True wealth is not money or possessions (Luke 12:15; Luke 12:33-34). This world’s wealth cannot offer satisfaction or any real security. It can disappear in a moment; we will certainly lose it all at death.
Christ considered the Christians in Smyrna rich, but their wealth was not in this world. Their home was in heaven; the wealth of heaven was already theirs now. However, in this world they were poor. Also they were rich in faith (James 2:5). That is, their faith (trust in God) was strong.
Perhaps they were poor because they were Christians. That is not unlikely. The enemies of the Christians were often very cruel to them. It was difficult for a Christian to get a good job, or even to keep his home. Christ knew about the troubles that the Christians in Smyrna suffered. He cared about them, even if few people did.
One particular group of people joined the Christians’ enemies, who really should have been their friends. Christ said that this group was pretending to be Jews. The Jews are the original people of God who came from the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. So, the group of people in Smyrna pretended to be God’s people, but they were lying.
Perhaps these people had left Smyrna’s church because they had changed their beliefs. However, they still continued to meet in order to teach their wrong beliefs. They insisted that they, and not Smyrna’s church, were truly serving God. However, really this group was serving the devil. Its members were among the enemies who attacked Smyrna’s real Christians.
A synagogue means a meeting place. Jews still use this name for the place where they meet to give honour to God. However, when the group of former Christians in Smyrna met, they were doing the devil’s work instead.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.