Monday, May 5, 2014


Suggested Reading: Revelation 2:8-11

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

Smyrna was the second city to be addressed by Jesus in the book of Revelation. Acts 19:8-10 suggests that the church there was founded during Paul’s third missionary journey. Due to the fact that the port city of Izmir (ancient Syrmna) houses the second largest population in Turkey today, the site of ancient Smyrna has been little excavated. Except the agora (market place), theatre, and sections of the Roman aqueduct, little remains of the ancient city..

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.


Key Verse: Revelation 2:10b-11

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.”


Each of these seven city churches is given a special promise conditional on living a life which “overcomes” the temptation to give in. In the case of the Syrmna church, the temptation was to give in to the threat of persecution by Rome and the opposition of “the synagogue of Satan.” Just as Saul of Tarsus persecuted his fellow Jews before his conversion to Jesus, so John, who was Jewish, and almost all the followers of Jesus who were also Jewish, were still persecuted by some of their fellow Jews. As Ephesus was the centre of the worship of the goddess Diana (Artemis), so Syrmna was the centre of the worship of the Roman Emperor. A great temple was there and there are records showing that a Smyrna synagogue had abandoned Judaism and compromised to the extent of burning incense to the Emperor. A certificate was given to all who burned incense to the Emperor, without which business could not be conducted, and without which a sentence of death could be pronounced on all who could not show such a document.

Just imagine the encouragement to hold steady given to the believers by the words of Jesus, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life.” They will only die once, but those who deny Jesus will die twice. “He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”


Lord God, I pray for strength, courage, stamina, and boldness in my testimony for Jesus. I know that I don’t face death for my testimony, but there are those who are being killed, as I type this, for their faith in Jesus Christ and their refusal to deny Him. Strengthen them, I pray, in their resolve. And for me, I pray that I will be an overcomer in the struggle against more subtle temptations here in the free world to compromise with the world, the flesh, and the devil. In the Name of the complete Overcomer, Jesus Christ (Messiah). Amen!!!


I spent some time yesterday researching “Smyrna.” Apparently it was named after one of its ancient products, myrrh. Probably the believers in Jesus in that city knew this and may have meditated on the fact that myrrh was one of the gifts of the wise men to the Baby Jesus, and that Nicodemus, who came to Jesus as a secret believer, came into the open at Jesus’ burial with a mixture of myrrh and aloes to anoint Jesus’ Body (read John 19:38-42).

A hero of mine is the Pastor of Smyrna. His name was Polycarp. As a young man, perhaps 30, he may have been the one to read “Revelation” to the Syrmna church. History records this statement by Polycarp in the Roman arena just before his execution: “For 86 years I have served Christ. How can I now blaspheme my King Who saved me!” The Roman Pro-counsel had given Polycarp the choice to curse Christ and sacrifice to Ceasar, or die by fire. Polycarp should be a hero to all followers of Christ. He chose death. They were about to bind him to a stake, but he refused binding and voluntarily stood in the fire where he died. Polycarp preached to all in the vast stadium, “You threaten me with fire. You do not know the fire which awaits the wicked in judgment to come and in everlasting punishment.”

Yours, from one whose eyes are filled with tears so that I can hardly see the keys to type this,


Modern day Izmir, Turkey, is on the Mediterranean and is a major port on the Aegean Sea. The remains of Ancient Smyrna can still be visited here. The ruins can be seen in the middle of this photo.

23 thoughts on “Monday, May 5, 2014

  1. The loyalty and faith of those whom have suffered until death for their conviction and belief in Christ Jesus, is at the very least exemplary and profound. Even Peter denied Christ three times for fear of loosing his life. God knows our mind and our hearts. If it were not for martyrdom, what consistency would there be to what we value and hold as true. I too am overwhelmed by those whom have given their lives in faith for the namesake and belief in our Saviour Christ Jesus. I know without doubt, you would do the same, Pastor David Mainse. All glory and honour is His forever and ever! Amen. His strength and blessings to all our blogging family!

  2. Awesome teaching!! Polycarp–WOW! We hold our banner for You high, Jesus!!! Blessings to all saints, today!

  3. i pray like the seven churches, the Good Lord will reveal to us all our strength and weaknesses and also help us Endure and be Faithful to the very end so that like our key verse says, “I will give you the crown of life.” May The Good Lord continue to bless us all. Amen

  4. Amen to all the above!!! May we each stand
    firm on the solid Rock Christ Jesus to the end
    of our days or until Jesus comes to take us
    home. “Let everything that has breath praise
    the Lord.”

  5. There have been some power-hungry, self-centred, evil individuals throughot the ages, Ceasar being one of them. What courage and commitment a good soul would possess to resist such adversity. Many bible souls are becoming my heroes and heroines, but of course Jesus leads the list.
    God bless each of us this day, I ask in Jesus’name. Amen.

  6. We truly do have an enemy who prowls around like a roaring lion seeking who he might devour, but we who believe also have a Lion, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, who has destroyed the enemy. Lord, help us to us keep our faith in Him, even in difficult times and tribulation. I pray for the Saints, that they would be strengthened in times of trouble.

  7. Wow! What examples in church history, Jesus Christ being the greatest example of course. What does Hebrews 11:38a say of the list of persecuted; (Of whom the world was not worthy)…And Jude 3 says…you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” Using the messages to the churches as a backdrop, I thought Irene Ochotta posed a good question yesterday, “Wonder what Jesus would say about the many churches today?” God bless you fellow saints!

  8. I thank our founding fathers here in Canada and the USA. Though our countries each share freedom of Religion, we are each founded under God with Christ Jesus as our Saviour. Amen! As such, our churches today do not share the persecution of the early Church as the early churches did during much of Roman rule…

    Thank you David Mainse for teaching us about the times of the early church in Smyrna and the Pastor Polycarp. Martyred for his worship and belief in Christ Jesus as the One and only Son of God who died on the cross and rose again after 3 days. Through Christ, Polycarp new that he would live eternally in His presence…

    Amen and Amen!

    Blessings upon us beloved in Christ. Amen!

  9. The Lord has just moved me to write a poem in response to today’s reading and I will share it in hopes in does whatever God wants to be done with it.

    If I had known to follow meant
    that you would want my every breath.
    That all my days would be Yours to fill
    If I had known
    I would choose you still.
    If I had known to surrender would mean
    my heart would break into pieces unseen
    That I would watch justice be killed
    If I had known
    I would choose you still.
    If I had know to submit would cause
    my body to be beaten by pain without pause
    That every cell would groan until—
    If I had known
    I would choose you still.
    If I had know you would ask
    for me to give my life in the task
    of setting the example you fulfilled
    If I had known
    I would choose you still.
    Yes Lord, if I had known all these things
    Before my faith had taken wing
    The same choice would I make
    The same journey would I take
    For I am yours and always will be
    Thank you Jesus for choosing me.

  10. Thank you once again Pastor David for today’s lesson. Such courage of Polycarp can only come from deep faith in The Lord Jesus Christ. I pray we can all keep our eyes focused on the eternal prize and crown and STAND FIRM on THE ROCK!

    Hallelujah to The King!!!

  11. Thank you Donna for that anointed poem…it has blessed and touched my heart:)
    Thank you Lord Jesus that you are the same “yesterday, today and forever” .
    and in your Mighty Name Jesus I pray for the many that are being persecuted and laying their lives down in this day and age for the sake of the Gospel, standing firm in their faith.
    Thank you David for sharing the life story about Polycarp the Pastor of Smyrnia.
    Lord, give me the courage to be your faithful servant, Jesus I pray. Amen

  12. I am not even sure how to ask my question…..but I would like to understand why the letters were written to the angels of the churches. Who/why was there an angel?

    • If you type the question who are the angels in revelation 2 into your computer’s search engine, (Google) it should lead you to a number of websites that discuss this issue– there is a lot of debate whether they are literal angels, or not, and you should be able to find a website that could discuss the pros and cons of each point better than I could here in this space. I hope that helps.

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