1“To the angel of the assembly in Ephesus write:

“He who holds the seven stars in his right hand, he who walks among the seven golden lamp stands says these things:

2“I know your works, and your toil and perseverance, and that you can’t tolerate evil men, and have tested those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and found them false. 3You have perseverance and have endured for my name’s sake, and have not grown weary. 4But I have this against you, that you left your first love. 5Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I am coming to you swiftly, and will move your lamp stand out of its place, unless you repent. 6But this you have, that you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of my God.

8“To the angel of the assembly in Smyrna write:

“The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life says these things:

9“I know your works, oppression, and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews, and they are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10Don’t be afraid of the things which you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested; and you will have oppression for ten days. Be faithful to death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. He who overcomes won’t be harmed by the second death.

12“To the angel of the assembly in Pergamum write:

“He who has the sharp two-edged sword says these things:

13“I know your works and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. You hold firmly to my name, and didn’t deny my faith in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to throw a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15So also you likewise have some who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16Repent therefore, or else I am coming to you quickly and I will make war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him who overcomes, to him I will give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows but he who receives it.

18“To the angel of the assembly in Thyatira write:

“The Son of God, who has his eyes like a flame of fire, and his feet are like burnished brass, says these things:

19“I know your works, your love, faith, service, patient endurance, and that your last works are more than the first. 20But I have this against you, that you tolerate your woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. She teaches and seduces my servants to commit sexual immorality and to eat things sacrificed to idols. 21I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22Behold, I will throw her and those who commit adultery with her into a bed of great oppression, unless they repent of her works. 23I will kill her children with Death, and all the assemblies will know that I am he who searches the minds and hearts. I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. 24But to you I say, to the rest who are in Thyatira—as many as don’t have this teaching, who don’t know what some call ‘the deep things of Satan’—to you I say, I am not putting any other burden on you. 25Nevertheless, hold that which you have firmly until I come. 26He who overcomes, and he who keeps my works to the end, to him I will give authority over the nations. 27He will rule them with a rod of iron, shattering them like clay pots, as I also have received of my Father; 28and I will give him the morning star. 29He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.

Message to Ephesus

Site study | Rev 2:1 | Mark Wilson | Turkey

Lysimachus gained control of Ephesus around 294 BC and moved it from its silted location to a new site between Mt. Coressus  and Mt. Pion. Lysimachus was defeated by Seleucus Nicator in 281 BC. The city was then governed alternately by the Seleucids and Ptolemies until 188 BC when the Attalids took control. During the first century A.D. Ephesus was the fourth largest city of the Roman Empire with an estimated population of over 250,000 residents.  It was an important port city and commercial center. After the Romans created the province of Asia in 129 BC, Ephesus became an important administrative center. The city was an assize center, and the Greek term for courts (agoraioi) in Acts 19:38 refers to this. 

Although a temple to Dea Roma and Divus Julius was built as early as 29 BC, a temple to the imperial cult was not built in the city until 89/90 AD. Ephesus was known throughout the ancient world as the temple keeper of the goddess Artemis (Acts 19:35). The city was also renowned as a center for magical practices. Foremost among these are the so-called “Ephesian letters.” These were written magical spells thought to contain apotropaic power to ward off of evil spirits. Acts 19:19 describes how new Christian involved in sorcery renounce such practices by burning these scrolls valued at 50,000 day’s wages. 

On his second journey, Paul was attempting to reach the city when the Holy Spirit prohibited him from preaching in Asia (Acts 16:6). On his voyage to Jerusalem he stopped briefly in Ephesus, leaving Priscilla and Aquila there. After preaching in the synagogue, he was invited to return (Acts 18:19–21). On his third journey Paul traveled directly to Ephesus after visiting the Galatian churches. Acts 19 records his 2–3 years of productive ministry in the city, which served as a base for preaching to the entire province of Asia. The riot provoked by Demetrius and the silversmiths forced Paul to leave Ephesus (19:19–20:1). After Paul’s first Roman imprisonment, he apparently returned to Ephesus to deal with problems in the church and left Timothy there (1 Tim 1:3). After Paul’s second arrest, he sent Tychicus to Ephesus to relieve Timothy so his disciple might join Paul in Rome for the apostle’s final days (2 Tim 4:12–13). Ephesus is the first of the 7 churches addressed by John in Revelation (Rev 1:11; 2:1). Ephesus is the first church addressed by Ignatius among the 7 letters he wrote in Asia, while on his way to martyrdom in Rome (110 AD). The third ecumenical council was held in Ephesus in 431.