After teaching a lady radically on the Gospel of Grace,…she was so overwhelmed and thought of sharing the good news with one of her close relatives. The relative’s response to her ‘excitement’ was: ‘…you better be careful of all these fake gospel going round. Who said you can’t lose your salvation? Even Jesus said in the book of Revelation that…some people’s ‘candles’ will be removed! That means people can lose their salvation! Be careful o…’ (emphasis mine)
On hearing that, my ‘excited’ lady friend suddenly became ‘excitedly CONFUSED’!!! Jesus will remove some people’s candle? She got back to me on this and somehow needed to know why Jesus will remove some people’s candles which to her relative ‘connotes’ ‘loss of salvation’! So we started a very brief and personal ‘Gospel of Grace Conference’… I’ll be elaborating more than the discussion I had with her in this post. Ready? Let’s go! Here is the verse:
‘… Remember 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…’ (Rev. 2:5)
Now listen carefully: the book of Revelation has its direct audience. The first 3 chapters (especially chapters 2 and 3), were written DIRECTLY to the PASTORS of seven different churches in ‘Asia’ (Turkey to be precise). When you read words like:
‘…Unto the ANGEL of the church of Ephesus write…’ (Revelation 2:1)
Jesus was instructing John to write to the PASTOR of the Church! He referred to them as ANGELS! They are very PRECIOUS to Him! Five of the Pastors received some LOVING SCOLDINGS from Jesus while the remaining two received TOTAL COMMENDATIONS AND PRAISES from Jesus!
Now listen: even though Jesus was going to scold some of these pastors, He began the book of Revelation by first AFFIRMING THAT THE PASTORS’ SALVATION HAS BEEN ETERNALLY SECURED!!!
‘…And he had in his RIGHT HAND SEVEN STARS…’ (Rev 1:16)
Hear this: once Jesus has you in His hands…it is a proof of ETERNAL SALVATION!
‘…and I give unto them ETERNAL LIFE; and they shall NEVER perish, NEITHER SHALL ANY ONE PLUCK THEM OUT OF MY HAND. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and NO ONE IS ABLE TO PLUCK THEM OUT OF MY FATHER’S HAND…’ (John 10:28-29)
Did you get that? Now you may say: but what Jesus said was in His hands are Seven Star….not Angels which referred to the pastors!
‘…And he had in his RIGHT HAND SEVEN STARS…’ (Rev 1:16)
4 verses later, Jesus elaborated…
‘…The seven STARS are the ANGELS of the seven churches…’ (Rev 1:20)
Jesus referred to the pastors as STARS! (may I also advise that you honour your pastors, pray for them and give to them as God blesses you…especially those who feed you with the Truth of the Gospel! This is a responsibility of every believer! (1Tim 5:17)) Now let’s get back to the ‘candles’ to be removed.
‘… Remember 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…’ (Rev 2:5)
I wish I could explain the ‘first works’ this pastor left behind and moved to other ‘works’…which led to this scolding… (But it will make this post too long…this is why we organize conferences)
But just know these 3 basic information about ‘first works’:
– It refers to actions done based on your understanding of GOD’S LOVE FOR YOU! (1John 4:10, 19)
– The church in question here was the Ephesian Church…and Paul took serious time to explain to them how they are saved by GRACE…not of WORKS …lest any man should boast’ (Ephesians 2:8-9)
– There are 2 kinds of ‘works’…DEAD WORKS (Heb. 9:14) and GOOD WORKS! The former refers to things done in order to win God’s unmerited favour! While the latter refers to things done as a result of receiving God’s unmerited favour! The first works here refers to GOOD WORKS! (Eph. 2:10)
Now if this Pastor doesn’t repent and get back to the ‘first works’…HIS CANDLESTICK WILL BE REMOVED!!! Now here is the bone of contention: Does the CANDLESTICK refer to the Pastor’s Salvation? The answer is a Capital letter… NO!!!!! How could it be the Pastor’s salvation… after Jesus has affirmed his eternal security by placing the pastor in His hands! This is why we must learn to read Scriptures in context! Just a chapter earlier, Jesus said clearly:
‘…The seven stars are the ANGELS of the seven churches: and the SEVEN CANDLESTICKS WHICH THOU SAWEST ARE THE SEVEN CHURCHES. (Rev 1:20)
Wow! Jesus was simply telling the pastor: if you don’t move back to your ‘first works’ of doing things based on my love and finished work…but you continue in your performance based religion… I will take your ‘ministry’ from you…so that you don’t continue polluting my people with the wrong gospel!
Jesus meant that he will ‘close’ the church and move the congregation to another pastor or ministry!
In fact, I love the ‘Jamieson-Fausset-Brown (JFB) Bible Commentary’ on this verse: “It is removal of the candlestick, not extinction of the candle, which is threatened here… One who lately visited Ephesus found only three Christians there, and these so ignorant as scarcely to have heard the names of St. Paul or St. John” [Trench].
And Gills commentary also lends a voice to this:
“…this was not a commination or threatening of divine vengence to that church literally, but to the state of the church, which that represented; nor does it intend the utter abolition of that church, for the apostolic church still continued, though it ceased to be in the circumstances it was before…”
Jesus was NOT referring to the Salvation of the Ephesian Pastor here! He was referring to the repositioning of the congregation under another pastor or ministry! I hope this has been clarified?
Praises to Jesus! Remain under Grace.