Is there a “Synagogue of Satan?”  The Bible makes clear that there is.  This knowledge is critical to our salvation.   Read on to get the astonishing facts about Satan and the devices that God allows him to use against us.   As you read through this article, you will notice a common thread:  Satan’s ministers are always in charge, and the “good seed” are always in subjection to them because the “good seed” are so few in number.

The Bible is written for those upon whom the end of the age is come.

I Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

Revelation 2:2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them  which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

“Apostles” is Strong’s #652, “from 649, a delegate; spec. an ambassador of the gospel; officially, a commissioner of Christ [‘apostle’](with miraculous powers): apostle, messenger, he that is sent.”

Doesn’t the fact that these people, who claimed to be apostles, were tried and found guilty of lying indicate that some serious judging had to take place?  How could you find them guilty if you didn’t judge?

Without doing some serious judging, how are we to determine whether or not we should even pray for someone?  I John 5:16 gives us clear instruction about not even praying for a particular situation: blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is not to be prayed for.  How do we determine, without doing in-depth judging, whether that be the case or not?

I John 5:16 If any man see his brother sin a sin [which is] not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.

Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

Judge is Strong’s #2919, krino, meaning “to distinguish, i.e., to decide (mentally or judicially); by impl. to try, condemn, punish:-avenge, conclude, condemn, damn, decree, determine, esteem, judge, go to sue at the law, ordain, call in question, sentence to, think.”

God reserves to Himself sentencing, avenging, and punishing, pointed out in Matthew 7:1, above.  Yet, we are commanded to judge righteous judgment:

John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

The following Bible information demands that we judge righteously.

The synagogue of Satan is mentioned twice in the messages to the churches in Revelation 2:9 and 3:9. “Synagogue” is Strong’s # 4864, “an assemblage of persons…” Is there a synagogue of Satan at the end time?

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.  10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

It certainly exists within the Philadelphian church. The members of it will be forced to worship at the feet of the saved before they are tried and executed. The time frame is clearly identified because verse 10 contains the promise of safety during the hour of temptation upon all the world. Can we recognize this synagogue of Satan without doing serious judging?

It existed in the Smyrna church:

Revelation 2:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last,  which was dead, and is alive;  9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and [I know] the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but [are] the synagogue of Satan.

Has this assembly of Satan existed throughout all of church history?  Notice what John was fighting right at the close of the time of the original apostles:

III John 1:9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.  10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth [them] out of the church.  11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.

I John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would [no doubt] have continued with us: but [they went out], that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

Paul was dealing with the synagogue of Satan in Galatia:

Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:  7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

Although Jesus Christ does not label it so, He describes this synagogue of Satan in Matthew 13 in the parable of the tares:

24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

The enemy sowed the weeds among the good seed.

Matthew 13:27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow

good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

God’s arch-enemy sowed the weeds, or tares. Look how Christ explains this in His own words.  Notice that these words are red-letter in many Bibles:

Matthew 13:37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;

38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked [one];   39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.

The numbers start to overwhelm us because the weeds or tares have to be more than fifty percent to uproot the wheat and three of the potential good seed which go bad. These verses apply in any age right up to the time of Christ’s return.

Notice one of the main methods that Satan uses against the children of God:

2 Corinthians 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

Paul is telling us not to marvel, for Satan himself appears as an angel, or MESSENGER OF LIGHT. Doesn’t a synagogue have teachers and leaders?  Paul says plainly that Satan has ministers, and they appear as ministers of righteousness.  They put on a good show, playing church.  Where do we look for ministers of righteousness?  We look in the so-called Churches of God.

What is righteousness?

Psalms 119:172 My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments [are] righteousness.

The late Anton LaVey was NOT transformed.  He was openly a minister of Satan, and proud of it.

In our situation today, we must use hind-sight and make righteous judgments about our church affiliations and experiences during the past years.  Every tree is known by its fruit:

Matthew 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

Matthew 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Luke 6:44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.

Consider the fruit of the past decade.  Haven’t we all been guilty of calling on the Lord, but refusing to obey what he has clearly said?

Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

Did we not hear and see a lot of this in the past decade?

Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, [it is] because [there is] no light in them.

In Worldwide Church of God (WCG) and its splinters, we tried those who said they were apostles or teachers and found them to be liars.  We must continue this practice of testing and trying those who claim to be ministers.

Revelation 2:2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

“Apostles” is Strong’s #652, meaning “used as a substitute, one sent, apostle, ambassador, messenger..” (Zodhiates, NT Wordstudy Dictionary).

Let’s apply Matthew 7:22 to some of the great “works” of WCG, beginning in the late 1940’s. I doubt that any work done by a Church of God since Christ’s day could compare to the work done by the late Worldwide Church of God. The sheer number of people affected by this effort, which was made possible by modern technologies, mass communication and travel, is unprecedented in recent history. (This statement could be challenged and proven wrong. I don’t claim to have accurate information regarding the amount of work done by each fold of God’s church.)

Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Who are these “many” who prophesied?  Prior to January 1972, there was big-time prophesying in the Worldwide Church about the return of Christ being imminent.  Do you remember the booklet by Herbert W. Armstrong called “1975 IN PROPHECY?”  I remember hearing a sermon in 1968 or 1969 by my local pastor who said, “The Bible says that no one knows the hour or day of Christ’s return, but says nothing about the month or year.”  He then proceeded to preach a sermon about  January 1972 being the beginning of the end. If you were in the church in the ‘70s, you know that we “ran the gunlap” for at least two years.

Who are those in verse Matthew 7:22 who cast out demons?   Was it the average member or the LEADERS of the late Worldwide Church?   Who did the great works: the seven million issues per month of the Plain Truth Magazine, weekly television and radio broadcasts on hundreds of stations, a dig in Jerusalem, a dig in Jordan, entertaining foreign dignitaries and royalty, concerts by famous musicians in the Ambassador College Auditorium?  The list goes on and on.    Wasn’t it the MINISTERIAL LEADERSHIP that did all these works?  (The laymembers had NO INPUT AT ALL. Our job was to “pray, pay and stay out of the way.”)   These people (many) in verse 22 are trying to persuade Christ to reward them because of all their mighty deeds.  But, what does He tell them? “I NEVER KNEW YOU.”

“Never” is Strong’s #3762, meaning “not even one, none, nobody, nothing…” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary).  Spiros Zodhiates explains that this is “a negative adjective denying absolutely…” (Wordstudy Dictionary NT).  This phrase applies most directly to the tares, for even the three good seed which go bad were known by Christ at some point in time.

Now we need to ask some very hard questions.  If Christ absolutely did not know the people in verse 23, where did the power come from to do the “great works?”   Who furnished it?   SATAN DID.   Here, in Matthew 7:22-23, we have a synagogue of Satan doing great works that Christ never knew and He denies completely.   Notice that it is the MANY who are arguing with Christ, not the “all.”   Does this indicate that a FEW will possibly be recognized and saved?

“Many” is Strong’s #4183, meaning “many, much of number, quantity, amount…” (Zodiates’ Word Study NT)

Did Christ place any of these ministers in office?  It would be absurd to think that Christ did this, if He says that He never knew them.   What would be the result if a “good-seed” were placed in a teaching position?  In the synagogue of Satan, a “good-seed” minister would be pushed right out.

Just how were ministers chosen for service at the beginning of the expansion of the Churches of God in the New Testament?

I Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

“Elders” is Strong’s #4245, meaning “(elderly); older; as a noun, senior…”   Notice the last part of the verse, “they who labour in the word and doctrine.” This defines ministers as we know them.  Elders are “elderly” or “seniors,” or “older.” By definition, a 22 year old, still wet behind the ears, “ministerial trainee” cannot be a minister of God.  Ambassador College was founded to be a “minister mill” by the late Herbert W. Armstrong in Pasadena, California, headquarters of the Worldwide Church of God, and turned out “ministerial trainees” with the authority to teach people who have been in the church longer than they have been alive?   The teachers are supposed to be “elders,” chosen by the congregation from among the brethren.   Is this the way it is in your local congregation?   Have you had any input into who your local minister is?

Titus 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:

“Ordain” is Strong’s #2525, meaning “appoint, be, conduct, make, ordain, set…”  Spiros Zodhiates says “with double acc., to make somebody something, to put in a situation or position…” (Lexical Aids to the New Testament)  NIV, NAS and Amplified Bibles translations all use the word, “appoint.”

“Elders” is Strong’s #4245. Review above definition.  Titus was told to appoint SENIORS to rule the churches in every city.    The teachers are to be selected from this group of SENIORS.   Notice again the last part of 1 Timothy 5:17: “especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.”

Look at another example.  Paul and Barnabas were preaching and doing their jobs.   Read Acts 14:23:

23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

“Ordained” is Strong’s #5500, meaning “to stretch, to be a hand reacher, or voter (by raising the hand), i.e., (gen.) to select or appoint- choose or ordain.”

“Elders” is the same Greek word, SENIORS.

When was the last time YOU voted on who your teacher was to be by raising your hand?   Did you help select the last deacon who was ordained in your congregation?  Or, did the local “ordained” minister, who is holding office illegally according to God’s methods of selection, do it without your input?

Have you read what Herbert W. Armstrong wrote on the subject of church government in the February 1939 Good News Magazine?  If not, it is available from Giving and Sharing,  Servant’s News, or several sources on the internet.

If you have read this article, then you know that HWA understood the proper form of church government; but by the early 50s, he had totally rejected what he preached in 1939 and instituted a hierarchical form of government for the church.  God’s word explains how to select elders and deacons and these scriptures are not suggestions, they are commands.  If these commands are not obeyed, there is no love for God.

I John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

II Thessalonians 2:10, below, says that those who have not received the LOVE OF THE TRUTH will perish.  Verse 11, and for this cause God declares that he will send them “strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.”  DOES GOD’S WORD STAND?   If it does, HWA was laboring under strong delusion, a lie, from the time he instituted that hierarchical form of government.

2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 2 Thessalonians 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 2 Thessalonians 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

What does Daniel have to say about the church of Satan?

Daniel 12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.  2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame [and] everlasting contempt.

3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.  4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

5 Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river.  6 And [one] said to the man clothed in linen, which [was] upon the waters of the river, How long [shall it be to] the end of these wonders?

7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, which [was] upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that [it shall be] for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these [things] shall be finished. 8 And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what [shall be] the end of these [things]?

9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words [are] closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

Verses 1-2 describe the tribulation and first resurrection.  Verse 3 describes rewards.  Verse 4 shows the sealing of the book until the time of the end when many will run to and fro and knowledge will be increased—certainly descriptive of the 1990s.

Verses 5-7 describe Daniel’s vision and God’s pronouncement to crush (scatter) the power of the holy people.  “Scatter” is Strong’s #5310, meaning “to DASH TO PIECES, OR SCATTER; BE BEATEN ASSUNDER, BREAK IN PIECES, BROKEN, DASH IN PIECES, CAUSE TO DISCHARGE, DISPERSE, BE OVERSPREAD, SCATTER.”

Although Daniel asked for understanding in verse 8, God’s reply to him in verse 9 shows that these words to Daniel are closed and sealed until the time of the end.  Verse 10 identifies the “good seed” and the synagogue of Satan. They are the same people identified in verse two who will be in the first resurrection.  Also in verse 10, God declares that the wicked will not understand these words anyway.

What does Jude have to say about the synagogue of Satan?

Jude 1:12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds [they are] without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;  13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

“Spots” is Strong’s 4694, “a ledge or reef of rock in the sea…”  That means that “THESE” are as dangerous to the “good seed” as an unknown underwater reef is to a sailing ship.

Just what ARE our “feasts of charity,” or love?

I John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

The seven annual Holy Days and the weekly sabbaths are our commanded days of feasting together in love.  But, WE HAVE THESE DANGEROUS HIDDEN REEFS IN OUR LOVE FEASTS.

These spots or hidden reefs FEED THEMSELVES without fear.  The word “feeding” identifies these people.  It is Strong’s #4165, “to tend as a shepherd (or fig. as a supervisor):-feed, (cattle, rule).”  Zodhiates’ Lexical Aids to the Word Study New Testament says that this word “implies the whole office of shepherd: guiding guarding, folding, and leading to nourishment…”  Zodhiates’ Word Study New Testament Dictionary says, “In a bad sense, with heauton (1438), himself, to feed or cherish oneself, to take care of oneself at the expense of others (Jude 1:12 [cf. Sept. :Ezek. 34:8])…”

Aren’t we talking about those who are supposed to feed the sheep at the end time?  Instead, they have lorded it over the sheep, abusing them, not being good stewards of God’s tithe money, and forcing an anti-God form of government (hierarchy) upon them.

The Bible is written for the end time generation.

I Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

Doesn’t the Bible say that a synagogue of Satan is in existence in the Philadelphian church, just prior to the tribulation?

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.  10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

We have seen the judging of these people described in Matthew 7:22-23: “I never knew you: depart from me.” Jude 12 declares their sentence: “twice dead, plucked up by the roots.” These are the same people described by Jude in verses 4, 10-12.

Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ…

10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. 11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. 12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;

Review your own experience and knowledge of recent church history.  Judge righteous judgment based on God’s Word, not human emotion.  What is the fruit that you have seen in the last 20, 30, or 40 years?  Haven’t we all, if we are honest about it, seen the oppression, the brutality, the gross attitude of lording it over the sheep, the disfellowshipping of anyone who would dare to voice any objection or confront the hierarchy, and the blatant rejection of any particle of truth pointed out by a lay member?   This same attitude continues right into the present day in the WCG splinters.

What does Isaiah say about the synagogue of Satan?

Isaiah 66:1 Thus saith the LORD, The heaven [is] my throne, and the earth [is] my footstool: where [is] the house that ye build unto me? and where [is] the place of my rest? 2 For all those [things] hath mine hand made, and all those [things] have been, saith the LORD: but to this [man] will I look, [even] to [him that is] poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

3 He that killeth an ox [is as if] he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, [as if] he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, [as if he offered] swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, [as if] he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. 4  I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose [that] in which I delighted not.

5 Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.

Verse 2 is describing the attitude of the “good seed.”   Verse 3 describes God’s opinion of the worship of those who are “playing church” and worshipping God in vain.  Verse 4 shows that God was trying to correct this wrong attitude, but these people refused to hear Him.   These are the same type of people described in Matthew 7:22-23 and the tares in Matthew 13:30.

Mat 7:22  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

Mat 7:23  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Mat 13:30  Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

In Isaiah 66:5 above, God allows the synagogue of Satan and its ministers to “lord it over” the good seed.   Notice that they are called “brethren” who are sitting together in the church of Satan.  Notice that the “good seed” are HATED by the members of Satan’s church, and that they are kicked out of that assembly.   This is Satan’s modus operandi.   Any time followers of his ministers become the majority of the group, the “good seed” are ejected.

Isaiah 66:1-5 is a clear description of the synagogue of Satan, their false worship, their power over the good seed, their hate for the good seed, and how God will deal with them: they will miss salvation.

What does Ezekiel have to say on this subject?

Ezekiel 34:1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,  2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe [be] to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?

3 Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: [but] ye feed not the flock. 4 The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up [that which was] broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.

5 And they were scattered, because [there is] no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek [after them].

7 Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; 8 [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because [there was] no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock;

9 Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; 10 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I [am] against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.

Verse 2 begins the indictment by God of the “shepherds of Israel,” meaning the church, (Galatians 6, especially verse 16).   These shepherds “feed themselves”, precisely the same description as in Jude 12.

Zodhiates says of verse 3, they “kill them that are fed.”  “Kill” is Strong’s #2076, meaning “to slaughter, kill, sacrifice (sometimes repeatedly)…”   This brings to mind the picture of a priest at the temple doing his job of daily sacrifices.

A few members of the flock have managed to obtain a bit of nourishment through their own daily Bible study and through fellowship with other “good seed.”  Because of this, they can recognize when these shepherds corrupt the Word of God.   When they confront these shepherds on a point of truth, it gets ugly.  The shepherds “kill” these sheep by kicking them out of the assembly.  “My way or the highway,” is the shepherd’s reaction.

Verse 4 shows that the weak “good seed” have not been helped.  They have been abused by being “ruled with force and cruelty.”  “Force” is Strong’s 2394, meaning “vehemence (usu. in a bad sense):-force, mightily, repair, sharply.” “Cruelty” is Strong’s #6531, meaning “to break apart, fracture, i.e., severity, cruelty, rigor.”  We who have been long-time WCG members don’t have to look far to find many examples of this.

Verse 5, notice that they were scattered because there were NO SHEPHERDS to teach.  Pay attention.  THE BIBLE DOES NOT SAY THERE WERE ONE OR TWO SHEPHERDS.  IT SAYS THAT THERE WERE NO SHEPHERDS TO TEACH THE FLOCK CORRECTLY.

6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, upon every high hill.  My flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth.

They wandered from splinter group to splinter group, from living room church to living room church.

Verse 7, “therefore ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord,” God thunders.  Remember, these are the same shepherds of Jude 12, which are “clouds without water, trees without fruit.”  They are not able to feed the flock because THEY ARE EMPTY.  THEY HAVE NOTHING TO GIVE—NO HOLY SPIRIT.

8 My flock became meat to every beast of the field, because THERE WAS NO SHEPHERD.”

Notice again, the Bible says “there was NO shepherd,”  it doesn’t say “one or two.”   If you think that there are one or two or twenty shepherds, then right here you are in defiance of God’s word.

Verse 9, God thunders another warning for these shepherds to hear.

Verse 10 expresses God’s warning to these shepherds.  He promises to “cause them to cease from feeding the flock.”   Unemployment is in their futures.   Maybe it IS time for them to put in applications at McDonald’s.   God promises, “neither shall they feed themselves any more.”   There will be no more personal gain off the flock, no more six digit salaries, no Jaguar cars in the driveway.

For those who want to argue that this passage is not showing an end-time setting,  just read on.

Ezekiel 34:11 For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, [even] I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.  12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep [that are] scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.

“The cloudy and dark day” is referring to the “day of the Lord.”

Verse 13 shows the gathering of the physical remnant of Israel AFTER the tribulation:

13 And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.

Verses 14-16 clearly show a millennial setting:

14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and [in] a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.

15 I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD. 16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up [that which was] broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.

This chapter clearly sets the time frame as being right at the transition point from today’s society into the tribulation and then on into the millennium. In verses 23-26, David is ruling in the millennium, therefore the first resurrection has occurred:

23 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, [even] my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. 24 And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken [it].

25 And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.

26 And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.

What are God’s instructions to the good seed?  II Corinthians 6:14-18 give us the answer:

14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Notice verse 14.  The good seed cannot be unequally yoked with unbelievers.  Can the good seed sit in this synagogue of Satan and listen to half-truths, watered down, perverted, twisted scriptures, and even total rejection of certain scriptures?  Can there be fellowship between righteousness and unrighteousness?  Do light and darkness mix?  Isn’t this a compromise?  Rather like being a “little bit pregnant,”  it has to be all or nothing.

READ VERSE 15 AGAIN.  Are Christ and Satan in agreement?  “Concord” is Strong’s #4857, meaning “accordance; – concord.”

In verse 16, “walk” is Strong’s #1704. Zodhiates’  Word Study Dictionary  New Testament says, “used metaphorically, meaning to walk or live among a people, be habitually conversant with (2 Cor. 6:16…)”   There is no agreement between God and idols.   We humans are God’s temple, and God will dwell in us if we are righteous.   He will not dwell in a temple that has idols, some human or thing between us and God.  The relationship has to be one-on-one, each person with God.   The only way that God will walk in a group or individual is for that group or person to be clean of idols.

In verse 17, “touch” is Strong’s #680.   Zodhiates’ NT Dictionary says, “In 2 Cor. 6:17, ‘touch no unclean thing’ (a.t.), means to have no dealings with the heathen (cf. Is. 52:11)…”   The instruction from God to the good seed is: disassociate with people who will not believe God’s Word.   It is very clear in verses 14-16 that there can be no fellowship with unbelievers.   In Revelation 2:2, we are to TRY our teachers and see if they be of God—to compare what they say to the Written Word and see if the two are compatible.  Remember, in Revelation 3:9, the synagogue is in existence alongside  the Philadelphian Church at the end time.  This puts even more pressure on us to judge correctly and remove ourselves from this synagogue of Satan.

Rev 2:2  I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

Rev 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.

The instructions are clear to the “good seed.”    They will recognize and come out of the synagogue of Satan.   They will hold their teachers up to the piercing word of God and see if they agree, or if their teachers come up lacking.  The “good seed” will work out their own salvation with fear and trembling in a one-on-one situation with God.

Extricating ourselves from the synagogue of Satan creates a quandary.  Here are some questions that I have had to wrestle with:

  • Ezekiel 34:5 and 8 say that there are NO SHEPHERDS shepherding the flock.Verses 2-10 are a searing, scathing indictment against the NON-SHEPHERDS.   So, what will God think of me if I go to a “NO SHEPHERD” feast?
  • Will He think highly of me if I send HIS tithes to a NO SHEPHERD organization?
  • Is God capable of feeding His sheep?OR, should they get all or part of their nourishment from a NO SHEPHERD?

Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

The “good seed” will be a part of the Bride of Christ who makes herself ready.  Part of the process of getting ready is recognizing the synagogue of Satan and then extricating yourself from it.

Revelation 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

Published January 9, 1998

© Edgar Y. Bennett
PO Box 509
Black Hawk, CO 80422 USA