The Synagogue of Satan
by Wayne Blank
Early Christianity was so "Jewish" that, in the minds of some of those who did not yet fully understand that the Gentiles were also children of God, they would have, in effect, if not literally, have said "You can't be a Christian if you aren't a Jew!" The apostle Paul publicly rebuked the apostle Peter for that very reason (a collision of two Biblical heavyweights, both true men of God, that must have been shocking to many of those who witnessed it):
"But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?" (Galatians 2:14 KJV)
What Is The "Synagogue of Satan"?
The point of this is that many of the terms used by New Testament writers were "Jewish," that is, they were familiar terms spoken by, and to, Jews. Among those terms found in the New Testament is the "Synagogue of Satan," as spoken by Jesus Christ, a Jew, in the Book of Revelation (which was written by the apostle John according to what Jesus Christ told him i.e. Revelation 1:1), that some have used to persecute Jews over the centuries. They ignore the Jewish reality of the founding of Christianity, and foolishly proclaim, from the "Synagogue of Satan" term, and others, that "Jews are of Satan" and that "the Jews" opposed Christians (nearly all of whom were also Jews who did not even call themselves Christians - see the Fact Finder question below). Some ignorant, hate-filled bigots (see also Hate Jews?) will even call you a liar (and/or much worse, as I can attest from personal experience) if you say to them, for example, that Jesus Christ was a Jew, as the Holy Scriptures plainly say that He was. They commonly say that He was a "Christian," even though the Bible plainly describes Him racially as a Jew, living as a Jew, and worshipping God as a Jew (e.g. see "My Father's House").
Synagogue is from the Greek word (pronounced) sunagog which means "an assembly" (the photo shows what remains of the synagogue at Capernaum where Jesus Christ, a Jew, attended and taught at Sabbath services e.g. see Aliyya and Haftara). It was natural for Jesus Christ to use the term synagogue for "an assembly" in describing people who were a "gathering of Satan," not meaning that Jews were of Satan, but those particular people were an "assembly" of Satan.
The term "synagogue of Satan" is found twice in the Bible, both times as spoken by Jesus Christ, in describing people who simply opposed the Truth, and in both of the references the people spoken of were not even Jews in a religious sense.
"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." (Revelation 2:8-9 KJV)
Fact Finder: What is the surprising origin of the term "Christian"?