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New Defender's Study Bible Notes

2:8 Smyrna. Smyrna was also a port city about thirty-five miles north of Ephesus. It survives today as Ismir, in Turkey. Polycarp, a convert of John, later served as pastor there until his martyrdom in about A.D. 155.

2:9 say they are Jews. These must have been Gentile converts of the Judaizers, who were trying to impose Judaism, with its law and priesthood, on Christianity. Just as men claiming to be apostles, who were not, were disturbing the church at Ephesus, so at Smyrna men claiming to have become Jews, who were not, were plaguing the church there. These two groups of heretics were beginning a corruption of Christianity which would eventually pervade the church for a thousand years, imposing an imagined apostolic succession and continuing priesthood, both of which would subjugate the ordinary people in the churches in a “Nicolaitan” hierarchy. As the false apostles were ministers of Satan (II Corinthians 11:13-15), so these false Jews had become—unknowingly perhaps—a synagogue of Satan.

2:10 ten days. It should be kept in mind that these letters to the churches had universal relevance as well as immediate applications to the particular churches addressed. Consequently the “ten days” must suggest a general Biblical principle which was intended to sustain any group of Christians facing persecution. The only other Biblical reference to “ten days” is in Daniel 1:12,14-15. There, Daniel experienced “ten days” of testing, but then God blessed him with seventy years of vital ministry. Just so, if we endure our “ten days” of tribulation, even unto death if need be, God will give us a “crown of life” for eternity. Note also James 1:12.

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