The second church I’ll be looking into is the Church of Smyrna – the Persecuted church. This was a fairly short analysis for me but interesting to look into nonetheless.
The passage concerning the Church of Smyrna is fairly quick but still holds a wealth of information. They are a church going through “tribulation” but Jesus comforts them in the midst of this. Although they are facing challenges and may be seen as poor in the flesh, they are “rich” – rich in Christ, “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.” (Revelation 2:9) It also looks like there are those that say they are a part of this church but are actually wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may also be thrown into prison by these deceivers to be tried. However, those that overcome this even unto death get rewarded with the crown of life,
“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.’” (Revelation 2:10-11)
A quick note I want to make here is that Jesus mentions the 2nd death, this being the resurrection of those who aren’t born again are judged for their works and thrown into the lake of fire after the great white thrown judgment (Revelation 20:13-15). The thing is though as new creations in Christ, we already get eternal life so isn’t this kind of “obvious”? He says those that overcome are exempt of this. Overcome what? How do you overcome? This part although we have all done as Christians may not seem so “obvious” or may be so “simple” that we miss it. He doesn’t just use this to speak to the Church of Smyrna alone, this language is used with nearly all the churches and is riddled around Revelation.
Revelation 12:11 tells us plainly what it means to overcome as a follower of Christ, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” Anyone that declares Jesus as Lord and believes in the blood atonement of his sacrifice is an overcomer! What’s even more amazing is that Jesus has already done half of the work for us! It’s by his blood that we can be overcomers in the first place. After realizing and believing this truth, we just need to confess it and the process is complete; amazing grace indeed.