ESV - 9 'I know your tribulation and your poverty ( but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
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The phrase cited in the question appears in the messages of Jesus in the book of Revelation to both the church at Smyrna in Revelation 2:9, and also to the church at Philadelphia in Revelation 3:9. The Jews in question are also referred to as "the synagogue of Satan". These Jews had not converted to Christianity, but were persecuting Christians at those locations, and were actively opposed to the churches' mission and message. This Jewish opposition, in turn, resulted in the Roman Empire ceasing to regard Christianity as a sect of Judaism (which the Roman Empire tolerated, and which was exempt from observance of the Roman state religion), and viewing it instead as a separate religion that Rome could persecute. The reference to those "who say they are Jews but are not" pertained to these Jews rejecting Jesus as the prophesied Messiah, which led to them foreiting their status in the eyes of the glorified Christ as "true" Jews, causing Christ to also refer to them in Revelation 3:9 as "liars". This distinction between ethnic Jews and faithful Jews was also reflected by Paul in passages such as Romans 2:28-29 and Romans 9:6.
When Jesus confronted the religious leaders in Jerusalem, he told them they were not children of Abraham but children of Satan. These Jews were not living by faith. Abraham was declared righteous by God because of what he believed. These Jews tried to earn the righteousness by works of the law. They put their faith in Moses, the Law and the Temple. They had no faith in God. This struggle between the Jewish religion and the Christian faith pervaded the entire early church. Every church created by one of the apostles contained a combination of Jews and gentiles who had converted to the Christian faith. In each church, the new Jewish believers often tried to convince the Gentile converts that they had to follow the Jewish law to be true Christians, that they had to be circumsised, avoid certain foods, etc. Paul ultimately had to get a decision from the church leaders in Jerusalem declaring that all believers are saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ so they did not have to follow Jewish religious practices. Paul had a lot to say to both Gentile and Jewish converts to the church in Rome. Both groups needed to break away from the false religious practices that were pulling them away from a close relationship with God. These Jews that Jesus is prophesying about are present in the churches of Asia Minor but were not living by faith in God. They were slipping back to reliance on their Jewish religious laws and practices for their right standing with God. As a result they were confusing the Gentile believers and leading some people astray.
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