Smyrna was very loyal to the Roman emperor. There was a temple for emperor worship. The Christians in Smyrna would not participate in emperor worship, they suffered tremendous persecution. Out of all the seven churches in Asia Minor, the church in Smyrna was the smallest church. The devil seeks to destroy this church through persecution.
Firstly, the church received a commendation from the Lord. They faced pressure, persecution, poverty, and were put-down. Despite that, they worked with a positive, powerful and personal testimony. The Greek word for “tribulation” means to be crushed under. It is used to speak of grapes being put under a winepress and crushed until the juices flow out.
They were made poor because the people would not buy from or sell to Christians. But the Lord said they were rich. They were rich in God’s favor, love, truth, and eternal rewards that will never corrupt.
They also suffered under so-called Jews from the synagogue of Satan, who opposed them by their blasphemy.
The letter encourages them not to fear the suffering they are about to face – being thrown into prison and face tribulation for ten days. Instead, they should still be faithful to continue in the good work, stand up for the truth and in the test.
God promised the church that He would give them a crown of life if they remained faithful unto death. They would not be harmed by the second death in hell though some might die for their faith.
There is no complaint against this church.
Fear not (v 10)
Hear Me (v 11)
Do we have what it takes to confess Christ in the midst of ridicule and persecution and stay true to Christ? We must be sure of or faith in Christ in order to stand firm.