The context (the surrounding Bible verses) will enable us to understand what the author meant, not what we think, feel, or believe. The context also runs throughout the Bible, so if our view of a verse is at odds with other Bible verses elsewhere, we must rethink our view, as the Bible does not contradict itself.
A Message to the Church in Smyrna (A Fragrant Church)
The city of Smyrna was located approximately thirty-five miles north of Ephesus. It was a prosperous city with a population of over one hundred thousand in John’s day (c. A.D. 95). That location had been inhabited for over three thousand years and no one knows for sure who founded Smyrna or exactly when it was established.