By Ray Jewell
“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. I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.
Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 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. 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.
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, except to hold on to what you have until I come.’
To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’—just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give that one the morning star. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. – Revelation 2:18-29
The church in Thyatira has a similar situation as the church in Pergamum, a mixed bag. There are some in this body of believers who have done things right. They are doing better now than they did in the past. And the things they do, love, faith, service, perseverance, serves as a blueprint for living the Christian life at any time, but especially in the midst of an antagonistic culture. Christ knows their deeds and commends them for that.
But there is a problem, someone named Jezebel. To call someone a Jezebel wasn’t a compliment. If you recall, Jezebel was the wicked queen of Israel, the wife of King Ahab, who led her husband and all of Israel down the wrong path of worshipping idols like Baal. The woman here seems to have had some influence in the church, leading people into sexual immorality which is often a symbol of idolatry in the Bible. The punishment is severe. She has been given a chance to repent, but defiantly says no. Same with those who have followed her lead.
It seems that the leaders in the church were afraid of her. Maybe she was an influential member of the community. Whatever the reason, Christ is going to take care of her and anyone who is not faithfully following His lead.
The others in the church are encouraged to stay true. If they do they will be royalty in the kingdom of God. But for now it is enough to stay faithful, no matter what comes their way, whether it be seduction or persecution. Remaining faithful brings rewards. This includes derived authority from the King of the Universe, Jesus Himself.
I know of churches today that have factions of false teachers in them. Seems like the disguise in these cases are so good that people have the wool pulled over their eyes. Discernment is needed by godly leadership to know who to call out in these situations. Of course, great care needs to be taken to prevent a mistake from happening. Before accusing anyone of false teaching the leadership of the church should be in the spirit of prayer, asking for guidance. Then they should proceed with caution. But confrontation should be taken head on following the guidelines of Jesus in Matthew 18. The hope is restoration and/or repentance of the “accused.” If it is true that the teaching is indeed false, a plea for repentance is repulsed, then it is up to the church leaders to expel the person who is unrepentant. I didn’t say it was easy, but it is necessary.
Lord, give me wisdom to discern false teaching from a different understanding of the truth of the Bible. If I have lead people astray in the past please forgive me. If I come across someone leading people down the wrong path give me the courage to confront and give me the grace to do so with the goal of restoration. Amen.
Until next time,
TO THE GLORY OF GOD!