The Church Facing The Coming Judge
In these verses we will see that Jesus, as the holy and righteous Judge will not tolerate wickedness, corruption in His Church, but that He exposes and judges it, and sets apart those within the body who are not partakers of the vileness. Jesus introduces Himself to the church of Thyatira as a judge. He is one who exposes unrighteousness in the forms of heresy, idolatry, and all abominable acts.This church was a corrupt church. Toleration of “Jezebel” is their chief sin. Refusing to confront and judge her themselves Jesus would come and do so Himself. False teachings still corrupt the church today. There is very little teaching of holiness or righteousness, but much about self-awareness and self-acceptance. There are also teachings of “Anti-nomianism” disguised as freedom in Christ, the priesthood of the believer, and the liberty of the Spirit. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” from the bondage of sin. We are not at liberty to sin, but at liberty to serve and follow Jesus Christ.
There may have been some who tolerated “Jezebel” in order to practice “Church Growth”. There is a “Jezebel spirit” in that area especially. BEWARE!!!
I. JESUS APPEARS TO THE CHURCH WITH SEARCHING, DISCERNING, DEVOURING EYES; AND FEET OF JUDGMENT (v. 18; 1:14, 15).
* For some reason the church seems to need to be reminded of the deity of Jesus, by the phrase, “These things saith the Son of God…”
1. The people of the church for reasons yet to be mentioned have to be reminded of the deity of Jesus Christ, therefore, in this letter alone does He identify Himself as the Son of God.
2. What tragedy when the Church loses sight of His divinity.
* Feet of judgment, marching into what is His Church to deliver and cleanse His possession.
II. THE CHURCH HAD GOOD WORKS AND A WONDERFUL LOVE FOR JESUS (v. 19).
* The church of Thyatira had the love, but tolerated false teaching and evil.
1. Their first and last works were good.
a. They had God’s love;
b. They were faithful in serving;
c. They have a recognized faith;
d. They have a supported patience;
e. They have such works that they are mentioned twice.
2. This church sounds much like many churches of the 21st century. “You can love the Lord, and other gods and things; we will love you, no matter what; and there will never be any judgment against you. Let’s love and tolerate one another.”
Sin and false teaching must be dealt with.
III. THE PRESENCE OF JEZEBEL, HER TEACHING, DECEIVING, LEADERSHIP IS THEIR CONDEMNATION (v.20)
* The condemnation against Thyatira is because of tolerance of evil, deceptive teaching led by a strong, domineering woman who is “Jezebel” in character.
1. She was the wife and queen of Ahab king of Israel, and she had led the nation into the dispicable and evil practice of Baal worship. (See 1 Kings 16 and following)
2. Many of the prophets of God hid from her, because of threats to destroy the worshippers of Jehovah.
3. Jezebel, and all who would follow her will die. (See 2 Kings 9:22, 30-34)
4. Just as queen Jezebel died in judgment, so too, will those who have the Jezebel spirit, except they repent.
* This woman may have had a large following because of her strong leadership abilities and her loose morals.
1. She probably was seen by some as a peacemaker, a worker for unity, especially between Christians and the government, and employers who did not want Christians who stood up for their Savior.
2. She was corrupting the Church.
* Do we maintain unity with others by corrupting the Church, giving in to false teachers and their teachings?
IV. JEZEBEL IS GIVEN SPACE TO REPENT, BUT SHE REFUSES; AND THUS IS JUDGED BY JESUS (vv. 21-23).
* Jezebel refuses to repent.
* All who yielded to her teachings and practices would be cast into judgment with her.
1. The bed that had been a bed of pleasure, and peace would become a bed of pestilence.
2. “Kill her children with death” is showing pestilence – disease, plague, drought – it would end in death.
* By this judgment all the churches will know that Jesus knows the heart, mind, and motives of His people – and of the wicked as well.
1. When these have sown seeds of corruption what is the harvest, except corruption – destruction.
V. ASSURANCE AND ADMONITION GIVEN TO THOSE WHO HOLD FAST, OVERCOME, AND KEEP HIS WORKS (vv. 24-29).
* To those who are pure – have kept themselves from this doctrine of “Jezebel” Jesus’s promise is to put no other burden upon them (vv. 24 – 25).
* Jesus says to those who are faithful, “Hold on to that which you have.” Keep the faith. Be patient, “Until I come”. This is a promise of deliverance to the faithful.
* The promise precedes the call to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
* The overcomer operates by faith and keeps His works unto the end.
1. He has no other life.
2. He knows no other position, than the one he has in Jesus Christ.
* Notice the mention of the Millenial reign of Jesus. Though not in name, but idea, as “… rule them with a rod of iron…” which is a messianic phrase from Psalm 2, and other prophetic places.
1. Yes, I believe the millenial reign of Christ to be literal.
2. There are hundreds of Old Testament passages having to do with a Kingdom of Christ on earth where the lamb will lie down with the lion and wolf, and children play over the dens of serpents. Read Isaiah 2, 4, 9, 11, 24 – 27, 28:14-29, 32 for just a few.
3. Those who are overcomers by “keeping My works” will be given power over nations, rule in righteousness, receive the “Morning star” which will be Christ in His fulness and could be understanding of the times concerning His return.
* This call to “hear what the Spirit says…” is at the very end of this letter, following the promise, and the following three as well
1. Perhaps to let all know, who are reading and hearing these words, and find themselves in a similar predicament.
2. Jesus will be the judge of all sin and sinners who do not repent of their sin.
3. Woe be to the one who does not hear and heed the message to the church of Thyatira.
-Tim A. Blankenship
For further reading of this Letter of Jesus to Thyatira you may read The Judge of Corruption.