When the emperor Valens threatened Eusebuis with confiscation of all his goods, torture, banishment, or even death, the courageous Christian replied, “He needs not fear confiscation, who has nothing to lose; nor banishment, to whom heaven is his country; nor torments, when his body can be destroyed at one blow; nor death, which is the only way to set him at liberty from sin and sorrow.”
The city of Smyrna known for it’s picturesque view and a plethora amount of opulence. Smyrna was about 35 miles from Ephesus with a population of 2000,000 people. The city of Smyrna was a beautiful city with temples, public buildings, and a library. The city was known for one of it’s streets being called the “street of gold.” The name Smyrna has its etymological root as the word “myrrh.” Myrrh was a perfume that look like chalk when broken the fragrance would be released. Myrrh was one of three gifts brought by the Magi to Christ (Matt. 2:11). Myrrh was used for embalming during biblical times.In the midst of suffering the fragrance of Smyrna stood the test of time.
Christ is pictured has the eternal one. Christ is the beginning and ending. Christ is the source of Smyrna during times of suffering and persecution. The church was commended for their perseverance during turbulent times. According to the text they were under tribulation (Greek-thilipis persecution) and extreme poverty (Greek ptocheia-extreme poverty). Polycarp is a celebrated figure in church history. A direct pupil of the apostle John, Polycarp lived between 70 and 155 A.D. Polycarp served as the bishop of the church at Smyrna and was recognized as one of the early apologists of Christianity against heretical teaching. Polycarp was arrested for being a Christian and repudiating the Roman government. This was his reply: “”Eighty-six years I have served Christ, and He never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?” Steadfast in his stand for Christ, Polycarp refused to compromise his beliefs, and thus, was burned alive at the stake. Diocletian who was one of cruelest emperor caused believers havoc. He began to consider himself a living god, demanding people prostrate themselves before him and kiss the hem of his robe. He wore a jeweled diadem and sat upon a magnificent, elevated throne. The church of Smyrna was under immense pressure to conform to the Roman culture way of worship. To add insult to injury a band of religious despots called the Judaizers try to indict the church of Smyrna for not keeping the Mosaic Law. The church of Smyrna remained faithful and faith-filled during these cataclysmic events of suffering. Christ encourages the church not to be terrified of the impending persecution. In the text the suffering could have been caused by the Judaizers or the diabolic Roman emperors. The text mentions the tribulation is to last for ten days. This denotes that their suffering and our suffering is for a brief time. On the other hand, some suffering for believers today could be because of sin, for God promises to discipline us (Heb. 12:6). Also suffering is a result of God’s sovereign purpose Job and Paul. Consequently, Christ promises to reward the church’s faithfulness with victor’s crown. The church of Smyrna and the church of Philadelphia are the only churches Christ finds no fault with. The closing commitment to the church is to have attentive ear to word of God. As a result of capitulating to the word of God ensures life everlasting in Christ Jesus.
In conclusion, many Roman Emperors tried to destroy Christianity. One of them, Diocletian, was particularly violent in his hatred of the Bible and Christianity. He killed so many Christians, with such outrageous cruelties, and destroyed so many Bibles, that many Christians “went underground” and hid themselves from his wrath. When it seemed to Diocletian that he had made an end of them, he had a medal coined with this motto on it: “The Christian religion is destroyed, and the worship of the (Roman) gods is restored.”