To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death. Revelation 2:8-11
I don’t really know who Snooki is… but she has the crown of life portrayed on her shoulder tattoo. The angel brings the hope of resurrection and eternal life (exemplified in Jesus) to a persecuted and impoverished people. In their poverty they had ‘the riches of Christ’. America has not know in recent decades the true depths of poverty experienced in the world. We most likely will know it again in ways greater than the great depression. I fear we will not weather so well this time. We are godless now, so our poverty will be in large part without the riches of Christ unless we repent. The church in Smyrna was slandered by so-called Jews. But they were Satanically inspired to cause persecution of people following ‘the way’ and teaching of Jesus and the apostles. The recommendation to the church (and every believer) is to be faithful, even to the point of death. If we are martyred, the crown of life and victory awaits.
Do I fear persecution and confrontation with the enemy? Am I in this thing till the end? In other words, is my commitment to Christ even to the point of death? Yes it is. I pray it never comes to that, but if I join the great saints persecuted and killed because I believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God… so be it.
Lord, Smyrna was no doubt beloved by You. Yet, they endured a tough season. I praise You that for some it lasted 10 days here, and then an eternity there with You. Prepare me now for future suffering, in mind, in will, in character. Now, let’s rejoice together that some freedom remains.