The Church of Smyrna
“And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write;” (Rev 2:8a KJV)
Smyrna today is called Izmir and is located in Turkey. A disciple of John, a man named Polycarp, was the pastor of the Church of Smyrna until he was martyred in A.D. 155. The Church may have been started by Paul during his third missionary journey (Acts19).
The name Smyrna refers to myrrh and the process of crushing it to release its fragrance. The crushing of myrrh is a reference to persecution the Church of Smyrna endured.
“These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;” (Rev 2:8b KJV)
Jesus is making another statement of being the first and the last, showing His all-encompassing Godhead. Jesus was dead and is alive. Jesus died as a man to become our sacrifice for sin, but in order to complete the gospel message He also had to resurrect to a newness of life. Jesus rose again and is alive forevermore.
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” (1Co 15:1-4 KJV)