We continue our study of the messages of the

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Presentations text content in We continue our study of the messages of the

Slide1

Slide2

We continue our study of the messages of the

Glorified

Christ to the seven churches, knowing that this message has had application to the church and Christians throughout history and still has meaningful application to us and our church today.

Slide3

We continue our study of the messages of the

Glorified

Christ to the seven churches, knowing that this message has had application to the church and Christians throughout history and still has meaningful application to us and our church today.

Slide4

The Church at Smyrna

Revelation 2:8–11 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: 9 “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.

Slide5

10 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. 11 “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.” ’

Slide6

With the passage containing Christ´s message to the church at Smyrna, we learn another valuable lesson about interpretation. While we can understand some of what is being said in this letter just by allowing the Scripture to speak and letting the

plain

sense make sense, there are some things that remain unclear.

Slide7

With the passage containing Christ´s message to the church at Smyrna, we learn another valuable lesson about interpretation. While we can understand some of what is being said in this letter just by allowing the Scripture to speak and letting the

plain

sense make sense, there are some things that remain unclear.

Slide8

For instance, what is this synagogue of Satan? If we search the whole Bible for where the words synagogue and Satan appear in the same verse, we only find this passage and the passage containing the letter to Philadelphia. Neither of these passages

explain

what the synagogue of Satan is.

Slide9

For instance, what is this synagogue of Satan? If we search the whole Bible for where the words synagogue and Satan appear in the same verse, we only find this passage and the passage containing the letter to Philadelphia. Neither of these passages

explain

what the synagogue of Satan is.

Slide10

Here is our trilemma:

We cannot discern the meaning just from the plain sense of the words.

The word

meanings

do not give a full explanation. We can look up synagogue and look up Satan, but putting those meanings together does not tell us what the synagogue of Satan was or who the people are who said they were Jews but are not.

We cannot find any other Scripture that gives us an explanation.

Slide11

Here is our trilemma:

We cannot discern the meaning just from the plain sense of the words.

The word

meanings

do not give a full explanation. We can look up synagogue and look up Satan, but putting those meanings together does not tell us what the synagogue of Satan was or who the people are who said they were Jews but are not.

We cannot find any other Scripture that gives us an explanation.

Slide12

However, because we know that Christ is sending this message to the church at Smyrna for them to

understand

and respond to His message, we know they did understand. That means they

knew

something we don´t know.

Slide13

However, because we know that Christ is sending this message to the church at Smyrna for them to

understand

and respond to His message, we know they did understand. That means they

knew

something we don´t know.

Slide14

However, because we know that Christ is sending this message to the church at Smyrna for them to

understand

and respond to His message, we know they did understand. That means they

knew

something we don´t know.

Slide15

This tells us we must broaden our search of the

context

of this passage. We have read the Scriptures around it. Now we need to study the

historical

context of Smyrna up to and including the period of time in which the message was sent. For this passage, this means that we should do some reading about the history of Smyrna up to around

100

A.D.

Slide16

This tells us we must broaden our search of the

context

of this passage. We have read the Scriptures around it. Now we need to study the

historical

context of Smyrna up to and including the period of time in which the message was sent. For this passage, this means that we should do some reading about the history of Smyrna up to around

100

A.D.

Slide17

This tells us we must broaden our search of the

context

of this passage. We have read the Scriptures around it. Now we need to study the

historical

context of Smyrna up to and including the period of time in which the message was sent. For this passage, this means that we should do some reading about the history of Smyrna up to around

100

A.D.

Slide18

This tells us we must broaden our search of the

context

of this passage. We have read the Scriptures around it. Now we need to study the

historical

context of Smyrna up to and including the period of time in which the message was sent. For this passage, this means that we should do some reading about the history of Smyrna up to around

100

A.D.

Slide19

This is not only something you can do, but is actually quite fun to do. You will learn a lot of interesting things. Many of the things you learn will not really have a bearing on the meaning of this passage, but they are interesting none the less. Those things may prove

valuable

in some other enterprise for you some day.

Slide20

This is not only something you can do, but is actually quite fun to do. You will learn a lot of interesting things. Many of the things you learn will not really have a bearing on the meaning of this passage, but they are interesting none the less. Those things may prove

valuable

in some other enterprise for you some day.

Slide21

When I am doing historical research, I usually keep a page (either paper or a digital page) handy on which to make notes. I often begin by jotting down

questions

I want to find answers to. As I find useful information, I write it on my page in the appropriate place and put a notation with it about the

source

. This allows me to go back to where I found the information, and it sometimes helps me to gauge the

reliability

of what I have found.

Slide22

When I am doing historical research, I usually keep a page (either paper or a digital page) handy on which to make notes. I often begin by jotting down

questions

I want to find answers to. As I find useful information, I write it on my page in the appropriate place and put a notation with it about the

source

. This allows me to go back to where I found the information, and it sometimes helps me to gauge the

reliability

of what I have found.

Slide23

When I am doing historical research, I usually keep a page (either paper or a digital page) handy on which to make notes. I often begin by jotting down

questions

I want to find answers to. As I find useful information, I write it on my page in the appropriate place and put a notation with it about the

source

. This allows me to go back to where I found the information, and it sometimes helps me to gauge the

reliability

of what I have found.

Slide24

When I am doing historical research, I usually keep a page (either paper or a digital page) handy on which to make notes. I often begin by jotting down

questions

I want to find answers to. As I find useful information, I write it on my page in the appropriate place and put a notation with it about the

source

. This allows me to go back to where I found the information, and it sometimes helps me to gauge the

reliability

of what I have found.

Slide25

Remember when doing research

outside

of the Bible: only the Scriptures are inerrant. Everything else is subject to having mistakes or being written from a less than objective viewpoint. Even things that are written from a

godless

perspective may prove helpful in terms of understanding subject matter. However, be careful not to give yourself to reading things that

promote

evil or wickedness.

Slide26

Remember when doing research

outside

of the Bible: only the Scriptures are inerrant. Everything else is subject to having mistakes or being written from a less than objective viewpoint. Even things that are written from a

godless

perspective may prove helpful in terms of understanding subject matter. However, be careful not to give yourself to reading things that

promote

evil or wickedness.

Slide27

Remember when doing research

outside

of the Bible: only the Scriptures are inerrant. Everything else is subject to having mistakes or being written from a less than objective viewpoint. Even things that are written from a

godless

perspective may prove helpful in terms of understanding subject matter. However, be careful not to give yourself to reading things that

promote

evil or wickedness.

Slide28

Remember when doing research

outside

of the Bible: only the Scriptures are inerrant. Everything else is subject to having mistakes or being written from a less than objective viewpoint. Even things that are written from a

godless

perspective may prove helpful in terms of understanding subject matter. However, be careful not to give yourself to reading things that

promote

evil or wickedness.

Slide29

For instance, you may need to understand something of the practice of witchcraft during the days of King Saul to understand Saul´s interaction with a witch. But you do not want to start reading books or articles intended to draw people into the

practice

of witchcraft or sorcery.

Slide30

For instance, you may need to understand something of the practice of witchcraft during the days of King Saul to understand Saul´s interaction with a witch. But you do not want to start reading books or articles intended to draw people into the

practice

of witchcraft or sorcery.

Slide31

It is never necessary to pursue a knowledge of

evil

in order to gain an understanding of God´s

Word

.

There is no lack of material on the history of Smyrna during the

Roman

period. Books, journals, and the internet have tons of material. Below is a summary of my own notes on Smyrna, first done from several good books, later updated by internet.

Slide32

It is never necessary to pursue a knowledge of

evil

in order to gain an understanding of God´s

Word

.

There is no lack of material on the history of Smyrna during the

Roman

period. Books, journals, and the internet have tons of material. Below is a summary of my own notes on Smyrna, first done from several good books, later updated by internet.

Slide33

It is never necessary to pursue a knowledge of

evil

in order to gain an understanding of God´s

Word

.

There is no lack of material on the history of Smyrna during the

Roman

period. Books, journals, and the internet have tons of material. Below is a summary of my own notes on Smyrna, first done from several good books, later updated by internet.

Slide34

It is never necessary to pursue a knowledge of

evil

in order to gain an understanding of God´s

Word

.

There is no lack of material on the history of Smyrna during the

Roman

period. Books, journals, and the internet have tons of material. Below is a summary of my own notes on Smyrna, first done from several good books, later updated by internet.

Slide35

Historical Notes On Smyrna And The Church In That CityStill exists as the modern city of Izmir, Turkey.

Slide36

The ancient city, like Ephesus 35 mi. to the south, was also a great trade city. Its deep harbor led to commercial greatness, and it was a city of great

wealth

. Also like Ephesus, it was a

politically

important city – a free, assize town in the Roman Empire.

Slide37

The ancient city, like Ephesus 35 mi. to the south, was also a great trade city. Its deep harbor led to commercial greatness, and it was a city of great

wealth

. Also like Ephesus, it was a

politically

important city – a free, assize town in the Roman Empire.

Slide38

The ancient city, like Ephesus 35 mi. to the south, was also a great trade city. Its deep harbor led to commercial greatness, and it was a city of great

wealth

. Also like Ephesus, it was a

politically

important city – a free, assize town in the Roman Empire.

Slide39

Because of its wealth and the pride of its citizens, Smyrna was a beautiful city as well. They called themselves “The Glory of Asia,” and it was a model of city planning. It had long, spacious streets that ran from the sea to the inland edge of the city. The most famous of these was called “Golden Street.”

Slide40

Along this street, another characteristic of the city was revealed. At the harbor end stood the Temple of Cybele. As one journeyed along the way he came to the temples of Apollo,

Asklepios

, and Aphrodite. At the far end of this boulevard, where the hills began, was the Temple of

Zeus

.

Slide41

Along this street, another characteristic of the city was revealed. At the harbor end stood the Temple of Cybele. As one journeyed along the way he came to the temples of Apollo,

Asklepios

, and Aphrodite. At the far end of this boulevard, where the hills began, was the Temple of

Zeus

.

Slide42

Everywhere in Smyrna, the splendor of

pagan

worship was manifest

.

Slide43

Everywhere in Smyrna, the splendor of

pagan

worship was manifest

.

Slide44

Smyrna was a premier center for Caesar Worship in the Roman Empire

.

Caesar

worship did not begin

suddenly

and by mere official decree

.

Several

hundred years before, people began to admire and then to worship in a vague and informal manner the “spirit of Rome.” That spirit became personified in

Dea

Roma, the goddess of Rome, whom people began to worship in more tangible ways, as they did the other Greco/Roman

gods.

Slide45

Smyrna was a premier center for Caesar Worship in the Roman Empire

.

Caesar

worship did not begin

suddenly

and by mere official decree

.

Several

hundred years before, people began to admire and then to worship in a vague and informal manner the “spirit of Rome.” That spirit became personified in

Dea

Roma, the goddess of Rome, whom people began to worship in more tangible ways, as they did the other Greco/Roman

gods.

Slide46

The first temple erected for the worship of

Dea

Roma was built in 196 B.C. and was built in Smyrna. In A.D.

26

, around the time Jesus was beginning His public ministry, Smyrna competed with six other cities for the right to build a temple to the reigning emperor Tiberius as a god.

Smyrna

won.

Slide47

The first temple erected for the worship of

Dea

Roma was built in 196 B.C. and was built in Smyrna. In A.D.

26

, around the time Jesus was beginning His public ministry, Smyrna competed with six other cities for the right to build a temple to the reigning emperor Tiberius as a god.

Smyrna

won.

Slide48

The first temple erected for the worship of

Dea

Roma was built in 196 B.C. and was built in Smyrna. In A.D.

26

, around the time Jesus was beginning His public ministry, Smyrna competed with six other cities for the right to build a temple to the reigning emperor Tiberius as a god.

Smyrna

won.

Slide49

By the end of the first century when Caesar worship became mandatory under the emperor

Domitian

, Smyrna was already an enthusiastic center for the worship of whatever monarch sat upon the throne of Rome.

Slide50

By the end of the first century when Caesar worship became mandatory under the emperor

Domitian

, Smyrna was already an enthusiastic center for the worship of whatever monarch sat upon the throne of Rome.

Slide51

The required worship of Caesar was simple. Annually, each person must, in the presence of officially designated witnesses, take a pinch of incense and burn it, saying with their mouth, “Caesar is

lord

.” With these few words said, the officials would give to them a

certificate

, good for a year, that they had done their religious duty. That being done, they were free to worship whatever gods they chose the rest of the year.

Slide52

The required worship of Caesar was simple. Annually, each person must, in the presence of officially designated witnesses, take a pinch of incense and burn it, saying with their mouth, “Caesar is

lord

.” With these few words said, the officials would give to them a

certificate

, good for a year, that they had done their religious duty. That being done, they were free to worship whatever gods they chose the rest of the year.

Slide53

The required worship of Caesar was simple. Annually, each person must, in the presence of officially designated witnesses, take a pinch of incense and burn it, saying with their mouth, “Caesar is

lord

.” With these few words said, the officials would give to them a

certificate

, good for a year, that they had done their religious duty. That being done, they were free to worship whatever gods they chose the rest of the year.

Slide54

Most people in the empire

accepted

the requirement as one of the less burdensome things imposed by Rome. Many even did it gladly, grateful for the “

Pax

Romana

,” the Roman

Peace

, under which they lived, and which made life better in many ways and much more predictable.

Slide55

Most people in the empire

accepted

the requirement as one of the less burdensome things imposed by Rome. Many even did it gladly, grateful for the “

Pax

Romana

,” the Roman

Peace

, under which they lived, and which made life better in many ways and much more predictable.

Slide56

Most people in the empire

accepted

the requirement as one of the less burdensome things imposed by Rome. Many even did it gladly, grateful for the “

Pax

Romana

,” the Roman

Peace

, under which they lived, and which made life better in many ways and much more predictable.

Slide57

Even many

Jews

did their political obligation to Rome with little more than grumbling among themselves. Faithful Jews, of course, considered it blasphemous to call a man “lord,” and some were

persecuted

because of it.

Slide58

Even many

Jews

did their political obligation to Rome with little more than grumbling among themselves. Faithful Jews, of course, considered it blasphemous to call a man “lord,” and some were

persecuted

because of it.

Slide59

Even many

Jews

did their political obligation to Rome with little more than grumbling among themselves. Faithful Jews, of course, considered it blasphemous to call a man “lord,” and some were

persecuted

because of it.

Slide60

But by far, the one group of people who opposed even this little bit of worship of a human king was the community of believers – the Christians, the church. True believers would

not

offer incense to the emperor and the lips could only utter “

Jesus

is Lord.”

Slide61

But by far, the one group of people who opposed even this little bit of worship of a human king was the community of believers – the Christians, the church. True believers would

not

offer incense to the emperor and the lips could only utter “

Jesus

is Lord.”

Slide62

They were therefore outlaws by definition and subject to persecution at the hands of the state at any time. Persecution was not continuous everywhere, but it hung above the heads of believers like an axe suspended with a single thread.

Slide63

The flames of enthusiasm for Rome and Caesar burned especially hot in Smyrna. In the days of Christ’s message through John the Apostle, the church at Smyrna was full of heroes, heroes who would not

compromise

their stand that Jesus, and Jesus alone was the Lord of their lives.

Slide64

The flames of enthusiasm for Rome and Caesar burned especially hot in Smyrna. In the days of Christ’s message through John the Apostle, the church at Smyrna was full of heroes, heroes who would not

compromise

their stand that Jesus, and Jesus alone was the Lord of their lives.

Slide65

Smyrna was also the residence of the “Synagogue of Satan.”

That

is not, of course, the name inscribed above the door of the building. If it were like virtually every other synagogue in the world at the time, its official title was “The Synagogue of the

Lord

.”

Slide66

Smyrna was also the residence of the “Synagogue of Satan.”

That

is not, of course, the name inscribed above the door of the building. If it were like virtually every other synagogue in the world at the time, its official title was “The Synagogue of the

Lord

.”

Slide67

This was the name given the synagogue in Smyrna which was filled with Jews who both were willing themselves to

accommodate

Caesar worship, but who also despised

Christians

because of their faith in Jesus as Messiah.

Slide68

This was the name given the synagogue in Smyrna which was filled with Jews who both were willing themselves to

accommodate

Caesar worship, but who also despised

Christians

because of their faith in Jesus as Messiah.

Slide69

This was the name given the synagogue in Smyrna which was filled with Jews who both were willing themselves to

accommodate

Caesar worship, but who also despised

Christians

because of their faith in Jesus as Messiah.

Slide70

These Jews kept careful tabs on all the Christians and were more than eager to

tattle

to the Roman officials that this Christian or that had no certification of their required worship of Caesar.

Slide71

These Jews kept careful tabs on all the Christians and were more than eager to

tattle

to the Roman officials that this Christian or that had no certification of their required worship of Caesar.

Slide72

Polycarp, the

pastor

of the church at Smyrna was martyred in the city in 156 A.D.

Slide73

Polycarp, the

pastor

of the church at Smyrna was martyred in the city in 156 A.D.

Slide74

Polycarp, the

pastor

of the church at Smyrna was martyred in the city in 156 A.D

.

When

given the choice of sacrifice to Caesar or be burned alive, Polycarp said, “Eighty and six years have I served Christ, and He has never done me wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?”

Slide75

Now we are ready to try to understand the meaning of these four verses.

2:8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life:

- Jesus is saying, “No matter what falls in between, it all begins and ends with me. Remember my

resurrection

. Know yours is coming.”

Slide76

Now we are ready to try to understand the meaning of these four verses.

2:8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life:

- Jesus is saying, “No matter what falls in between, it all begins and ends with me. Remember my

resurrection

. Know yours is coming.”

Slide77

9 “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich);

-

Jesus was not unaware of their dire conditions. He knew their

faithfulness

in the midst of

adversity

. He knew their tribulation, literally “pressure,” with which they lived daily. He knew their poverty – and they were poor, literally; ostracized from society, excluded from jobs, their homes robbed and goods pilfered with little recourse.

Slide78

9 “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich);

-

Jesus was not unaware of their dire conditions. He knew their

faithfulness

in the midst of

adversity

. He knew their tribulation, literally “pressure,” with which they lived daily. He knew their poverty – and they were poor, literally; ostracized from society, excluded from jobs, their homes robbed and goods pilfered with little recourse.

Slide79

9 “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich);

-

Jesus was not unaware of their dire conditions. He knew their

faithfulness

in the midst of

adversity

. He knew their tribulation, literally “pressure,” with which they lived daily. He knew their poverty – and they were poor, literally; ostracized from society, excluded from jobs, their homes robbed and goods pilfered with little recourse.

Slide80

Yet the exalted Jesus said, “But you are

rich

,” speaking of the things they had which money could not buy and the wealthy but

lost

citizens of Smyrna could not have!

Slide81

Yet the exalted Jesus said, “But you are

rich

,” speaking of the things they had which money could not buy and the wealthy but

lost

citizens of Smyrna could not have!

Slide82

Yet the exalted Jesus said, “But you are

rich

,” speaking of the things they had which money could not buy and the wealthy but

lost

citizens of Smyrna could not have!

Slide83

and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

– Blasphemy is literally

slander

. They are not true Jews, and Satan himself has taken control of their synagogue.

Slide84

and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

– Blasphemy is literally

slander

. They are not true Jews, and Satan himself has taken control of their synagogue.

Slide85

10 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.

– Do not fear what you are about to suffer. More

persecution

is coming.

Slide86

10 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.

– Do not fear what you are about to suffer. More

persecution

is coming.

Slide87

Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

– Be faithful even if it means death. Your reward will be the crown of life.

Slide88

11 “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.” ’

– They may inflict upon you the first death; but because your faith is in Jesus Christ, the second death (

hell

) cannot touch you.

Slide89

11 “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.” ’

– They may inflict upon you the first death; but because your faith is in Jesus Christ, the second death (

hell

) cannot touch you.

Slide90

The Applications

The application to the church of Smyrna in John´s day is easy to see.

Slide91

The Applications

Historically, the Smyrna period was from

A.D. 170 – 312.

While Smyrna was a center of Christian

persecution

, it was hardly alone. From the first persecution by Nero in 64 A.D. until 250 A.D., persecutions were usually local but nonetheless severe. The most severe, empire wide persecution came under Diocletian.

Slide92

The Applications

Historically, the Smyrna period was from

A.D. 170 – 312.

While Smyrna was a center of Christian

persecution

, it was hardly alone. From the first persecution by Nero in 64 A.D. until 250 A.D., persecutions were usually local but nonetheless severe. The most severe, empire wide persecution came under Diocletian.

Slide93

The Applications

It began in 303 A.D. and lasted for

10

years. (Rev. 2:10 “ten days”) This period produced both many martyrs and many “fall

aways

” who recanted their faith. The rise of Constantine to power and his military victory in 312 brought an end to the persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire itself.

Slide94

The Applications

It began in 303 A.D. and lasted for

10

years. (Rev. 2:10 “ten days”) This period produced both many martyrs and many “fall

aways

” who recanted their faith. The rise of Constantine to power and his military victory in 312 brought an end to the persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire itself.

Slide95

The Applications

The application of these words to our church in our day may be more

literal

than we want to imagine.

Slide96

The Applications

The application of these words to our church in our day may be more

literal

than we want to imagine.

Slide97

Slide98

Slide99

Slide100

Slide101

Slide102

Slide103


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