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  Revelation Chapter 2 (Part 23) (verses 18 - 25)

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PostSubject: Revelation Chapter 2 (Part 23) (verses 18 - 25)   Sun Dec 28, 2014 12:11 am

Revelation Chapter 2 (Part 23) (verses 18 - 25)

We are now tackling in our study the church in Thyatira. In John’s day, this was a busy trade city. It was a vulnerable city, located in a valley with no fortifications. Much of what Jesus says about this church is the opposite of what he said to the church of Ephesus. This church will be noted by Jesus as having love and service, but not doctrine. Prophetically, this church represents the Middle Ages, which is also called the Dark Ages, which is from 500 AD to 1500 AD. This period precedes the Protestant Reformation period, which is what the next church prophetically represents. The Dark Ages is a period of corruption. During this time, came the doctrine of the universal church. The word “Catholic” means “universal.” It was during this period that the Roman Catholic church began the worship of Mary (a woman deity). This period was guilty of having idols and spiritual immorality in the church. The prophetic clause that points this church to the Middle Ages is within verse 20, “that woman Jezebel.” But let’s start at the beginning…

Verse 18 reads, “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.” We said a while back that Revelation chapter 1 was an outline to the rest of the book. Much of the descriptions of Jesus in chapter 1 are restated within the passages concerning the 7 churches in chapters 2 and 3. The description we have here of Jesus, “eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze” was stated in Revelation 1:14-15. This is all an image of judgment. Jesus will be different the next time he comes to Earth, much unlike the first time when he came humbled and rode on a donkey. The first time he came to serve. The second time, he will come to judge. But this Jesus who will come ready to judge, begins his assessment of the church of Thyatira with a commendation. Verse 19 reads, “I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.” He said “I know your deeds.” “Deeds” here is the Greek word that means “labor.” He is saying “I know how hard and diligent you are working. He says “you have love and you are loyal (faithful).” They had a ministry of “service”. We get the word “deacon” from the Greek word used here for “service.” They had a ministry of helping others. They were a “persevering” church. Jesus said, “you are now doing more than you did at first.” They were a progressing, and maturing church.

We mentioned that this church is the opposite of the church of Ephesus. Jesus said to the church of Ephesus, “You have forsaken your first love.” Jesus says of the church of Thyatira, “I know…your love.” Of Ephesus he says, “Remember the height of which you have fallen…do the things you did at first.” Of Thyatira, “you are now doing more than you did at first.” The church of Ephesus was the church without love, but with doctrine. The church of Thyatira is the church with love, but no doctrine.

We see the lack of doctrine of the Thyatira church in the next verse. Revelation 2:20 reads, “Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she leads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.” Jesus says that Jezebel’s doctrine not only infiltrated this church, but that His people have tolerated and allowed this infiltration. “That woman Jezebel” is the climatic prophetic clause which, as stated previously, represents the Middle Ages (AKA Dark Ages) from 500 AD to 1500 AD. The church during this time allowed sexual immorality to infiltrate the church. It was within this time that the worship of Mary began. Jezebel foreshadows the worship of Mary. From the tolerance of false doctrine a new deity emerges.

Jezebel exemplifies evil in the bible. She was the wife of Ahab, the king of Israel. Ahab was a worldly, wicked king. Jezebel, much more evil than her husband, had pagan priests and persecuted God’s prophets. Ahab allowed his wife to take rein. The bible says Jezebel supported 850 false prophets and sought to kill all of Yahweh’s prophets. 2 Kings 9:22 says that she was into idolatry and witchcraft. She followed the gods of Baal and Asherah (a mother goddess). Asherah is a goddess of motherhood and fertility. Her father, Ethbaal, was a priest of Astarte. Astarte (AKA Asteroh) was a Phoenician equivalent of the Greek goddess Aphrodite. Aphrodite’s Roman equivalent is Venus. Under this Asteroh religion, sexual immorality was a part of worship. The priestess, in this religion was a prostitute. Jezebel had Ahab build a temple to Astarte in Samaria. She symbolizes subtle corruption, immorality and idolatry. These all depict the church of the Middle Ages and the time Mary became elevated to divine status. The church during this time had much tolerance toward pagan practices.

Jesus says in Revelation 2:21, “I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. [Verse 22] So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways.” God always allows sufficient time for both sinners and Christians to repent. But he has a limit when it is clear that we will not repent. “Adultery” in verse 22 means spiritual adultery. When we seek after God plus other gods we have committed spiritual adultery. Verse 23, Jesus says, “I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches the hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you, according to your deeds.” Jesus will seek out all of Jezebel’s kids: that is, everyone who within the Church, partakes in what she represents. This is a warning to the occult within the church. In verse 24 Jesus addresses those who did not join the occult: “Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you): Only hold on to what you have until I come.” Satan’s so-called deep secrets are the secrets of the world. It is the worldly wisdom that justifies sin and wickedness. Note that Jesus does not impose all of the legalistic rules that the Catholic Church comes up with. Jesus said, “I will not impose any other burden on you.” These words are much like Acts 15:28-29 which reads, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.”
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Revelation Chapter 2 (Part 23) (verses 18 - 25)
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