February 13 – 19, 2022
Smyrna – Sweet Perfume (A.D. 100–323)
“And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the First and the Last, which was dead, and is alive.” Revelation 2:8
Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 529–538; The Great Controversy, 39–48
“The forgiveness of sins is promised to him who repents, justification to him who believes, and the crown of life to him who is faithful unto death.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 916
1 JESUS CHRIST IS ALIVE
1.a. Knowing the terrible persecution and martyrdom that would befall the Christians of the Smyrna period, what assurance did Jesus give them? Revelation 1:18; 2:8
Note: “Jesus read the future of His disciples. He saw one brought to the scaffold, one to the cross, one to exile among the lonely rocks of the sea, others to persecution and death. He encouraged them with the promise that in every trial He would be with them.” The Desire of Ages, 669
1.b. At the resurrection of Lazarus, what did Jesus say to Martha about Himself? John 11:23–26
Note: “Still seeking to give a true direction to her faith, Jesus declared, ‘I am the resurrection, and the life.’ In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived. ‘He that hath the Son hath life.’ 1 John 5:12. The divinity of Christ is the believer’s assurance of eternal life. ‘He that believeth in Me,’ said Jesus, ‘though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?’ Christ here looks forward to the time of His second coming. Then the righteous dead shall be raised incorruptible, and the living righteous shall be translated to heaven without seeing death.” The Desire of Ages, 530
2 POVERTY AND RICHES
2.a. What was always the material condition of God’s people throughout the ages? Revelation 2:9, first part; Zephaniah 3:12
Note: “The Lord’s people are mainly made up of the poor of this world, the common people. Not many wise, not many mighty, not many noble are called. God ‘hath chosen the poor of this world. The poor have the gospel preached to them.’ The wealthy are called, in one sense; they are invited, but they do not accept the invitation.” Evangelism, 565
“The early Christians were indeed a peculiar people. Their blameless deportment and unswerving faith were a continual reproof that disturbed the sinner’s peace. Though few in numbers, without wealth, position, or honorary titles, they were a terror to evildoers wherever their character and doctrines were known. Therefore they were hated by the wicked, even as Abel was hated by the ungodly Cain. For the same reason that Cain slew Abel, did those who sought to throw off the restraint of the Holy Spirit, put to death God’s people.” The Great Controversy, 46
2.b. What kind of wealth is recommended to us? 1 Timothy 6:17–19. What example did Jesus Himself give? 2 Corinthians 8:9
Note: “The humblest and poorest of the true disciples of Christ who are rich in good works, are more blessed and more precious in the sight of God than the men who boast of their great riches. They are more honorable in the courts of Heaven than the most exalted kings and nobles who are not rich toward God. The admonition which the apostle Paul exhorted Timothy to give the rich is applicable to very many who profess to believe the truth for these last days.” The Review and Herald, January 15, 1880
“Those who impart to others of the riches of the grace of heaven, will be themselves enriched. The ministering angels are waiting, longing, for channels through which they can communicate the treasures of heaven. Men and women can reach the highest stage of mental and moral development only by cooperating with Jesus in unselfish effort for the good of others. We are never so truly enriched as when we are trying to enrich others. We cannot diminish our treasure by sharing it. The more we enlighten others, the brighter our light will shine.” Ibid., April 4, 1907
3 THE SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN
3.a. What does it mean to be a “Jew”? John 8:39; Romans 2:28, 29
Note: “The Pharisees had declared themselves the children of Abraham. Jesus told them that this claim could be established only by doing the works of Abraham. The true children of Abraham would live, as He did, a life of obedience to God. They would not try to kill One who was speaking the truth that was given Him from God. In plotting against Christ, the rabbis were not doing the works of Abraham. A mere lineal descent from Abraham was of no value.” The Desire of Ages, 466, 467
3.b. What is the “synagogue of Satan”? Revelation 2:9, last part
Note: “Christ speaks of the church over which Satan presides as the synagogue of Satan. Its members are the children of disobedience. They are those who choose to sin, who labor to make void the holy law of God. It is Satan’s work to mingle evil with good, and to remove the distinction between good and evil. Christ would have a church that labors to separate the evil from the good.” The Review and Herald, December 4, 1900
3.c. What does the Bible say the synagogue of Satan will acknowledge, and when will this happen? Revelation 3:9
Note: “Soon we heard the voice of God like many waters, which gave us the day and hour of Jesus’ coming. The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake. When God spoke the time, He poured upon us the Holy Ghost, and our faces began to light up and shine with the glory of God, as Moses’ did when he came down from Mount Sinai. …
“At our happy, holy state the wicked were enraged, and would rush violently up to lay hands on us to thrust us into prison, when we would stretch forth the hand in the name of the Lord, and they would fall helpless to the ground. Then it was that the synagogue of Satan knew that God had loved us who could wash one another’s feet and salute the brethren with a holy kiss, and they worshiped at our feet.” Early Writings, 15
4 FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH
4.a. Under what condition would the promise be fulfilled to those who endured the ten prophetic days of tribulation? Revelation 2:10
Note: “What an example have the martyrs for Jesus left us in their lives of self-denial and sacrifice. They were faithful and true to principle. Although prisons, tortures, inquisitions, gibbets, and the stake threatened them, they counted not their lives dear unto themselves. Their love for the truth was here manifested. They chose to obey the truth at the expense of great suffering. The world was not worthy of these heroes of faith. They died for their faith. The pure gold was refined from all dross through trial and suffering. As these shall enter the portals of glory they will shout in triumph: We overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of our testimony. We were faithful unto death, and now receive a crown of life.” The Review and Herald, December 2, 1875
4.b. To whom else is given the promise of receiving a crown of life, and when will it be given? 2 Timothy 4:7, 8
Note: “It was through one who declared himself to be a ‘brother, and companion in tribulation’ (Revelation 1:9), that Christ revealed to His church the things that they must suffer for His sake. Looking down through long centuries of darkness and superstition, the aged exile saw multitudes suffering martyrdom because of their love for the truth. But he saw also that He who sustained His early witnesses would not forsake His faithful followers during the centuries of persecution that they must pass through before the close of time.” The Acts of the Apostles, 588
“The cross of Calvary is a pledge to us of everlasting life. Faith in Christ means everything to the sincere believer. The merits of Jesus blot out transgressions, and clothe us with the robe of righteousness woven in the loom of heaven. The crown of life is presented before us as the honor to be given at the end of the conflict.” Evangelism, 186, 187
“But we are to run the race, at the end of which is a crown of immortality and everlasting life. Yes, a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory will be awarded to us as the prize when the race is run. ‘We,’ says the apostle, ‘an incorruptible.’ ” Counsels on Health, 47
5 ETERNAL DEATH
5.a. What wonderful promise is given to the overcomer in the period of Smyrna? Revelation 2:11
Note: “ ‘The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ Romans 6:23. While life is the inheritance of the righteous, death is the portion of the wicked. Moses declared to Israel: ‘I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil.’ Deuteronomy 30:15. The death referred to in these scriptures is not that pronounced upon Adam, for all mankind suffer the penalty of his transgression. It is ‘the second death’ that is placed in contrast with everlasting life.” The Great Controversy, 544
“We shall receive either eternal life or eternal death. There is no middle ground, no second probation. We are called upon to overcome in this life as Christ overcame.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1112
5.b. What wonderful invitation is extended to everyone to escape from the second death? Ezekiel 18:23, 31; Isaiah 55:7
Note: “The word of God plainly tells us that few will be saved, and that the greater number of those, even, who are called will prove themselves unworthy of everlasting life. They will have no part in heaven, but will have their portion with Satan, and experience the second death.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 293, 294
“Repentance is one of the firstfruits of saving grace. Repentance includes sorrow for sin, and a turning away from it.” The Signs of the Times, June 28, 1905
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 What did the future hold for Christ’s church?
2 What is the true wealth of the Christian?
3 Who composes the synagogue of Satan?
4 To whom is the crown of life promised?
5 Who will suffer the second, eternal death?
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