2:1 Unto 1 the angel of the church of Ephesus write; 2 These
things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right
hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden
(1) The former part of this book is comprised in a narration of
those things which then were, as John taught us, in
(Re 1:19) it belongs wholly to instruction, and in these
two next chapters, contains seven places, according to the
number and condition of those churches which were named
before in (Re 1:11) shown in (Re 1:12) and distributed
most aptly into their pastors and flocks, (Re 1:10)
which verse of that chapter is a passage to the first part.
Every one of these seven passages has three principal parts,
an introduction taken from the person of the reprehension of
that which is evil: an instruction, containing either an
exhortation alone, or a dissuasion opposite to it, and a
conclusion stirring to attention, by divine promises. This
first passage is to the pastors of the church of Ephesus.
(2) The introduction in which are contained the special prayers
of Christ Jesus the author of this prophecy out of
2:23 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) The proposition first condemning the pastor of this church
(Re 2:2,3) then reproving him (Re 2:4) after
informing him, and threatening that he will move the
church to another place (Re 2:5). This threat of divine
vengeance Christ mitigates by a type of correction, calling
to mind the particular virtue and piety of the Church, which
God never leaves without recompense (Re 2:6). Concerning
the Nicolaitans, see (Re 2:15).
2:4 Nevertheless I have [somewhat] a against thee, because
thou hast left thy first love.
(a) To deal with you for.
2:74 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 5 the midst of the b
paradise of God.
(4) The conclusion containing a commandment of attention, and a
promise of everlasting life, shown in a figure; (Ge 2:9).
(5) That is, in paradise after the manner of the Hebrew phrase.
(b) Thus Christ speaks as he is mediator.
2:86 And unto the angel of the church in c Smyrna write;
These things saith the first and the last, which was dead,
and is alive;
(6) The second passage is to the pastors of the church of the
Smyrnians. The introduction is taken out of (Re 1:17,18).
(c) Smyrna was one of the cities of Ionia in Asia.
2:97 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
(7) The proposition of praise is in this verse, and of
exhortation joined with a promise, is in (Re 2:10).
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 8 tribulation ten days: be
thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of
(8) That is, of ten years. For so commonly both in this book
and in Daniel, years are signified by days: that God by
this might declare, that the space of time is appointed by
him and the same very short. Now because John wrote this
book in the end of Domitian the Emperor's reign, as
Justinus and Ireneus do witness, it is altogether necessary
that this should be referred to that persecution which was
done by the authority of the emperor Trajan: who began to
make havock of the Christian church in the tenth year of
his reign, as the historians do write: and his bloody
persecution continued until Adrian the emperor had
succeeded in his stead: The space of which time is
precisely ten years, which are here mentioned.
2:119 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith
unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt
10 of the second death.
2:1211 And to the angel of the church in d Pergamos write;
These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two
(11) The third passage is to the pastors of Pergamos. The
introduction is taken from (Re 1:16).
(d) Pergamos was the name of a famous city of old in Asia,
where the kings of the Attalians were always resident.
2:1312 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 e those days wherein
Antipas [was] my faithful martyr, who was slain among you,
where Satan dwelleth.
(12) The proposition of praise is in this verse, of
reprehension in the two following, and of exhortation
joined with a conditional threat (Re 2:16). Now this
Antipas was the angel or minister of the church of
Pergamos, as Aretas writes.
(e) The faith of those at Pergamos is so much the more
highly commended, because they remained constant even
in the very heat of persecution.
2:14 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 stumblingblock before the children of
Israel, to f eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to
(f) That which is here spoken of things offered to idols,
is meant of the same type which Paul speaks of in
2:15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the 13
Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
(13) Which follow the footsteps of Balaam, and such as are
abandoned to all filthiness, as he showed in the verse
before, and is here signified by a note of similarity, and
thus also must (Re 2:6) be understood. For this
matter especially Ireneus must be consulted as well.
2:1714 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit
saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give
to eat 15 of the hidden g manna, and will give him a
h16 white stone, and in the stone a new 17 name
written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth
(14) The conclusion, by way of exhortation as before, and of
(15) The bread of life, invisible, spiritual, and heavenly,
which is kept secretly with God, from before all eternity.
(g) He alludes to (Ps 105:40,Joh 6:26-59).
(h) Arethas writes that such a stone was given to wrestlers
at games, or else that such stones did in old time
witness the leaving of a man.
(16) Which is a sign and witness of forgiveness and remission
of sins, of righteousness and true holiness, and of purity
uncorrupted after the sin nature is destroyed.
(17) A sign and testimony of newness of life in righteousness
and true holiness, by putting on the new man, whom no one
inwardly knows, but the spirit of man which is in him,
which is not praised by men, but by God; (Ro 2:28).
2:18 And unto 18 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;
(18) The fourth passage is to the pastors of Thyatira. The
introduction is taken from (Re 1:14,15).
2:19 I know 19 thy works, and charity, and i service, and
faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last [to
be] more than the first.
(19) The note of praise is in this verse, and in (Re 2:20)
reprehension, for they tolerated with them the doctrine
of unrighteousness and ungodliness. In (Re 2:21),
though they were called back to God, they did not repent.
To this he adds even stronger threats and in (Re 3:2-5)
he gives a conditional promise and an exhortation to
hold fast the truth
(i) So he calls those offices of charity which are done to
2:20 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
k fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
(k) Often in the scripture, by fornication they mean
2:24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many
as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the l
depths of Satan, as they speak; I will m put upon you
none other burden.
(l) He points out the bragging of certain men, who boasted
of their deep, that is, plentiful and common knowledge,
which nonetheless is devilish.
(m) I will speak no worse thing against you, being content
to have showed you what I require to be in you.
2:2620 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the
end, to him will I give 21 power over the nations:
(20) The conclusion, in which Christ assures to his servants
the communion of his kingdom and glory, in this verse, and
that following: and commands a holy attention in the last
verse (Re 2:29).
(21) That is, I will make him a king, by communion with me, and
my fellow heir, as it is promised; (Mt 19:28,25:34,)
(Ro 8:17,1Co 6:3,Eph 2:6,2Ti 2:12).
2:2722 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.
(22) The brightness of greatest glory and honour nearest
approaching to the light of Christ, who is the Son of
righteousness, and our head; (Mt 4:14,16).