Revelation 2:10 “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
There are times when I’m reading God’s Word that I’ll look a little closer at a portion of scripture and ask myself what it could mean. When I was a younger man I focused more on completing my “required” reading. This might include a pattern of working my way through a one year reading plan, sometimes it was one Proverb for each day of the month, or five chapters from Psalms each day of the month. Whatever my reading plan was, I typically focused more on the volume than on the content.
When I look at Jesus’ encouragement to the 7 churches of Revelation, Smyrna is often times referred to as the persecuted church. I have come to understand that each one of these churches are represented in each age of the church as a whole.
The encouragement is to not fear but what I find intriguing is the length of tribulation they were to endure.
Why ten days?
I don’t believe in random numbers in the bible. The Lord illustrates a point through precedent, He establishes Truth through revelation, and He confirms His promises by His Word.
You can be assured, those who suffer for the name of Christ are not ever left alone. I believe the Lord prepares people for trial, He has shown a precedent of enduring persecution with His people, and He promises to never leave or forsake His people.
The Lord does not promise His people they won’t die. What He promises is what comes after your death.
“Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
Death for the believer is not really true death, death for the world is all together different. To the world, the death of the body is the end of all they will ever know, it will conclude the best they will have ever experience. Some have concocted an elaborate scheme that tries to exonerate themselves from sin by making up god’s in their own image. The world denies the God of Creation who is revealed in the Bible. The world either denies their spiritual position before God altogether or embraces a spirituality that simply will not save them.
Spirituality is only a practice in formality, it has no real substance. Anything can be deemed a “spiritual” practice, but what the followers of these practices are unaware of is they practice demonic worship. Most if not all spiritual practices apart from Christ are demonic in origin. The being that people bow down to or seek is actually occupied by a demonic entity.
The consequence for serving anything or anyone other than Christ will result in the second death, a reality the world has denied.
Revelation 2:11 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”
Death of the body is imminent for all who live. Unless the Lord takes you up in the rapture, your flesh is going to die.
It is what happens to your spirit after your body dies that makes all the difference.
Testing of Faith
Revelation 3:5 “Like them, he who overcomes will be dressed in white. And I will never blot out his name from the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father and His angels.”
Persecution has been common among the followers of God from the beginning. Whether they looked forward to a coming Messiah or looked back at Jesus who fulfilled it, the enemy has consistently opposed all who remain faithful.
As the seven churches of Revelation represent all of the church age, so the 10 kingdoms of this world represent all who oppose the church. Many have looked for a 10 nation confederacy that will arise and support the antichrist in the last days and the focus has been drawn toward the United Nations.
I believe the 10 days of tribulation represent 10 ages of persecution by the kingdoms of this world. From the Roman government until today we have seen persecution of the church. Kingdom upon kingdom has attempted to subdue the church, corrupt it, and convert it to another form of apostasy but the church has remained steadfast.
That which the Lord gives power to, cannot be overcome!
As Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, were tested for 10 days with only vegetables and water to drink, the church has been tested through persecution. The Daniel fast was a time of cleansing and purifying, I don’t think it is coincidence that persecution likewise purifies the church and brings about holiness.
We are seeing the final age of persecution today, just recently the formation of a trilateral union of faiths is building a regional center in Abu Dhabi. Composed of a coalition of Hebrew, Islam, and Catholic (christian), the attempt to universalize the church is becoming a reality and the one world religion is beginning to form. The end of the church age is about to come to a conclusion and with it a national coalition of forces that will arise in these last days as 10 powers that will control the world.
Revelation 13:1 “Then I saw a beast with ten horns and seven heads rising out of the sea. There were ten royal crowns on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads.”
The beast John saw had ten horns and seven heads with diadems on the horns. The picture recalls the description of ten kings represented by the toes on the image Daniel interpreted to Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:41). Revelation 17:12 tells us the ten horns are ten kings. The seven heads likely represent the seven hills of Rome.
Currently the Roman Catholic, Pope Francis, is spearheading the formation of this new one world religion. As the coalition comes together we will probably see 10 kingdoms represented in this coalition, thus ushering in the Antichrist.
There is so much going on in this world that points to the conclusion of the church age, the concern should not be for a future in this world but a future in Christ.
If you have never taken your faith seriously, now is the time to do it. Seek the Lord while He may be found, call on Him while He is near. For those left behind, the opportunity will not be as easy. Once the Lord returns for His bride, persecution will be unto death for any that choose to follow the Lord. I hope that for any who must endure the great tribulation, they will be encouraged to know what lies ahead.
The glorious reunion of Christ with His bride will be an event worth dying for. To be part of the throng of believers united in worship and adoration will be a time of great rejoicing never before seen in history.
For those who suffer persecution now, look up, your redemption draws nigh.