Christian Church persecution started right after Pentecost in Jerusalem. The Jewish Pharisees and temple leaders did not like the apostles and new converts preaching what Jesus preached. As the church grew and spread all over the Roman empire, the Romans then persecuted the Christians severely.
Smyrna, the Persecuted Church
In the 2nd letter from Jesus to the churches in the Book of Revelation, we read…
“Write this letter to the angel (messenger) of the church in Smyrna. This is the message from the one who is the First and the Last, who was dead but is now alive:
“I know about your suffering and your poverty—but you are rich! I know the blasphemy of those opposing you. They say they are Jews, but they are not, because their synagogue belongs to Satan. Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.
“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. Whoever is victorious will not be harmed by the second death.”Revelation 2:8-11
This video from the Bible App, study “Prophetic Gallery Series” dives deep in to the Church of Smyrna…
In this letter, there’s no warning — no scolding. It’s 1 of the 2 churches not warned. Jesus tells them that their suffering will last for “10 days”. This could be the 10 waves of suffering that the church went through between 100 and 300 AD. Christian persecution only stopped when Constantine declared that the whole Roman Empire would become Christian and worship Jesus alone instead of all the pagan gods.
There is Much Suffering Now
Beside the current suffering that many people are going through with the coronavirus pandemic, there are churches in many places around the world who are persecuted. For more information, visit Voice of the Martyrs (Note: VOTM is an ecumenical organization supported by both Catholics and Protestants.)
Jesus reminds the church at Smyrna that He is the “First and the Last, who was dead but is now alive…” That is the hope that we have to hold on to throughout our current suffering. And the letter ends with what He wants the church, and us, to do…
“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. Whoever is victorious will not be harmed by the second death.”Revelation 2:11
What is the Second Death?
In Revelation 20, we read about the second death as God’s final judgment against sin. However, here it has another meaning — physical death. God’s children — born-again believers — need not fear death at all! Remember, he told us in verse 8, that He is the “First and the Last, who was dead but is now alive.” Just as Jesus died and is now alive, He promises His faithful followers — who hold out and are victorious — they will have eternal life.
And Jesus keeps His promises.
The Crown of Life
God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.James 1:12
If you want that crown of life as well as all the benefits of salvation including the 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven then…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
Pray this prayer humbly and wholeheartedly…
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Please forgive me. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and my life to you. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. I will follow you for the rest of my life. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
- Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
- Sola Fide (“Faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
- Sola Gratia (“Grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
- Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Savior, Redeemer, Lord and King
- Soli Deo Gloria (“to God alone be the Glory.”): It’s all about God not us.
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