Properly speaking, metanoein is “to know after” as pronoein is “to know before”; metanoia is “afterknowledge” . . . The next step that metanoia signifies is the change of mind that results from this afterknowledge. Thus Tertullian wrote: “In the Greek language the word for repentance is not derived from the admission of a fault but from a change of mind.” . . . Last of all metanoia signifies a resulting change of conduct. . . . Only in Scripture and in the works of those who were dependent on Scripture does metanoia predominantly refer to a change of mind, to taking a wiser view of the past, to “the soul’s perception of the wicked things it has done.”1Repentance includes a recognition of wrong-doing together with a decision to move in a different direction: “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).from where you have fallen
But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. (Heb. 10:32-35) [emphasis added]
Instantly, let us say, this is not a call to “Christian service” or “renewed activity.” Ephesus had toil, patience, intolerance toward evil, patience in suffering,—everything. But the “first works” are the goings forth of affection to Christ, freely, devotedly, as in our first love.3I will come
Gibbon (Decline and Fall, c. lxiv.), . . . writes like one who almost believed that the threatenings and promises of God did fulfill themselves in history: In the loss of Ephesus the Christians deplored the fall of the first Angel, the extinction of the first candlestick, of the Revelations; the desolation is complete; and the temple of Diana or the church of Mary will equally elude the search of the curious traveller. The circus and three stately theatres of Laodicea are now peopled with wolves and foxes; Sardis is reduced to a miserable village; the God of Mahomet, without a rival or a son, is invoked in the mosques of Thyatira and Pergamus, and the populousness of Smyrna is supported by the foreign trade of the Franks and Armenians. Philadelphia alone has been saved by prophecy, or courage. . . . Among the Greek colonies and Churches of Asia, Philadelphia is still erect—a column in a scene of ruins,—a pleasing example that the paths of honour and safety may sometimes be the same.7The lampstand at Ephesus was indeed removed. “I have before me a picture of the Ephesus of today—a ruined archway, a Moslem dwelling, and a forbidding castle, ’midst desolate hills. No lampstand for Christ where once Paul labored three years, night and day with tears!”8
1 Richard Chenevix Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1989), 270-272.
2 Richard Chenevix Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1861), 80.
3 William R. Newell, Revelation: Chapter by Chapter (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1994,c1935), 39-40.
4 “The present tense may be used to describe a future event, . . . it typically adds the connotations of immediacy and certainty.”—Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics - Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House and Galaxie Software, 1999, 2002), 535.
5 A. R. Fausset, “The Revelation of St. John the Divine,” in Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997, 1877), Rev. 2:5.
6 Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 1-7 (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1992), 147.
7 Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia, 187-188.
8 Newell, Revelation: Chapter by Chapter, 40.