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;
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:
3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
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.
6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.
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 (Revelation 2:1-7).
In keeping to a method of interpretation that considers the spirit, or heart, of what is written to the angels of the seven churches, here is what the Lord, Jesus is saying by His Spirit:
There is a time for standing up for what is true and good. Doing so requires a lot of work, even in the face of great opposition. However, when being right becomes what is most important, we can lose sight of what matters most: Jesus Himself and His teachings—teachings that encourage us to love one another.
When being right becomes our aim, we can become inflated with a false sense of superiority, and all the more as we take our focus off Jesus and steadily go after the sins of others.
Furthermore, the higher we are, the further we will fall—just as Satan himself—who says, “I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I also will sit on the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the North. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. I will be like the most high.” As it is written of him: “Thou shalt be brought down to the grave, to the sides of the pit.”
In general terms, the spirit of this church is one that feels superior to all others, viewing themselves as the “true” church while esteeming others to be lesser than themselves. They also have great pride in their knowledge, feeling themselves worthy to assume positions of importance or authority.
Even so, this one thing they have: they hate the deeds of the worldly church.
This church takes the truth seriously, devotes themselves to working for the Lord, and takes a stand against sin and all manner of corruption within the church and the world at large as they see fit. This is not wicked. However, when the heart is corrupted, they lose sight of Jesus who is their first love. They also lose sight of their brethren—who Jesus holds in His right hand.
These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks
Jesus once said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.”
Jesus is the One who holds all ministers in His hand, and none will rise above Him. Therefore, we should not be as he who says, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.” We should not esteem ourselves as better than another, because all belong to God and all serve Him. Jesus is in control and He walks among us all. We are not He. Therefore, we should look to Him, and in so doing, we cannot help but be humbled by the only One who is truly holy and perfectly true.
The spirit found in Ephesus goes beyond our churches or beyond any specific Christian denomination or sect. This spirit is common to all of man. Anytime we stand up for what is true and good, but in a manner that is not of God, we are forgetting our first love. Being right is not as important as being righteous—and they are not always the same thing.
“I Will Remove Your Candlestick Out of Its Place.”
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.
As Christians, we should strive to continue in the love of Jesus Christ. When we fall away from that, all that we do is corrupted. Therefore, to Ephesus, the church above all others (in their estimation), full of pride and not love, “I will remove your candlestick out of his place.”
In what manner are they removed?
When Jesus returns, we will know Him more fully and His word will judge the earth. There will be not more error in Christian doctrine nor any need for prophecy because He will be here. All of those things pass away when He comes, because He Himself will lead. One thing will not pass away, and that is our love for Him and one another.
Therefore, all things that are not done in love are counted as hay and stubble—no matter how right they might seem factually or otherwise. Jesus sees to the heart, and if the heart is amiss, the work that proceeded from that heart is judged as amiss also.
See 1 Corinthians 13:
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
3And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.
5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever (Revelation 22:2-5).
When we overcome—when we keep the faith of Jesus Christ and that which He taught—we enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Therein is the tree of life.
It is far better to heal the heart than it is to fill the mind with knowledge that puffs up. When “that which is perfect is come,” there is no need for all our knowledge apart from the knowledge of the Lord. All vain knowledge vanishes away and what remains is that we loved Jesus and one another.
In Jesus’s Kingdom, He alone gives us light. He shows us what is truly good, truly holy, and truly healing. There is no need for, nor is there any place for, high-minded ministers and individuals because Jesus Himself is there. Those who overcome will reign with Him, but they will also be as He is. “It does not yet appear what we will be, but when He appears, we will be as He is.” This is only possible because He makes us as He is and we all need Him.
The above is the draft version of the fourth chapter to a book I plan to write and publish in a manner that is free of charge to the public.
I wrote in These Things Saith He: Contents that I will publish the drafts here first and offer opportunity for others to share their thoughts before the final work is completed.
I’m open to and greatly value the insight, experiences, and thoughts of my Christian brethren because we are a body knit together in Christ that is meant to work together without over reliance on our leaders. I am not your leader, but I do try to be faithful to what I have received to the best of my ability, and I look to Jesus for gracious judgment of my service and the service of all who truly love Him.