This church is representative of the Roman Empires persecution from 100AD to 312AD. We can see this in the number 10 where the Lord warns of 10 days of prison and tribulation. There were 14 emperor’s but 10 of them came against the early Christians , controlling through Pax Roma or imprisoning, putting into slavery or killing believers until Constantine in 313AD allowed freedom of worship albeit an ecumenical and corrupted form. The name Smyrna means ‘myrrh’ which is associated with death and its use in embalming. It is a fitting name and meaning for all those churches persecuted throughout church history to the present day speaking of those believers being martyred in communist or Islamic countries or under dictatorship rule around the world.
Key verses: Revelation 2:8-11.
The church saints are commended in verses 9 and 10 for having patience in their trials and sufferings, even unto death. This is the shortest of the 7 messages from our Lord over just 4 verses, it is precise and to the point. Two of the other churches, Thyatira and Laodicea are spoken to through 9 to 12 verses to teach, admonish, correct and rebuke.
There is none for this type of church as with the church of Philadelphia. The other five types of church do receive condemnation from the lips of our Lord Jesus and so we only want to be associated in type with suffering churches or those with brotherly love as with the Philadelphian church saints.
This is in verses 9 and 10 where our Lord speaks of their good works and their poverty. They are warned about how the devil will throw some of them into prison for 10 days. This can be seen as a literal number, then through the 10 Roman Emperors of the time and also symbolically of any age as 10 speaks of the nations, especially under the 10 Kings of the Anti-Christ during the tribulation years. (cf. Dan 7:23-25).
Finally, we can note how for the second time and for the other 5 churches we have the exhortation of having listening ears and paying express attention to what the Spirit is saying to the churches being cameos or types of every age.
This is in verses 10-11. Those that are faithful and die will receive a Crown of Life – verse 10. It is an eternal reward for all. Although some will die under persecution as will the Tribulation saints who are beheaded (see Revelation 20:4) for their faith during the Great Tribulation, they will not die a second time which is the Second Death (cf Revelation 20:6). In verse 1 our Lord associates with those who die at the hands of men as He states He was dead but is alive forever, being the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. (cf. Revelation 1:8, 11 and 18).
The Themes of the Smyrna Church are our Lord’s fourfold message to His persecuted Church.
1. The Comfort of the Saviour – Revelation 2:8-9.
2. The Constancy of the Saints – Revelation 2:10.
3. The Courage of the Sufferers – Revelation 2:10.
4. The Crown of the Slain – Revelation 2:10.
The number 4 is an earth related number covering the four points of the compass and corners of the earth and the four main seasons of life ( see Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 for other seasons) but our life is eternal in Him who died for us and washed us in His own blood. (cf Revelation 1:5). Amen.
Date : 30/11/-0001