Part 008 Thyatira


A Study

Part 008

To the church in Thyatira …power over the nations, and …the morning star (Rev.2:18-29)

The Church became joined to the world

We have already noted that each of the seven epistles in Revelation chapters two and three, taken in the chronological order, points to a particular period in Church history. But we cannot contend that whatever is revealed in one particular epistle fits completely into a particular period of church history. On the contrary, the remnants of that seen in each one of these epistles can also be seen in Christendom throughout the dispensation. The epistle to the church in Thyatira would emphasize a continued deterioration of the condition of the Church following the time when the Church became joined to the world during the days of Constantine, depicted in the preceding epistle to the Church in Pergamos. As soon as the door was opened for the world to enter the church, two significant evils were brought into the church: (1) the doctrine of Balaam — this has to do with monetary gain acquired through one’s willingness to compromise the principles of God and (2) the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes — this has to do with simply a corruption of delegated authority within the Church after the pattern set forth by those in the world. This led to further corruption of the true Biblical message and practices in the church as predicted earlier by our Lord in the third and fourth parables of Matthew Chapter 13. According to the third parable, a very abnormal growth of the mustard plant was subtly introduced by the enemy, and the Church put forth large branches which were swiftly occupied by the agents of the enemy. Then according to the fourth parable, the working of the leaven which the woman placed in the three measures of meal rapidly progressed and will continue — “…till the whole was leavened.”

The days of Jezebel

And this message to the Church in Thyatira would present the depths to which the world ultimately carried Christianity. The false teachings being accepted and practiced by Christians in Thyatira was of such a degenerate nature that the Spirit of God reached back hundreds of years in time and associated the entire matter with one of the darkest periods in Israeli history — the days of Jezebel. Jezebel appeared in Israeli history at a time when wickedness was reaching a pinnacle through the unlawful deeds of the Israeli kings, who not only themselves “did evil in the sight of the Lord” but they also caused the people of Israel “to sin” (cf. I Kings 15:25, 26, 33, 34; 16:18, 19). Then came Omri and his son Ahab, who “did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before them.” It was after Ahab’s marriage to Jezebel that he “went and served Baal, and worshipped him.” It was during Ahab’s reign that Jericho was rebuilt in blatant defiance of the curse which had been pronounced on anyone who builds this city (1Kings 16:25, 30-34; Josh.6:26). Jezebel was also responsible for the death of numerous prophets of the Lord.

But the act which appeared to be the final straw, bringing iniquity to a point where God could no longer stay His hand (cf. Gen. 15:16), was Jezebel’s acquisition of Naboth’s vineyard for Ahab. Jezebel, through forged letters, brought about Naboth’s death in order that Ahab might possess his vineyard; and Ahab himself became a partaker of this deed through subsequently possessing the vineyard. And because of this, judgment of a nature befitting this sin was pronounced upon both Ahab and Jezebel. The Lord said of Ahab, “In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick your blood, even yours”; and the Lord said of Jezebel, “The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel” (I Kings 21:1-23; cf. I Kings 22:35-38; II Kings 9:30-37). Following this pronouncement of judgment upon both Ahab and Jezebel, Scripture provides a summary statement concerning the lives of these two individuals: “But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.

The unholy relationship with the world

During Jezebel’s days in the Old Testament, corruption was produced by bringing the things of the world in the camp of Israel; and during the corresponding days in the New Testament, corruption was produced through the same means — bringing the things of the world over into the Church. A terrible judgment was pronounced upon Jezebel in the Old Testament (1Kings 21:23; 2Kings 9:30-37), and a similar judgment was pronounced upon her counterpart and those who followed her ways in the New Testament (Rev.2:21-23). The message concerning Jezebel in Revelation chapter two, along with the Old Testament counterpart, is clearly stated for all to behold: God will not tolerate Christians entering into an unholy relationship with the world. Such a relationship is associated with fornication, idolatry, and adultery.

Deep things of Satan in Israel

The teachings of Jezebel are associated with the “doctrine” and “depths [deep things] of Satan” which are entirely opposed to the “deep things of God” (Rev.2:24). God has chosen Israel to be “a special people unto Himself, above all the people that are upon the face of the earth” (Deut.7:6; 14:2; Rom.9:4, 5). And among the nations, Israel had the status of God’s firstborn son (Exo.4:22). The birthright possessed by Israel consisted of three things (1) ruler of the household, under and for the Father — to attain this, the nation had to be brought out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage and established in the Promised Land, as a nation above all other nations, (2) exercising the office of the priest in the family — resulting in all the nations which are without God in the world (Eph.2:12) being blessed through Israel in accord with Gen.12:1-3; Exo.19:5, 6, and (3) receiving double portion of all the Father’s goods — ultimately coming into possession of the earthly and heavenly spheres of governmental power and authority over all the Gentile nations (Gen.22:17, 18). Satan’s deep things involved taking things from the world (his kingdom) and placing them among the Israelites. And as a result, rather than realizing the above mentioned three fold blessings, Israel would incur God’s wrath. In the case of Satan’s work through Jezebel, it was Baal’s worship and all the related evils which were transferred from the Gentile nations into the camp of Israel. Israel could under no circumstances, realize their calling as firstborn while in this condition.

Deep things of Satan in the Church

At the time of the first coming of Christ, Israel forfeited the heavenly portion of the coming kingdom and the Church was brought into existence to ultimately occupy that heavenly realm (Matt.21:43; 1Pet.2:9, 10). The incumbent rulers (Satan and his angels) knowing this direct their wrath against the Church, doing everything within their power to prevent the Church from realizing their calling. The reason Satan placed “that woman Jezebel” in the Church in Thyatira is the same reason that he placed “Jezebel” in the camp of Israel during Old Testament days. Jezebel’s seduction of the Lord’s servants (Rev.2:20), has to do with the things — the wisdom, ideas, methods, tactics, practices, etc — of the world brought cunningly into the Church. Today we find worldly practices such as caste and dowry systems, false display of signs, wonders and miracles to gain popularity, unscrupulous methods, schemes and false teachings to raise funds, etc, rampant in the Church. All those believers, defiled after this fashion, who fail to repent of their deeds will suffer “death” (Rev.2:21-23), undoubtedly an allusion to the previously mentioned “second death” (Rev.2:11). Satan’s efforts today are directed against all believers for one primary purpose: to overcome them rather than their overcoming him, resulting in their disqualification to occupy proffered positions in the coming glorious Millennial Kingdom.

Overcomers — Power over the nations

When our Lord returns in all His power and glory, “the kingdom of the world” will become “the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ: and He shall reign forever and ever” (Rev.11:15). Satan and his angels will be put down, then Christ and His joint-heirs will move in and take over the rule from the heavens over the whole earth for a thousand years (Rev.12:7-10). Before ushering in the Millennial Era, the Lord is going to take account of all what we have done and will reward us, according to His promise: “I will give unto every one of you according to your works” (v.23b). The overcomers will be those who completely reject the systems and practices of this world and refuse to involve themselves with the present kingdom; and they will be rewarded with regal positions and power over all the nations in the coming kingdom (Rev.2:26, 27). And those believers revealed as non-overcomers will be denied such power and positions.

Overcomers — the morning star

The overcomers are promised not only with “power over the nations” but also with “the morning star” which is Christ Himself (Rev.2:28; 22:16). Accordingly, all the overcomers will have a very special, intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the coming kingdom in which His glory and majesty will be fully manifested.