From The Heart

Publish date: 07/26/2004

"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. 19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. 20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 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. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. 24 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): 25 Only hold on to what you have until I come. 26 To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations- 27'He will rule them with an iron scepter;

he will dash them to pieces like pottery'- just as I have received authority from my Father. 28 I will also give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  Revelation 2:18-29 NIV

Thyatira was possibly the least important of the seven cities, located about forty miles southeast of Pergamum, halfway between it and Sardis. It was under the command of Rome from 190 B.C., and prospered under the Roman Emperor Vespasian. It was an industrial center, one of the main industries being that of dyeing and manufacturing woolen goods, and containing a number of corporate (trade) guilds: potters, tanners, weavers, robe-makers, and dyers. Paul's first European convert, Lydia the purple-seller of Philippi, came from Thyatira. The principal deity of the city was Apollo, worshipped as the Sun-god under the surname Tyrimnas, and a shrine outside the walls was dedicated to Sambatha, a sibyl. It was a center of activity by the Nicolaitans with their idolatry and licentiousness under a false “prophetess.”

The Lord Jesus Christ makes an honorable mention to the church of Thyatira of their love, their faith, their service and their patience (perseverance). They practiced the word of God by walking in the love of God. Walking in love requires obedience to the word and the Spirit of God, so they were genuinely committed to Him. Jesus commends them for their growing fruitfulness and says that their last works were better than their first. Some people start off hot and end up cold, but these Christians were doing more than ever before. All Christians should be this way - doing better and doing more for the Lord than they did previously – so that their last works may be their best works.

After the praise comes the rebuke. Jesus rebukes them for their tolerance of the woman “Jezebel.” The problem was that they tolerated - they allowed, and did not prevent - this evil spirit represented by the name “Jezebel.” The term Jezebel is used symbolically, referring to the notorious historic Jezebel. She was the daughter of Ethbaal, king of Sidon, formerly a priest of Astarte, and who had made his way to the throne by murdering his predecessor Pheles. Ahab's marriage with her was the first instance of a marriage with a pagan princess of a king of the northern kingdom of Israel and this alliance was a turning-point in the moral history of the kingdom. Jezebel stands out in Israel's history as the person who lead them the furtherest away from the God Who loved and protected them.

Until Jezebel, the ten tribes had yielded to idolatry in the worship of the calves, however, the true God was still worshipped and the Law of Moses was acknowledged. Jezebel changed all of that. She was a powerful woman and her husband, Ahab, was weak, allowing her to dominate him, his throne and his kingdom. She was ruthless in her ungodliness – she was completely sold out to the devil in her worship of Baal and Astarte or Ashtaroth (the Phoenician Venus). She had no conscience - her ambition was to kill all the priests of Jehovah and institute her priests and her beliefs as the official beliefs of Israel. She had no fear of God and she did not tolerate Israel's relationship with the Most High God either. A “Jezebel spirit” is a spirit that calls good evil and evil good. It does not allow good in others, but forces evil on them.

“Jezebel” of Thyatira calls herself a prophetess claiming that her teaching was an authentic message from God, but it was not - she is lying. This spirit is beguiling – seducing, misleading, deceiving, and leading the Thyatiran Christians astray – leading them away from the true path. She is immoral and impure - seducing Israel to depart from the truth, to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols - sins of the historical Jezebel. She refuses to repent or to abandon her evil ways and so the Lord will cast her on a bed of suffering, He will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways, and He will strike her children dead (those who yield to her and follow her) – not just a death of the body, but an eternal death.

The Lord wants us to be aware of evil people and evil doctrine. He wants us to HATE evil, not to tolerate it or allow it to co-exist with the truth. You cannot control or stop all the evil that is in the world, but you CAN and you MUST keep it out of YOUR LIFE, YOUR FAMILY and YOUR CHURCH. Hold onto the truth until you see Jesus face-to-face.