Revelation Explained

This site contains my personal views on Revelation. I will be teaching through the book verse by verse. My teachings will be from a conservative evangelical background.

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Location: Brampton, Ontario, Canada

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Christ's Comments About the Church at Thyatira

"I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come." (Revelation 2:19-25 - King James Version)

Jesus begins His comments with praise. This church had much to commend it. The members of the church showed a sacrificial love for God and one another. They had great faith and trust in God. They were active in serving others. They were patient even in difficult times. They were doing more for the Lord now than they had ever done. This was a busy, loving, growing church.
It would be good if Jesus could say about us what He said in this verse about the church at Thyatira.

However, this church was not perfect. They had a bad problem. To understand this criticism, we need to remind ourselves of whom Jezebel was and what she was like.

Jezebel was the wicked wife of weak king Ahab. She promoted the worship of the Canaanite god, Baal. She sought to destroy all the prophets of the Lord God. She manipulated her husband, Ahab. She led the people of Israel away from God. In the end, God judged her and she died a horrible death.

Within the church at Thyatira was a lady who was a New Testament Jezebel. Possibly in an effort to avoid persecution, this lady promoted the compromising of Christian principles. She, like many today, sought to water down those areas of Christian teaching that are distinctive and make it the same as other religions of her day.

The Roman gods were not unlike Baal, whom the original Jezebel worshiped. Their worship involved all sorts of immoral sexual practices. To compromise with the Roman temples would lead not only to idolatry but also to immorality.

To compromise with non-Christian religions and cults today would remove the Gospel from our preaching and leave people helpless and hopeless. We cannot seek common ground with those who deny that Jesus is God and that salvation is through Him alone as a free gift. Anyone who suggests that we do is a modern day Jezebel. Such a person will be judged by God.

God had already warned this lady about her teaching, yet she refused to listen. God is slow to bring punishment against the wicked. He seeks first to warn. He wants those who are doing wrong to turn to Him and avoid His judgment. He desires that people repent and ask for His forgiveness. God is merciful, loving and kind.

Verse twenty-two shows what happens when God's mercy runs out and His judgment does fall. This seems to be the final warning for the one promoting compromise and also those who accepted her teaching. Jesus will turn her bed of spiritual fornication and immorality into a bed of sickness, disease and death.

God has often used sickness as a means of punishment. Paul warned the church at Corinth that God was judging them for abusing the Lord's Supper. He wrote in First Corinthians chapter eleven verse thirty, “That is why many in your group are sick and weak. And many have died.” (International Children's Bible)

God's patience should not be mistaken for weakness or inability. God warns; God waits; God punishes. We all need to quickly confess our sins, so that God will forgive us and not punish us.

Verse twenty-three suggests the extent of the coming punishment. Those who have followed this false prophetess into forsaking the truth will lose their lives if they do not repent. The judgment of Christ will reveal His knowledge of those who are guilty in thought and action. He will measure out a fitting punishment to each one.

This warning may sound harsh to us. However, the Bible warns that disobedience to God results in death. Romans six verse twenty-three tells us, “When someone sins, he earns what sin pays – death. But God gives us a free gift – life forever in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (International Children's Bible) Since everyone is a sinner, everyone deserves what sin pays – death.

However, God offers everyone something better – eternal life: that is, eternal fellowship with Him as opposed to eternal separation from Him. This is a gift. It does not cost us anything. It cannot be earned and it is not deserved. It can only be accepted.

Jesus died to pay for our sin. He rose from the dead to prove that He was God and that all He claimed was true. A person who trusts Jesus to get them to heaven has accepted God's gift of eternal joy.

Jesus continues His letter to this church with words of encouragement for those who have not followed this Jezebel. It seems that this faithful group was a small minority within this church. Their struggle against compromise was difficult and uphill.

Jesus urges them to continue to combat false teaching. Jesus will give no other task to them, nothing else to weigh them down. They are simply to faithfully continue in their struggle for the truth.


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