CHAPTER 2 - verses 8-11

Many people believe that trials, tribulation, and persecution happened in the past, and that a true believer won’t have to endure such things now. Revelation reveals to us that, in the last days, believers are going to experience great trials, persecution, and affliction. 

Verse 8: “And to the messenger (leader) of the congregation at Smyrna write: Thus says the First and the Last, the One who was dead and is alive.”

‘First and the Last’: This is the fourth time that Messiah has used this phrase to describe Himself. This term is set in the context of Redemption (1v8, 1v11, 1v17) God reveals Himself, once again, as the Redeemer. Redemption gives a message of encouragement. The congregations need to remember God’s commitment to them (See 1v11). It should remind them of their commitment to Him.

Messiah entered into this world to die. Yeshua started His earthly ministry when He was thirty (Luke 3v23), and His ministry ended with thirty (Matthew 26v14-16). According to Hebrew numerology, the number 30 relates to death. When God called Abraham to go to Mt Moriah (that is Jerusalem) to offer up his only (recognized by God) son, Abraham went because God
revealed the truth of the Kingdom to him; resurrection (Hebrews 11 v17-19). Abraham understood that even if Isaac was to die there is a resurrection! Our hope is not based on living in this world, but on leaving it (most people by death) and entering into the Kingdom of God. ‘One who was dead and is alive’ speaks of victory in the Kingdom.

Verse 9: “I know your works (see 2v2), your trials and your poverty. However, you are rich. I know the blasphemy of the ones who say ‘we are Jews’ but are not. It is a house of satan.”

This congregation was poor in the things of this world/age, but they are rich from a Kingdom perspective. 

Jew can mean ‘A descendant of Jacob’, but the literal meaning for this term ‘Jew’ is: “one who praises God”. This passage is talking about those who claim exclusivity (not the Jews as a nation) i.e. people who claim that they are the real followers of God, and that their place of worship is where true worship really happens, to the exclusion of everywhere else. 

The two words ‘blasphemy’ and ‘satan’ go together. These people claim that they were praising God, but in actuality they were blaspheming everything that God stands for.

Verse 10: “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold! In the future, the devil is going to cast you into prison. On account of this you are going to be tested. You shall be in affliction for ten days. Be faithful unto death. I will give to you the crown of life.”

This congregation was called to go through intense persecution. Even though believers may be faithful to God and do exactly what He has called them to do, they may still suffer trials and afflictions. (especially as we approach the last days)

 ‘Cast you into prison’ : Yeshua said the same thing in Luke 21v12. 

Testing, here, is not Messiah trying to determine if these people are committed believers or not. They will go through persecution in order to testify to the persecutors, and others, of their true faith in the Word of God. 

‘Ten days’ can be taken as a literal ten days, or it can be thought of as being the number related to completion, the full measure of a trial, in order to bring about a change in the lives of those being persecuted. These trials can minister to, and strengthen, us (2 Corinthians 12v9-10) 

‘Death’ is not the end. It is simply a transition from this age into the age to come. It is through death that we can identify with Messiah Yeshua. (Philippians 3v10)

‘Life’ is synonymous with ‘Kingdom’. God promises those who overcome the crown of the Kingdom. (“badge of honour”) Crowns are used to worship G-d. Everything that we have done, worthy of any praise, was only accomplished because of His workings in our lives. Crowns are also given to those who will rule or have authority in the Kingdom.

Verse 11: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the congregations. And the one who overcomes will not be harmed by the second death.”

It is through suffering that we hear from God. We may be one of those called to die for our faith, but we have been told (2v10) not to fear death. We all (except those to be raptured) die the first death. What God delivers us from is the potential of the second death. The second death is what happens after the millennial Kingdom. (Revelation 20v11-15) Those who receive the Gospel and walk in obedience to it, empowered by, and listening to, the Holy Spirit will have triumph in the Kingdom of God. 

The second death will have no authority over our lives. Unwise people reject truth, scorn repentance, and live in bondage to their sin. God wants to bring about change in our lives, making all things new (2 Corinthians 5v17). People who are wise will repent when sin, in their lives, is exposed.


HOW can WE help you?