Posted by: Barbara Wilbur for ElysJoy Church | January 31, 2014

The Perfection of Scripture – The Church at Smyrna Revelation Chapter 2:8-11

Ruins of Smyrna

Ruins of Smyrna

Week 3 of our Revelation Study covers  the Church at Smyrna. Smyrna was a wealthy city about 35 miles north of Ephesus. It was also known for it’s wickedness.  t is still in existence today as Izmir, Turkey.  Like the 3rd church Pergamum (Pergamos), Smyrna Christians were surrounded by evil.

The churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia are the only two church where the letters contain no reproofs.  Even though the church of Smyrna is not told to change any of their current behaviors, they are warned that persecution is coming.  

Description of Jesus:

the First and the Last who was dead and has come to life

The description of Jesus shows he has already died (as they will at some point) yet come back to life (as is his promise to believers including those at Smyrna)  He encourages them at the opening of the letter that he has conquered death.  He reminds them that when they face death it is not the end!   I love the way the King James and NASB translations of the bible uses the term “second death” in Rev 2:11.  The second death is explained further in in Rev. 20:6, 20:14 and 21:8. I encourage you to check out those scriptures.   What a beautiful way our savior has of giving us what we need BEFORE we have to encounter it!

Old Testament and New Testament Tie In the description of Jesus:

Jesus describes himself as “The First”  and he was!  Jesus was there at creation (see Gen 1:1-3)  In this passage, the “light”  is there in verse 3 but note that the sun moon and stars to light the earth are not created till the later (verses 14-15!)  To better understand the light in verse 3, refer to John 8:12)- Note Genesis Chapter 1 contains the foreshadowing of Jesus thousands of years before His birth, death and resurrection.  This would be the very first, blending of the OT and NT!

Jesus describes himself as “The Last” (NT)- Jesus is the final judgment, the last stop between us and salvation.  Revelation shows us he also has the last word on everything.

Jesus sees the church at Smyrna. He knows they are:

Persecuted (trials and afflictions)

Poor (but Jesus reminds them they are rich)

Slandered (blasphemed) by the Synagogue of Satan, a group of people claiming to be Jews but they are not. This group was speaking out against the Christians.

Instructions to the church:

Fear Not!  Jesus clearly starts not to be afraid.  He tells them that the devil is going to cast some of them into prison so that the church will be tested for 10 days.  Most scholars agree that these 10 “day” periods are  10 sessions of times of testing, tribulation and persecution and not literal 24 hour days.     Jesus also tells Smyrna to be faithful unto death! That is something worth thinking about. Could you be faithful unto death?

For those that stand firm on the name of Jesus (the over comers) He will give the crown of life.  The crown of life is related to the victors crown that was the wreath of garland given as a prize to the winners of pubic games.  (Our modern day Olympics evolve from these public games).  This shows our that we are part of the victorious team of Jesus that in the end defeats the Enemy!

 

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