Paul told Timothy that all God’s holy people will suffer because of their enemies (2 Timothy 3:12). Jesus warned Christians that they would suffer great troubles because of their relationship with him (Mark 13:9-13). The Book of James promises the ‘crown of life’ to Christians who suffer (James 1:12).
The Christians in Smyrna were already suffering. Soon their troubles would become much worse. Some of them would become prisoners, and some of them would die. However, their troubles would not be without end. God would allow those troubles to continue only for a certain period of time. The ’10 days’ here probably does not mean 10 actual days; it means a definite period of time. God puts a limit on the devil’s power to test his people (see Job 1:12; Job 2:6). He will not allow the devil to test them more than he gives them the strength to deal with.
Christians should not imagine that other people cause all their troubles. Their real enemy is the devil. The devil attacks them because he wants them to lose their trust in God. However, God permits it as a test, to prove that their trust in God is genuine (1 Peter 1:6-7).
‘Remain loyal until death, and I will give to you the crown of life’. Christ spoke these words to give strength to those Christians who would die because of their relationship with him. However, the promise is to all people who are loyal to him (2 Timothy 4:8). God will give them life that never ends. They will always live with him in heaven and the New Jerusalem.
A crown is a royal hat; here it is a word-picture for a great honour. Their enemies said that the Christians did not deserve to live. Christ declared that they would receive the greatest honour: to live always with him.
Next part: The second death (Revelation 2:11)
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© 2016, Keith Simons.