“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.” (Revelation 2:10)
Notice that Jesus also tells them that they will suffer persecution ten days. This exact prophesy no doubt happened to many at Smyrna, but as stated before, the scriptures are for all times, and often we see history repeated in many forms. In fact the Bible in a number of places uses the thought of “days” in type to denote much more than a day, but rather a year, or many years, or even to represent during the life of an individual such as “in the days of king…”, or to represent a time of a condition “in the day that…”, etc.:
- “After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.” (Numbers 14:34)
- “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” (Psalms 90:4)
- “Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.” (Psalms 90:15)
- “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” (Daniel 2:24)
- “For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.” (Luke 17:24)
- “And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.” (Revelation 9:15)
During the Smyrna period Christians were often persecuted by Roman rulers who demanded that they eat things sacrificed to idols or take part in the worship of an idol. The faithful were persecuted and often lost their lives for determining to withstand the demands of the Roman rulers. A similar type of temptation was placed on the four Hebrew children when they were captives to the King of Babylon in the Old Testament. They also were to be “proved” ten days, but they choose to not eat the “kings meat” (that which was unholy and had been used to honor idols.) Daniel told the King’s chief servant:
“Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat.” (Daniel 1:12-15)
So again we repeat the warning Jesus gives in Revelation 2:10 “and ye shall have tribulation ten days.” Now it is known that many suffered persecution much longer than ten days back at this time so it is broadly accepted that these ten days are a spiritual representation of a longer period of time (ten years, a thousand years, etc.) or that they could represent the rule of ten kings. There are a number of potential possibilities of which I have listed here:
Ten days representing the ten final years of cruel Roman persecution of Christians starting with the reign of Diocletian in AD 303 and ending with the Edict of of Milan, issued by the two Emperors, Constantine and Licinius in AD 313.
Or it could represent the reigns of ten Roman Emperors who persecuted the Christians: Nero, Domitian, Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, Septimius Severus, Maximinius, Decius, Valerian, Aurelian, and Diocletian.
Or could it represent ten kings associated with the eighth beast of Revelation 17:12-14:
“And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.”
Or could the ten represent 100 years each, for a total period of 1000 years representing a period that matches the description in Revelation 20:1-4:
“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”
Of course, it could represent all of these, since the Word of God is for all people of all times, and can be fulfilled according to God’s will in a number of different ages, but in spiritually similar ways. We also find that the warnings of each church age are fulfilled in the next church age. So we are reminded that in the next church age, Pergamos, that true Christians will be suffering persecution again, but this time it is at the hands of those so-called “Christians.” Our Lord tells us concerning them in Pergamos:
“I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.” (Revelation 2:13)
Could the “tribulation ten days” represent this time to come? The time of persecution at the hands of those claiming to be “the church”?