“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this:
 ‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
 ‘Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
Just as Ephesians 1:23 reads “Which(the church) is His body,” a church is the Lord’s body which He bought with the price of his blood.
And as written in 1 Corinthians 12:27, “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it,” all the people who are given titles or duties, and the members of it are the individual parts that consist the Lord’s body.
If the individuals are envious and jealous of each other, and argue with each other, how can the body stand right?
Likewise, if the individual members have a quarrel with each other, speak ill of each other, hate and gossip each other in a church, where they should unite in love, the work of the Holy Spirit cannot take place; the enemy devil and Satan will ridicule such a church.
The love in the church will cool down, the fire of prayer will be quenched, and eventually the revival will stop, and God’s work will not be accomplished.
One of the biggest causes that make churches like this is the synagogue of Satan.
Simply put, ‘a synagogue of Satan’ is a gathering of more than two people who follow the work of Satan.
And ‘those who say they are Jews’ are such.
They call themselves Jews who are children of God, or God-believers, but they actually follow the word of Satan, cause a church to have envy, jealousy, judgment, condemnation, hatred, and quarrel. They bring disputes to churches.
And eventually they hinder the works of God, and make churches destroyed.
That’s why churches should make the synagogue of Satan not even come close.
But you must also realize that you can be a part of the synagogue of Satan without you recognizing it.
Let’s say, you heard some one speak a word of untruth and complaints, and you somewhat sympathized with it.
You may say that you didn’t do so with evil intension or heart, but the fact is that such word, that you allied yourself with, would make false rumors spread in your church.
You must acknowledge that since you have undiscovered evil left in your heart before you reach the level of the whole sprit, such evil can come out of you depending on who you deal with, and what situation you fall into.
Besides, some people habitually make complaints from their lips. They speak negative words only because they don’t like or they are not in accordance with something, even though it’s the time everyone must unite in one heart.
But they have no idea what they are doing since they’ve been like that all the time.
Worse over, they stealthily try to find someone who can side with their idea.
If you sympathize with such people’s idea, then it may become a synagogue of Satan.
You simply must not agree with what they say. And you cope with them by speaking the words of truth.
That’s because the darkness will go away if you deal with them in the light
Therefore, please see only the good thing, hear only the good thing, say only the good thing, and think of only the good thing, according to the teaching of the truth.
If you do so, the synagogue of Satan cannot put a step in to your church. Even if someone tries to spread falls rumors with evil intention, they cannot be conveyed.
They will disappear even before heard. Someone who spread them will also stay quiet, or leave the church on his foot.
Bearing it in your mind, please check yourself and look around.
In your family, your mission group, your parish, or your close members, there must not be a synagogue of Satan that causes a trouble to the church.
You must be able to defeat the temptation of Satan by guarding your heart and lips. You must destroy any evil scheme of Satan.
And in order to do so, you must be awake and pray.
Dear brothers and sisters.
The synagogue of Satan of ‘self-calling Jews’ become a great hindrance to accomplishing the kingdom of God.
It was the Jews that most severely hindered Apostle Paul from spreading the gospel.
The Jews who professed they believed God didn’t believe in Jesus who is the Son of God. They stood in the front to stop the gospel of Jesus Christ from being spread.
That’s why the Lord says, “I know those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.”
It’s the same today.
While this church has been accomplishing the world mission, we have experienced never-ceasing interference of those who call themselves Jews.
They are the people who server the Only God. They are even missionaries who are dedicated to spreading the gospel of the Lord to foreign countries, and they are Koreans. But they were blinded by false rumors and interfered the works of God.
The same things will happen when this church is doing its mission in North Korea.
It will be the situation when it will be never enough to risk our own life to spread the gospel together. But even in that condition, there will be those who call themselves Jews who will interrupt the ministry that is under the name of Manmin.
You may wonder, “How can it be possible?” But the fact was that it was the kinsmen of Jesus, Jews that handed Jesus over to Roman soldiers to crucify Jesus on the cross.
The leaders of those days, the High Priests, Priests, and scribes became jealous and envious of Jesus when He was manifesting the God’s power that men couldn’t do and spread the gospel of heaven.
And they judged and condemned Jesus according to their own law and self-righteousness.
And they eventually killed Jesus.
Likewise, when the people of this church are accomplishing the mission in North Korea, the word of the truth will be proclaimed, and the countless works of God’s power will follow.
They will explain the spiritual realm so that North Koreans can also run the race in the hope for heaven.
Because of this, those who will do the ministry in North Korea will suffer the same persecution that this church has experienced.
It is those who say they do the ministry with the same purpose as ours that will interfere our ministry and cause troubles.
Since those of you who are now preparing for the North Korea Mission now listened to the situation beforehand, I hope that they will manage it well when they are actually doing it.
‘To manage it well’ means ‘to overcome evil with goodness.’ And it also means that you must awake and prepare with prayer all the more so that all can be accomplished in the will of God.
Please remember; the worse the interference of the self-calling Jews become, when you overcome it with goodness, faith, and love, the more greatly the works of God’s power will take place.
In a fleshly point of view, such interference will seem to be an obstacle to the spreading of gospel. But in reality, due to such interference, the greater works of God’s power will take place and the gospel of sanctification will be proclaimed.
The reason this church has accomplished the kingdom of God with the greater power of God so far is that it has well overcome such interferences in the will of God.
Now in the verse 10, the Lord says, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
Until you are sanctified, you may undergo tribulation or persecution. But all this is eventually the process that will bring you spiritual and physical richness.
You should be glad and thankful if you suffer tribulation or persecution for the Lord’s name. If you suffer those because you don’t live by the truth yet, then you should be all the more glad and thankful.
You will take of the flesh, and become a man of the spirit after you overcome such tribulation or persecution. That’s why there is nothing you can be afraid of; you must rather be glad and thankful.
You will become complete, well-prepared, and lacking in nothing through such tests, just as James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Even if you’re facing tribulations to become a man of the spirit or the whole spirit, you will never be afraid of them.
By the way, when the Lord says, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer,” it is also a mention to the North Korea Mission.
He tells us what kind of persecution will follow while accomplishing our mission in North Korea.
There will be interference of those who call themselves Jews. But the Lord says that, in the end, there will be persecution of North Korean government that will try to protect their system.
Till now, I’ve explained to you how the situation in North Korea will be along with other world’s.
When the time comes, a gate to North Korea will open, and conditions and environment for spreading the gospel will be set.
But I told you that it will not last forever.
North Korea will open the door under the necessity, but they will close the door again to keep their system.
That’s because they feel a threat to their system.
One of the great causes for them to feel such threat is the ministry that will be done under the name of Manmin.
Our ministry not only proclaims the word, but also shows God’s power that is impossible with men’s strength and ability.
Because of this, they will fear the power of God, and they will persecute us to hinder it.
And the actual persecution is in the saying of the Lord, “Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days.”
North Korea will come to keep watch over Manmin Church and its ministry in North Korea.
Since the power of God takes place so greatly, they will think that it won’t be good to leave us alone.
They will prepare for months, and when the proper time comes, they will close down the churches that are built in Manmin’s name, and they will arrest and imprison those who do the ministry.
Once putting them in prison, they will try to find a way to justify their conduct.
It is to justify their killing of the imprisoned.
Since they may face opposition and antipathy of the world when they kill them for a religious reason, they will find an adequate justification.
And until they find a ground according to that justification, the people in prison will suffer persecution.
The Lord says that it will be ‘for ten days.’
It doesn’t mean that they will suffer exactly for 10 days. The Lord says that the length of period is ’10 days’ until they find a standard of judgment under an adequate justification, and kill some people.
This way, the martyrdom will eventually happen in the name of the Lord, as well as in the name of Manmin and the shepherd.
God already told me how and who will die a martyr in detail, but I will not tell you that.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, and North Korea Mission members.
Are you afraid while listening to me?
If you have faith, and if you have confidence of the glory and reward that will be given to you in heaven, you will not fear.
Above all, if you have love for the Lord, you will never fear.
For you and me, our Lord suffered all the more persecution, contempt, disregard, and abuse that what you just heard. And He finally took the suffering of the cross.
But He didn’t cry for His suffering or pain; He felt sorrow and grief for the souls who didn’t understand such love of the Lord but died.
If you think of such Lord, you must never fear or try to avoid any persecution that I and you will suffer.
There is one thing that I must tell you for sure; all this must be decided by your own free will.
Depending on your choice, you may or may not suffer the tribulation or persecution that comes for the Lord’s name.
To die a martyr for the faith in the Lord’s name will be followed by great reward and glory.
Moreover, if you sacrifice your life for the Lord in the utmost love for the Lord after you cultivate your heart into the spirit or the whole spirit, such a great reward and glory will be given.
But this word applies to not only those who will be at the stake of martyrdom.
Just as the Lord says, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life,” you too must be able to march on with such faith of martyrdom wherever you are.
In order to do so, you must understand the general meaning that is contained in the Lord’s saying, “The devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days.”
Dear brothers and sisters.
Even among the believers, there aren’t many who can correctly distinguish between Satan and the devil.
Even though they have managed a long believing life, chances are that they don’t know what Satan and the devil are, and how they are different.
But the bible clearly differentiates Satan and the devil.
Simply speaking, Satan is the heart of Lucifer, the head of the evil spirits, and the devil is the subordinate that she keeps.
And what each does is different.
Satan works through the mind of people. She makes people have evil thoughts, and stirs up their mind with untruths.
And the devil makes the people who follow the works of Satan put their thoughts into action.
In other words, when what is instigated by Satan comes into an action, then it is called the work of the devil.
For example, when someone speaks ill of you and slanders you, it is the work of Satan that makes you have evil thought such as having ill feeling against him, or hating him.
Satan inoculates you with such thought as ‘It makes me so upset. I can’t bear with him any more. Either I will slander him or hit him.”
Some people put what they have in mind into action.
They really bring it out who’s wrong, call him bad names, or even hit him.
Like this, it is the devil that enthralls them so that they commit evil deeds.
The bible clearly distinguishes the works of Satan and the devil.
In Matthew 16:21-23, when Jesus told His disciples that He would suffer many persecutions, be killed, and be raised up on the third day, Peter took Him aside, and told him.
Peter said, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.”
Then Jesus said, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”
When Peter thought of man’s interest, and held Jesus back from what He had to do in his own thought, Jesus rebuked him, saying “Get behind Me, Satan!”
Also it’s written in Like 22:3, ‘And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve.” ‘Satan’s entering into Judas’ means that Satan captivated Judas’ heart.
In other words, Judas Iscariot came to think, “I will sell Jesus for money.”
But John 13:2 says, “During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him.”
It doesn’t mean that the devil worked through his heart. It means that the devil already take captive of Judas Iscariot’s heart.
Because the devil captivated his heart, the deed of the devil of selling Jesus came out.
1 John 3:8 says, “The one who practices sin is of the devil.” Here, ‘practicing sin’ is putting it into action.
Jesus says in John 6:70, “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?” He expressed that Judas Iscariot who would sell Him as the devil.
Therefore, you must realize that committing sin in action is the work of the devil, people who commit sin belong to the Devil, and they are the children of the devil.
Now, the Lord says, “The devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested.”
Then, what does ‘prison’ mean, and to whom such test will come?
We will look into this in the next lecture.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
Romans 2:28-29 says, “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.”
All cannot become Jews only because they share the blood of Jews, or are born of Jews. Only those whom God acknowledges is the Jews.
People who circumcised in their heart, recovered the lost image of God, resembled the heart of the Lord; such people are the true Jews that God acknowledges.
They are the true believer in God, and God-chosen people of heaven.
But when you try to become such a true Jew, chances are that you will face this and that persecution or tribulation.
Just as 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love,” those who reached the level of perfect love will never fear in any situation.
Since Jesus was perfected in love, He was able to take the cross for you and me and all mankind.
The Power of love is so great like this.
Father God gave up His one and only Son, Jesus took the cross, and the fathers of faith spread the gospel to the point of risking their lives; all these were possible by ‘the power of love.’
I hope that you will also become such a beautiful Christian who will reveal the power of God.
If you are truly able to feel in your heart the love of Father God who gave up His one and only Son for the sinners, and the love of the Lord who took the cross and died for us, who is it that you cannot understand, and who is it that you cannot love?
May you all become true children of God who will perfect the love in you by taking after the Lord who completed the law by love, in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, I pray!