Message to the church: “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” ‘ (Revelation 2:8-11)
Spiritual type: People who are engaged in good endeavors as regards life, and caught up in falsities as regards doctrine. (Apocalypse Revealed §91)
Description: The people of the church in Smyrna have already undergone tribulation and poverty, and it’s about to get worse: they’re going to be thrown into prison and tested. According to Apocalypse Revealed, Smyrna represents people who are striving to live good lives, but who have some wrong ideas. If you have false ideas in your doctrine, it will inevitably cause you pain and suffering. And because none of us has a perfect understanding, we’ll all spend some time in Smyrna. How do you know if you’re in Smyrna? This one’s hard – if you knew you had wrong ideas, you’d change them. But if your particular ideas of faith aren’t working – e.g. your concept of faith is one that both condemns human effort and tells you you must try to believe – it’s possible you’re in Smyrna.
Call to action: The church in Smyrna is called to “be faithful unto death.” If you’re being overwhelmed with doubt and despair, keep faithfully living as you believe God has called you to live. Even if you don’t have everything correct, striving to live faithfully will carry you through the trials and eventually bring you to a clearer understanding.
Promise: The people of Smyrna are promised a “crown of life,” or a victory garland. Despite the hardships you undergo, if you remain faithful you will overcome; you will “not be hurt by the second death.”