Revelation 1:19 – 2:7
 “Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things.
 “As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:
 ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false;
 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary.
 ‘But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
 ‘Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place unless you repent.
 ‘Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
Starting from today, I will explain the word that the Lord gave to the seven churches.
The seven churches represent all the churches that are built in the name of the Lord. Therefore, the word that the Lord gave to the seven churches becomes a standard to judge all churches on the Judgment Day.
Before the Lord gave such an important word, He said in Revelation 1:19-20, “Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things. As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”
He said to John, ‘the things which you have seen.’ They are the things that John saw in his vision, in other words, the contents of the 1st chapter.
[The angel was telling John that] What John was seeing, that is in particular,”the things which you [John] have seen”,were exactly “the things about the Lord Jesus Christ”.
John was one of Jesus’ disciples. He saw many things while he was with the Lord for 3 years.
All the things that he saw, heard, and learned were ‘the things which you have seen.’ And because of these, he could write about the Lord much better.
‘The things which are’ refer to the words that the Lord was giving to the seven churches.
But in a broader sense, ‘the things which are’ also refer to the things which have happened since the Lord ascended into heaven till now.
Why is it so?
The words for the seven churches in chapter 2 and 3 of the Revelation are not only for the seven churches that existed in those days, but also for the churches that have existed and for the churches that will have been built until the Lord comes back.
Therefore, ‘the things which are’ apply to all the churches that have existed throughout the generations, and to the churches that exist now.
Lastly, ‘the things which will take place’ refer to the things that haven’t happened yet but will surely happen such as the second advent of the Lord, the 7 year Great Tribulation, the Millennium Kingdom, the White Throne Judgment, and dividing souls into those who will go to heaven and those who will fall into hell.
In other words, they refer to the things written in Revelation from chapter 4 to 22.
The Lord was showing to John in advance the things which will take place, and he was being told to ‘write.’
And He explained what the seven stars and the seven churches mean.
The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, in other words, the servants who take care of the seven churches. The seven lampstands are the seven churches.
Then, He said that the seven stars and the seven lampstands are in the right hand of the Lord.
I told you that it means that the churches and the servants that the Lord is holding are held by His power.
God holds in His hand of power God’s churches and the servants that are proper before God.
It is such a church and such a servant that God searches for,
And, God proclaims His will through them, and receives glory.
Dear brothers and sisters.
There are many churches and servants in this world. But only those churches and servants that the Lord Himself holds in His hand are the true churches and the true servants of the Lord.
And, the churches and the servants that the Lord holds in His hand are with the Lord Himself. Therefore judging and condemning these churches and servants is judging and condemning the Lord.
More over, the teaching from the lips of the servant that the Lord holds is the word of God and the truth, and it becomes the standard of justice.
God makes His servant that God guarantees proclaim the will of God clearly so that the word through such a servant will become a standard of judgment on the last day.
There are countless churches in the world, and there are countless servants who preach the word of God, but what they teach is not always the truth.
Only the word that is proclaimed through the servant that God recognizes and guarantees can be the true will of God and the correct standard of the Judgment.
Also, not all the churches take the duty as an ark of salvation. Only the churches that the Lord is holding and the churches that God remains with can play the role of an ark of salvation in these last days.
There are many churches that are built in the name of the Lord outwardly, but there are actually many churches that the Lord’s presence cannot be with.
Therefore, on the Last Judgment Day, how you lived a believing life on this earth will become a standard for your individual judgment. And at the same time, what church you belonged to will become another standard as well.
Of course, the salvation is decided based upon the relation between God and you.
However, what church a believer belongs to, how he managed his believing life in that church, and as what kind of a servant he served God, will all have a great impact on his faith.
For example, some one didn’t know about the truth yet, and he heard a servant of God in his church judged or condemned another church or another servant of God. Then he himself might also judge and condemn without him really realizing it.
Even though he didn’t do so with some sort of evil in his heart, his deed cannot be overlooked on the Final Day of Judgment.
If he had been a man of goodness, he would not have judged or condemned through what he personally saw or head. Even if he had done so when he was a novice believer and did not know the truth well, he still might have realized his sin and repented of it.
While managing his believing life, he could have learned the truth, and he could have realized what he said and did in the past was so evil.
If he had repented of it even then, he might have been okay. But if he stands before the White Throne in the Last Judgment Day without repenting of it, his deeds he committed cannot be overlooked just by saying, “I did it because I didn’t know the truth.”
Just as Jesus said in Matthew 12:36, “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment,” he will surely give an accounting for what he did.
Therefore, you must realize how important it is what kind of church you belong to and what kind of servant of God you serve in this world.
According to your choice, your soul may prosper and you may advance to a better dwelling place in heaven, or on the contrary, you may be led by a blind man and fall into a pit.
Dear brothers and sisters.
2 Timothy 2:5 says, “Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.” Of course faith is a matter of an individual, and you will be judged individually in the Last Judgment day. But there is something similar to a team game point or a team gained score in faith.
What I mean is basically in what church you live your believing life and who was the servant of God in your church will become a standard of your individual judgment.
In the Last Judgment Day, there is not only a judgment of an individual but also a judgment of a church. Depending on what kind of judgment your church gets, it can be a benefit to you, or may be of no benefit.
If the church is built in the name of The Lord, there must be judgment according the word.
And the words that are given to the seven churches will become the standard of the judgment.
Also, if a servant was in charge of the church, he will be judged not only according to his individual faith but also according to his role as a shepherd of the church.
Depending on how he managed the church and the congregation entrusted to him in the name of the Lord, there will be very strict judgment.
He should have managed the church and the congregation according to the will of the Lord as a shepherd of the church that was built in the name of Jesus Christ. If he didn’t, it won’t be easy for him to stand in the judgment.
Furthermore, if the church, built in the name of Jesus Christ, hindered the glory of God and did falsely, the church will be surely be judged according to justice.
The judgment will not be easy or loose; the judgment will be very precise and correct according to the word of God.
In James 3:1 Apostle Paul said, ” Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.”
And in Matthew 18:6, Jesus said, “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
Then, if a servant becomes in charge of a church, and leads many souls to the path of destruction, how severe a punishment should be sentenced in the Judgment?
On the other had, if a servant who is in charge of a church leads the congregation to green pasture and quiet waters, and eventually to heaven, he will be rewarded with amazing and wonderful prizes and glory.
Such many meanings are contained in the word, “As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands.”
Now, let’s take a look at the words given to the seven churches.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
In the words given to the seven churches, the information about what kind of church is commended by the Lord, and what kind of church is rebuked, summarizing the word in the Old and New Testaments.
And if you listen to these words, you will realize what category your church falls into.
The words given to the seven churches can also be ‘a guidebook for life of faith,’ which is necessary to check the status of individuals’ faith and to make their faith stand still.
Even though God clearly presents how your church can become a church that can be commended through the words for the seven churches, however, depending on what path you choose, the result will be very different.
Therefore, I hope that you will listen to the upcoming messages and make your bread of life.
Please look back on yourself to see whether you have something that the Lord rebuked you for. And if there is something, please turn from it right away, and live by the word so that this opportunity can become a blessing to stand with your faith on a rock.
Also I pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that all the churches and the servants of God who listen to this message may realize there will be judgment of the churches and the servants in the last day so that they can be changed into the churches and the servants that the Lord will commend.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
If you look into Revelation 2:1, it says, “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this.”
Here, ‘the angel of the church in Ephesus’ refers to the shepherd who is in church of the church in Ephesus.
And it is the Lord who wrote to the angel of the church in Ephesus.
And it describes the Lord as ‘the one who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands.’
As I told you in the beginning, it means that the churches and the servants that are built in the name of the Lord and the Lord Himself holds will be the standard of precise justice.
Therefore, when judgment is made of the churches that are told to be built in the name of the Lord, and of the things that are told to be done in the name of the Lord, the churches and the servants that the Lord Himself built and guaranteed will become the standard of the judgment.
In sum, the seven churches that are held in the right hand of the Lord are the churches that are proper before the Lord among the churches from the early churches to the churches that will have been built until the Lord comes back again.
Such churches live in the word of God so that they are always full of the Holy Spirit and love, and there are the works of God present with them.
All the churches that have existed on this earth should be such churches, and the servants of God who are in charge of the churches must be held in the right hand of the Lord.
They must become a servant that is worthy to be supervised and guided by Father God.
And when the servant becomes the one that God recognizes, God Himself guarantees him.
And you must understand that if you gossip, or judge and condemn such a servant, it means you do the things to the Lord.
Now, the scripture says that the Lord walks among the seven golden lampstands. The seven golden lampstands are the seven churches, and the candles in the lampstands are the congregation.
Just as the light of the candles illuminate the darkness, when a church, which is comprised of God believing people, is full of the Holy Spirit and lives in the truth, the church starts to shine its light.
If a man has true faith, he will live in the light according to the word of God. Through a church that consists of such people, countless people can come out of the darkness and reach salvation.
In order to find such a church, the Lord walks among all the churches with His fiery eyes.
Dear brothers and sisters.
Since the words that are given to the seven churches are the words that apply to all the churches that have existed on the earth transcending space and time, we can find a church in these days that represents the seven churches.
Among the churches that exist today, what church is a model church that represents the church in Ephesus?
When I explain the scripture from now on, please try to discern in the truth about what kind of church falls into a category that is like the church in Ephesus.
However, do not judge by saying, “Oh, that church!” Please look back on your church too see whether your church has the aspect that the church in Ephesus had, or whether you personally have such an aspect in you, and make this time full of grace.
Now, the Lord gives the church in Ephesus a word of commendation.
In the verses 2 and 3, He said, “I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary.”
First, He said that the church in Ephesus showed ‘its toil and perseverance in order to walk in the truth.’
The shepherd and the congregation of the church in Ephesus cast away the things that were against the truth one by one, and they tried to live in the word of God.
There are four categories in the word of God; ‘Do’s, ‘Don’t’s, ‘Keep’s and ‘Throw away’s.
And the words that fall into these categories are found everywhere in the Bible.
But, in order to live by this word of the truth, you need your toil and perseverance.
Hebrews 12:4 says, “You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin.” In other words, the Bible clearly tells us to resist to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin.
Also 1 Corinthians 4:2 says, “In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy, and Revelation 2:10 says, “Be faithful until death.”
Likewise, in order to cast away sin and evil in the heart to the point of shedding blood, and to be faithful to the given duties, toil surely follows as well as perseverance.
Then, did you toil and persevere in order to throw away your sin and to be faithful to your given duty to the point of receiving commendation of the Lord like the church in Ephesus?
You should not say, “I’ve done this much’ and feel satisfied.
Just as 1 Corinthians 10:18 says, “For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends,” you must become the one who is approved and commended by the Lord.
I don’t mean that you have to cast away sin and be faithful just to receive the Lord’s commendation. You must become an unworthy servant who can say, “I only did what I had to do” even after you’ve accomplished the commission given by the Lord.
Then, you can become a church and congregation who can truly be commended by the Lord.
Since the church in Ephesus toiled and persevered in order to walk in the truth, the Lord said to the church in Ephesus, “I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance,’ and commended their toil and perseverance.
Second, the Lord commended the church in Ephesus for ‘not tolerating evil man.’
Some people misunderstand the truth and say, “A church is a place where love is practiced. So, even when someone commits sin, isn’t it true that the one should be tolerated?”
However, the parents with true love do not unconditionally forgive and tolerate their children even when they commit sin. They rather try to correct them even by spanking them.
The same applies in the Lord.
Of course, we have to forgive others seventy times seven times, and we have to endure with patience so that others can be changed by the truth in the Lord.
But it doesn’t mean that we have to sit back and watch even though we know that others go to the way of death.
In Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus said, “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”
We must cover the transgression of others, forgive and tolerate them. But, if they don’t change till the end, and if they don’t even listen to the church, Jesus tells us to treat them as a Gentile or a tax collector.
It’s not because we don’t have love or mercy. It’s because they may influence others and have a negative influence on the whole church if tolerated.
Likewise, the church in Ephesus didn’t tolerate the evil men, and the Lord commended for that.
But then, the church in Ephesus heard a rebuke from the Lord.
Why is that?
I will explain on this in the next lecture.
Dear brothers and sisters in the Christ.
In 1 Peter 1:16, God commands us, saying, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
But not for this reason, there is another clear reason that we must be holy.
God sent His one and only son to redeem us from our sin, and Jesus showed His love to us to the point of becoming an atoning sacrifice for us, and being crucified on the cross.
The Lord sent the Holy Spirit to us, and the Holy Spirit intercedes for the souls with groaning too deep for words, and leads us to the righteousness and the truth.
If you know such love of God the Trinity, you must not live in the darkness any longer.
Also, the church that consists of God’s children must be in the holiness of the truth.
Therefore, a church as a body of Christ must not tolerate evil.
But if we look into the reality of today, we can find that even though there is evil revealed in a church, the church doesn’t rebuke it and get rid of it, but ignores it and tolerates it.
The church worries whether a member might leave the church if he has to receive rebuke or admonishment. that it They may worry that it may cause a problem for the revival of the church, or the church tolerates sin because it compromises with wealth and authority.
But, what is the role of a church?
It is to teach the children of God not to dwell in sin any longer, get out of the darkness, and to live in the truth.
It is to lead even one more soul to heaven.
If it is not the will of God, or if it’s a sin before God, and if it leads to death, the church must firmly point it out and teach to turn back.
It doesn’t mean that you point out individuals and admonish them from the pulpit!
Since God is the only Judge, we must give advice and encourage them with a heart of mercy and love according to the word of God, and lead them to the truth.
May all of you become a church and congregation to be guided in the will of God, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I pray!