Note: All enhancements of scripture; underlining, highlighting, and etc. are the writers. Obviously some of this information is taken from archaeological finds, ancient Roman, Greek, Hebrew and Christian records and also ancient and modern maps. Where scripture is used as the basis the scripture will be given.
The Scattered Bands From Babel
The small, frightened, cowed bands of people who had been scattered from Babel had gone far in their travels, far to the north, east, west and south. They had come far in their endeavors too. They had founded countless tribes, societies, kingdoms, dynasties and civilizations. Far across the great waters they had built the Mayan, Aztec and Inca civilizations in the Americas. To the east they had founded Pan China and its dynasties. Along the Indus River they founded the cities of Mohenjadaro and Harappa from which would spring India the great originator of mathematics.
There were the Scoti, Picts, Angles and Bretons of the British Isles and the Mongols, Slavs, Cossacks and etc. of what would become Russia. Europe had many civilizations and empires as exampled by the Dacians of Dacia in the south eastern Carpathian Mountains. The Dacians had no written language but they did have gold and silver coins, jewelry, art and etc.
Trajan, the Roman Emperor from 98 to 117, fought the Dacians in 2 bloody wars in which Trajan brought 1/2 million pounds of gold, 1 million pounds of silver and 500,000 Dacian soldiers as POW's to Rome. Today, more than 1,900 years later, you can read the story about Trajan's wars on Trajan's 128 foot tall marble column that stands in Rome.
Africa had great civilizations as exampled by Nubia the forgotten kingdom. The scriptures give the names of many other peoples like the Philistines, Hittites, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans and etc. It goes on and on as far back as a record could be scratched on a stone, engraved on a clay tablet or written on a piece of papyrus or parchment and even those who didn't have a written language left archaeological artifacts or painted pictures. There were many societies and kingdoms that were shrouded in the mystery and fog of near mythology such as Atlantis, the Sumerian and etc.
They united with each other and warred with each other and fought their way to the top in their part of the world for a while. In this age thousands and thousands of men have spent their lives trying to decipher the origin, names and accomplishments of these ancient people. Every archaeological dig brought new questions and realizations of the sheer magnitude of the myriad peoples, clans and tribes that had lived. Every artifact was a revelation into ancient people's lives. In the melee of ancient events the Almighty God of all glory made a covenant with Abraham and Israel the nation without a homeland was founded.
All over the world the Babel refugees had built mighty civilizations. The Egyptian civilization had held Israel in bondage for 400 years. The Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian/Median and Greek Empires had all conquered Israel before they themselves had been conquered by the next "world power" and the Romans had conquered Judah (what remained of Israel) 63 years before Jesus was born. When Jesus was born the world contained possibly 1 billion people (Part 10).
(Acts 1:15) Except for about 120 disciples of Jesus Christ and possibly 1,200,000 Jews in Judah (source; Josephus, a Jewish historian working for the Romans) every person in the world was given over to idolatry. (Acts 1:20-26) The first thing the disciples did was elect a replacement to take Judas' place before they had been given the gift of the Holy Spirit.
(Acts 9:1-20) Obviously they had made a mistake and Jesus appointed Paul (little) as the 12th apostle. Church history states Matthias was an Apostle but he is never mentioned in the scriptures before or after his election by the disciples. Jesus chose 12, Judas failed, (Acts 9:1-20) Jesus chose Paul, Jesus once again had 12; case closed. Why argue?
(Matt. 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-18 and Luke 24:46-53) Jesus told the disciples to go preach the gospel to the whole world beginning at Jerusalem. Twelve men to convert the wild, war-like, proud, pagan, barbaric world! What would you have done had you been one of the twelve? How would you have felt? (Matt. 28:20) Jesus said He would always be with them. (Luke 24:49) Jesus said they would be endued with power from on high. (Acts 2:1-4) Then they were endued with power from on high. (Mark 16:20) They went to work and Jesus went to work with them in His Holy Spirit form.
The Apostles declared spiritual war on Satan's kingdom of darkness! They started in Jerusalem and, empowered by the Holy Spirit, they set the world around the eastern end of Mediterranean Sea ablaze with their preaching, teaching, testimony and miracles. They were hunted, beaten, scourged, jailed, starved and shipwrecked and one by one, except for one, they were murdered.
But the Apostles won because they spread the gospel and founded Christian Churches every place they went before they were martyred. They spread the gospel and in losing their lives doing it they won great victories for our Lord and Master Jesus Christ. In their wake the Apostles left thousands of converts to carry high the blood stained banner of Jesus Christ and carry it they did!
John On Patmos
(Rev. 1:9) There was only one Apostle left out of the original 12 and he stood alone on the shore of a very small, volcanic, prison colony island named Patmos. He was pensive as he stared east where, 24 miles away, shrouded in the mist of distance, the nations of Lycia, Caria, Lydia and Mysia had been (modern day Western Turkey). He silently thought; "Rome conquered them and now, (Rev. 1:11) on the Roman maps, the whole area is simply called Asia." John idly bent and pulled a broken piece of pottery from the sand, rubbed it off and stared at the strange inscriptions on it.
He wondered; "Legend has it that a people called the Kares lived here long ago, others said it was the Ionians. I wonder if they lived here before the flood?" Those people too were hidden from John, not by the mists of distance like Asia, but in the mists of time. He dropped the bit of broken pottery. John thought about the false gods and goddesses worshipping people he and the other Apostles had encountered and tried to convert. Their belief in idols of wood, stone, clay and precious metals was utter foolishness to John.
He grumbled; "It is even said this Island was first named Litois in honor of the Greek goddess Artemis who was also called goddess Litoida because she was the daughter of Lito and Zeus. The Romans took Artemis as their own and named her goddess Diana. "They traffic in their gods and goddesses (Mark 11:15-18) like a temple moneychanger trades money, one for the other!" John cleared his throat and spat to one side, unconsciously showing his contempt for their false gods.
The thought of the temple made John sad. Jesus had ascended into heaven and nearly 40 years later, in 70 CE, Rome had destroyed the Jewish Temple (Matt. 24:1-2) just like Jesus had said. John thought; "The Roman temper is growing shorter and shorter because of Jewish unrest and rebellion and if the Jews don't tone it down the Romans will squash Israel like a bug." John wouldn't be alive when Rome slaughtered another million Jews, displaced the population, wiped Judaea off the map and named it Palestinia in 126 CE.
That made him think about Rome. (Rev. 1:9) Emperor Titus Flavius Domitianus, commonly called Domitian, had banished John from Rome in 95 CE for his word of God (on account of). "Domitian has murdered so many senators and military officers I don't know why somebody hasn't murdered him." Someone would assassinate Domitian a little less than a year later in Sept. of 96 CE. That same day Trajan would be the first Emperor of Rome to be elected by the senate and he would set John free. John's real freedom would come in the presence of Jesus after he had finished the work on earth Jesus had set him aside to do.
Of course John didn't know any of this but he did know God could remove an Emperor of Rome easier than one could swat a bothersome fly and, if he so desired, God could bend to His will any senate who would ever live! And God can set a man exactly where He wants that man to be so he can do a work for God! John looked at the ruins of the Greek acropolis (fort) on the high point of land. John knew it had been built more than 300 years before the birth of Jesus by the Greeks as a bastion of defense for the island.
The old mine tailings, numerous other ruins of buildings and what was left of a great harbor meant Patmos had once been a thriving place under Greek rule. But under Roman rule it was a bleak penal colony, where the prisoners worked in the mines. "Oh Lord God, I thank thee that thou hast seen fit to change the overseer's mind and soften his heart because I'm too old to work in the mines." John simply could not grasp the fact the overseer's heart had been softened because he, just like every other individual on Patmos, had accepted Jesus as Saviour under John's preaching and teaching.
John didn't know about 1,900 years later Patmos would be a thriving tourist center rated by Forbes in 2009 as 1 of the top 10 vacation spots in the whole world. After John's death several Christian basilicas (churches) would be built on Patmos. John would have been mortified and insulted had he known around 300-350 CE the Grand Royal Basilica would be built in his honor (John 16:13-14) because he knew all praise and glory belongs to Jesus. John would have been even more mortified had he known almost 1,700 years after that the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian would stand there.
(John 21:20-21 keyword: man and 23-24 keyword: he) John would have been livid if he had known some 1,900 years later some people would swear a woman, instead of John, had laid her head on Jesus' breast at the last supper. (John 21:20-21) John fondly remembered laying his head on Jesus breast and one of the great Apostles said John was a disciple whom Jesus loved. "I was so young then, so young." and John sighed. "My life is about over, it will be good to see Jesus again." John looked back toward Asia; "I'd like to see the church at Ephesus once more too."
(Acts 18:18-21) "Paul reasoned with the Jews there, founded the church through a core of Jewish converts in 52 AD and left the church at Ephesus in the care of Priscilla and Aquila." John shook his head, grinned and mused to himself; "That was Paul's tried and true method of church founding on his missionary journeys; (John 4:22) Jesus said; "salvation is of the Jews, Jesus is a Jew and so are we (Acts 9:15 & 13:47) and we spread it to the Gentiles."
"I was the pastor there for many years." John's mood darkened with the memory of Paul's martyrdom in 67 AD by Emperor Nero in Rome and John wondered; "They've all been killed but me; am I to die here on this prison island?"
Heathen History of Ephesus
Ephesus was an ancient city founded by the Hittites when they became a people and started their rise to power (Gen. 11:8-9) after God's confounding of language and scattering the people at Nimrod's tower of Babel. Their empire centered in what is modern day Turkey and lasted from about 1600 BC to about 1,180 BC. Inscriptions reveal the Hittites had at least a thousand gods and goddesses and their complex system of worship staggers the imagination.
One of their gods had an upper part that was a man with the hips and legs of a bull. Their version of Nimrod? (Part 12). Another was a lion headed god with a man's body. The most interesting was their god of thunder, Tarhut, always in conflict with the serpent god Illuyanka. A holdover from Eden? A hero god in conflict with a serpent god is a common thread among ancient civilizations! Various civilizations came, ruled Ephesus for a while then faded into the obscurity of time leaving only archaeological evidence of their existence.
When the Anatolians came they built a wooden temple to worship the goddess Diana. Oddly enough the night Alexander the Great was born that wooden temple burned. When the Greeks came Alexander built a huge marble temple to the goddess Diana that became one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world because it was the largest Greek temple ever constructed. Diana, the twin sister of Apollo, was the most sacred idol of heathenism. The temple served as the bank of Asia where vast sums of money were deposited and guarded.
The temple had an art gallery where the masterpieces of the Greek masters Praxiteles, Phidias, Scopas, Polycletus, and Apelles were displayed among other, lesser artists. Behind a huge purple curtain stood the image of Diana, the lewd, crude many breasted goddess of fertility, standing on her decorated dais holding a club in one hand and a trident in the other.
Was this an eerie prophesy from Satan; (Rom. 1:21-28 & 1 Cor. 6:18) "If I can't destroy you with gross, immoral, deviant sexual acts (Matt. 13:21) I will beat you to death with tribulation or spear you with persecution." The columns from that temple of Diana can be seen today at the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (formerly Constantinople), Turkey. Please read about it.
Ephesus was a great commercial and religious center located at a crossroads in that part of the Roman Empire and it influenced much of Asia and Southern Europe. It was a rich city that would be called the pearl of Asia. During Greek and Roman times Ephesus was filled with beautiful buildings, businesses, schools, universities, temples, libraries, and large open air markets. It had hospitals and a medical school. On the side of a mountain stood a theater capable of holding 20,000 people, on the other side was a great amphitheater that reputedly would hold 100,000 people and there was a Roman arena.
Alexander loved white marble and much of his construction used that stone which included the huge, white marble walkway Paul walked from the Ephesus' seaport into the town. Ephesus had a distinct Greek construction style and language even though Rome was the civilization in power at the time of Paul's missionary trips. A Jewish community and its temple (synagogue) was also there. Some sources record the population at Ephesus as being 200,000 people. Except for the Jews it was a city wholly given over to heathen idolatry.
Brief History of the Church
(Acts 2:1 thru 4:4 and on) Empowered by the Holy Spirit the apostles went to work preaching Jesus in Jerusalem first. They spoke in foreign languages they could not have known and performed miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit that no other men could do. The news of it spread like wildfire. They did their work in synagogues, in private homes and on the streets of Jerusalem and thousands were saved. They didn't have nice neat churches. They lived a rough and tumble spiritual life performing their work for Jesus wherever they could. The Romans considered them a sect of Judaism.
(Acts 4:1-23 & 5:17-26) The Jewish elders considered them to be heretics and dividers who were perverting the Jewish religion with a false Messiah and they were a threat to their position as leaders of the Jewish religion. (Acts 5:27-42) Even when the Jewish council took a wait and see attitude they still gave the apostles severe beatings and forbade them to preach and teach in the Jewish temple (synagogue).
Christianity also spread like wildfire because people could see the results of the Holy Spirit when He entered believers. The Jewish priesthood had no miracles they could perform like the apostles did (Acts 13:45) and they were furious with envy. (John 6:51-63, 10:10 & 14:6) Christianity was alive!
Other men took up the blood stained banner of the sacrifice and cleansing of the blood of Jesus Christ the Saviour of the world (Acts 6:8 thru 7:60) then the killing began with Stephen the martyr for Christ. (Acts 7:58 thru 8:4) After Stephen's murder the Christians at Jerusalem were scattered because of Saul's awful persecution against them but they did not run in vain because they preached and taught the word of God every place they went (Acts 8:1 keywords: except the apostles) but the apostles stayed in Jerusalem.
(Acts 17:5) Moved with envy, the Jews fought them every way they could and, just like they had done Jesus, they used the Roman court system to try to destroy this new "upstart" religion. All through the Book of Acts we see that some sorting out had to be done. (Acts 8:14-17) The people in Samaria received the word and Peter and John were sent to sort out what had happened to them.
(Acts 8:26-40) The high counsel of the priests were aghast that "unclean" gentiles had accepted the word of God. The Apostles had to sort out that Christianity was different than Judaism (Acts 15:1-2 then Heb. 8:1 esp. V.8 thru 10:20) and operated under a new grace covenant through the blood of Jesus instead of human physical circumcision and the blood sacrifice of various animals required by Judaism.
(Acts 9:1-18 esp. V.1) Saul, the great persecutor of Christians, the pride of the high priest council, (Acts 22:3 then 5:34) a Jew born in a foreign land, the student of Gamaliel the great teacher of Jewish law and exceptionalism must have been filled with fury because every breath he drew came out with threatenings of great slaughter against the Christians.
(Acts 9:1-25 esp. V.20-22 keyword: synagogue) But Saul had a life changing, head on collision with Jesus on the road to Damascus. Saul was a zealot magnificently versed in the OT scriptures, (V.22) he proved Jesus was long awaited Jewish Messiah (V.20) in the synagogue in Damascus, the orthodox Jews were infuriated and they laid plans to murder Saul.
(Acts 9:25-31) The Disciples of Christ helped Saul escape and that firebrand zealot headed back to Jerusalem the epicenter of Christianity and Judaism. When the disciples at Jerusalem heard Saul was coming they were scared to death because they all knew he had consented to Stephen's death (Acts 8:3-4) and had destroyed the church in Jerusalem. But Barnabas came with Saul and smoothed his way. (Acts 9:29-31) Saul again preached so strongly he had to flee for his life from the Grecians. With Saul, the great persecutor of Christians, on their side the church at Jerusalem finally had peace.
(Acts 9:32 thru 11:3) The Gentiles had accepted salvation through Jesus (Acts 11:4-18) and the apostles had to sort out that the Gentiles could also be saved. (Gal. 5:1-6) The Apostles also had to sort out that Christian Jews could not be drawn back into Judaism because it would make the blood of Christ of no effect.
(Acts 12:1-2) Herod, of the Idumean blood line, the Roman appointed, non-Jewish king of Israel decided to take a hand in the melee surrounding the establishment of Christianity. He obviously desired to ingratiate himself to the Jewish priesthood hierarchy so he killed James the brother of John as a favor to them. (Mark 3:17) One of the thunder voices was gone but the other, John, would thunder on and I am glad he did. No other voice proclaims the possibility of a close, intimate, loving relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit as does John. Herod had decided to take part in the sorting out.
(Acts 12:3-23) Herod saw how his murder of James pleased the Jews so he took Peter to murder him. But God had other plans and He engineered Peter's escape. Herod knew he would have another day to destroy Peter but first he had some king's business to attend to in Caesarea and upon a set day he sat upon his throne arrayed in royal apparel and made an oration to them. The people of Tyre and Sidon, whose country was nourished by Herod, gave a great shout and said; "It is the voice of a god, and not of a man."
The angel of the Lord smote Herod because he wouldn't give God the glory, he was eaten with worms and he died. I wonder how it was to be in the crowd and see a proud, arrogant, pompous king's face suddenly grimace in shock, then horror. How his body must have jerked, then shuddered, then writhed, then convulsed as hungry worms started crawling and twisting out of his hidden body openings, out of his mouth, nose and ears. How horrified were his eyes as he was devoured alive right there in front of them? Herod got sorted out! Be careful when you say; "I'm the president, I can do anything!" because sometimes God also takes a hand in sorting things out!
(Acts 13:9) Saul and Paul are the same person. (Acts 22:29) Paul was a Roman citizen; Paul is the Romanized name of Saul the Jew. We could go on and on about the sorting out but that is not the point here. We know it got sorted out or we wouldn't be Christians, we would either be Jews or heathen (Acts 4:8-12 esp. V.12) because, according to scripture, there is no other choice available.
THE CHURCH AT EPHESUS: THE PAST
The Book of Acts describes Paul's missionary journeys. Ephesus was a crossroads in the Roman road system of supply, military, trade, travel and mail routes in Asia. Paul founded the church at Ephesus and made it his base of operations while he founded churches all over the Roman province of Asia. It is obvious the church at Ephesus held a warm spot in Paul's heart (Acts 20:16-38 esp. V.29-30) because when Paul knew he was going to be martyred he arranged a special audience with his friends and brothers from Ephesus.
(V.38) They were grief stricken that they would see him no more. It was at that meeting that Paul warned them (V.29-30) "after my departing shall grievous (grave, burdensome, heavy in the notion of going down) wolves (whitish hair like a wolf) (V.29) enter in (from the outside) among you, not sparing the flock. (V.30) "Also of your own selves (from inside their own congregation) shall men arise speaking perverse (to distort, misinterpret, morally corrupt) things, to draw away disciples after them." (1Cor. 1:9-13 & 3:1-9) It was a warning of the coming division, blasphemy and apostasy and a prophesy of denominationalism.
It was a statement that would apply throughout the entire church existence from beginning to end. Satan would spiritually fight the church by having his people enter into the church from the outside, pretend to be Christian leaders and corrupt the church. Satan would deceive people within the church to misinterpret, distort and corrupt God's word and thus spiritually and morally corrupt the church.
While he was imprisoned in Rome Paul wrote a letter to the church at Ephesus that is a message to the whole church at any place, in any circumstances, during any time period. In this letter (epistle) he covered the whole spectrum of the Christian experience from the how and why of salvation, the reason for Jesus, the purpose of the Holy Spirit, how to maintain their salvation, how to conduct their Christian relationships with family and other Christians and he stressed the whole Christian experience is to be emotionally seasoned with and held together with love.
At the end of the letter Paul informed them the only way they could defeat Satan, the ruler of darkness, was protect themselves by taking on the whole Christian armour of God. In 68 CE, almost 30 years before John stood on Patmos Nero had beheaded Paul and crucified Peter. The blood of Paul and Peter seemed to sound the death knell for Nero because he had committed suicide only a couple of months after he had killed them. Judas had also killed himself after he had betrayed Jesus and records show Pilate had gone mad after passing the death sentence on Jesus and he'd killed himself in a wild frenzy while racing his chariot on the Appian Way in Italy.
(Rev. 1:10-17) Suddenly John was covered with goose bumps, his breath became harder and louder, he felt the power of God thrill through him and he knew the Holy Spirit was upon him and he was in the Spirit. Then behind him a great (loud, strong) voice (an address), as of a trumpet (reverberation) boomed out and told him to write what he saw in a book and send it to the 7 churches in Asia. Startled, John whirled on his old, spindly legs to look and there in the midst of 7 golden candlesticks was one like unto the Son of man but this time Jesus appeared in all His prophetic glory, John fainted like a dead man and sprawled into a heap upon the ground.
(Rev. 1:17-19) As only Jesus can He laid His right hand upon John and spoke in THE voice; "Fear not; I am the first and last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold (used as an imperative; to see; and is taken from the verb that means to know), I am alive for evermore, Amen, and have the keys to hell and death. Write these things which thou hast seen (past), and the things which are (present), and the things which shall be hereafter (future);" and Jesus revealed the 7 stars are the messengers of the 7 churches and the 7 golden candlesticks are the 7 churches. God doesn't write letters to angels so they were to the pastors to share with their congregations.
THE CHURCH AT EPHESUS: THE PRESENT
(Rev. 2:2-3) Jesus said; (V.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 (test, scrutinize, examine) them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: (V.3) And hast borne (endure, declare, sustain, receive), and hast patience (endurance, constancy, persevere, have fortitude), and for my name's sake hast laboured (feel fatigued, toil, be wearied, implying to work hard), and hast not fainted (to tire, to sicken)."
Them Which Are Evil
(V.2-3) Jesus compliments this church concerning its works, labour, patience, "and how thou canst not bear them which are evil:" The Greek word for this type of evil is kakos and it means intrinsically worthless and intrinsically means belonging to something by the essential nature of that something. There are only 2 possibilities here; #1) These evil people either faked salvation at Ephesus or had come to Ephesus from another church where they had faked salvation. OR: #2) They had actually gotten saved but it didn't have any effect because their values were wrong! Satan uses their carnal nature as a vicious weapon in a congregation.
Jesus gave us the example; (Luke 17:11-19 esp. V.17 keywords: where are the nine?) If you have been a Christian very long you have surely seen this type of person come and go. The problem starts when one won't leave. They are proud and want to be known! Paul warned Timothy about them; please read it:--> (2Tim. 3:1-13 esp. V.5 & 7) They have "a form of godliness" and are "ever learning, and never come to the knowledge of the truth". This type are the proud, fornicators, liars, despisers and troublemakers who sin right in church because they are "lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God". The Ephesians had obviously booted them right out of church.
Those Who Say They Are Apostles And Are Not
(Rev. 2:2) Jesus complimented the church because they had tried (tested) those people who had claimed to be apostles and had found them to be liars. The only way to try (test) an apostle is the miracle test. All the individually performed miracles in the Book of Acts were done by Apostles or by an individual commissioned by an Apostle such as exampled by Stephen, Philip and etc. (Acts 8:5-21 esp. V.9) It was a simple test; no miracles = not an apostle. (Rev. 21:8 keyword: liars) If these liars did not repent they went to the permanent lake of fire. Obviously they were also given the boot.
(Rev. 2:6) Jesus complimented the Ephesus Church because they hated the deeds of the deeds of the Nicolaitanes just like He does. Nicolaitane is a compound word that is comprised of 2 Greek words; nikos (conquest, to conquer) and laos (a people); SO: Nicolaitanes are those proud individuals who attempt to conquer a congregation of people and assert their own rule over them instead of that of Jesus.
Example of a Nicolaitane
Nicolaitanes will be further explained in the Pergamos segment. (3John 9-10) An example of a Nicolaitane is Diotrephes who loved to have the preeminence (ambitious of distinction, fond of being first) and had conquered his congregation (people) into thinking his way #1) by prating (berating) against John with malicious words (vicious, hurtful, wicked, of the devil), #2) he wouldn't let John's letter be read to the church, #3) he would not receive the brethren #4) and he had (V.10 casteth out) excommunicated members of his congregation who did want to see John and the brethren. He was Satan's man!
To berate John with vicious words had to include what John the apostle had to say in his letter. Diotrephes' proud relationship was with himself instead of Jesus and he wanted things his own way. John and his message of love from Jesus was a threat to Diotrephes' position! The members who were true to God's word had been cast out and Satan laughed long and loud at his servant Diotrephes and his captive, apostate, corrupt congregation!
(Prov. 6:16-19) "These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination (disgusting, abhorrence, idolatry, to loathe, to detest) unto him: 1) a proud look (exalt self, haughty, and strangely enough; to breed worms - (Acts 12:21-23) A type of Herod?, #2) a lying tongue, #3) hands that shed innocent blood, #4) An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, #5) feet that be swift in running to mischief, #6) A false witness that speaketh lies and #7) he that soweth discord among brethren!" (1John 3:14) "We know we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren." Diotrephes was proud, lied, didn't love the brethren and sowed discord through his own wicked imagination.
Here are the worms bred by pride: pride is a mother emotion. (Gal. 5:20-21) Pride gives birth to; "hatred (hostility, enmity), variance (quarrel, wrangling, contention), emulations (hot, jealousy, envy, indignation), wrath (fierceness), strife (intrigue, faction, contentious), seditions (disunion, dissention, division), heresies (sect, a party, choice, disunion), envyings (ill will, spite), murders (to slay, to be slain with), revellings (carousal, letting loose, rioting) and such like".
(Rev. 2:4-6 esp. V.4) The most pitiful thing Jesus said to the church at Ephesus was; "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. (V.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 <--(see below) place, except thou repent." The Ephesians served out of knowledge and duty but their passion was gone. Jesus is saying; "Go back to where you began."
(1John 3:14-24 then 4:8 & 16) Love is a deep, intense, emotional tenderness, attraction to and affection for another person personalized by an intense emotional attachment and benevolent devotion to, an intimate fondness for and a yearning to share with, give to and make the other person happy. (Rev. 2:5) Obviously the church building and the people would remain but they had spiritually fallen from where they had once been and Jesus threatened to remove their candlestick.
(Luke 11:33) The candlestick holds the light. (Rev. 2:4) Jesus' threat was spiritual (John 14:18 & 23-26) because Jesus said He is the Holy Spirit, (John 8:12) Jesus is the light so Jesus is saying (John 14:26 & 15:5 & 26-27) He would remove the light giver, the Holy Spirit, Himself (signified by his) from them and their candle (light) would go out (John 4:1-30 esp. V.28-29) because they had lost their awe of their individual, personal salvation through Jesus (John 6:44 & 12:32) and their excitement at the wonder of meeting Jesus in His Holy Spirit person during their salvation event. Salvation between God and man is as personal as anything can possibly be!
They had lost (Matt. 5:6 & 1Pet. 2:2) their hunger for God's word, (Rom. 12:11 & Col. 3:23) their passion to serve God in the name of Jesus, (Acts 26:23-28) their enthusiasm, (Matt. 22:37, Mark 12:30 & John 14:5-9 then 15:13-15) and their loving, personal, responsible relationship with Jesus was going cold and they had quit caring whether Jesus was happy with them!
(Rom. 12:5-16) After His ascension Jesus has no physical body therefore we are the body of Christ that is supposed to accomplish the human side of building His church! They had forgotten Christian hands and feet are the only hands and feet Jesus has and Christian tongues and lips are the only tongues and lips Jesus has to talk with! Jesus doesn't need our ability, He wants our availability so He can live through us.
Love is an ongoing examination and evaluation of the depth of passion (intensity of emotion) of the person you love. "Do they love me like I love them? Is their love for me growing as they get to know me better? What am I getting for the way I feel and act? Do they have the desire to please me the way I please them? It don't have to be as much as mine but it must have the same intensity. (Mark 12:30 keywords: Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind and strength) Jesus is stating; "They are not giving me their all like I have given my all to them."
Love is also an eventual response to what the other person does, therefore love can be built up or torn down depending upon the passion of the loved individual's love contribution to the relationship. (Prov. 15:3 & Matt. 12:25 keywords: Jesus knew their thoughts) Jesus had examined and evaluated the Ephesians love for Him and the brightness of its intensity had faded.
(Rev. 19:5-9) The church relationship with Jesus is that of a bride, thus each Christian is in that Bride of Christ relationship. Would you marry a betrothed whose love for you was growing cold? Stupid question huh? (Rev. 2:5) That was the situation developing within the church at Ephesus.
(Rev. 2:5) "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works,". They had forgotten the awe and excitement of meeting God through the Holy Spirit during their salvation event. They had forgotten God's revelation of Himself to them, His revelation of their lost condition to them, the reality of hell and His calling for them to come to Him for safety and salvation.
(Psa. 119:2, 10, 58 & 145 then Jer. 29:13) They had forgotten the only way they could obtain salvation was to give God their (your) whole heart and whatever words they used it boiled down to; "Oh God I'm sorry I've sinned, I'll do anything if You'll just save me!"
They had lost their enthusiasm, they were growing cold, their church worship services were by rote and ritual and their spontaneity of praise, worship, singing, personal testimony and preaching through the Holy Spirit were fading. They had lost their hunger to know all about Jesus and God.
They had lost their passion when witnessing and their witnessing had been reduced to a simple "Will you come to church with me on Sunday." to acquaintances instead witnessing, even to strangers, with full Holy Spirit inspired, spiritual witness of the price, method and purpose of the salvation God offers for free which will bring the hearer joy, love, peace, security, belonging and a purpose to their life when they give their life to Jesus.
They went to the theater and cheered, clapped and loved their favorite actors and singers, their idols. They went to the arena and roared approval for the mayhem done by their favorite fighters, their heroes. At the amphitheater their cheers and screams of joy for their favorite team shook the ground.
They pursued self-indulgent, sensual pleasures while the letter from Paul gathered dust at their bedside in their homes. When the inward voice of the Holy Spirit spoke to their soul and reminded them to pray and study God's word they went entertaining, shopping, visiting, or talking instead; (Eccl. 1:9) they would have loved the electronic, social media world 2,000 years later.
Then they went to church and went through the motions while Jesus waited for some real, heartfelt words of worship, praise and prayer. (Mark 12:29-30) They had lost sight of how personally offensive the sins of neglect and cold heartedness are to Jesus. Jesus will not take back seat, second best and what's left for very long! Would You?
They had forgotten it is a loving, personal, responsible relationship of service! (2Cor. 6:16-18) Christian bodies and the souls within them are how Jesus shows the world Christians are a separate, peculiar, holy people. (Rev. 12:10) Satan, the accuser of the brethren, cruelly mocked Jesus, pointed out their sins and then jeered; "They are falling out of love with You, Your life means nothing to them!"
(Col. 3:2) Jesus wants a living, affectionate relationship but their worship was becoming a by the numbers, by rote, by ritual, cold, no Holy Spirit spontaneity, directionless relationship that was a dying relationship! They were killing their children's desire to be Christians because their works, labour and patience had wilted into something they automatically did instead of a living, happy, thankful service to honor Jesus (Matt. 25:14-30) and there was no reward of joy.
(Rev. 2:7 keywords: He, him and overcometh) "He (singular) that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; (plural) To him (singular) that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." The ending of each of the 7 letters individualizes the message from Jesus to the churches (plural) as a personal message to individuals in all the churches. Both the message and the reward are on an individual basis. Self, the world and Satan must be overcome!
In the church at Ephesus their own neglect, Satan's deception and their sensualism had rocked them to sleep in the futility of Holy Spirit-less holiness through feel goodism lovelessness. The well of their tears of joy had dried up and they had no tears of sorrow for what they'd left behind.
The church at Ephesus (Rev. 2:5) needed (Rom. 12:2 & Titus 3:5) a renewing Spirit (Isa. 57:15) to revive them.
Does any of the above describe or apply to you or to your church?