Revelation Study Guide: Week 5, Chapter 2:12-29

By Coty Pinckney


Read Revelation 2:12-29 -- the letters to Pergamum and Thyatira -- at least three times, without looking at notes, then consider the following questions.

(1) Look again at the descriptions of Jesus in verses 12 and 18. Compare them to the original description John gives of his vision in 1:14-16. Note that "two-edged" in Greek is literally "two-mouthed;" also note that in 2:12 the article is repeated in front of the adjectives, emphasizing their importance -- we might translate this, "the One who has the sharp, the two-edged, the sword." What is the importance of these introductions, given the content of the rest of these letters? You may want to look at Isaiah 11:1-4, Isaiah 49:1-2, and Heb 4:12, as well as looking ahead to Rev 19:15 and 19:21.

(2) Consider the commendations of these two churches. Write a short paraphrase of each. How are they similar? How are they different? The Thyatira commendation is brief, but think about each of the five nouns used to describe this church.

(3) The statements against these churches both make symbolic use of Old Testament figures. The story of Balaam is contained in Numbers 22 to 25, but the reference here is inferred from a much briefer section: Numbers 25:1-9 and 31:16. For Jezebel, look at 1 Kings 16:31, 18:3-4, 18:17-19, 19:1-3, 21:23-25, as well as 2 Kings 9:22, 9:30-37. How is the error in Pergamum similar to that taught by Balaam? How is the "prophetess" in Thyatira similar to Jezebel?

(4) Why is there a link between idolatry and immorality?

(5) In 2:16, Jesus calls the church to repent. Different groups within this church have been addressed; who is being called to repent? He wants them to repent of what?

(6) Why is the judgment on "Jezebel" particularly apt? What is the purpose of this judgment? What is the impact of this judgment? You may want to look at Deut 13:6-11, Ezekiel 16:35-43, and Ezekiel 33:11.

(7) What do the two warnings in these letters imply for the Church in your city?

(8) What task is given to the true believers in Thyatira? Consider 2 Thess 2:9-12.

(9) Paraphrase and summarize the promises given to the overcomers. For "hidden manna" consider John 6:48-58 and Hebrews 9:4; also note that the apocryphal book 2 Maccabees, written in the 2nd century BC, reports that Jeremiah hid the ark prior to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians (see excerpt below). Read Psalm 2, which is quoted in 2:26-27. To whom is the promise of authority given in the Psalm? Note that the word translated "rod" can also mean "sceptre;" for "morning star" see Rev 22:16.

Commentaries:

Now read the remainder of Stedmanís sermon on Pergamum, and all of his sermon on Thyatira; also read Wilcock pages 46-51. Reconsider your answers to the questions above. Note that the two authors take markedly different positions concerning the details of the meaning of the promise to overcomers in Thyatira; is the central message different?

Excerpt from 2 Maccabees 2:1-8:
1 One finds in the records that Jeremiah the prophet ordered those who were being deported to take some of the fire, as has been told, 2 and that the prophet after giving them the law instructed those who were being deported not to forget the commandments of the Lord, nor to be led astray in their thoughts upon seeing the gold and silver statues and their adornment. 3 And with other similar words he exhorted them that the law should not depart from their hearts. 4 It was also in the writing that the prophet, having received an oracle, ordered that the tent and the ark should follow with him, and that he went out to the mountain where Moses had gone up and had seen the inheritance of God. 5 And Jeremiah came and found a cave, and he brought there the tent and the ark and the altar of incense, and he sealed up the entrance. 6 Some of those who followed him came up to mark the way, but could not find it. 7 When Jeremiah learned of it, he rebuked them and declared: "The place shall be unknown until God gathers his people together again and shows his mercy. 8 And then the Lord will disclose these things, and the glory of the Lord and the cloud will appear, as they were shown in the case of Moses, and as Solomon asked that the place should be specially consecrated."

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