Saturday, February 26, 2011

Revelation Chapter Two, Part 7 of 9

2:18 And 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
Jesus commanded John to write to the Thyatirans in the name of the Son of God, with eyes as a flame of fire and feet like fine brass; both Old Testament references to Yahweh or Jehovah, the covenant God of Israel. The eyes of flaming fire speak of coming judgment (2nd Thessalonians 1:8) and Jesus’ omniscience; His ability to see through every guise and darkness of man (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 4:12-13). His feet like fine brass indicate, in my opinion, power. Read Isaiah 63:1-6 and you will see the Son of God trampling and treading upon the wicked with none to withstand Him, and He trampled them in fury so that their blood stained His raiment. God literally crushed these rebels beneath His heels, as He will one day do with Satan beneath ours, Romans 16:20. Likewise in Daniel 2:44-45 we are given a vision of God coming in great power and literally crushing the kingdoms and governments of the earth beneath Him until no remnant remains of them. Scripture states that our God is a consuming fire, Hebrews 12:29.

Jesus reminds the church of Thyatira that He is the Son of God. Note He does not say A Son of God, as Jehovah’s Witnesses and other cults would have to read into this passage, but THE Son of God. To argue that because Jesus called Himself the Son of God, and not God means He never claimed deity is patently absurd. You have to do mighty theological cartwheels to escape the natural conclusion billions have reached before us: that Jesus is Jehovah of the Old Testament.

When a man begets a son that child is assuredly his son. They are not the same person, but they are the same substance; the genetics that comprised the father comprise the son. No other man on earth can lay claim to being that child’s biological father. Nor is the son less than the father in substance or quality, because they are both men; they are both human beings. Like begets like. The son may be less than the father in position. The son may have much to learn, to achieve, to grow and mature into before the same position or equality may be claimed; in fact, while the father-son relationship endures there is always deference toward the father, and a good son never esteems himself equal at all to his father; see the relationship of Jacob toward his forebears as he testified to Pharaoh. Jesus is the Son by way of being begotten on this earth; He was not the Son from eternity past in any sense of inferiority, but the Word, the second person of the Trinity which is everywhere testified of in the New Testament.

As for Jesus claiming to be God in Scripture? He did. See John 1:1, 14; 8:58; 10:30 Colossians 2:9; Acts 20:28; 2nd Peter 1:1; 1st John 5:7; Revelation 1; etc. It is God the Holy Spirit who authored Scripture, and that same Spirit is also the Spirit of Jesus Christ, Romans 8:9; 2nd Timothy 3:16; 2nd Peter 1:21. All Scripture is God-breathed and the prophets and apostles penning holy writ were moved by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, whether it is a direct quote of our Lord from the gospels, or a quote from an inspired epistle, every jot and tittle was inspired and directed by God the Holy Spirit to reveal divine truths to mankind through His servants. Scripture plainly states that God, in these last days, has spoken to us by His Son, Hebrews 1:2. Anyone who meddles with the divine revelation to adjust God’s word to conform to human wisdom, human idealism, cultist dogma, religious institutionalism, or anything else, does so to their own eternal peril.

2:18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira
Thyatira is the fourth church addressed in these epistles, and the message to this church is the longest of the seven. There is much occurring within this church of Christ to be concerned about; an increase in apostasy and compromise has made a melting pot of useful Christians and pseudo-Christians or “churchians” who are not saved but mingle with true saints like tares and wheat.

2:19 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.
This list is an impressive display of Christian perseverance, and since the Lord is addressing the church as a whole the entire church is praised for the diligent, humble obedience and love of what might be few members. Recall Paul’s words when he said that when one member is praised everyone rejoices with him, 1st Corinthians 12:26.

The word “charity” in the KJV is translated “love” in the NKJV. So Thyatira had their first or former works, love (presumably toward God and then toward others) service toward each-other, faith, and patience. And again works are listed, and Jesus our Lord clarifies that this latter mention of works is both different and greater than their first works, which indicated genuine growth in the Spirit.

2:20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee
Ephesus has only one thing against it: that they had left their first love, verse 4. Both Pergamos before, and now Thyatira after, have several things the Lord has against them. Our Lord is not dealing with His churches in a critical spirit, but in the spirit of loving correction, because as a loving God He wants more for His children than we’re willing and ready to settle for, spiritually speaking.

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby,” Hebrews 12:6-11.

2:20 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 was the queen of Ahab, one of the most idolatrous kings of northern Israel’s long and sordid history. He outstripped Jeroboam for wickedness, and tempted God to wrath in ways no man before him had; and much of this at the wanton provocation of his evil wife, Jezebel. For the whole story regarding Ahab and Jezebel, read 1st Kings 17-22.

The Jezebel who had been the wife of Ahab may have well fancied herself a prophetess. She kept prophets of Baal and prophets of Asherah (Baal’s wife in Canaanite mythology) at her table, and when Elijah had the prophets destroyed after their contest on Mount Carmel she tried to have him killed for such audacity. Jezebel was an utterly immoral woman, whose wanton wickedness poisoned Israel’s king and infiltrated Judah by way of inter-marriage, as Jehoshaphat married his bloodline into Ahab’s family, bringing on a day of terrible injustice and darkness in the southern kingdom. Both Baal and Ashaerah were revolting “gods” whose rites of worship involved bloodshed (as Baal’s prophets demonstrated in 1st Kings 18:28), child sacrifice and sexual practice including homosexuality with temple prostitutes, and orgies. That being said, we can begin to understand the character of the person God names “Jezebel” who sits as a prophetess in Thyatira, unchallenged by the saints.

“Sufferest” doesn’t necessarily mean that they were begrudged to tolerate her. The NKJV translates the verb simply as “allow.” “Therefore to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin,” James 4:17. Here was the position of this church; they had permitted a false prophet entrance, she gained a foothold and garnered a following, and now she was teaching God’s servants (note that this surely indicates saved men and women) to commit fornication and partake of demon worship. The concept of eating something sacrificed to an idol indicates association with that idol, which is a front for demonic activity. This is not what Paul meant when he said eating something sacrificed to an idol is nothing; in fact he diligently warned that if you eat at the table of demons you are partakers with them! See 1st Corinthians 10:18-21.

In essence, this false prophet had led God’s children astray like Balaam in Moab, and these Christians were now impotent. They were out of fellowship, steeped in idolatry and sin, and useless as witnesses to God for the redemption of others or the glory of His bride, the church. Jesus was calling on the church of Thyatira to redress this egregious oversight.

2 comments:

  1. Each of these seven letters define what a particular church needs to experience revival. In each case they need to deal with specific sins. Two churches needed no repentance, just encouragement. All the others had problems that were destroying them spiritually. All are found in modern churches.

    Great post.

    ReplyDelete

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