Revelation 2:8-11: The Address to the Church in Smyrna

Revelation 2:8‑11  •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 11
This address would surely indicate the days of persecution that we know the church was allowed to pass through after its declension from apostolic purity.
The Lord presents Himself in a way that would be of the deepest encouragement to saints that were being persecuted, even to death. He is before all that rise up against His people, and will remain when the persecutors have forever passed away. If the saints are called to face death let them remember that Christ has been into death and lives.
In Smyrna we see the fresh evils by which the church was attacked; the tribulation the Lord allowed to arrest these growing evils; and the devotedness of individual overcomers who, in the midst of persecution, were faithful unto death.
In this period of the church's history the effort of Satan to corrupt the church and mar all testimony took a twofold form. Firstly, there was the rise of the corrupting influence, within the Christian circle, of those who sought to add Judaism to Christianity. Secondly, opposition was raised to Christianity from without by Gentile persecutors. Both evils are traced to Satan. Regarding the judaizing teachers, as long as the apostles were on earth all Satan's efforts to have Judaism recognized in the church of God were frustrated. After their departure there arose not only judaizing individuals, but a definite party, here called the synagogue of Satan, that sought to attach the forms, ceremonies, and principles of Judaism to Christianity. This evil has been working ever since, so that today the Christian profession has lost its true heavenly character and become a great worldly system with magnificent buildings, and forms, and ceremonies, that appeal to the natural man after the pattern of the Jewish system.
In the presence of this grave departure the Lord allowed the church to pass through a period of persecution that brought to light, in the midst of the increasing darkness, those who were true to Himself, being “faithful unto death.” Such have the assurance of the Lord that He is over all, and has set a limit to the sufferings of His people. He will reward their faithfulness unto death with a crown of life, and the promise that, though they may pass through death, they will never “be hurt of the second death.”