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by Ministry Jesus

Synagogue Of Satan

What is a synagogue?

Throughout most Scripture, synagogue has traditionally meant an assembly of Jews formally gathered together to offer prayer and listen to the reading and exposition of the Holy Scriptures, but that is not always the case, as we will soon find out.

What is a Jew?

Jew is the Greek word Ἰούδας , Ioudas in English, and it traditionally means Judah or Judas, Jew or Jewish, and is also one of the 12 tribes of Israel from Judah who is the son of Jacob, grandson of Isaac and great-grandson of Abraham. Judah is the tribe in the ancestry of Jesus.

Jesus Christ is a descendant of Judah and is why Jesus is called the Lion of the tribe of Judah in Revelation 5:5 and why the writer of Hebrews wrote, “For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests,” in Hebrews 7:14.

This Greek word for Jew, Ioudas, has its origins in the Hebrew word יְהוּדָה , or Yehudah in English. The Greek word Ioudas means the exact same thing as the original Hebrew word Yehudah, which stems from the Hebrew word יָדָה , or yadah in English, meaning praise. 

So, what does Paul say about Jews? If you don’t know who Paul is, he grew up a traditional Jew. He was actually a Pharisee named Saul who persecuted Christians in the early church.

Saul was present at the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7:54-60, the first Christian martyr in the Bible. Saul was on his way to put more Christians to death when Jesus appeared to him on his way there and then Saul believed in the truth.

Later on, Saul was referred to as Paul instead, but he always had both names. He was a Jew born a Roman citizen. Saul was his Hebrew name and Paul is his Roman name.

Paul wrote the Book of Romans around 57 AD to the church in Rome, which consisted mostly of Gentiles, but it also contained a minority of Jews. When it comes to defining a Jew, Paul does that in Romans 2:28-29.

The easiest translation to understand in the English language is the NLT. Although some of the original meaning gets lost in this translation from time to time, its translation of Romans 2:28-29 is easy to understand.

Paul used the exact same word for Jew here that we have been talking about, the Greek word Ἰούδας , Ioudas in English.

Paul wrote, “For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision. No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God.

“And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit [Holy Spirit]. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.”

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A Jewish Synagogue

Throughout the New Testament, synagogue is commonly referred to as a place where those who practice Judaism meet. We find it mentioned this way in the past history of the Bible as a place where Christians were persecuted for their faith, leading many to believe today that Jewish people will persecute the Christians, but that is not the truth.

Christian persecution in the synagogues.

Once a person studies early Christian persecution in the Jewish synagogues, a pattern begins to emerge. We will follow this pattern to see where it leads.

What is being persecuted?

In Luke 12, Jesus is teaching us about hypocrites, telling us to not be afraid when they persecute us. Jesus gives a prophecy in Luke 12:11 that His followers will be “brought before synagogues, rulers, and authorities,” but Jesus goes on to say, “do not worry about how to defend yourselves or what to say.

Jesus gave this prophecy before the Holy Spirit was poured out on all flesh in Acts 2. Jesus goes on to say in Luke 12:12, “For at that time the Holy Spirit will teach you what you should say.” Jesus is referring to the then future New Covenant as prophesied in Jeremiah 31:34.

“They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

Before Jesus gave that prophecy, He said in Luke 12:10, “And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him.”

Mark expands on this truth and goes deeper into its meaning writing in Mark 3 about The Unpardonable Sin and why those who commit it never have forgiveness.

Jesus said in Mark 3:28-29, “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation” because they said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

Those who commit the unpardonable sin never have forgiveness because they call the work of the Holy Spirit the works of the devil. We see this pattern happening repeatedly throughout the Book of Acts, which acts is another name for works.

Many people call the Book of Acts the acts of the apostles, but, in reality the Book of Acts is the Works of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who is being persecuted while He is working through the apostles, and not really the apostles being persecuted. It is God doing the works, not the apostles.

This is the pattern we will first see emerging before those of the Synagogue of Satan are completely revealed, Spirit filled Christians being persecuted for the work the Holy Spirit is doing through them, just like happened to those in the Book of Acts.

It is religious spirits doing the persecution of the Holy Spirit through His people, just like we are told would happen in 2 Timothy 3, “They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them Godly,” which the power is the Holy Spirit.

Paul goes on to say, “Yes, and everyone who wants to live a Godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.”

What about the persecutors?

Before those in the Synagogue of Satan are completely revealed, we will see a great harvest. Many people who persecute will come to understand the truth by the power of the Holy Spirit.

God will continue to search for that one lost sheep who has strayed because there are many who once knew God, or at least understood His voice like all sheep understand their shepherd’s voice.

That is why we cannot get discouraged when doing God’s work because even if we work for weeks, months or years and we only come to know about one lost sheep Jesus found through our work, that is always the one lost sheep Jesus is looking to find, and you never know how many people that one lost sheep will reach after being found.

Like the first time the word synagogue is mentioned after people have the ability to become Spirit filled, for example, that is the first time we see a persecutor of Spirit filled Christians being converted. That person is Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus in Acts 9.

Saul, later known as Paul, ended up writing at least 13 and probably 14 books of our New Testament, if you believe he also wrote the Book of Hebrews. Saul was one of God’s lost sheep.

Christians worship the same God the Jews worship, Yahweh. Too many Jews don’t understand Jesus because He has been hidden from them like Joseph was hidden from his brothers, made to look like a foreigner. But, someday Yeshua will reveal Himself to them. The history of Joseph is the prophecy of Jesus.

Likewise, too many Christians don’t understand the history of their faith, and that is how they get wrapped up in religion. Yahweh has always been the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The Son of God has always been the Word of God. He has always been the One who conveys the thoughts of the Father to God’s people.

Many get converted.

Acts 13 and Acts 14 is the first time since Jesus we see Jewish synagogues as the setting for conversion. Paul preaches to Jews about Jesus being the Son of God, proves it to them through their own Scriptures.

Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit when he confronted a false prophet who was acting under the power of the devil. God prophesied to the false prophet through Paul, telling him he would be struck blind for a while as punishment, and it happened immediately, causing at least one person to become converted to the truth.

Many Jews became believers in the truth that day and some Jews still did not. The same Greek word for Jews we have been talking about is the same Greek word used here also. There is not a different Greek word for Jews when talking about Jews who believe in Jesus or Jews who do not believe in Jesus.

The same Greek word for Jew is also used to refer to a Christian who is a Jew in the eyes of God. The context of the Scripture is what determines the meaning. This is where many Christians practice antisemitism. They take Scripture out of context and manipulate the word to mean what they want it to mean.

The point is, there will come a time when those who practice evil will confront those who do not practice evil, and the Holy Spirit will strike them with a curse, though the curse will be temporary. Many will become converted to the truth. Many miraculous signs will also follow.

Just like there were Jews who fought against the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts, so too will there be Christians who fight against the Holy Spirit in the last days. “These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage.

“But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.” Jude 16-19.

A change in meaning.

We see Paul preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Jewish synagogues in Acts 17, 18 and 19, also in Acts 22 and Acts 26 we see Paul reflect on how he persecuted Christians in Jewish synagogues before his conversion. It isn’t until one of the brothers of Jesus writes something that we see the Greek word synagogue take on a different meaning.

James, whose actual name is Jacob, was a leader of the church in Jerusalem. He wrote mainly to Jewish Christians. Many scholars believe his audience was those who became scattered after Stephen was martyred.

There is no doubt James is the author of the Book James and one of Jesus’ brothers. Jude was also a brother of Jesus. His real name is Judas, but no one wanted to read the Book of Judas because they thought it would have been the book of Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus.

It is believed James wrote his book before 50 AD, 45 years or so before the Book of Revelation. James died in 62 AD, so it was written before that at least. Some people don’t believe he is the author. Those people date the book as far away as 125 AD.

James wrote in James 2:2-4, “For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?”

Most translations say, “For if a man comes into your assembly,” or “For if a man comes into your meeting,” but the actual Greek word translated as assembly or meeting is sunagógé , the same word we have been talking about this entire time, synagogue.

James introduces as to the word synagogue as a place where Christians meet, specifically Christian Jews. If James was written before the Jerusalem council, the only really recognized Christians then would have been Jewish Christians.

But, the point is, James was writing to Christians. He died in 62 AD and the Book of Acts starts in 63 AD or later. Christians were not freely meeting in the open at the start of the Book of Acts.

Those in the upper room were gathered together in Acts 2 as Jesus had commanded them, saying in Luke 24:49, “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”

There were an estimated 2,000,000 devout Jews in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. These were Jews who did not believe in Jesus. They were still waiing for the Messiah to appear. 

Peter gave an amazing sermon under the power of the Holy Spirit and many Jews became converted to Christianity after they believed Jesus is the Messiah. Peter then told the believing Jews to repent.

Peter said, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

The promise of the Holy Spirit is for anyone in the world who believes. That is what Peter said when he said, “…and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

Peter did not know that is what he meant. Peter meant any Jews afar off, but the Holy Spirit was prophesying through Peter.

Applying the meaning.

The word synagogue is used 2 more times in the Bible, both in the Book of Revelation. Both times this word for synagogue is used, it refers to the synagogue of Satan. The first time is Revelation 2, when Jesus is addressing the persecuted church.

Jesus said, “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

Jesus saying they are rich means they are full of faith. The blasphemy Jesus refers to is calling evil good and calling good evil. This is the exact meaning of that word blasphemy, calling what God says is wrong right, exchanging the truth of God for a lie, this is what those who are a synagogue of Satan practice.

Another name for a synagogue of Satan is an apostate church. Synagogue also means congregation. Jews, this word can mean a couple different things, as we have already learned.

Whether you believe this synagogue of Satan is Jews or apostate Christians, the important thing is the synagogue of Satan is all the blasphemers who call good evil and call evil good. They do not actually know right from wrong.

Revelation 3 is the last time synagogue of Satan is used in the Bible, and the word synagogue itself for that matter. This is Jesus talking to the church who has love for the brothers and the sisters.

They have little power, dunamis in Greek, which means  they don’t believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, but they don’t persecute those who do either. They know right from wrong and they don’t call evil good, nor do they call good evil.

These Christians know the Bible and they obey it. These Christians have not denied the name of Jesus, which means they sincerely pray in His Name, and not just to get stuff from Him. Their works will not be burnt up at the Bema. They will receive crowns from Jesus.

The synagogue of Satan Jesus refers to here do not believe in Jesus, whereas the other one in Revelation 2:9 believes in Him, but they blaspheme and call good evil and call evil good.

This one in Revelation 3:9 are people who were never born again, religious people who never did find God, but pretended they did for whatever reasons only they and God know.

Jesus said He will make these people know that He has loved us, which is the Greek word agapáō and it means those of the synagogue of Satan will know through personal experience that God prefers us, and by us God means those who choose to walk in His will, we who choose to live through Christ and obey Hm by His power.

‘I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.

‘Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you.

‘Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Revelation 3.

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