unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of
God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine
brass; 19 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. 20
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. 21
And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 22
Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into
great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. 23 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. 24 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. 25 But that which ye
have already hold fast till I come. 26 And he that overcometh, and
keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27
And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they
be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. 28 And I will give
him the morning star. 29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the
Spirit saith unto the churches."
Each of the seven churches
seem to have a situation that is peculiar to that particular church. While they
all shared a lot of things in common, yet each was a little different in their
situation. This is true for the Lord's churches today. We all share the same
doctrine and practice that is given to us of the Lord. We have the same church
government. Yet the influences around us are generally a little different than
many of our sister churches are faced with. The church at Ephesus had left her
first love; the church at Smyrna was in the midst of great persecution and
suffering; the church at Pergamos was situated in the midst of great evil; and
the church at Thyatira was plagued with outside influences. This is a problem
that many of the churches of our day and age are faced with. Today there is the
time of mass and rapid communication. Television, radio, and the print media
have never been so technologically rapid about bringing each of us information
and often the information is false or harmful.
"These things saith the
Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like
fine brass." The Lord speaks to this church on the basis of his deity (Son
of God) and as the Judge of sin (who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire)
and on the basis of his redemption of sin by suffering in our stead (his feet
are like fine brass). As the judge of all the earth God judges all sin, yet as
the redeemer of the elect he has judged our sins at the cross and put them away
as far as the east is from the west. The Lord not only judges sin from an
eternal aspect, he also judges sin in a temporal manner as well. As the
scriptures say, "Whom he loveth, he chasteneth."
"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." The Lord
commended this church for some really good things that they were doing. First
they had works, and the Lord tells us in Eph. 2:10, "For we are his
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before
prepared that we should walk in them." The Lord also said, "Herein is my
Father glorified, that you bring forth much fruit." Also, "Let your
light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your
Father which is in heaven.”
Next, he commended them for
their charity. 1 Cor. Chapter 13 is all about charity. The scriptures say,
"God is love." The first and second greatest commandments tell us about how we
are to love God and to love our neighbor. John said, "We know that we have
passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren." The Lord said,
"A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another as I have loved
you." Also, in 1st John we read, "Whosoever loveth is born of
Further, he commended them
for their service. Every one of God's elect has a service to perform. The Lord
has given each of us talents that we should use them to his name's honor and
glory. Gal. 5:13 "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use
not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another."
In addition there are several verses of scripture which speak to us about
He also commended them for
their faith. We are to walk by faith and not by sight. Our faith should be
evident to those about us: Rom. 1:8 "First, I thank my God through Jesus
Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world."
We are to take the shield of faith, that we might be able to quench all the
fiery darts of the wicked. Faith leads to good works: 1 Th. 1:3 "Remembering
without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in
our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father." Our faith is to
grow: 2 Th. 1:3 "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is
meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one
of you all toward each other aboundeth."
In addition, the Lord
commended them for their patience. Waiting upon the Lord is something that we
all need to learn to do. The Lord told the disciples just before his ascension
into heaven, to tarry at Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high.
Too often we try to solve our problems or difficulties, before we consult the
Lord or wait for his answer. This always leads to trouble. The scriptures
speak to us about those who bring forth fruit with patience: Lk.8: 15 "But
that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having
heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience." We are
living in an age of people wanting instant gratification. We want things and we
want them now. This never works in the service of the Lord. We must wait upon
him and recognize that he works according to his will in the army of heaven and
among the inhabitants of the world.
The Lord commended the
church the second time for their works and that the latter to be more than the
former. Thus the church had increased in good works. Spiritual growth is
something needful for us as individuals and as church bodies. We are not to be
stagnant in the service of God. We are to increase more and more in good works
in his service. This, of course, abounds to the honor and glory of God.
"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."
Jezebel in the Old Testament was the wife of a wicked king of
Israel named Ahab and the daughter of Ethbaal, the King of the Zidonians. The
children of Israel were not supposed to
marry the Zidonians. Thus Jezebel was an illegitimate Queen. She was also a
very wicked person and was responsible for promoting the worship of Baal to the
vast majority of the children of Israel. The Jezebel in the book of Revelations
called herself a prophetess. She was illegitimate and not really a prophetess.
The scripture does not say that she was ever a part of the church at Thyatira,
but that her teachings were affecting some in the church at Thyatira. Her
teachings and practices were seducing the servants of the church at Thyatira to
commit spiritual fornication and to fellowship idolatry (to eat things
sacrificed to idols). I personally have seen members of churches that I have
tried to serve promote ideas such as faith healing, tithing, charismatic gifts,
gospel regeneration, youth camps, and Sunday schools within the churches that I
have tried to serve. These ideas didn't originate in the Lord's church but come
into the church by outside influences. There are Jezebels outside the church
whose teachings and practices can influence the members of the church. The
gospel ministers of the Lord are to be watchmen on the wall and to give warning
against such practices coming into the church. Furthermore, they are to warn
the church members about listening to false teachers and preachers. They are to
be aware of the influences being brought before the members of the church and to
be ready to point out error and preach the truth. When God's people in his
church begin to interact with the doctrines and practices of the Jezebels they
are committing spiritual fornication and fellowshipping idolatry. Any worship
that is not in spirit and in truth is simply the worship of idols.
"And I gave her space to
repent of her fornication; and she repented not."
Apparently this Jezebel didn't start out as a fornicator and idolater, but had
gone off into such. The Lord gave her space to repent and she repented not.
The Lord is longsuffering and even to those who have gone off into error. He
warns them and gives them opportunity to repent. If, however, they don't repent
then there are consequences to follow. Jezebel of the Old Testament continued
on in her promoting the worship and service of Baal, even though she was aware
of what God had done through Elijah who had withstood the prophets of Baal and
the grove. God had answered by fire upon Elijah's sacrifice and the prophets of
Baal and the grove, being 850, had been destroyed. Yet Jezebel continued to
serve and promote the worship of Baal and also threatened to destroy the Lord's
prophet Elijah. Ultimately she was destroyed because of this.
"Behold, I will cast her
into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation,
except they repent of their deeds."
This is a grave warning not only to the teacher of false doctrine and practice,
but to the followers as well. There is a price to be paid for rebellion against
the Lord. The tribulation is great regardless of the form that it may take.
Tribulation can take many forms. It can simply be the consequences of the sin
that one partakes of. Today, for instance, the disease of AIDS is chiefly the
consequence of ignoring the laws of God that he has given to us concerning
fornication and adultery. If all people would practice monogamy in their sexual
relations, AIDS would disappear in a few years. Similarly, spiritual
fornication can and often leads to bondage and fear and mental torment in the
lives of those who practice it.
"And I will kill her
children with death." Her children
are the ones in the church who had followed her pernicious teachings. Failure
to repent would result in them being killed with death. There are at least five
deaths taught in the scriptures: corporeal death, the second death, death in
trespasses and sins, dead to sin, and death to fellowship. The death in this
context is the death to fellowship. We read the following in 2 Cor. 6:14 "Be
ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath
righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that
believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the
temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple
of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and
I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be
ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive
you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and
daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." There can be no mixing of true worship
with false worship. There can be no mixing of Christ with Belial. There can be
no agreement between the temple of God and idols. If we strive to
mix fellowship between the two then we will become dead to the true worship and
service of God and to the true fellowship of God and those who worship and serve
him in Spirit and in truth.
"And all the churches shall
know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts." The reins are the
controls and the hearts are the seat of affections. If our controls are not by
a "thus saith the Lord," according to God's word, and if our affections are not
on things above, but rather on temporal desires, then God will search us out and
give us space to repent and if we fail to repent He will kill us to the true
fellowship and worship of God. We may be able to fool others, but God searches
both our reins and our hearts. Furthermore, this is an admonishment to the
churches to take the scriptural steps to keep worldly influences out of the
church, especially influences that lead to false worship and practices.
Further, if such does find its way into the church, then the church must apply
appropriate discipline to the offending members.
"And I will give unto
every one of you according to your works."
Gal. 6:7 "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth,
that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the
flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap
life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due
season we shall reap, if we faint not." Thus God rewards us according to
our works. If our works are after the flesh we are rewarded with corruption.
If our works are after the Spirit, then we reap the blessings of the fruit of
that everlasting life that he has given us. This principle is also taught in
Rom. 2:5 "But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto
thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment
of God; 6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7
To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and
immortality, eternal life: 8 But unto them that are contentious, and do
not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9
Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew
first, and also of the Gentile; 10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every
man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile." While
our inheritance in the glory world is by grace, the Lord rewards our service
here in time.
"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." It is amazing to me how that the Lord is able to single out the
offending parties and punishes only them. I am sure that each of us can
remember circumstances when someone in a group would commit a wrong and the
whole group would be punished. In this church the Lord had singled out the
Jezebel disciples and gave warning unto them to either repent or suffer the
consequences. The rest of the church was not so admonished. God had directed
his judgment to the offending parties only.
"But that which ye have
already hold fast till I come." Obviously the Lord was not telling the members
of this church to hold fast till he come in the resurrection. Rather he was
telling them to hold fast till he come to reward them for their faithful
service. This church had several good things: they had good works; they had
charity; they had faith; they had patience; and they were growing in good
works. Hold fast is defined as have, hold (fast), keep (in memory), let, make
toward, possess, retain, seize on, stay, and take. Thus the church was to keep
in memory the things which the Lord had blessed them with. They were to possess
it and retain it. They were to seize on it and stay with it as set forth in the
1. 1 Thes. 5:21
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."
2. 2 Tim. 1:13
"Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and
love which is in Christ Jesus."
3. Heb. 4:14
"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens,
Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession."
4. Heb. 10:23
"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is
faithful that promised;)"
5. Heb. 2:1
"Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have
heard, lest at any time we should let them slip."
6. 2 Pet. 1:12
"Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these
things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. 13
Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by
putting you in remembrance; 14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this
my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me. 15 Moreover
I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things
always in remembrance."
7. 2 Thes. 2:15
"Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been
taught, whether by word, or our epistle."
there are things that we need to hold fast to and not let them go. Therefore,
we must continually be reminded or remind ourselves thru study of his word and
diligently following its precepts so as not to lose those things.
"And he that overcometh,
and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
27 And he shall rule them with a
rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as
I received of my Father." As with the letters to all the churches there is
a promise from God of blessing for overcoming. Some have taken the statement
here of ruling the nations with a rod of iron as meaning this must apply only to
the Lord and therefore it is the Lord only that overcomes. However, this is not
true for we read the statement, "even as I received of my Father," and thus the
comparison is to the Lord himself having received of the Father to rule the
nations with a rod of iron. Thus as the Lord himself received of the Father
that he would rule the nations with a rod of iron, it is also given to those who
overcome to rule the nations with a rod of iron. Everyone has a sphere of
influence, a world in which he lives. The Lord is over all things and he rules
over all things. Our world or sphere of influence is generally limited to our
friends, coworkers, family, and church members. These make up our world. The
word, rule, comes from the Greek word, "poimaino," meaning to lead or tend as a
shepherd. As disciples, when we overcome and do as the Lord has instructed us,
then we become an example unto others in our world to follow. Paul said, "Be
ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." We are to follow others
as they follow Christ. As parents often our children follow our example. As an
employee, our coworkers notice the example and lifestyle of those around them
and when they see someone living a godly life, they take note and sometimes
desire to emulate that walk. Church members, especially, notice the godly
lifestyles of those who live uprightly. Thus as we overcome, we become leaders
(rulers) of others who desire to follow our godly lifestyle.
It is said that they would
rule the nations (their world) with a rod of iron. The rod is the scriptural
emblem of authority. Iron indicates strength and is the emblem of bondage. The
word of God is our authority for how we live our lives and the strength of it
binds us to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.
"And I will give him the
morning star." Jesus is said in Rev.
Chapter 22 to be the bright and morning star. The word, morning, as used here,
comes from the Greek word, "proinos," and means pertaining to the dawn. In a
natural sense, the morning star would be the sun when it first arises at the
dawning of a new day. That morning star burst forth with light on a dark
horizon. We often live in the darkness of our own benighted and mind and soul
and troubles and problems abound around us, yet there are times in our lives
that the Lord springs forth and we contemplate his attributes and works and his
grace, mercy, and love towards us and this is as the morning star arising and
driving the darkness away. The Lord is said to be the Sun of Righteousness:
Mal. 4:2 "But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise
with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the
stall." The Lord arising in our benighted heart comes forth with healing in
his wings. When the darkness of sin darkens all hope, then the Lord arises to
drive away our gloom of sin-guiltiness and causes us to see that he has shed his
blood to redeem us from our sins. When problems arise to darken our outlook,
then the Lord arises to show us the solution to our problems and heal us of our
gloom. When persecutions with their fears darken our life, then the Lord arises
with blessing upon us to heal our doubts. He is indeed the morning star of our