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  • Writer's pictureJerry Riggin

Revelation Suffering Salvation: Smyrna Ch 2:8-11

You know your faith is true when Satan cannot conquer it.

"Why would God allow His people to be persecuted and suffer?"

Well, we answered that question by studying Jesus letter to the church in Smyrna in Revelation 2:8-11, the Gospels of John and Luke, the book of Job and Paul's epistle to the Romans. In the Gospel of Luke, Ch. 22:31:34 we see this conversation:

31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”

34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”

This tells us 2 things:

  1. Satan had to ASK Jesus before messing with Peter.

  2. Jesus said OK.

Why? Most likely for the same reason Job was tested. In the book of Job 1:1, we see that he was "... was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil." and in 1:3 " ... He was the greatest man among all the people of the East."

Let me summarize and paraphrase the book. Satan comes before Yahweh and God asks him what he has been up to. Satan says he has been roaming about the world looking for souls to devour. Surprisingly, God suggests that Satan try corrupting Job's faith! Why would He do that?!?

Consider that God created Satan, and could destroy him anytime He wants. He will, of course, and we will see it in the end of Revelation. Why doesn't He just destroy him now and we could all live happily ever after? That's what I would do!

However, Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us,  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."

Clearly, God has a use for Satan. And it seems to me that God's use for Satan is explained in John 15:1-17. God uses Satan as His pruning tool, to test the faith of believers and purify Jesus' Bride. When that work is complete, Satan will be cast into the "lake of fire."

If you consider it, Peter loved Jesus, but was a bit arrogant in his faith. Jesus allowed Satan to trim away his arrogance. We see that in John 21 where, paraphrased with greek:

Jesus asked, "do you agapâis me?"

Peter replied, "I phileô you."

Jesus asked, "do you agapâis me?"

Peter replied, "I phileô you."

Jesus asked, "do you phileis me?"

Peter replied, "I phileô you."

Peter could no longer bring himself to say his love was perfect, and Christ accepted that as repentance and restored him with the order to, "Feed My sheep."

Job may have been too comfortable. Jesus allowed Satan to make him very uncomfortable. Again Satan is God's pruning tool even for fruitful branches. I urge you to read this important book, especially chapters 38-42 where the Lord speaks.

But what about those in Smyrna? They have no rebuke from the Lord, so why were they persecuted and made to suffer? Except for the obvious fact that the church grows under persecution, we do not know. But we can assume that each soul that accepts the free givt of salvation is both nurtured and pruned. And note that He told the church "... you will suffer persecution for ten days." Peter, Job and Smyrna would suffer under Satan for a relatively short while, then would be restored, though it may have been restoration through death for many in Smyrna. (Don't accept the many other existing interpretations of "ten days" as anything other than 10 24-hour days.)

We will understand that more completely as we complete our study of the 7 letters which are our instructions for this age and our walk with the Lord.

This week, 11/7, will be Studying Jesus' letter to the church in Pergamum, which He says is the home of Satan's throne. Through this letter and other relevant scriptures, we see Satan's plan to infiltrate the church revealed. I believe the Lord wrote this so we would know what to look for in our current age.


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PowerPoint PDF.

Audio MP3.

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