The Spirit of Christ to Smyrna
The first and the last, who was dead and has come to life – the Spirit of Christ reinforces His identity as the man Christ Jesus. Christ seems to call Himself “the First and the Last.” The “Word” in the Old Testament, who spoke “as one” with the invisible God, continues to speak “as one” with God, after the Lord’s Day.
(but you are rich) – the riches of the kingdom of heaven surpass anything in this world.
the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan – why did Jesus use such strong language? This kind of strong language is only found by Paul to the Galatians: “if anyone brings you another gospel let him be eternally condemned” (Gal 1:8-9). Paul admonished the Gentiles not to observe the Jewish religious days: “you observe days and months….” (Gal 4:10). This was “another gospel.” The Gospel that Christ died for was the worship of God in the Spirit (Gal 3:2). We should not worship God, as Paul said: “according to the basic principles of this world” (Gal 4:9; Col 2:8). Yet, the Gentiles continued on their path of observing the Jewish days, including the Passover, the Preparation and the Day of Pentecost. To these, they added more days, leaving the worship of God in the Holy Spirit for a different gospel.
you will have tribulation for 10 days – there are two explanations for this. The first is that there were ten persecutions from Nero to Diocletian; for this we can see ten “days” as ten periods of persecution. The second explanation is that the Great Persecution lasted ten years. Throughout Daniel and Revelation, days are actually years, and so the “ten days” here can mean “ten years.”
I will give you the crown of life – the Greek word for crown describes an Olympic garland of victory. A diadem, in contrast, is a thin band, worn in battle.
not be hurt by the second death – on the judgment day.