E-Free Church - Gaylord Campus
To The Church at Smyrna
What can we learn from the letters Jesus writes to the 7 churches in Revelation?
Locations & Times
  • E-Free Church - Gaylord Campus
    1649 M-32, Gaylord, MI 49735, USA
    Saturday 5:00 PM

Though not named specifically, the writer is Jesus
(The description matches the description of Jesus in Revelation 1:16-18)

“The first and the last” is an OT title for God (Isaiah 44:6; 48:12) - We need an eternal outlook when we face suffering

“Was dead and has come to life” speaks of His death and resurrection - We need a resurrection outlook in suffering

Who is the angel? An angel or the pastor (angel = messenger)
The CHURCH (2:8)

Scripture does not record the founding of the church at Smyrna and the city of Smyrna is not mentioned in the book of Acts

Greek word translated “Smyrna” used in Septuagint to translate the Hebrew word for myrrh used in the Jewish burial process. Smyrna was a persecuted church that gave off the aroma of Christ in their suffering

Christ has no reprimand (Ephesus – “I have this against you…”)
The CITY (2:8)

The city had strong roman ties which at one time included a temple to the Emperor Tiberius (and other temples to a plurality of Roman gods)

Every year all Roman citizens were to go to a temple like this one, burn incense to Caesar, and declare publicly, “Caesar is Lord” - As a result they were given a piece of paper saying that they were citizens un good standing (Christians in Smyrna would not do this = persecution)

The word “know” (oida) shows a full and complete knowledge

Tribulation = common NT word for persecution (see 2 Timothy 3:12) - Persecution was brought by their refusal to participate in Emperor worship and in the worship of pagan religion in general
Poverty = their faith resulted in economic hardship (they had lost it all)

The word here describe a beggar who lived on the alms of others
Though poor, Jesus reminds them that they are rich spiritually

Blasphemy = this is a word usually reserved for hostile words against God; this church faced great verbal and character persecution

These verbal attacks came from Jews who claimed to be devoted followers of the God of Israel but who were not; they were actually servants of Satan (Romans 2:28-29 = true Jews)

Persecution in Smyrna reached its peak half a century after this letter with the execution of the aged Bishop, Polycarp, who was burned at the stake (unbelieving Jews played a major role)
The COMMAND (2:10)

Do not fear what you are about to suffer - the reality was that more suffering was coming including thrown into prison (Isaiah 41:10)

The purpose of this suffering was to be tested - God would use their suffering to show the genuineness of their faith and cause them to grow in maturity and faith (James 1:2-4)
This tribulation would last for 10 days (10 days could be symbolic speaking of 10 time periods of church persecution) or a literal 10 days (their suffering would be limited in time – intense but brief)

They are to be faithful unto death - no matter what intense persecution comes, stay faithful to God all the way until death

I will give you the crown of life - Eternal life is our reward
The COUNSEL (2:11)

He who overcomes = all true Christians (1 John 5:4-5, same writer)

Will not be hurt by the second death

The second death is the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14; 21:18)

“Not” is the strongest negative the Greek language can express (Emphatic Negation = will not by any means)

Though they may suffer extreme persecution and physical death, they are guaranteed to miss hell (the worst suffering) because of their genuine faith in the death and resurrection of Christ
The COUNSEL (2:7)

He who has ears…let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches

This is how Jesus closes each of the 7 letters to the 7 churches
“Churches” is plural showing that it applies to all churches

Him who overcomes = all true Christians (1 John 5:4-5 same author)

I will grant to eat of the tree of life in the Paradise of God

First mentioned in Genesis 2:9 in the Garden of Eden
The “tree of life” today is in heaven (Revelation 22:2,14,19)
The “tree of life” symbolizes eternal life