“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Smyrna. This is the message from the one who is the First and the Last, who was dead but is now alive:” Revelation 2:8
Christ the Eternal One. To this church our Lord is introduced as the One who is “the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive.” In describing Himself as “the first and the last” Christ is relating Himself to time and eternity. He is the eternal God who has always existed in the past and who will always exist in the future. In keeping with this attribute He is also portrayed as the One who was dead, literally, the One “who became dead,” referring to His death on the cross. He is also the One who is alive, literally, “who lives,” referring to His resurrection as the eternal and resurrected One. He is not only the eternal One in relation to time but the resurrected One in relation to life. In His person He therefore is presented as the eternal One, a description which is prominent in the first chapter in the Revelation as given to John on the Isle of Patmos. The church at Smyrna is told that the One who was eternal became incarnate and died, a reminder that even the eternal Son of God willingly became subject to the rejection and persecution of man. Like Christ, the church at Smyrna should anticipate ultimate victory. Even as the grave could not hold Christ, and He is now described as the One who “lives,” symbolizing His triumph over death, rejection, and mistrial, so they too could anticipate their ultimate victory.