Now after dealing with the angel or leader of the Church in Ephesus, and warning him that should he continue to allow the doctrine and practices of the Nicolaitans to prevail in and among his people, and that he will have no Church over which to lead, but would instead watch each of the members of the body and his Church walk away from the faith to go after a strange God. God then turned his attention toward the angel or leader of the Church in Smyrna.
Revelation 2:8-9 “And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; 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.”
And pointing out the faithfulness of the angel in Smyrna, and the challenges he was facing because of false brethren creeping into the Church, Jesus encouraged the angel over his people, the leader of the Church in Smyrna to hold on to his promises, and to remember God is faithful and is in control of the outcome because God is the final authority over the world. He is the beginning and the end of all things.
Jesus said these things to the angel in Smyrna because of the persecution he and his Church were facing, and the trouble and betrayal that were coming from among the false brethren among the body of Christ, the things Jesus warned they would face before he was executed by the Romans.
Jesus had warned his disciples they would be brought before governors and kings as a testimony against them, nevertheless, they were not to be afraid because he would be with their mouth. Matthew 10:17-20 “But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speaks, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.”
And facing these kinds of oppositions, and suffering persecution, Jesus told the angel and his Church in Smyrna, “Thou art rich” and that they are to fear none of those things they are facing from the Gentiles and false brethren.
Revelation 2:10-11 “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. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”
Therefore, the angel of the Church in Smyrna is to stand firm, the Church of this age is to stand firm, and remember, Matthew 10:21-22 “The brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” Because Jesus has preserved our lives in the resurrection.
It should then be an expectation on the part of his disciples with knowledge, they are citizens of Christ’s coming eternal kingdom that is at war with the world, and the seed of the serpent whose government Christ will destroy with the brightness of his appearance, and against whom Christ has an enmity.
And because they are Christ’s, and he is their King, the world will persecute them, and they on behalf of Christ will face death. But if they will endure, as they hold on in the face of death, God will rescue them from the grave as he did Jesus, and they will forever be with Christ when he appears.
Therefore, “Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” And because the time is at hand, the churches in Asia are to prepare for the coming persecutions, and they are to sanctify themselves because, upon the appearance of Christ, they upon the authority of Christ will be given the opportunity to judge the earth with him.
Therefore, blessed are those who are prepared against this coming day. And when, “They persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: For truly I say unto you, you shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, until the Son of man come.” Matthew 10:23.