The Church of Smyrna is the second of seven Churches addressed in Revelation Chapters 2 & 3. It corresponds to the second of seven Kingdom of Heaven parables told by our Lord Jesus in Matthew Chapter 13 which is the Parable of the Wheat and Tares. They are one and the same.
Many Christians ask, "Does the Church at Smyrna exist today?". The answer is definitely - Yes - . Not only does this Church exist, but it is the easiest and most readily identifiable Church among the seven Churches listed in Revelation. This has been true not only throughout Church history, but also at this present time as we shall see. No other Church in the world today displays the character, description, and doctrine to which both the parable and the Revelation letter point.
24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field;
25 "but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.
26 "But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared.
27 "So the servants of the owner came and said to him, "Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?"
28 "He said to them, "An enemy has done this." The servants said to him, "Do you want us then to go and gather them up?"
29 "But he said, "No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.
30 "Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn."
The idea of this parable is that there are Saved and Unsaved members within the Kingdom, the Church. The tares in many ways resemble the wheat, but with one important difference - TARES DO NOT PRODUCE FRUIT.
"And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, "These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life:
The first verse of the address to the Church at Smyrna give us a clue as to what the issue in this Church is about. Jesus Christ was crucified for the sins of the World, died on the cross and after three days, arose from the dead. So we have here the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior. The "first" is in reference to the work He did in the PAST - - -
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He (Jesus) might be the FIRSTborn among many brethren.
1 Cor 15:20
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the FIRSTfruits of those who have fallen asleep
The "last" is in reference to his work NOW - - -
1 Cor 15:45
And so it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being." The LAST Adam (Jesus) became a life-giving spirit.
This parallels the Adam in Genesis because as that Adam was created in the Flesh, the second Adam (Jesus) first became Flesh, and then "LAST" became a "LIFE-GIVING" Spirit. The author and finisher of our faith.
1 Cor 15:46
However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.
What he is saying is that - - -
FIRST IS FLESH - - - SECOND IS SPIRIT
This describes the "Born Again" experience.
9 "I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
This Church is doing a lot of GOOD WORKS and also suffers tribulation of various kinds. The purpose and plan for God's tribulation on these Believers is - - -
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 And not only that, but we also glory in TRIBULATIONS, knowing that TRIBULATION produces PERSEVERANCE;
4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
In the flesh, this Church is not rich with a lot of material blessings. This statement is in contrast to the Church at Laodicea and Churches of today who preach that a Believer is entitled to material blessings because they are a Child of God. However, scripture says - - -
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING in the HEAVENLY places in Christ,
The phrase " I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan" is in reference to the fact that these are the TARES, the Unbelievers in the Church. These tares are saying "You don't have to undergo tribulation and poverty ! ! !. This is the blasphemy . . .
As a result of this Blasphemy, SOME of the Wheat will join with them (the Tares) in the Blasphemy. What happens when the wheat do that? We shall see - - -
10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
The above verse should have parenthesis around (Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison) because this is what happens to the Wheat who join the Tares in their Blasphemy ! ! ! The Wheat who do this are deceived and are in effect going from Freedom from Tribulation and Poverty into Prison.
Stand fast therefore in the LIBERTY by which Christ has made us FREE, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
2 Timothy 2
24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient,
25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,
26 and that they may come to their senses and ESCAPE (from Prison) the snare of the devil (Blasphemy of the Tares), having been taken CAPTIVE (Prisoner)captive by him to do his will.
Blessed is the man who endures TEMPTATION; for when he has been approved, he will receive the CROWN of LIFE which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
11 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death."
The Wheat in this Church who have ears to hear will not fall victim to the Blasphemy of the Tares and forfeit their CROWN. A tare cannot be changed into a wheat. Therefore he (a Tare) who overcomes (Believes and is Baptized - death, burial, and resurrection) shall not suffer the second death (Eternal Death).
The conflict between the Wheat and Tares continues to this day. The tares are saying - - -
YOU are entitled to all that LIFE has to offer because you are a Child of God. Health, wealth, and prosperity are awaiting your purchase, if you will only join our ranks --- You do not have to suffer Tribulation and Poverty, for We promise you LIBERTY from these things through Jesus Christ our Lord.
2 Peter 2:19
While they (Tares) PROMISE them LIBERTY, they themselves (Tares) are SLAVES (Prisoners) of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into Bondage.
The relationship between the Parable of the Wheat and Tares in Matthew 13 and this message to the Church at Smyrna is that they are a direct correlation
14 Stand therefore, having GIRDED YOUR WAIST WITH TRUTH, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!