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We are looking at the love letters of Jesus to the 7 churches in Revelation. Love letters – although on the surface it seems like Jesus has changed the terms of the covenant in His blood to one of “Produce or be punished.”
Dear friend, remember Ro 5:8-10, if “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” We were reconciled to God while we were His enemies — now we shall be saved by His life. There is nothing to fear in these letters!
We are looking at the letter to Smyrna, Rev 2:8-11. Smyrna was a prosperous city but the Christians there were poor and suffering because the very religious Jews caused them much distress. Some were about to die for their faith. The good news is that Jesus has been there, done that, and lived to tell the tale.
Jesus refers to those Jews as being of the synagogue of Satan. Why? These ultra-religious Jews were murdering people: they were of their father the devil – hence the synagogue of Satan. The emperor Domitian had ascended to the throne. He referred to himself as lord and god. Acknowledge him as such – or face death. Jews could pay money and escape death, but not the Christians and numbers were killed. And the Jews would accuse the Christians to the Romans.
Thus Jesus saying, “do not fear,” gave them needed encouragement.
10 days? It means the time of testing will be short. How about the promise, “be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life?” Smyrna was faithful to Rome before Rome was a world power. The Roman statesman Cicero described it as “our most faithful and most ancient ally.” Being faithful was their motto.
And the crown of life? The crown referred to Mt Pagos outside the city and the buildings surrounding it. Again, Jesus is using pictures and promises which the citizens of the time would have understood readily. He will give His followers the True Crown – of life!
The crown of life is given to those who love the Lord regardless of what trials we face and how well we face them. Why? Because eternal life is a gift by grace. Ro 6:23.
My friend, He who has conquered death – is the Lord – and He has approved you – you have nothing left to prove. Rest in this reality – you’ll COME ALIVE!
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