Updated: Feb 26, 2020
Verse 8: And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith (Rev. 1:8, 17, 18) the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive…
[To the Angel of Smyrna, etc.] He designs, either Polycarp (Menochius, Tirinus, Estius, Pareus), or rather, someone prior to him (Grotius). Nothing is censured in this Church (Durham).
Smyrna was a city in Ionia; we read not when, or by whom, the gospel was first planted and a church gathered there; nor can we tell who are meant by the angel of this church: see Revelation 1:20. That it was no single person is probable, for he speaks plurally, Revelation 2:10, the devil shall cast some of you, ἐξ ὑμῶν, into prison.
[These things saith the first, etc.] That is, He who, while He was of the highest dignity, suffered the greatest ignominy, Revelation 1:17, 18 (Grotius). The eternal and omnipotent God (Durham), who am going to judge all, and render rewards, and restore everlasting life to the dead, which is proven by my example (Ribera). This pertains there, lest the Bishop of Smyrna be led away from duty by the fear of disgrace or death; but let him be certain that, just as Christ came to life again, so also he was going to come to life again (Durham). The titles of Christ, therefore, are chosen which are most suited to an afflicted Church (Durham, Cluverus), and which afterwards endured greater burdens (Cluverus). For His death demonstrates that He is merciful, but His victory that He is powerful (Durham).
These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive: for the meaning of this phrase, see annotations on Revelation 1:8, 17, 18; only it is observable how Christ, speaking to this church under great tribulation and persecution, fits a name proper to comfort them; for he himself was dead, and yet now alive, and he living, those that believe in him, because he lives, shall live also, John 14:19; and as he was the first, so he will be the last, surviving all his enemies, and be at last a conqueror over them.
 Greek: Καὶ τῷ ἀγγέλῳ τῆς ἐν Σμύρνῃ ἐκκλησίας γράψον, Τάδε λέγει ὁ πρῶτος καὶ ὁ ἔσχατος, ὃς ἐγένετο νεκρὸς καὶ ἔζησεν.
 Polycarp (died c. 167) was a disciple of the Apostle John and Bishop of Smyrna.