Revelation have already been fulfilled, but when you see the layout of the book, you see that most of the book (chapters 4-22) is even still yet in the future.

:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

Jesus helps us out by giving us an understanding of part of what John has seen.  This tells us that indeed at least some of what John has seen has symbolic importance.

seven stars … angels – Jesus might be saying that each church has angels assigned to it, but I think it is very possible that he might actually be referring to those humans in leadership among each of the churches, the pastors.

The word “angel” (aggelos)simply means “messenger”, and is used sometimes to describe human messengers (Mat. 11:10, John the Baptist) as well as angelic ones.

seven candlesticks … churches – Jesus is described as walking among His churches, holding the leadership of these churches safely in His right hand.

Revelation 2 – Letters to the churches

Geography of the churches

There is a geographical reasoning behind the order of the churches.  They follow a route that a messenger might take who is going to deliver the letters.

Layout of the letters

As a general rule, each of these seven letters follows a pattern.  Each letter may not have all these elements, but most of them have most of the elements.  The pattern goes like this:

1) Addressed to an angel – each letter is addressed to the “angel” of that church, probably the pastor.

2) Description of the sender – Jesus will describe Himself to each of the churches differently.  As a general rule, His description of Himself will be drawn from parts of the vision that John described in chapter one.

3) Commendation – Jesus will tell each church what He appreciates about them.

4) Rebuke – If Jesus has a problem within a church, He will tell them.

5) Remedy – Jesus will tell the church what He wants them to do to fix the problem.

6) Listen – “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches”

7) Promise to overcomers – Jesus will share how He will reward those who follow Him.

How do we look at these letters?

1.  These are real churches in real cities that were in existence in John’s day, AD 95.  We need to be careful that we don’t ever miss this point.

2.  There is a sense in which in the world, at any given time, there are examples of each of these seven churches.  For example, there are churches or groups of churches that are similar in nature to the church of Thyatira, etc.

3.  There is a sense in which there is within each local church these seven types of churches, seen as seven types of believers.  For example, there are some in our church who ought to pay attention to the letter to the Ephesus, etc.

4.  There is a sense in which we ALL can have attributes of these seven churches within each of us individually.  Jesus says at the end of each letter, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.  We are all responsible to pay attention to the lessons for each one of the churches.  In other words, I have a little bit of Ephesus in me, I have a little bit of Smyrna in me, etc.

5.  I think there is also a reason to the order and characteristics of these churches in that they become a picture for us of the panorama of church history.  Each church can be seen as a period within church history, with Ephesus being the early church and Laodicea as being the church of the last days.

Ephesus – works without love

:1  Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

Ephesus – this is the founding church of the area.  It was started initially by the work of Apollos, then a full church was established by Paul somewhere around AD 55, forty years ago.  We believe the pastor of the church at the time of this letter is Timothy, who two years after this letter will die at the hands of an angry mob.

Jesus’ Description

When Jesus describes Himself to the Ephesian church, He reminds them that He is the one who is holds the “angels” (or pastors) in His hand, and He is the one who walks among the churches. This will come into play in His warning.

:2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

The Commendation:

labourkopos – a beating; a beating of the breast with grief, sorrow; labour; intense labour united with trouble and toil

This is a church that has worked hard for the Lord.

patiencehupomone – steadfastness, constancy, endurance; in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings

This is a church that has stood unwavering even when going through hard times.

triedpeirazo – to try, make trial of, test: for the purpose of ascertaining his quality, or what he thinks, or how he will behave himself

This is also a church that has learned to not put up with evil.  They have learned to put people to the test to see if a person is truly what they say they are, even if they claim to be an apostle.

:3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

Before you criticize this church too much, keep in mind that they have much to be commended for. 

Every one of these things that Jesus commends the church for are things that we ought to be doing.  These are not to be seen as part of their problem.

:4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

The rebuke

hast leftaphiemi – to send away; of a husband divorcing his wife; to give up, keep no longer; to depart from any one; abandon, leave destitute

Jesus doesn’t say, “You’ve forgotten your first love”, but “You’ve left your first love”.  If you forget something, you don’t know what happened to it.  If you leave something, you know where it is.

This church has become all motion, and no “emotion”.

They have done well in works, but they’ve lost their passion for the Lord.

:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

The remedy

Jesus tells the church to do three things:

1)     Remember – they are to look back at where they’ve fallen from.  They are to look back to remember what it was like when they were doing things because they loved Jesus.

2)     Repent – whatever things are being done that take you away from Jesus, turn around.

3)     Redo – they are to do the kinds of things they used to do when they were in love with Jesus.

removekineo – to cause to go, i.e. to move, set in motion; to move from a place, to remove

Where is the place of the candlestick?  It’s in the presence of Jesus.  Jesus will remove His presence from this church if they do not repent.

:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Jesus has one more commendation for the Ephesians, they hate the Nicolaitans.

Nicolaitans – we don’t know who these people are.  We can only propose a theory based on their name.  Their name is a compound of two words, nikao (“to conquer”) and laos (“the people”).  It has been suggested that this group got along by having a heavy-handed leadership which kept the people down.  Instead of seeing that we are all priests before God, a Nicolaitan church would have a few men who would be the priests and everyone else has to come through them.

We do have an idea of one of the things the Nicolaitans taught:

(Rev 2:14-15 KJV)  But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. {15} So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
Apparently the Nicolaitans were teaching the people to do things that were abominable to God, as fornication.

:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.


Whether or not you are living in Ephesus, if you have ears to hear, you ought to pay attention to what Jesus is saying to the church at Ephesus.  We can all leave our “first love”, we need to pay attention.

The promise

Jesus promises eternal life in heaven to those who will follow Him.


The church of Ephesus was a picture of the church during the time of the apostles, through John's death, around A.D. 100.

Smyrna - Persecuted

:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

Smyrna – The name “Smyrna” signifies “myrrh”

Myrrh was made from the gummy sap of the Commiphora myrrha tree. The sap would be collected by slashing a branch or the trunk of the small tree, and then the gum hardened into a solid resin. The resin would then be pounded and ground up, to be mixed with oil, forming a perfume.

This is an interesting picture of persecution.  Though a person be cut and slashed into bits by the world, God is able to pour in the oil of the Holy Spirit and the result is a beautiful fragrance to God.

Jesus’ Description

Jesus describes Himself to those in Smyrna by reminding them that He is the one who was at the beginning of time, but more importantly, He will be there at the end of time as well.  Jesus is the one who was killed, but also the one who rose from the dead, a hint at the promise for this persecuted church.  They need to look ahead to the promise of resurrection.

:9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.


Jesus knows what they are going through.

tribulationthlipsis – a pressing, pressing together, pressure; metaph. oppression, affliction, tribulation, distress. 

This isn’t the “Great Tribulation”, but the tough times they were going through right then.  Jesus promised us,

(John 16:33 KJV)  …In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

povertyptocheia – beggary; the condition of one destitute of riches and abundance

Even though this church was outwardly poor by the world’s standards, they were “rich” in God’s eyes.

the synagogue of Satan – Apparently this church in Smyrna was receiving some of its persecution from a group of Jewish people.  Even though this group professed to be followers of God, they were actually being led by Satan.


Jesus knows

One of the hardest things about going through tough times is feeling like no one knows or cares.
Jesus knows.

:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

the devil shall cast some of you into prison – this kind of goes against some of those who claim that all we need to do is to “take authority” over every situation.  Apparently the devil is given authority over us from time to time.

tribulation ten days – two possible ideas here:

This church went through an actual period of ten days of persecution.

This may be a reference to the ten major persecutions that the church went through under the Roman Empire:

1) Nero, AD 67; 2) Domitian, AD 81; 3)  Trajan, AD 108; 4) Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, AD 162; 5) Severus, AD 192; 6) Maximus, AD 235; 7)  Decius AD 249; 8) Valerian, AD 257; 9)  Aurelian, AD 274; 10) Diocletian, AD 303


This is one of two of the churches that receive no rebuke.  In a sense, they don’t need a “remedy”, but Jesus has an exhortation for them in their trouble.

Fear none of those things – Jesus said,

(Mat 10:28 KJV)  And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

God is the only one who we should fear.

be faithful – Don’t give up


Don't shoot the wounded.

But Jesus isn't one to kick someone when they're down.
He doesn't shoot the wounded.
Isa 42:3  A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. (AV)

Geographical Note:  I checked several modern maps of Turkey, and Smyrna is known today as “Izmir”.  Of the seven cities, this is the only one still in existence.

:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.


Whether or not you are living in Smyrna, if you have ears to hear, you ought to pay attention to what Jesus is saying to the church at Smyrna.  We can all go through hard times at any time, we need to pay attention.

The promise

Jesus promises that those who “overcome” will not experience the “second death”.

Second Death – Except for those who will be raptured, everyone on the planet will experience “death”, physical death, which is the “first death”.  Those who do not believe in Jesus will go temporarily to a holding place called “hell”.  At the end of the Millennial reign of Jesus on the earth, those in hell will be resurrected and face judgment before God at the Great White Throne.  They will then be sent into the Lake of Fire, which is the “second death”.


Smyrna fits the time of church history between the 2nd to 4th centuries, a time of great persecution from the Roman government. It is thought that perhaps as many as six million Christians were martyred for their faith during the Roman government's attempt to wipe out Christianity.


:12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

Jesus’ Description

Jesus is pretty concerned with the things going on in Pergamos, so He describes Himself as the one carrying the sharp sword.

:13 I know thy works and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.


Satan’s seat – Pergamos was the first city to erect a temple to Caesar and then to worship Caesar.  They also had a famous temple dedicated to Zeus in the city.  Perhaps Jesus might be talking about these things.  Either way, Satan had a foothold in the city of Pergamos, and these people lived in the shadow of it.

Antipas – we don’t know anything about this person, other than he died for the faith.

holdest fast my name – in the middle of great wickedness and persecution, this church held on to Jesus.

Note:  The churches of Pergamos and Thyatira are often compared to the Orthodox and Catholic churches.  Yet even in Pergamos and Thyatira, there is something good.  They are still followers of Jesus Christ.  They may have major problems, but there are people in these churches who hold on to the name of Jesus.

:14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.


doctrine of Balaam – Balaam was the prophet that the Moabite King Balak hired in order to put a curse on Israel.  Instead of cursing Israel, Balaam was only able to pronounce the blessings that God had for Israel.  Eventually, Balaam devised a plan where he counseled Balak to send the young women into the camp of Israel to seduce the Israelites and lead them into fornication and worshipping of idols.


Don’t say, “Its okay”.

This “doctrine of Balaam” is effectually, any teaching that causes a Christian to compromise in God’s standard for them. It's teaching people that it’s okay to do things that God forbids:
(1 Cor 6:9-10 NLT)  Don't you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, {10} thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers--none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God.
The “doctrine of Balaam” would be telling people that these things are okay for Christians to do.

:15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

It is thought that the “doctrine of Balaam” was the same as the doctrine of the Nicolaitans.

:16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Remedy – repent.  Very simply, turn around.

swordrhomphaia – a large sword; properly a long Thracian javelin, also a kind of long sword wont to be worn on the right shoulder

We typically think of this as simply God’s Word (and correctly so) because of Hebrews:

(Heb 4:12 KJV)  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The interesting thing though is that in Hebrews, the word for sword is machaira, which was a small, short sword.  The word used here in Revelation 2 means a much larger sword. 

The word here in Revelation 2 is the same one (rhomphaia) used in the description of Jesus in Revelation 1:16, but more importantly its the same word that’s used in:

(Rev 19:15 KJV)  And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
The idea is not some small, delicate sword, but something that it really going to whack you!  Jesus is warning them that He’s going to use the “BIG PADDLE” on them if they don’t shape up.

:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.


Whether or not you are living in Pergamos, if you have ears to hear, you ought to pay attention to what Jesus is saying to the church at Pergamos.  We should not be telling people that it is okay to continue in sin.


I can only offer some suggestions as to these things …

hidden manna – Israel was fed in the wilderness by the manna. Jesus called Himself the “bread of life”. Jesus said:

Joh 4:32  But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. (AV)
Could it be that kind of spiritual feeding that no one else really knows about, that comes from obeying the Lord?

a white stone – perhaps the stone of acquittal, given by a judge; the idea of acceptance.

a new name written – perhaps as in a “new nature”?


The name Pergamos means “married”.  Historically, it might be when the church began to be married to the pagan world.  In AD 313, the Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and issued his Edict of Milan, which gave the Christians the right to practice their religion openly.  It’s at this point historically where Christianity begins to adopt pagan practices, allowing things into the church that didn’t belong.  Pagan temples became churches, pagan holidays became “Christianized”, pagan priests became Christian priests.  The “Pergamos” period would cover A.D. 300 to 600.


:18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

Jesus’ Description

It would seem that Jesus picks out this part of His description for the church at Thyatira to remind them that He is watching, and that He will judge (fire, brass).

:19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.


As with the Pergamos church, even though there is great wickedness in Thyatira, there is also much to be commended.  There will even be “overcomers” in Thyatira.

This church’s works have not diminished with time, but have even grown greater.

:20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.


sufferesteao – to allow, permit, let; to allow one to do as he wishes, not to restrain, to let alone

thou sufferest – the word “thou” is “you” in the singular form.  Jesus is addressing the “angel”, the pastor of the church.  It is the pastor that has allowed this “Jezebel” to operate in the church.

Jezebel – Two possibilities:

1)  There was a woman living in Thyatira in A.D. 95, with the actual name of Jezebel, who promoted these things.

2)  This is a name given to the woman prophetess, a name pulled from the Bible, as a description.

Jezebel was the wife of King Ahab, the guy that Elijah often battled with.
Jezebel was the daughter of the King of Sidon, and brought the pagan Sidonian gods into the court of the King of Israel. It was Jezebel that introduced worship of Baal and Ashtoreth to the Israelites. (1Ki.16:31)

which calleth herself a prophetess

It's not what you call yourself that counts. It's what God calls you. It's what others see in your life that counts.


Don't be quick to give yourself a title.

I think that when people have to tell me what their gifts are, I am a little suspicious.  If God is working through you, people will see what God is doing, you won’t have to publicize it.

…fornication … eat things sacrificed unto idols – these are the same things the church at Pergamos was rebuked for.  Here it is this prophetess who is promoting these things in the church.

:21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.


God’s grace

You will find that if you start doing things contrary to God’s ways, that God will usually give you a little time to change before He starts putting pressure on.
If you are walking in disobedience to God, yet you wonder why God hasn’t wiped you out yet, it is not because God thinks you’re okay, it’s because God is showing kindness towards you, hoping that you will turn around without any pressure from Him.

:22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

Remedy – repent – for this pastor, it means to not “tolerate” this woman any more.

great tribulation – Is Jesus saying that those who don’t repent will go into “the Great Tribulation”?  I think it’s possible.

Here’s what Pastor Chuck says:  “Yes, a part of the Church will be going through the Great Tribulation.” The part of the Church that does go through is the church of Thyatira, the woman Jezebel who failed to repent of her spiritual adultery and spiritual fornication. Those who want to make a case of the Church going through the Tribulation-this is the case that they can make. The unrepentant church of Thyatira will go into the Great Tribulation.  When God, in the Ten Commandments, specifically forbid their making any images or likenesses of things in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water beneath, why do they adorn their churches with images of Jesus, Mary, or the saints?”

:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

reinsnephros – a kidney; used of the inmost thoughts, feelings, purposes, of the soul

searcheth – I think this is the idea behind the “eyes of fire”.

:24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.

There were some in the church at Thyatira that were not affected by Jezebel.

:25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.


Keep going


An explorer named Fridtjof Nansen was lost with one companion in the Arctic wastes. By miscalculation they ran out of all their supplies. They ate their dogs, the dog's harnesses, the whale oil for their lamps. Nansen's companion gave up and lay down to die. But Nansen did not give up. He told himself, "I can take one step more." As he plodded heavily through the bitter cold, step after step, suddenly across an ice hill he stumbled upon an American expedition that had been sent out to find him.

Just take another step.

:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

:27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

:28 And I will give him the morning star.


To the one that follows Jesus, He promises to let them rule with Him over the nations.

the morning star – This is one of the titles of Jesus:

Re 22:16  I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, [and] the bright and morning star. (AV)

The overcomer gets Jesus!

:29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.


Whether or not you are living in Thyatira, if you have ears to hear, you ought to pay attention to what Jesus is saying to the church at Thyatira.  Do not tolerate a Jezebel.


Many feel that this seems to pretty well describe the church around A.D. 600 - 1500. This is the medieval, Roman Catholic church, after the separation from the eastern Greek church, which brought even more pagan practices into the church, including worship and prayer to saints, bowing to statues, etc.