Thursday, September 29, 2011

Jesus Doesn't Forgive

 I have this against you, that you forgive Jezebel—What Jesus has against the whole church is their acceptance of the false teacher.  This teacher is causing great sin to occur in the fellowship, but the fellowship just accepts her without correction.  Jesus is not pleased with this at all.

I gave her time—Jesus, in the past, already warned the false prophet, the leader of the sect, to stop the false teaching, but the teacher didn’t listen to Jesus, so Jesus is going to punish her.

Throw her to a couch—The prophet and (her) group of followers will be made seriously sick until they repent.  This is a common thing for God to do against those in serious sin (see Psalm 32)

Repent of their deeds—Jesus wants them to stop their actions. 

I will kill her children—Some of the followers will die of the sickness.

Perhaps this seems severe on Jesus' part.  Okay, it absolutely seems severe on Jesus' part.  But we need to see the circumstance from Jesus' perspective.

What this sect is doing is forsaking the kingdom of Jesus, the only way that one might obtain eternal life.  Not only are they forsaking this way of life, but they are giving strength to the enemy that persecutes the way of life. In the long run, Jezebel is killing people, in the most permanent way possible.  Jesus has given her a chance to stop killing people, but she refuses.  Jesus isn't taking any more chances that she might kill more people in his kingdom.  He is taking serious action-- making her and her followers sick and some of them will die.  This will show them all the seriousness of her sin.

Interestingly enough, the original Jezebel also killed people when it served her purposes.

Jezebel the Seductress

Jezebel is used here as a metaphor for the false teacher who is in the church in Thyatira.  Jezebel in the Hebrew Scriptures was the wife of the evil king Ahab, a foreign woman who encouraged her husband to be involved in Baal worship.  She was not involved in literal adultery, but to be a ruler in Israel and to encourage the worship of another god is adultery against God, if not her husband. (I Kings 16:31; 21:25)

"Jezebel" was a religious leader, almost certainly a woman, that was teaching the Thyatira church to worship another god.  There were a number within Thyatira's church that accepted her teachings. 

Jesus accused Jezebel and her followers of committing porneia (sexual immorality) and eating that which was sacrificed to idols.  What does this mean? The sect within Thyatira encourages compromise with the world.  This is not surprising since Thyatira was run by craft guilds that demanded worship of their gods.  This sect of the church probably encouraged compromise by being partly involved in worship—especially though the eating of clearly marked idolatrous meat—in order to be better accepted by the world.  

How would this work?  The guilds in Thyatira held all the prosperous employment.  To be a part of the guild, one would have to worship the emperor and take part of the guild feasts, which would probably include meat which was sacrificed to idols.  Jezebel taught the church of Thyatira that participating with the guilds was acceptable. Jesus is telling the church that Jezebel is leading them to forsake Jesus for another god. 

The Good Stuff

Jesus description of Thyatira includes love, faithfulness, service,and endurance.  

The church in Thyatira is a church that does good work.  They act in love to those in need and remain loyal to those around them.  It probably implies that they are faithful to Jesus as well.  In this brief description, it is almost the perfect church.  At least part of it. 


How Jesus described himself is significant to Thyatira's situation of being challenged to worship the emperor of Rome. 

The Son of God—Jesus is reminding the church that He is the true emperor of all the earth

Eyes of flame, feet of brass—They could indicate the fact that he is a judge, but since they reflect the description of the powerful angel in Daniel 10, they probably remind the church that Jesus is not of this world, but of the spirit world, and that his power is of the other world.  Thyatira needs to remember that worship is in spirit and in truth, not as a makeshift for this world's matters. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Thyatira, ruins and modern city

An insignificant city in Roman Asia Minor, it had a strong guild system, in which almost everyone in the city worked in some way for the craft guilds.  These also required worship of specific guild gods, as well as casual worship of the emperor.

For more information about Thyatira, check out the International Biblical Encyclopedia

Translation of Jesus' Letter to Thyatira

And to the angel which is in the fellowship of Thyatira, write: 

This says the Son of God, who has the eyes as a flame of fire and his feet are like brass. 

I know your deeds and your love and faithfulness and service and your endurance and your later deeds are greater than the first.  

But I have against you that you forgive the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet and she teaches and leads astray my slaves to commit sexual immorality and to eat that which is sacrificed to idols.  I gave her time so that she would repent, and she does not want to repent of her sexual immorality.  Behold I throw her to a couch and those who commit adultery with her into great suffering unless they repent of her deeds.  And I will kill her children with death and all the fellowships will know that I am the one who examines the minds and hearts and I will give to each of you according to your deeds.  

And I say to you, the rest of those in Thyatira, who do not have this teaching, who have not known the "deep things of Satan" as they call them, I put upon you no other burden.  But what you take hold of until I come.  

And he who conquers and he who keeps my deeds until the end I will give to him authority over the nations and he will watch over them with a rod of iron as the vessels of the potter are broken, as I also have received from my Father. And I will give to him the morning star.  

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the fellowships.  

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Jesus Letter to the Christians in Washington D.C.

A loose translation of Revelation 2:12-17

John, take this dictation:

To the Power of the congregation of God’s people in Washington D.C.:

This is a message from He whose sword—the Word of Power—cuts both against the world and the people of God.

I know the difficulties you face, and that you live in the city of Satan’s throne, where people worship politics as the replacement of God.  But you did not deny me, even in the days of Martin Luther King, my witness who faithfully spoke the truth, who was killed by Satanic forces. 

But I hold these things against you: 
The teaching of Balaam, who taught Barak how to compromise the people of God by seducing them and leading them into false worship, is rampant among you.  I have taught to love your enemies and you teach that killing your enemies at times is justified.  I have taught that the least shall be the greatest, but you uphold the boasters, not the humble.  I have taught to seek God’s kingdom, but you teach to seek the kingdom of this world.

You also adhere to the teachings of those who advocate compromise with the government of the world, so that the church can have success in this life.

You need to turn away from compromise of all kinds.  If you stand with the world, then when I come to judge the world, I will judge you as well.  Only those who remain steadfast in me, in opposition to the ways and powers of the world, will remain standing on the final day, for I will cut down every compromiser with the word of my mouth.

If you have an ear, hear what God says to His people.

The steadfast, victorious one will receive the loaves and fishes from my hand.  That one will receive the “not guilty” verdict from the jury of the council of heaven.