Are they literal? When are these days? It’s written as if we should understand, so I would really like to try and learn what this could be speaking of.
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I am interpreting the ten days mentioned in the question to be the period of time referred to in the message of the glorified Christ to the Christian church at Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11, and specifically Revelation 2:10). In my opinion, the ten days do not have a literal mathematical significance, but are meant to emphasize the relative brevity of the coming period of persecution for the congregation at Smyrna, especially in contrast to the mention (in the same verse) of the crown of (eternal) life that those who would remain faithful (even at the cost of temporal death) would receive from Christ.
Although there is no agreement regarding Revelation 2 meaning, most scholars believe that this chapter contains messages for the Christian church and are prophecies of what God’s people would face during the following centuries of history. It starts with Ephesus – the Apostolic church, AD 31 to AD 100. When John was writing these messages the period of the Apostolic church was nearly over. The seventh and last message is for Laodicea (Rev 3:14-17) the lukewarm church, from mid 1800s to present time. The second church mentioned is Smyrna, from early AD 100 to AD 300s. Smyrna was located on the Aegean Sea about 40 miles north of Ephesus, the present-day Izmir, Turkey. Acts 19:10 suggests that the church in Smyrna may have been established by Paul on his third missionary journey. During this time the church experienced great growth while enduring great persecution. In AD 303, Diocletian launched a brutal campaign against the church and the persecution continued until AD 313 when Emperor Constantine proclaimed religious toleration throughout the empire. In the Bible prophesies, one day equal one year and that’s exactly the 10-year persecution period suffered by the Church of Smyrna.
"Ten days" signifies that although persecution would be intense, it would be relatively short. It would have a definite beginning and end, and God would remain in complete control. The biblical meaning of number 10 is completed course of time or completeness in divine order.
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