These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 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 life as your victor’s crown. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death. – Revelation 2:8-11
Next, the angel directs the Apostle John to prefix “The Revelation From Jesus Christ That God Gave Him” with a special introductory message. That introduction would not be the same as that of the Ephesian congregation, yet, the rest of the message would be the same.
Words From The First and the Last
These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. – Revelation 2:8
Notice that the angel identities who the “Revelation” is from. It is from Jesus Christ himself who received it from his Father in heaven.
How do I know that this refers exclusively to Jesus Christ? Well, first of all, God cannot die. He is eternal. He had no beginning and has no end.
We are told here that “These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.”
Who is it that died and came to life again? Jesus Christ himself! Is he not the Word of God? And, in what way is he “The first and the last?”
He was the first creation from God. You can read this in Revelation 3:14, Colossians 1:15, and Proverb 8:22. Jesus Christ was the first and only man that God Himself resurrected from the dead and he will be the last man to be resurrected by God. All other resurrections from among humans the family will be accomplished by Jesus Christ himself.
Jesus himself says at John 5:28-29 …
Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.
Notice that the dead will hear Christ’s voice (his words) and come out of their graves.
In A Synagogue of Satan
I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
Permit me to remind the reader that none of the events of the “Revelation” have had a start of fulfillment yet. These things are yet future. A distant future.
The angel has the Apostle John write down to the Congregation in Smyrna (which has not arrived yet) that Christ Jesus is fully aware of the situation that they are in and where they are.
Recall, in a previous explanation that I had mentioned that the Revelation from Jesus Christ That God Gave Him occurs after Christ’s 1000-year kingdom ends and Satan is released from his 1000-year abyssing and he (Satan) sets up his kingdom on the earth.
So the Congregation in Smyrna – and indeed the other six congregations as well – are living within Satan’s kingdom therein containing a “Synagogue of Satan.” This Synagogue of Satan will make up men who will have sold their kingly birthright to Satan’s beast. Yes, these are men who were given a kingdom by Christ and who will have once served as kings with Christ during his 1000-year reign over the earth. These former kings of the earth will be misled by Satan and they will surrender their crowns to Satan’s beast and support (worship) it.
You will see this as I progress through the explanation of the rest of the book.
The angel also reveals to the Apostle John a truth that the world today refuses to see or accept. A lie that has been perpetrated even in this day: That there are those who say that are Jews, but are not. Christ Jesus is aware of this.
He well knows the affliction of the “true Jew” and he knows their poverty. Even after the end of Christ’s kingdom, there will be a resurfacing of the issue over who are true followers of Christ. It will be an issue that will lead to imprisonment and death for those who refuse to accept the lies.
Do Not Be Afraid of What You Are About To Suffer
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 life as your victor’s crown. – Revelation 2:10
What is called “The Great Tribulation” will not occur within our time period today. It will occur in that time period after Christ’s kingdom ends and when Satan’s kingdom begins.
Jesus, when he walked the earth as the man warned of a Great Tribulation that would come to his followers. Something unlike ever to have occurred and will never occur again. We have not seen it yet. It is yet future. Jesus said in Matthew 24:9 …
Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.
He follows up at Matthew 24:21 where he says …
For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
When that Great Tribulation ends, then some very interesting things will happen. It will be an “Oh Damn” moment for the world of Satan’s kingdom in those days. The majority of the population in those days will be united and supportive (worshipful) of Satan’s kingdom through his Wild Beast. They will be complicit in the tribulation that Christs’ true and faithful followers will go through.
Jesus goes on to say in Matthew 24:29 …
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
You will see the parallels to what Jesus stated above when he walked the earth to what will occur in the distant future.
Jesus warned that only those who do not cave in to the intense pressure to worship Satan through his Wild Beast in those future days will be saved (for passage into God’s Kingdom and eternal life on earth).
Jesus says in Matthew 10:22 …
You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
“Hated by EVERYONE?” Therein is a clue. This could not be the time period we live in today because (1) The world is not united (2) Even those who claim they follow Christ are divided. There are thousands of “Christian” congregations in the world all teaching Christ differently. Some of them are at war with one another. (3) EVERYONE today does not hate Christs’ followers.
So what Jesus states at Matthew 10:22 must be in a time period where the entire world (everyone) will be united under one government and THEY will hate those who refuse to join that government and its worship of the Wild Beast. That time period has not arrived yet.
So, when addressing the congregation in Smyrna, the angel tells John that Christ is aware of what they MUST “shortly” have to suffer. And, they WILL suffer. It will be an intense time period and Satan – who is invisible – will turn up the pressure on those who refuse to worship him through his visible Wild Beast and its image. (You will be astounded to learn who the Wild Beast is and who its image will prove to be).
That Jesus says at the latter part of Revelation 2:10 …
Be faithful,even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.
This ties into what Jesus said ar Matthew 10:22. That if one is faithful through those tribulations, they will be given passage to eternal life in God’s kingdom. If Christ suffered and entered into God’s presence, so must his followers. No slave is greater than his master. Thus, the slave must suffer as his master did. (John 13:16)
Unharmed By The Second Death
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death. – Revelation 211
Here, Jesus tells John through his angel that his followers are to listen to what the Spirit says to the seven congregations. Who is that Spirit? It is God Almighty Himself. He gave the “Revelation.” He is the Author! As you have learned previously, He gave it to His Son. His Son sent it to the Apostle John through his angel. And the angel commanded John to write it down for our benefit.
We MUST listen to the words of this Revelation. We MUST, if we want to be granted eternal life on earth.
Did not the Most High and Only God command us to listen to His Son? (Luke 9:35)
The Revelation is from Jesus Christ that His Father in heaven gave him.
Recall what Jesus said at Revelation 1:3 …
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.
That blessing is eternal life on earth.
The time is near is from the standpoint of Christ’s future kingdom has already ended.
And, what is this Second Death? You will see later that the Second Death is the state of being erased from God’s memory (The Book of Life).
In other words, The Second Death is the state of “being no more” or nonexistent. Even nonexistence as a dead person. If one does not exist as a dead person, there can be no resurrection. That person does not exist. Is no longer remembered. Erased.
The Second Death implies a First Death. A First Death implies a First Birth.
We all experience a First Birth. That is we are born from human parents. We all will experience a First Death just as Jesus did. We will die. Whether it is by accident, sickness or disease, or just old age. According to Jesus’ promise at Mathew 5:28-29, we will ALL experience a Second Birth, a resurrection back to life from the dead. (The Second Birth is what is meant by the expression “Born Again.” Born Again from what? From the dead).
Thus, at the time of the establishment of Satan’s Kingdom on the earth in those future days, all in it will have been resurrected from the dead by Christ. Christ will have been their king. But when his kingdom of 1000-years ends, Satan comes upon them. (Revelation 20:7-8)
So what stands before all in those days is NOT death – going back into the grave – but what is called a Second Death, nonexistence. From such a state there are no more sacrifices by Christ on behalf of mankind to get them out of that state. They cease to be.
The Second Death is also called The Lake Fire. At Revelation 20:14-15 we read …
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
I want you to notice who and what is thrown into the Lake of Fire (The Second Death): Death and Hell are! Also, anyone not found in The Book of Life is.
So Hell is not eternal torment, is it? Neither is death going to plague mankind forever. It too will cease to be.
Also, you can read at the Devil, his Wild Beast, and the composite False Prophet will cease to exist as mentioned in Revelation 20:10.
More on that when I get to Revelation Chapter 20.
It is vital that we pay attention to The Revelation By Jesus Christ now and in the future when we are resurrected from the dead.
Next, John is told to write to the third of seven congregations, the Congregation in Pergamum.
No one of importance. A disciple (student) of Christ apart from the established religious systems who reasons, thinks and concludes matters for myself. Something is not right with the state of religion in the world. The real dichotomy is that we live in a world so full of religion, yet is an evil, immoral, and dangerous place to live. A mental and spiritual separation from this world that Jesus said his kingdom is no part of is the first step to a "break-through" to freedom and entry into a much larger spiritual world where God and Christ resides and the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of God can be accessed.