Revelation 2:1: Christ's Inspection of the Churches

Updated: Aug 27, 2019

Verse 1:[1] Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith (Rev. 1:16, 20) he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, (Rev. 1:13) who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks…

[To the Angel of the Church of Ephesus] Here, as in what follows, a Paronomistic[2] Allusion is to be noted, to which sort Grotius, Mede, and all Interpreters agree that the Prophetic style aims (More’s Prophetical Exposition of the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia 3:5). The Spirit deliberately chose these Churches, which even by their very names, like certain marks inscribed on the forehead, indicate their entire condition (Brightman). In the word Ephesus there is able to be a twofold Allusion (More), 1. to ἔφεσις/ephesis/desire (More out of Grotius), so that it might express the fervent love and desire of the primitive Church for the things of Christ (More): or, 2. to ἄφεσις/aphesis (Brightman, More), which either expresses a neglecting, whence we designate that which is growing weak (Brightman); or, it means the same thing as ἀφετήρια/apheteria, a starting point, whence begins the course of the succession of all the seven Churches (More). This Church is put in the first place, partly because it was the greatest and most populous (Cluverus), and most famous (Cotterius), and the first among them in embracing the faith (Brightman), whence it flowed unto the rest (Brightman, similarly Cluverus): partly, 2. because this city especially represents the Gentile Church. Now, these seven cities comprehend the universal condition of the Gentile Church. And we think that the Antitype of this Church is the first Christian Church unto Constantine the Great (Brightman). Here, He calls an Angel, either, 1. προεστῶτα, or the president (Beza, Zegers), the Bishop (Estius, Menochius, Hammond, etc.): Now, Ephesus was the Metropolis of Asia Minor (Menochius). This was, either, Timothy (certain interpreters in Grotius, thus Pererius, Lapide, Menochius, Tirinus) [concerning whom you will see many things in Pererius, Lapide, and Estius]; or, a certain other, Jewish with respect to nationality. See Acts 18:26 (Grotius). Or, 2. the Teachers and Pastors (Cluverus), or Ministers, of this Church (Lightfoot’s Harmony, Chronicle, and Order of the New Testament 154). The change of the singular number into the plural proves that it was not here written unto one, as in verses 10 and 19[3] (Cluverus). This phrase translates שליח צבור, shaliach tzibbur, angel of the congregation, which was the title of the minister of each Synagogue, who was attending to the public reading and interpretation of the law and prophets; just as also these minsters were reading these Epistles publicly in the assembly (Lightfoot’s Harmony, Chronicle, and Order of the New Testament 154). Or, 3. the Bishop and the Church at the same time, from a comparison with verse 7 (Piscator), all the Bishops, Pastors, and Christians. For, that by Angels, according to the Apocalyptic style, all those that act or do business under their Prefecture in any manner are represented or insinuated, it is possible for no one to doubt (More’s Prophetical Exposition of the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia 3:4). This Epistle, just like those that follow, is inscribed to the Angel immediately, to the Church mediately. Therefore, care is to be taken lest we either confuse, or rigidly separate, the counsels and materials; and it is to be considered what agrees to the former, or to the latter (Durham).