In Rev 2:9 (cp. 3:9) we read Jesus saying to Pergamum: “‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.” Evangelical commentator Ramsey Michaels argues that the false Jews of “the synagogue of Satan” are actually non-Jews, just like the “false apostles” in the letter to the church at Ephesus were not actual apostles. In fact, this is the majority view among Rev commentators.
Against this position I would urge the following
First, why would anyone in the first-century Roman empire other than a racial Jew claim to be a Jew? Continue reading