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Be Like Smyrna [2-20-22]

As we've seen, of the seven letters to the seven churches in The Revelation to John, only two churches escaped some sort of criticism or strong disapproval. Smyrna was one of those churches. What was it about them that made them stand out?

Let's start with geographical context.

Smyrna was about forty miles north of Ephesus. It's population was probably around 200,000. Three or four centuries before the time of this letter, it had been destroyed by foreign invaders, only to be rebuilt about a century later. That rebuild brought with it, famous at its time, a stadium, library, and one of the largest theaters in the region.

These changes brought economic prosperity to Smyrna. A huge road allowed for trade to pour out of and into the city. The region also produced great varieties of produce, which were broadly exported, as well.

Smyrna is the only one of the seven cities still in existence. It is now Izmir, Turkey. Here's a picture: