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“To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.” ~Rev 2:8-11

A spiritual elder once said, “It would be difficult for a suffering Christian not to become Godly.” Smyrna was an excellent example of a suffering church. Reviewing the letters written to the other six churches in Revelation, we would find most of them with corrections and rebukes. However, the Lord only had words of approval and encouragement for Smyrna. From the world’s perspective, the church of Smyrna was poor, probably due to the loss of material possessions for the Lord’s sake. Yet, the Lord viewed them as rich, referring to their spiritual abundance. All this while, the Jews accused them of being evildoers and the world believed them; even sought to throw them into prison. Yet the Lord revealed who the true evildoers were – the Jews, who appeared as children of God but were in fact a synagogue of Satan. The Lord encouraged the Smyrna believers not to fear the imminent persecution and urged them to be faithful even unto the point of death, for the victorious Lord would bestow upon them the crown of life.

Out of the seven letters to the seven churches in Revelation, the letter written to Smyrna was the shortest. It was not because the Lord had nothing to say to them, rather, it was unnecessary for more to be said. A suffering church like Smyrna was a spiritual church and a complete church. As a result of their suffering, they had become passionate in sharing the gospel, living a sanctified life and fervent in defending the truth of God. Therefore, it was needless for the Lord to admonish or instruct them regarding anything, for they already had everything — all spiritual riches that a church could ever possess! The letter written to the Smyrna church was the shortest of the seven letters simply because they were the most spiritual among all.

In the letter, the Lord foretold that the devil would put some of them in prison and they would suffer persecutions for ten days. There are many different interpretations of “ten days” among theologians. Some believe that “ten days” represents ten periods of intense persecutions by the various Roman emperors; others believe that since “with the Lord, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day,” “ten days” probably represents a long period of time. Some also believe that “ten days” means ten years while others believe “ten days” could be an extremely short period of time. Now, how long exactly is “ten days?” From the contents of the passage and its spiritual significance, we are able to determine the actual duration of “ten days.”