The Church at Smyrna and the Parable of the Wheat and Tares
by Larry Cockerham


The Church at Smyrna and the Parable of the Wheat and Tares

By Larry Cockerham

The church at Smyrna was the persecuted church, beginning with Nero in A.D. 64 and ending with Diocletian in A.D. 310. This was a church characterized by their poverty (Rev. 2:9), but the Lord Jesus Christ said they were rich (Rev. 2:9). They were also told to fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer and to be faithful unto death (Rev. 2:10). Satan had sown his tares; those which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan (Rev. 2:9). Opposition to the Lords work was especially fierce during this period. The church at Smyrna is prophetic of the period from A.D. 160 to A.D. 312.

In the second stage of spiritual development of the parables, we see opposition to the kingdom. Wiersbe states that these three parables reveal that Satan is primarily an imitator: He plants false Christians, he encourages a false growth, and he introduces false doctrine. J. Dwight Pentecost comments concerning this period:

(l) The true sowing, mentioned in the first parable, is to be imitated by a false sowing. (2) There is to be a side-by-side development of that which is good with that which is evil as the result of these two sowings. (3) There will be a judgment at the end of the age to separate the good from the evil. The good will be received into the millennial kingdom and the evil excluded. (4) The essential character of each sowing can be determined only by the fruitfulness of that which was sown, not by outward observation. Therefore, in the second parable and epistle the enemy is revealed, marked by increased opposition and persecution.

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