Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Seven Churches of Revelation: Smyrna Part 3 of 8

The Seven Churches of Revelation

David Q. Santos

2. Smyrna: The Persecuted Church

Revelation 2:8-11 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. 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.
The church at Smyrna was a heavily persecuted church. It was a “seaport city about 35 miles north of Ephesus (called Izmir today). It was a center of the imperial cult of Rome.”[1] Smyrna is commended for suffering gracefully. This is the first church to not receive any criticism. They are instructed to be faithful even until death if need by. Prophetically, this church represents the times of the persecution of the church by the Roman Empire. This time period really got underway sometime after the rise of Caesar Nero which took place in 64 AD until 313 AD. The church during this time period would undergo ten waves of persecution directed by ten Roman Emperors. As Dr. Wallace wrote, “Christ labels Satan as being responsible for the suffering of these saints. He uses the little term ‘tribulation for ten days.’ There were ten periods of persecution under different Roman Emperors.”[2] These Emperors were:

Ten Roman Emperors who Persecuted the Church[3]
1. Nero 64-68 AD: Paul beheaded
2. Domitian 95-96: John exiled
3. Trajan 104-117: Ignatius burned at the stake
4. Marcus Aurelius 161-180: Polycarp martyred
5. Serverus 200-211
6. Maximus 235-237
7. Decius 250-253
8. Valerian 257-260
9. Arurlain 270-275
10. Diocletian 303-313: The worst emperor

Work Cited:
Courson, Jon. Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: New Testament. Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2003.
Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible. Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nashville TN. 1997.
Ryrie, Charles, Caldwell. Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth. Chicago IL. Moody Press. 1999.
Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. The Ryrie Study Bible. Chicago, Moody Press. 1978.
Showers, Renald Dr. Maranatha: Our Lord, Come! The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc. Bellmawr, NJ. 1995.
Strong’s Bible Dictionary. The Online Bible Millennium Edition Version 1.2. Winterbourne Ontario, Canada. 1999.
Scofield C.I. Rev. D.D. Scofield Reference Bible-Reproduction of 1917. Greenville, SC. Stonehaven Press.
Townsend, Jeffrey L. The Rapture in Revelation 3:10. Dallas Texas. Bibliotheca Sacra. July-Sept 1980.
Wallace, Roy Dr. Studies from Revelation. Shreveport, Louisiana. Lin Wel Publishing. 2002.
Walvoord, John F. The Rapture Question. Grand Rapids MI. Zondervan Publishing House. 1979.
Walvoord, John F. The Revelation of Jesus Christ: A Commentary By John F. Walvoord. Chicago. Moody Press. 1966.

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[1] Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. The Ryrie Study Bible. Pg 1897.
[2] Wallace, Roy Dr. Studies from Revelation. Pg 22.
[3] Wallace, Roy Dr. Studies from Revelation. Pg 22.

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