Today, I want to begin looking at the second church our Lord instructed John the apostle to write to and that would be the local assembly in Smyrna. My text is Revelation 2:8-11, but for the sake of space, I’ll use verse 8 as we see, “And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;” (KJV) The name “Smyrna” means “Crushed” or “Myrrh” and signifies hard times, difficulties, pain and suffering. The churches that John are writing to here were local assemblies of people, but these churches also represent the “Church Age” from Calvary to the Rapture. Smyrna represents the time period when the Apostles of our Lord are now dead and the students of the apostles are now pastoring and leading the churches. History tells us that this was a time of great persecution and suffering in the churches.
Before I get into the verse by verse study, let’s consider some history about the city and the church in Smyrna. The city of Smyrna was a prosperous seaport city in Asia Minor and had a golden marble highway that led from the seaport to the top of a hill that was crowned with beautiful and ornate idol temples. Because of their great prosperity, they had set the God of Heaven aside which is the Satanic snare of prosperity. Many today won’t come to Christ for salvation because they don’t see their need for Him and it’s because they are “prosperous” in their life of sin without Him. This can also affect the church as well. The overall condition to this point is that the church has “left its first love” which is a backslidden condition. Often times, great prosperity can bring spiritual backsliding and the way God chooses to bring his people back and get priorities realigned is to allow “suffering” to come. God did this with Israel time and again and He can do it in the lives of His people in His church as well.
Pastor Joey Durham