The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write;
These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
- thy works, and
- thy labour, and
- thy patience, and
- how thou canst not bear them which are evil:
- and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:3
And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
4Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
6But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
The exact origin of the Nicolaitans is unclear. Some Bible commentators believe they were a heretical sect who followed the teachings of Nicolas—whose name means “one who conquers the people”—who was possibly one of the deacons of the early church mentioned in Acts 6:5. It is possible that Nicolas became an apostate, denying the true faith and became part of a group holding “the doctrine of Balaam,” who taught Israel “to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality.” Clement of Alexandria says, “They abandoned themselves to pleasure like goats, leading a life of self-indulgence.” Their teaching perverted grace and replaced liberty with license.
Other commentators believe that these Nicolaitans were not so called from any man, but from the Greek word Nicolah, meaning “let us eat,” as they often encouraged each other to eat things offered to idols. Whichever theory is true, it is certain that the deeds of the Nicolaitans were an abomination to Christ. They, like the Gnostics and other false teachers, abused the doctrine of grace and tried to introduce licentiousness in its place (2 Peter 2:15, 19; Jude 1:4)
7He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
7The first angel sounded, and there followed
- hail and
- fire mingled
- with blood,
- and they were cast upon the earth:
- and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.