smyrna 10 days of persecution
The messages generally followed the same seven elements: Church name, the name Jesus chose for Himself in addressing them, a commendation, a concern over a matter that needed correction, an exhortation, a promise to the overcomer, and a closing statement. Here is what the apostle John said about believers alive during this period from roughly AD 100-330: “And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things says the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive [Christ]; I know your works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but you are rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. It is an interesting fact that the persecution of the early Christians didn’t harm the Church in the least, but rather helped it grow. Of course, those in the Church of God follow these same standards and commands today. ( Log Out /  Change ). These brethren followed Jesus’ command to lead simple lives (Luke 18:22) and stayed true to how the New Testament Church began: “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need” (Acts 2:44-45). Amazon.com. These too were literal, 24-hr. During these and subsequent persecutions, Christians remained nonviolent, holding fast to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, particularly His Word in Matthew 5:43-48 regarding the treatment of enemies: FORTY DAYS IN THE LIVES OF MOSES AND JESUS. Persecution typically is not unexpected in the Christian community, except, perhaps, in those Churches having the Laodicean character. – and Its Incredible History! For more information: See our privacy policy. Be you, therefore, perfect, even as your Father, who is in heaven, is perfect.”. Yet other names were more derogatory. Polycarp himself was commanded to swear by the divinity of the emperor. The specific message given to Smyrna is presented in Revelation 2:8-11: “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These things say the first and the last, who was dead, and is alive. Mr. David Pack references Polycarp’s influence in his book Where Is the True Church? It comes from the Hebrew word for pauper or poor. The book continues: “No distinction was made of age or sex…Many houses were set on fire, and whole Christian families perished in the flames; and others had stones fastened about their necks being tied together were driven into the sea. During the time interval ranging from A.D. 64 under the reign of Nero to A.D. 313 under Diocletian, Foxe in Chapters 1 and 2 of his work identified ten separate periods when persecution was particularly violent and widespread, typically a result of the Christian refusal to worship the Roman emperor as god. Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. But why do you tarry? Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of this world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. These too were literal, 24-hr. This is Polycarp, a leading Church figure in the years following the death of the apostle John. A few whispered words could mean the difference between eternal life or eternal death. Others interpret the days literally, the idea being that the imprisonment and persecution would be brief but intense. On February 23, AD 303, Emperor Diocletian issued the first of a series of edicts that ordered Christians to worship the Roman gods. The ancient city vied with Ephesus and Pergamos as the leading city of Asia Minor. Reflections on God, Family and the World About Us, Over the years many Christians have wondered what Jesus meant by the ten days of persecution. While Smyrnans suffered violent persecution, there was also growing heresy—as groups drifted further from what the Bible, Jesus Christ, and the original apostles taught. They insisted that the worship of the national gods—and the emperor in particular—was the duty of every citizen and that to refuse was an act of disloyalty. He wrote: “For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp not to observe it [the Passover], because he had always observed it with John the disciple of our Lord, and the rest of the apostles, with whom he associated; and neither did Polycarp persuade Anicetus to observe, who said he was bound to maintain the practice of the presbyters before him” (An Ecclesiastical History to the Year 324 of the Christian Era). The accounts of Jewish teachers in Smyrna, letters of Johannes Kolmodin (a Swedish Orientalist who was in Smyrna at the time), and Paul Grescovich say that Greeks or Armenians were responsible for the fire. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”. The bishop at Rome insisted on keeping the celebration of the pagan festival of Easter. While we currently live in the Laodicean era, we strive to maintain the Philadelphian standard. - Fear not the things which thou art about to suffer.We must bring out the difference between "to be about to" (μέλλειν), in the first two clauses, and the simple future (ἔξετε) in the third; compare "I will show him how many things he must suffer for my Name's sake" ().The devil, who inspires the "synagogue of Satan," is to be allowed to afflict them, as he afflicted Job. These Churches are, in the sequence that Jesus presented them, Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. ( Log Out /  For in Asia great luminaries have gone to their rest, who shall rise again in the day of the coming of the Lord, when He comes with glory from heaven and shall raise again all the saints. The main offenders came from so-called Christians in Rome. 1 54-68 Nero Peter and Paul killed. He refused, choosing death. I favor the opinion given by John Foxe in Foxe’s Christian Martyrs of the World. 4 161-180 Marcus Aurelius Polycarp martyred. Sardis and Laodicea, the two cities with bad churches, are now deserted and uninhabited sites.”. When faced with this intense trial, all a person had to do was imply reverence for the emperor. According to the prophetic day-for-a-year principle (Num. But the Smyrnan elder’s efforts to proclaim the truth were useless against the rising tide of paganism infiltrating what was considered the true Church at the time. Christ said it would: An 86-year-old man stands defiant in a raucous amphitheater in mid-second-century Smyrna. After Diocletian’s persecution, Constantine became Emperor of Rome and legitimized Christianity, which led to growing complacence thereafter, a condition that continued to worsen until the Reformation, of which Martin Luther played a major part. What was Jesus’ message to the church in Philadelphia in Revelation? I know your works, and tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of them who say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. These qualities defined the life of Polycarp, but they also describe this entire chapter of Church history. It was this cult—the deification and worship of Roman emperors both alive and dead—that killed Polycarp and his contemporaries. While this eased the persecution for true Christians, it also marked the start of Roman-flavored Christianity mingling with the government. The apostle Peter wrote to “honor the king” (I Pet. True Christians during the late apostolic era and onward were given various names such as Nazarenes—as in those who follow Jesus of Nazareth. As the years ticked by, the Smyrnan era continued to suffer violence. These are the only two eras to receive a completely positive report from Jesus Christ. In the opening section, we read about a period of ten days in which Daniel and his believing, Jewish comrades were tested (Dan 1:12, 14-15). In Revelation Chapters 2 and 3 Jesus dictated messages to John regarding seven Churches located in what is now Turkey. In other words, horror and evil will precede Christ setting up the Kingdom of God. God promises this for those of Philadelphian condition: “Because you have kept the word of My patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Rev. 3:10). After the death of the original apostles, Polycarp (AD 69-156) was a Christian leader whose life exemplifies his era of the Church (Rev. Recall what Jesus said about Smyrna in Revelation 2: “I know your works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but you are rich)” (vs. 9). Behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried, and you shall have tribulation ten days; be you faithful to death, and I will give you a crown of life. Two Churches were singled out for having no commendation: Sardis and Laodicea; another two Churches were singled out for having no concern: Smyrna and Philadelphia. Ultimately, the executioner pierced the elderly Christian with a dagger and gave him a swift death.

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