Polycarp was an early disciple of John the apostle. He served as a bishop in the church at Smyrna. He was arrested by Roman soldiers when he was well into his 80's, taken to Rome, and then martyred.

After refusing to renounce Jesus, the proconsul intended to burn the elderly Polycarp alive, but the flames would not burn his body. So an executioner was commanded to pierce him with a dagger. The circumstances surrounding his death are well documented - and worth reading.

"If we please him in this present world, we will also receive the future world. After all, he has promised us that he will raise us from the dead and that if we live worthy of him, we will also reign with him."

- Polycarp (in his epistle to the Philippians)

Polycarp, as one of John's disciples in Smyrna, would have received one of the seven letters sent by John to each of the seven churches (Rev 1:11):

"To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:

These are the words of the First and the Last, who died and returned to life.

I know your affliction and your poverty—though you are rich...

Do not fear what you are about to suffer...

Be faithful even unto death, and I will give you the crown of life...

The one who overcomes will not be harmed by the second death."

Rev 2:8-11