In this letter…The Church of Smyrna was a thriving Church from A.D.100 to A.D. 312. The word Smyrna means “myrrh” which carries the meaning suffering. It was a much-persecuted but faithful church.
Let’s take a look at Revelation 2:8-11 …the message given to the Smyrna church for then and for this day and hour: Revelation 2:8 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Smyrna. This is the message from the one who is the First and the Last, who died and is alive: (the much- persecuted but faithful church)
Christ praise and approval as stated in verse 9 “I know about your suffering and your poverty—but you are rich! I know the slander of those opposing you. They say they are Jews, but they really aren’t because theirs is a synagogue of Satan.
Christ disapproval – Not one word! Christ advice, warning and encouragement in verse 10, Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The Devil will throw some of you into prison and put you to the test. You will be persecuted for ‘ten days.’ Remain faithful even when facing death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Christ challenge to those who face up to the test in verse 11 “Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Whoever is victorious will not be hurt by the second death. (His second coming – Judgment time)
The Smyrna Church was a persecuted Church…
- During this time Roman leaders staged public burning of the sacred Scriptures;
- Christians were brought into amphitheaters of Rome to be fed to hungry lions while thousands of spectators cheered;
- others were crucified, covered with tar and set on fire to serve as torches,
- they were boiled in oil and burned at the stake;
- an estimated five million Christians were martyred for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
The Smyrna Church was a thriving Church:
- established churches in many parts of the world
- produced many hand-copied manuscripts of the sacred Scriptures and the translation of Scriptures into many languages.
- by A.D. 312 the Church advanced in numbers by the Roman Empire and Christianity was established as the state church by Emperor Constantine
The Smyrna Church was a poor Church:
verse 9a “I know about your suffering and your poverty—but you are rich!
The message of the church of Smyrna is the shortest of all Christ’s messages.
Christ does not condemn it but He praises it through the churches tribulation, poverty and affliction. Because of the hatred for Christians those that took a stand for Jesus Christ, their shop or business were boycotted and those Christians who were rich in this world’s goods went bankrupt. Christians are “rich” in this life in the things that money cannot buy…joy, peace, happiness, contentment, and eternal accomplishment.
As seen in the statement from Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:10 “Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.”
The Smyrna Church was an afflicted Church: verse 9b ”I know the slander of those opposing you. They say they are Jews, but they really aren’t because theirs is a synagogue of Satan. ” They were afflicted by false teachers who had claimed to be Jews but really were not…
…their hearts were not submissive to God for they adhered to a set of rules…as stated in Romans 2:29 “No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not a cutting of the body but a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit. Whoever has that kind of change seeks praise from God, not from people.”
Two basic heresies can be found during the time of the Smyrna Church:
- a false doctrine of Christ and
- a mixing of law and grace. Practically every false religious system and cult coming out of Christianity can be traced to one of these two heresies.
Christ challenge to the Church of Smyrna…to the believer –
verse 10 “Don’t be afraid…Remain faithful…” even when facing death and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection (the rapture). For them the second death holds no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years. (His second coming-judgment)
The second death is a state when people who have died in unbelief (non-believer-non-Christian) are resurrected and cast into “the lake of fire”. The second death is the spiritual death of the soul who rejects the life and salvation of Jesus Christ. The child of God has no cause of fear of the second death.
Revelation 20:14-15 And death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death—the lake of fire. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.
God will provide for those who remain faithful.
Philippians 4:19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
Remain faithful! Though the Church of Smyrna lacked worldly goods, the Christians in this church were rich in esteem of Christ. Matthew 6:20, Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves.
TODAY’S Church and Christians place their entire focus on their present life and problems. It’s time that we trust the Lord God as our provider and endure, be faithful in His work in all that we do. We must begin to believe His promises for TODAY…for our families, friends and our self.
The Lord highly praised the Smyrna church for seven things:
- “Tribulation” or trouble
- “Poverty” which denotes the lack of material possessions.
- “The blasphemy of them which say they are Jews…but are of the synagogue of Satan.” The Jews that had come to Christ were Jews both inward and outward.
- “Fear none of those things” – in the midst of persecution they were a church that sang praises to God as they went to their death.
- “The devil (Satan) shall cast some of you into prison.” The Lord goes to the root of the trouble…The blame was not on the immediate person or circumstance, Satan was the cause.
- “Ye shall have tribulation ten days” This was ten periods of persecution by ten Roman emperors from A.D. 64 – A.D. 313.
- “Be thou faithful unto death” They were martyr’s for Him. The Lord then promised them “a crown of life.”
There are blessings in store, to those that are faithful, even unto death.
- James 1:12 God blesses the people who patiently endure testing. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
Jesus Christ is COMING BACK…for the over comer. Are you expecting HIS RETURN?
As always, Love in Christ Jesus,