REVELATION 2 Part 1 How Bible truth fell

Complacent Christians elevated humans to be the head of the church in the place of Jesus and drifted away from Scripture

First published on the 23rd of March 2023 — Last updated on the 31st of March 2023

The first church age of Ephesus ended about AD 170

Error starts small. But like a snowball rolling downhill, it rapidly grows bigger. Do not be fooled by the small start.

REVELATION 2:1   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;

A great mystery was that the church in each of these seven cities had characteristics that described a future church age. The postal road that connected the cities symbolized the succession of the church ages as they moved on in time in the same order that the churches were on the road. God used those cities to send a spiritual message down through the 2000 years of church history. The prophet Daniel said that in the end the wise would understand the meaning of these symbols.

DANIEL 12:9   And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

:10   Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly:

and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

“Who walketh”. His walking shows the untiring care of Jesus as the Chief Shepherd Who watches over His own. He is the Supreme Head of the church that He has built up out of living stones over 2000 years as He walked through the seven church ages. His right hand of power sustained seven messengers or stars, great Christian men who each influenced a church age to be more Scriptural. Only Jesus was in the midst of all seven church ages, so nobody else is fit to be the Head of the church.

His impressive messengers would influence their age but would then die. When a new church age dawned, God would have to raise up a new messenger for that age.

The angel or messenger to this first church age was Saint Paul. He wrote half the Books in the New Testament.

He warned that any man who changed anything in the New Testament that he and the other apostles had written would be accursed.

GALATIANS 1:9   As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

ROMANS 2:16   In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

Paul, as the master tent-maker, sewed together the Old Testament Law and the New Testament Grace to produce the Gospel. We dare not disagree with anything that he preached. He established the truth of the Word of God, Jesus Christ, Who is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. This first church age started by being very faithful to the Word of God as they responded to the Spirit of the Lion of Judah. The lion is recognized as being the king of the beasts.

REVELATION 1:19   Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

“The things which are” refer to the events of the first church age. The church OF Ephesus. This was the model church that every church age should have copied. The first church age of Ephesus was established by the apostles in the way that God wanted it. The writings of the apostles were collected into the New Testament by the apostle John just before he died around the year AD 100.

“And the things which shall be hereafter” refer to the following six church ages that would unfold in time and be followed by the 3½ years of great Tribulation when God turns back to the Jews. Then will come Armageddon, the 1000-year Kingdom of Peace and Judgement Day before the New Heaven and the New Earth are established.

The seven candlesticks represent the seven church ages. The first candlestick established Jesus as the central figure in the midst (or middle) of the candlesticks.

REVELATION 1:13And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man,

Jesus is seen in the middle of the seven candlesticks.  The central candlestick represents the first church age that was built on the foundation of the Day of Pentecost when God's Spirit was poured out on the disciples.

" Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write;

That is the only church age that believed the full Word of truth. That is the example of what each church age should be like.

Jesus, as the Lion of Truth, would greatly influence that first church age that the apostles established. The challenge to that first church age was that the people should learn from the writings of the apostles and then remain Scriptural. The challenge of Satan was to persuade the people to move away from the New Testament writings until they believed unscriptural things like Trinity, God the Son, Christmas, 25 December, Good Friday, etc.

When the central candlestick was lit then it represented the first church age which was the way that God wanted the church. Jesus, the Word of God, as the Lion of Judah was the central Person.

REVELATION 5:5   And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold,

the Lion of the tribe of Juda,

the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

Only Jesus can give a person a revelation of what the Scriptures actually mean.

REVELATION 2:2   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:

“Thy works”. They worked hard to spread the Gospel.

“Labour” speaks of a weariness through oppression. They are prepared to suffer for the cause.

“Thy patience”. They bear the yoke of persecution with patience. If their hard work showed little fruit, they waited patiently for their reward in Heaven.

Satan cannot destroy God’s Truth but he tries hard to destroy the people who believe in God’s Truth.

Holiness was a way of life with these early Christians. They took active steps to stay separated from sin.

Their “work, labour, and patience” was used to guard the sacred Word and to stop people corrupting the Scriptures.


My, that is a blunt statement. "Thou hast tried them who call themselves apostles." Isn't that presumptuous? What right has a people to try those who call themselves apostles? And how do they try them? Oh, I love this.

Here it is in Galatians 1:8,

"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have (already) preached unto you, let him be accursed."

It was the apostles who brought the original Word to the people. That original Word could not change, not even a dot or dash of it. Paul knew it was God Who had spoken to him so he said, "Even if I come and try to give a second revelation, try to make one little change in what I gave originally, let me be accursed." You see, Paul knew that first revelation was correct. God can't give a first revelation, then a second revelation. If He did, He would be changing His mind. He can give a revelation and then add to it, as He did in the Garden of Eden when He promised the Seed to the woman, and then later designated that Seed had to come through Abraham, and then later said it would come by the same blood lines in David. But it was the same revelation. It only gave the people more information to help them receive and understand it.

But God's Word can't change. The Seed came exactly as revealed. Hallelujah. And see what those false apostles were doing. They came with their own word. Those Ephesians knew that Word as Paul had taught it. They were full of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of Paul's hands.

They looked those false apostles in the eye and said, "You are not saying what Paul said. You are, therefore, false."

Oh, that sets my heart on fire. Get back to the Word! It is not you that really tries the apostle, and prophet and teacher,


One of these days there is going to come a prophet to the Laodicean Church Age and you will know if he is the real one sent from God or not. Yes you will, for if he is of God HE WILL BE IN THAT WORD EXACTLY AS GOD GAVE IT TO PAUL. HE WON'T DEVIATE FROM THAT WORD FOR A MOMENT, NOT BY ONE IOTA. In that last age, when there will be many false prophets appearing, watch and see how they keep telling you that if you don't believe them and what they say, you will be lost; but when that LAST DAY PROPHET comes on the scene, if he is truly that prophet, he will be crying out, "Get back to the Word or you are lost." He won't build on a private revelation or interpretation, but on the Word.

REVELATION 2:3   And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

Persecution and trials are normal, especially when defending the blessed name of Jesus.

Commit these circumstances and hardships to God.

The early church understood that the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost was Jesus.

But, because some humans have the name of Jesus, they always added at least one title to emphasize which Jesus they were talking about.

Lord is a title.  Christ is a title as it means “Anointed One”.

The apostles were told to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

MATTHEW 28:19   Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

They responded by using the name of Jesus together with at least one title.

ACTS 2:38   Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

ACTS 8:16    … only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)

ACTS 19:5   When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

The early church made the careless mistake of growing lax and complacent.

REVELATION 2:4   Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

In the same way Abraham left his first love Sarah and went with Hagar which produced Ishmael and the Arabs who are still enemies of the Jews.

The first errors to creep into the church stayed in the church.

The Christians lost the love of being strictly Scriptural. They began to conform to the world. They wanted to be popular and accepted.

REVELATION 2:5   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.

“Remember” means that they had forgotten something. The origin of the church was at Pentecost. They had drifted away from their source, away from their dependance on the Holy Spirit. When we slowly slip away we do not notice at first. Then, to our shock, we suddenly realize that we have drifted far. Then we rely on conformity to church traditions and church membership.

If we keep drifting God will cut us off.

The enemy sneaks in as an elevated church leader

Remember, Judas was an apostle. A church leader.

Ephesus means Aimed at or Relaxed.

We take for granted what we have and we stop protecting the need to be strictly Scriptural. Small errors begin to enter the church. They look harmless at first but then they begin to grow bigger and finally take over.

At first the church hated a man being in charge of a local church as the head of the church.

REVELATION 2:6   But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.


… for whatever starts in the early church must continue in every age until it is finally blessed and exalted by God or destroyed as an unclean thing in the lake of fire.

… What are these Nicolaitanes? The word comes from two Greek words. Nikao, which means to conquer, and Laos, which means the laity. In plain fact, somebody was doing something in that early church which was conquering the laity. If the laity were being conquered, then it must have been some "authority" there doing it.

… and came out with a holy priesthood standing between God and the people. They went right back to the old Aaronic system. They became antichrist for they disposed of His mediator-ship and imposed their own. God hated that. The Ephesians hated that and any true believer will hate it too.

There is no modern-day Aaronic priesthood of a five-fold ministry that stands between God and the people.

They want the church members to conform to the beliefs of the church leader.

“Church membership” becomes the key to heaven. That is an antichrist belief.

Leaders soon proclaimed that if you did not belong to their church then you would be lost.


They think you have to belong to that certain church or you cannot go to Heaven. That's wrong. To believe that, is antichrist. I'll say this: if you believe such a spirit, you're lost.


What was it that God hated that was happening in that church? What was going on then, and is now going on today, is exactly what the word Nicolaitane means. The people were being subjected somehow in a way that was absolutely contrary to the Word of God.

Humans wanted to be the head of the church. They called themselves priests or bishops. Just as long as they could be in charge and collect the money.

Ambitious men want the preeminence.

The local church should be ruled by a group of local elders.


Show me by the Bible what's greater, in the Bible, than a local elder to a local church? That's right, yes, sir, the sovereignty of the local church, each church in itself.

I PETER 5:1   The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

:2     Feed the flock of God which is among you,

taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

:3     Neither as being lords over God's heritage,

but being ensamples to the flock.

Peter did not address the elders by his title as an apostle. He stressed his equality with the elders, not claiming superiority over them.

Nicolaitanism means organization which places man over man.

REVELATION 2:7   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.

Hearing what God says in His Word is critical. We must not deviate from Scripture.

The tree of life is a symbol of Jesus Christ. He is the Word and we eat from Him. The tree of Life, which was the Spirit of Christ in Eden, became a virgin born Man Who died in order to restore us to God. His fruits are the fruits of the Spirit that sustain us. These fruits make us want to obey Scripture but also to love our enemies. They also make us believe that everything happens for our good. That enables us to rejoice in all circumstances.

ROMANS 8:28   And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

The second church age of Smyrna ended about AD 312

REVELATION 2:8   And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

Smyrna means bitter as it comes from myrrh which is used to embalm the dead. This was a bitter age filled with death. Religious organization replaced Scripture with man-made rituals and ideas as clever men were elevated to be the head of the church. This was the nourishment that religious corruption needed.

God created the perfect Garden of Eden which Adam, as a typical human being, wrecked. So, Jesus has to bring Life back from Death. He alone can do that.

Jesus alone can start with His death on the cross and use His death to give mankind Life. He was dead and then became alive. We are the opposite to Jesus. We are first alive and then die.

Jesus can reverse the laws of Nature when it suits Him, just like He was able to walk on water.

REVELATION 2:9   I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich ) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

“Thy works”. This age had to struggle hard to maintain the early Christian standards and beliefs that the apostles had established.

“And tribulation”. The hatred of the pagan Roman Empire against the Gospel was growing. They had persecuted the Christians in the days of the pagan Roman Emperors Nero and Domitian when John was on the prison island of Patmos. This verse predicted an intensified tribulation throughout the second church age.

“I know thy … tribulation”. God is well aware of what is happening to us. God allowed Paul to be killed and Job to suffer. It is not for us to question what God allows us to endure as suffering makes our characters perfect. Character is a victory that we obtain by struggling against opposition and resistance. Character is thrashed out on the anvil of defeat and difficulty. Thus, we must love our enemies as they are the means whereby we develop stronger characters.

The Roman Emperors like Nero and Domitian had power but were spoiled and entitled characters and they became satanic rulers. They hated and destroyed anybody who disagreed with them.

I PETER 4:12   Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

:13     But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

Before we can wear a crown we must first carry a cross.

If God loves us then He will hammer us. He must knock us into shape. The soldiers in the Special Forces undergo an extremely tough training. Christians need a tough training if they are to qualify as the Bride of Jesus.

HEBREWS 12:6   For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

:7     If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

:8     But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

We hate to admit it but suffering and hardship are good for us.

HEBREWS 5:8   Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

We prove our faith in God by accepting the trials that cross our lives with joy. We must stay obedient to His Word, whatever the cost.

These Christians were often poor people. Many were slaves. But they were rich in faith because they believed the Word of the apostles. When you die, you cannot take your worldly wealth with you, but you will take your faith and your character with you. Believing the Bible builds up our faith.

The “synagogue” is a place of assembly or gathering.

It is wrong to gather together in unscriptural ways like celebrating Christmas on 25 December. We were never asked to celebrate the Lord’s death. December 25 is a pagan holiday for the sun god’s birthday.

A Bishop was never selected as being the head of the church by the apostles. These errors were growing.

When church-goers come together in unscriptural ways then we open the door to the synagogue of Satan. Because the apostles (except Luke) were Jews, it was easy for Jews to elevate themselves as being more important than other Christians. But nationality is not important. What counts is being Scriptural.

When people claim that they are spiritually superior to others because of their nationality, then they have the same spirit as the Jews in the synagogue of Satan. This prejudice of any ruling class produces much cruelty. In politics, one nation rises and suppresses another. The Roman Catholic church rose to power as the self-supposed elite church by copying this pattern of organization and forceful suppression of other churches from the example of the pagan Roman political rulers. Because the Romans ruled the world the Roman church thought that they had to rule all the Christians. The Roman Catholics began to form Mystery Babylon as they made a hybrid religion of pagan beliefs and Christian names. This was the new synagogue of Satan where Roman Catholic Bishops claimed preeminence over everyone. The Bishop of Rome then falsely claimed that he was the Successor of Peter by claiming that Peter was the first Pope. These lies established the world's biggest church. Satan is the father of lies.

Thus, gathering together in a church with wrong leadership structures produces more harm than good as time goes on.

Irenaeus, the great Christian leader from Lyons in France, was a dedicated man. But many ambitious and worldly church leaders were also emerging. Competitive Christianity grew apace with its awful characteristics.

I CORINTHIANS 11:17   Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.

We should only come together to uplift Christ, not some man.

JOHN 12:32   And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

Christianity has its main focus as the lifting up of Christ as the revealed Word of God. His suffering. His power. His glory.

REVELATION 2:10   Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

"Prison". Israel had followed a similar pattern to the seven churches. Seven great men of the Old Testament reflected aspects of the seven church ages in their lives.

Abraham had left his first love Sarah for Hagar, an Egyptian.

Then Joseph had been falsely cast into prison to remind us of the many second church age being cast into prison.

In the third age we will read of the struggle of Moses against Balaam the prophet who led Israel astray to worship a false god Baal.

In the fourth age we will read of the struggle of Elijah against the cruel and evil Jezebel. As a woman she symbolized the cruel and evil Roman Catholic church in the Dark Ages.

This second church age of Smyrna was a time of persecution and suffering. About 3 million Christians died between AD 64 and AD 312. The majority of these died after the year AD 170 when the second age started. By this year the Bishops had succeeded in taking over the churches in the cities. They claimed that the Bishop took the place of God in the church. Satan has always aimed to get the church to uplift some man as that distracts the people from uplifting Jesus. People find it easier to follow a man that they can see rather than follow Jesus Who they cannot see as He speaks to them through His voice on earth, the Bible.


We know the Bible is right;

that's not my voice; that's God's voice, speaking.

"Ye shall have tribulation ten days".

A day in prophecy can refer to a year.

Laban said to Jacob, when he wanted to marry Rebekah, that he had to serve seven years.

GENESIS 29:27    Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.

This symbolized Christ having to labour through seven church ages to get His Gentile Bride.

In AD 302 the Roman Emperor Diocletian launched the cruelest persecution of Christians that was to last for ten years. Almost all Bible texts were destroyed which is why there are no original texts available today. Diocletian tried his best to eliminate Christianity in the Roman Empire.

God did not allow Diocletian to succeed in his evil plans. The true church can only survive because Jesus is there to help and protect the saints.

Despite the massive persecution, new souls were inspired by the courage of the martyrs.

Satan learned a hard lesson. Persecution actually allowed the church to grow.

Today, in places like China and Iran, the Christians get persecuted but the church grows.

In Europe, the church is accepted but membership declines.

REVELATION 2:11   He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

If you have a spiritual ear then you will hear what God is saying to the churches. You have to overcome the difficulties and temptations of your church age.

You may be killed in this life but you cannot be touched in the next life if you stay true to Scripture.

Those who are unscriptural will be thrown into the Lake of Fire on Judgement Day. That is the second death.

If you are born once then you die twice. If you are born twice by being reborn in Christ, then you can only die once. The second death cannot hurt you.

The fierce persecutions had scattered the Christians and many had to hide underground. This scattering kept many Christians in small groups and thus protected them from the spirits of church organization. Small groups need no organizing. No ambitious Nicolaitan wants to be the head of a small scattered group as the money will be in the bigger churches. So, the scattered groups survived because they were not noticed and were thus kept free from the main mistakes that this age made. Thus, God does not condemn this age at all.

Persecution and poverty made this age acceptable to God.

The conditions that we think are bad for us, actually do us good. We must not judge our bad circumstances as if they are harmful to us.

The next candlestick illustrates how the second church age looked to God.

Due to their scattering and thus being in small groups, the local churches could still be firm followers of the apostolic first church age. The influence of the Spirit of the Lion of the tribe of Judah was still strong. But the stress on human leadership was dimming the light of the true church.

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” — 1 Corinthians 16:23