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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Smyrna: A Fragrant Offering Before the Lord

    
     While I've been away from my blog, I have been pursuing a bachelors in Biblical and Theological Studies.  As part of my work recently, we've been discussing the letters to the angels of the seven churches in the book of Revelation.  During a discussion board one of my classmates chose to discuss the church of Smyrna and below you will find an edited version of my reply.  I share this with the hope to do two things.  First, I hope to make you think about what true persecution looks like as I recently had a classmate refer to having their faith questioned as a matter of persecution.  Sadly, I believe that many who say they have a saving faith in Christ relate many petty things to an "environment of persecution" they feel they are under.... when, in truth, there is no such "environment" around them.  Secondly, I hope to encourage those who truly are undergoing persecution for their faith that the opposite of what the persecutors want will happen.
 
 

Smyrna, the persecuted church, is likely one that many today do not want to take a closer look at even though they received praise with no rebuke from Christ.  I think this has everything to do with the idea of persecution.  I believe a quote that would be useful in application to the church of Smyrna compared to today’s church is in the book, "The Book of Revelation Unlocking the Future."  Hindson, the author, said, “It is difficult, if not impossible, for most modern Christians to comprehend what it must be like to risk all you have for Christ.  Most of us struggle with concerns about public embarrassment or social rejection.  We know little or nothing about laying down our lives for the gospel.”[1]  This statement clearly speaks to our current struggle in the church today.

In reference to persecution, it occurred to me how perfect the name Smyrna was for the town/church.  According to Hindson, “Ancient Smyrna was named for a perfume
whose aroma was released by crushing the resin of a small thornbush.”[2]   
 copyright Voice From The End of Town

2 Corinthians 2:14-15 says, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing…”[3]  The church at Smyrna was literally a perfume or fragrant offering before the lord.  As the world attempted to crush them, it only spread their fragrance farther and wider.  You would be correct in saying, as they are attacked from the outside, it causes the Word of God to flourish.





 

Bibliography
Hindson, Edward. The Book of Revelation Unlocking the Future. Twenty-First Century Biblical Commentary Series. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2002.




[1] Edward Hindson. The Book of Revelation Unlocking the Future. Twenty-First Century Biblical Commentary Series. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2002. p. 37.
[2] Ibid. p. 36.
[3] English Standard Version. Crossway Bibles. 2011.

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