Revelation 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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) Behold, I will make.—Better, Behold, I give some. There is no word to express this in the original, but as a word must be supplied to complete the sense, it is better to adopt “some” than the “them” of the Authorised version, as it is not a promise that all of the synagogue of Satan should come.

Of the synagogue of Satan.—We have here a re-appearance of the same troubles which afflicted the Church of Smyrna: the fixed and contemptuous exclusiveness of the Judaising party was their trial. But there was a time coming (perhaps the hour of temptation spoken of in the next verse) when these faithful ones, now abused and excommunicated by the fanatical synagogue, would be courted, acknowledged—nay, their aid invoked.

I will make them to come and worship before my feet, and to know that I have loved thee.—Some see in this a hint that the power of a large-hearted party to protect the Judaisers would be derived from the influence of the Gentiles, whose presence in the Church had been a stumbling-block to the Jewish party. This may have been, and doubtless was, often the case. But the promise seems to have a higher fulfilment. The course of events would show that the so-called latitudinarian was the nearest to Christ; time would transform the suspected into the respected. The Amorites would come, and the disinherited Jephthahs would be brought to be head of Gilead. In days of such trouble their strongest opponents would become their warmest supporters. An illustration of this will occur to the mind of the reader in the marvellous support which has been given to the growth of Christianity by Jews with the tongue, with the pen, with the harp and organ. Let the names of Neander, Rossini, and Mendelssohn stand for hundreds more.

Revelation 3:9-10. Behold, I — Who have all power, and when I exert it they must then comply; will make them — Who are indeed of the synagogue of Satan — And under all the solemn guise of religious worship are carrying on Satan’s cause and interest; which say they are Jews — Pretend to be my people, but are not; I will make them to come and worship, or bow down, before thy feet — To pay thee the lowest homage; and to know that I have loved thee — That all depends on my love; and that thou hast a place therein; or to find that I evidently support thy cause and interest against all that oppose it. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience — That gospel which I have myself, by such patient suffering in my human nature, established in the world, and by which I at once exercise and support the faith and patience of my people; I also will keep thee — O happy exemption from that spreading calamity! from the hour of temptation — Or of trial. I will partly preserve thee from it, and partly support thee under it. In other words, My hand shall remarkably appear in defending thee from the dangers by which others fall; and in strengthening thee in proportion to the trial. The word hour denotes the short time of its continuance; that is, at any one place. At every one it was very sharp, though short, wherein the great tempter was not idle, Revelation 2:10. Which shall come upon all the world — Upon the whole Roman empire, as the original expression frequently signifies. It went over the Christians, and over the Jews and heathen, though in a very different manner. This was the time of the persecution under the seemingly virtuous emperor Trajan. The two preceding persecutions were under those monsters, Nero and Domitian. But Trajan was so admired for his goodness, and his persecution was of such a nature, that it was a temptation indeed, and did thoroughly try them that dwelt upon the earth.

3:7-13 The same Lord Jesus has the key of government and authority in and over the church. He opens a door of opportunity to his churches; he opens a door of utterance to his ministers; he opens a door of entrance, opens the heart. He shuts the door of heaven against the foolish, who sleep away their day of grace; and against the workers of iniquity, how vain and confident soever they may be. The church in Philadelphia is commended; yet with a gentle reproof. Although Christ accepts a little strength, yet believers must not rest satisfied in a little, but strive to grow in grace, to be strong in faith, giving glory to God. Christ can discover this his favour to his people, so that their enemies shall be forced to acknowledge it. This, by the grace of Christ, will soften their enemies, and make them desire to be admitted into communion with his people. Christ promises preserving grace in the most trying times, as the reward of past faithfulness; To him that hath shall be given. Those who keep the gospel in a time of peace, shall be kept by Christ in an hour of temptation; and the same Divine grace that has made them fruitful in times of peace, will make them faithful in times of persecution. Christ promises a glorious reward to the victorious believer. He shall be a monumental pillar in the temple of God; a monument of the free and powerful grace of God; a monument that shall never be defaced or removed. On this pillar shall be written the new name of Christ; by this will appear, under whom the believer fought the good fight, and came off victorious.Behold, I will make - Greek, "I give" - δίδωμι didōmi; that is, I will arrange matters so that this shall occur. The word implies that he had power to do this, and consequently proves that he has power over the heart of man, and Call secure such a result as he chooses.

Them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews - Who profess to be Jews, but are really of the synagogue of Satan. See the notes on Revelation 2:9. The meaning is, that, though they were of Jewish extraction, and boasted much of being Jews, yet they were really under the influence of Satan, and their assemblages deserved to be called his "synagogue."

And are not, but do lie - It is a false profession altogether. Compare notes on 1 John 1:6.

Behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet - The word rendered "worship" here, means, properly, to full prostrate; and then to do homage, or to worship in the proper sense, as this was commonly done by falling prostrate. See the notes on Matthew 2:2. So far as the word is concerned, it may refer either to spiritual homage, that is, the worship of God; or it may mean respect as shown to superiors. If it is used here in the sense of divine worship properly so called, it means that they would be constrained to come and worship "before them," or in their very presence; if it is used in the more general signification, it means that they would be constrained to show them honor and respect. The latter is the probable meaning; that is, that they would be constrained to acknowledge that they were the children of God, or that God regarded them with his favor. It does not mean necessarily that they would themselves be converted to Christ, but that, as they had been accustomed to revile and oppose those who were true Christians, they would be constrained to come and render them the respect due to those who were sincerely endeavoring to serve their Maker. The truth taught here is, that it is in the power of the Lord Jesus so to turn the hearts of all the enemies of religion that they shall be brought to show respect to it; so to incline the minds of all people that they shall honor the church, or be at least outwardly its friends. Such homage the world shall yet be constrained to pay to it.

And to know that I have loved thee - This explains what he had just said, and shows that he means that the enemies of his church will yet be constrained to acknowledge that it enjoys the smiles of God, and that instead of being persecuted and reviled, it should be respected and loved.

9. I will make—Greek present, "I make," literally, "I give" (see on [2680]Re 3:8). The promise to Philadelphia is larger than that to Smyrna. To Smyrna the promise was that "the synagogue of Satan" should not prevail against the faithful in her: to Philadelphia, that she should even win over some of "the synagogue of Satan" to fall on their faces and confess God is in her of a truth. Translate, "(some) of the synagogue." For until Christ shall come, and all Israel then be saved, there is but "a remnant" being gathered out of the Jews "according to the election of grace." This is an instance of how Christ set before her an "open door," some of her greatest adversaries, the Jews, being brought to the obedience of the faith. Their worshipping before her feet expresses the convert's willingness to take the very lowest place in the Church, doing servile honor to those whom once they persecuted, rather than dwell with the ungodly. So the Philippian jailer before Paul. Them of the synagogue of Satan; so he calleth all Jews that opposed Christianity, or all pretended but not real professors.

Which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie: For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is of the flesh; but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly, & c., Romans 2:28,29. By this term also he may mean all false and hypocritical professors, who would make themselves the church, the only church of God, but are far enough from it, hating, maligning, and opposing those who would keep stricter to the rule of the gospel.

Behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet; I will by my providence so order it, that these men shall come and honour thee, paying a civil respect and homage to thee.

And to know that I have loved thee; and to know that I have a greater kindness for thee than for them.

Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan,.... Which may be understood either of the Papists, the followers of the man of sin, whose coming was after the working of Satan, and whose doctrines are the doctrines of devils, many of whom will now be converted, and brought to the true church; or rather of the Jews, who had, and have, and will have till this time, their synagogues for religious worship in their way; but they are no other than synagogues of Satan; the men that assemble in them are of their father the devil, and do his works, and will do them:

which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; they are Jews by name and nation; they are. Jews outwardly, but not inwardly and spiritually, Romans 2:28; they are carnal wicked men, under the influence of Satan, though they pretend to be religious men, and worshippers of God:

behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet; the conversion of the Jews is here intended. The worship here spoken of is not either a religious or civil worship of the church, for the church is not the object of worship; only before whom, and at whose feet, this worship shall be given to God in the most humble and hearty manner: the sense is, that the convinced and converted Jews shall come to the church, and in the most lowly and contrite manner acknowledge their former blindness, furious zeal, and violent hatred of the Christians, and shall profess their faith in Christ; shall join themselves to the church, and partake of the ordinances of the Gospel with them; and shall worship God and Jesus Christ, their Lord and King, in their presence, and at their feet:

and to know that I have loved thee; the Gentile church, and the members of it, in assuming human nature, and dying for, and redeeming them, as well as the Jews; in sending his Gospel to them, and calling them by his grace, and planting them into Gospel churches; giving them a place, and a name in his house, better than that of sons and daughters.

Behold, I will make them {f} of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come {8} and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

(f) I will bring them to that case.

(8) That is, fall down and worship either you civilly, or Christ religiously at thy feet (this is how I would rather take it) whether here in the Church (which seems more proper to the argument here) or there in the world to come, for Christ shall truly fulfil his word.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Revelation 3:9. διδῶ, not “I will suffer,” as Wolf recommends. Hengstenb also incorrectly: “I give thee, or the Christian Church, and therefore also thee.” The διδῶ, to which as object the partitive gen. τῶν λεγόντων belongs,[1444] is again taken up in the formally (fut.) more definitely fixed ποιήσω, as then the σὐτούς also recurs to the just-mentioned object τῶν λεγόντων, κ.τ.λ. The words ἐκ τῆς συναγωγῆς τοῦ σατανᾶ designate the persons meant, with respect to their origin. They are not false Christians,[1445] but[1446] Jews who just because of their enmity to the true Messiah (Revelation 3:7) are not true Jews, but the synagogue of Satan. Yet also in that the Lord brings some from this synagogue, and causes them to come humbly and believingly to his church, he shows that he is the one who has the key of David.

ποιήσω αὐτοὺς, ἵνα ἥξουσι, κ.τ.λ. Concerning the attraction αὐτούς, cf. Winer, p. 282; concerning ἵνα, also John 11:37, after ποιεῖν, with the ind. fut., cf. Revelation 6:11, Revelation 22:14; 1 Peter 3:1; Mark 3:2; Winer, p. 272.

The ποιήσω marks the still entirely future result which the Lord will work;[1447] the inner relation to ΔΙΔῶ and ΔΈΔΩΚΑ (Revelation 3:8) is this, that the ΔΈΔΩΚΑ (perf.) extends to the present, and continues in its operation, while the ΔΙΔῶ is present in its work, and will proceed to the ΠΟΙΉΣΩ. The opened door still stands open, and the Lord will work that a multitude of still unbelieving Jews may enter.

Both the ἭΞΟΥΣΙ and the ΠΡΟΣΚΥΝΉΣΟΥΣΙ ἘΝΏΠΟΙΝ ΤῶΝ ΠΟΔῶΝ ΔΟΥ are explained in connection with the O. T. prophecies of the conversion of the heathen, by the fact that for unbelieving Jews, as they have just been described, the Church of Jesus Christ, viz., of him who has the key of David, Revelation 3:7, is the true Zion, in which they, no less than the heathen, must seek and will find the truth of God, and the fellowship of salvation. Thus, so far as the expressions are concerned, such prophecies as Isaiah 60:14; Isaiah 49:23; Isaiah 2:3; Psalm 72:9; Zach. 8:20 sqq., are in full harmony with what is here stated. The ΠΡΟΣΚΥΝΕῖΝ, Κ.Τ.Λ., especially as an expression of homage,[1448] has its complete justification in the fact that the Church of Jesus Christ stands there as beloved of the Lord (Κ. ΓΝῶΣΙΝ, ὍΤΙ ἨΓΆΠΗΣΆ ΣΕ), and as the mediator of the divine salvation. Yet the Catholic interpretation without any ground has: “The highest devotion of believers, and reverence and submission to the Church and its prelates, are signified. For this adoration proceeds from the apprehension of an excellence of prelates that is more than human, and less than divine.”[1449]

ΚΑῚ ΓΝῶΣΙΝ, ὍΤΙ ἨΓΑΠΗΣΆ ΔΕ. On the one hand, the aorist form ἨΓΆΠΗΣΑ,[1450] and on the other the connection and allusion to Revelation 3:7, furnish the reference to the definite proof of the Lord’s love, in that he has died for his Church. Just this must the unbelieving Jews acknowledge who now still reject and blaspheme the Lord as a crucified evil-doer.[1451] Incorrect reference of the ἨΓΑΠ. in N. de Lyra: “By advancing thee not only to the catholic faith, but also to the episcopal dignity; “in Ew., to Revelation 3:10, or[1452] to Isaiah 63:4; Isaiah 66:24. De Wette too, indefinitely: “That I have acknowledged thee as a faithful church, and furnished thee with my gifts and power.”

[1444] Cf. Revelation 2:17. Winer, p. 490.

[1445] Vitr.

[1446] Cf. Revelation 2:9.

[1447] Viz., ἥξουσ., κ.τ.λ.

[1448] Cf. Genesis 23:7, etc. Ew., Ebrard, etc.

[1449] C. a Lap.

[1450] Cf. John 13:1; Ephesians 5:25; Galatians 2:20; also John 3:16; 1 John 4:10-11.

[1451] Cf. Revelation 2:9; Acts 13:45.

[1452] Ew. ii.

Revelation 3:9. διδῶ ἐκ (partit. gen., the construction being dropped and resumed in a rather harsh anacolouthon, ἵνα κ.τ.λ.). The absence of ἐκ before λεγ. does not prevent it from being interpreted as in apposition to συναγωγῆς rather than as directly dependent on διδῶ. On the forms of δίδωμι in Apocalypse see Jannaris’ Hist. Gk. Gramm. 996, 51; the wide usage of the verb is carried on through the LXX from the equally extended employment of the Hebrew equivalent in the later stages of O.T. literature. The Jewish synagogue is denounced as Satanic, owing to its persecuting habits (Satan being regarded as the final source of persecution as of error, cf. above Revelation 3:8 and on Revelation 2:9). Ignatius corroborates the malign activity of Jews at Philadelphia, who were in the habit of molesting the church (ad Philad. 6); he also refers them to the malicious cunning of Satan. Apparently Judaizing tendencies were rife among Christians of Gentile birth at Philadelphia. As in writing to Smyrna, the prophet thereforeclaimed the ancestral title “Jew” for the Christian church. Faith in Christ, not mere nationality, constituted true Judaism; the succession had passed to Christianity. The prominence assigned to this phase of polemic is characteristic of the eriod, though already presaged by Paul (in Romans 9:6-7; Romans 2:28-29). The supercilious contempt of these churchmen for all Christian dissenters from Judaism was to be changed one day into humble respect. The former would find out their grievous mistake when it was too late. καὶ προσκυνήσουσιν, κ.τ.λ., in the spirit and realistic language of post-exilic Judaism (see reff.), denoting abject submission and homage before the glory of the church in the future messianic reign (slightly otherwise in 1 Corinthians 14:25). What they fondly expected from the Gentiles, they were themselves to render to Christians—such would be the grim irony of providence. Compare with what follows, the earlier expectation of Jub. i. 25: “and they shall all be called children of the living God, and every angel and spirit will know, yea they will know that these are my children, and that I love them”. καὶ γμῶσιν, κ.τ.λ., still Isaianic in colouring (from Isaiah 43:4, Isaiah 49:23). Christ’s love to his church (ἠγ. = “I have loved”) will be proved by her triumphant survival of perils. Her final position, when the conditions of earth are reversed, will throw light upon the divine affection which underlay her previous perseverance, and which meantime is a secret save to those who experience it. The promise of dominion over the Jews here corresponds to that of authority over the Gentiles in Revelation 2:26-27, except that the latter is definitely eschatological. The Jews tardily awaken to the privileges of the church as to the claims of Jesus (see on Revelation 1:7). Probably they scoffed at the claim of the Philadelphian Christians to be objects of the true God’s love. The answer is that faith in Jesus means a revelation of Divine love (the revelation of it), apart from which no Christian life can be accounted for.

9. I will make them of &c.] Literally, I give of the &c. The use of “give” in this verse is frequent in Hebrew: here the sentence is unfinished, and is resumed by “I will make them come” &c. below.

the synagogue of Satan] See on Revelation 2:9.

I will make them to come &c.] An application of Isaiah 60:14.

that I have loved thee] The pronoun “I” is emphatic—which supports the view already suggested, that the title of this Church to Christian privileges was contested by the Jews, and that this message of the Lord is intended to decide a controversy.

Revelation 3:9. Τῶν λεγόντων) This depends upon τινὰς, understood.—ποιήσω αὐτοὺς, ἵνα) The same construction occurs, ch. Revelation 13:12; Revelation 13:16.

Verse 9. - Behold I give of the synagogue of Satan. The true reading seems to be neither δίδωμι nor δέδωκα, but διδῶ, from the form διδόω, which is fairly common in classical Greek. The construction, ἐκ τῆς- συναγωγῆς, the partitive genitive used as subject or object of a verb, is frequent in St. John's writings (John 1:24; John 7:40; John 16:17:2 John 4; comp. John 6:39; John 21:10). The Church of Smyrna was encouraged with a promise that their Jewish opponents should not be victorious over them. The Philadelphian Christians are told that they shall be victorious over their Jewish opponents. As before (Revelation 2:9), those who "say they are Jews, and they are not," are Jews who refuse to believe in the Messiah and reject the Gospel. The only true Jews are those who accept the Christ. They are not, but do lie. Antithetic parallelism, as in ver. 8 and Revelation 2:13. I will make them to come and worship at thy feet. This would be fulfilled when the destruction of Jerusalem drove large numbers of Jews into Asia Minor. Every city which had previously had a Jewish colony would then receive a great influx of refugees. This augmented Jewish settlement at Philadelphia was to furnish some converts to the Christian Church; but, as we learn from the epistles of Ignatius, these converts tainted the Church with a stubborn form of Judaistic error. Hence the need of the warning in ver. 11. Compare "The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet" (Isaiah 60:14; Isaiah 49:23). Know that I have loved thee. The "I" is emphatic: "I will cause them to recoginize that in this you received a blessing manifestly Divine." Revelation 3:9I will make (δίδωμι)

Rev., rightly, I give. See on Revelation 3:8. The sense is broken off there and resumed here.

Of the synagogue (ἐκ τῆς συναγωγῆς)

Certain ones of the synagogue. Most interpreters refer to the Jews. Others explain more generally, of the bowing down of the Church's enemies at her feet. Trench refers to a passage in the Epistle of Ignatius to this Philadelphian church, implying the actual presence in the midst of it of converts from Judaism, who preached the faith which they once persecuted.

Of Satan

See on Revelation 2:9.

I will make them to come (ποιήσω αὐτοὺς ἵνα ἥξωσιν)

Lit., I will make them that they shall come.

Worship before thy feet

Compare Isaiah 60:14; Isaiah 49:23.

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