SMYRNA (Izmir)

The rival port city to Ephesus was Smyrna. It prided itself as being Rome’s most faithful ally, e.g. it was the first to build a temple to Rome in 195 BC, and the first to instigate worship of the emperor Tiberius. The curch at Smyrna struggled against tremendous political and religious opposition, experiencing poverty and tribulation becuase of their faith. The life and death issues of the local church were appropriate for a city named after “myrrh”, the sweet parfume used for embalming and anointing. Myrrh had been presented as a gift to the infant Jesus and a pain-killer mixed with wine at the cross and as preparation for Jesus’ burial Thus, God commended the faithful, suffering church for being a sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place