Rev 2:10 KJV 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.
A continuing theme throughout the letters to the churches, and the entire book of Revelation, is the Christians’ willingness to give their life for their Lord. In this case, the church at Smyrna is given encouragement as they faced imprisonment, trials, tribulations and the possibility of martyrdom in His service.
Christ, during His earthly ministry, warned His followers of these types of persecutions when He said…
“And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and [some] of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all [men] for my name’s sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls.” (Luke 21:16-19)
Please notice in this passage several truths concerning the persecution and martyrdom of God’s people:
“And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends;
Some of the most difficult of persecutions is when family, friends and other loved ones oppose us in our service for Christ. Any persecution for our faith is difficult to bear, but when it comes from those we love and hold dear to us it can be seemingly overwhelming for us.
and [some] of you shall they cause to be put to death.
Here, Christ clearly warns that some of His followers would be called upon to lose their life to remain faithful to their Lord. In the context of this passage, “they” (the ones who would cause the Christian to be put to death) refer to the ones who are the very closest to the Christian. How hurtful and difficult that is for anyone to face.
And ye shall be hated of all [men] for my name’s sake.
These differing forms of persecution would take place due to hatred in the heart of fallen mankind.
But there shall not an hair of your head perish.
How can the Lord say this… He has just warned us that we will face various types of persecution, including death?
The key is to understand the word “perish”. To “perish” means to utterly destroy or to lose permanently. Folks whatever we may lose on this earth in the name of Christ will be restored to us in eternity…
And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. (Matthew 19:29)
There is nothing that is sacrificed for the Lord in this world that will not be recognized and rewarded throughout eternity.
In your patience possess ye your souls.
It is through the Christian’s patience endurance during times of great affliction that gives public proof for all to see of a genuine salvation experience and dedication to Jesus as Lord and Savior of their life…
Mar 13:13 KJV And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
“Possess your souls” or “gain your physical life”… by using our physical lives to patiently serve our Lord, will result in eternal gain on our behalf. This gain is described as “the crown of life” or eternal rewards (treasure) in heaven. This stands in stark contrast to the lost man who wastes his physical life and, therefore, loses it throughout eternity by forsaking the wondrous inheritance of God, and suffering forever in the Lake of Fire.
May we all see the need to be “living sacrifices” for Christ. In doing so, we become wonderful testimonies of His grace on earth and we gain eternal rewards for our glorified life on the New Earth.
May the Lord bless us as we seek to serve Him, the One that is so clearly revealed to us in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
For an in depth look at this section of the Revelation: