To the second church at Smyrna and to us today as well…..Yeshua Jesus reminds them that He is the First and Last, He died and came to life again. His people in Smyrna need this encouragement because they ar under great persecution and suffering, even unto death. This is the martyr church. They are also kept in worldly poverty, but Jesus tells them thy are actually rich in what really matters. (Matthew 5: 1-11 in the Beatitudes, Revelation 3:18-20 in the riches Jesus gives). Jesus identifies the devil as the real source of their imprisonment. John 10:10 tells us that the thief (satan) comes to steal, kill, and destroy.
Here is a riddle. They are particularly persecuted by those who say thy are Jews but are NOT. These persecutors are of the synagogue of Satan meaning they worship and serve Satan. These are people who are Jews by blood and claim they are God’s people, but they do not believe or truly honor God, and surely not Jesus, the Son of God.
Yeshua Jesus gives these persecuted believers in Smyrna instructions for their situation. They are NOT to fear. They are to remain faithful. 1 John 4: 15-18 tells us that if we have faith that Yeshua Jesus is the Son of God, then God abides in us and we abide in Him. We know God loves us perfectly, completely, and continually, never forsaking us. This gives us assurance of salvation even at the time of His final judgement…this takes away real eternal fear. Just hold fast in faith in Him, even unto death and into life eternal. We have the overcoming resurrection life in us and will not be hurt by the second death in the lake of fire! We have the final eternal victory!
They are encouraged that their testing trial will only be 10 days of tribulation…a limited time. But, 10 means more in Hebrew. It reminds them that God is ultimate authority. We see this in the 10 commandments as God’s rules to be obeyed. But more importantly, there are 10 days of awe before the Lord’s Day of Atonement, which is the day of God’s judgement. Previous to this day, the Feast of Trumpets has been announcing and calling people to worship God, repent, and change to follow His way. The last 10 days before God’s judgement are called the days of awe, and are the last chance to repent of sin and evil and be saved by God. Then, the Day of Atonement and the wrath of God come. The repentant are blessed, while the rebellious are judged as still under the curse and the wrath of God. (If you already know something about Revelatioun, you might see how this pattern follows the 7 trumpets, and then God’s judgment of evil by the 7 bowls of wrath.)
Do you hear and are you taking heed to what the Spirit is saying to His churches, His people? This is how to survive persecution and tribulation! Christians are now the most persecuted and martyred people group on the globe today. Those who are persecuted in the final huge persecution during the great tribulation need to know this! Now, go back and read this with that in mind. Are you prepared to endure and be faithful even under persecut8ion?
Also, who ar4 these worst persecutors of Christians…the ones who say they are Jews, but are not; those who are of the synagogue of Satan?