The Synagogue Of Satan

In Revelation 2:9 and 3:9, Jesus called the Jews, “the synagogue of Satan”, but what exactly did He mean?

We will learn, Christ made a religious statement concerning the spirituality of the Jews who presided over what was supposed to be God’s House. As Israelites, the Jew's purpose was to share the Gospel of Christ, a Gospel they vehemently denied.

Therefore, they were not qualified to be priests of God or even claim to be Jews (Judeans), as a true Judean became one who accepts Christ. Claiming to be righteous priests of God, and heirs of “the promise”, while denying God’s Son, was the blasphemy that made them, the synagogue of Satan.

Before we start our Bible study, let us ask our Father for wisdom and understanding of His Word, in Jesus name amen.

The Synagogue Of Satan

In a moment, Christ will address the church of Smyrna, to console them concerning their apparent persecution by the Jews for teaching the Doctrine of Christ. Even after Christ’s ascension, the Jews who led the religious institutions continued to persecute the Disciples and anyone preaching Christ, (Acts 5:17-18, 27-42).

Let’s see what Jesus had to say.

Revelation 2:9
I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

So that we may better understand this verse, the word “synagogue” means,

An assemblage of persons; specifically a Jewish “synagogue” (the meeting or the place); by analogy a Christian church: - assembly, congregation, synagogue.

A “congregation” is “a group of people assembled for religious worship”.

Christ’s statement concerned “religious worship”.

That is why Jesus said, “I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee,” in Revelation 3:9.

The reason they “worship before thy feet”, is the “church of Philadelphia”, being faithful Christians, will be before Christ when “every knee shall bow” before Him, (Isa 45:23, 60:14, Rom 14:11, Php 2:10).

This all tells us, Christ was not talking about genealogy. In fact, it is never mentioned or implied.

Instead, Christ made religious statements.

Christ was speaking spirituality concerning the Jews of the synagogue, those involved in “religious worship”.

We will learn, while the Jews of the synagogue were genealogical children of Abraham, they were not spiritual children of Abraham, they were not spiritual Jews, (see: Was Jesus Talking To Cain’s Descendants In John 8:44?).

Therefore, Christ did not consider them Jews (Judeans) at all, as they were not a part of Abraham's spiritual family, (see: What Are The 12 Tribes Of Israel?). This meant, the Jews of the synagogue were not ‘heirs of the promise’, nor were they a part of God's Family.

On the other hand, the church of Smyrna was a part of God’s Family, as Christ told them, “thou art rich” in faith, (James 2:5).

So why were the Jews not spiritual children of Abraham?

Since Christ’s sacrifice, an individual can only become a spiritual child of Abraham through their acceptance of Jesus Christ, (Galatians 3:7). Regardless of one’s ancestry, we must accept Christ to become a part of God’s Family.

The religious Jews of the synagogue denied Christ and the Doctrine He brought from His Father. Instead, the Jews taught their own doctrine in place of God’s. To deny the Son, is to deny the Father, (1 John 2:22-23).

The Jews of the synagogue committed “blasphemy” by claiming to be of God, and claiming to serve Him, while denying Christ, even to the point of ensuring He was crucified. Blasphemy of the highest order, (Matthew 27:1, 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15).

Therefore, without the faith of Christ, the Jews were not spiritual children of Abraham, so they were not spiritual Jews, only “outwardly” Jews, which no longer mattered, (Romans 2:28-29).

Now we can begin to understand why Christ said they are not Jews, and have committed blasphemy, and are “the synagogue of Satan”.

Since the Jews of the synagogue did not accept Christ, they were not “one in Christ”, (Galatians 3:28-29). Since the Jews were not teaching the Doctrine of God, they were not the church of God, but the synagogue of Satan, (1 John 3:10).

We will now document these facts in detail.

A Jew Is Now One Inwardly

When Christ perished on the cross for our sins, He opened the door of salvation for everyone who believed in Him. Regardless if someone was a Jew, other Israelite, or Gentle, those fleshly characteristics did not matter, (Romans 1:16, 10:12-13). Salvation was a spiritual matter that hinged on someone’s spiritual acceptance of Christ.

Yet, the Jews who formed the religious institutions of the day always assumed their genealogical connection to Abraham provided them salvation, (Mat 3:9, Joh 8:33, Rom 4:13, 16). This was a false notion which Scripture makes quite clear.

Let’s see what Romans has to say on the matter.

Romans 2:28-29
28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:

29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Why would the Bible say a genealogical Jew was no longer a Jew at all?

This was a spiritual lesson that removed flesh genealogy and blood circumcision from the conversation. That was the point Christ made in Revelation 2:9, the Jews were not spiritually of God's House, so they were spiritually of Satan's house.

The fact that someone was a genealogical Jew was only a matter of flesh, and their flesh was not going to save them or provide spiritual salvation. Instead, “inwardly” from the spirit, the Jew (Israelite) had to accept Jesus Christ. Only then would they become a Jew “inwardly”, only then would they become a spiritual child of Abraham, and become “one in Christ”.

Since the Jews of the synagogue were not “one in Christ”, they were not spiritual children of Abraham, so they were not Jews in the spiritual sense. Hence Christ’s statement, “which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan”.

A religious statement that concerned their spiritual deeds, (John 8:41, 1 John 3:10).

There Is Neither Jew Nor Greek

Since Christ's sacrifice on the cross, there became a clear distinction between flesh and spirit.

Let’s continue to bring this important subject together.

Turn with me to the Book of Galatians.

Galatians 3:27-29
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

The Bible continues to reveal the spiritual aspect of Abraham’s seed. With Christ’s sacrifice, this became a new concept, salvation for all. Even Peter had a difficult time grasping this as outlined in his report to the church, (Acts 11:1-18).

Considering what we just learned in Galatians, the religious Jews of the synagogue in Revelation 2:9 were not “baptized into Christ”, they denied Christ. So they were not “one in Christ Jesus”, and without being Christ’s, they are not “Abraham’s seed”, so they are not considered Jews in the spiritual sense.

Since they are not spiritually Abraham’s seed, they are not spiritual Jews (Judeans), they are not “inwardly” Jews “in the spirit”.

That is why Christ told the church of Smyrna,

I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

The Jews of the synagogue had long perverted the Word of the Living God for their own gain and betterment, (Matthew 23:2-7, Titus 1:10-12, 14-16). By denying Christ, demanding He be crucified, and banishing the preaching of Christ, they clearly proved they were not spiritual Jews. This nullified them from serving in God’s Congregation.

Spiritually, they were not of God, but of Satan.

Only when we accept Christ into our heart do we become a spiritual ‘child of Abraham’, and an “inwardly” Jew (Judean). These spiritual connotations simply mean, we are a part of God’s Family, and as such, we inherit “the promise” of everlasting life, (1 John 2:25, Ephesians 2:19).

The Children Of The Devil

Let God’s Word continue to lead the conversation we are having.

We are now going to see what the first Epistle of John has to say.

1 John 3:10
In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

This is another spiritual statement.

Notice, all people are placed into two groups.

  1. The children of God.
  2. The children of the Devil.

Considering everything we have learned in this study. Let’s bring it all together so we may better understand.

If one is in Christ, if the works of a Jew (Judean), other Israelite, or anyone else are righteous;

  • They are spiritually children of God.
  • They are spiritually children of Abraham.
  • They are “inwardly” Jews.

If one is not in Christ, if the works of a Jew (Judean), other Israelite, or anyone else are evil;

  • They are spiritually children of the Devil.
  • They are not spiritually children of Abraham.
  • They are not “inwardly” Jews.

The Bible tells us, the works of the religious Jews of the synagogue that Christ encountered, including the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees were continually evil, (Matthew 3:7, 16:1-4, 23:13-36). This was due to their own actions that came “inwardly” from their spirit, not their flesh. This meant they were spiritual children of the Devil.

All of this from the Jews (Israelites) who were supposed to be serving our Father. Instead, they touted their flesh ancestry as if that provided salvation, while cloaking their evil works in their religious outward appearance. This disguise enabled them to promote their own doctrines while denying the only begotten Son of the Father, blasphemy.

Through their own actions they disqualified themselves from being a part of God’s Congregation and Family, well deserving of the title, the synagogue of Satan that Jesus gave them.

Ye Are Of Your Father The Devil

For completeness, we must discuss John 8:44.

There we find another example of Christ’s words from Revelation 2:9 and 3:9

Let’s see what Jesus tells the Jews.

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do...

Christ made this statement right after acknowledging the Jews were descendants of Abraham.

Christ did not contradict Himself.

When Christ said, “I know that ye are Abraham's seed”, and later, “Your father Abraham”, He was speaking of the flesh, (John 8:37, 56).

When Christ said, “If ye were Abraham’s children”, “If God were your Father”, and “Ye are of your father the devil”, He was speaking of the spirit, (John 8:39, 42, 44).

The Jews conversing with Christ were descendants of Abraham, but they were not spiritual children of Abraham due to their works and denial of Christ.

Therefore, they fell into the second group of people that we learned about in 1 John 3:10. The Jews of the synagogue became spiritual “children of the Devil” through their own works which came “inwardly” from their spirit.

That was exactly Christ’s point in Revelation 2:9, though the Jews were of Abraham in the flesh, they were not of Abraham in the spirit, as they were spiritually corrupt. Though they were Jews “outwardly” in the flesh, they were not Jews “inwardly” in the spirit, as they denied the faith of Christ.

In turn, Scripture no longer considered them Jews at all.

This is why Romans 9:6 explains, “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel”. One could become a child of Abraham through faith in Christ, while a literal child of Abraham could lose his position in God’s House for a lack of faith, (Matthew 8:10-12).

Since the Jews of the synagogue denied the Gospel of Christ, they were not fulfilling their purpose as Israelites, (Psa 96:3, Mar 16:15, Act 10:36). Therefore, they were not ‘heirs of the promise’, nor were they a part of God’s Eternal Family.

Since the Jews of the synagogue did not serve God, they were not a church of God, but a synagogue of Satan.

The Israelites Were Spiritually Corrupt

It becomes clear, the religious Jews of the synagogue in Revelation 2:9 and 3:9 were spiritually corrupt. They were hypocrites and blasphemers who had no business serving in God’s Congregation, (Act 13:45).

Yet, they sat in the ‘seat of Moses’ promoting and teaching their own doctrines in place of Christ’s which had come from God, (Mat 23:2, Joh 6:38, 8:28). Absolute blasphemy which meant, they were the synagogue of Satan.

The religious Jews of the synagogue continually tried to entrap Jesus, until they and other Israelites ensured Christ was crucified, (Mat 22:15, Luk 6:7, 11:53-54, Act 2:36, 3:12-15, 17).

They did this even though they witnessed many of Christ’s miracles with their own eyes. Even witnessing the darkness over the land, the veil being ripped from top to bottom, the earthquake, and graves being opened as Christ gave up His Spirit, (Mat 27:45-53).

All divine acts by our Father.

These were such miraculous events, a Roman soldier was convinced and said, “Truly this was the Son of God”, (Mat 27:54). The Jews of the synagogue could not care less, they ensured Christ was crucified out of sheer envy, even Pilate knew this, (Mat 27:17-18).

Such wickedness is hard for us to comprehend.

Yet, we should recall the Israelites who rejected God after witnessing the Ten Plagues of Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea. Though He protected them, and freed them, they quickly revolted against God and began to worship the golden calf. The calf that was constructed by Aaron, the high priest, (Exo 32:1-10, 35).

We can also recall the days when the Israelites and their wicked priests served Baal, promoting lying divinations to the people, all while saying, they were sent from God, (Jdg 2:11-13, Jer 2:8, Eze 13:2-4, 23). They were all Israelites who promoted their own wicked desires and doctrines above God’s. It seems the religious institutions of the Israelites were always spiritually corrupt, (Jer 5:31, 10:21, 23:1-2, 9-16).

Just about the only righteous prophets were those who stood outside of the religious organizations of the time. It always took God chastising the Israelites or raising up a prophet to bring them back in line, (Jdg 2:16, 3:9, 1 Ki 13:2, 18:22, 2 Ki 18:11-12).

When we look back on Biblical history, the only thing the Israelites were consistent in, was rebelling against God by rejecting His Laws and destroying the prophets that God sent, (Jdg 3:7, 12, 4:1, 6:1, 1 Ki 11:7, Neh 9, Jer 5:11, 35:15, Mat 23:37, Act 7:51-52, 1 Th 2:15).

When we really think about it, the Jews of Jesus day were no different than the religious leaders of the past.

A truth Jesus told us in the Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers, (Mat 21:33-46).

As Scripture explains, “there is no new thing under the sun”, (Ecc 1:9).

Summary

We learned, in Revelation 2:9, Christ was not talking about genealogy. Instead, Christ made a religious statement concerning the spirituality of the Jews who presided over what was supposed to be God’s House.

The Jews continually paraded their Abrahamic heritage as if that would provide them salvation. However, with the Advent of Christ, being a child of Abraham was no longer considered a matter of one’s flesh ancestry, but of one’s spiritual acceptance of Christ, (Galatians 3:16, Romans 4:13-16).

Since the Jews of the synagogue denied Christ, they were not Jews “inwardly” in the spirit, so Christ did not consider them Jews at all. By denying Christ, while claiming to serve God, that was the blasphemy that made the Jews, the synagogue of Satan.

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