Revelation 2:19-23 ESV
“I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.”
Now the church in Thyatira was not in a singular building called “church.” This was in reference to the body of Christ, as a whole, in the entire city of Thyatira. So this “Jezebel” person could have been in just one location within that city. But the point here is that the church as a whole, who operated as one body, tolerated this woman or this person who was just like Jezebel. Or it could be that they tolerated the teaching and philosophy of the Jezebel of the Old Testament, which had infiltrated the church, as a whole.
Jezebel is a symbol of someone who is impudent, shameless, and morally unrestrained, who is lewd, sexually immoral and idolatrous, who seduces other people, in particularly Christians, to engage in sexual immorality and in idolatry. She is symbolic of someone who is conniving, manipulative, and persuasive, who is skilled at deceiving and persuading others to engage in deliberate and habitual sin and to become idolaters along with her. And this is a person who is proclaiming to be a minister of the gospel of Christ.
Now, this is not confined to females only. What this describes here are character traits of many people who serve in positions of pastor of churches and who are evangelists or famous book authors in the Christian community. And most of those are men, not women, although women are on the rise in these areas of ministry. And the thing of it is today is that these people are so deceptive and manipulative that what they are doing is not all that obvious to most people. And so many people are deceived by them.
The danger of these “Jezebels,” i.e. these false shepherds of the people, is that they are teaching a cheapened version of the true gospel of Christ and so they are leading many people to believe their sins are forgiven and that they are on their way to heaven while they continue in deliberate and habitual sin against the Lord. And sexual immorality is really high on the list of sins which are being tolerated in the church today. And so sin is permeating the church today while many pastors coddle people in their sins.
But because these charlatans (Jezebels) are so manipulative and deceptive it is hard to convince many people that what they are teaching are lies and not the truth. And some of these “Jezebels” are highly respected people in the Christian community and so their followers are blinded to who they really are and to the lies that they are telling the people. And many people will not even consider the idea that what they are teaching are lies and not the truth, even if you show them the Scriptures, many of them.
And so many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ are following these “Jezebels” (charlatans) religiously, and many church gatherings are indeed tolerating these “Jezebels” who call themselves pastors and teachers of the Scriptures and evangelists and authors of Christian literature. And they refuse to even consider that these people are liars and deceivers and that they are leading people into sin and not out of sin. So, I beg you, please test everyone and everything you hear against the Scriptures (in context).
And sometimes God does judge such situations in this life, though he may allow this to go on for a long while before he does judge, for he does allow people time to repent, since he is a merciful and forgiving God. But some people will stubbornly hold on to the lies, and they will hold on to their sinful practices, and they will not let go, and they will reject the truth in favor of the lies, and then sometimes God will pour out his judgments on them. I have seen it happen before. So please don’t take God’s grace lightly.
Revelation 2:24-29 ESV
“But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. Only hold fast what you have until I come. The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Now, this is refreshing! Not all people who profess faith in Jesus Christ are following after these “Jezebels,” i.e. these “wolves in sheep’s clothing” who are manipulative and conniving and deceptive. There is a remnant who are following the truth and who are walking in moral purity and in righteous living. They are not perfect people, but they are not walking in sin. Sin is not their practice. Righteousness and obedience to the Lord are what they practice, which they do so by God’s grace in his power and strength.
The encouragement here to us is to hold fast to what we have, which is the truth of the gospel, which is based in holiness and in righteousness and not in coddling sinners in their sin. We are to be those who follow Jesus Christ in obedience, who surrender our lives to him to do his will. And we are to be those who by the Spirit are daily putting sin to death by saying “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly and worldly passions (lusts) and by living self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the power of God (Titus 2:11-14).
And conquering means that we are those who overcome the powers of the enemy and his temptations to do evil, in the Spirit of God, by the things mentioned here in this previous paragraph. And we now walk no longer according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. And we obey our Lord and his teachings and the teachings of the apostles intended for the church. We take God and his word seriously, and we do not intentionally and habitually sin against our Lord, but we walk in righteousness and in truth.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
An Original Work / June 24, 2012
Based off John 10:1-18 NIV
My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.
So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.
Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…
They know my voice, so they follow me.