Revelation: Smyrna Under Pressure

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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:

 

The first and the last…The idea of the Messiah being the first and the last goes back to the Old Testament prophets. The phrase is the calling card to identify the Messiah. Jesus identifies Himself as the first and the last in Revelation 1:17.

Isaiah 44:6 Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me”.

Isaiah 48:12 Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am he; I am the first, and I am the last.

At the last of the book of Revelation and the Bible closes with this reminder.

Revelation 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. -Jesus

…who was dead, and has come to life… The gospel message is simply stated in the first sentence to the church at Smyrna. We know Jesus died on a cross. We know He was buried. We know He resurrected. Jesus is the person talking. Christ proclaims His good news.

Revelation 2:9 ‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

The English word “tribulation” is the Greek word τηλιπσισ/thlipsis. Per Strong’s Concordance it is defined as:  pressing, pressing together, pressure; metaphorically it means oppression, affliction, tribulation, distress, straits.

In other words, as believers in Jesus Christ, we are going to come under pressure from the world. This life promises stress and oppression. What we believe will come under affliction.

“Tribulation” or τηλιπσισ/thlipsis is not the same word used for God’s “wrath”. The Greek word for “wrath” is οργε/orge. The word is defined as: wrath, indignation; anger exhibited in punishment, hence used for punishment itself; of punishments inflicted by magistrates.

A couple of example of God’s wrath are noted below.

1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ…

Romans 5:9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.

The church does not come under God’s wrath. But the body of Christ was, is, and will be pressured during our earthly lives.

…(but you are rich)…The church at Smryna was materially poor of wealth and worldly possessions. The reality, they were wealthy in an eternal sense. The Greek vocabulary says these folks were people of virtue and character. And they believed in Jesus Christ, their Heavenly possession.

…but are a synagogue of Satan. This is the first of four references to Satan to the churches of Revelation.

The Greek word for “synagogue” is not the same Greek word used for “church”.

The word for “synagogue” is the transliterated word συναγογε/sunagoge. Two points about this word. One, it is a physical structure or building. Two, it is an assembly of men.

The Greek word for “church” is εκκλεσια/ekklesia. It means: a called out group of Christians; the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth. The church is not a building.

Satan’s synagogue is different than Jesus Christ’s church.

Satan’s crew, the so called Jewish congregation had some character issues. They used the Lord’s name in vain and they were liars.

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Paul Lehr

About Paul Lehr

Paul Lehr is a Speech Pathologist and home health provider. The majority of his work focuses on swallowing disorders in neurologically impaired patients. He has been a business owner for the past 18 years. Paul earned his BS in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Oklahoma State University. His MA was completed in Speech Pathology at Oklahoma State University.
When Paul’s son was born prematurely in 2003, there was lots of support from family and friends. Keeping up with phone calls was too much. So he provided e-mails with updates on health and well-being. In time, his son was healthy and came home. The e-mails stopped but Paul was encouraged to keep writing.
Three years later, Paul was asked to assist in writing a Sunday school curriculum. The lessons were well received by the local body and on the church website. Again, he was encouraged to keep writing.
Next, Paul taught a Sunday School class for junior high and high school students. He would share notes with others from the class he was teaching. In 2010, a young man at a local church encouraged Paul to start a blog. The website focuses on topical studies such as creation, God’s Appointed Holidays and Feasts, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, end times prophecy, ancient Hebrew cultural customs, the Prophet Isaiah, and various topical studies.
Three years later, Paul’s 10 year old son told me, “Dad, you need to do updates on how the news is tied to the Bible.” The “Trend Update” was born. Since then, traffic on the website doubled in each of the next two years. Exposure continues to grow and increase from the previous year as of 2016.
In the spring of 2016, a friend and fellow Boy Scout father encouraged Paul to start a YouTube channel. His friend thought it was a natural fit considering the content and subscribers from the website. The videos and written posts have been well received. Between the blog and YouTube channel, God’s prophetic words have reached over 190 countries.
Isaiah 55:11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
Friends and family help and support the blog and YouTube channel with content ideas. There is too much happening in relation to Bible prophecy for one person to follow and command the events of our day.
That same Boy Scout father would later introduce Paul to the movies of Trey Smith and the God in a Nutshell Project…
Guest speak and presenter duties have focused on the topics of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in God’s Appointed Spring Feasts, Mystery Babylon, the antichrist, Ezekiel 38-39, and current events related to Bible prophecy.
At this time, Paul would like to encourage each individual to learn about who God is. Because one way or another, we are all eternal. The issue is our destiny.
Welcome to PaulthePoke and www.paulthepoke.com

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