Revelation: Smyrna on Trial

Revelation 2:10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days…

Fear not! That is what the text says. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Jesus tells the church at Smyrna not to be afraid. The Greek word is πηοβεο/phobeo. This is where we get the English word “phobia”. In the Greek it is defined as: fear, to be afraid, to be seized with alarm. –Strong’s Concordance

The idea is the church cannot live in a state of continual fear as a lifestyle. Avoid being gripped with fear. Keep your wits and be sensible, difficult times are coming.

Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested

Bad news. It is Satan and he is holding a trial. The language of this part of the verse is legal in nature.

Satan is going to “test” and it is the Greek word πειραζο/peirazo. It is defined as:  to test one maliciously, craftily to put to the proof his feelings or judgments; to try or test one’s faith, virtue, character, by enticement to sin, tempt.

This is hardly a fair trial. We know Satan is a prosecuting attorney from multiple sources in the Bible in both the Old and New Testament. Granted we are guilty. But he is a tattletale all the time.

Revelation 12:10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.

Zechariah 3:1  Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.

Some would ask the question. Who is in charge Satan or God? God will allow Satan to test people with limits. God grants that authority to Satan with Job. Satan knows who is in charge. When God calls, Satan comes. See Job 2 for a detailed account of a conversation with Satan and God. Specifically, look at Job 2:6 So the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life.”

In this case, Jesus is allowing Satan to test the church.

…and you will have tribulation for ten days. Here is the word for “tribulation” in the Greek is τηλιπσισ/thlipsis. The church will have pressure for ten days. There is much speculation around these “ten days”. What is meant by “ten days”? There are no definitive answers.

However, there is a parallel in the book of Daniel. Daniel and his three friends had been taken captive to Babylon. A diet was being imposed on the young Jewish boys. Daniel had a request of the warden.

Daniel 1:12 “Please test your servants for ten days by providing us with some vegetables to eat and water to drink.”

Daniel 1:14-15 So he listened to them in this matter and tested them for ten days. At the end of ten days their appearance seemed better and they were fatter than all the youths who had been eating the king’s choice food. 

The result of “ten days” of testing was improved health and appearance in comparison to their peers. But that wasn’t all. Daniel 1:20 As for every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and conjurers who were in all his realm.

Observation regarding Daniel and ten days was provided by The Revelation Record, Henry M. Morris, p. 56.

Short term suffering and pressure in this life on Earth cannot compare to an eternal life of blessing with God the Father, Son, and Spirit. Keep your eye on the prize.

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