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November 12    Scripture



Bible Cities: Smyrna
Ancient Smyrna

Map of Ancient Smyrna

SMYRNA, an important Ionian city, is situated at the head of a deep gulf on the western coast of Asia Minor, forty miles north by west of Ephesus. It was an important city in the days of the Apostles, being possessed of enormous wealth and having a large trade. It is still a flourishing commercial point, being visited by many foreign vessels, and by many caravans from the interior. It has a population of nearly 150,000, Christianity was established here at an early day. The church at Smyrna was one of the seven churches addressed by Christ in the Revelation of St. John (1:11; 2:8-11) - Ancient Geography

Smyrna in Easton's Bible Dictionary myrrh, an ancient city of Ionia, on the western coast of Asia Minor, about 40 miles to the north of Ephesus. It is now the chief city of Anatolia, having a mixed population of about 200,000, of whom about one-third are professed Christians. The church founded here was one of the seven addressed by our Lord (Rev. 2:8-11). The celebrated Polycarp, a pupil of the apostle John, was in the second century a prominent leader in the church of Smyrna. Here he suffered martyrdom, A.D. 155.

Smyrna in Fausset's Bible Dictionary A city on the coast of Ionia, at the head of the gulf, having a well sheltered harbour; N. of Ephesus; beautified by Alexander the Great and Antigonus, and designated "the beautiful." Still flourishing, and under the same name, after various vicissitudes, and called "the Paris of the Levant," with large commerce and a population of 200,000. The church here was one of the seven addressed by the Lord (Revelation 2:8-11). Polycarp, martyred in A.D. 168, 86 years after conversion, was its bishop, probably "the angel of the church in Smyrna." The Lord's allusions to persecutions accord with this identification. The attributes of Him "which was dead and is alive" would comfort Smyrna under persecution. The idol Dionysus at Smyrna was believed to have been killed and come to life; in contrast to this lying fable is Christ's title, "the First and the Last, which was dead and is alive" (Revelation 2:8). As death was to Him the gate of life, so it is to His people. Good "works," "tribulation," "poverty" owing to "spoiling of goods," while she was "rich" in grace (contrast Laodicea, "rich" in her own eyes and the world's, poor before God), were her marks. The Jews in name, really "the synagogue of Satan," blasphemed Christ as "the Hanged One." At Polycarp's martyrdom they clamoured with the pagan for his being cast to the lions; the proconsul opposed it, but, impotent to restrain the fanaticism of the mob, let them He him to the stake; the Jews with their own hands carried logs for the pile which burned him. The theater where he was burned was on a hill facing the N. It was one of the largest in Asia. Traces of it may be seen in descending from the northern gateway of the castle. A circular letter from the church of Smyrna describes his martyrdom. When urged to recant he said, "four-score years and six I have served the Lord, and He never wronged me; how then can I blaspheme my King and Saviour?" The accuser, the devil, cast some of the Smyrna church into prison, and "it had tribulation ten days," a short term (Genesis 24:55; Numbers 11:19), whereas the consequent joy is eternal (many Christians perished by wild beasts or at the stake because they refused to throw incense into the fire to sacrifice to the genius of the emperor): a sweet consolation in trial. Ten is the number of the world powers hostile to the church (Revelation 13:1). Christ promises Smyrna "a crown of life" (compare James 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:8 "of righteousness," 1 Peter 5:4 "of glory") in reward for "faithfulness unto death." The allusion is to the "crown-wearing" (stefanofori), leading priests at Smyrna It was usual to present the superintending priest with a crown at the end of his year of office; several persons of both sexes are called "crown bearers" in inscriptions. The ferocity of the populace against the aged Polycarp is accounted for by their zealous interest in the Olympian games celebrated here, in respect to which Christianity bore an antisocial aspect. Smyrna ("myrrh") yielded its perfume in being bruised to death. Smyrna's faithfulness is rewarded by its candlestick not having been wholly removed; from whence the Turks call it "infidel Smyrna." Persecuted Smyrna and Philadelphia are the only churches which the Lord does not reprove. (See PHILADELPHIA.)

Smyrna in Hitchcock's Bible Names myrrh

Smyrna in Naves Topical Bible (A city of Ionia) -One of the seven congregations in Re 1:11; 2:8

Smyrna in Smiths Bible Dictionary (myrrh), a city of Asia Minor, situated on the AEgean Sea, 40 miles north of Ephesus. Allusion is made to it in Re 2:8- 11 It was founded by Alexander the Great, and was situated twenty shades (2 1/2 miles) from the city of the same name, which after a long series of wars with the Lydians had been finally taken and sacked by Halyattes. The ancient city was built by some piratical Greeks 1500 years before Christ. It seems not impossible that the message to the church in Smyrna contains allusions to the ritual of the pagan mysteries which prevailed in that city. In the time of Strabo the ruins of the old Smyrna still existed, and were partially inhabited, but the new city was one of the most beautiful in all Asia. The streets were laid out as near as might be at right angles. There was a large public library there, and also a handsome building surrounded with porticos which served as a museum. It was consecrated as a heroum to Homer, whom the Smyrnaeans claimed as a countryman. Olympian games were celebrated here, and excited great interest. (Smyrna is still a large city of 180,000 to 200,000 inhabitants, of which a larger proportion are Franks than in any other town in Turkey; 20,000 are Greeks, 9000 Jews, 8000 Armenians, 1000 Europeans, and the rest are Moslems. --ED.)

Smyrna in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE smur'-na (Smurna): 1. Ancient: Smyrna, a large ancient city on the western coast of Asia Minor, at the head of a gulf which reaches 30 miles inland, was originally peopled by the Asiatics known as the Lelages. The city seems to have been taken from the Lelages by the Aeolian Greeks about 1100 BC; there still remain traces of the cyclopean masonry of that early time. In 688 BC it passed into the possession of the Ionian Greeks and was made one of the cities of the Ionian confederacy, but in 627 BC it was taken by the Lydians. During the years 301 to 281 BC, Lysimachus entirely rebuilt it on a new site to the Southwest of the earlier cities, and surrounded it by a wall. Standing, as it did, upon a good harbor, at the head of one of the chief highways to the interior, it early became a great trading-center and the chief port for the export trade. In Roman times, Smyrna was considered the most brilliant city of Asia Minor, successfully rivaling Pergamos and Ephesus. Its streets were wide and paved. Its system of coinage was old, and now about the city coins of every period are found. It was celebrated for its schools of science and medicine, and for its handsome buildings. Among them was the Homerium, for Smyrna was one of several places which claimed to be the birthplace of the poet. On the slope of Mt. Pagus was a theater which seated 20,000 spectators. In the 23 AD year a temple was built in honor of Tiberius and his mother Julia, and the Golden Street, connecting the temples of Zeus and Cybele, is said to have been the best in any ancient city. Smyrna early became a Christian city, for there was one of the Seven Churches of the Book of Revelation (2:8-11). There Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna, was martyred, though without the sanction of the Roman government. It seems that the Jews of Smyrna were more antagonistic than were the Romans to the spread of Christianity, for it is said that even on Saturday, their sacred day, they brought wood for the fire in which Polycarp was burned. His grave is still shown in a cemetery there. Like many other cities of Asia Minor, Smyrna suffered frequently, especially during the years 178-80 AD, from earthquakes, but it always escaped entire destruction. During the Middle Ages the city was the scene of many struggles, the most fierce of which was directed by Timur against the Christians. Tradition relates that there he built a tower, using as stones the heads of a thousand captives which he put to death, yet Smyrna was the last of the Christian cities to hold out against the Mohammedans; in 1424 it fell into the hands of the Turks. It was the discovery of America and the resulting discovery...

Smyrna Scripture - Revelation 1:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send [it] unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

Smyrna Scripture - Revelation 2:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

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