In The Word
Read Revelation 2:8-17
Message to Smyrna
“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:
‘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. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. 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 will not be hurt by the second death.’
Message to Pergamum
“And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write:
The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this:
‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Walking In The Word
The church in Smyrna, according to the Lord, was doing it right. He had no correction for this church, only encouragement. Notice that this church didn’t have a lot of money and that they were greatly persecuted against. It was, more than likely, a small church but with a committed heart. Also note that our Lord didn’t say He would take them out of the persecution, but that He needed them to endure the attacks. He even let them know that some would lose their lives for the faith, but He reassured them not to fear the first death. Just as Christ was risen from the first death, they could also be encouraged that they would be too if they remained faithful. Many in today’s world would look at a church like this as poor and insignificant, but our Lord honored them and said that they were actually rich. We must be careful to view a church by its faithfulness, not by its bank account.
The church in Pergamum was a church doing fairly well but had a few things they needed to address. They had some people that held to the teaching of Balaam and the Nicolaitans. Notice, it wasn’t everyone that held to these teachings, just some. However, God addressed everyone to deal with this problem. The few affect all in a local church, but all can also affect the few if they stand unified to guide them back to the Ancient Path. We must not allow renegades to spread destructive teachings in the church. The whole body has a responsibility to correct and redirect those holding to teachings that the Holy Word does not support. We need to endeavor to get them back on track or keep them from derailing those on track.