The Bible Answers Short Questions From Our Readers
Plain Truth Staff
What is "The Synagogue of Satan"?
Many readers have sent us this question. You read of the "Synagogue of Satan" in Revelation 2:9: "I know," spoke Jesus Christ, "the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN." The common idea is that this verse is referring co so-called "International Jewry" — that is, Gentiles masquerading as Jews. This is not true! Let's notice the Bible's own interpretation of this mysterious verse, not Hitler's interpretation as found in Mein Kampf, which so many want to believe. Notice, this is a synagogue of Satan. A "synagogue" is merely the Hebrew word for "church." Then Jesus is NOT speaking of a race, but of a church that belongs to the devil! This church claims that its members are spiritually Jews. Why? Because Jesus said: "Salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22). "To the Jew first, then also to the Greek" (Rom. 1:16). "He is a Jew," wrote Paul, "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, bur of God" (Rom. 2:29). Prior to conversion Jews and Gentiles are both of their father, the devil. That does not, however, mean that they are necessarily part of the church or synagogue of Satan. So here is a church made up of Gentiles, falsely claiming salvation, falsely claiming to be Jews inwardly, masquerading herself as a "Christian" Church. And notice, this false church was already developing in the days of the apostle John — it had its congregations already in the city of Smyrna and in Philadelphia, in Asia Minor (Rev. 2:9 and 3:9) — beside congregations in many other cities as we read in I John 2:18-19: "... you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come;... They went out from us, but they are not of us." Notice that the spirit of antichrist — the teaching of the synagogue of Satan — was found in those who left the true Church of God, who departed from the faith, who claimed they were still Jews inwardly but who LIE. The synagogue of Satan refers to the great apostacy that occurred at the close of the apostolic age, the apostacy which gave rise to the host of denominations we have today — a great mother church and her daughter churches (Rev. 17). This is not speaking of the Jews who rejected Christ long before the Book of Revelation was written. They were never a part of the true Church of God. But the Synagogue of Satan — the church that follows the teachings of antichrist — that church or synagogue DID DEPART OUT OF THE TRUE CHURCH! Even though those who are Jews by birth (Gal. 2:15) have made proselytes from the Gentiles (Esther 8:17), that is not what the synagogue of Satan refers to. Many Gentiles are made citizens of America and Britain (the descendants of the house of Joseph), the same as many Gentiles have been brought into Judah — but that does not make them part of the "Synagogue of Satan." That is not what Revelation 2:9 and 3:9 are referring to. The "synagogue of Satan" is not referring to a race but to that great church and her daughter churches who falsely profess to be "Christian" Jews inwardly!
What is the Biblical NAME for the Church?
The Bible gives the true NAME of the Church in twelve different places. Twelve, remember, in God's complete number. In five passages where the true NAME of the Church appears, the entire Body of Christ — the Church as a whole — is indicated. Thus when speaking of the entire Church, including all its individual members on earth, the name is "The CHURCH OF GOD." Here are these five passages: 1) Acts 20:28. The admonition to the elders is to "feed The CHURCH OF GOD." 2) I Corinthians 10:32. "Give no offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to The CHURCH OF GOD." 3) I Corinthians 11:22. "... or despise ye The CHURCH OF GOD, and shame them that have not?" 4) I Corinthians 15:9. Paul wrote: "For I persecuted The CHURCH OF GOD." 5) Galatians 1:13. This verse repeats the one last given — "I persecuted The CHURCH OF GOD." Notice that Paul did not call the true Church "Catholic" or "Protestant." Nowhere is the true Church called after the name of a MAN or after the name of a doctrine. Where one specific local congregation is mentioned, the true Church is called "The CHURCH OF GOD," often in connection with the place of location. Here are four more passages: 6) I Corinthians 1:2. "The CHURCH OF GOD which is at Corinth." 7) II Corinthians 1:1. "The CHURCH OF GOD which is at Corinth." 8) I Timothy 3:5. In speaking of a local elder in a local congregation, Paul wrote Timothy: "For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of The CHURCH OF GOD?" 9) I Timothy 3:15. "... behave thyself in the house of God, which is The CHURCH OF THE LIVING GOD," Here it is The Church of the Living God. In speaking of the local congregations collectively, not as one general Body, but as the total of all local congregations, the Bible name is "The CHURCHES OF GOD." Here are the final three verses of the twelve which name the Church: 10) I Corinthians 11:16. "... we have no such custom, neither The CHURCHES OF GOD." 11) I Thessalonians 2:14. "For ye, brethren, became followers of The CHURCHES OF GOD which IN JUDAEA are in Christ Jesus." 12) II Thessalonians 1:4. "So that we ourselves glory in you in The CHURCHES OF GOD." These verses prove the NAME of the true Church. Denominations not bearing this name could not be God's true Church. And of all the churches that do bear the name, only one could be the true Church of God — that one which OBEYS ALL the commandments of God and maintains the FAITH delivered once for all time — the one which grows in truth. All others are counterfeit, even though they may have the knowledge about the true NAME of God's Church. Since Christ is the Head of the Church, Paul also called the various congregations "the churches of Christ" (Romans 16:16) — but the actual NAME is the CHURCH OF GOD. It is kept in the NAME OF THE FATHER (John 17:11).