bible study devotion

The persecuted church: devotion

Dr. Andrew C S Koh



The word Smyrna is derived from the word myrrh, resin gum derived from a plant, used for embalming dead bodies. Smyrna, on the western coast of Asia Minor, is about 40 miles to the north of Ephesus. Polycarp, an early church father and a disciple of the apostle John, and leader of the Smyrna church was martyred in 155 AD. 

Revelation 2:8-11

8 “To the angel of the assembly in Smyrna write: “The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life says these things: 9 “I know your works, oppression, and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews, and they are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Don’t be afraid of the things which you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested; and you will have oppression for ten days. Be faithful to death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. He who overcomes won’t be harmed by the second death.

Revelation 2:8-11



The destination of this second letter was to the church of Smyrna. 

Title of Jesus

Christ described Himself as, “the first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life”. Christ is the alpha and omega, Revelation 22:13. He is the resurrection and the life, John 11:25

Initial Commendation

Christ is omniscient. He knew everything about Smyrna. He knew that the Smyrna church was in extreme poverty, under tremendous persecution and martyrdom in the hands of hostile non believing, hostile Jews. The city had a synagogue of Satan run by deviant Jews. Christ commended them for standing up against persecution.


None. Christ had nothing bad to say about them. He encouraged them to stand firm, remain bold and faithful, and not to fear imprisonment, oppression, persecution, testing, and even martyrdom. 

Final commendation

Christ encouraged them to be faithful even to death and they will receive the crown of eternal life. Although, the church of Smyrna was materially poor but they were spiritual millionaires.

Ending formula. Those who have ears to hear, please listen carefully to what the Holy Spirit is saying. 

A promise of reward

Those who overcome, hear, and heed His words will receive the crown of eternal life and will not face the second death, Revelation 21:8.

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

Revelation 22:13

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies.

John 11:25

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.

Revelation 21:18


Christ is first and the last, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, who is, who was, and is to come, Revelation 1:4.. He is the author and perfecter of our faith, Hebrews 12:2. He is from eternity past to eternity future. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, Hebrews 13:8. He has no beginning and no end. He is before time, space, and matter. He is the pre existing, self existing, eternal God. He is dead and rose to life. He is the resurrection and the life. 

Even if you are living in povery, in trials, and under persecution, do not throw in the towel yet. Christ know what you are facing. He seea everything. You may be poor materially but you  are a spritual millionaires. 

The second death will have no effect on you if you are born-again. At death, you will spend eternity in heaven. The body is dust and dust will return to dust at death. The soul and spirit belong to God and will back to God in heaven. This is the good news of the gospel.

John, to the seven assemblies that are in Asia. Grace to you and peace from God, who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits who are before his throne

Revelation 1:4

Looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:2

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever

Hebrews 13:8


Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus Christ is the first and the last, the author and perfecter of our faith. We acknowledged that You are the only true God and there is no other God apart from You. We acknowledged that You are creator of the heavens and the earth. Grant us the strength to overcome, adversity, suffering and persecution, in Jesus’ name, Amen