Jesus' message to the believers at Ephesus
1 ‘Now write this to the angel of the church at Ephesus:
2:1Many people think that the angel here means a human messenger that God has sent. The angel could have been the person who read this letter aloud to the church. So >angel could also mean this in verses 2:8,12,18; and in 3:1,7,14. Everywhere else in Revelation, ‘angel’ means a being from heaven.
“This is the important message to you from the one who holds the 7 stars. He holds them carefully in his right hand. He walks among the 7 gold lampstands.
2 I know everything that you do. You have worked much for me. You have continued to work patiently. I know that you do not accept bad people as your friends. Some of these bad people say that they are apostles of Jesus. You have thought carefully about what they teach people. And you have discovered that it is not true. 3 You have been patient and strong in times of trouble. You have continued to serve me because you believe in me. You have not stopped because the work is too much.
4 But I have something to say against you. You loved me very much when you first believed in me. You do not love me as much now. 5 Think carefully about this! You do not now live in the way you did at the beginning. So you must change the way you live. Do again the good things that you did at the beginning. If you do not change the way you live, I will come to punish you. I will take away your lampstand from its place. 6 But this is something that you do well: You hate the bad things that the Nicolaitans are doing. I also hate what they do.
2:6The Nicolaitans were teaching the Christians to do wrong things. They were not teaching the same as Jesus had taught. We do not know much about the wrong things that they taught.
7 God's Spirit is now speaking to people in the churches. You should recognise that the Spirit is speaking. Everybody who recognises that should listen. They should listen to what he says. I will let everyone who wins against Satan eat my fruit. This fruit is from the tree that makes us alive. And this tree grows in God's garden.” ’
2:7‘Wins’ here means ‘beats everything that is against Christians’. The Devil is always trying to stop people being Christians. We can only beat him when we go on obeying Jesus always. Jesus will show us what to do. He will make us strong.
Jesus' message to the believers at Smyrna
8 ‘Write this to the angel of the church at Smyrna:
“This is the important message to you from the one who is the first and the last. He was dead, and he became alive again.
9 I know that bad people are hurting you very much. I know that you are poor. But really, you are rich. Some people there say that they are Jews. But I know that they say bad things about you. And I know that these things are not true. So they are not really my people, who obey me. They are really a group of Satan's people. 10 I know that trouble will soon come to you. But do not be afraid. Listen! The Devil will cause some of you to go to prison. He wants to see whether you will continue to believe in me. And you will have trouble and pain for 10 days. But go on believing, even if you must die. You may have to die because you believe. But if you continue to believe, you can win against the Devil. Then I will give you a gift because you have won. I will cause you to live with me always. I will give you this gift, as they give a crown to a winner.
2:10The ‘10 days’ may mean a short, certain time of trouble rather than a long time.
2:10A winner is someone who wins. In those days, somebody received a crown when they won a race. This means that they had done something better than other people. For example, they might have run faster than other people. They wore the crown on their head. The crown was the shape of a circle. Someone tied leaves together to make the crown.
11 God's Spirit is speaking to you in the churches. You should understand what the Spirit is saying to you. You have ears, so listen carefully! The second death will not hurt anyone who wins against Satan.” ’
2:11The second death is the opposite of when someone lives always with Jesus. It means that a person must go to a place without Jesus. Nobody is happy in that place. The name of that place is hell, or the lake of fire. See Revelation 20:14.
Jesus' message to the believers at Pergamum
12 ‘Write this to the angel of the church at Pergamum:
“This is the important message to you from the one who has the sharp sword with two edges.
13 I know where you live. It is the place where Satan sits as king. But you still continue to trust me. You remember Antipas who spoke a clear message about me. Because of that, some people in your city killed him. You saw what happend to him, but you continued to believe in me. You still serve me, even there where Satan lives.
2:13Pergamum city was a place where Satan was powerful. That could be why it is called the place ‘where Satan lives’. There was a special building there for people to worship the king of Rome. This king was against Christians because they would not worship him. Also, there was a very big stone table on a hill. People offered gifts to the false god Zeus on this big table. Also, many people worshipped a snake god. The Devil appears as a snake in the Bible (Genesis 3).
14 But I have a few things to say against you. Some people among you agree with what Balaam taught long ago. He taught Balak to do a bad thing against God's people. Balak caused the Israelite people to do wrong things. As a result, they ate food that people had given to idols. They also had sex with people who were not their husbands or wives. 15 Also, some people among you do the bad things that the Nicolaitans teach. 16 So you must stop doing these bad things. If you do not change how you live, I will quickly come to punish you. I will fight against those bad people with my sharp sword that comes out of my mouth.
2:14Balak was the king of Moab. See Numbers 22:1-25:3.
17 God's Spirit is speaking to you in the churches. You should understand what the Spirit is saying to you. You have ears, so listen carefully! To everyone who wins against Satan I will give some of my special food called manna. I will also give each of them a white stone. I will write a new name on that stone. Nobody will know that name except the person who receives it.” ’
2:17The colour white in the Bible usually means being completely good and clean. So, the white stone may show that God will make us like that. He will make our spirits completely clean if we continue to believe him.
Jesus' message to the believers at Thyatira
18 ‘Write this to the angel of the church at Thyatira:
“This is the important message to you from the Son of God. He has eyes that burn brightly like fires. His feet shine like bright yellow metal.
19 I know everything that you do. I know that you love me very much. I know that you believe in me. I know that you continue to serve me well. You are patient and strong. You do these good things now more than you did at the beginning.
20 But I have something to say against you. You let that woman Jezebel teach you. She says that she is a prophet from God. But she leads my servants into bad ways. She teaches them to have sex with many people. And she teaches them to eat food that people have given to idols. 21 I have given her time to stop doing these bad things. But she refuses to change how she lives. She does not stop having sex with other men. 22 Listen to this! She has done bad things like that on a bed. So I will cause her to have pain on a bed. I will also cause great pain for those who do the same bad things. They must stop doing the bad things that she teaches. 23 I will hurt those who obey her so that they die. Then all the people in the churches will know that I look deep inside them. I know what you really want. I know what you really think. I will give each of you what is right for you, as a result of what you have done.
2:20God's Law says that someone should have sex only with their wife or their husband.
24 But I say this to you other people in Thyatira. You have not agreed with what Jezebel taught. You have not learned what they call ‘Satan's deep secrets’. So, I say this to you: I will not tell you to obey any other difficult rules. 25 But continue to obey my message that you already have. Believe in me until I come.
26 You must continue to obey me until the end. You must win against Satan. To anyone who does that I will give great authority. He will rule the countries of the world. 27 He will rule them with an iron stick and with great power. He will be like someone who breaks clay pots into many pieces. 28 He will have the same authority that I received from my Father. I will also give the morning star to those people who win against Satan. 29 God's Spirit is speaking to you in the churches. You should understand what the Spirit is saying to you. You have ears, so listen carefully!” ’
2:27The person who rules the countries will be strong. He will rule with great power and he will punish people who do wrong things.
2:28The morning star appears in the sky just before the sunrise. It is very bright. It shows us that the day is coming. In Revelation 22:16, Jesus says that he is the morning star. After times of trouble that seem dark like the night, he brings the day. He promises that Christians will not always have troubles.