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Sixth Edition, 1915
By Dr. John Thomas (first edition written 1861)




Chapter 2

Epistles to the Four Angel-Stars of the Ecclesias in
Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, and Thyatira.




"To the Angel of the Ephesian Ecclesia write: These things saith he who holds the Seven Stars in his right hand, walking in the midst of the Seven Lightstands, which are golden: I have known thy works and thy labor, and thine awaiting, and that thou art not able to endure wicked men; and hast tried them who assert that they are Apostles, but are not, and hast found them liars; and thou hast suffered, and hast patient endurance, and thou hast labored on account of my Name, and hast not tired out.

"But I have against thee that thou hast forsaken thy first love. Remember, then, from whence thou hast fallen, and change thy mind, and do the first works; but if not, I come to thee speedily, and I will remove thy lightstand out of its place, except thou change thy mind.

"But thou hast this, that thou hatest the works of the Nikolaitanes, which I also hate. He that hath an ear let him hearken to what the Spirit saith to the Ecclesias. To him that overcomes, to him I will give to eat of the Wood of the Life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of the Deity" (verses 1-7).

The Ephesian Ecclesia was the Body of Christ in the city of Ephesus. This city was the metropolis of the Lydian Asia. According to Strabo, it was one of the best and most glorious of cities, and the greatest emporium of the proper Asia. It is called by Pliny one of the eyes of Asia, Smyrna being the other: but now it is venerable for nothing but the ruins of palaces, temples and amphitheatres. It is called by the Turks Ajasaluk, or the temple of the moon, from the magnificent structure formerly dedicated to Diana, the goddess of the Ephesians. In after times, the temples were represented by spiritual bazaars, called "churches," dedicated to guardian saints, styled St. John, St. Mark, and St. Paul. That dedicated to St. Paul is wholly destroyed. The little that remains of St. Mark's is nodding to ruin. The only one remaining is St. John's, which is now converted into a Turkish mosque. The whole town is nothing but a habitation for herdsmen and farmers, living in low and humble cottages of dirt, sheltered from the extremities of weather by the mighty masses of ruinous walls, the pride and ostentation of former days, and the emblem in these of the frailty of the world, and the transient vanity of human glory. All the inhabitants of this once famous city amount now to not above forty or fifty families of Turks. The light has gone out, and darkness is complete.

The gospel appears to have been introduced into Ephesus by Paul, who, on his arrival there, went into the synagogue of the Jews according

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to his usual practice, and reasoned with them. After he left, Apollos visited the city, proclaiming the doctrine of John the Baptist. But he was far behind the times. Paul's christian friends, Aquila and Priscilla, hearing him in the synagogue, formed an acquaintance with him, "and expounded unto him the Way of God more perfectly." Having been thus set right by them, he went to work in the right direction, and mightily convinced the Jews in public, showing them by the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

Apollos having left, Paul returned, and found there certain disciples who knew only what John the Immerser had taught. They had been immersed upon the faith of the near coming of the Christ; but were not aware that Jesus was he. Paul having rectified their faith re-immersed them; and then, having laid his hands upon them, holy spirit came upon them, and the twelve men spake with tongues, and prophesied, and became a Star of light to Ephesus.

This was the beginning of the ecclesia in Ephesus. The fact of their being endowed with the power of speaking foreign languages, and of their being able to speak to edification, which all could who had the gift of prophesying, is proof sufficient that they became co-laborers with Paul in sounding out the invitation to partake in the kingdom and glory of Deity. Having strengthened himself with these, "he spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the Kingdom of God." After this, he separated the disciples into a distinct congregation; and continued his disputations daily for about two years; so that all they that dwelt in the proconsular or Lydian Asia, heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. By this time, the number of the faithful had greatly increased; for "many who believed came and confessed, and showed their deeds, and burned their books of magic to the value of fifty thousand pieces of silver; "so mightily grew the word of God, and prevailed."




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