Bible Readings: Revelation 3 and 4

Today, read Revelation chapters 3 and 4

{3:9} Behold, I will take from the synagogue of Satan those who declare themselves to be Jews and are not, for they are lying.

Understand, that when the Church was very young, most Christians were former Jews, and there were few church buildings. The earliest Christians did not call themselves Christian, and they continued to worship in the synagogues and to consider themselves to be Jews.

So when the Book of Revelation speaks of a “synagogue of Satan” and those who claim “to be Jews and are not”, the meaning is that some groups of Christians, including some groups of Catholics, are not a church of Christ, are not true disciples of Christ, but are a church of evil, a synagogue (so to speak) of Satan. They claim to be faithful to the Roman Catholic Magisterium, but they are not; they are lying.

Another meaning applies to the second part of the tribulation (in the 25th century). The Antichrist and the false prophetess will establish a formal religion for the worship of the Antichrist. This false religion will draw elements from Judaism, Islam, and Christianity — and it will pervert those elements in the service of evil. So the “synagogue of Satan” is the false religion of the Antichrist.

{4:7} And the first living creature resembled a lion, and the second living creature resembled a calf, and the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature resembled a flying eagle.

The lion is the Gospel of Matthew, because Matthew wrote in Judea, for the Christians of Judea who converted from Judaism, which is represented by a lion, and the lion from the tribe of Judah is Christ, who led them from Judaism to Christianity. The calf is the Gospel of Mark, because Mark wrote in Rome, for the Christians who were Romans; they are represented by a calf because as Romans they used to worship false gods (analogous to the molten calf in Exodus), but now they sacrifice to God according to true worship. The living creature with a face like a man is Gospel of Luke, because Luke was a Gentile convert and who wrote in a Gentile nation for the Gentile converts (such as Theophilus); they are represented by the face of a man because Christ called them from being mere men apart from God to the fullness of humanity revealed only by Christ. The eagle is Gospel of John, because John’s Gospel soared above the earth with its profound and heavenly insights into the Gospel, which are beyond the reach of mere human reason and ability.

For a more detailed commentary on Revelation, see my booklet:
Eschatological Commentary on the Apocalypse of John

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

Please take a look at this list of my books and booklets, and see if any topic interests you.

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