Greetings. It has been a while since I last wrote a post on my blog. Frankly, it feels good to be back. Thank you for your past support. Now, having said that, we will continue with our study of the book of Revelation. We are going to look at the church of Smyrna. Let’s study Rev 2:8-11 (Good news Version)—
“To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
This is the message from the one who is the first and the last, who died and lived again. I know your troubles; I know that you are poor—but really you are rich! I know the evil things said against you by those who claim to be Jews but are not; they are a group that belongs to Satan! Don’t be afraid of anything you are about to suffer. Listen! The Devil will put you to the test by having some of you thrown into prison, and your troubles will last ten days. Be faithful to me, even if it means death, and I will give you life as your prize of victory. If you have ears, then, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches! Those who win the victory will not be hurt by the second death.”
The church of Smyrna was facing intense persecution. One of the ways in which they got persecuted was by losing their material wealth. During that time, the Roman government demanded allegiance to Caesar as Lord. Christians stood firm and proclaimed Jesus as Lord. Some were put to death, while others suffered the loss of their wealth. They were dismissed from their jobs. Those who were looking for a job could not be hired. Others faced the loss of their business.
They were destitute and poor, yet Christ saw them as being rich. Two things to glean from this—
- True riches come from serving God. There is no price for his presence and being guided by him.
- God saw that they had the ability to get what they needed in the spirit. The word of God says to call those things that are not as though they were ( Rom 4:17) Our trust and provision come from God and not from man.
Another point to consider is that they were persecuted by the Jews. God called the Jews as belonging to the synagogue of Satan. (King James version) This type of persecution was religious in nature. The Lord saw their pain and gave them a word to comfort them. Notice, he says to listen (Rev 2:10) and gives them the details of their suffering. It was going to get worse.
He mentions 10 days. I believe it is not, literally, 10 days but it is symbolic for the 10 emperors that will put this church thru intense persecution. The Bishop of the church during that period was Polycarp. It was believed that he got captured and brought before the coliseum. He was told to renounce his faith, which he refused. His punishment was to be burned at the stake. As he was burning, it was noted that a nice fragrance was in the air and he was preserved. A soldier stabbed him, finally killing him. (1)
This should cause us to analyze our walk with him. Around the world, many Christians are dying for their faith and suffering great torture. May we be mindful to keep our brethren in our prayers. God, help us to count the cost and be faithful unto death.
Some final thoughts-the word Smyrna means Myrrh. It is symbolic of suffering and its fragrance is sweet. God sees the church of Smyrna’s suffering as a sweet smell to him. Brethren, here in America, we may not see this type of suffering, but believe me, you are going to go thru many testings and trials. It’s part of our package of Salvation. Personally, I see that when persecution comes to me thru a family member or incident, I rejoice. Doing this has brought great comfort and blessings in my life.
Always, remember that we will, always, have trials and tribulations. The good news is with the Lord on our side, he is able to give you the victory. You are destined to win because we are more than conquerors thru him that loved us. (Rom 8:37) God bless and be encouraged.
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Picture courtesy of Michael Burghers…https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Burghers_michael_saintpolycarp.jpg
Bible verses provided courtesy of http://www.biblegateway.com