Revelation 2:9


"I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan" (Revelation 2:9 RSV).


The first assignment John is given as his revelation begins is to write letters to seven churches on Asia Minor. This is the second letter, sent to the church in Smyrna. Each letter is a balance between praise and criticism; their details relate specifically to the situations at the time. There was an ongoing controversy regarding the place of gentiles in the new Christian faith, and in Jewish gatherings as well. Both religions were much more liberal in these seven churches than the Jerusalem centers. It is clear from the Revelation that John is very conservative; apparently the Jewish center in Smyrna—which is where the new faith is still situated—was allowing gentiles to attend without first converting.  

So no, this is not a description or condemnation of all subsequent Jews. It is a criticism of a policy of one specific synagogue in one specific place. The message for us in this verse is that Smyrna is experiencing 'tribulation and poverty' even though, in spiritual Truth, they are rich. The same is true for us; as spiritual beings our abundance is limitless. If we are experiencing tribulation and poverty, it is because we are unaware of our true nature, believing instead in appearances of lack that could, in Truth, be dissolved if we were to place our faith in Spirit.


Rev. Ed