The Seven Churches of Revelation Smyrna
Why are Christians persecuted? • Theological • Political • Economic • Social
All things work together for the good to those who love God…and are the called according to His purpose. Rom 8:28 • Preventive (2 Cor. 12:7) • Disciplinary (1 Cor. 11:30-32; Heb.12:3-13) • Educative (Heb. 5:8, Rom. 5:3-5) • Testimonial (Acts 9:16)
Messages contain the last audible statements to the church by Christ. Involves the visible church (believer and unbelievers) and not the invisible. Each correspond the seven Mystery Kingdom Parables. (Matt. 13)
7 literal/historical churches The number 7 deals with completion/totality. The churches represent 7 types of churches All 7 types exist throughout the church age. One type will dominate certain periods of church history (successively) Some statements go beyond the local situation to apply to the church in general.
Destination: • Smyrna =Myrrh –death and embalming • Roman Persecution Church 100-313 A.D. • Description of Christ • Jesus’ resurrection • Wheat and Tares Parable Matt. 13
24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?' 28 He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' The servants said to him, 'Do you want us then to go and gather them up?' 29 But he said, 'No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.“
36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field." 37 He answered and said to them: "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
4. Commendation • Patience in Enduring in suffering (Hebrews , 1 Peter, James) • thlipsis=Tribulation/Pressure • Ptocheia=Abject poverty • slander
5. Exhortation: • Don’t fear the specific things you are facing (10 days of persecution) • Local • 10 Roman campaigns to persecute the church (96-313 AD) • Nero (64 A.D.) • Domitian (c.90-96) • Trajan (98-117) • Hadrian (117-138) • Marcus Aurelius (161-181) • Septimus Severus (202-211) • Maximus the Thracian (235-251) • Decius (249-251) • Valerian (257-260) • Diocletian / Galerius (303-311)
The Significance of Ten • 10 utterances from God during the six days of creation • 10 dreams in Genesis • 10 Curses during the Fall • 10 commands Mosaic Law • 10 praises in Psalm 150 • 10 Nations named in the Abrahamic Cov. Gen 15 • 10 Generation Matt. and Luke • Ten represents a unity/plurality made up of parts. • The number ten is a traditional symbol of fulfillment and a return to unity after having gone through an experience • The experience is represented by single-digit numbers and so ten symbolizes the concept of totality or all inclusiveness.
6. Exhortation: • Be faithful to death-remain faithful in the midst of the pressure, the poverty and the slander. • 7. Promise • Though your lives might be sacrificed they cannot take away your true riches
Application Jesus knows what we are going through “oida.” Know by virtue of experience. “ Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Heb. 4:14-16
2. Jesus gives us a new value system. The riches and rewards of Christ were better than the worlds. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. 2 Cor. 8:9
3. Suffering can only be endured by prospective transformation of the temporal world vs. the eternal: 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Cor. 4:16-18