1. Application

Identity of the Lord as Encouragement for the Church

Revelation 2:8–11 (ESV)

8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.

The Saviour’s letter to Smyrna underscores the “bad news” Jesus told his disciples in John 15:18–16:4, that Christians will certainly suffer for their faith in this present world. Periods free from persecution are not the norm for the Christian church.

Over against this bad news is the glorious good news of the Saviour’s blessed identity as the first and the last, who died and came to life. This identity guarantees his church that the gates of hell absolutely shall never prevail, even if God’s people need to pay the ultimate price. Here is delightful encouragement in the midst of the devilish hostility characterizing this present age. The Saviour’s identity needs to be pressed upon the churches again and again as source of comfort and catalyst to persevere in the struggle.