Summary: In your difficulty if you ever start to wonder, does anybody really know what I am going through, be assured Jesus does.
Maybe right now you are undergoing suffering and hardship. You may recently have had the painful experience of being slandered. It may have come just for the simple reason you are a Christian standing on God’s principles.
In your difficulty if you ever start to wonder, does anybody really know what I am going through, be assured Jesus does.
The church in Smyrna was in desperate poverty. They were slandered for their faith and they experienced great affliction. Jesus says I know all about it.
I know your affliction
I know your poverty
I know the slander spoken against you.
Jesus calls the church at Smyrna to be faithful. Jesus walked among them at the church at Smyrna and He was well aware of their situation and how they remained faithful in those difficult conditions.
"To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. 9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.
This message to the church in Smyrna is the second of seven messages to the seven churches in Revelation chapters 2-3. We find that Jesus walks among the churches and observes and evaluates each one of them.
At the church at Ephesus Jesus walked among them and found a hard working and doctrinally pure church. The problem was that they lost their first love experience with Jesus.
In his letter to each church he addresses them; to the angel. Here in Vs 8 we find, to the angel of the church at Smyrna write. The angel was the messenger of the church, most likely the pastor. History tells us the Pastor at the church at Smyrna was Polycarp.
The title for Jesus in this message to the church at Smyrna was the title found in Revelation 1:17 of the exalted Jesus. The first and last who died and came to life.
The Evaluation Revelation 2:9
There is no condemnation for the church at Smyrna. There is for the other churches six that received messages. But even though there was no condemnation for this church it was undergoing extreme difficulty and affliction.
Smyrna was the central place of Caesar worship. Because the Christians refused to bow to Caesar they were afflicted, imprisoned and sometimes even put to death.
The pagans who worshiped Caesar were against this church and so were the Jews. The Christians were being slandered by the Jews. It was the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not. These Jews may have been physical descendents of Abraham, but not spiritual descendents of Abraham. In this message Jesus refers to them as a synagogue of Satan.