1. Christ says that He is the first and the last. He is the One supreme authority and ruler over life. Persecutors—
government officials and some citizens who persecute and cause trouble for other people—may think that they hold authority
over life, but they do not. They may claim to be the first and the last, to have the final word and authority, but they are de-
ceived. There is only one first and last, only one supreme authority, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God Him-
a. This means that all persecutors, all those who afflict and cause trouble for others, had better take heed.
They shall be judged if they usurp and take the authority over human life into their own hands. There is
only one authority over life, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, all people are to look to Him. Any
person who persecutes and causes trouble for other people shall face His judgment.
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb.9:27).
b. This means that believers always have the presence of Christ with them through all the troubles and
persecutions of life. Jesus Christ is the first and the last; He is always there. He is there with the believer...
• when the trouble first begins
• when the trouble is going on
• when the trouble ends
Jesus Christ is the first and the last; He spans time, all the minutes and hours of time. His presence covers
all the problems, circumstances, and troubles of human life. Jesus Christ is always in charge of what
happens to us. He controls the circumstances and trouble no matter what happens. Therefore, He will work
all things out for our good.
“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am” (Jn.8:58).
“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that
they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the founda-
tion of the world” (Jn.17:24).
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them
who are the called according to his purpose” (Ro.8:28).
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or perse-
cution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?...Nay, in all these things we are more
than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height,
nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is
in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ro.8:35, 37-39).
2. Christ says that He is the One who was dead and is alive again. The word “was” (genomenos) really means be-
came. Christ became dead. His death was only a passing phase, an episode He had to go through. He experienced death, but
death was only a passing thing for Him. He triumphed over it. Alive is aorist tense in the Greek, a once-for-all act. Once it is
done, it is done—completed, finished. Jesus came to life again. He arose. Therefore, the message to the church at Smyrna is
that no matter what they experience, it is a passing episode. Even if they experience death, it has been conquered. Christ has
personally been there and triumphed over both pain and death. Therefore, the believer shall live forever even if he is mar-
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn.3:16).
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath
everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (Jn.5:24).
“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on
him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn.6:40).
“There hath no temptation [trial] taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful,
who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make
a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Cor.10:13).
“And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly
kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever” (2 Tim.4:18).
“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part
of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and
deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb.2:14-15).
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mer-
cy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an
inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (1
“The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto
the day of judgment to be punished” (2 Pt.2:9).
Church—Believers: there is the commendation. The church is commended for four things.
1. The church bore up under terrible tribulation (thlipsin). The word means affliction, the pressure of crushing afflic-
tion. This word indicates that the trials and persecution were most severe. But the believers were holding up under the attacks
and refusing to deny Christ. They were faithful to Christ despite all the ridicule, mockery, abuse, cursing, loss of property,
possible imprisonment and martyrdom.
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