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Home » SIH Lesson Themes » Doctrinal » Revelation 2:8-11:“Christ’s Letter To The Church At Smyrna”

Revelation 2:8-11:“Christ’s Letter To The Church At Smyrna”

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THE TEXT:

 

The Letter To Smyrna…

 

 

Rev 2:8-11 KJV

(8)  And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

(9)  I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

(10)  Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall 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 a crown of life.

(11)  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

 

 

 

THE INTRODUCTION:

 

From our previous lesson, we saw a very basic summary of the contents of these letters include:

 

Church Location Name Meaning Areas of Faithfulness Areas of Unfaithfulness Possible Punishment Reward To Overcomers (proof of genuine salvation)
Ephesus Desired or Allowed Many areas of faithful outward service.  Hate doctrine of Nicolaitanes. Left first love (Christ)Service not motivated by love for Christ. Removal of candlestick (church no longer enjoying fellowship w God) Eat of Tree of Life in Paradise
Smyrna Myrrh Spiritually rich N/A N/A Not hurt by second death
Pergamos Fortified Tower Faithfulness in face of persecution Allowing doctrine of Balaam and Nicolaitans(physical and spiritual fornication) Will war against those who hold false teaching Be given hidden manna and white stone with new name
Thyatira Sacrifice, Offering, Corpse Works of love, service, faith, patience False Prophetess in midst. (sexual immorality and idol worship) Sickness, tribulation and death upon her and her followers. Be given power over the nations
Sardis Depart, Escape, Exit A few faithful areas of service remain. A few faithful members remain. Testimony that they are spiritually alive but really dead.  Their works not “perfect” before God. Will come upon them as a thief (implied removing anything of value leaving spiritually destitute) White garments.  Name not blotted out of book, confess his name before the Father
Philadelphia Love Of The Brethren Kept Word not denied name of Christ. Persevered in trials N/A N/A Permanent pillar in temple of God.  Name of God and New Jerusalem upon them. New name given to them
Laodicea Judgment Of The People N/A Lukewarm service.  Blinded to their spiritual destitution. Spew out of Lord’s mouth. Rebuking and chastening from Lord. Sit with Christ in throne.

 

 

 

Beginning in chapter 2 through chapter 3, John writes personalized messages to the 7 churches.  Each message contains four basic parts:

  1. Description of Christ
  2. Commendation for faithfulness and consequences
  3. Exposing unfaithfulness and consequences
  4. Promise to Overcomers

 

The first of these personalized messages is written to the church at Smyrna.

  1. Description of Christ (v 8)
  2. Commendation for faithfulness and consequences (v 9-10)
  3. Exposing unfaithfulness and consequences (NA)
  4. Promise to Overcomers (v 11)

 

 

 

THE EXPOSITORY STUDY:

 

Revelation 2: –

(8)  And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; 

John now writes this personalized letter to the church at Smyrna.  Smyrna was a port city that contained both Jewish and Gentile citizens.  It is believed that the church at Smyrna first faced opposition at the hands of Jewish unbelievers who disagreed with their acceptance of Christ as the promised Messiah and, later, at the hands of the Roman government who imprisoned and martyred many of its members.

 

These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

Once again, John points back to his previous vision of Christ (1:17-18).  This portion of the description of Christ teaches us that He was the beginning and ending of all things and that He was also the One who was crucified and rose again. Christ, our Creator, was willing to suffer and die for us.  What better example could be set for those who would be called upon to suffer for Him.

Note that the resurrection of Jesus proves to us that:

1. He is the promised Messiah (the One sent to be the Savior of the world)

2. His work was accepted by His Father in heaven (He successfully completed the work necessary for the salvation of His people)

3. He was Victor/Lord of sin and death (He is exalted to the position of King of Kings and Lord of Lords resulting from His faithfulness to His Father’s will)

Here, Christ is centering on the descriptions that reveal Himself as Lord/Victor over all the powers of darkness after suffering and dying for the ones He loved.  This is a very important point to stress to the Smyrna church that was faced with persecution on every side from both Jews and Romans.

 

(9)  I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

The Lord now begins to list for the members of the Smyrna church the many areas of faithfulness that exhibited in their service to Him:

1. works – their acts of service to Him

2. tribulation – the trials they faced from every side

3. poverty (but thou art rich) – the financial hardships they faced due to their stand for Christ, but they were spiritually rich in Christ.

4. blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are of the synagogue of Satan – The Jewish unbelievers at Smyrna were blaspheming (speaking ill) of God, by denying Christ as the Messiah.  They claimed to be members of God’s spiritual nation (the Israel of God) but were in actuality worshipping and serving Satan by opposing the truths of God held forth by this Smyrna church.

 

Please note that the Lord had faced a similar type of unbelieving Jew during His earthly ministry, Joh 8:30-47 KJV…

As he spake these words, many believed on him.  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?

Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.  And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.  If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.  I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.  I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.

They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father.

Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.  But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.  Ye do the deeds of your father.

Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.

Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.  Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.  And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?  He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

Based upon this teaching by Christ, we can clearly see that those who are of Jewish descent are not considered to be a part of the spiritual Jewish nation if they deny the truths of God.   They are however, considered the servants and worshippers of Satan.  This is the exact type of Jew that was being spoken of in this message to the Smyrna church.

 

(10)  Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall 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 a crown of life.

The Lord now looks ahead in time and some events that will be taking place soon after the writing of this message to the Smyrna church.  He warns them of upcoming persecution at the hands of the Roman empire.  This persecution was believed to have taken place over the next few hundred years ending in about 300 AD.

Please note: the phrase “ten days” is referring to “ten periods” of Roman persecutions that took place after this letter was written.  The ten major persecutions of Christians following the writing of Revelation. These include persecutions under the authority of:

 

  1. Domitian
  2. Trojan
  3. Marcus Antoninus
  4. Verus and Lucius
  5. Septimus Severus
  6. Maximinus
  7. Decius
  8. Valerianus
  9. Aurelianus
  10. Dioclesianus

 

 

(Keep in mind, there were many “lesser” persecutions that took place in addition to the above ten major persecutions of Christians in the days of the church of Smyrna.)

 

However, it is important to notice that the number 10 throughout the book of Revelation denotes “many and varied”.  If “10 days” is used symbolically in this verse, the Lord is simply warning the church that there would be many, various periods of persecutions that they would be facing. I believe this is a more likely meaning of the “10 days” of persecutions.

 

One thing is for certain, the “10 days” phrase cannot be talking about a literal ten days.  The church at Smyrna faced multiple persecutions that lasted for years during its existence.

 

The Lord promises them that if they are faithful, even to the point of giving their lives for Him, they would receive a reward of eternal life.   This is another great mark of a truly saved individual.  They are willing to sacrifice their physical life for the sake of furthering the cause of Christ by sharing His Word to those who so desperately need it.

 

(11)  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

The Lord gives a promise to those who are victors (continuing in faithful service) over the periods of opposition that the church would be facing.  He promises that they would “not be hurt of the second death”.  The second death is speaking of eternal consignment of both body and soul into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:6, 14).  In other words, those who are victorious in times of temptation and opposition are proven to be genuinely saved.  It is those who will experience salvation (deliverance) from an eternity in the Lake of Fire.

 

 

CHRIST REVEALED:

In this section of Scripture, we can see Christ, the Eternal Creator, as the One who gains the ultimate victory over Satan, sin, the sinful powers of this world, and death itself.  It is because of this, we can look forward to being graced with the ability to be overcomers over tribulation and opposition in this world and kept eternally secure from eternal punishment in the world to come.

 

 

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION (SUMMARY)

Our Lord is the Victor over the powers of darkness of this world.  As His children, through His empowerment, we can look forward to enjoying a wonderful eternity with Him.  We should never look at ourselves as a defeated one, but always recognize that we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us…

 

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? [It is] God that justifieth.   Who [is] he that condemneth? [It is] Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.   Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

 (Romans 8:32-37)

 

 May the Lord bless us as we seek to see Jesus in the pages of the book of Revelation.

 

 

 

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6 Comments

  1. ptl2010 says:

    I enjoyed spending sometime on your studies of Revelation so far. I love your teaching style for learning and reference. Thank you for your exposition and practical applications. Anointed teaching and blessings Pastor Rob.

  2. SLIMJIM says:

    A good reminder of God’s truth when we are perscuted; timely for somethings in our ministry at this time

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