17 Nov. Revelation 2:8-11

17 Nov. John's message to the church in Smyrna

"Write this to the angel of the church in Smyrna:"

"The One who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again, says this: I know your troubles and that you are poor, but really you are rich!"

"I know the bad things some people say about you. They say they are Jews, but they are not true Jews. They are a synagogue that belongs to Satan."

"Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer for ten days."

"But be faithful, even if you have to die, and I will give you the crown of life."

"Everyone who has ears should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. Those who win the victory will not be hurt by the second death."

          (Revelation 2:8-11)



Smyrna was a thriving Roman port in John’s day, with an influential minority of prosperous Jewish merchants. Not all Jews were receptive to the radical message of the Christian gospel, and John warned the believers in Smyrna that they might encounter the same persecution that Jesus faced in Jerusalem.

In his message to the church at Smyrna, Jesus tells the believers not to fear persecution by certain Jews of the city.

These Jews - whom John calls the "synagogue of Satan" - reject Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, and are intent on destroying the young church in Smyrna.

The message to those being persecuted is "be faithful, even if you have to die, and I will give you the crown of life" - the victor's reward of eternal life for those who run "the race of life". (Revelation 2:10) So believers need not fear "the second death" (eternal separation from God after being judged by Jesus on the Day of Judgement) because they have already been promised eternal life. (Revelation 2:11)

Despite persecution in the years following John's letter, the Christian community at Smyrna survived and grew into a strong church, where Polycarp became bishop in 155AD (and was later martyred when he refused to curse Christ or sacrifice to the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius).

Visitors to downtown Izmir – the second largest city in modern-day Turkey – can visit the site of the agora (the market place) of Roman Smyrna. Remains in the archaeological park overlooked by Mount Pagos include an impressive row of 2nd century Corinthian columns marking the western side of the Roman agora, and a number of arches and Roman buildings (see the photo).

You can read more about Ancient Smyrna @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/the-messages-to-the-beli…/

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