As considered in my introduction to this series, I would like to look at each of the letters to the churches of Revelation from a different viewpoint than I have had much of my life.
Much could be written on each of the churches, but my intent is to give an overview of Old Testament motifs and pictures that John may have drew on from the Old Testament when he was penning the letters through the Holy Spirit
Our second letter is to the Church of Smyrna
John reaches back into the patriarchs (Abraham – Joseph and the children of Israel) for this church. Lets read the passage to get our thoughts aligned.
“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.
“‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that 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 throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto 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. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’
Consider the following
- Jesus is as one who was dead and is alive, with the foreshadowing of a number of stories
- Isaac’s picture of the resurrection (Gen 22:1-14)
- Joseph’s picture of the resurrection (Gen 37:18-36, 39:20 – 41:45, 45:4-8, 50:20, Heb 11:17-19)
- Israel’s salvation from bondage of Egypt
- The church is described as poor yet being rich is similar to Abraham and his family as they lived as aliens in the land of promise
- Persecution of true Jews by false Jews as Isaac was persecuted by Ismael (Gen 21:9)
- The threat of imprisonment via slander mirrors Joseph’s experience in the house of Potiphar (Gen 39:13-20)
- The blessing of the crown of life for the faithful is pictured (Gen 41:40-44)
- Aaron wore a crown of life, (Ex 28:36-38) picturing the fully redeemed man
- Israel’s victory through ten plagues echoes the tribulation of ten days before Israel’s deliverance
Give me your thoughts. Do you see parallels I have missed? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you
Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.