Hello everyone and I welcome you back once again to Deeper Waters where we dive into the ocean of truth. I ask for your prayers again at the start for my continued Christlikeness. I have made some progress I believe and today has been a pretty good day overall. Second I ask for prayers for my financial situation. Third, I ask for prayers in a specific area in my life related to both of those. I do appreciate it all in advance as recent developments have made me see more the importance of prayer. For now, let’s go to our Trinitarian Commentary. We’re going through the book of Revelation to understand the doctrine of the Trinity. Tonight, our passage is the description Jesus gives of himself to the church in Smyrna in Revelation 2:8.
8“To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.
Smyrna is one of two unique churches in the letters in the book. Every other church, Christ finds a fault with. He finds no such fault in Smyrna but instead gives them a simple encouragement. Apparently, there was a lot of persecution going on and we must remember that Revelation was written to churches undergoing hard times, so those of us suffering in the church at the hands of the world can find comfort regardless of the time period. This is especially relevant in countries where one’s life is in peril for being a Christian.
To begin with, Jesus identifies himself as the First and the Last. We saw this in Revelation 1 and we noted that this was a way that YHWH described himself to the prophet Isaiah. The idea is that there is not a point of time when YHWH is not. He is eternal.
This would have been a comfort to the church in Smyrna which was of course a new church. Regardless of if you even take a common conservative stance and date the letter to the 90’s in the first century, the Christian church had not even been around a century. What would their future be?
Christ’s assurance that he is the First and the Last would tell the church that he is Lord over all time and they need not fear being the new kids on the block as it were. In the end, Christ would conquer over those who were persecuting them. This is also why he can tell them what will happen in the future and how long it will last.
Also, he is the one who died and came to life again. This will tie in to his having power over the second death. What a comfort this would be to those churches who were facing death. Just as Jesus died and came to life again, so will some of the church die, but they will come to life again and not be held captive by the second death. They can face with faith the greatest onslaughts of the enemy then.
The conclusion is that who Jesus is is entirely relevant to the church at Smyrna. We may not be Smyrna, but let us remember that who he is is entirely relevant to the church today and that we can take the message given to them and find encouragement in our time today.
We shall continue tomorrow with the church at Pergamum.