2:1“To the messenger of the Congregation in Ephesus, write this:
“These are the words of the one firmly grasping the seven stars in his right hand, the one walking among the seven golden lampstands:2:2I have seen what you’ve been doing, your hard labor and endurance, and that you don’t put up with the depraved. You tested their claims to be Ambassadors (they are not) and found those claims to be false.2:3You have endured and upheld my name tirelessly.
2:4“But I have this against you: you have let go of the devotion you had at first.12:5Remember, then, the height from which you have fallen, and change your mind. Do the things you once did, because if you don’t, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.2:6But at least you have this going for you: you despise what the Nicolaitans do, just as much as I.
2:7“Let those with ears pay attention to what the Spirit is saying to the Congregations! To those who conquer I will give food from the Tree of Life which is in the middle of the Paradise of God.
2:8“To the messenger of the Congregation in Smyrna, write this:
“These are the words of the First and the Last, who died and then lived again:2:9I have seen the pressure you’ve been under, and your poverty (yet you are rich!), and the slander of those who claim to be Judeans but are not (they are a congregation of the Adversary).2:10But do not fear what you are about to experience. Look! The False Accuser is going to throw you into prison to test you, and you will be under pressure for ten days. Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will award you the gift of life.
2:11“Let those with ears pay attention to what the Spirit is saying to the Congregations! Those who conquer will absolutely not be harmed by the Second Death.
2:12“To the messenger of the Congregation in Pergamos, write this:
“These are the words of the one having the sharp, double-edged broadsword.2:13I have seen where you live— where the Adversary’s throne is. But you hold tightly to my name and have not renounced my faith, even in the days when my faithful martyr Antipas was killed among you— where the Adversary lives.
2:14“But I have a few things against you: that you have some people there who are holding tightly to the teaching of Balaam, who advised Balak to set a trap for the people of Israel and entice them to eat food sacrificed to idols and to practice promiscuity.2:15You likewise have some who have adopted and hold tightly to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.2:16Change your minds, then! Otherwise I will suddenly come to you and battle with them with the broadsword from my mouth.
2:17“Let those with ears pay attention to what the Spirit is saying to the Congregations! To those who conquer I will give the hidden manna, and also a white pebble2 with a new name written on it, which no one knows but the one holding it.
2:18“To the messenger of the Congregation in Thyatira, write this:
“These are the words of the God-Man, the one whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished copper.2:19I have seen what you’ve been doing, your love and faith and service, your endurance, and that you are doing more now than you were at first.
2:20“But I have this against you: you let that woman Jezebel3 go around saying she’s a prophet, teaching and misleading my slaves to practice promiscuity and eat food sacrificed to idols.2:21I gave her time to change her mind, but she won’t give up her promiscuity.2:22Look! I am throwing her and her clients into a bed of great suffering if they don’t turn back from her practices.2:23And I will strike her children dead so that all the Congregations will know I am the one who searches minds and hearts; everyone will get what’s coming to them!
2:24“Yet I say this to the rest in Thyatira who do not hold to this teaching, who have not known the so-called ’deep things of the Adversary’: I will not put any other weight on you,2:25except that you hold on tight until I arrive.2:26To the ones who conquer and guard my actions to the end, I will give jurisdiction over the non-Judeans.2:27They will ‘shepherd them with a rod of iron and crush them like earthenware jars’, just as I too have received jurisdiction from my Father,2:28and I will give the ones who conquer the Morning Star.
2:29“Let those with ears pay attention to what the Spirit is saying to the Congregations!
- 1Some interpret “the devotion you had at first” as referring to fellowship meals, but the word here is singular; it would make little sense to criticise people for letting go of their first fellowship meal. It is typically rendered “love” rather than devotion, but devotion is equally possible and is just ambiguous enough to allow application to fellowship meals if one prefers that meaning.
- 2The white pebble symbolized a verdict of innocence.
- 3Jezebel is likely not her real name, but instead refers to her character as matching that of Queen Jezebel, wife of Ahab, who enticed the people of Israel to sacrifice to idols and commit sexual sin. The Bible never identifies Jezebel as a spiritual (non-human) entity, nor does it cite her for failing to obey her husband.