Summary of passage: John addressed the church in Ephesus and its angel (or messenger or priest or church). Jesus says he knows of the church’s hard work and how they have tested false prophets and endured hardships. Yet, they have abandoned him and need to repent or face the consequences. To those who hear him and overcome, they will receive the tree of life or the paradise of God.
3a) The seven stars are the leaders of the seven churches John wrote to which are represented by the seven lamp stands.
b) Jesus holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks amongst the seven lamp stands. (Jesus is with us and holds us always). He knows everything about us–deeds, perseverance, and hard work.
4) Part Personal Question. My answer: Jesus knew their deeds, hard work, perseverance, testing of false prophets, and hardships. And he knew they had turned from him, not heard the Spirit, and not repented of their sins. I work hard and persevere. My deeds for Jesus could be more.
5) Acts tells us to examine what the false prophet is saying with the Word to see if it aligns with God’s teachings. Romans tells us to allow God to transform our mind and not the world and then we will be able to know God’s will. 1 Corinthians says if a person curses Jesus, that is not from God. Galatians says don’t compare yourself to others. 2 Timothy says all Scripture is true. Hebrews says constant use of God’s word and ways will train you to distinguish good from evil i.e. know the word; know the truth.
6) Just that: persevere and endure hardship for Jesus. Don’t bend. Don’t waver. Stand strong. Know him. Trust him. Believe him.
Conclusions: Good review of false prophets (we studied this last year in the Life of Moses). 3a was redundant. Question 6 was self-explanatory.
My take-away: Jesus/God knows everything: our struggles, triumphs, dreams, and hearts. Good reminder as I pray and pray for my novel to be a success.
End Notes: This is commentary on verses 1-3 as these questions focus on these verses. Commentary on verses 4-7 will follow tomorrow’s lesson.
For analysis of 7 stars and 7 churches, see last week’s post HERE.
The letters are published here to each church in Revelation 2 & 3. The structure of each letter is the same:
An address to a particular congregation
An introduction of Jesus (“These are the words of…”)
A statement regarding the condition of the church
A verdict from Jesus regarding the condition of the church
A command from Jesus to the church
A general exhortation to all Christians
A promise of reward
As previously discussed, the angel is probably the pastor of the church but the letter is to every member.
Ephesus was well known in the ancient world much like New York City today. It held the famous temple of Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt, (Reconstruction picture HERE) and was a haven for immoral behavior namely sex with temple attendants. The temple was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It was so important it was completely rebuilt 3 times, finally being destroyed in 268 AD by the Goths and dismantled entirely in 401 AD by St. John Chrysostom. Paul, Aquilla, Priscilla, Timothy, and John all ministered here. MAP of Ephesus
Today the site is covered in swampland due to flooding and hence the remains of Ephesus are obscured.
Jesus is introduced just like in John’s vision–with power and authority over the church. The Greek word for holds shows Jesus is in charge.
Jesus knew the church’s condition. Patience here in Greek means “steadfast endurance.” These were people with God’s heart.
Paul warned the Ephesians in Acts 20:29-31 about false prophets and evidently they took it seriously. So must we all be ever wary of falsehoods.
The church has patience and perseverance–great example for us today.
IMPORTANT: Jesus ALWAYS in these letters and admonishes addresses the positive first, then he rebukes. Good example for us today. Acknowledge how good someone is doing, then tell them how to improve.
Commentary on verses 4-7 will follow on Day 3 as those questions focus on those verses.