By WF White
What did the Lord mean when He spoke about the synagogue of Satan?
The term “synagogue of Satan” is a term which the Lord Jesus Christ used twice in the book of Revelation, and it is something that we need to be aware of. The Lord did not hesitate to associate false believers with our adversary Satan, and therefore the true minister of Jesus Christ should not hold back that same truth to please any group of people. It is very important also that you notice the Lord used that term when he addressed certain churches in the book of Revelation. In the first instance the Lord was speaking to the church at Smyrna:
And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; 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. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Revelation 2:8-10)
First of all the Lord brings great comfort to the true Christians that were part of the church at Smyrna. Jesus let them know that he is the “first and the last” (Isaiah 44:6) the same one who was dead but was now alive. The true Christian is blessed in knowing that the very same Jesus Christ who died, rose again, and ascended into heaven is now alive forevermore. (Revelation 1:17-18, 2:8)
The Lord Jesus Christ who was addressing the church at Smyrna was letting the true Christians know that He was well aware of their problems, and the trouble that the devil was bringing their way. He was aware of their physical poverty, but He also told them that they were “rich” (spiritually) which was the only thing that was of eternal importance. Then the Lord told them that He knew about the “blasphemy” of those who declared that they were “Jews” but they were not. Now first of all you must realize that the Lord takes blasphemy very seriously and that is why he brings this up. Blasphemy is a railing against God himself and it is a very denial of Him. In this instance the Lord declared that there was a group of people, who claimed to be “Jews,” but in reality they were not! They were obviously attempting to convince the true Christians that they also were “true Jews” but they were lying. The Lord was flat out calling these people Satan’s children, something which He had also done when He walked this Earth! (John 8:44) The Jewish apostle Paul made it clear that the only “true Jews” were those who had been spiritually changed in their heart! (see 2 Corinthians 5:17)
For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 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. (Romans 2:28-29)
Now even though the Lord used this term to describe the “false Jews” at the church of Smyrna, it also applies to the people today, who claim to be Christians, but in reality they are not! The term Synagogue is often associated with the Jewish people, but in reality it is a meeting place where people gather, and can apply to others also. The “Synagogue of Satan” is actually an “unseen spiritual Synagogue” which is made up of false professors of Christ. They do not serve the true Lord Jesus Christ, and they have never been born again of the Spirit of God! We can see the influence in our modern day with different groups of people such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormons, and the Roman Catholics who claim that they are Christians, but bring doctrines that are totally contrary to Christ! It is most sad and unfortunate that we are living in a day where such false religious systems are even called Christian by the mainstream media “leaders.” but that is just how the“Synagogue of Satan” operates! They are disguised as the Lord’s ministers but in reality they are not His at all! They learn and know the “Christian lingo” but they do not belong to the Lord! There are also millions of false professors which sit in “Protestant” and“Evangelical” churches, and many who preach in their pulpits also, who are part of this“Synagogue of Satan”. The same Lord Jesus Christ told us that the wheat and the tares grow together! (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43) The “Synagogue of Satan” is truly a very large “unseen spiritual Synagogue!”
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)
We can also see the influence of the “Synagogue of Satan” in the “Christian Zionism”movement with their false teachings concerning the Abrahamic Covenant, a covenant which was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Instead of telling the unsaved Jewish people that they need to “repent and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15) because the “wrath of God” is upon them (John 3:36), they have twisted it all around and they tell the true Christians that they will be cursed if they do not bless Israel! Instead of having the Holy Ghost boldness (as Jesus did) to tell the unsaved Jewish people that they will“die in their sins” (John 8:24)without Christ, they compromise the simplest teachings in the Bible! That kind of compromise is birthed in the “Synagogue of Satan” and it should be a wake up call for those who have learned their ways! Should the truth about eternal damnation in Hell be held back from any group of people? I think not, and a true Christian who claims to have a love for lost souls will not hold back that truth from the unsaved. If a person does hold back those truths in an effort to pacify his fellow man, then they must search their own heart (as Paul did) to see if they are truly a servant of Jesus Christ!
For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)
The next time that we see the Lord use the term “Synagogue of Satan” is when he speaks to the church at Philadelphia
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. (Revelation 3:7-9)
In the passage above the Lord is basically saying the same thing in His warning about the“false Jews.” The Lord describes Himself as “holy and true” and He then commends the church for being faithful to His Word, and for their not denying His name. That is what the Lord expects from all of His own true people, which includes all true Jewish and Gentile believers in Jesus Christ. If a Christian is digging into the scriptures (God’s Word) and holding fast to the Lord, then they are truly in good hands. Those of the “Synagogue of Satan” will one day see, that the true Christians were serving the one true and faithful God. I will admit that it can be frustrating to observe and watch what is happening in the modern day “church” but I also know, that my God is a “faithful and true God” and a God who does not change!