The second church Jesus spoke of in the opening chapters of the book of Revelation is the church of Smyrna, identified as the persecuted church. While Americans may think we are being persecuted because the churches have been closed down, I would say differently. We have not yet experienced persecution. We may be seeing the beginning of opposition to the church in our nation, but we are far from being persecuted.
That is not the case if we look beyond our borders. The list of nations where actual persecution and martyrdom is found is long and it is getting longer. Persecution of believers is quite common in many places, people ripped from their homes and martyred, pastors beaten and imprisoned, churches driven underground. We cannot even begin to compare our situation to theirs.
Jesus, however, gave a warning to the church of Smyrna, “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death.” [Rev 2:10 NKJV]
While we have not seen persecution in our nation except in extremely rare instances, that does not mean we are immune. There is no vaccine against future persecution. It could come – it probably will come.
What must we do to be prepared? We can do all the human things, vote, be active in our local communities, etc., but that will not help much when thrown into prison or tested with tribulation. To be faithful until death requires one thing … that we have a true vision of and relationship with our Almighty God. Once again, we go back to Christ Jesus in Revelation 1:12-18.
He is the Living One. He holds the keys to death and Hades. He is Almighty God, First and Last. His eyes are blazing fire. He has a double-edged sword in His mouth. When He dwells in us by the power of His Holy Spirit, we will not fear anything man can do to us!