Revelation 2:8-11: Smyrna
Things are not what they seem! This is one of the most important truths that Christians are to learn from the book of Revelation. We see in this book that it is those who die as martyrs who are the victors over satan Revelation 12:11. The slain lamb of Christ is in fact the Lion and ruler. The invincible Rome is Babylon and will be judged. What appears to be a perfect storm of catastrophes manufactured to wipe out the church are in fact the God ordained, allowed and controlled prejudgements anticipating the removal of all evil. This paradoxical perspective, this ironic view is the vantage point from which Christ views the church in Smyrna. We see that Smyrna is poor but in fact are rich, the Jews are not Jews, the apparent people of God are a synagogue of satan, and they will conquer through dying. For any Christian going through suffering of any type this is the most important perspective to maintain, to look through the eyes of faith not sight, to interpret things through the bible not our pain, to evaluate future outcomes on the faithfulness of God’s promises not worldly approximations.
We come to the letters to the church in Smyrna, this is one of two churches that receive no rebuke but only commendation. It is these same two churches who also undergo intense persecution. This helps us to see what one of God’s ways of purifying His church is, suffering and persecution. As we examine Christ’s words to this persecuted church we will observe the reasons for why they probably suffered, the forms that the persecution took and the promises given to them to sustain them in their persecution.