Rev 2:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
Rev 2:9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
Rev 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
Rev 2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
The church at Ephesus needed to be reminded that His watchful eye was upon them, to stimulate them to recall their first love, and to do their first works; but the church of Smyrna, which was more pure, and had yet to pass through fiery trials, needed most of all to dwell upon the unchangeableness of His power and love.
The name comes from “Myrrh,” which is a bitter herb, a suitable name for a church facing persecution. Would the believers be fearful or faithful? There were genuine Jewish Christians among them, and there were Jewish pretenders. He knows who are the right-hearted, and He knows who are insincere.
Suffering can enrich us, even if we think we are poor; and what people think is wealth might turn out to be poverty (3:17). Although materially poor, this church was spiritually wealthy because it truly had the Christ. The Christ assures His people that He is intimately acquainted with every feature of their history. “I know …” The “I know” of love is the smile of God.
The 10 days? The grand principle is that there is a limit to the suffering of the Church and the saints. The Christ soothes and emboldens His saints by the promise of infinite compensation. He does not promise zero suffering in this life but He will not permit it to go beyond what we are capable of handling. And the Christ will not only deliver His saints from the sphere of suffering; He will introduce them into the sphere of eternal rest and joy.
What difference does it make if people slander you so long as you have the Lord’s approval?