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The Story of the Seer of Patmos - Contents
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    Smyrna, the second church addressed, was only about fifty miles from Ephesus, and doubtless knew of the conditions at the central church of Asia Minor; but as it was not a great trade center, many of the perplexities with which Ephesus MarginBehold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
    For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another. Isaiah 48:10, 11.
    Revelation 2:10.
    Having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
    But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
    had to contend were not present in Smyrna. Its members were poor, but still they worked earnestly for others. The wealth of Ephesus was one of the greatest drawbacks to the spirituality of that church; but Smyrna, though poor in worldly goods, was rich in the eyes of the Lord. Through false teachers, claiming to be the children of God, persecution came to those who wished to follow the teachings of Christ. The true Jew is an heir by faith of the inheritance promised to Abraham, but many pride themselves on the inheritance of the flesh. Such belong to the synagogue of Satan; for righteousness by works is the devil’s counterfeit of the Lord’s plan of salvation through faith alone in the merits of the Son of God. The words written by Paul in his letter to the Galatians, who had this same false teaching to meet, makes clear the difference between those who are children of promise and those who are Jews in name only. Paul illustrates the truth by repeating the life experience of Abraham. Ishmael, the son of Hagar, the Egyptian bondwoman, represents in allegory, those who hope to obtain righteousness by their own efforts. Such are the Jews against whom the church at Smyrna was warned. Isaac, the son of Sarah and Abraham, was the child of promise, and represents those who accept Christ by faith. “But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.” So to the Smyrna church God said, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful MarginFor the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
    But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 1 Timothy 6:8-11.
    Ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.
    And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. Luke 21:12-17.
    Titus 1:9-11.
    For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
    But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. Romans 2:28, 29.
    Romans 9:31.
    Romans 4:3-7.
    Wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
    Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
    Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? James 2:14-26.
    Galatians 3:8-10, 26-29.
    Galatians 4:22-31.
    We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. Isaiah 64:6.
    Romans 3:23.
    Galatians 4:29.
    unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” The message was signed by Him “which was dead, and is alive.” Christ’s sacrifice of life and His victory over death, was pointed to by Gabriel as a special lesson and source of encouragement to those followers who would be called to pass through the fire of persecution. By faith the martyrs could see the crown of eternal life held out to them by the Son of God.
    SSP 48.1

    The message came to Smyrna, a church in Asia Minor, and likewise to the Christian church as a whole, during the second and third centuries. It was a time when paganism was making its final stand for supremacy in the world. Christianity had spread with wonderful rapidity, until it was known throughout the world. Some embraced the faith of Christ because of heart conversion, others, because of the might of argument brought to bear, and still others, because they could see that the cause of paganism was waning, and policy led them to the side that promised to be victorious. These conditions weakened the spirituality of the church. The Spirit of Prophecy, which characterized the apostolic church, was gradually lost. This is a gift which brings the church to which it is entrusted, into the unity of the faith. When there MarginAnd unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive. Revelation 2:8.
    Numbers 14:34.
    Ezekiel 4:6.
    Revelation 1:18.
    Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
    But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:12, 13.
    1 Peter 1:5-9.
    Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
    For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Acts 20:28, 29.
    2 Thessalonians 2:2-7.
    I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Revelation 2:9.
    Daniel 11:34.
    Zechariah 3:6, 7.
    The law is no more; her prophets also find no vision from the Lord. Lamentations 2:9.
    were no longer true prophets, false teachings spread rapidly; the philosophy of the Greeks led to a false interpretation of the Scriptures, and the self-righteousness of the ancient Pharisees, so often condemned by Christ, again appeared in the midst of the church. The foundation was laid during the two centuries preceding the reign of Constantine for those evils which were fully developed during the two centuries following. During this period, martyrdom became popular in many parts of the Roman Empire. Strange as this may seem, it is none the less true. It was the result of the relationship existing between Christians and pagans.
    SSP 50.1

    In the Roman world the religion of all nations was respected, but the Christians were not a nation, they were but a sect of a despised race. When they therefore persisted in denouncing the religion of all classes of men, when they held secret meetings, and separated themselves entirely from the customs and practices of their nearest relatives and most intimate friends, they became objects of suspicion, and often of persecution, by the pagan authorities. Often they brought persecution upon themselves, when there was no spirit of opposition in the minds of the rulers. In illustration of this spirit, history gives the details of the execution of Cyprian, bishop of Carthage. When his sentence was read, a general cry arose from the listening multitude of Christians, who said, “We will die with him.”SSP 51.1

    The spirit with which many professed Christians accepted death, and even needlessly provoked the enmity of the government, probably had much to do with the passage, in 303, a. d., of MarginHe gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
    For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-16.
    When Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
    For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. Galatians 2:11, 12.
    They that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
    Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. 2 Peter 3:16, 17.
    Titus 1:9-13.
    2 Timothy 2:19, 20.
    Philippians 1:12-19.
    We desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against. Acts 28:22.
    Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. Acts 17:22.
    Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2.
    Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. 1 John 2:15.
    As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance. 1 Peter 1:14.
    Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.
    And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. Mark 13:12, 13.
    Psalm 31:11-13.
    the edict of persecution, by the emperor Diocletian, and his assistant, Galerius. The edict was universal in its spirit, and was enforced with more or less strenuousness for ten years.
    SSP 51.2

    Many Christians suffered death. The sacrifice of a child of God opens afresh the wound made in the Father’s heart when Christ was slain. The death of Christ was a sign of separation from sin, on the part of him who accepted the sacrifice. Like the smoke from the altar of incense in the sanctuary service, a life given for the Saviour becomes a sweet savor in the sight of Jehovah. Smyrna means “myrrh” or “sweet scent” This name is applied to those who willingly offered their lives for their faith. The mercy of God is shown in this message in a most wonderful way; for although some doubtless suffered needlessly, and brought persecution upon themselves, yet God does not condemn them for mistaken zeal. This is a message that contains no reproof, and it would seem that the tenderness of our Father causes Him to lose sight of the fact that death was sought; because He sees the earnestness in the heart of the one who offers his life. It is the same in individual experience. The over-zealous ofttimes suffer when there is no need of suffering, and yet God reads the motive of the heart, and measures out the reward in accordance with what He finds there. Fellowmen may criticize and condemn, but God accepts any sacrifice made in His name; and He says to such a follower as He did to King David, “Thou didst well that it was in thine heart.” MarginHebrews 11:35-38.
    Revelation 13:7.
    Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Revelation 2:10.
    Sweet smelling myrrh.
    Song of Solomon 5:13.
    Precious shall their blood be in his sight. Psalm 72:14.
    Having received the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God. Philippians 4:18.
    A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me. Song of Solomon 1:13.
    For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. Romans 10:2.
    Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord. Psalm 144:15.
    SSP 52.1

    “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;” “He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” The second death is the only death that the people of God need to fear. Satan may bring physical death to the faithful followers of Christ, but they will be shielded from the second death. God’s people will rejoice in life everlasting; while the decree of the second death will be passed upon Satan and his emissaries. The Smyrna church immediately followed the time of Christ and His disciples, and was often referred to prophetically in their teachings.SSP 53.1

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