(3.9) 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.
1. “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie”
a. John refers to unbelieving Jews when he mentions the synagogue of Satan. This brings a news event to mind. Remember when the president of the Southern Baptist Convention was in hot water, some years ago, for stating that Jewish people would go to Hell unless they became Christians? When the press jumped on him he backed off what he had said. We must remember that anyone who is without Christ, whether he is a Jew or a Gentile, is Hell-bound.
b. Too many Christians fail to realize that Judaism is not of God and is in direct opposition to God’s purposes. It bears only superficial resemblance to God’s rule of His Own through the Law of Moses.
c. Let me repeat what I basically said in my comments from Revelation 2.9 on this issue of “the synagogue of Satan.”
The opposition to the cause of Christ was, no doubt, great in the city of Philadelphia. The Jewish people who lived there led the opposition. The Lord Jesus indicates that they are Jews, but that they really are not. This might serve as a reminder of what Paul wrote in Romans 2.17-29:
17 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,
18 And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;
19 And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness,
20 An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.
21 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
22 Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?
24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.
26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?
27 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?
28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
29 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.
While being very religious, these physical descendants of Abraham were actually serving Satan in his opposition to God, and God’s man, and God’s children.
d. Jewish people have been among the strongest opponents of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for almost 2000 years. Even now in the state of Israel the only grounds for denying citizenship to an ethnic Jew is a profession of Christ. You can be an atheist, a Buddhist, or a communist and still be recognized as a Jew by Israel. However, if you claim to be a born again Christian it is maintained that you have denied your Jewish heritage.
2. “behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.”
a. One day, when Jesus comes in great glory to reclaim this old world, the Jewish people who remain will bow to Him and confess Him as Lord. In Hosea 5.15, we have the prophecy which indicates what will provoke the second coming of Christ:
“I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.”
b. In addition, in Romans 11.25-26 see the second coming of Christ from Paul’s perspective:
25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.
c. The Lord Jesus Christ’s pronouncement that the Jewish adversaries who so greatly opposed this pastor’s efforts would worship before his feet expresses a convert’s willingness to take the very lowest place in the church, doing servile honor to those they once persecuted, rather than dwell with the ungodly. So the Philippian jailer before Paul.
d. In case you did not notice it, does not this last half of the verse establish once and for all that God turns the hearts of men to fulfill His purposes? “God can at any time humble the most bitter persecutors of his people, and make them their cordial friends, or utterly destroy them.”
3. By the way, this is the fourth of the seven churches that are said to have problems with Satan. The others are the church in Smyrna (Revelation 2.9), Pergamos (Revelation 2.13), and Thyatira (Revelation 2.24). The churches in Ephesus, Sardis and Laodicea are not linked to Satanic opposition. The church in Ephesus may have been too strong for Satan, resisting him until he fled, whereas the churches in Sardis and Laodicea may have been too pathetic to merit his attention.