Revelation 2

Chapter two contains four of the seven messages to the churches. It is imperative to recognize that these messages are from Jesus, not John. In this case, John simply recorded the messages that Jesus dictated to him. Even as an apostle, John did not have the authority to make the statements that Jesus made to these churches.

The seven messages each follow the same template or pattern. First, Jesus introduced himself using one or more of the characteristics from chapter one. Second, he gave a word of commendation to the congregations (all but one), followed by a word of condemnation (to all but two). Third, he gave a command to those who needed to rectify something. Fourth, he promised a specific reward to “the one who conquers.”

Ephesus was commended for their good works, but they had left their first love. They were to repent and return to where they had come from.

Smyrna was commended for their faithfulness, especially in persecution. Jesus had nothing to say against them.

Pergamum was commended for not denying their faith in the face of persecution. However, they tolerated false teachers in their assembly, specifically those who celebrated sexual immorality and idol worship. They were to repent from their sin and tolerance.

Thyatira was commended for their deeds as well, yet they, too, allowed false teachers and were plagued with sexual immorality and idol worship in the guise of worship. Unlike Pergamum, Thyatira also had people engaging in witchcraft. They were also to repent, but Jesus already previewed the judgment that was to come. Those faithful Christians were told to hold on until he came.