Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 2:8

"And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this:
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Angel of the Churches;   Church;   Jesus Continued;   Persecution;   Smyrna;   Scofield Reference Index - Life;   Satan;   Thompson Chain Reference - Angels;   The Topic Concordance - Endurance;   Faith/faithfulness;   Giving and Gifts;   Jesus Christ;   Knowledge;   Life;   Resurrection;   Righteousness;   Suffering;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Titles and Names of Christ;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Angel;   Smyrna;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Asia;   Smyrna;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Patience of God;   Easton Bible Dictionary - A;   Smyrna;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Revelation of John, the;   Smyrna;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Letter Form and Function;   Revelation, the Book of;   Smyrna;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Asia;   Magi;   Nicolas;   Smyrna;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Alpha and Omega;   Alpha and Omega (2);   Angels;   Ascension of Isaiah;   First and Last ;   Smyrna ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Sepharvaim;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Smyrna;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Smyr'na;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Smyrna;   Synagogue;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - First;   Revelation of John:;   Smyrna;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Unto the angel - This was probably the famous Polycarp. See below.

These things saith the first and the last - He who is eternal; from whom all things come, and to whom all things must return. Which was dead, for the redemption of the world; and is alive to die no more for ever, his glorified humanity being enthroned at the Father's right hand.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-2.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write - On the meaning of the word “angel,” see the notes on Revelation 1:20.

These things saith the first and the last - See the notes on Revelation 1:8, Revelation 1:17.

Which was dead, and is alive - See the notes on Revelation 1:18. The idea is, that he is a Living Saviour; and there was a propriety in referring to that fact here from the nature of the promise which he was about to make to the church at Smyrna: “He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death,” Revelation 2:11. As he had himself triumphed over death in all its forms, and was now alive forever, it was appropriate that he should promise to his true friends the same protection from the second death. He who was wholly beyond the reach of death could give the assurance that they who put their trust in him should come off victorious.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-2.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These things saith the first and the last, who was dead, and lived again:

SMYRNA

An ancient cradle of Ionian civilization, Smyrna existed for a millennium before Christ, being utterly devastated and destroyed by Alyattes of Lydia in 600 B.C.,[38] lying in ruins until it was rebuilt by Lysimachus, one of the generals who inherited the empire of Alexander the Great, in 301-281 B.C. By the times of the apostles, it was again a flourishing Greek city, competing with Ephesus for first place in the province. "It was a handsome city, called the most beautiful of all cities under the sun, the great buildings on the nearby summit being called the crown of Smyrna."[39] Smyrna lay next to Ephesus in the sequence that a traveler visiting all seven of these churches would naturally follow.

Smyrna still exists under the modern title of Izmir, Turkey, second in importance only to Ankara, and having a population of 286,000 in 1955.[40] Strangely enough, Ephesus, threatened with the loss of its "candlestick" has virtually disappeared; but Smyrna, against which the Lord uttered no condemnation, is a great city even now.

To the angel of the church ... See under preceding verse, and also under Revelation 1:20.

The first and the last, who was dead and lived again ... Some have seen this identification of our Lord as peculiarly appropriate for a city which, itself, had lain dead for all the middle centuries of the first millennium B.C., but was then once more a favored city.

In Smyrna ... This city was one of the oldest and most faithful of the allies of Rome, having erected a temple as early as 195 B.C. to the goddess Roma.[41] There were also temples to Cybele and Zeus, and in one of them an inscription honoring Nero as "the Saviour of the whole human race."[42] In 26 A.D., they also erected a temple to the roman emperor Tiberius, and were clearly a center of that cult of emperor-worship which resulted in so much sorrow for the church.[43] In fact, "the earliest shrine of the provincial cult of Rome was established there in 29 B.C.[44] Regarding the establishment of the church in Smyrna, we do not have any direct information; but, "It was probably established by the apostle Paul on his third missionary journey."[45] Regarding Paul's work in Ephesus, which was not far from Smyrna, Luke recorded this: "And this continued for the space of two years; so that all that dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks" (Acts 19:10). This most certainly must have included the citizens of Smyrna. The emperor cult was so strong in Smyrna that even many of the Jews were carried away with it. When Polycarp was martyred there in 155 A.D., the Jews cried out:

This is the teacher of Asia, the father of the Christians, the overthrower of our gods who has been teaching many not to sacrifice, or to worship the gods ... The multitude gathered wood and sticks, the Jews especially eagerly assisting in it.[46]

It was indeed a hostile environment in which the church of Smyrna lived. How tragically the once chosen people of Israel appeared in such a situation as that. They once had said, "We have no king but Caesar"; and at Smyrna they proclaimed themselves worshippers of the emperor. In the light of this chapter, there cannot be any doubt that the state itself made emperor worship a test of loyalty, condemning Christians to death who would not submit to it.

[38] E. M. Blaiklock, op. cit., p. 99.

[39] Ibid., p. 101.

[40] Encyclopedia Britannica (Chicago: William Benton, Publisher, 1961), Vol. 12, p. 848.

[41] G. B. Caird, op. cit., p. 34.

[42] W. Boyd Carpenter, op. cit., p. 542.

[43] G. B. Caird, op. cit., p. 34.

[44] F. F. Bruce, op. cit., p. 638.

[45] Frank L. Cox, Revelation in 26 Lessons (Nashville: The Gospel Advocate Company, 1956), p. 15.

[46] Ignatius, Concerning the Martyrdom of Polycarp in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. I (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, n.d.), pp. 41,42.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-2.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write,.... Of the city of Smyrna; see Gill on Revelation 1:11. That there was a church of Christ here is not to be doubted, though by whom it was founded is not certain; very likely by the Apostle Paul, who was in those parts, and by whose means all Asia heard the Gospel of Christ, Acts 19:10. Some think the present angel or pastor of this church, was Polycarp, the disciple of John. IrenaeusF6Adv. Haeres. l. 3. c. 3. , who knew him, says he was appointed bishop of Smyrna by the apostles. Here he suffered martyrdom, and was buried: the large amphitheatre, in which he was put to death, is still to be seen, and his sepulchre is yet preserved in this placeF7Vid. Smith. Notitia septem Eccles. Asiae, p. 164, 165. : a very famous epistle, sent by this church at Smyrna to the churches at Pontus, giving an account of the martyrdom of Polycarp, and others, is extant in EusebiusF8Hist. Eccles. l. 4. c. 15. . According to the Apostolical ConstitutionsF9L. 7. c. 46. , the first bishops of Smyrna were Aristo Strataeas and Aristo the second, and Apelles, of whom mention is made in Romans 16:10; and who is reckoned among the seventy disciples; See Gill on Luke 10:1; and is said to be bishop of Smyrna before Polycarp; who succeeded Polycarp, I do not find; but it is said there was a church at Smyrna in the "third" century; and so there was in the beginning of the "fourth", since there was a bishop from hence in the council at Nice: and in the "fifth" century, mention is made of several bishops of this place; as of Cyrus, a native of Constantinople; and Protherius, who, it is thought, succeeded him, and was present in the synod at Chalcedon; and Aethericus, who assisted at three synods in this century, at Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon: and in the "sixth" century, there was a bishop of Smyrna in the fifth synod held at Rome and Constantinople: and even in the "eighth" century, one Antony, a monk, supplied the place of the bishop of Smyrna in the Nicene synodF11Hist. Eccles. Magdeburg. cent. 3. c. p. 2. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 3. cent. 5. c. 2. p. 3. c. 10. p. 595, 596. cent. 6. c. 2. p. 4. cent. 8. c. 2. p. 4. . The Turks have in this place now thirteen mosques, the Jews two synagogues, and of the Christians there are two churches belonging to the Greeks, and one to the ArmeniansF12Smith. Notitia, p. 167. . This church, and its pastor, represent the state of the church under the persecutions of the Roman emperors. Smyrna signifies "myrrh", which being bitter of taste, is expressive of the bitter afflictions, and persecutions, and deaths, the people of God in this interval endured; and yet, as myrrh is of a sweet smell, so were those saints, in their sufferings for Christ, exceeding grateful and well pleasing to him; wherefore nothing is said by way of complaint to this church; not that she was without fault, but it was proper to use her tenderly in her afflicted state: and, as Dr. More observes, as myrrh was used in the embalming of dead bodies, it may point to the many deaths and martyrdoms of the saints in this period, whereby their names and memories are perpetuated and eternized,

These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive. Of these characters of Christ; see Gill on Revelation 1:8, Revelation 1:11, Revelation 1:17, Revelation 1:18; and they are very appropriately mentioned, to encourage the saints under their sufferings of death; since Christ, who is the eternal God, had in human nature tasted of the bitterness of death for them, and was risen again; suggesting, that though they were called to undergo the bitterest deaths for his sake, they should be raised again as he was, and live with him for ever. The Ethiopic version reads, "thus saith the holy Spirit"; but it cannot be said of him that "he was dead",

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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-2.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

6 And unto the angel of the church in c Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

(6) The second passage is to the pastors of the church of the Smyrnians. The introduction is taken out of (Revelation 1:17-18).

(c) Smyrna was one of the cities of Ionia in Asia.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-2.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Smyrna — in Ionia, a little to the north of Ephesus. Polycarp, martyred in a.d. 168, eighty-six years after his conversion, was bishop, and probably “the angel of the Church in Smyrna” meant here. The allusions to persecutions and faithfulness unto death accord with this view. Ignatius [The Martyrdom of Ignatius 3], on his way to martyrdom in Rome, wrote to Polycarp, then (a.d. 108) bishop of Smyrna; if his bishopric commenced ten or twelve years earlier, the dates will harmonize. Tertullian [The Prescription against Heretics, 32], and Irenaeus, who had talked with Polycarp in youth, tell us Polycarp was consecrated bishop of Smyrna by St. John.

the first  …  the last  …  was dead  …  is alive — The attributes of Christ most calculated to comfort the Church of Smyrna under its persecutions; resumed from Revelation 1:17, Revelation 1:18. As death was to Him but the gate to life eternal, so it is to be to them (Revelation 2:10, Revelation 2:11).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-2.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

In Smyrna (εν Σμυρνηιen Smurnēi). North of Ephesus, on a gulf of the Aegean, one of the great cities of Asia (province), a seat of emperor-worship with temple to Tiberius, with many Jews hostile to Christianity who later join in the martyrdom of Polycarp, poor church (rich in grace) which receives only praise from Christ, scene of the recent massacre of Greeks by the Turks. Ramsay (op. cit., p. 251) terms Smyrna “the City of Life.” Christianity has held on here better than in any city of Asia.

The first and the last (ο πρωτος και ο εσχατοςho prōtos kai ho eschatos). Repeating the language of Revelation 1:17.

Which was dead (ος εγενετο νεκροςhos egeneto nekros). Rather, “who became dead” (second aorist middle indicative of γινομαιginomai) as in Revelation 1:18.

And lived again (και εζησενkai ezēsen). First aorist (ingressive, came to life) active of ζαωzaō (ο ζωνho zōn in Revelation 1:18). Emphasis on the resurrection of Christ.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-2.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Smyrna

Lying a little north of Ephesus, on a gulf of the same name. The original city was destroyed about b.c. 627, and was deserted and in ruins for four hundred years. Alexander the Great contemplated its restoration, and his design was carried out after his death. The new city was built a short distance south of the ancient one, and became the finest in Asia Minor, being known as the glory of Asia. It was one of the cities which claimed the honor of being Homer's birthplace. A splendid temple was erected by the Smyrnaeans to his memory, and a cave in the neighborhood of the city was shown where he was said to have composed his poems. Smyrna's fine harbor made it a commercial center; but it was also distinguished for its schools of rhetoric and philosophy. Polycarp was the first bishop of its church, which suffered much from persecution, and he was said to have suffered martyrdom in the stadium of the city, a.d. 166. It is argued with some plausibility that Polycarp was bishop of Smyrna at the time of the composition of Revelation, and was the person addressed here. This question, however, is bound up with that of the date of composition (see Trench, “Epistles to the Seven Churches”). The city was a seat of the worship of Cybele the Mother of the gods, and of Dionysus or Bacchus.

Was dead ( ἐγένετο νεκρὸς )

Lit., became dead.

Is alive ( ἔζησεν )

Lit., lived. Rev., properly, lived again; the word being used of restoration to life. See, for a similar usage, Matthew 9:18; John 5:25.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-2.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

These things saith the first and the last, who was dead and is alive — How directly does this description tend to confirm him against the fear of death! verses10,11. Revelation 2:10,11Even with the comfort wherewith St. John himself was comforted, Revelation 1:17,18, shall the angel of this church be comforted.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-2.html. 1765.

Scofield's Reference Notes

angel

(See Scofield "Hebrews 1:4").

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Revelation 2:8". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/revelation-2.html. 1917.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

THE CHURCH IN SMYRNA

‘And unto the angel of the Church in Smyrna write.’

Revelation 2:8

May we not say that the Church in Smyrna finds its counterpart in individual life in those upon whom falls—apparently without adequate cause—the trial of severe suffering?

I. There are some lives which are singularly free from trouble, pain, adversity, sorrow.—The bright sunshine is upon them—not indeed always and invariably, but as a general rule. To this glad and joyous company life is full of interest and happiness, well worth the living. Their faces are not furrowed with care nor drawn with pain. They have no need to be anxious for the morrow, for their future seems to be as safe from the worst assaults of misfortune as their past has been. They do not feel the heavy oppression which comes with the sense that there is some gap which can never be filled, some loss which can never be made good, some sorrow which can never be comforted. ‘Happy souls! their praises flow’—for there have never come to them any of the bodily or mental sufferings which so often check praise, which at times appear to render it impossible, which almost forbid it as unreasonable. Perchance, now and again, they are aware of some faint whisper of foreboding, but it is scarcely heard for the loud and confident tones of actual experience.

II. But there are others!—There are those upon whom the storm has descended, whose faces are cut and bleeding with the cruel hail, who are worn and weary with the roughness and severity of life’s path. Yes, there are those to whom has come the full bitterness of bereavement; or those upon whom poverty has laid its heavy hand. If trouble has visited us—or whenever it visits us—how shall we accept it?

III. There are two main considerations which may enable us to bear with submissiveness and patience whatever Providence sends or permits Satan to send.

(a) Let us remember Who it was that—in the suggestive words of an inspired writer—‘learned obedience’—‘though He was a Son, yet learned He obedience’—‘by the things which He suffered.’ So we too may and ought to ‘grow in grace’ and in conformity to the will of our Heavenly Father by the divers pains and penalties with which we are for a while afflicted.

(b) Let us strengthen ourselves with the reflection that the trials of our individual lives, like those of the first Christians in Smyrna, have their appointed and not far-distant end. The thought of the brevity of life, which is to some full of heaviness and suggestive of dissatisfaction, is welcome and full of hope to others.

Rev. the Hon. W. E. Bowen.

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/revelation-2.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

Ver. 8. Of the church in Smyrna] Sweet smelling Smyrna, the poorest but purest of the seven.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-2.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Revelation 2:8. Unto the angel of the church in Smyrna Smyrna was the nearest city to Ephesus, and for that reason probably was addressed in the second place. The town now remaining is situated on lower ground than the ancient city, and lies about 45 miles north of Ephesus. It is calledby the Turks Esmir, and is celebrated, not so much for the splendour and pomp of the buildings, as for the number, wealth, and commerce of the inhabitants. The Turks have herein fifteen mosques, and the Jews several synagogues. Among these enemies of the Christians, the Christian religion exists, though in a small degree. Smyrna still retains the dignity of a metropolis. Frequent plagues and earthquakes are the great calamities of the place; but the Christians are here more considerable, and in better condition, than in any other of the seven churches. As our Saviour was about to foretel of the angel's sufferings and death, he here gives himself that title which shews that he also suffered, and died, and rose again; as if he should say, "Thou and others are like to suffer for my name's sake; but have a good courage; for in my death and resurrection I have given you an earnest of a glorious resurrection, to crown your sufferings and death."

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/revelation-2.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Here we have the second epistle, which St. John wrote by the command of Christ to the Church of Smyrna, a famous city in one of the provinces of Asia, where Polycarp was bishop, and suffered martyrdom.

Now in this epistle we have these particulars considerable.

1. The description which Christ is pleased here to give of himself, namely, The first and the last, which was dead and is alive; and the suitableness of this description, for the consolation of this church, which was now under great tribulation. It is as if Christ had said, "I am an eternal Being, the first cause, and last end; I was myself put to death, but I am alive again; therefore, fear neither sufferings nor death, for I will assist and strengthen you, and if you lose your lives for my sake, I will raise your bodies again to everlasting life."

Observe, 2. The commendation given by Christ of this church at Smyrna, it is large and full; nay, Christ blameth nothing in this church: she kept her purity best, because always in affliction: not but there were failings undoubtedly in this church, but Almighty God mercifully overlooked them. As in the case of Job, no mention is made of his impatience, though he showed much, but we are called upon to behold him as a pattern of patience.

Observe next, The particulars of this church's commendation, I know thy works, and thy tribulation, and poverty; that is, thy labour and sufferings, and worldly poverty, which thy profession of the gospel hath brought upon thee: but though thou art outwardly poor, yet art thou inwardly rich; rich in grace, rich in faith and patience, rich in meekness and humility, rich in courage and Christian fortitude.

And farther, I know also the blasphemy of them that say they are Jews, and are not; that is, I know the malicious reproaches and evil speeches of your enemies; cast upon you, partly by native Jews, who glory in circumcision and the law; and partly by false Christians, professing faith in Christ, but not daring to own him, for fear of persecution. These belong to Satan's synagogue, not to Christ's church. None are so bad as they who only profess and seem to be good.

Observe farther, The encouragement which Christ gives this church to persevere in the faith, though they should suffer much sharper things than ever they yet suffered: fear none of the things you may be called forth to suffer: what though the devil by his instruments cast some of you into prison, and you suffer for a short time, be faithful to your profession until the day of your death, and I shall reward you with a crown of life.

Note here, 1. That Satan by his instruments has been the cause of all those bitter and bloody persecutions which Christianity in all ages hath undergone.

Note, 2. That though Satan's malice be infinite, yet his power is limited and bounded; he cannot do all the mischief he would, and he shall not do all he can: Satan shall cast you into prison, but not into hell; and not all of you into prison neither, but some only.

Note, 3. How mercifully Almighty God overrules the devil's rage and malice, making it subservient to his own glory, and his church's good, causing that which Satan intended for destruction, to serve only for probation and trial. The devil's design by all those floods of wrath, which he pours out against the church, is that she may be destroyed; but God's intent is only that she may be tried; even as the wise refiner, when he casts his gold into the furnace, designs the purifying of the metal, and only the consuming of the dross.

Note, 4. That the sufferings of good men for the cause of Christianity, though they may be sharp, yet shall they be but short: Ye shall have tribulation ten days, that is, for a short space of time.

Note, 5. That a persevering faithfulness in the service of Christ in this life, is indispensably necessary to our obtaining the crown of life and immortality in the world to come: Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

Observe lastly, The conclusion of this epistle to the church of Smyrna: this is partly hortatory: He that hath ears to hear, let him hear, what the spirit saith unto the churches. The warnings of the Holy Spirit to the churches are recorded as of great concernment for all to mind: and partly promissory, He that overcometh, that is, conquereth the love of this world, and the love of life, when God calls him forth to suffer, he shall not be hurt of the second death, that is, he shall escape eternal misery, that living death, and that dying life, which will be the assured lot and portion of the wicked and ungodly world.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-2.html. 1700-1703.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 2:8. The self-designation of the Lord(1037) corresponds to the admonition and promise, Revelation 2:10-11.

ἔζησεν contains by its combination with ἐγεν. νεκρός the intimation that the life is a new one succeeding a victory over death.(1038) The aor. ἔζησεν(1039) marks the historical fact of the resurrection, as the precise fact of death is designated by ἐγεν. νεκρ.; cf. the aor. Revelation 1:5, Revelation 3:9. An analogy is furnished by Josephus, Life, 75: “Of the three crucified who were taken down, two died notwithstanding the care: δὲ τρίτος ἔζησεν” (the third lived).

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/revelation-2.html. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Smyrna was a city in Ionia; we read not when, or by whom, the gospel was first planted and a church gathered there; nor can we tell who are meant by

the angel of this church: see Revelation 1:20. That it was no single person is probable, for he speaks plurally, Revelation 2:10, the devil shall cast some of you, ex umwn, into prison.

These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive: for the meaning of this phrase, see annotations on Revelation 1:8,17,18; only it is observable how Christ, speaking to this church under great tribulation and persecution, fits a name proper to comfort them; for he himself was dead, and yet now alive, and he living, those that believe in him, because he lives, shall live also, John 14:19; and as he was the first, so he will be the last, surviving all his enemies, and be at last a conqueror over them.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-2.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Ангелу См. пояснение к ст. 1.

Смирнской Смирна означает «мирра», т.е. ароматическое вещество, часто используемое для помазания мертвых тел. Этот древний город (совр. Измир в Турции), часто называемый «короной Асии», был одним из самых красивых, а также являлся культурным и медицинским центром. Смирна всегда поддерживала римлян в их победных войнах, эта преданность Риму привела к культу поклонения императору. Спустя 50 лет после смерти Иоанна, 86-летний пастор церкви в Смирне Поликарп был заживо сожжен за отказ поклониться цезарю. Многочисленное иудейское население города также выражало враждебность по отношению к ранней церкви.

Первый и Последний. См. пояснение к 1:17.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-2.html.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

The Letter To The Church In Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11).

‘And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the first and the last, who died and came to life.’

This description is taken from Revelation 1:18. The church is to face intense persecution so they are reminded that their Lord is ‘the first and the last’, the beginning and the end, from everlasting to everlasting, the One Who was before all things, the One Who will be into eternity. Thus temporary things are unimportant for those who are His. And yet He Who is the First and the Lastdied. ‘Tis mystery all, the immortal dies’. How incomprehensible it is. But it was necessary so that He could conquer death Thus He Who is the First and the Last is now the crucified and risen Saviour, the conqueror of death, so that in the end they have nothing to fear, because He is the Eternal Saviour Who has defeated death (2 Timothy 1:10; Hebrews 2:14-15).

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/revelation-2.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

1. Destination and description of Christ2:8

Smyrna was also a seaport on the Aegean Sea about40 miles north of Ephesus. Late in the first century it was a large, wealthy city with a population of about100,000. It still thrives today as Izmir with a population of about200,000.

Jesus Christ described Himself to this church as the eternal One who died and experienced resurrection. "Smyrna" means "bitter." The Greek word translates the Hebrew mor, myrrh, a fragrant perfume used in embalming dead bodies (cf. Matthew 2:11; John 19:39). It becomes very fragrant when someone crushes it. These believers would have found encouragement that even though the prospect of death threatened them, resurrection and eternal life with Christ were certain. Smyrna had died as a city on several occasions because of invasions and earthquakes, but it had risen again to new life because the residents had rebuilt it. In Smyrna many residents worshipped a goddess named Cybele whom they regarded as the personification of the yearly rejuvenation of nature. Her devotees claimed that she arose from the dead every spring.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-2.html. 2012.

Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

The letter to the church at Smyrna--2:8-11.

1. "These things saith the first and the last, which was dead and is alive"--2:8.

This sublime language repeats the eternity of the One who addresses this church, whom death could not vanquish, and it was intended for the encouragement of the Smyrna members to follow him even unto death, or martyrdom, with no fear of the consequences.

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/foy/revelation-2.html. 1966.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 2:8. The second church addressed is that of Smyrna, a city situated a little to the north of Ephesus, and in the same province of Asia Minor. Smyrna was one of the most prosperous and wealthy cities of Asia, lying in the midst of a rich and fertile region, and enjoying peculiar facilities for commerce. Its main worship was that of Bacchus, and, as a natural consequence, drunkenness and immorality were extremely prevalent.

Again the epistle opens with a description of Him from whom it is sent. The description is taken from chap. Revelation 1:17-18. For the rendering, rose to life, which we have adopted here, comp. chap. Revelation 13:14 and John 5:21. The substance of the Epistle follows.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-2.html. 1879-90.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

-11

To the Angel of the church of Smyrna. To St. Polycarp, or some bishop there before him. No reprehension is given to this bishop, or to his church, but a commendation for suffering in poverty and tribulation, when they were rich in grace. (Witham) --- Poverty. He was poor in temporal things, but rich in grace and merits. --- Thou art blasphemed by those false teachers, who call themselves Jews and Israelites, and the chosen people of God, waiting for the coming of the Messias, but are not to be looked upon as such; having refused to own their true Messias, Jesus Christ, they are the Synagogue of Satan, the greatest enemies of the true faith. --- You shall have tribulation ten days, which several here understand for a long time, others for a short time, ten times being used in both senses. (Witham) --- The first death is that of the body, the second of the soul. (Ven. Bede)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-2.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Smyrna. About fifty miles north-west of Ephesus. A great centre now of Levantine trade.

First . . . Last. See Revelation 1:17.

was = became.

dead. App-139.

is alive = lived (again). See App-170.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-2.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

Smyrna - in Ionia, north of Ephesus. Polycarp, martyred in 168 AD, eighty-six years after conversion, was Bishop: probably "the angel of the church in Smyrna." The allusions to persecutions unto death, accord with this view. Ignatius ('Martyrium Ignatii,' 3:), on his way to martyrdom in Rome, wrote to Polycarp, then (108 AD) Bishop of Smyrna. If his bishopric commenced ten or twelve years earlier, the dates will harmonize. Tertullian ('Praescriptione Haereticorum,' 32:) and Irenaeus, who talked with Polycarp in youth, tell us, Polycarp was consecrated by John.

The First and the Last, which was dead, and is alive - attributes of Christ most calculated to comfort Smyrna under its persecution: resumed from Revelation 1:17-18. As death was to Him the gate to life eternal, so it is to them (Revelation 2:10-11).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-2.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(8) Smyrna, the modern Ismir, now possessing a population of about 150,000. Its mercantile prosperity may be measured by its trade. In 1852 the export trade amounted to £1,766,653—about half of this being with England. The imports in the same year were £1,357,339. It has always been considered one of the most beautiful cities in Asia. It was situated in the ancient province of Ionia, a little north of Ephesus—next it, as Archbishop Trench says, in natural order, and also in spiritual. Its position was favourable for commerce. In olden times, as now, it commanded the trade of the Levant, besides being the natural outlet for the produce of the Hermus valley. The neighbourhood was peculiarly fertile; the vines are said to have been so productive as to have yielded two crops. There are indications that intemperance was very prevalent among the inhabitants. Servility and flattery may be added, for the people of Smyrna seem to have been astutely fickle, and to have been keen in preserving the patronage of the ruling powers. In one of their temples the inscription declared Nero to be “the Saviour of the whole human race.” The city was specially famed for its worship of Dionysos. Games and mysteries were held yearly in his honour. Its public buildings were handsome, and its streets regular. One of its edifices used as a museum proclaimed, in its consecration to Homer, that Smyrna contested with six or seven other cities the honour of being the birthplace of the poet.

The angel of the church in Smyrna.—We have no means of determining certainly who was the person here addressed. Many who accept the Domitian date of the Apocalypse argue that Polycarp was at this time the bishop or presiding minister at Smyrna. Even on the supposition that this is the true date, it seems exceedingly doubtful that this was the case. It can only be true on the supposition that the episcopate of Polycarp extended over sixty years. Polycarp was martyred A.D. 156. We know from Ignatius, who addresses him in A.D. 108 as Bishop of Smyrna, that his ministry lasted nearly fifty years. It seems too much to assume that his episcopate commenced eight or ten years before. Of course, if we adopt the earlier date of the Apocalypse, the Epistle must have been written before Polycarp’s conversion—probably before his birth. But though we are thus constrained to reject the identification which we would willingly adopt, it is well to remember that Polycarp is the living example of the language of the epistle, and that, as Professor Plumptre has said, “In his long conflict for the faith, his stedfast endurance, his estimate of the fire that can never be quenched, we find a character on which the promise to him that overcometh had been indelibly stamped.”

The first and the last, which was dead, and is alive.—Or better, who became dead, and lived again. From Revelation 1:17-18, we have selected the title most fitted to console a church whose trial was persecution. In all vicissitudes, the unchanging One (Hebrews 7:3; Hebrews 13:8), who had truly tasted death, and conquered it even in seeming to fail, was their Saviour and King. Some have seen in these words, “dead and lived again,” an allusion to the story of the death and return to life of Dionysos—a legend, of course, familiar to Smyrna.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-2.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
the angel
1
the first
1:8,11,17,18
Reciprocal: Exodus 23:21 - my name;  Deuteronomy 32:39 - even I:1 Kings 18:18 - in that ye have;  Psalm 93:2 - thou;  Isaiah 41:4 - I the Lord;  Isaiah 41:27 - first;  Isaiah 44:6 - I am the first;  Isaiah 48:12 - I am he;  Ezekiel 44:15 - the sons;  Micah 5:2 - whose;  Luke 24:5 - the living;  John 1:1 - the beginning;  John 1:15 - he was;  John 8:58 - Before;  Romans 1:7 - To all;  1 Corinthians 3:14 - General2 Corinthians 3:3 - the epistle;  Galatians 1:1 - raised;  Philippians 1:1 - the bishops;  Colossians 1:17 - he;  1 Thessalonians 5:12 - and are;  Hebrews 1:11 - thou;  Hebrews 12:2 - the author;  1 John 1:1 - That which;  Revelation 1:4 - to the;  Revelation 1:20 - The seven stars;  Revelation 19:9 - Write

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-2.html.

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation

THE SPIRIT'S ADDRESS TO SMYRNA

(Revelation 2:8-11).

SMYRNA AND LAODICEA CONTRASTED.

The briefest of these Church addresses is that to Smyrna, the longest that to Thyatira. Smyrna is wholly commended, and not one word of reproach or censure is addressed to it; Laodicea is in every respect blamed, and not one word of commendation or praise is bestowed. Again, the poverty and tribulation of Smyrna stand out in marked contrast with the rich and self-satisfied condition of Laodicea. There is but one other Church not censured, namely, Philadelphia. It must not, however, be supposed that there was nothing wrong in these unblamed assemblies, only the characteristic Church states represented by them were suffering (Smyrna) and weakness (Philadelphia). A child in affliction or in bodily weakness is spared words of censure, and surely our God is not less gracious than an earthly parent.

CONSOLATION IN TRIBULATION.

8. — "And to the angel of the Church in Smyrna write: These things says the First and the Last, Who became dead and lived." Declension from first love had set in. The angel of the Church in Ephesus had fallen (v. 5), not, however, from Christ's right hand, but from love, whilst preserving doctrinal faithfulness and walking blameless in outward consistency. But the moral springs of action were relaxed, and Ephesian Church life thereby robbed of its fragrance. This consideration brings us to the second distinguishing Church period, one of Tribulation. The angel, the Church's representative, is addressed in words of rich and gracious consolation. The full blast of imperial pagan persecution was being endured. For about 250 years, with occasional lulls when the ruthless hand of the persecutor was stayed, the Church was passing through a "baptism of blood," and this in order to rekindle the smouldering flame of love well-nigh extinguished. What the suffering Church was to the Lord is imaged in the meaning of Smyrna, myrrh — a well-known fragrant perfume, a sacred one moreover (Exodus 30:23), also one of the love perfumes of the spouse in the Canticles. The consolation that suited the Seer (Revelation 1:17-18) became the consolation of the Church. We have here the same combination of divine and human predicates which characterised Christ in the glorious vision of His Person as beheld by John. "The First and the Last" is one of the grandest of divine titles, a Rock against which the utmost power of the enemy is futile. As "the First" He is before all in time, and above all as supreme. As "the Last" He is after all, closing all up, for to Him all tend. He is eternal in His Being. But He stooped to die. Death had no claim on Him. He, "the first and the last" — Jehovah's special title (Isaiah 41:1-29 — 48) — became dead. He breasted the waves of death. He rose out of it, and "lives" to die no more. This, then, was their "strong consolation." The One Who died and lives is none other than Jehovah in the truth of His Being, the self-existing One. We have had the glory of the Speaker — what He was as God, and what He became as Man — now we are to listen to His consoling and animating message.

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Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". "Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sor/revelation-2.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

See the comments on last verse of the preceding chapter for an explanation of the angel. Smyrna is one of the places that received a letter John was told to write. The description of the One who was dictating the letter is the same as in Revelation 1:18; the same who was walking in the midst of the churches. This is one of the two that received no rebuke from the Lord in the letters to the seven churches.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-2.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 2:8

Revelation 2:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

"And unto the Angel of the Church in Smyrna, write," etc.

Smyrna was a city of Iconia in Asia the less near the sea-side, where the gospel was preached, and where this church was planted, unto whom this epistle was written by Christ's command. { Revelation 1:11} See KNOLLYS: Revelation 1:11, and upon Revelation 2:1, See KNOLLYS: Revelation 2:1" concerning the word "angel," and "church".

"These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive"

See the exposition of Revelation 1:8; Revelation 1:11; Revelation 1:17-18, See KNOLLYS: Revelation 1:8 See KNOLLYS: Revelation 1:11See KNOLLYS: Revelation 1:17See KNOLLYS: Revelation 1:18 which Christ repeated again, as a divine encouragement to the ministers and members of this church to endure their tribulations; and not to fear any of those things which they must suffer (testified in Revelation 2:10). See KNOLLYS: Revelation 2:10. As if Christ had said ( totidem verbis ) they persecuted me to death, I was dead, nevertheless, I live, and live for evermore { Revelation 1:18} being raised from the dead by the power of God the Father: And, if any of you shall be persecuted and suffer death for my sake and the gospels, I will quicken you and raise you from the dead, { Revelation 20:4-6} and because I live you shall live also. { John 14:19}

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-2.html.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Revelation 2:8. And to the angel of the church at Smyrna write: These things saith the first and the last, he that was dead and is alive again. The predicates which are attributed to Christ, are from ch. Revelation 1:18. They bear altogether a consolatory character. If Christ is the first and the last, then shall his true people also at last conquer with him, triumph and reign; and they must not suffer themselves to be cast down, if they are now for a little season depressed. He has been dead and has again risen to life; therefore his people must not shun to be faithful even unto death. And since he has risen from the dead, and because he has done so, death can only be for them also a transition to life. Bengel: "Christ was the life before his death, therefore death could inflict but a short sting in him; his power of life was not thereby in the least injured; but when he was put to death after the flesh, the hidden power of the Spirit from the moment of his death broke forth with the more freedom, as if it had reached the heavens." It is in a high degree probable, that by the time this epistle was written, Polycarp stood at the head of the church in Smyrna. On that supposition the whole character of the epistle readily explains itself. The objections to this rest merely upon the false idea, that the Apocalypse was composed under Galba instead of under Domitian. The martyrdom of Polycarp took place under Marcus Aurelius Verus, about the year 168. He had served Christ eighty and six years, as he himself says in Eusebius IV. 15. If the Apocalypse was written about the year 96, there would remain a number of years from his conversion to his entrance on office. Polycarp, the Joshua of John, must from his whole character have lived a considerable period with him, and in the closest fellowship. Irenaeus in Euseb. Revelation 2:20 relates, that he had in his youth learned from Polycarp, what he was wont to "communicate of his familiar intercourse with John and those who had seen the Lord; how also he used to relate their discourses, and what he had heard of them concerning the Lord." Eusebius says in B. III. c. 36, "About this time (under Trajan, therefore somewhere about the time of the composition of the Apocalypse) flourished in Asia Polycarp, a scholar of the apostles, who received the episcopate of the church at Smyrna, from the servants and eye-witnesses of the Lord himself." About the year 108 he was found by Ignatius bishop of Smyrna. The account of the church of Smyrna respecting his martyrdom also styles him "an apostolical teacher." According to Iranaeus in Euseb. IV. 14, "Polycarp had not merely been instructed by the apostles, and enjoyed familiar intercourse with many who had seen Christ, but had also been appointed bishop by the apostles of the church at Smyrna in Asia." "We saw him," says Irenaeus, "when we still were very young. For he lived very long, and ended his life in an extreme age by a glorious and splendid martyrdom, after having continually taught what he had learned from the apostles." Tertullian expressly testifies that Polycarp was settled by John as bishop of Smyrna (De Praesc.haeret. c. 32), and the others must have had the same apostle more especially in their eye, when they speak of the apostles. So also Jerome (catal. scrip. Eccles.)

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-2.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

II. SMYRNA.—The poor in wealth, but rich in faith and works, Revelation 2:8-11.

8.Smyrna—From Ephesus, proceeding northward in a straight line, a journey of forty miles would bring our messenger, or rather, we may say, our apostle, on his circuit to Smyrna. He might have gone by sea; but the modern traveller every now and then falls upon traces of the old Roman road from Ephesus to Smyrna. Smyrna was first founded, or at least planned, by Alexander the Great, in consequence of a dream soon after the battle of Granicus. During the vicissitudes of conquest by

[image]

Persian, Grecian, and Roman, Smyrna was renowned for the easy servility with which she flattered every new master. Her most admirable harbour, in modern times has secured her pre-eminent prosperity. She is the ordinary point from which the European traveller starts for the interior. Being thus the seaport of Asia Minor, Smyrna is the most modernized of all the seven. “Along the seashore,” says Svoboda, “is a row of houses among which are seen some flagstaffs of all the foreign consuls, and projecting on the water are a number of cafes. The civilized Turks, Greeks, and Armenians have adopted European manners and dress. The European quarter, which extends all along the seashore to the Point, is the most handsome in appearance, with the finest houses, and is beautifully situated. The Turkish and Jewish quarters, which are the poorest, lie on the slope of Mount Pagus.” Two lines of railway have been constructed during the last few years; the one running to Ephesus and Aidin, (Tralles,) and the other to Magnesia and Cassaba, a distance of sixty miles. The climate and scenery are among the finest in the world, and the soil productive, but badly cultivated. Herodotus was not mistaken when he wrote in his book, (1. s. 142,) “These Ionians, to whom the Panionium belongs, have built their cities under the finest climate in the world with which we are acquainted.” The principal merchants, after our own fashion, reside in suburban villages connected with town by railways. Of the founding of Christianity in that place the New Testament gives us no account, and its growth at the writing of this epistle is an indication of the late date of the Apocalypse. Smyrna is celebrated in early Christian history as the place of the episcopate and martyrdom of Polycarp, the pupil of St. John, the teacher of Irenaeus, who, according to both Irenaeus and Tertullian, was ordained by St. John to the episcopate. He may have been the very angel here addressed by St. John. He was martyred in A.D. 168, and at his death declared that he had served a faithful Lord for eighty-six years, bringing the year of his conversion at A.D. 82. But this epistle was probably written thirteen years after that conversion, namely, in A.D. 95. Polycarp might have been bishop within thirteen years after his conversion, and so may have been the angel of this epistle. We seem to see in the high spiritual tone and martyr air of the epistle some indication of Saint Polycarp. The tomb of Polycarp, overshadowed by a cypress tree, is still shown.

Dead’ is alive—Repeated from the Christophanic self-annunciation of Revelation 1:11-20. It strikingly corresponds with the entire address to this martyr Church. It told the suffering Christian that he was a follower of a martyred Lord, and that holy martyrdom was a gate to a glorious resurrection. The phrase and is alive must not be lowered into and is alive again. It is not that (as Trench supposes) vixit is equivalent to re-vixit. See our note on Revelation 20:5. The meaning is, that such death is no interruption to the true life. The death of the body is only phenomenal; it leaves in continuity that blessed, immortal, true life that comes from Christ.

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The large buildings on the reader’s right are barracks for the soldiery. The castle is seen on the heights above the city. The consular residence, with their flags, on the left.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-2.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 2:8. The title from Revelation 1:17-18, with special reference to Revelation 2:10 and its situation, also to the promise of Revelation 2:11. The Smyrniote Christians, in peril of death, are addressed and encouraged by One who himself has died—and risen to life. He is familiar [Revelation 2:9] with the rough brake and briars through which faith must struggle to win its crown, and this familiarity is as usual put forward as the first element of encouragement. The other notes of help are (i.) the unapproachable wealth of a devoted life, (ii.) the justice of their claim in spite of their opponents’ prestige and pretensions, (iii.) the providential limit assigned to their trial, and (iv.) its ample reward, besides the fact that Christ does not conceal from them the worst.— . Contrast R. Jochanan’s aphorism: “Whosoever fulfils the Torah in poverty will at length fulfil it in wealth; and whosoever neglects the Torah in wealth, will at length neglect it in poverty” (Pirke Aboth, iv. 13). The subsequent allusion to Jews acquires fresh point from a comparison with (Chagigah, 9 b) another contemporary rabbi’s comment on Isaiah 48:10: “this means that the Holy One sought for all good qualities to give to Israel, and found only poverty”.— . Does the prophet resent (see on this, von Dobschütz, Texte u. Unters. xi. 1. 35 f.) the Jewish claim to the title of God’s people, declaring in so many words (as Matthew 21:43), that Judaism, so far as it is genuine, is now inside the church, and that the Jewish nation has forfeited its privilege and is now a pseudo-church (Harnack, H. D. i. 177–179)? If the passage does not breathe this common antipathy, the calumnies may be supposed to have taken the form of taunts upon the Christian delusion of believing that a Palestinian peasant and criminal was messiah, or of slanders upon Christian morals and motives (reff.), or of malicious, anonymous accusations laid before the Roman authorities with reference to revolutionary designs on the part of the churches. “Les Orientaux prennent d’ordinaire la religion comme un prétexte de taquineries” (Renan). Judaism was strong at Smyrna, and its hostility to the Christians (see Otto’s notes on Just. Dial. xvi. 11, xxxv., etc.) would not be lessened by the accession of converts from the old faith to the new (Ign. ad Smyrn. i. 2, describes the saints and faithful folk of Christ ); the reasons for such social animosity and interference are analysed in Jowett’s note on 1 Thessalonians 3:13, in E. G. Hardy’s Christianity and the Roman Government, pp. 45–53, and in Ramsay’s Seven Letters, 272 f. At the martyrdom of Polykarp in Smyrna, some years after the Apocalypse was written (as later still at the death of Pionius, 250 A.D.) the Jews made themselves conspicuous by denouncing him with the pagan mob before the Asiarch ( ), eagerly assisting to heap faggots on his pile ( , ), and helping to prevent the Christians from obtaining the martyr’s body ( : Mart. Polyk. xii., xvii.). The name of “Jew,” ancient and honourable, is claimed ( ) for believers in Jesus the messiah, who constitute the real people of God with a legitimate claim to the privileges and titles of the O.T. community. “Now by our faith we have become more than those who seemed to have God” (2 Clem. ii. 3).— . . a bitter retort to the contemporary claims of Judaism with its . (cf.Numbers 16:3; Numbers 20:4, Ps. Sol. 17:18, . ). The allusion here is to Jewish, in Revelation 2:13 (throne of S.) to pagan, and in Revelation 2:24 (depths of S.) to heretical, antagonism.

 

 

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Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-2.html. 1897-1910.

The Bible Study New Testament

8. To the angel of the church in Smyrna. To the evangelist. See note on Revelation 1:20.

 

 

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 2:8". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/revelation-2.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.