The church in Smyrna:

Smyrna was a Roman province of Asia, it was on the Aegean shore of what is now Asiatic Turkey. Today Smyrna is Izmir in Turkey and is the second largest city in Asiatic Turkey. It grew to be prosperous because it was a natural port for the trade route through the Hermus valley.  Smyrna was close to the Roman power and was famous for its beauty and for the grandeur of its public buildings. Smyrna had a long history for the practice of making profit and commercialism. A temple was erected to worship Roma, the goddess of Rome, and, during the Christian era, the city even dedicated a temple to honor the emperor Tiberius.

(Green. 1996. Pgs. 1114-15).  

Reveals who Jesus is:

“And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; these things said the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive.” (Revelation 2:8).

Jesus identified Himself as “the First and the Last.” Revelation 1:11 also identifies Jesus as being the first and the last. Isaiah 44:6 tells us; “Thus said the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” This makes it very clear Jesus is identifying Himself as being “the First and the Last.” Then to make it absolutely clear Jesus adds “who was dead and is alive.” “”This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. (John 19:20).  “And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.” (Luke 24:46).  It is our Lord Jesus Christ who was crucified, died and was buried on the third day he rose from the dead just as He claimed to the church in Smyrna.

 Jesus says Change needed the church of Smyrna:

 Jesus told the spirit of the church of Smyrna that He knows their works that is an act, deed, thing done: the idea of working is emphasized in (Strong. 2001. #2041), and tribulation which means metaph. oppression, affliction, tribulation, distress, straits (Strong. 2001. #2347), and poverty the condition of one destitute of riches and abundance (Strong. 2001. #4432), (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy which is impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine majesty (Strong. 2001. #988) of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue [) the buildings where those solemn Jewish assemblies are held. Synagogues seem to date their origin from the Babylonian exile. In the times of Jesus and the apostles every town, not only in Palestine, but also among the Gentiles if it contained a considerable number of Jewish inhabitants, had at least one synagogue, the larger towns several or even many. These were also used for trials and inflicting punishment (Strong. 2001. #4864)] of Satan [the prince of evil spirits, the inveterate adversary of God and Christ (Strong. 2001. #4567)]. (Revelation 2:9).

Jesus knew the afflictions and poverty of the church in Smyrna. Yet Jesus also knew they were rich. During this time there was a large population of Jews living in Smyrna and were hostile to the church in Smyrna. They killed the early Christians, they called themselves Jews but they really belonged to the synagogue of satan, and persecuted the followers of Jesus Christ. Christian in Smyrna had to endure for the name of Christ. Jesus wanted the church in Smyrna to know they were rich in spirit. The Sermon on the Mount Jesus told His disciples “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12). James, the author of the Book of James, tells us; “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” (James 2:5).

Encouragement to the Church of Smyrna:

Jesus gives the church of Smyrna encouragement; “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried that is to try or test one’s faith, virtue, character, by enticement to sin, to solicit to sin, to tempt (Strong. 2001. #3985); and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10).

The devil who shall cast some into prison. The devil is defined as; 1) prone to slander, slanderous, accusing falsely, a calumniator, false accuser, slanderer, 2) metaph. applied to a man who, by opposing the cause of God, may be said to act the part of the devil or to side with him. Satan the prince of the demons, the author of evil, persecuting good men, estranging mankind from God and enticing them to sin, afflicting them with diseases by means of demons who take possession of their bodies at his bidding. (Strong. 2001. #1228). It is the devil who will be the cause of their tribulation. The Church in Smyrna were warned to be alert, for the devil will turn the authorities against the congregation. They will be imprisoned and some will be put to death. This will strike fear into the hearts of the believers. The devil has many tricks to destroy the church in Smyrna.  Their affliction will last ten days. Their suffering will be endurable and the reward that Jesus promises will be worth all the suffering. The church of Smyrna are instructed to endure the tribulation and punishment as well as remaining faithful until death and the Lord will give them a crown of life. Those who endure the persecution, tribulation and punishment will have victory over death which is symbolized by the crown of life.

The Promise:

“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.”(Revelations: 2:11).

 There are two categories of resurrection. The First Resurrection involves the LORD God’s people and the Second Resurrection involves the people of the world, those of no faith, and those without Christ. (Holstein. 2004.). “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” (1 Corinthians 15:21-26). Jesus Christ is the first resurrection in the First Resurrection. He has completed resurrection and is in heaven and seated at the right hand of the LORD God. (Holstein. 2004.). “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Romans 8:29-30).

Second Resurrection:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. 30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” (John 5:24-30).

“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-15).


Green, E. M. B. and  Hemer, C. J. “Smyrna,” ed. D. R. W. Wood et al., New Bible Dictionary (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 1114–1115.

Holstein, Joanne B. and McFarland, Kathy L. (2004). Guided Bible Studies for Hungry Christians: 001 Foundation.  Ulyssian Publications.

Strong, James. (2001).The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Cite Article Source

MLA Style Citation:

Holstein, Joanne “The church in Smyrna:.” Becker Bible Studies Library June 2015.<,>.

APA Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne (2015, June) “The church in Smyrna:.” Becker Bible Studies Library. Retrieved from,.

Chicago Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne (2015) “The church in Smyrna:.” Becker Bible Studies Library (June),, (accessed).

Joanne Holstein is a Becker Bible Studies Teacher and Author of Guided Bible Studies for Hungry Christians. She is a graduate of Psychology/Christian and Bible Counseling with Liberty University. She is well-known as a counselor to Christian faithful who are struggling with tremendous burden in these difficult times. She is a leading authority on historical development of Christian churches and the practices and beliefs of world religions and cults.

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