Sunday, February 27, 2011

Revelation Chapter Two, Part 8 of 9

2:22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
Here is where we need to carefully follow the moments of the meeting, so to speak. First, note the difference of punishment. Jezebel shall be cast into a bed; a sickbed from which she shall not arise. Paul warns that those who treat sex like a toy receive the punishment “in themselves” which is due, Romans 1:27. Jezebel’s choices will be her demise, and it is God’s will that it be so since she did not repent.

Alternately, Christ’s children whom she misled will not be cast into that same sickbed, but into “great tribulation.” Here is where faulty exegesis finds grounds to place the Christian church (or perhaps the disobedient remnant of it) in the Great Tribulation, the latter half of the seven year judgment upon the earth. Yet this flies in the face of clear passages of Scripture which states the like:

Jesus…delivers us from the wrath to come,” 1st Thessalonians 1:10.

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,” 1st Thessalonians 5:9.
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life,” John 5:24.

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him,” Romans 5:9.

Clearly the great tribulation mentioned in this verse does not refer to the time of testing upon the entire earth, but what Peter describes in one of his epistles: “For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God,” 1st Peter 2:20. These Christians were about to be buffeted for their faults as God’s chastening hand lay heavy upon them. Yet it is no heavier than they need and God wishes; for He loves them and wants them to repent and be restored to fellowship with Him.

2:23 all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts
Only God knows the minds and hearts of men, Jeremiah 17:9-10; 1st Samuel 16:7. Therefore Jesus was discreetly reminding Thyatira that He is God who sees into men and weighs both their works and the motives that energize them.

2:23 and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
Now unless one can prove out of the Bible that salvation is a work, then this passage is not referring to retention or loss of eternal life. One does not work to maintain eternal life; therefore one’s works, whether done in the flesh or done in the Spirit, do not affect a believer’s position in Christ. God deals with His saints in a different manner than the judgment He intends to mete out on a godless, Christ-rejecting world. We may lose fellowship for grieving the Holy Spirit of God. We may also in that instance lose the joy of our salvation, Psalm 51:12.

Yet it is a far cry from beseeching God to restore the joy of our salvation and to come to Him for cleansing so that we might again be renewed unto fellowship with Him (1st John 1:7, 9) then beseeching Him not to remove our eternal life from us. The Holy Spirit admonishes such who think this way that they are immature, since they openly fear and perfect (mature) love casts out such fear of punishment, 1st John 4:18.

The works referred to for believers will be weighed at the judgment seat of Jesus Christ. Paul writes: “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire,” 1st Corinthians 3:11-15. Elsewhere we read “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God,” Romans 14:10-12.

Unbelievers will have their works assessed at the Great White Throne before they are cast into the Lake of Fire, Revelation 20:11-15. In both cases, believers and unbelievers are separated on the basis of whether or not they believed on Jesus Christ for eternal life. In the former case, believers will stand before the judgment seat. In the latter case, the ungodly will stand before God’s throne to be judged. The basis for a believer’s rewards will be determined by their works. The severity of an unbeliever’s torment will be determined by their works and how much light (knowledge) they are given; see Matthew 11:20-24 for an example.

2:24 But unto you I say
Here is a poignant reminder of the intimacy of the letters being addressed presently. For each church the admonition begins with “the angel of the church in…” It is a personal admonition to the shepherd of the flock that Christ has left in charge, to feed the flock and lead them to the living water; to pastor their flock in faithful love to their God and Savior. Paul exhorted Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it,” Colossians 4:17. Peter also wrote, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away,” 1st Peter 5:2-4.

Unto you, the pastors and leaders the Holy Spirit has raised up, God has said that if you execute your office faithfully you shall receive the crown of glory, another reward for obedience unto God and faith toward Christ that the sanctified saint will receive in Heaven for service rendered. We have already seen the crown of life, which is the martyr’s crown for those who are called upon to testify of Jesus Christ and the resurrection even unto death, Revelation 2:10; now our Lord continues to inform the pastors left in charge of each such church presently addressed: I say unto you specifically, especially, personally; I say unto you to watch this flock, care for this flock, teach this flock in humility and honesty, serving each saint as you would serve Christ Himself. Would a faithful, God-fearing, Spirit-filled pastor today allow a Jezebel to approach and pervert the person of Jesus Christ? Then neither should he allow such a one to touch even the slightest saint of God. “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment,” James 3:1.

2:24 known the depths of Satan
There is a sinister intimation here. Read a similar passage in which Paul speaks about a believer knowing God’s will and wisdom: “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God,” 1st Corinthians 2:10-11. To know the “deep things” of God requires an intimate relationship with Him through the Holy Spirit, who reveals to us God’s character, will, and wisdom through the written word. To parallel, the “deep things” of Satan must require a similar volitional relationship with the one who is revealing such things. This is not simple worldliness, ignorant idol-worship or fallen human nature; this is deliberate Satanic worship of Lucifer, the greatest of God’s angels who rebelled against his Maker and has since been vying to replace Him in the hearts of men as a rival suitor. There, within the church of Thyatira, such willful worship of the Devil was being practiced. Jesus associates the depths of Satan (NKJV) with a specific doctrine—one that links this prophetess Jezebel to her true master: Lucifer.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you Ian... I am really enjoying the insights that you reflect in your study of Revelations. Blessings my friend. Lloyd

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great point that each of these letters are to the pastors or leaders of the church. They have the primary responsibility for directing the church. The individuals will be personally accountable, but the leaders are responsible for where they have led. Great job.

    ReplyDelete

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