Revelation 2:1-17Contemporary English Version (CEV)
The Letter to Ephesus
2 This is what you must write to the angel of the church in Ephesus:
I am the one who holds the seven stars in my right hand, and I walk among the seven gold lampstands. Listen to what I say.
2 I know everything you have done, including your hard work and how you have endured. I know you won’t put up with anyone who is evil. When some people pretended to be apostles, you tested them and found out that they were liars. 3 You have endured and gone through hard times because of me, and you have not given up.
4 But I do have something against you! And it is this: You don’t have as much love as you used to. 5 Think about where you have fallen from, and then turn back and do as you did at first. If you don’t turn back, I will come and take away your lampstand. 6 But there is one thing you are doing right. You hate what the Nicolaitans[a] are doing, and so do I.
7 If you have ears, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. I will let everyone who wins the victory eat from the life-giving tree in God’s wonderful garden.
The Letter to Smyrna
8 This is what you must write to the angel of the church in Smyrna:
I am the first and the last. I died, but now I am alive! Listen to what I say.
9 I know how much you suffer and how poor you are, but you are rich. I also know the cruel things being said about you by people who claim to be Jews. But they are not really Jews. They are a group that belongs to Satan.
10 Don’t worry about what you will suffer. The devil will throw some of you into jail, and you will be tested and made to suffer for ten days. But if you are faithful until you die, I will reward you with a glorious life.[b]
11 If you have ears, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. Whoever wins the victory will not be hurt by the second death.[c]
The Letter to Pergamum
12 This is what you must write to the angel of the church in Pergamum:
I am the one who has the sharp double-edged sword! Listen to what I say.
13 I know that you live where Satan has his throne.[d] But you have kept true to my name. Right there where Satan lives, my faithful witness Antipas[e] was taken from you and put to death. Even then you did not give up your faith in me.
14 I do have a few things against you. Some of you are following the teaching of Balaam.[f] Long ago he told Balak to teach the people of Israel to eat food that had been offered to idols and to be immoral. 15 Now some of you are following the teaching of the Nicolaitans.[g]16 Turn back! If you don’t, I will come quickly and fight against these people. And my words will cut like a sword.
17 If you have ears, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. To everyone who wins the victory, I will give some of the hidden food.[h] I will also give each one a white stone[i] with a new name[j] written on it. No one will know that name except the one who is given the stone.
2.6Nicolaitans: Nothing else is known about these people, though it is possible that they claimed to be followers of Nicolaus from Antioch (see Acts 6.5).
2.10a glorious life: The Greek text has “a crown of life.” In ancient times an athlete who had won a contest was rewarded with a crown of flowers as a sign of victory.
2.11second death: The first death is physical death, and the “second death” is eternal death.
2.13where Satan has his throne: The meaning is uncertain, but it may refer to the city as a center of pagan worship or of Emperor worship.
2.13Antipas: Nothing else is known about this man, who is mentioned only here in the New Testament.
2.14Balaam: According to Numbers 22-24, Balaam refused to disobey the Lord. But in other books of the Old Testament, he is spoken of as evil (see Deuteronomy 23.4,5; Joshua 13.22; 24.9,10; Nehemiah 13.2).
2.17hidden food: When the people of Israel were going through the desert, the Lord provided a special food for them. Some of this was placed in a jar and stored in the sacred chest (see Exodus 16). According to later Jewish teaching, the prophet Jeremiah rescued the sacred chest when the temple was destroyed by the Babylonians. He hid the chest in a cave, where it would stay until God came to save his people.
2.17white stone: The meaning of this is uncertain, though it may be the same as a ticket that lets a person into God’s banquet where the “hidden food” is eaten. Or it may be a symbol of victory.
2.17a new name: Either the name of Christ or God or the name of the follower who is given the stone.
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