Christ prepared the members of Smyrna for martyrdom, promising them eternal glory for enduring a relatively short time, looking at things from a hopeful perspective.
When Jesus warns us not to let anyone take our crown, He encourages us to endure over the long-haul and not bask in the glory of a brief, victorious accomplishment.
Each of the letters in Revelation 2 and 3 speak of overcoming. By examining those churches, we can understand what we are up against and what we must do.
Ups and downs, blessings and trials, have characterized every era of the church. God's people are always battling something negative between the brief highs.
The Laodiceans fail to reciprocate Christ's love for them. The comfort of prosperity blinded them to their spiritual condition, especially their need for Christ.
The letter to Smyrna contains a rarity among the seven churches—no criticism! What's so good about the Smyrnans?
The biblical city of Smyrna may be one that many know the least about. The city's name reveals the themes that the Head of the church wants us to understand.
Laodiceans think of themselves as rich, while God sees them as poor. But Smyrnans see themselves as poor, yet God says they are rich! What are true riches?
John Ritenbaugh, reiterating that there is a malaise of hopelessness, anxiety, and dread permeating this nation like never before, systematically explains: (1) how we arrived at this crisis, (2) why God has ordained that we live in these conditions, (3) how bad choices by the trillions eroded the moral foundation of our culture, …
When we ask to be blessed, it should be exclusively on God's terms. What God has done in our lives is the best preparation for our future responsibilities.
In the letters to the seven churches, Scripture foresees that a dearth of steadfastness marks the time of the end, but Christians are urged to hold fast.
Contrary to Protestant understanding, our works emphatically do count - showing or demonstrating (not just telling) that we will be obedient.
Just as fighting to escape its cocoon strengthens the butterfly, our calling requires effort above what the world has to endure to become free of Satan's cocoon.
The letters in Revelation 2 and 3 are for the end times, shortly before Christ's return. Each emphasizes repentance, overcoming, and judgment according to works.
The letters to the seven churches of Revelation warn of losing our first love, heeding false teachers, compromising God's Truth, and forgetting right doctrine.
In times of trouble, where is our trust? The Kingdom of God is what we should be seeking—not a self-satisfied avoidance of suffering.
The second death is an event beyond physical death. It disproves the traditional heaven-hell and immortal soul doctrines, yet demonstrates God's perfect justice.