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Lesson 2 Revelation 2:8-11

Lesson 2 Revelation 2:8-11
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A Spiritual Interpretation of Revelation

As taught by:
Unity School for Religious Studies
Unity Village, MO 64065

Lesson Outline

  1. Metaphysical meaning of the church of Smyrna.
  2. Praise for the church.
  3. Criticism for the church.
  4. Promise of reward for overcoming that which is criticized.
  1. Rev. 2:7-2:11
  2. Metaphysical Bible Dictionary: "Smyrna"
  3. Be Ye Transformed Page 210
  1. Metaphysically, what does the church of Smyrna stand for in human nature?
  2. Give a general summary of praise given to the church.
  3. Give a general summary of criticism given to the church.
  4. Give a general summary of the reward for overcoming to be given.

Lesson Text


The word Smyrna means "flowing; distilling; spiritous." Metaphysically, Smyrna stands for spiritual substance. The church of Smyrna symbolizes a person's consciousness of substance.

What is substance? The word is used differently in Unity from the way it is used in conventional science. In science, the word pertains to matter. In Unity, the word refers to spiritual energy which is not material, but is the basis for all possibilities of material form. Substance is the basis for supply and prosperity, and a consciousness of substance generates true prosperity for a person.

The definition of the word Smyrna ("flowing; distilling; spiritous") actually somewhat describes the nature of substance. In a sense, it is "flowing" all about us and within us at all times. It is the invisible, intangible reality of energy, containing all potential of form. It is not material but is the essence out of which all material is "distilled."

Charles Fillmore taught that substance responds to man's thought of it. Man's consciousness causes substance to produce effects from itself into the realm which man experiences as three-dimensional form. These forms are then used by us and become our supply and our prosperity.

In its primary state, substance is spiritual, and it is pure and "good." It is also unlimited and omnipresent. It responds to any human being who is willing to become aware of it and who thinks about it in the right way. Rev. 2:9 "'I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) ...'"

Every human being is completely rich as far as substance is concerned. Whether or not a person realizes it, his very existence is immersed in the substance of God's good, and is permeated by it. Lack, poverty, or failure in a person's life are the effects of ignorance, indifference, or unbelief toward spiritual substance. The person may not in any way be guilty of any wrongdoing in this respect, but spiritual substance can only await his awakening before it can flow through his consciousness and enrich his life.

The Christ Mind knows the struggle of the human mind in the face of lack or poverty. It says, "I know your tribulation and your poverty." But it immediately adds these words, "but you are RICH." This means that whatever our past experience of lack may have been, and whatever current challenge we may be facing of a poverty nature, a prosperity consciousness can, and will, be quickened in us if we will take the right steps. We can do this by activating the church of Smyrna within us by giving our belief and willingness to the divine idea of God's spiritual substance within us and all around us at all times.

What is a prosperity consciousness? Primarily it is something developed in the mind of a person who has learned to depend on God as his true source of supply. We must have faith in God as Creator and Source of all good. When we do, spiritual substance will see to it that forms of good are always available in abundance to us. Our consciousness has the power to cause a "flowing" and "distilling" process to occur in the very substance of our lives, and the result is that we have all sufficiency in all things, with much to spare and to share. This is the true prosperity consciousness, symbolized as the church of Smyrna.

Rev. 2:9 "'I know ... the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.'"

"Jews" stand for thoughts and feelings turned toward spiritual Truth. "Satan" stands for erroneous thoughts and negative emotions. The highly symbolic words in verse nine pertain to some of the false beliefs and negative attitudes which are still active in our thinking about prosperity. Some of these false beliefs may outwardly appear to be helpful to our progress in prosperity consciousness (they say they are Jews) but are actually harmful to our prosperity consciousness (and are not, but are of the synagogue of Satan). These erroneous beliefs may wear some clever disguises and be deceiving many persons, but knowledge of Truth reveals them to be errors, and they must be cast out of our prosperity thinking. Some examples of them are:

  1. It is possible for me to get my good at another's expense.
  2. There is the danger that another might get his good at my expense.
  3. The only way to experience prosperity is to possess many things, and the more things, the better.
  4. If a certain channel of supply in life is taken away, that means that a person's source of good has been taken away.
  5. One must never give more than he can expect to get back quickly in return.

Rev. 2:11 "'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who conquers shall not be hurt by the second death."

How do we overcome false beliefs which promise us much but which really only spoil our prosperity consciousness? We can begin by making the effort to base all our thinking about prosperity on the divine idea of substance. God's substance is for everyone. Next, rely on God, trust in God. Speak words of thanksgiving for the prospering power of God's substance in our lives. Give thanks that all the ideas in Divine Mind are ours to receive and use and share. These ideas will then go to work for us and cause to come forth that which will constitute our rightful supply and prosperity.

We should always remember that the most powerful action we can take as human beings as far as prosperity is concerned is to cooperate with the great law of giving and receivinq. Giving is so very, very important where true prosperity is concerned. Share generously. Pay bills cheerfully. Accept gifts happily. Be grateful for bargains, enjoy finding them, but treat the business of bargaining very lightly.

Then there is the matter of borrowing and lending. These, too, come under the law governing prosperity. If we loan to another person, we should do so with the feeling that we were giving him something. This does not mean that we do not allow him to pay us back. But it does have to do with our attitude about loaning. If we are the borrower, then we should make the effort to put ourselves in the place of the one from whom we borrow. This keeps borrowing and lending squarely within the laws of spiritual prosperity, and all will be well.

The final words of the letter to the church of Smyrna are, "'He who conquers shall not be hurt by the second death."' Metaphysically, the "first death" refers to something leaving a past form of existence prior to assuming its next form of existence. "Second death" refers to when something leaves its current form of existence prior to assuming its future form of existence.

For example, when a baby is born, that soul has, in a sense, "died" to the state of existence it was in before it assumed its place in physical birth. From our perspective, its "first death" was to its prenatal state.

The life form of an acorn "dies" to its acorn existence in order to proceed into its oak tree form of existence. If some fine furniture is to be made out of that oak wood, then the life form of "oak tree" will "die" in order to proceed into the fine furniture form of its existence.

The word "death", as often used in the Bible, does not mean cessation of life but, rather, a change in the state of existence of certain life forms. In earthly life, this is occurring all the time. Forms come, forms change, forms go, new forms are evolved. The problem for many human beings is that many of us are still being "hurt" by the "second death" of a number of things.

The promise in this letter is "'He who conquers shall not be hurt by the second death.'" This means that when we are established in a true prosperity consciousness, based upon spiritual understanding of God's laws and God's substance, the comings and goings of outer forms of things will no longer hurt us. We do not feel damaged or cheated when certain forms of things change or are removed. When we really understand that God's spiritual substance fills every part of our lives, every moment of our lives, then we never feel separated from the true Source of our good.