2. Smyrna

Desolate Earth after Flood

And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. (Rev 2:8-9 KJV)

Who are the poor in Smyrna?

After the flood there was great poverty. The topsoil was devastated with salt and most of it was washed into the bottom of the oceans. Evidences of global flooding are found even today on top of high mountains in forms of salt crystals. Until the topsoil stabilized, there were shortages of food, animals, and even knowledge. These were trying times. The abundant life on earth was no more. Even as late as the time of Joseph there were seven years of great famine, in which many nations depended on Egypt for food. This was unlike before the flood. The lack of resources engulfed the entire population in poverty, yet under His protective care God’s people were rich.

But like the counsel to Adam, God encouraged Noah, telling him ahead of time not to fear. He warned him 120 years ahead of time to prepare for this cataclysmic event.

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. (Rev 2:10 KJV)

When were God’s people in prison?

The prison mentioned above refers to the Israelites’ captivity in Egypt. God repeatedly refers to Egypt as the “house of bondage” throughout the Bible to emphasize the time Israel spent in prison. Here are some references:

Exo 1:14, Exo 2:23, Exo 6:5, Exo 6:6, Exo 6:9, Exo 13:3, Exo 13:14, Exo 20:2, Deu 5:6, Deu 6:12, Deu 8:14, Deu 13:5, Deu 13:10, Deu 26:6, Josh 24:17, Judg 6:8.

And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour. (Exo 1:14 KJV)
And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. (Exo 2:23 KJV)
And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. (Exo 6:5 KJV)
Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: (Exo 6:6 KJV)
And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage. (Exo 6:9 KJV)
And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten. (Exo 13:3 KJV)
And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the LORD brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage: (Exo 13:14 KJV)
I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. (Exo 20:2 KJV)
I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. (Deu 5:6 KJV)
Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. (Deu 6:12 KJV)
Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; (Deu 8:14 KJV)
And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee. (Deu 13:5 KJV)
And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. (Deu 13:10 KJV)
And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage: (Deu 26:6 KJV)
For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed: (Josh 24:17 KJV)
That the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; (Judg 6:8 KJV)

Was this captivity meant to last only ten literal days? This is doubtful, since these prophecies span such long periods of time, the reference to 10 days cannot be taken as 10 literal days. Allegory makes frequent use of symbols to present God’s plans for the future. Most of us know that the Scriptures suggest the idea of “day for a year”, but they also suggest the idea of “one day for a thousand years.”

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (2 Pe 3:8 KJV)

This realization opens our former insights to better understand prophets like Hosea who speaks of some strange three days to salvation.

After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. (Ho 6:2 KJV)

Clearly, Hosea was not talking about 3 literal days or years in this prophecy,
but rather many thousands of years.

In the same way, Revelation 2:10 is not talking about ten years of captivity. Such a period can not be found, nor would it have lasting significance for the world to remember. The last 10 jubilees of this church’s period brought hardship and bondage to Jacob and his offspring. From the time that Jacob was seventy years of age until the Exodus, 490 years elapsed. Since one jubilee cycle is 7 sabbatical years, or 49 years, 10 jubilees amount to 490 years of time. This metaphor does not stand alone in the history of the Israelites. We also know that Daniel’s prophecy in chapter nine of his book discusses the last 10 jubilees of that period.

This latter perspective is recognized by some contemporary writers of the Adventist church.

In recent years extra-biblical sources have supplied us with the information that now makes it possible to date the Sabattical years of the post-Exilic period — the seventh year in a unit of seven … It can now be demonstrated that the dates 457 BC, AD 27 and AD 34 (dates for basic events in the chapter 9 prophecy) were Sabattical years. Thus, the answer to our initial question is that the ìweeksî in the prophecy of chapter 9 refer specifically to Sabattical weeks which in turn involves Sabattical years. -William Shea’s article in Symposium on Daniel by Frank B. Holbrook p.226

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