WHAT IS THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT THE SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN?
FIND OUT WHO THE SUBJECT OF THIS CONDEMNATION IS IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION?
In the N.T. Book of Revelation in the section referred to as, “The Message to the Seven Churches,” the text in two separate instances refers to the ‘Synagogue of Satan.’ Unfortunately it then goes on to connect this term to the Jews. The exact quote from the NKJV is as follows:
“………………….and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.”
“Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not.”
Sadly, the above quotes have become ready fuel for those who wish to smear and slander the Jewish people. This derogatory put down of Jews is mainly used by those with a Christian background such, as British Israel, Arian Nation, Neo-Nazi’s, Identity Groups and other anti-Semite bigots.
New Testament statements that breed hatred against the Jews are many. This should be no surprise when you consider the impact of the Founding Fathers of the Church. What people do not consider is that the initial Messianic congregation led by James, the brother of Yeshua, was not a Christian congregation. In the first place it was entirely composed of Jews, who saw themselves as the one ‘sector’ of Judah that would accept Yeshua as the true Messiah of Israel. One sector within Judaism would accept Him, and the rest would be ‘blinded,’ with a ‘veil,’ which only Messiah would remove at His appointed time. (2 Corinthians 3:14-18) Yeshua was referred to as ‘the Nazarene,’ and His followers were commonly called ‘Nazarenes.’ The fact is that Jesus Christ never was a Christian – He was a Jew, who faithfully followed all the precepts of the Law/Torah. Christianity in truth was a Roman invention that came into being some three centuries later. The Apostle Paul gave a powerful hint just 19 years after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, when he wrote to the believers in Thessalonica, saying: “The Mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken away.”
This lawlessness was soon promoted by the illustrious Church Fathers of Christianity, who set the pattern of what was to follow.
The influence of Hellenism i.e. Greek thinking became a major cause for anti-Semitism in the Christian church. Many of the early church fathers were very anti-Semitic in their thinking. By way of illustration, just look at a few of their comments:
Justin Martyr (100-165 A.D.) claimed that God’s covenant with the Jews was no longer valid and that the Gentiles had replaced the Jews in God’s redemptive plan.
Ignatius (Bishop of Antioch in early 2nd century), wrote that anyone who celebrated Passover with the Jews, or received emblems of the Jewish feasts, was a partaker of those who killed the Lord and His Apostles.
Tertullian (one of the most influential writers of the second century), in his “Against the Jews” treatise blamed the entire Jewish race for the death of Jesus Christ.
Origen (185-253 A.D.), accused the Jews of plotting to kill Christians. Origen was the one who introduced the allegorical interpretation of the Bible, where anything that spoke of a literal kingdom of Israel established here on the earth was seen as allegorical and spiritualized away. He taught that in the Scriptures the curses applied to the Jews, whereas the blessings applied to the Church, which was the ‘new’ Israel of God that had ‘replaced’ the literal Israel in the plan of God.
Eusebius (263-339 A.D.), taught that the promises and blessings of the Bible were for the Christians and that the curses were for the Jews. Like the others, he declared that the Church was the true Israel of God that had ‘replaced’ the literal Israel in God’s covenants.
John Chrysostom (344-407 A.D.) was yet another bishop at Antioch, and the greatest preacher of his day. His oratorical skills were such that he was known as “Golden Mouth.” He said that there could never be forgiveness for the Jews and that God had always hated them. He taught that it was the ‘Christian’s duty’ to hate the Jews. According to Chrysostom the Jews were the assassins of Christ and worshippers of the devil.
Augustine (345-430 A.D.) taught that the kingdom of God was not literal but spiritual. He taught the kingdom was present, not future and existed only in the hearts of men. If you accept Augustine’s writing, and the writings of the other church fathers, you, like millions of Christians around the world, believe that you are now living in the millennial kingdom of God on earth, which is the Church.
Emperor Constantine and his mother Helena Augusta, who were rabid Jew haters, yet they became the unlikely champions who put Christianity on the map. Emperor Constantine, rather than Jesus Christ, might well be called the true founder of modern Christianity, as it has little if anything to do with the Gospel of the Kingdom He preached. (Matthew 4:23). The anti-Semitic Nicene Creed of 325 A.D., which to this very day still formulates the essence of Christianity, was chaired and dictated by this same Constantine, which institutionalised hatred of the Jews.
Christian Scholars even today still consider Emperor Constantine to be one of the greatest Christians in history, yet he murdered his own son, his nephew and his wife, and only asked to be baptised whilst he lay on his bed close to death. He had his eldest son Chrispus seized and put to death by ‘cold poison’ in June 326 A.D., just one year after he had chaired the famous Nicene Creed. Just one month later in July of that same year he had his wife Empress Fausta killed in an overheated bath.
This Roman Emperor, who dedicated his life to Mithra the ‘Sol Invictus,’ the Sun God of the Roman Empire, admittedly declared the Christian Faith after centuries of Roman persecution to be ‘Religio Ligita,’ a legitimate religion, almost certainly out of political expediency. However, what people forget is that, as he did this, he made the ancient Hebrew faith of the Jews, and of the true followers of Christ, the Nazarene, ‘Religio iIlligita.’ This made it illegal for the followers Yeshua, the Messiah, to observe the seventh day Sabbath, as well as to observe the Passover, on pain of death. Thus, this first “Christian” Roman Emperor Constantine enacted his law which imposed on all the citizens of the Roman Empire to keep the “venerable day of the sun.” The fact that some third century Christians kept Sunday, the first day of the week, gave the Roman emperor an idea to use such a custom to seal unity within the European Roman Empire. He retained the old pagan term in his law – ‘Dies Solis’ (in Latin “the day of the sun,” or “Sunday”) - which came into force on March 7, 321 A.D. Constantine’s Sunday law stipulated the following: “On the venerable Day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits; because it often happens that another day is not so suitable for grain-sowing or for vine-planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost.”
Constantine’s Ecclesiastical Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. abolished both the apostolic day of rest which is the seventh-day Sabbath, as well as the Passover. Constantine describes his motives behind such a decision: “It appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast (Easter) we should follow the practice of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin, and are, therefore, deservedly afflicted with blindness of soul. … Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Saviour a different way.”
The most cursory examination of the history of the Christian Church confirms that fourth century superstitions gradually supplanted the true faith. In effect the shameful process of transformation of the true apostolic faith, as delivered by Yeshua, the Messiah, was started by the early Church Fathers, and it was Emperor Constantine who legalised the paganism of Rome into what today we recognise as traditional Christianity. Thus, beginning from Constantine, a totally new religion emerged of which “neither Jesus nor Paul were the founding fathers.” “As a completely new religion in the Roman Empire, Christianity evolved as the result of later interpretations of the original traditions about Christ’s life, teachings, death and resurrection.” Emperor Constantine also built “St. Peter’s” basilica in the Vatican on top an ancient pagan cemetery.
As stated above, it thus may well come as a nasty shock to some to know that Jesus Christ was not a Christian! The truth is that Jesus was a Jew who faithfully observed the commandments, and who followed all the precepts of the Torah. He was known by his proper Hebrew name of Yeshua, which denotes ‘Salvation,’ and by no stretch of the imagination could He be considered a Christian. He did not celebrate the pagan feasts of Christmas and Easter and neither did He ever go to church on Sunday. His day of assembly and worship was on the seventh day of the week, the true Sabbath day ordained by His Father, the Eternal Creator and Sovereign of the universe. He would never dream of eating anything His Father had declared to be unclean such as pork or shellfish. If Christianity had existed in His day He most certainly would have criticized it every bit as much, as He criticized the religion of the Pharisees. His disciples too were Jewish to the core, and like their Master, they were totally observant to the Mosaic Law. Yeshua famously exhorted His followers in John 14:15: “If You love Me, keep My commandments.” The point is that He was referring here to the Ten Commandments of His Father. The truth is that during His lifetime and the lifetimes of His Apostles and disciples there simply were no other commandments. Remember in His day the only word of God available to mankind was the Old Testament, (the Hebrew Scriptures). People forget, and the matter is rarely considered by Christians today, but the Ten Commandments and the Old Testament were the only Laws that Yeshua could possibly have based the above statement on. In any case He had previously stated: “I and My Father are one!” (John 10:30) How could He possibly have come up with His own set of commandments? It defies logic to think that, as He and the Father clearly are ONE! The early church was initially almost entirely composed of Torah observant Jews, and as they took the Gospel of the Kingdom into the wider world, they continued to preach Torah observance to all their followers. In the book of the Acts of the Apostles, it is made very clear that the Apostles always made for the synagogue on the Sabbath day, irrespective of location, whether it is Ephesus, Corinth or Antioch. It is a well-documented fact of history that the early church not only observed the seventh day Sabbath, but also the Divinely ordained Holy Days of Leviticus 23, as well as the food Laws of the Bible.
It is this context that the “MESSAGE TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES” needs to be understood. Those seven churches in effect were ‘Nazarene or Christian’ churches, and the messages were addressed to the members of those churches! The message definitely was not addressed to the non-believing Jews, as they would not have been part of those churches. It is clearly only addressed to the followers of Yeshua, the Nazarene, and His Christian disciples inside those churches. Those seven churches were located respectively in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. The messages contained four main elements namely; Commendation, Criticism, Instruction, and Promise.
Understanding the context, let us now examine the second mention of this hard to understand verse in Revelation 3:9; “Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie – indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. Because you have kept My command to persevere, I will also keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”
So, what can be the real meaning of those awesome words of condemnation? Notice that these people from the synagogue of Satan are going to be made to worship at the feet of those who have kept My command to persevere etc. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans gives us a beautiful definition about how we distinguish a proper Jew. “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward of the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.” (Romans 2:28-29) Paul here is addressing members of the early church in Rome, which would have been composed of both Jews and Gentiles. As far as Paul is concerned a believer in Yeshua, who has a heart to follow the commandments whilst led by the Spirit, is a true Jew. The one, who only pretends obedience to the Law, in order to obtain the praise of men, is the person who is not a true Jew. Remember, the message clearly is addressed to followers of Yeshua, the Nazarene from Nazareth, who are congregants of the seven churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation. It is addressed to those believers in Yeshua, who refuse to abide by the Torah of His Father! What we see here is the same kind of analogy Messiah Yeshua made in His Parable about “the wheat and the tares” growing up together! It is those who say they are Jews [e.g. Torah observant], when they are no such thing, as they compromise God’s Law, and hence they have become the synagogue of Satan. The point is that the Ten Commandments are not optional, and keeping Torah is NOT a Suggestion!
Paul confirms this in the same Chapter 2:13: “For not the hearers of the Law will be justified in the sight of God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.”
Hopefully this provides an appropriate answer to those anti-Semitic bigots who love to point the finger at the Jews. They see the word synagogue and to their prejudiced minds it instantly gives them a negative connotation. Yet, the word synagogue is a very simple word that literally means “Beit Knesset” in Hebrew meaning “House or Place of Assembly,” from which the word “church” has been derived. Finally, let Christians beware before they accuse the Jews of being the synagogue of Satan – remember, for every finger pointing in accusation there are three fingers pointing back at the accuser!