1 "Write [this] to the angel [i.e., the messenger] of the church at Ephesus [Note: These "messengers," (verses 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14) are thought by some to be evangelists]: These things are the words of the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2 I know about your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. [I know] that you cannot tolerate wicked men and that you have tested those who call themselves apostles, but really are not, and found them to be liars. 3 And you have persevered and endured [suffering] for my name's sake [i.e., in my service] and [yet] have not grown weary. 4 "But, this is what I have against you, that you have forsaken your first love [i.e., love for Christ and His church]. 5 So, remember where you have fallen from and repent [i.e., change your hearts and lives] and do the things you did at first [i.e., when you were first converted], or else I will come and remove your lampstand from its place [i.e., I will not permit the congregation to survive], unless you repent. 6 But you have this [in your favor]: You hate the [evil] deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate [Note: These people were probably followers of someone named Nicolas and were known to be false teachers. See verse 15].
7 "The person who has an ear should listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the churches. To the person who has victory [in the Christian life] I will give [the opportunity] to eat from the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God." [Note: "Paradise" is equivalent to heaven. See II Cor. 12:4].
8 "And write [this] to the angel of the church at Smyrna: These things are the words of the First and the Last [i.e., Jesus], who was dead, but has come [back] to life: 9 I know [about] your suffering and your poverty (but you are [really] rich), and the slander of those who say they are Jews, though they [really] are not, but are a synagogue of Satan [i.e., they claimed to be an assembly of God's people, but in reality were serving Satan]. 10 Do not be afraid of the things you are about to suffer. [For] look, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, so that you may be tested, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. [But], you should be faithful [to God] even to the point of dying [for Him], and I will give you the crown of [never ending] life.
11 "The person who has an ear should listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the churches. The person who has victory [in the Christian life] will not be harmed at all by the second death [i.e., the lake of fire. See 21:8].
12 "And write [this] to the angel of the church at Pergamum: These are the words of Him who has the sharp double-edged sword: 13 I know where you are living; [it is] where Satan's throne is. And [I know] that you are holding on firmly to my name, and did not deny [your] faith in me, even in the days of my faithful witness Antipas [Note: The Greek word here for witness is "martyr"], who was killed there where you are, where Satan lives. 14 "But I have a few things against you because you have people there [in the church] who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to place a stumblingblock in front of the Israelites, [causing them] to eat food sacrificed to idols and to be sexually immoral [See Num. 23-24]. 15 And in the same way, you also have some people [there] who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans [See verse 6]. 16 So, repent, or I will come to you quickly and will attack those people with the sword of my mouth.
17 "The person who has an ear should listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the churches. To the person who has victory [in the Christian life] I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will [also] give him a white stone with a new name written on it, which no one understands, except the one who receives it."
18 "And write [this] to the angel of the church at Thyatira: These are the words of the Son of God, who has eyes like flaming fire and feet like shiny brass: 19 I know about your deeds, your love, your faith, your service and your endurance, and that your most recent deeds are more numerous than when you first began [your Christian lives]. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman [named] Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. She teaches and deceives my servants into [practicing] sexual immorality and into eating things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time to repent, but she refused to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Listen, I will throw her, and those who commit sexual unfaithfulness with her, into a bed where they will experience terrible suffering unless they repent of her [or, their] practices. 23 And I will strike her children dead [or, "kill her children by some terrible calamity" See Ex. 5:3 LXX]. Then all the churches will know that I am the One who searches the inmost being of people [Note: The Greek says, "searches the kidneys and hearts." In that day these internal organs stood for the inner thoughts, emotions, etc.]. And I will repay each one of you people according to what you have done. 24 But I say to all the rest of you there in Thyatira who have not followed this [false] teaching [See verse 20], that is, those who have not known "the deep things of Satan," as people call them --- I will not burden you with anything else [i.e., beyond this problem about Jezebel's false teaching]. 25 Nevertheless, hold on firmly to what you [already] have [i.e., the qualities mentioned in verse 19] until I come [Note: This probably refers to coming with judgment on wrongdoing. See verse 16]. 26 "And to the person who has victory [in the Christian life], and who continues to do what I want until the end [of his life], I will give him authority over the nations [Note: This probably refers to a spiritual reign with Christ during the Christian age. See 20:4].
27 And he will rule them [as a shepherd] with a staff of iron, [and smash them] as the clay jars of a potter are broken to pieces [See Psa. 2:9]. [Note: Some translations begin verse 28 at this point]. [His authority will be] like that which I have received from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star [Note: Jesus is called "the Morning Star" in 22:16].