Revelation 2:10 Index
"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."
Research Material

"Fear none of those things..." (James 1:2; John 16:33)

  • PROBLEM: The problem the church is faced with. "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:" (KC 38)
  • COUNSEL: The answer to the problem or instructions of what to do. "...be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." (KC 39)
  • Jesus says, "Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer." He who is the First and Last, the One who was dead and is alive, can testify that He is the resurrection and the life. He came forth from the grave. Listen to the words of comfort He give us: "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28). Jesus is life, and by accepting Him, we will have life. "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32). (KC 42)

"...which thou shalt suffer..."

  • Or, "art about to suffer." Apparently, the Smyrna church had been important target of Jewish slander, but the members had not yet felt the full brunt of persecution. However, the Christians there doubtless knew of the persecution that already raged elsewhere, and must have anticipated future trouble for themselves. This is implied by the form of the verb here translated "fear," which indicates that they were already fearful. Christ consoles them with the assurance that, despite the prospect of persecution, they need not be afraid. (Matthew 5:10-12). (7BC 746)

"...ye may be tried..."

  • Or, "tested." Satan would subject them to persecution in order to prevail upon them to relinquish their faith. God would permit the persecution as a means of strengthening and proving the genuineness of their faith. Though Satan may rage against the church, God's hand accomplishes His purpose (James 1:2; Revelation 2:9) (7BC 745-747)
  • The Roman emperor Trajan (A.D. 98-117) laid down the first official Roman policy toward Christianity. In the famous ninety-seventh letter, written to Pliny the Pontus in Asia Minor, Trajan outlined a procedure for dealing with Christians, who were, at the time, an illegal religious society. He ordered that Roman officials were not to hunt Christians out, but that if persons were brought before them for other offenses and proved to be Christians, they were to be executed unless they recanted. This regulation, though by no means uniformly enforced, remained the law until Constantine issued his edit of toleration in A.D. 313. (7BC 747)
  • Thus, for two centuries Christians were constantly subject to the possibility of sudden arrest and death for their faith. Their well-being depended in large measure upon the favor of their pagan and Jewish neighbors, who might either leave them in peace or complain against them before the authorities. This might be termed permissive persecution. The emperor did not take the initiative in persecuting Christians, but permitted his own representatives and the local authorities to take such measures against Christians as they might see fit. This policy left the Christians to the mercy of the various local administrations under which they lived. Especially in times of famine, earthquake, storms, and other catastrophes, Christians found themselves the objects of attack, their pagan neighbors supposing that by refusing to worship the gods the Christians had brought divine wrath upon the whole country. (7BC 747)
    • At times, however, the Roman government carried on aggressive persecution against the church (Revelation 2:9). Thinking Romans observed that Christianity was constantly growing in extent and in influence throughout the empire, and that it was fundamentally incompatible with the Roman way of life. They realized that, given time, it would destroy the Roman way of life. Accordingly, it was often the more capable emperors who persecuted the church, whereas those who took their responsibilities less seriously were usually content not to molest Christians. (7BC 747)
    • The first general, systematic persecution of the church was undertaken by the emperor Decius, whose imperial edict of the year 250 A.D. decreed the universal suppression of Christianity by means of torture, death, and the confiscation of property. The occasion for this decree was the millennial celebration of the founding of Rome, some three years earlier, when the decadent state of the empire was rendered more apparent by comparison with the glories of the past. Christianity became the scapegoat, and it was decided to obliterate the church in order, presumably, to save the empire. This policy lapsed with the death of Decius in A.D. 251, but was revived by Valerian a short time later. With his death the policy again lapsed, and not until the reign of Diocletian did the church face another major crisis. (7BC 747)

"...and ye shall have tribulation ten days..."

  • The Lord has given us a time principle for understanding Bible prophecies. This principal is simply that a day represents a yea: "I appointed thee each day for a yea" Ezekiel 4:6. "After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years" Numbers 14:34. (KC 42)
  • The day for a year principle has been recognized by Bible students down through the ages. Joachim, the Abbot of Calabria, who was one of the great ecclesiastical figures of the twelfth century, applied the year-day principle to the 1260-year period found in Revelation 12. "The woman, clothed with the sun, who signifies the church, remained hidden in the wilderness from the face of the serpent... and a thousand two hundred and sixty days for the same number of years." (Joachim of Floris, Concordantia, book 2, Chap. 16, p. 12.) Sir Isaac Newton used it in his book, Observations Upon the Prophecies of Daniel (pp. 127-128). Moses Stuart added, "It is a singular fact that the great mass of interpreters in the English and the American world have, for many years, been wont to understand the days designated in Daniel and in the Apocalypse, as the representatives of symbols of years. I have found it difficult to trace the origin of this general, I might say almost universal, custom." (Moses Stuart, Hints on the Interpretations of Prophecy, p. 74.) Supporters of the day for a year principle in Bible prophecy have included theologians such as Augustine, Tichonius, Andreas, Bebe, Ambrosius, Ansbertus, and Berenguad, besides the leading modern expositors. But the most convincing fact is that the prophecies have been fulfilled based on this principle. You will find this to be true with the prophecies of Daniel 7 and Daniel 9, as well as Revelation 11, Revelation 12, and Revelation 13. (KC 42-43)
  • This expression has been understood in two ways. On the basis of the year-day principle of reckoning prophetic time periods (Daniel 7:25), it has been interpreted as a period of ten literal years and applied to the period of unmitigated imperial persecution from A.D. 303-313. During this time Diocletian and his associate and successor, Galerius, conducted the most bitter campaign of annihilation Christianity ever suffered at pagan Roman hands. Like Decius and Valerian before them, these leaders believed that the church had grown to such dimensions of strength and popularity in the empire that unless Christianity should be promptly stamped out the traditional Roman way of life would cease to exist and the empire itself would disintegrate. Consequently they inaugurated a policy designed to exterminate the church. Dioletian's first decree against Christians was issued in the year A.D. 303, banning the practice of Christianity throughout the empire.
    • Persecution began in the army and spread throughout the empire. The Roman authorities concentrated their terrors on the Christian clergy, in the belief that if the shepherds were destroyed, the flock would scatter. The horrors of this persecution are vividly described by the church historian Theodoret (Ecclesiastical History i. 6), who describes the gathering of the bishops of the church to the Council of Nicaea some years after the end of the persecution (A.D. 325). Some came without without eyes, some without arms, which had been pulled from their sockets, others with their bodies horribly maimed in different ways. Many, of course, did not survive this time of trouble. In A.D. 313, about ten years after the beginning of these persecutions, Constantine issued an edict that granted Christians full liberty to practice their religion. (7BC 747-748)

"...be thou faithful..."

  • The Greek verb... implies "continue to be faithful." Smyrna proved to be a faithful church. (7BC 748)

"...unto death..."

  • The Greek implies, "up to and including death." (7BC 748)

"...I will give thee a crown..."

  • Or "a chaplet," or "garland, of victory," not a diadem of rulership. This word was used for the wreaths given to victors in Greek games. Here, it is a symbol of the reward given to the victor in the struggle with Satan. (7BC 748)

"...of life." (2 Timothy 4:8)

  • The phrase "crown of life" is... best translated in the sense, the "crown that is life" [eternal life]. This crown [this eternal life] is evidence of victory over the devil and the "tribulation" he has caused. (7BC 748)