"Ephesus represents people “who primarily regard the truths of doctrine and not the goods of life.” In other words, by placing too much emphasis on the search for spiritual truth, they neglect to live a good life, which ultimately is more important. In the letter to Ephesus the promise is made that to those who see this tendency in themselves and turn their desire to use the truth they learn to do good, they are promised that “to him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” This means they can receive “the good of love from the Lord.”
THE FIRST OF SEVEN LETTERS written to the churches of Asia Minor is directed to the "angel" (understood as the spiritual community) in Ephesus. John of Patmos relays both praise and criticism to the faithful. In the letter, Ephesus' Christian community is extolled for its orthodoxy, reproached for its moral deficiencies and warned of the consequences of failing to repent: an admonishment that speaks to repentance as an action and not mere sentiment. The "gift" promised in Rev. 2:7 is reminiscent of the story of Adam and Eve who were barred from paradise because of their disobedience9. To those who overcome sin and forsake false prophets, the letter notes, assurance of eternal life is granted.
Though angels are sometimes regarded as genderless, Tiffany portrayed the Ephesian angel as the most feminine among the seven. It is unknown whether the artist who painted this face had knowledge of Ephesus' consideration as the mother church of Asia, but it is fitting that God's gift of spiritual life (the tree of life) be represented by a female form embodying the gift of physical life. Cloaked in amber drapery glass, the armored chest plate is barely visible beneath, making the wearer less threatening but no less significant. Ephesus' head is covered by opalescent drapery glass with an ornament of rich yellow, jeweled glass placed.just above the figure's forehead. Her right arm and chest plate are delineated in the same opalescent material with arabesque lines copper-foiled across her body armor.
Red wings made of ripple glass frame the angel's faceI0. In ancient art, the color red was representative of either divine love or heavenly retribution, themes explored throughout the letters to the Asian churches. A star, delineated into the sheet of laminated glass through the application of acid, is present above the angel's head in the arch of the window.11
Ephesus represents people "who focus primarily on truth they have been taught and not the good they could do. " This letter makes a promise to those who, seeing this tendency in themselves, change their desire to learn truth into a desire t o d o good: " I will give to eat of the tree of life which is in middle of the paradise of God." This, in turn, allows them to receive "all loving-kindness from the Lord."
On this and subsequent pages, the italicized passages reflect the Swedrnborgian interpretation. Words within quotation marki are from a modern translation of Emanuel Swedenborg's 1766 book, The Apocalypse Revealed. Biblical text is set in roman type.
9 The explanations of the biblical passages associated with each angel reflect the classic historical interpretations of the King James version.
10 The red wings, exhibited in each of the seven windows, derive their color from red on clear flashed glass in the layer behind the ripple glass that has been acid etched in a painterly fashion.
11 While all of the etched stars appear very similar from window to window, many are achieved with different combinations of glass.