November 28, 2010
I greet you once again in the Name of Jesus!
I apologize for the length of time between posts. This is a hectic time of year, and time kind of has gotten away from me.
We are currently in a series of course in the Apocalypse, the book of Revelation. At the risk of being too repetitive, the book of Revelation is divided into three parts. Understanding this fact is really the key to understanding the book. The Lord Jesus instructed John, Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter. [Rev. 1:19 KJV] Again, the things which John had seen had to do with the vision of the resurrected, glorified Christ, and was revealed in chapter 1. The things which “are” concerned the letters to the seven churches in Asia Minor and is covered in chapter 2, 3. We are of course examining that portion presently. The third division of the book is the longest, and covers the events that will occur after the close of the Church Age. These events are covered in chapters 4 – 22. The vast majority of the book of Revelation is yet future.
This week we turn to the letter to the church at Thyatira. This is the longest of the letters. If one were to to travel forty miles East of Pergamos, you would come to the city of Thyatira. It corresponds to the establishment of the Papal Church, which began in approximately 500 A.D., and continues to the present hour. It is interesting that this letter follows the one to Pergamos, which represented compromise and the “marriage” of the Church to the State, and the marriage of the Church and paganism. In Thyatira we have an invasion of false doctrine and the ensuing corruption. False doctrine and corruption always go hand in hand.
It is interesting to note that this town was once named, Semiramis. Why is this important? Semiramis was the consort of Nimrod, who was the first world dictator and the Father of false religion and pagan worship. The spirit of Nimrod will return in these last of the Last Days in the person of the Man of sin, the Antichrist. John wrote in his introduction to this church,
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; 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. [Rev. 2:18, 19 KJV] There was an awful lot right about this church. They were doing some good things in their service of the Lord. They were commended for their works, charity (love), service , faith, and their patience. Patience would seem to indicate that this church had experienced its share of persecution. There were some very definite, very serious issues within this church however. Jesus continues,
Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, 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. [Rev. 2:20 KJV] This church was facing judgment for two things: 1) Sexual immorality, 2) spiritual fornication (idol worship). Both were being promulgated by a woman in the Thyatira congregation that proclaimed herself to be a “prophetess”. She claimed, in other words, divine authority for the false doctrine she was espousing in this church. I find it interesting that this woman claimed the prophetic office. She was part of an ancient, “prophetic movement” in the Church.
We have a modern “Prophetic movement” in the Church today. Like this ancient prophetic movement, the modern prophetic movement is plagued with false prophets, erroneous, damnable doctrines, lying signs and wonders, demonic manifestations claiming to be of the Holy Spirit, and much impurity. Even though much of this movement claims to be a harbinger of revival, it is rather a hindrance to true revival coming to the earth. Why? Because the Holy Spirit never works in concert with a lie. Please understand, I believe in signs and wonders, miracles, and the true operation of the Holy Spirit; however I vehemently oppose the false masquerading as the true! Jesus had to come as judge to this church due to the fact of their aiding and abetting false doctrine. This will make Him come as judge today of any church guilty of doing the same thing. Church, we had better get our ducks in a row! We cannot hide behind our unscriptual doctrines while feigning ignorance any longer! The Redeemer is coming to Zion as in Malachi, and He is coming as a refiner’s fire and a purifier of silver! Some churches will have their “candles” removed unless they repent. The Chief Shepherd will not tolerate the abuse of His precious sheep much longer.
The spiritual condition of the church in Thyatira was abysmal. “Jezebel” here is another of the many allusions to the Old Testament found in this book. Jezebel was a wicked Queen of Israel. She and her husband, Ahab were the “Bill and Hillary” of their day, if I may be so blunt. Jezebel of old introduced idol worship in Israel. False worship, it should be noted, is always a form of spiritual fornication. After the standoff between Elijah and the priests of Jezebel on Mt. Carmel, Elijah slaughtered the false priests. John continues,
And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. [Rev. 2:21 – 23 KJV]
In other words, this Jezebel and all of her followers were going to face severe judgment from the Lord. They were given “space” or time to repent. God in His infinite mercy did not want to judge these people. He rather desired that they repent and get back into fellowship with Him. Sadly, this did not occur and judgment came to this church. Many different theories have been put forth as to the identity of this Jezebel. Some have suggested that her name was indeed Jezebel. Others have stated that she was the Pastor’s wife. None of this can be substantiated by scripture. I submit to to you that she was rather Jezebel like, or one could say was of a Jezebel “spirit”. There have been many who have come forth in recent years to expose this growing problem in our churches. This invasion of fleshly manipulation and control that has attacked Pastors and leadership in this hour has reached pandemic proportions. I am not being melodramatic here, rather I am speaking from experience.
I find it interesting that Jezebel is found in the church of Thyatira. This church corresponds historically to the period from 500 A.D. to the present hour. The Jezebel spirit began to manifest in the beginning of the Papal system with the worship of Mary as the “Queen of Heaven” and co-mediatrix with Christ. This was a pagan belief, and opened the door, if you will, for this fleshly manipulation and control to come into the church; and again, it continues to this day. I have personally encountered this spirit and I can tell you it can operate in either men or women. I feel impressed of the Holy Spirit to share with you the characteristics of the Jezebel spirit, so that you would not have to learn these things the hard way as I did. I did not have the information that I will share here at my disposal at the time I encountered these things. This information can be found in the Revelation study syllabus I have prepared. (Incidentally, if anyone would like a copy of the full study syllabus, let me know and I would be happy to e-mail you a copy)
Characteristics Of A Jezebel Spirit:
1. Hates authority.
Hates all authority over it. Will undermine, usurp and rebel against authority figures. Loves
to be honored but honors no one.
They are submissive only to get control. They hate people they can not control and will work
at getting rid of them if they can’t intimidate them. Will threaten, manipulate, discourage, and
entice to get control.
Don’t think that giving them one area will please them. They will keep desiring more and
more control. It is like a drug to them. When they get close in position to the Pastor’s job they
will go after it.
3. They want to control the finances.
Whoever controls the finances, controls the vision. They love to get into this position, and
will lie and deceive to keep you and others thinking they are doing such a good job.
4. They control the flow of the Holy Ghost.
When these people are in the church, the righteousness, peace and joy that should be there
becomes confusion, disharmony and a striving spirit. When they leave, and on the day they
leave, tithes come up, souls are coming back to the Church and God moves mightily.
5. Brings a striving spirit.
Brings a striving spirit into the Church that leads to ministerial burnout. When you go to
these churches, the pastor overworks you and underpays you. They don’t know how to bless
and look after ministry. They are striving all the time for numbers.
6. Drove Elijah to the edge.
It brings accusations and criticisms that makes the leader want to die.
– 4 –
7. It has a hatred for the Pastor’s wife, especially if it’s in a woman.
The word “woman” in Revelation means “wife”. Just as the wife eats with and sleeps with the
husband, so Jezebel wants to eat with and sleep with the man of God. They sometimes put a
death wish on the Pastor’s wife and intimidates them. The wife is often the first to pick this
spirit up in another woman but when she conveys this to her husband, he often dismisses it.
8. Has a spirit of lust that operates through them.
Jezebel was obsessively sensual, and used this to control and manipulate. Her shrines were
known as legalized vice and glamorized lust. She promoted prostitution and infidelity.
Please read through this list. You may have already experienced some of these things. You cannot tolerate this spirit if it begins to operate in your church. It must be driven out! It is also possible that a Jezebel or two may be reading these words. If so, you are probably offended and angry. I tell you on the authority of God’s Word that you had better repent and get right with God, or else you will face severe judgment.
Notice if you will, verse 23. John wrote, And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. [Rev. 2:23 KJV] This church was about 40 years old when John wrote this book. This woman’s teaching had produced a second generation within this church that advocated the same debauchery. It was a deplorable situation to say the very least.
John continues, But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. [Rev. 2:24, 25 KJV] There was a faithful remnant in this assembly. This faithful remnant had not been initiated into the secret doctrines and rites of Jezebel, also known as, the depths of Satan. There was no other burden to be placed upon this group until the Lord comes, other than to hold fast to the truth.
Look at the promise to the overcomer in verses 26 – 28. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. [Rev. 2:26 – 28 KJV] The reward for the overcomer, the one who does not buy into the corruption of Jezebel, will be to reign with Christ in the Millennium. All sin and rebellion will be swiftly punished. The Lord also promised to give the overcomer the Morning Star. We know that Jesus is the Bright and morning star. [Rev. 22:16] Just as the morning star appears in the heavens right before the sun rises, so Christ will appear as the morning star to rapture His Church prior to appearing as the Sun of Righteousness to reign over the earth. Thus, the overcomer is promised a part in the rapture. He does not earn it by his works, but his works demonstrate the reality of his faith. Because he is genuinely saved, he will be given the Morning Star.
Lastly, notice verse 29. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. [Rev. 2:29 KJV] We see a change in the pattern of writing here. In this and the next three letters, “He who has an ear, let him hear… “ follows the promise to the overcomer, rather than preceding it, as had been the pattern in the previous letters. This may indicate that from this point on, only those who overcome are expected to have an ear to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
There was a lot to digest here. We will pick up with chapter 3 next time and the letter to the church in Sardis.
The Weekly Word is found in Revelation 3:1 – 6. Here the Bible says,
And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. [Rev. 3:1 – 6 KJV]
Until next time, this is THE WEEKLY WORD.
Pastor Kevin E. Johnson