THE NEW TESTAMENT
Chapter One hundred-thirty-two
The REVELATION of Jesus Christ
The SMYRNA CHURCH
Smyrna means "myrrh" - a rich and prosperous city of Ionia,
forty miles N of Ephesus, at the mouth of the small river Meles.
Anciently it was one of the finest cities of asia Minor and was
called "the lovely - the crown of Ionia - the ornament of Asia."
to its credit the church at Smyrna was still faithful, and
against her no word of reproach was uttered. It was Polycarp's
field of Christian usefulness, and here he suffered martyrdom,
around A.D. 169. (The New Unger's Bible Dictionary).
Jesus again reaffirms He was the first and the last -
eternal. He was dead once, but is alive forever more. Jesus, as
God in the flesh, did not exist for three days and three night,
He was as dead as a door nail, as the saying goes. If it was not
for the power of the Father to raise Him back to life, He would
still be dead, and we would have no salvation. we are saved not
only by His death, but also by His life (Romans 5:10).
Jesus tells the church at Smyrna that their works, their
tribulation and their poverty (but rich in the things that count)
He knows well. He knows also those who claim to be spiritual
Jews, but are indeed the synagogue or church of Satan, and what
they claim is blaspheming. He tells these faithful followers of
Him to not fear the things they may suffer: indeed the Devil will
have some of them thrown into prison, to be tried. They will have
tribulation ten days. If they will remain faithful unto death, He
will give them a crown of life. Those who overcome and stay
faithful, shall not suffer from the second death (chapter 20:14).
The second death is the lake of fire, which shall burn up
the wicked, as they become ashes under the feet of the righteous.
See the studies on "Death - then what?" which also covers the
subject of the second death, for the un-repentant wicked.
This is the church of ONLY TWO that have no reproaches said
The truth for our spiritual lesson is obvious. Remain
zealously faithful even unto death.
Church history shows that the largest and greatest
"Christian" persecution was under Diocletian from 303 to 313 A.D.
It was exactly 10 years. Using the prophetic day for a year, we
do then have a ten year great persecution against the truth of
The time age of the first church had ended, when is not
known, but probably into the third century. False teachers had
come, many by this time. The church at Rome was gaining power in
numbers and doctrine. There was one last overall persecution of
anyone under the name of Christian from 303 to 313. It was
Constantine who adopted Roman Christianity, won the battles to
become Roman Emperor, and DECREED a stop to Christian
persecution, at least against Roman Christianity. It was
Constantine who brought in the Sunday laws in about 321 A.D. The
Roman church had been observing Sunday for some time, before
Constantine gave the Sunday official status in the Roman Empire.
Also the Roman church had been observing Easter instead of
Passover for about 200 years by 313 A.D.
So it was that by 313 A.D. there were MANY, not the few, who
claimed to be spiritual Jews, but God knew what they really were,
they were deceived by Satan the Devil.
After 313 A.D. the focus of the Roman Empire was on
persecution of those who differed with the Bishop of Rome, and
the Roman Catholic (the word "catholic" means "universal")
religion. For a number of hundreds of years the true Church of
God was indeed under mighty persecution as we find in the church
of Pergamos as the time of the age moved along.
Pergamum, a city in Asia Minor, about 200 miles from the
sea. It had a vast library of 200,000 volumes at one time. In
this town was first discovered the art of making parchment, which
was called "pergamena." The city was greatly addicted to
idolatry, and its grove, which was one of the wonders of the
place, was filled with statutes and altars. Here was one of the
seven churches of Revelation 2:13. The wealth of the Attalic
princes had raised Pergamum to the rank of the first city in Asia
as regards splendor. It was a sort of union of pagan cathedral
city, a university town, and a royal residence, embellished
during a succession of years by kings who all had a passion for
expenditure and ample means of gratifying it (The New Unger's
Please read the above again. Let it sink in what you have
read. Now, think about the city of ROME, in the Roman Empire
until the Empire fell about 500 A.D. Even after that, think about
Rome and the mighty influence it had in the world of
Christianity, under kings and bishops that also wanted wealth and
splendor. The connection should be obvious. Rome was the Pergamum
of the Western world from the time of Constantine to the middle
ages and the famous Protestant Reformation battle under Luther.
The spiritual lesson is clear. Do not mix idolatry and any
stumbling block before yourself that will lead you away from
serving and obeying the way and life and laws of the true eternal
Jesus, who has the two edged sharp sword, the Word of God,
says He knew His true followers in the Pergamos time age of the
Church of God. He knew their works, And He knew that many of them
lived where Satan's seat was. Now, was the old literal city of
Pergamum, at the time of the last years of the first century when
John was writing this revelation of Christ, the CENTER, the SEAT
of Satan? When you consider WHAT the city of ROME was becoming in
the way of so-called "Christianity" by the end of the first
century A.D. the city of Pergamum could not have been the SEAT of
Satan! When you consider what Polycarp and Polycrates did in
going to ROME over certain doctrinal issues, during the second
century, it is clear that ROME was the SEAT of Satan.
Anti-pas can be a derivation of Anti-patris "instead of his
father" - put in simple language, "instead of father" - against
the "father" in the Roman Catholic churches. There was as some
record the probability that a man by the name of Antipas was put
to death in the city of Pergamum. But the time setting of it all
could well fit the true church of God being against what the
Roman Catholic church was teaching. The idolatry, things tied in
with mystery spiritual fornication and idols, dressed up in
Christian names is fitting during the powerful rise and
domination of the Roman Catholic religion until the Protestant
This is again brought out in verse 15, where we again meet
the doctrines of the Nicolaitans - the rulership over people. The
true church of God, hated as Jesus did, the teaching that
individual people as pastors and bishops had FULL DICTATOR
RULERSHIP over the people.
Satan had a HUGE SEAT of POWER at ROME, the influence of the
Roman Catholic religion for a 1,000 years and more, was
staggering to say the least. It not only ruled the religious life
of people, it was also very political, and governed much of
secular life, such as claiming the earth was flat and other such
teachings. It persecuted people who said the earth was NOT flat.
It branded all who did not accept its teachings in theology and
otherwise, as HERETICS.
So for hundreds of years God's people fought the religion of
Rome. For the most part God's children remained faithful and
true, BUT as it is with time, eventually the people of God caved
in, got spiritually lazy, were slowly decaying. The church
history of Britain shows as recorded by the famous Bede, that by
700 A.D. the Catholic church had gained strong footing in
Britain. Again, the Passover as observed by John and Polycarp,
and brought to England, under the early apostles, was conquered
by the Roman Easter. The 7th day Sabbath observation in Britain
was finally destroyed by 1100 A.D. (The Welsh held on to it until
By and into the second millennium A.D. God's people had to
be told to REPENT, or that candlestick of the Pergamos time age,
was going to be corrected very harshly by the mouth of the Lord.
If the people of the Almighty would REPENT, they would then
overcome and eat of the hidden manna, the true bread of life
(Jesus in truth), be given a WHITE stone (white represents
righteousness - see chapter 19:8), and in that stone a NEW name
only known to that righteous person. Exactly what that "name"
subject is all about ... well I cannot know to tell you, for only
he that has receives it knows. Will it be such for all eternity,
I cannot tell you the answer to that either.
All so far said, fits very well with the historical record of
Church History up to the time of around about the Protestant
Reformation, up to some time BEFORE and then INTO that historical
time age is the church of Thyatira.
As mentioned before, keep in mind that true church time ages
can OVERLAP by sometimes hundreds of years.
To be continued
Entered on this Website November 20097