Now remember, that this letter although it is
addressed to the Church of Smyrna, is actually addressed to all believers of
our Church Age, and even beyond.
In reading all of these letters, we will see
several behavior patterns of believers that will generally characterize
Christians during our dispensation.
It is true that there were Christians in Smyrna who
had a difficult life, but there will always be Christians in history, who will live difficult lives, and of whom will stick with
their faith no matter what.
This is the commendation which Christ has and will,
give to those who endure.
Here Christ warns that there is going to be more
hardship coming and that each believer should be ready for it. Some believers will go through adversity,
more so than others, and to those who will be forced to endure the extremes of
life, here is the promise from Christ.
It will be brief.
Regardless of how long you have to live under
adversity, it will be brief when compared to all of eternity in heaven.
The ten days, are not defined, and not identified, therefore they become an expression for
And there will be folks who will try to define them
as a literal ten days, which falls apart when folks suffer for longer
periods.Or, there will be those who will
try to identify the ten days with some historical series of events, however,
there will always be more than ten of any given series, and if not in the past,
then one still has to contend with the future of which we know nothing.
Ten usually represents a rounded total. It does not refer to an actual completeness,
but an expression suggesting a completeness. The number ten arose often in the scriptures. For example:
The 10 antediluvian patriarchs, Gen 5, the 10
righteous men who would have saved Sodom, Gen 18:32, the 10 plagues of Egypt;
the 10 commandments, Ex 20:2-17, Deut 5:6-21, the 10 servants of Gideon, Judg 6:27, the 10 elders who accompanied Boaz, Ruth 4:2,
the 10 virgins of the parable, Matt 25:1, the 10 pieces of silver, Luke 15:8,
the 10 servants entrusted with 10 pounds, Luke 19:13, the most capable of whom was
placed over 10 cities, Luke 19:17.
Sometimes the number is exact and sometimes it is
only a representative expression.And in
our passage, it is an expression of brevity since suffering will obviously go
on and on and on for many people, therefore the number cannot represent an
exact timeframe, but that whatever suffering is imposed, it will be brief, just
as this life is brief when compared with all of eternity. Our earthly life has been compare with a
morning mist.Here for a short time and
then gone, even though many folks live for many decades. The expression is one of brevity.
Christ gives us hope, that no matter what your
suffering may be in life, do not be afraid. Why?
Because there is nothing and no one in this world, that can do anything to
you, that will remove you from the protective hand of Christ.
The Bible identifies five crowns – the Everlasting
Crown (Victory) in 1 Cor 9:25, Crown of the Soul
Winner in Phil 4:1 and 1 Thes 2:19, Crown of
Righteousness in 2 Tim 4:8, Crown of Life in Jas 1:12 and Rev 2:10, and the
Crown of Glory in 1 Peter 5:4.
Here, as in the other listings, crowns are special
recognitions for special circumstances.
When believers are forced to suffer in life, even suffering unto death,
and they maintain their faith, then that is due its own special reward
recognition in heaven.
Here, we honor our soldiers who have fallen in time
of war, and that is probably as close to an example as we can get in this
case.Only in heaven the actual believer
will receive the honor and the reward, whereas all we can do here on earth is
honor their names in memory.
One last thing to
Christ is giving all of this information to John. Christ knows that this book will be written
and the total nature of this book, and Christ knows
everyone who will be reading this book not only in our dispensation, but in the
Tribulation yet to come.
Therefore, it is being written for those who will
read it, and especially for those who will go through life under circumstances
of extreme suffering, as in the case of this letter to Smyrna.
Life and history did not end when John wrote this
book, nor just a few years after he wrote it.
History has continued on for many centuries. And history will continue on for who knows
People will face situations of suffering, and
especially those who will be living during the most difficult period in all of history,
the Tribulation.So there is a need for
hope, and here Christ offers it, the Crown of Life.
The suffering will be brief and when it is all said
and done, those who endure and hold on to their faith, will receive a very
special recognition and reward.Rewards
given in heaven are more than words of thanks, but blessings beyond
imagination.Therefore, the reward given
is far, far greater than the suffering incurred.