Verse 9:"Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, those who call themselves Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will cause them to come and fall prostrate before your feet and to know that I have loved you."
This is the second reward. The Jews had rejected the Son of David, their Messiah, the hope of their fathers, and had completely lost their standing as Jews. Only those who are willing to receive the humble Jesus are the Jews. Otherwise, a man may call himself the descendant of Abraham after the flesh, yet in reality he is of the devil, the father of liars (John 8:44). God had already destroyed their temple and chased them out of their land because of their sin. Now they had no more priests and sacrifices, and what was left was but the worship in the synagogue. However, such a synagogue with its worship was not set up by Jehovah. It was of Satan, for it did not befriend Christ. Rather, it was opposed to Him. In the present age, God has shut the door in the face of the children of Israel. He no longer recognizes them as His people. They may boast that the door is still open to them, but actually this is only their "lie."
The fact that they did not recognize the Lord Jesus as the Son of David proves that those who are Jews in the flesh are not necessarily Jews. Abraham was the first man to receive Christ. Unless a man does what Abraham did, he cannot be counted as the descendant of Abraham. He is but the descendant of Saul, who would not submit to the God-anointed David. God did not recognize their meeting and considered them but the synagogue of Satan. In the other churches, these ones blasphemed and persecuted, but here, the believers were not in their hands. The Lord promised to make these false Jews to fall prostrate before the feet of His approved Christians and to confess that the Lord has loved them. Such a nation ought to have God’s highest promises. Yet it now lies prostrate beneath those higher than it was! Before, they were indeed higher than the Gentiles. The last, however, has become the first.
This promise will be fulfilled at the time of resurrection. At the present time, the love of God is only working in His children secretly, but when the sons of God appear, this love will be manifested. Concerning the Christ of that day, the Bible says, "In the name of Jesus every knee should bow" (Phil. 2:10). But part of the splendor of the King of kings will be reflected in His subject-servants. Although the Jews still mockingly deny the Lord Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of David, and consider those who follow Christ as those following an impostor, the Lord Jesus will soon reign in the kingdom with His faithful people and will rule over the whole world on the throne. At that time the Jews will come to recognize them as the highest and truest administrators on earth.
How wonderful this will be! The watchful saints will not taste death but will be raptured! Even those Jews who are now mocking the Christians will come to recognize the marvel of this fact! In the Old Testament the special grace for those saints whom God loved greatly was to be spared death and to be raptured. Yet, there were only two persons, Enoch and Elijah. What a marvel it will be to the Jews in the future when they see the disciples of the One whom they consider a mad and cursed impostor being taken into glory and being spared from tasting death! If the Jews recognize the high privilege of Enoch and Elijah now, how can they not confess the privilege of these saints then?
The story of Shimei in the Old Testament is a wonderful type of what we are speaking of here. At the time Absalom rebelled, David ran away. Shimei cursed him and rebuked him, throwing stones and dust at him. David did not become angry; he suffered this reviling. When the day of suffering was over, David returned to Jerusalem in great power and glory. Shimei then came before David’s feet and confessed his sin. "And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king, as he was come over Jordan; and said unto the king, Let not my lord impute iniquity unto me, neither do thou remember that which thy servant did perversely the day that my lord the king went out of Jerusalem, that the king should take it to his heart. For thy servant doth know that I have sinned: therefore, behold, I am come the first this day of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king" (2 Sam. 19:18-20). If the signs in Matthew 24:30 refer to the rapture of the believers, then the Jews who saw the signs, though refusing to recognize God’s grace to the Christians then, will surely recognize this fact at that time.
"And to know that I have loved you." It is strange that in such a book of severe righteousness, there appears the word "love"! In the midst of Christ’s judgment on the church, He unveils His love! What does a judge have to do with love? How can a judge speak of his own love? But this word is completely compatible with this letter, inasmuch as it is completely compatible with the other letters. In the original language both the "I" and the "you" are emphatic. The "I" is a special "I," and the "you" is a special "you." Here is a patch of green in the wilderness. These persons are being shut out of the kingdom which they consider theirs. They will see another group of priests and kings raised up by God, whom the nation of Israel has never seen before. The Lord’s promise here is not to all the genuine Christians but to those who are a special testimony. The "you," the special "you," the "you" who are the Philadelphians, the "you" who keep His word and exalt His name, are the ones whom He loves. This love is no ordinary love. At the time of judgment, the only thing that will please the Lord and the only thing that He will love will be a true Philadelphian nature. What a joy to consider that we will be those who cheer the Lord’s heart!
In addition to the literal meaning of this verse, there is a teaching here suitable for this age. These Jews were the Judaistic believers in the church. The principle of the synagogue of Satan is a return to Judaism; it is to put man back under the law and to recover the many holy ceremonies and offices compatible with the earthly religion, Judaism. Their religion was built upon ceremonies rather than upon Christ. They were controlled by human traditions and were under the organization of the denominations more than under God’s word. They brought in a counterfeit denomination to inherit a God-ordained religion. They were not the Jews, yet they called themselves the Jews. All their offices, uniforms, ceremonies, ordinances, and temple were according to the old Jewish tradition. They boasted in the flesh. On the one hand, they received authority from tradition. On the other hand, they executed this authority through some formalities. They replaced a simple and open work, a common priesthood, free grace, full salvation, and God’s word with ceremonies, offices, laws, and creeds. We can say that these Jews are the Roman Catholic Church. We can also say that they are the Protestant church. There is not much difference nominally. The important thing is the inward reality and the spirit.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 05: The Christian (3), Chapter 3, by Watchman Nee)