Smyrna sat 35 miles north of Ephesus, built near the ruins of an ancient Greek colony destroyed in the 7th century BC. Lysimachus, one of Alexander the Great’s generals, rebuilt Smyrna as a new Hellenistic city in the 3rd century BC. The city was later established as a Roman commercial center with a port on the Aegean Sea. Scholars believe the city grew to about 100,000 by the time of the apostles Paul and John.
Agora Smyrian ancient market place – Largest in world at that time
-Smyrna means "myrrh” which is a bitter herb. -City was located in Asia Minor about thirty five miles north of Ephesus. -Ancient ruins reveal the city existed in ancient times 1500 years before Christ. Today the modern city is called Izmir and is the second largest city in Turkey with a population of 1.5 million people. -The city has a large sea port harbor on the Aegean Sea and had a population of around 10,000 in Paul’s day and was considered the finest city in Asia being called "was called "the lovely-the crown of Ionia- the ornament of Asia.“ -Birth place of Homer. It was a prosperous and important Roman city and favored by Rome. -Jesus had nothing but encouragement for this persecuted church.
Polycarp, a martyr, was at one time the pastor of the Smyrna church. From history we have the record of Polycarp who was burned at the stake in 155 A.D. The account of his martyrdom gives us a picture of probably what occurred early in John’s day. Polycarp was brought before the Roman governor and charged with atheism, which meant he was charged with not worshiping the Roman Emperor as God. "For 86 years I have been His servant and He has never done me wrong; how can I blaspheme my King who saved me?"
CHRIST SPEAKS TO THOSE WHO ARE DYING FOR HIM. Revelation 2:8-11 This period in church history corresponds to the time of Emperor Nero to Emperor Constantine. (AD 64-316) To profess Christ was to become an outlaw” wanted dead or alive."