As we proceed through Jesus’ letters to the seven churches we come to the second church which is often known as the suffering church – Smyrna. Jesus wants to prepare His Church for facing persecution. In Korea, American POW’s had an increased number of defections and the military discovered it was because the soldiers had not been adequately trained in how to face capture and torture. When I went into the service in the late 50’s, I went through many classes on how to resist enemy intimidation and captivity. That is what this letter is about because Jesus knows that all who will live godly will suffer persecution and we must be strong enough to go through it. We will begin with a video on the church of Smyrna.
One of the phrases used in this letter is “I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are of the synagogue of Satan”. Jesus dealt with this problem often during His ministry.
“They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. … Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” – John 8:39-44
The issue was the religious in Jesus’ day enjoyed the benefits of their religious positions but, they did not want to do what their religion taught. As Jesus said to the Smyrna church “they say they are Jews and are not, but are of the synagogue (congregation) of Satan.”
This truth applies to today as well as then. There are many who claim the name of Christian but, they do not follow the teachings of Jesus. When true Christians stand on the truth – they will be seen as judgmental, bigoted, discriminatory, and hateful. As we approach the end of days, this reaction will intensify causing many to be offended and to “sell out” to the world.
President Obama claims to be a Christian but he celebrates the homosexual – lesbian lifestyle by lighting up the White House in rainbow colors, even though the Bible is clearly against it.
“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.” – Romans 1:26,27
Churches and ministers are claiming Islam and Christianity are just different ways to the same God equating Allah with Jehovah. The Pope is seeking to establish a world religion where all religions are equal paths to the same God. But, Jesus clearly denied this –
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” – John 14:6
These pressures will increase as world hunger and poverty increases. We in America are not affected with this but, many are saying it is near.
As we get to the seals of Revelation 6, you will see how wars and food shortages will greatly increase the pressure of hunger.
“And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.” – Revelation 6:6
A denarius was about a days wage in Biblical times so this is prophesying a time of hunger when a mere quart of wheat would cost a day’s wage.
One of the main lessons here is to understand that we are just pilgrims on this earth and our time here is limited. So don’t build your kingdom here!
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” – Matthew 6:19,20
(Part three of Revelation Timeline will continue)