Revelation 2: 2-11

The Suffering Church: Smyrna

February 16, 2021

Revelation 2:8-11 The Suffering Church: Smyrna

The Church Age During the Revelation

  1. Literal in existence – they really existed
  2. Spiritual in relevance – spiritual issues relevant to believers today
  3. Historical Significance – represents a distinct time period of Church History – (was – is – to come)

Church of Smyrna and City

A.The suffering Church

B.Only time it is referenced

C.One of two letters which did not condemn the church

D.Time of great persecution * Abject poverty * Businesses boycotted * Houses robbed and vandalized * Denied employment

E.End of the Apostolic Age (100AD) to the time of Constantine (312AD) when he made Christianity the state religion

F.City rebuilt by Alexander the Great in 334BC after it had been totally destroyed

G.Referred to as the Glory of Asia

* Planned development * Beautiful temples * Ideal harbor

H.Rebuilt by Marcus Aurelius after major earthquakes in 178AD and 180AD

I.673AD came under Arab control

J.1402 – slaughtered Christians in the name of Islam by Tamerlane – a Turco-Mongol conqueror

K.City of Izmir – 200,000 – 250,000 people (Turkey)

L.35 miles North of Ephesus

M.Major trade route – Persia to Rome

N.Second in wealth to Ephesus

O.Bishop of Smyrna – Polycarp – burned at the stake for his faith

P.Approximately 6,000,000 Christians died during this time

Q.IXTHOS ( Fish Symbol)

R.Myrrh – how Smyrna got its name

  • Huge and precious commodity
  • Gum like resin
    • Perfume
    • Holy anointing for priests
    • Embalming
  • Only fragrant when crushed

How fitting this city was named after a fragrance emanating after being crushed. The Church at Smyrna is doing the same thing as it is being crushed.

Revelation 2:8

A.Commission – To the angel (messenger) in Smyrna


  • First and last – Christ the Eternal One
  • Dead and come to life – reminder of His successful suffering

Revelation 2:9

Commendation – I see and know what you are experiencing

A.Works – great deeds in the face of extreme persecution * Faithful

B.Tribulation – affliction from Rome and your fellow Jews

C.Poverty – abject poverty; not just poor

  • Zero financial opportunities

  • Mistreatment from their own culture

  • But you are rich – true value is in Christ

    1. Kindness – Romans 2:4
    2. Glory – Romans 9:23
    3. Wisdom/Knowledge of God – Romans 11:33
    4. Grace – Ephesians 1:7
    5. Inheritance – Ephesians 1:18
    6. Indescribable – Ephesians 3:8


  • Believe Jesus existed but concentrated more on works as an additional need

  • Jews in name and culture only

  • Unregenerate Jews – not the Messiah

  • Called believing Jews heretics and troublemakers

  • Slanders

  • Evil – helped gather sticks to burn Polycarp on the Sabbath – should have been resting

  • Synagogue of Satan

    1. Not of God
    2. Knew of Him but did not know Him
    3. Works related rather than relational
    4. Their horrible language and treatment of the Christians exemplified the lack of a relationship with God

Zero Condemnation

Revelation 2:10

A.Challenge – don’t be afraid of what is to come

* Matthew 10:28, poverty, slander, prison, death

B.The devil has power in this life, but is limited by God

* Job 1:12, imprisonment to be tested, brief but could be unto death, faith tested/exposed/strengthened

C.Ten days of tribulation

  • Ten literal days – for the believers
    • Esther – wipe out the Jews in one day
  • Ten major Roman persecutions
    • Ten emperors with a clear path of destruction toward the Christians
      • Nero – burned them at light poles
      • Diocletian – burned the scripture/required sacrifices for other gods
      • 200 years of the church
      • Church period specifically for Smyrna
    • Ten years under Diocletian
  • Either way, it is short compared to the eternal rewards

D.Be faithful unto death: I Corinthians 10:13; II Corinthians 12:9

E.A crown of life-Five Crowns

  1. Crown of Life – Revelation 2:10; James 1:12
  2. Incorruptible Crown – I Corinthians 9:25
  3. Crown of Rejoicing – I Thess. 2:19
  4. Crown of Righteousness – 2 Timothy 4:8
  5. Crown of Glory – 1 Peter 5:4
  6. Really should mean “crown which is life” or Fullness of life

Revelation 2:11

A.Unhurt by the second death

B.Revelation 20:14 – Hades and Lake of fire

C.Born twice to die once or born once to die twice