The “Synagogue of Satan” is a term that occurs twice in the Holy Bible. It occurs only in the Book of Revelation which is believed to have been written by the Apostle John. John was the brother of the Apostle James (Mark 3:17). To John belongs the distinction of being the disciple whom Jesus loved. (Mark 5:37).
The Book of Revelation is the last book of the New Testament (B’rit Chadashah). John informs us that his testimony given in the Book of Revelation is the record of two prophetic visions given to him by Jesus Christ (Yeshua HaMashiach) while he slept.
The term “Synagogue of Satan” has been misused throughout history by those with political, racial, and religious agenda who twist and pervert the Scriptures to support their erroneous false doctrines or viewpoints. In recent years even Billy Graham and Richard Nixon have been scrutinized for use of the term in 1973 during a recorded conversation.
Historically, the term has been used in classic antisemitic literature such as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an antisemitic hoax purporting to describe a Jewish plan for global domination. It was first published in Russia in 1903, translated into multiple languages, and disseminated internationally in the early part of the 20th century. Henry Ford funded printing of 500,000 copies that were distributed throughout the United States in the 1920s.
Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party publicized The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as if it were a valid document, although it was exposed as fraudulent. After the Nazi Party came to power in 1933, it ordered the text to be studied in German classrooms. The historian Norman Cohn suggested that Hitler used the publication as his primary justification for initiating the Holocaust, a “warrant for genocide”.
In religion, the term “Synagogue of Satan” has been used throughout Catholicism, the Christian Identity Movement, and the Church of Israel. Eric Rudolph is a product of the latter two groups.. The term is often used in the Serpent Seed Doctrine, a false doctrine that teaches that the “Original Sin” was an act of sexual intercourse between Adam and Eve and, prior to that act, Eve was sexually seduced by the serpent and committed sexual intercourse with the serpent; further, that Cain was conceived by the act with the serpent and Abel by the act with Adam. The Serpent Seed Doctrine also teaches that the Jewish people are the descendants of Cain and thus of Satan.
The term “Synagogue of Satan” has been used to criticize the modern State of Israel, going as far as making claims that the Jewish people are not really Jewish people, but Khazars who have adopted the Babylonian Talmud and the Kabbalah to steal the land whose rightful owners (the Jewish people) are still in exile.
Sadly, many Christians today espouse these antisemitic ideas which were rely heavily on replacement theology, a false doctrine that teaches that Christendom and the Christian Church as being the inheritor of the promises made to the biblical Israelites and proselytes.
Before further examination of this often misunderstood and misused passage we need to read the text from the Book of Revelation.
- 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. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
(Revelation 2:8-11 KJV)
- 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. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
(Revelation 3:7-13 KJV)
In these passages of Scripture Jesus Christ is addressing the church in Smyrna and the church in Philadelphia. The word synagogue comes from a Greek word meaning “assembly of men” or “congregation,” and it was used much like the English word “church.” The “Synagogue of Satan” is an assembly or congregation made up of the individuals who “say they are Jews, and are not.” The word “Jew” is used here in a spiritual sense.
The Apostle Paul defines a “spiritual Jew” in his Epistle to the Romans. Paul wrote, “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 KJV). In this case, it is not one’s physical race that counts, but his spiritual condition.
- For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 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. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
(Galatians 3:27-29 KJV)
- Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
(Romans 4:16-17 KJV)
Those in the “Synagogue of Satan” say they are spiritual Jews. In other words, they pretend to be real Christians, but they are not. This false church was already developing in the days of the Apostle John, masquerading as God’s true church. It had congregations in the cities of Smyrna and Philadelphia in Asia Minor even at that early time.
Currently the “Synagogue of Satan” can be defined as any false religion that follows unbiblical doctrines, pagan religions (all of which have roots in ancient Babylon) and any religion in the Corpus Christianum that requires faith plus works to obtain salvation. For example, these religions may include the Bahá’í Faith, Islam, Wicca, Mormonism, Roman Catholicism, Scientology, Buddhism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Hinduism, and many others. The “Synagogue of Satan” may also include those who adhere to the false doctrine of replacement theology.
- GotQuestions: Is salvation by faith alone, or by faith plus works?
- GotQuestions: Is Jesus the only way to Heaven?
Satan’s modus operandi is deception. In particular, he labors endlessly in counterfeiting the things of God.
- 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 KJV)
Jesus Christ said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:15-20 KJV).
All believers should make sure that the church they attend and its ministers are following biblical doctrines and producing the fruit of righteousness. Otherwise, it may also be “Synagogue of Satan.”