Friday, February 24, 2006
The Seven Churches
Rev 2. 8 – 11
The Church of Smyrna;
This as reference to the Church age of 100 A.D. to a little over 300 A.D., which was also the time of great persecution in the Church. 1000’s if not millions were killed for there faith in Christ.
The City of Smyrna was about 35 miles North of Ephesus. In 23 BC Smyrna erected a temple to the Emperor Tiberius for its faithfulness to Rome. Emperor worship became the religion or cult of the area.
Under such Emperor’s as Nero, Domitian severe persecution came to the Church.
Smyrna is known as Izmir in Turkey today.
At the time of Johns revelation Smyrna was the worship center of Zeus who was to the Romans equal to the supreme god, Jupiter.
The Church was also persecuted by Jews that rejected Christ which Jesus said they were not Jews, but under the control of satan.
Polycarp who lived from 69 AD to 156 AD is believed to be the Pastor of this Church at the time of the writing to the church.
He was faithful in teaching the gospel and had been taught by the Apostle John and others.
The Romans killed Polycarp because he would not deny Christ. They gave him the choice deny Jesus and live or keep your testimony and die. (Polycarp would not announce that Caesar was Lord and replied with this “ Eighty and six years have I served Jesus and He has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my KING who saved me”.
And with that statement on the Jewish Sabbath day, the Jews broke the law and carried wood to the Romans to burn him to his death.
This Church was in poverty, because the work force would not hire Christians.
There is coming a day that people will not be able to buy or sell unless they have the mark of the beast, I am planning on being gone before that time.
Church members of Smyrna were fled to lions and burned to death in the colesium while people would cheer in the stands.
It is believed over 5 million people during the years of 100 – 300 AD were killed for their testimony of Jesus Christ.
Fear was growing in the Church of Smyrna. Jesus said stop fearing those things, and at the same time did not give them any false encouragement, the persecution will get worse.
The devil shall cast [some] of you into prison, that ye may be tried;
Some would be cast into prison and experience severe testing. Some will die.
and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
Two things to keep in mind.
1. It will come to an end.
2.They can not rob you of your faith.
Even when Christians die they are winners. They receive a crown of life.
In the second and third centuries no less than 10 periods of persecution occurred under the Roman emperors. Millions of Christians were burned at the stake, thrown to hungry lions, tortured and killed in many ways. But even death could not stop the spread of the Gospel of Jesus.
By A.D.306 Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. This ultimately led to the Roman Catholic Church.
Re 2:10 Fear none of those things ………………….be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.