Smyrna means “bruised myrrh” which gave of its fragrance when crushed or bruised. Church is at its best and purist when bruised by persecution. “The myrrh of the church ascends as fragrant perfume in the worship of His name.” - Dr. M.L. Lowe
Smyrna is a picture of the second period of Church History, the period of persecution, 100-315 AD. During that time 10 different Caesars of the Roman Empire afflicted (bruised) Christians (Church) throughout the Empire. In AD 313 the edict of Milan was set forth by which the church was placed on equal footing with other religions of the Empire under Emperor Constantine. [“THE BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS IS THE SEED OF THE CHURCH.” Never did Christians glorify their Lord as in the days of martyrdom. This is where the fragrance of the “bruised myrrh” ascended to Heaven.] – Dr. M.L. Lowe
Smyrna was called “The Glory of Asia.” Like Ephesus it was a rallying point for heathen worshippers. They used myrrh in their sacrifices and embalming their dead.
Smyrna represents the PERIOD OF PERSECUTION. Among its many martyrs were early church fathers: Ignatius, Polycarp, Justin; Polycarp was bishop (overseer, head pastor) of the church in Smyrna when he was burned at the stake in the acropolis “crown” of Smyrna.
Christ is seen as the “first and the last which was dead and is alive.” – the God of the Resurrection. Yet, though they would die for their faith they would live again. C.f. 1:17-18.
Myrrh was one of the gifts of the Wiseman brought at the birth of Christ. It was a gift of burial spice. He was born to die. Note: at His Second Coming – no myrrh Isa. 60:6 just gold and frankincense
I. CHRIST’S MESSAGE – “I know…” 1:9-10
A. Thy Works vs. 9
B. Thy Tribulation vs. 10 “10 days” Prophetic History of
Ten Dynasties of persecution - Under Nero,
Domitian, Trajan, Antonius, Severus, Maximian,
Decius, Valerian, Aurelian and Diocletian
C. Thy Poverty II Cor. 6:10; cf. Rev. 3:17
D. Thy Conflicts – Blasphemy, Satan counterfeits’ legalist philosophy or Judizers
II. CHRIST’S COMFORTS – 1:10
A. Fear not,
B. It won’t last forever, suffering is temporary
III. CHRIST’S ADMONISHMENT -1:10-11
A. Be Faithful
B. Be Rewarded James 1:12 Martyrs crown, crown of life or resurrection
C. Be Attentive vs. 11a
D. Be Warned vs. 11b
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