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Lesson #07

RETURN TO SYLLABUS

REVELATION 2:8-11
LESSON #07
THE PERSECUTED CHURCH—SMYRNA

  • MEMORY VERSE: REV 2:11
  • READ REV 2:8-11 SMYRNA
    • BACKGROUND:
      • THE NAME SMYRNA MEANS = MYRRH OR BITTER
        • MYRRH WAS ONE OF THE PRINCIPAL COMMERCIAL PRODUCTS OF THIS CITY.
          • WHAT OTHER REFERENCE IS THERE IN THE BIBLE TO MYRRH?
            • THE WISE MEN GAVE JESUS THE GIFT OF MYRRH WHEN HE WAS A BABY.
          • MYRRH IS A BERRY THAT HAD TO BE CRUSHED IN ORDER TO RELEASE ITS FRAGRANCE. IT WAS USED AT FUNERALS AND FOR HEALING.
            • MYRRH REPRESENTS JESUS AS OUR SUFFERING SAVIOR AND HEALER WHO WAS CRUSHED BUT WAS VICTORIOUS.
              • VERSE 8 TELLS US THAT JESUS WAS DEAD AND IS ALIVE (8)
                • WHEN JESUS COMES AGAIN HE WILL RECEIVE OFFERINGS OF GOLD AND FRANKINCENSE, BUT NOT MYRRH, AS HE WILL APPEAR AS THE MIGHTY SOVEREIGN AND NOT THE SUFFERING SERVANT. (ISA 60:6)
            • MYRRH ALSO REPRESENTS THE SUFFERING OF BELIEVERS.
              • NOTICE THAT THIS IS THE PERSECUTED CHURCH IN CHURCH HISTORY.
    • THE ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF THE CITY OF SMYRNA:
      • SMYRNA WAS A SEAPORT CITY WITH MANY TRADE GUILDS ON THE TRADE ROUTE FROM INDIA AND PERSIA TO ROME. IT CLAIMED TO BE THE MOST BEAUTIFULLY PLANNED GREEK CITY. IT HAD A STREET OF GOLD WITH THE TEMPLE OF ZEUS AT ONE END AND A TEMPLE OF CYBELLE AT THE OTHER. IT WAS ALSO CALLED “THE CITY OF LIFE AND STRENGTH”.
    • THE RELIGIOUS IMPORTANCE OF THE CITY OF SMYRNA:
      • THE TEMPLE OF THE GODDESS OF ROME WAS HERE SO IT WAS THE SEAT OF EMPEROR WORSHIP. IN 26 AD A TEMPLE IN HONOR OF EMPEROR TIBERIUS WAS BUILT HERE.
    • THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH IN SMYRNA:
      • THE PEOPLE IN THIS CITY PROBABLY RECEIVED THE GOSPEL FROM EPHESUS.
        • TODAY THE CITY IS CALLED ISMIR, TURKEY AND IS A MODERN METROPOLIS
    • THE PROPHETIC HISTORICAL PERIOD:
      • THE PERSECUTED CHURCH OF 100-312 AD
        • MANY BELIEVERS WERE MARTYRED AT THE HANDS OF THE ROMAN GOVERNMENT AND BORE MUCH FRUIT IN CONVERTING A WHOLE EMPIRE.
    • CHRIST REVEALED:
      • THE FIRST, THE LAST, WAS DEAD AND IS ALIVE (8)
        • HE IS THE ETERNAL CHRIST WHO SUFFERED FOR US, NEVER TO SUFFER AND DIE AGAIN.
          • READ ISA 41:4 ISA 44:6 ISA 48:12
    • THE COMMENDATION:
      • FOR WHAT IS THE CHURCH PRAISED?
        • THE BELIEVERS IN THIS CHURCH ENDURED TRIBULATION, POVERTY, AND AFFLICTION.
          • FROM WHERE DOES THE PERSECUTION COME?
            • FROM JEWS WHO HARASS THE CHURCH. THEY ARE NOT GOD’S PEOPLE BUT BELONG TO SATAN. SATAN’S SYNAGOGUE IS HERE (9)
              • READ JOH 8:39-44
            • THIS PASSAGE INDICATES THAT SATAN IS THE INSTIGATOR OF PERSECUTION, WHILE MEN ARE THE INSTRUMENTS. (10)
              • TRIBULATION:
                • THIS WORD HERE DOES NOT REFER TO THE PERIOD OF THE TRIBULATION.
                • TRIBULATION (PERSECUTION) IS PRESSURE FROM WITHOUT AS OPPOSED TO PRESSURE THAT COMES FROM WITHIN.
                  • THE PURPOSE IS TO TEST US (10) (1PET 1:6-7)
                  • SOME PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE IN A RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH AFTER THE TRIBULATION PERIOD ARGUE THAT THIS IS AN INDICATION THAT THE CHURCH WILL GO THROUGH THE TRIBULATION PERIOD.
              • 10 DAYS (10)
                • THIS POSSIBLY REFERS TO THE 10 ERAS OF PERSECUTION UNDER THE CAESARS. THERE WERE 10 DIFFERENT EMPERORS WHO ATTEMPTED TO WIPE OUT CHRISTIANITY BY EDICT.
                  • NERO 54 AD
                  • DOMITIAN 81 AD
                  • TRAJAN98 AD
                  • ANTONINUS117 AD
                  • SEVERUS195 AD
                  • MAXIMIMO235 AD
                  • DECIUS249 AD
                  • VALERIAN254 AD
                  • AURELIAN270 AD
                  • DIOCLETIAN284 AD
                • OR IT COULD MEAN SIMPLY A GENERAL TERM TO INDICATE THAT THE TRIBULATION THEY EXPERIENCED WOULD NOT BE A LONG TIME TO ENDURE. (GEN 24:55 AND DAN 1:12)
                • OR IT COULD REFER TO THE 10TH PERSECUTION UNDER DIOCLETIAN WHICH LASTED EXACTLY TEN YEARS. 10 IS THE BIBLICAL NUMBER OF TESTING OF GOD’S STANDARD.
            • THE SAYING OF THE EMPEROR TERTULLIAN, “BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS IS THE SEED OF THE CHURCH”.
              • THERE WERE MANY UNBELIEVING INFLUENTIAL JEWS WHO OPPOSED THE CHURCH. THEY INCITED A MOB CALLING FOR THE DEATH OF BISHOP POLYCARP WHO WAS A DISCIPLE OF JOHN. HE WAS MARTYRED IN THIS CITY IN 155 AD BECAUSE HE REFUSED TO DENOUNCE CHRIST AND WORSHIP THE EMPEROR. THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS OF MARTYRDOMS IN CHRISTIAN HISTORY. MARTYR IS A GREEK WORD MEANING “WITNESS”.
                • READ JOH 15:18-20
        • POVERTY:
          • THIS CHURCH SUFFERED ABJECT POVERTY, BUT IT HAS TRUE WEALTH, SO THIS CHURCH IS CALLED THE POOR RICH CHURCH.
            • THE CHRISTIANS WERE PROBABLY ROBBED OF MATERIAL POSSESSIONS BY THEIR PERSECUTORS AND NOT GIVEN JOBS BECAUSE OF STRONG TRADE GUILDS THAT EXCLUDED CHRISTIANS.
        • AFFLICTION:
          • THE CHRISTIANS ENDURED BLASPHEMY AND MOCKING.
    • THE CORRECTION:
      • FOR WHAT DOES CHRIST CORRECT THIS CHURCH?
        • NOTHING. THIS IS ONE OF TWO CHURCHES THAT CHRIST DOES NOT CORRECT IN SOME WAY.
    • THE COUNSEL:
      • WHAT COUNSEL IS GIVEN?
        • FEAR NOT AND BE FAITHFUL
    • THE CHALLENGE:
      • WHAT DOES IT MEAN THAT THEY SHALL NOT BE HURT OF THE SECOND DEATH? WHAT IS THE FIRST DEATH?
          • THE FIRST DEATH IS PHYSICAL DEATH. THE SECOND DEATH IS ETERNAL SEPARATION FROM GOD IN THE LAKE OF FIRE.
          • THE FIRST AND THE SECOND DEATH

PHYSICAL DEATH

SPIRITUAL DEATH

THE RESULTS OF ADAM’S SIN GEN 2:17 THE RESULTS OF ADAM’S SIN GEN 2:17
A PHYSICAL EVENT HEB 9:27 A STATE OF BEING ROM 6:23 JUDE 12
1JOH 3:14
NO REMEDY EXCEPT THE RAPTURE
1THE 4:15-16
THE REMEDY IS THROUGH SALVATION IN JESUS CHRIST JOH 5:24 HEB 2:14
TRANSFORMATION FOR THE BELIEVER INTO “SLEEP” 1THE 4:14 TRANSFORMATION FOR THE BELIEVER INTO “LIFE” ROM 8:2 JOH 8:51 1JOH 5:12
ENDED AFTER THE MILLENNIUM IN THE LAKE OF FIRE REV 20:14 REV 21:4 THE ETERNAL STATE OF ALL NON BELIEVERS REV 20:14-15
      • THE CROWN OF LIFE (10)
        • ONE OF THE CROWNS THAT GOD WILL GIVE AS A REWARD TO BELIEVERS AT THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST.
          • THIS IS NOT A KING’S CROWN BUT A LAUREL LEAF TYPE CROWN LIKE THAT GIVEN AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES.
    • THE GENERAL CHARACTER OF THIS CHURCH:
      • THE POOR RICH CHURCH
        • POVERTY IN MATERIAL WEALTH BUT RICH IN SPIRITUAL WEALTH. BECAUSE THE BELIEVER’S TREASURE IS IN HEAVEN, SPIRITUAL WEALTH IS THE MORE VALUABLE. (MAT 6:20 2COR 8:9 EPH 3:8)
    • THE CHURCH WITH RESPECT TO A KINGDOM PARABLE:
      • THE PARABLE OF THE WHEAT AND TARES (MAT 13:24-30)
        • HOW DOES THIS PARABLE RELATE TO THIS CHURCH?
          • IN THIS WORLD, THERE IS THE TRUE AND THE COUNTERFEIT, THE GOOD AND THE EVIL. THESE SEEDS PRODUCE EITHER THE BELIEVERS IN JESUS CHRIST OR THE UNBELIEVERS ALLIED WITH SATAN. THIS DUALITY WILL BE THE CHARACTERISTIC OF LIFE ON EARTH UNTIL THE FINAL JUDGMENT WHEN THEY ARE SEPARATED. BELIEVERS WILL BE SEPARATED TO INHERIT ETERNAL LIFE AND UNBELIEVERS WILL BE SEPARATED TO INHERIT ETERNAL DAMNATION IN THE LAKE OF FIRE.
  • APPLICATION:
    • HOW TO BE AN OVERCOMER: #2 BE FAITHFUL TO CHRIST REGARDLESS OF PERSECUTION. HANG IN THERE AND YOU WILL REGAIN YOUR HOPE.
      • HOW DOES THIS CHURCH APPLY TO YOU?
        • WHILE WE DON’T HAVE THIS KIND OF PERSECUTION TODAY HERE IN THIS COUNTRY, THERE ARE MORE MARTYRS FOR CHRIST TODAY THAN AT ANY OTHER TIME IN HISTORY.
        • SCRIPTURE INDICATES THAT THIS KIND OF PERSECUTION WILL INCREASE AS THE DAYS GET CLOSER TO THE SECOND COMING.

HOMEWORK
REVELATION 2:12-17
THIS IS A SELF-STUDY. PLEASE DO NOT SEND HOMEWORK ANSWERS TO THE TEACHER FORCORRECTION.

  • APPLICATION OF REV 2:8-11
    • WHAT SPECIFIC THING DID YOU LEARN IN THIS LESSON THAT WOULD HELP THE BELIEVER TO SUFFER PERSECUTION VICTORIOUSLY?
  • PREPARATION FOR REV 2:12-17
    • READ REV 2:12-17
      • READ NUMBERS 22-25
        • WRITE THE CHARACTERISTICS YOU FIND CONCERNING THE DOCTRINE OF BALAAM
      • FOR WHAT DOES CHRIST PRAISE THIS CHURCH?
      • WHAT DOES CHRIST SAY NEEDS CORRECTION?
  • MEMORY VERSE: 1JOH 5:5

 

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About Joyce

Joyce
I came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in 1963 giving my heart to Jesus in a Billy Graham crusade in Los Angeles, CA. I have been teaching the Word of God since 1964, Usually two to three adult classes a week.

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