Revelation 2 – The Message to the Churces of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, and Thyatira & Why I Left the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church is nothing but evil.  If you are a Catholic that does not mean you are going to hell, unless you agree with the Catholic Church.

Many believe the Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon, that is spoken of in chapters 17-18, which we will discuss then, but tomorrow we’re going to look at…

Revelation 2
The Message to the Churches of
Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, and Thyatira

Ephesus was an ancient Greek city on the coast of Ionia, three kilometers southwest of present-day Selçuk in İzmir Province, Turkey.

It was built in the 10th century B.C. on the site of the former Arzawan capital by Attic and Ionian Greek colonists.

During the Classical Greek era it was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League.  The city flourished after it came under the control of the Roman Republic in 129 B.C.

According to estimates Ephesus had a population of 33,600 to 56,000 people in the Roman period, making it the third largest city of Roman Asia Minor after Sardis and Alexandria Troas.

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;

2 I know thy works, and thy labor, 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:

“Hast tried them” – the necessity for correct doctrine and dependable advice e was widely recognized in the early church (see 1 Cor 14:29; 1 Thess 5:21; 1 Jn 4:1).

3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast labored, and hast not fainted.

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

“Left” – they didn’t lose it, the left it.

“First love” – the love they had at first for one another and/or for Christ.

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.

“Remove thy candlestick” – immediate judgment.

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

Nicolaitans” – a heretical sect within the church that had worked out a compromise with the pagan society.  They apparently taught that spiritual liberty gave them sufficient leeway to practice idolatry and immorality.

Tradition identifies them with Nicolas, the proselyte of Antioch who was one of the first seven deacons in the Jerusalem church (Acts 6:5), though the evidence is merely circumstantial.

A similar group at Pergamum held the teaching of Balaam and some at Thyatira were followers of the woman Jezebel.  From their heretical tendencies it would appear that all three groups were Nicolaitans.

I’ve never heard of the Nicolaitans, maybe they change their name to the Catholics.

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.

“Overcometh” – the challenge to overcome occurs in each letter.

It was a symbolic name of a party that represented those who established a ruling class over the rest of the people that exalted fleshly leadership by developing a “pecking order.”

Jesus hated this and warns the people to repent or else “I will come upon you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.”

“Paradise” – originally a Persian word for a pleasure garden.  In Revelation it symbolizes the eschatological state in heaven in which God and man are restored to the perfect fellowship that existed before sin entered the world, i.e. the relationship God had with Adam and Eve.

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” – a proud and beautiful Asian city (modern Izmir) closely aligned with Rome and eager to meet its demands for emperor worship.  This plus a large and actively hostile Jewish population made it extremely difficult to live there as a Christian.

Polycarp, the most famous of the early martyrs, was bishop of Smyrna.

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.

Smyrna was an ancient city located at a central and strategic point on the Aegean coast of Anatolia.
Due to its advantageous port conditions, its ease of defense and its good inland connections, Smyrna rose to prominence.

The ancient city is located at two sites within modern İzmir, Turkey.

The first site, probably founded indigenously, rose to prominence during the Archaic Period as one of the principal ancient Greek settlements in western Anatolia.

The second, whose foundation is associated with Alexander the Great, reached metropolitan proportions during the period of the Roman Empire.

Most of the present-day remains date from the Roman era, the majority from after a 2nd-century A.D. earthquake.

“Which say they are Jews” – see Rom 2:28-29.

“Satan” – Hebrew for “accuser” (see Zech 3:1; cf. Job 1:6-12, 2:1-7).

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.

“Devil” – Greek diabolos, meaning “accuser.”

“Tribulation” – see the warnings by Jesus (Jn 15:20) and Paul (2 Tim 3:12).

“Crown of life” – the crown that is eternal life.  “Crown” does not refer to a royal crown, but to the garland or wreath awarded to the winner in athletic contests.

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.

“Second death” – the lake of fire (Rev 20:14).

12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

“Pergamos” – modern Bergama; the ancient capital of Asia, built on a cone-shaped hill rising 1,000 feet above the surrounding valley.  Its name in Greek means “citadel” and is the origin of our word “parchment” (lit. “from Pergamos” because of a legend that parchment was first manufactured there).

13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

“Where Satan’s seat is” – Satan “ruled” from Pergamos in that it was the official center of emperor worship in Asia.

“Antipas” – first martyr of Asia.  According to tradition he was slowly roasted to death in a bronze kettle during the reign of Domintian.

Polycarp was a 2nd-century Christian bishop of Smyrna.
According to the Martyrdom of Polycarp he died a martyr, bound and burned at the stake, then stabbed when the fire failed to touch him.

14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

“Doctrine of Balaam” – Balaam advised the Midianite women how to lead the Israelite astray.  He is a fitting prototype of corrupt teachers who deceive believers into compromise with worldliness.

“Things sacrificed unto idols…fornication” – see Acts 15:20, 29.

15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

“Nicolaitans” – see note on v. 6.  The roots of this word are “to conquer” and “people,” speaking of those who lard it over the congregation.

16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

17 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 hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

“Hidden manna” – the heavenly food available to the believer who overcomes (cf. Ps 78:24), in contrast to the unclean food of the Balaamites.

“White stone” – certain kinds of stones were used as tokens for various purposes.  In the context of a Messianic banquet the white stone was probably for the purpose of admission.

Pergamon or Pergamum, was an ancient Greek city in Aeolis, currently located 26 kilometers (16 mi) from the Aegean Sea on a promontory on the north side of the river Caicus (modern-day Bakırçay).
Today, the main sites of ancient Pergamon are to the north and west of the modern city of Bergama in Turkey.

18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

“Thyatira” – modern Akhisar.  Founded by Seleucus (311-280 B.C.) as a military outpost, it was noted for its many trade guilds.  Lydia, “a seller of purple fabrics,” was from Thyatira.

“Fine brass” – a refined alloy of copper or bronze with metallic zinc.

19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

“Jezebel” – see 1 Kgs 16:31; 2 Kgs 9:22, 30-37.  The name is used here as an epithet for a prominent woman in the congregation who undermined loyalty to God by promoting tolerance toward pagan practices.

21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

“Bed” – disease was often considered as appropriate punishment for sins (cf. 1 Cor 11:29-30).

Thyateira (also Thyatira) was the name of the modern Turkish city of Akhisar (“white castle”).
The name comes from Koine Greek “Θυάτειρα” (Thuateira).

The Turkish equivalent of Thyateira is Tepe Mezarlığı, meaning hill graveyard.

It lies in the far west of Turkey, south of Istanbul and almost due east of Athens.

It is about 50 miles (80 km) from the Mediterranean.

23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

“Her children” – Jezebel is the spiritual mother of all who pursue antinomian (libertine) doctrines.

“He which searcheth the reins and hearts” – cf. Ps 7:9; Prov 24:12; Jer 11:20, 17:10.  Reins or mind (lit. “kidney”) probably refers here to the will and the affections; “heart” may designate the center of rational life.

“According to your works” – judgment based on works is taught by Jesus (Matt 16:27) and Paul (Rom 2:6) as well as John (Rev 18:6, 20:12-13, 22:12).

24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.

“Depths of Satan” – later Gnosticism taught that in order to defeat Satan one had to enter his stronghold, i.e., experience evil deeply.

25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.

26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

28 And I will give him the morning star.

29 He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Why I Left the Catholic Church

Introduction

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with more than 1.16 billion members worldwide.
It is among the oldest religious institutions in the world and has played a prominent role in the history of Western civilization.

The Catholic hierarchy is headed by the Pope, the Bishop of Rome. The Church teaches that it is the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ, that its bishops are the successors of Christ’s apostles and that the Pope is the sole successor to Saint Peter who has apostolic primacy.

The church and it’s true beginnings.

The Roman Catholic Church claims to have started in Matthew 16:18 when Christ supposedly appointed Peter as the first Pope.

However, the honest and objective student of the Scriptures and history soon discovers that the foundation of the Roman church is none other than the pagan mystery religion of ancient Babylon.

Besides, Jesus never appointed Peter Pope because Jesus is not of a religion, He is God.

I want to state some of the reasons I left the Catholic Church. I do not wish to state any of the personal experiences I had as result of leaving. I will mention, though, that I came from a large, devout Catholic family of twelve children.

I attended Trinity High School in Louisville, Kentucky. At the time of my intense Scriptural study, I had two brothers who were enrolled in Catholic seminaries studying to be priests.

I also want to state I did not leave the Catholic Church because of some evil that I had done or that was done to me. I left the Catholic Church because I came to believe that it was contrary to the Bible.

Reasons for Leaving

1. The Catholics do not have the right attitude toward the truth.

Those with the right attitude toward the truth are always willing to test what they teach with others. They invite those of opposite views to work together for truth and unity.

Those with the wrong attitude toward the truth are not willing to test what they teach in fair and open discussion, privately or publicly.

They won’t allow their members to hear both sides of an issue, and especially they don’t want them to examine opposing arguments.

Catholics are not allowed, and especially are not encouraged to hear both sides regarding truth and error. They are not to read books which differ from their doctrine.

Thus, they are encouraged by the clergy to be closed minded to anything which differs from Catholicism.

We ask, “Why don’t Catholic officials encourage their members to examine opposing Scriptural teaching?” False teachers have learned that when truth and error are examined side by side, some begin to see the truth.

False teachers are afraid of being exposed and of losing their members.

2. The Bible is the only sufficient guide to aalvation, but the Catholic Church teaches it is not.

The Catholic Catechism For Adults on page 52 says,

Can you learn to save your soul just by reading the Bible?

No, because certain things in the Bible can be misunderstood, and because the Bible does not have everything God taught.

That is not what Paul says:

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (2 Tim 3:15-17).

The Catholics are saying that the Bible cannot be understood. John A. O’Brien, the Catholic author of the book, “The Faith of Millions,” is much more expressive when he says on page 152,

The Bible is not a clear and intelligible guide to all…

The apostle Paul said we can understand what he wrote.

If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,

Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) (Eph 3:2-4).

Paul also said,

A great new media fervor is starting about how Pope Francis is saying to back off from abortion and homosexual marriage and just talk about Jesus.

When Pope Francis said “who am I to judge?” with respect to homosexuals in his interview on the plane back from Brazil, headlines cried out that he was changing everything.

“By saying this, I said what the catechism says,” he explains in his new interview.

In his new interview, he suggests that we love people with same-sex attraction and not define them merely by that one characteristic.

And he suggests we find an effective way to address abortion in context, which he points out is a cause of suffering for the women involved.

For we write none other things unto you, that what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end (2 Cor 1:13).

And…

Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is (Eph 5:17).

Catholic Church consistently claims that we cannot understand the Bible on our own; we can only obtain the true meaning through them.

The Catechism For Adults on page 10 says,

How can you get the true meaning of the Bible?

You can get it only from God’s official interpreter, the Catholic Church.

3. Christ did not make his church infallible as the Catholic Church teaches.

The Catholic writers try to teach that the church could never go into error and is preserved from error.

The Catechism For Adults on page 56 says,

Why can’t the Catholic Church ever teach error?

Because Jesus promised to be always with His Church to protect it from error.

The book, “My Catholic Faith” which is based heavily on materials from the Baltimore Catechism, says on page 144,

Jesus Christ promised to preserve the Church from error.

On page 145, it says,

Jesus Christ commanded all men to listen to and obey the Church, under pain of damnation. If His Church can teach error then He is responsible for the error, by commanding all to obey.

On page 54 the Catechism For Adults says,

Does everyone have to obey the Catholic Church?

Yes, because she alone has the authority of Jesus to rule and to teach.

Pope Francis Now Urges All Religions To Unite

Pope Francis urged members of all religions and those belonging to no church on Wednesday to unite to defend justice, peace and the environment and not allow the value of a person to be reduced to “what he produces and what he consumes”.

Francis, elected a week ago as the first non-European pope in 1,300 years, met leaders of non-Catholic Christian religions such as Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans and Methodists, and others including Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus.

“The Catholic Church is aware of the importance of furthering respect of friendship between men and women of different religious traditions,” the Argentine pontiff told the religious leaders in an audience at the Vatican.

It is easy to see that Catholics have the authority in the wrong place. The authority is not in the body, but in the Head.

Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all (Eph. 1:22-23).

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence (Col. 1:18).

The authority is not in the church, but in Christ.

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth (Matt. 28:18).

Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him (1 Pet. 3:22).

The church is not the Savior, but simply the body of the saved.

Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved (Acts 2:47)

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.

Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything (Eph. 5:22-24).

There are many passages in the New Testament which reveal that the church would not be preserved from error – Acts 20:17, 28-30; 2 Pet. 2:1-3; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 4:3-4; 2 Thess. 2:3-11.

4. Christ did not make Peter a Pope like the Catholics teach.

Please notice the following quotations from Catholic sources:
* “If Christ Himself had written the book and set it forth as a text-book, so to speak, of His religion, we would rest securely in it, and have no need to inquire farther.

That the Bible is not a book, like the Koran for instance, set forth by the founder of the religion as its authoritative exposition, is in fact the fundamental weakness of Bible Protestantism.

* If Christ had intended His religion to be propagated and preserved by means of a book, can any conceivable reason be urged why He should not have written one?

Of His ability to do so there can, for the Christian, be no question.” (Plain Facts for Fair Minds, p. 26).

* “Is it not strange that if Christianity were to be learned from the Bible only, that Christ himself never wrote a line or commanded his apostles to write; for their divine commission was not to write but to preach the gospel.” (Question Box, p. 70).

* “Christ gave his disciples no command to write, but only to teach.” (Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 767).

The above arguments from Catholic writers are presented to establish that the Bible alone is not the standard of authority.

Christ didn’t actually take a pen in His hand and write the New Testament; nevertheless, it is His production.

The Old Testament declares that God built the temple (1 Kings 8:16,20), but God did not actually come down and build it Himself.

He built it through the agency of others. Likewise, the written New Testament is the will of Christ.

He wrote it through those commissioned by Him.

It contains His laws (1 Cor. 14:37) and produces the faith which brings life in His name (John 20:30-31).

In the books of men, the following titles are commonly used with reference to a man:

* Pope,
* Holy Father,
* Vicar of Christ,
* Sovereign Pontiff.

All of these are titles that rightly belong only to the Lord Jesus Christ and to God the Father. There is not a single instance in the Scriptures where any of the above titles are applied to a man.

The term, “Holy Father” is used only once in the entire Bible, and it is used by Jesus in addressing God the Father.

And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are (Jn 17:11).

Among the above titles is the bold assertion that the Pope is the “Vicar of Christ.”

A “vicar” is “One serving as a substitute or agent; one authorized to perform the functions of another in higher office” (Webster).

When one searches the Bible from cover to cover, he finds only one passage which gives an indication of a vicar of Christ or God.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God (2 Thess 2:3-4).

The Catholics today speak of the Pope as vicar, taking the place of God (Christ Himself is God, Matt. 1:23; Jn 1:1), yet there is one passage in the Bible which speaks of a man doing such and it calls him “the man of sin.”

James Cardinal Gibbons, a Catholic Archbishop said,

Jesus our Lord, founded but one Church, which He was pleased to build on Peter.

Therefore, any church that does not recognize Peter as its foundation stone is not the Church of Christ, and therefore cannot stand, for it is not the work of God” (The Faith of Our Fathers, p. 82).

The apostle Paul said,

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Cor 3:11).

Catholic writers often speak of “the primacy of Peter” and “the primacy of the Pope.” However,

And he [Jesus] is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence (Col. 1:18).

Catholics claim that the Pope is the visible head of the church. The Catholic book Answer Wisely, by Martin J. Scott says on p. 49,

The pope, therefore, as vicar of Christ, is the visible head of Christ’s kingdom on earth, the Church, of which Christ Himself is the invisible head.

The book Father Smith Instructs Jackson, by John F. Noll and Lester J. Fallon, on page 42 says,

According to the will of Christ, all its members profess the same faith, have the same worship and Sacraments, and are united under the one and same visible head, the Pope.

Conclusion:

Catholics claim that the Pope is the visible head of the church.

There are other reasons why I left the Catholic Church. I have simply tried to list some of the ones that made the greatest impression on me at the time of my conversion.

I hope and pray that these things will be of some benefit to those who are making an honest inquiry regarding truth – Testimonial by David Riggs.

…is the Vatican and Evil Organization?