THE CHURCH AT SMYRNA
Rev. 2:8-11 And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These things saith the first and the last, who was dead, and lived again: (9) I know thy tribulation, and thy poverty (but thou art rich), and the blasphemy of them that say they are Jews, and they art not, but are a synagogue of Satan. (10) Fear not the things which thou art about to suffer: behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life. (11) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
The word, Smyrna, means Myrrh. Myrrh is the fragrence of the anointing oil of the dead. Jesus identifies himself to the Smyrnans as “the first and the last, who was dead, and lived again”. Jesus wants to assure the people of Smyrna that death is not the final stage of life for the Christian. He tells them that some will pay the highest price for their faith, but that they must be faithful unto death, This is the same thing that he tells all of His Church. (Mat 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.)
Rev 6:9-11 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: (10) And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? (11) And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
In scripture the number, Ten, is used symbolically to represent COMPLETENESS OR COMPLETION. Because Jesus told the Smyrnans they would have tribulation ten days, it means that this is the church which will be persecuted throughout the entire age until Jesus returns. The word tribulation is translated from the Greek word thlipsis, whose first definition is pressure. Keeping their FAITH in Jesus under the pressures Satan sends against them places a Christian into the congregation of the Smyrnans. Such pressures can come from political, social, religionous, or personal relationships. This pressure can range anywhere from the threat of death, imprisonment, expulsion from family or social or regligous group, or simply the repeated attacks of Satan against the flesh. Enduring until the End in our Faith in Jesus is the only thing that matters in the end.
Jesus place any Christian or group of Christians who have, are, or will be persecuted for their faith into the Church in Smyrna.
“He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” It is not the first death that kills. In the first death only the body dies. Since Christians are already striving to put the body of flesh to death (mortifying the flesh), the first death only means to be immediately released from the body to be present with the Lord. Those not hurt of the second death in this age are those who have part in the FIRST RESURRECTION. The second death does not occur until the end of the Millennium at the judgment before the Great White Throne.
Rev 20: 7-15 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, (8) And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. (9) And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. (10) And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (11) And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. (12) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (14) And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (15) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
The Power to Love
1 Pet. 4:8-9 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall
cover the multitude of sins. (9) Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
Rom. 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath
fulfilled the law.
John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (23) I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Isa. 45:22-23
1 Cor. 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
1 Cor. 13:8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.