Echoes of the patriarchs
2:8, 10 Death and resurrection.
Abraham. Rom 4:19: Abraham didn't weaken in his faith (cf. Rev 2:10, "faithful unto death) despite that fact that he was as good as dead;
Isaac. Death-and-resurrection of Isaac in Gen 22; cf esp Heb 11:19, Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead.
Barrenness of Isaac-Rebekah, Jacob-Rachel (Gen 25:21; 29:31)
2:9 Poverty and riches
Heb 11:8-9: Abraham left his (wealthy) home when God spoke to him, and lived as a stranger in a foreign country, dwelling in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob
Counterfeit Jews = Ishmael, the counterfeit Isaac (Gen 21; Gal 4)?
2:10 Prison and crown
Joseph in prison, then crowned (Gen 39; 41)
(HT: DF, JBJ, DC, MDD.)
8"And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
'The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.
9"'I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich)
and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
10Do not fear what you are about to suffer.
Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison,
that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation.
Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.
11He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.'
Lessons from the chiasm
1. We share in the death and life of Jesus, "the first and the last" (v. 8) by remaining "faithful unto death (v. 10).
2. Our tribulation (v. 9) is not unending (only "ten days," v. 10), and even during that time "you are rich" (v. 9).
3. The counterfeit Jews are not merely "s synagogue of Satan" (v. 9), but are doing the work of "the devil" himself (v. 10). Cf. Jn 8:44; Gal 4:1-11, where the regulations of out-dated Old Covenant life ("days and months and seasons and years") are now equivalent to "the elemental principles of the world."
4. At the heart of the message: "do not fear." Check out those Patriarchs again.