In this section of The letter to the church in Ephesus, we’ll look at the “So …” section. As in, so what’s next? As in, when Jesus says I may “remove your lampstand from it’s place” – is that a warning to do a little bit better, or are they really very close to just that happening?
In each of the letters, this could be good or bad news for the receiving church. It depends on everything that came before this. It’s like Jesus saying, “Given everything you’ve read so far, here’s where things stand between you and Me”. Often, it’s a caveat that goes along with the Divine Knowledge.
So what’s next for the church in Ephesus?
Since Jesus is walking among them, noticing they don’t love Him like they used to, it’s probably not good.
Before we begin though, here’s the breakdown for this particular letter.
|To||the angel of the church in Ephesus|
|From||him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands|
|Divine Knowledge||I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.|
|But -||Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.|
|So -||If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.|
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
|To those who overcome||I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.|
“So …” for the church in Ephesus
So: If you do not repent I may remove your lampstand
If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
As we’ve already seen, this is Jesus telling the church in Ephesus that if they don’t follow His recommendation, don’t get back to the love they used to have, He will take their lampstand from its place. In other words, they will no longer be one of His churches.
In fact, Ephesus was destroyed in 262 AD by the Goths. The Goths were Germanic people, not to be confused with present-day Germany. There was some rebuilding, but in 614 a strong earthquake destroyed the city. I was in Ephesus maybe 30 years ago. It was still in ruins, as the image at the top of the page shows.
But you have this in your favor
But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
The Nicolaitans were also mentioned in the letter to the church in Pergamum. The difference is that while the church in Ephesus acted against and didn’t allow following the Nicolation practices, the church in Pergamum did. Little is know about the Nicolaitans. One possible suggestion is this:
3531 Νικολαί̈της [Nikolaites /nik·ol·ah·ee·tace/] n pr m. From 3532; GK 3774; Two occurrences; AV translates as “Nicolaitans” twice. 1 a sect mentioned in Rev. 2:6,15, who were charged with holding the error of Balaam, casting a stumbling block before the church of God by upholding the liberty of eating things sacrificed to idols as well as committing fornication. Additional Information: Nicolaitans = “destruction of people”. Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.
In any case, while it may be “in their favor”, that one thing alone isn’t enough to save the church in Ephesus from losing its lampstand. Its standing as one of Jesus’ churches. That’s certainly of note to them at the time. However, it’s also important for us today. After all, Jesus told us about the Greatest Commandment.
22:34-40 pp — Mk 12:28-31
Mt 22:34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Mt 22:37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
What Jesus said in that passage leaves no room for following the practices of a pagan god.
Given what we’ve read, what are you expecting to find in the conclusion to this letter? Will Hesus remove their lampstand? Or will the church in Ephesus retain its status as a Church of Jesus?
|↑1||Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.|