May 1, 2007
The fourth of seven letters to the churches, the letter to the angel of the church of Thyatira, also has the distinction of being the longest of the seven. Although I have heard many a sermon and read many a study done on Laodicea, Philadelphia, Smyrna, and even Ephesus, very few have taken the time to fully understand the message to Thyatira.
As previously stated, nothing in the word of God is superfluous, and if Christ took the time to write the longest of the seven letters to Thyatira, there is a distinct reason and purpose for it. Our duty as faithful servants is to glean all that God has for us to glean not only from the spiritual condition of Thyatira, but also the warning that was passed down from Christ, via the faithful dictation of John.
At first glance, as we begin to read the message to Thyatira we begin to realize the reason for its length. The darkness of deceit, and the work of the enemy among believers had grown to such unprecedented heights, that Christ was compelled to expose it, confront it, and rebuke it.
The light of Godly truth rises ever so slowly, but without interruption, and absent of deviation, even in the darkest of hearts or communities. No one can stop God's truth, or light, they can merely reject it. No man can plead ignorance when they stand before a sovereign God, because the truth was always there, easily accessible, and by choice they have rejected it.
Revelation 2:18, "And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, 'these things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass:"
When God gives a command it is clear, and absent of ambiguity. When God speaks instruction into our lives, He does so in a way wherein we don't have to guess at what He meant, but it is obvious and apparent. Christ's command to John, was clear, 'to the angel of the church in Thyatira write.'
There are times when we are commanded to write, or speak a message that we know will be rejected, hated and ridiculed, that we know will fall on deaf ears, but it is not our concern as to how the message will be received, our only duty before God, is to obey, and do that which He commands. The after effects, the consequences, and ramifications of speaking a certain thing, or writing a certain thing that God has commanded, are inconsequential. The only thing that matters is that we obey, and do as God commands without delay. Often God will speak a message to our hearts, but fear keeps us from relaying the message to those for whom God intended it. Fear comes in many forms, either fear of rejection, fear of persecution, fear of hurting the person's feelings, but no matter how we try to justify our unwillingness to be the messenger, the mouthpiece, it still amounts to nothing less than disobedience. When God commands, we must obey, and if we obey in the little, He will reveal and require greater things of us. The reason for God not entrusting us with a greater ministry, is always the same, namely because we were not faithful in the smaller one He assigned us in the first place.
As we continue with the introduction to the church of Thyatira, we see that once again Christ speaks of certain attributes, which John had seen in the first chapter, as Christ revealed Himself to him. In every one of the seven letters, Christ introduces Himself by reaffirming certain aspects of what John had been shown upon his initial vision. In His letter to Thyatira, He speaks of His eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass.
His title, as the Son of God, is also different than any of the other seven letters, and although many have speculated as to why He chose Thyatira to introduce Himself as the Son of God, I believe it was to show and prove the true measure of His authority. The Thyatira condition, came on the heels of the Pergamos condition, meaning the state of darkness into which a soul descends after it has wed itself to the world, after it has compromised the truths of God's word.
Christ introduces Himself as the Son of God, who was and is, and forever shall be the Son of God, the One who can redeem us from the darkness of death, and shackles of sin, who paid the price for our redemption, and though the condition of those in Thyatira was a lamentable one, by His introduction we can see that if repentance be found in their hearts, if they reached out to Him, He would surely take them by the hand.
Students of the Holy Scriptures have speculated that if we were to look upon the letters to the seven churches in the context of history, the Thyatira time period would have been sometime in the middle ages, beginning with the year 600, after the age of Pergamos when the church had wed itself with the world. A majority of the people of that time had forgotten, or chose to dismiss the word of God, and instead embraced and adopted a mixed and convoluted teaching, rejecting grace and basing their trust and beliefs in salvation by good works alone.
Translated, the name Thyatira means a sacrifice of labor, or the perfume of affliction. What we understand from this, is the attempted replacement of grace, and the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, with human effort, man's own sacrifices, and good deeds, which they believed would allow them to earn their entrance into heaven. Although works, and good deeds are a natural byproduct of a faithful heart, only the blood of Christ can cleanse us, renew us, and make us pure.
Although many churches have by and large forgot the old hymn, the truth of its message stands throughout the ages:
'What can wash away my stains?
Nothing, but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
How precious is the flow,
That makes me white as snow,
No other fount' I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Yet another interpretation that can be gleaned from this verse, taken into context with the next verse in this passage, is that within the churches that surrendered, and received the image of this world, there were still small groups, and pockets of true believers. By their way of life, by their faithfulness and uncompromising attitude these few Christians radiated a sweet perfume in the midst of the world in which they lived.
In His letter to Thyatira, Christ introduces himself as the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire. By this we understand that the sins found within the 'Thyatira condition', cannot be hid from his all seeing eyes, and that eventually, inevitably these sins will be judged. His feet, like fine brass will carry Him wherever He must go to judge the evil that is found within His own house.
We look upon the modern church, and many groan in their hearts, the cry of all the saints that came before them, namely, 'how long Lord? How long will you suffer, how long will you terry, how long before you judge the wickedness, the duplicity, the heresy and evil in the church?'
Although only He knows the time, what we have been given to know is that judgment begins not in the world, but in the house of God. It is with His own that God deals first and foremost, for having known they chose to reject the truth.
That which should greatly concern us, dare I say even birth terror into our very beings, is not the fact that God would rebuke, chasten, or discipline us, but when He simply leaves us to our own devices, for where God refuses to correct, it is there that He resolves to destroy. I have often encountered lukewarm Christians, who know that they are living in sin, who know that they are not walking in righteousness, and although for awhile they had one eye glued to the heavens, awaiting the proverbial lightning bolt from above, they grew comfortable in their evil works, breathing a sigh of relief that no judgment befell them, that no disciplinary action was taken. Such souls, and there are a countless number of them, roaming about the house of God, have not yet realized that as an old puritan put it, that God is most angry, when he shows no anger.
The truth that Christ knows all, and His eyes see all our works, should be ever present at the forefront of our mind, for nothing is hidden from His eye, and His righteous judgment descends wherever true repentance is not found, and the sins of the past were not washed away by His shed blood.
Rather than adopt the mentality of seeing how far we can push the envelope, how much we can get away with before God's anger is ignited, may we as wise children continually desire to draw closer, to become purer, to grow in the knowledge, truth and power that is granted to us in His word, aspiring always to be more like Christ in our conduct, actions, speech and everyday life.
Revelation 2:19, "I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first."
None among us can deny that God's justice is sovereign and righteous. In its all encompassing knowledge, it brings to light with startling clarity, all the virtues, and good deeds of an individual believer, or of an entire church body, but it also judges and condemns without mercy the evil discovered in a heart or a community. God's justice is blind to social standing, influence, or personal prejudices; it is impartial and unaffected by flattery or personal sympathies.
If there is good to be found in a heart, Christ will see it, and praise it, as an encouragement to more diligently do battle against the evil that is always threatening to overwhelm, and overcome. By the same token, He will never allow evil, no matter how small or insignificant to coexist in the same house as good. Knowing that a little leaven, leavens the whole lump, Christ is aware that evil left unchecked will continue to grow and consume. Therefore, in every individual, in every church, and every community, there is an appointed time, when a separation must take place, where the good is brought into the storehouse, and the evil is burned in the fire if His righteous wrath.
It is thus with the Thyatira condition, wherein a remnant of Godly virtues is still found, where there are still those who hold fast to love, faith, patience and works. This remnant, like the remnants of a great fire that has fizzled down to mere embers, must re- ignite that which is around it. The duty and responsibility of the remnant, is always to awaken those that have fallen asleep, to fan the flames that remain in the hope that the fire will grow, and spread, that what was once a flicker would become a raging inferno.
By its life, testimony, and suffering, the remnant must be a perfume, a pleasing fragrance unto Christ, in the midst of evil, and its latter good works must surpass the former as a testament to their spiritual growth and maturity in God. No matter what a man endeavors, in order for his endeavor to be counted fruitful and worthwhile, progress must be evident. It is such with our spiritual growth, wherein stagnation is unacceptable, and we strive to mature daily. As an ancient saying goes, if we do not grow in good, we will inevitably fall into the arms of evil. One thing is certain, the greater and more profound the darkness, the light must shine brighter and more brilliant still. As darkness continues to grow, so must the light within us, that it may not be overcome. Herein lies the true battle for every believer, and the responsibility we have not only toward ourselves, but one that encompasses those around us, to be light even in the greatest darkness, to be true to God's holy word even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
Revelation 2:20, "Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and beguile My servants to commit sexual immorality and to eat things sacrificed to idols."
When doing a side-by-side comparison of Christ's letter to the church of Ephesus, and the church of Thyatira, one readily sees a few key differences, as well as one glaring similarity, that are worth contemplating, for in them lies a great lesson for every believer. As has been discussed in previous studies, the church of Ephesus had many good works, and godly virtues, but they were missing one key component in their relationship with God, namely that they had lost their fist love. Although they still had works, although they had labored and persevered, their love for Christ had cooled, and along the way, the work became more important than the person of Jesus. Another aspect of the Ephesus condition that is worthy of mentioning, is that they were watchful as to the teachings they allowed in their midst. They tested those who said were apostles, and were not, and having found them liars rejected them.
In the church of Thyatira, among the good works that Christ lauds, we see that love is not missing from among them, but although they still retained their love for Christ, they were missing a resolute and decisive attitude when it came to teachings that contradicted the word of God. They did not take the time to study, and to test those who said they were apostles, but they received all manner of teaching that contradicted the truth, thereby polluting the doctrine of truth.
While the church of Thyatira had love absent of truth, absent of the testimony of truth, the church of Ephesus had truth absent of love. The chain of godly virtues by which the testimony of Jesus is made evident in the lives of true believers here on earth, was missing a link both in the church of Ephesus as well as the church of Thyatira. In the church of Thyatira they were missing the link that was truth, while in the church of Ephesus they were missing the link that was love.
The object lesson here is that no matter which link is missing in a chain, the chain becomes useless nonetheless. Herein we see the true importance of striving to be a complete Christian, having all that is required, whether it be love, faith, truth, or works.
Many of today's average Christians miss the fundamental importance of this lesson, and focus all their attention, with laser like precision, on one aspect of the faith, forgetting about the other aspects therein. Some focus strictly on prophecy, while others strictly on spiritual gifts, others on deliverance, some on healing, others strictly on faith, while others on works, and although all these pursuits are commendable, we must never forget that in order to be what God desires us to be, namely complete and balanced, we must pursue all these aspects of the faith with equal enthusiasm.
In order for the human body to be healthy, one cannot consume only proteins, or only carbohydrates, vitamins or minerals exclusively, but what is requires is a combination of all these things, working together to produce the fuel for growth. It is the same when it comes to our spiritual man, in order to grow, we must consume all of God's word, and pursue all of God's gifts. Often we are limited, our growth is stunted, by our unwillingness to receive all that God has for us, keeping ourselves from knowing the fullness of God, and the works thereof.
That which Christ had against the church of Thyatira, is something that has become more common and prevalent with the passing of time, the scourge upon the house of God that is false doctrine and teaching. Wisdom would dictate that we search our own hearts, to see if we, as the Thyatira fellowship, possess works, love and patience, but have also allowed doctrine absent of any biblical foundation to worm its way into our beings.
By the grace of God, we have been given to know the truth, the one truth, which is plainly laid out in His holy word. The attempts at justifying the twisting of scripture in our modern age are numerous, from the ever popular, 'these are new times, and we must change with the times if we hope to have an impact', to the less believable, 'yes, that is what the Bible says, but it isn't what it really means', to the outright foolish excuse of omitting scripture because we did not want to be a stumbling block. No matter how well crafted the excuse might be, no matter how reasonable or even logical from a human standpoint, there is no justification, and no man has the right to twist scripture to fit his own preconceived notions. One may, for a season deceive other men, but he can never hope to deceive God, for He knows the very depths of every heart, and the intent with which we speak the words we speak.
Keep in mind that it was not the world that Jezebel was deceiving and beguiling, but rather Christ's own servants. It was men who ought to have known better that fell into the trap of being offered an easier salvation, a broader path, and a walk absent of sacrifice.
If we have the truth, and we have been transformed by the power of the Word, we must not suffer deception of any kind to creep into our midst, no matter how appealing it may be. Yes, false doctrine is appealing to the flesh, for that is its primary objective, to cause the flesh to override the spirit, and wander off the path of righteousness. Deception has always been, and will always be something the flesh nature craves, for it provides the arsenal it needs to combat the spirit. Within every man, a war rages, not for a season, but all of his life, with eternity hanging in the balance. Those who choose wisely, learn to daily mortify and crucify their flesh, not giving heed to lying doctrines and faulty teachings, while the foolish man embraces anything that will grant him license to pursue the desires of the flesh.
Another aspect of this passage that is of interest is that Christ did not speak of false prophets in general but spoke of a certain Jezebel, which oddly enough means the chaste one, or pure one. The question that begs to be asked, is who was this Jezebel, and why did Christ name her by name when referring to the one who was spreading heresy among His servants?
The story of Jezebel is a well-known one, and can be found in I Kings, beginning with chapter sixteen. Rather than write out the entire chapter, I will give a brief synopsis of the story of Jezebel, that we may understand why it was Christ chose to name her by name.
Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal, who at the time was king of the Sidonians. The Sidonians were idol worshipers, primarily worshiping Baal. If not for Ahab, king of Israel, Jezebel would have been just another cruel and merciless princess, long forgotten by the passage of time. It was only when Ahab entered the picture, and married Jezebel that she becomes a relevant part of history, and it was only by this union that the persecution and slaughter, which took place shortly afterwards could ensue.
Ahab was not a righteous man in the sight of the Lord; on the contrary he did evil more than all who were before him. After his marriage to Jezebel he began to serve and worship Baal having forsaken the one true God. As if it were not enough for Ahab to serve Baal, Jezebel beguiled him into convincing the people of Israel to worship Baal as well. Though by and large the people served Baal, there was still a remnant, that would not serve, that were wholly committed to the one true God, and a great persecution began against those who were unwilling to acquiesce. In her fury Jezebel persecuted the prophets of the Lord and killed them, as well as ordering the murder of an innocent man by the name of Naboth over his vineyard.
Jezebel had one purpose, and one purpose alone, and that was to destroy all who would not bow to Baal, and in large part, from a human perspective she seemed to have succeeded. Even the great prophet of God Elijah fled from the sight of Jezebel, and in a cave began to weep before God and say that he alone was left who remained, and now he was hiding because they sought to take his life.
It was then that God spoke to Elijah, and encouraged him, saying that He had reserved seven thousand men in Israel, all whose knees had not bowed to Baal, and whose mouth had not kissed him.
The one thing we must always be certain of, is that God always has a remnant; He will always have those whom he has reserved, who have kept themselves pure, for no matter how great the persecution, no matter how dark the deception, the Church will always be alive in this world, the faithful will always exist, even if it be a handful. It was just such a remnant that was found in the midst of the deception that was the condition of Thyatira.
The Jezebel of Thyatira is named as such, due to her similarity with Ahab's wife, which constrained the people to bow to idols, and worship them. Rather than have false prophets to do her bidding however, as did the queen in Israel, the Jezebel of Thyatira, in order that she may more readily deceive souls, called herself a prophetess, purporting to speak the words of God Himself. This is the reason there was so little resistance, for the people received her words as if from the mouth of God.
Even today, a man can speak absurdities that no one will pay attention to, but if his absurdities are preceded with 'this is what the Lord says', many will perk up their ears and pay attention. Not all who come in the name of the Lord, are of the Lord, and not all who say the Lord spoke, truly heard from Him. This above all is the reason that Christ admonishes us to test those who say they are apostles, to be wise and see whether the words they speak, echo the words of the Bible. Although we can afford to be careless with some things, such as forgetting to shave every other day, or wearing the same socks two days in a row, our eternal soul is not one of the things we can afford to be careless with. There is nothing more important in this world, than knowing you stand on God's word, and remain in His will.
The first Jezebel dragged the people into false worship, making them one with the world, causing a separation between them and the one true God. The second Jezebel endeavors to do the same thing, attempting to mix the things of God with deception, and blend the children of God with those of the world thereby making them indistinguishable. Her goal, even today, is that there no longer be light and darkness, but a perpetual dusk. When the word of God is twisted to facilitate a new doctrine, the confusion it causes in countless souls is detrimental to their spiritual well being. Such practices are not something that we can turn a blind eye to, for Christ Himself rebuked the angel of the Church of Thyatira for allowing Jezebel to teach, and thereby beguile His servants.
Those who have come, by faith to know that the singular spiritual authority is the written word of God, must live this holy word as is, and confess it fearlessly, while at the same time unmasking the strange doctrines that surround us that souls may not be deceived. It is those that stand on truth, that know the word that are in part responsible for those around them, and though millennia have passed since the letter to Thyatira was written, the spirit and practice of Jezebel are still present in many churches. Be bold and fearless, for fearlessness and boldness come with the knowledge that truth and thereby God stand with you.
Revelation 2:21, "And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent."
I have pondered this verse for many hours, for although at first glance it does not seem overly important, it shows us the true nature of Christ, having been spurned to wrath, having been angered at the conduct of Jezebel and at having His servants beguiled, yet His eternal mercy overrides His anger, and He says, 'I gave her time to repent.' Even with all the havoc that Jezebel wrought, Christ still gave her time to repent. Very few verses show us the true measure of God's patience, the depth of His goodness, and the righteousness of His judgment as this verse does.
If He did all He could even for those ensnared by the doctrine of Jezebel, and even for Jezebel herself to bring them to repentance and salvation, how will He act toward those who strive to run the race faithfully, and walk on the path of righteousness, who desire to lay hold of eternal life?
In order to realize the true measure of God's patience and goodness, we must first realize the depth of Jezebel's misconduct and sin. Whether with a sword of iron, or the sword of her tongue, the Jezebel spoken of in Revelation, killed the prophets of the Lord just as readily as the Jezebel of the Old Testament. Yes her crime was grievous indeed, and by human standards perhaps even unforgivable, yet she was given time to repent.
There are many who possess the Jezebel spirit that walk among us today, and that we may see the truth of this statement, we must realize that all who persecute in one way or another those who are true believers, and who desire to live in obedience of God's word, who attempt to marginalize or outright destroy those who want to obtain the nature of Christ, and desire to live Godly in Christ Jesus, possess the Jezebel spirit. May we be honest with ourselves in examining ourselves, that we may know the camp in which we have situated ourselves, that we may know if we are the persecuted, or the persecutors.
2 Timothy 3:12-13, "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse, deceiving and being deceived."
In His wisdom, God will not require something of us, before He has first given it to us. He will not ask for that which we do not have, and in this truth we see a glimpse of His justice and love.
God will not ask for repentance, until he has given that individual every possibility to repent, until he has seen clearly that absent of repentance he is doomed to darkness and death, and only by receiving Christ as Lord and Savior of one's heart can they be one with Him.
God has done more for us than we will ever know to facilitate repentance in our hearts, from giving us the necessary time, to bringing people in our path who spoke the unadulterated truth to us, to giving us the necessary understanding to perceive His will for our lives. God has given us His Word, and the freedom to study it, a healthy mind that we may rightly know good from evil, grace that we may obtain the promise, but above all else, God has given us His Son Jesus Christ, that by believing in Him we may obtain salvation.
In truth God has done everything to facilitate man's redemption, all that is left for man to do is to desire to be saved, to seek salvation. From His perspective there is nothing that was left undone. All that is asked is that we do our part, and to desire that which He has prepared for us. Knowing the greatness of that which awaits to be claimed in Christ by every individual, delaying our decision to pursue Him wholeheartedly would be a foolish and unwise course indeed. He has given us time to repent, He has given us time to lay hold of grace, but He also warns that the time of grace, and the time for repentance will end. For some, who perpetually delay their repentance and acceptance of Christ in their hearts, when at last they realize the immeasurable importance of this act, it may be too late.
There is nothing more fearful or heart wrenching than living with the knowledge, and with the regret that one has willfully rejected the gift of salvation, the blessing of grace, and due to their refusal to accept these great gifts, they will one day have to answer before an almighty God.
As much as some would like to believe that this warning was directed only toward those who have not yet made the decision to accept Christ, this is simply not the case. On the contrary, it is a warning toward those that say they have made the decision in their hearts to follow the way of truth, that go to church, that sing the songs and say the prayers, that even tell others about Christ, but do not live the life. If anything the sword of this word was directed more toward those who hold high positions in the church than anyone else, whether preachers or pastors, for they are more accountable to God. The sort of person of which this passage speaks, is a highly religious person, who called herself a prophetess, but was in fact living a duplicitous life. Under the cloak and guise of religion, this Jezebel followed after her own sinful self interests, desiring to serve God and the world in equal measure. This in fact, is what Christ called harlotry or adultery among his people. When one desires to appease both the world of sin, and the Kingdom of righteousness, then he is committing spiritual adultery.
James 4:4, "Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."
Though many have tried, it is impossible to reconcile the teaching of truth, the teaching of the Scripture, with manmade doctrines and teachings, for they are in stark opposition to each other. Any man who attempts therefore to reconcile the two, to appease both God and the world is committing spiritual adultery, and what's worse, if it is someone in a position of authority among God's people, he forms a path of spiritual dissipation compelling multitudes of souls to walk upon it.
Even to one such as this, Christ allows a season for repentance, for turning away from the path he has chosen, and the deception he has promulgated, but it is only a season, an appointed time, after which He will rightly judge.
Revelation 2:22, "Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds."
Only when God has exhausted every other avenue, does He resort to judgment. It is a thread throughout the scripture, one that cannot be overlooked, that only due to man's disobedience and unwillingness to repent does God send judgment. Yes, His judgments are always just, for He is a just God, and even though in the eyes of some, His judgments may be severe, He knows the truth that is not visible only on the outward parts, but the truth that lays in the inward parts as well. God does not judge based upon a single act alone, but He judges the intent, and the condition of the heart while that act was being committed as well. Truly to attempt and question God's judgments simply on what we see, would be like questioning the talent of a painter before one brushstroke is laid upon the blank canvas.
What remains to be done when a person, or a nation has been warned repeatedly, when God was patient in allowing for repentance, yet with all of God's attempts at reconciliation, with all of His long suffering, there was no sign of repentance, and no turning from the deeds that ignited His anger in the first place? Only one-thing remains, and that is judgment. After having seen no repentance, the sentence is passed for Jezebel and her followers, for her a sickbed wherein she will be impotent and unable to do further harm to the true followers of Christ, and upon those that believed and followed her He would allow a great tribulation. One thing is certain, when God begins to judge, all our pretensions, all the notions of who we are in our own mind, quickly disappear, and we see the true measure of our weakness and frailty.
Just as the Jezebel of old chose not to repent, those that have been besieged by the spirit of Jezebel choose likewise to disregard the warnings of Christ, and to reject the mercy offered. It is true of all who follow men and doctrines rather than Christ, those who seek vainglory, or defend a certain religious denomination; they will not repent, but always seek new ways of defending their teaching, of justifying their position and new means to do battle against those who oppose them.
Even on an individual level, we see that it is much more difficult to let go of a teaching, even though it is unscriptural, than it is to receive moral correction. Many who are willing to let go of vices, and habits, even sins, are not as readily willing to let go of a religious doctrine that they held, or a teaching that they kept in their hearts. As the old saying goes, 'I would rather attempt to convert ten souls who have never been to church, than one who has been sitting in church for twenty years receiving unscriptural teaching.' Yes it is very difficult to repent of strange teaching, because it is difficult to admit to our own selves that we were wrong, that we believed a lie. It is, in large part the reason why so many still stay linked to movements and fads, long after they realized they were false, because deep inside they don't want to admit that they were wrong. It is better to admit that we were wrong, and be turned aright, it is better to acknowledge that we were deceived and repent, than continue down the same path, for the inevitable end of this path, after God's patience has run its course, is judgment.
True repentance, is not just turning away from sin, but turning away from everything, denying everything that we believed and held dear, that we may begin a new life in Christ, believing His teaching, and His word alone. When one walks into a white-carpeted room wearing muddy boots, it is inevitable that the carpet will get dirty no matter how careful the person is. It is the same when we attempt to bring teachings and doctrines from our old life, into our new one. Life and death, light and darkness, are opposing forces that cannot coexist, one must choose either life or death, either to be shrouded in the light of the gospel, or the darkness of this present world.
God is gracious and merciful, and since His nature is love, He gives man time to repent both of sins he may have committed in the flesh, but also of teachings contrary to His Word. Whenever repentance is spoken of in the Word, whether it be from the mouth of Paul, Peter, or Christ, it is this total repentance that they are referring to, a complete turning, not just physically but spiritually as well, for if we still hold to our old traditions and misconceptions once we have received Jesus into our hearts, have we truly been reborn, have we truly come from death unto life?
When man refuses to obey God, He is left no choice but to punish and judge. Since we have already established that He is a patient, merciful and loving God, one might ask the obvious question, why does then God judge if He is so merciful and loving? The short answer is that His righteousness demands it, and eternal justice must be handed down. Just as He had to send His only Son to die on a cross that we may be saved and redeemed, for without His sacrifice man could not have been reconciled unto God, whenever a man rejects grace, and dismisses His warnings, judgment must be handed down.
In the case of Jezebel and her servants, the sentence was passed, and while she was cast into a sickbed for the deceptions she perpetrated upon the children of God, those that followed her teachings were visited with great tribulation.
It is a good, wise and noble thing to learn to read the Word of God, as though it was written for us personally, because it was. It is not a storybook; it is not a sequence of events that was simply penned by historians, but rather, the living Word of God, that if contemplated personally will be of great spiritual benefit to everyone. The message to the church of Thyatira therefore, was not intended only for that particular church, or that particular time, but it stands as a warning to every believer, that there are consequences to believing false doctrine, and practicing unscriptural traditions, that God's patience eventually ends, and His judgment soon follows.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.