Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen
Believers cannot totally and finally fall away from the grace which they have received; but they may fall into sin, and from a degree of grace, and the exercise of it, as these first and pure churches did, from some degree of their love to God, and Christ, and one another; and therefore are called upon to remember, mind, and observe from what degree of it they were fallen; in order to bring them under a conviction and acknowledgment of their evil, and a sense of their present state, and to quicken their desires after a restoration to their former one:
of their coldness and lukewarmness, of the remissness of their love, and of those evils which brought it upon them:
and do the first works;
of faith and love, with the like zeal and fervour, which will show the repentance to be sincere and genuine; so the Arabic version reads, "and exercise the former works, to wit, charity" or "love". The Jews have a saying F2,
``if a man repents, do not say to him, "remember" (Mynwvarx Kyvem) , "thy first works";''which they seem to understand of evil works; but former good works are to be remembered and done, to show the truth of repentance for evil ones.
Or else I will come unto thee quickly;
not in a spiritual way, to pay a love visit, nor in a judicial way, to take vengeance or inflict punishment, but in a providential way, to rebuke and chastise:
and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou
or thee out of the candlestick, the pastor from the church, either by persecution or by death; or else the church, and church state itself, signified by a candlestick; (See Gill on Revelation 1:12); and may design a shaking and an unsettling of it, which is sometimes done by violent persecutions, and by false teachers and their doctrines, and by the divisions and contentions of saints among themselves; and by the former particularly was there a change made in the state of this apostolic church, when it passed into the Smyrnean one, which was a period of great persecution and distress; for this cannot be understood of the total removing of the church state itself quickly, no, not of Ephesus itself; for though there is not now indeed, nor has there been for many hundred years, a church of Christ in that place, yet there was one till the times of Constantine, when there was none in any of the other seven cities, and a long time after; (See Gill on Acts 20:17); which shows, that 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.