The Seven churches Part I
Verses 1:20 through 2:24
Our last study ended with
Revelation 1:20 and I would like to refresh your
thinking with this verse because it is important
in todays study:
Revelation 1:20 The
mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my
right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is
this: The seven stars are the angels of
the seven churches, and the seven lampstands
are the seven churches.
The imagery used here is
pretty easy to understand. The right hand
of Jesus after His departure from Earth was His
church. This is why the seven angels and the
seven churches are found in His right hand.
The number seven indicates completion,
fullness and perfection. Christianity is
represented as seven candlesticks because the
Church had displaced the nation of Israel as
the light of the world.
You may recall how a
single lampstand seen in Zechariah 4
represented the nation of Israel. After Israel
rejected Jesus, Jesus established His Church. To
ensure its success, Holy Spirit power was given
to believers in Jesus at the Feast of Pentecost
in A.D. 30. This wonderful event (Acts 2)
signaled the inauguration of the Church. The
Christian Church had been selected to be the
trustee of the gospel because
lampstand had been removed and Israels
appointment as trustee of the gospel had been
revoked. This is why Jesus was seen standing among
the seven lampstands (the seven churches).
What about the seven angels?
Because of the Fathers
love for Christ chosen church, the seven angels
(or seven spirits) that stand before the Father
have been assigned to Jesus. They were to carry
out His commands as He directed His church from
Heaven. For the past 2,000 years, the most
powerful angels in Heaven have helped Christians
fulfill their mission and purpose.
The seven messages to the
seven churches are addressed to the seven angels
because they are ministering spirits sent
to serve those who will inherit salvation.
Lets get into an A.D.
Jesus had been gone for
about 65 years when the vision was given to John.
Tradition says that all of the disciples, with
the exception of John, were probably dead. The
apostle Paul had been dead for 30 years. The city
of Jerusalem had been in ruins for 25 years.
There was no central authority for Christians nor
unified Christian organization. There were few
widely respected Christian leaders. As a
religious body, Christianity was fracturing and
With the pioneers of the
Christian movement gone, Christianity was fast
mutating according to the baggage of
its recent converts. Of course, there were more
than seven Christian churches on Earth in A.D.
95. However, the seven churches in Asia Minor
were selected by Jesus because (a) they were
physically close to Patmos so, many copies of
this vision could be sent to them and (b) these
seven churches collectively faced and represented
the problems that all Christian churches
These seven churches in Asia
Minor existed simultaneously and they do not
represent seven periods of church history as
some people claim. They are not prophetic.
They are didactic examples used for the
purpose of illustration.
The seven (a complete
number) churches in Asia Minor were selected
by Jesus to represent the whole of
Christianity at any given time. The point here is
that the words of Jesus to the angels of
the seven churches are timeless. His words
are universal. They are just as applicable
today as they were 2,000 years ago.
The seven messages to the
seven churches are highly important. Heres
why: Every Christian will find himself on one of
the seven churches if you understand their
condition. Your membership in a
particular church is determined according to your
spiritual condition. In other words, If your
experiencing the victory or the problem that
Jesus identified in the church of Ephesus, then
you are a spiritual member of the
church of Ephesus.
If you discover that you
have the same problems experienced in two
churches, then you need to wake up and repent
because you are slipping out of the church of
Christ although your membership at your
local church may be quite honorable!
If after studying the seven
churches you discover that you have all of the
problems associated with six churches, you
need to know that you are no longer a Christian.
You have drifted away from Christ and His church.
I realize these are strong words, but these are
not my words!
Notice that Jesus speaks to
the seven angels assigned to the seven churches instead
of the churches because each angel is
empowered to help members in each church overcome
The Church at Ephesus:
Revelation 2:1 To
the angel (assigned to work with people who have
the Ephesus experience for the next 2,000 years)
of the church in Ephesus write: These are the
words of (Jesus) him who holds the seven stars in
his right hand and walks among the seven golden
Revelation 2:2 I
know your deeds, your hard work and your
perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked
men (in your church), for you have tested
those who claim to be (my) apostles
but are not, and have found them false.
Revelation 2:3 You
have persevered and have endured hardships for my
name, and have not grown weary.
Yet I hold this against you: You have
forsaken your first love.
Revelation 2:5 Remember
the height (of joyous faith and devotion)
from which you have fallen! Repent and (out of
love) do the things you did at first. If you
do not repent, I will come to you and remove your
lampstand from its place (I will abandon you
as I abandoned the nation of Israel).
Revelation 2:6 But
you have this in your favor: You hate the (subtle,
but evil) practices of the Nicolaitans, which
I also hate.
Revelation 2:7 He
who has an ear, let him hear what the
Spirit says to the (seven) churches. To
him that overcomes, I will give the right to
eat from the tree of life, which is in the
paradise of God.
What causes a Christian to
lose his first love for Jesus!
Answer: The resurrection of
the carnal nature.
A transformation of the
heart has occurred when the direction of our love
changes. A Christian loves in an outward direction
whereas a pseudo-Christian loves himself, he
loves in an inward direction. This is a
critical point because every Christian faces two
deadly forces each day that can kill our first
love for Jesus.
Our first enemy is our
carnal nature and the second enemy is the devil.
Our carnal nature is our natural nature. It is a
selfish self-resurrecting monster and it
begs for gratification every day. This
monster within us never stops yelling, make
me first. The devil knows this. Our
carnal nature constantly asserts itself and the
devil preys upon our selfish inclination through
our eyes and ears.
Paul said that he had to put
his carnal nature to death every day. I die
every day I mean that, brothers just as surely as
I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The only way our carnal
nature can be put to death is through Gods
power. He has to give us the power He has
to fill us and renew us with His divine
love every day. When a Christian does not
drink in Gods Word and receive the power of
the Holy Spirit, he loses touch or communion
with God. He loses the marvelous power of agape
love as it evaporates; the power of the carnal
nature becomes stronger.
When a Christian becomes too
busy to meditate and pray about the stressors and
temptations of life, he or she becomes weak in
agape power. We begin to see things subjectively
instead of objectively. Our feelings
become sensitive and we become critical of
others. The carnal nature is mean because it
cares most about self.
Our carnal nature screams
Me wants gratification right
The message sent to Ephesus
is a timeless and universal message from
Jesus to every Christian: If we lose our first
love, we lose Jesus. Jesus said to the Ephesians,
But you have this in your favor: You hate
the practice of the Nicolaitans, which I
Nicolas, of Alexandria,
Egypt, was a very bright philosopher of that time
and he skillfully merged some of Jesus
teachings into the popular philosophies of
Gnosticism. Gnosticism is a philosophy that
displaces the wisdom of God with mysticism.
Gnosticism defines right and wrong, good and evil
through higher human knowledge.
First century A.D. Gnostics
robbed the Word of God of its clarity and
simplicity by treating the Scriptures as though
they were an allegory having shades of
meaning. Because Lucifer is a million times
more intelligent than a human being, they
were able to twist the teachings of Jesus to that
His harsh rebukes and condemning truths about sin
and sinful behavior were softened and disguised.
Even though various schools of thought existed
within Gnosticism, Gnostic philosophy is nothing
more than a series of clever justifications for
godless living and sinful behavior.
Today, Gnosticism is called
moral relevancy. Moral relevancy is a
type of reasoning that is man bases. It
rejects the higher authority of God and even
worse; it diffuses mans accountability
to God and His law. Many so-called Christians
are Gnostics and this is proven by their
reasoning and behavior.
Many Christians reject the
idea that sexual immorality is an abomination to
God. They think God is love, and as such, He
accepts everyone as they are even if we
choose to live in sin. How did this point of view
The devil has diminished the
simplicity of Gods Word. We have come to
the place where a plain thus saith the Lord
is meaningless. A confused group of some 250
Christian denominations have shown the world that
the Bible is a matter of interpretation.
Therefore, sexual immorality is a matter of
This matter of thinking is
called moral relativism that is, man
interprets what is moral what
is good and evil. We do not know specifically
which philosophies of Nicolas the church at
Ephesus rejected. However, Jesus commended the
church for preventing their subtle invasion.
Jesus closed His remarks to
the church at Ephesus saying, He who has an
ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to
the churches. To him who overcomes, I
will give the right to eat from the tree of
life, which is in the paradise of God.
The phrase He who has
.means there is a message
hidden in His words that most people will not
understand. The hidden message for those who
overcome the loss of their first love is
this: Jesus will enormously reward everyone who
overcomes the temptations and cravings of the
Over comers will be given
the right to eat from the tree of life.
God did not permit Adam and Eve to eat from the
Tree of Life after they sinned because the fruit
of this tree perpetually sustains life. (Genesis
All who have the
right to eat from this tree will be sustained
forever. Even more, the promise indicates that
overcoming the loss of first love is
possible. Through the renewing and indwelling
power of the Holy Spirit, we can limit the
clamor of the carnal nature and keep it
submissive to the spiritual nature that calls for
constant communion with God!
The Church at Smyrna:
Revelation 2:8 To
the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These
are the words of him who is the First and the
Last (the Alpha & Omega), who died and
came to life again. (See Revelation 1:8)
Revelation 2:9 I
know your afflictions and your poverty yet
you are rich! I know the slander of those who
say they are Jews and are not, but
are a synagogue of Satan.
Revelation 2:10 Do
not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I
tell you, the devil will put some of you in
prison to test you, and you will suffer
persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even
to the point of death, and I will give you
the crown of life.
Revelation 2:11 He
who has an ear, let him hear what the
Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes
will not be hurt at all by the second death.
Many first century
Christians were converts from Judaism. Remember,
this message was given to the church in Smyrna in
A.D. 95. As such, Judeo-Christians saw themselves
as the new Israel of God the 12
tribes that had been called out of apostate
James 1:1 James,
a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to
the twelve tribes scattered among the
James 1:2 Consider
it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face
trials of many kinds,
James 1:3 because
you know that the testing of your faith develops
James 2:1 My
brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord
Jesus Christ, dont show favoritism.
However, in Smyrna, a
contest arose between converts. Some Jewish
converts insisted on maintaining certain Jewish
customs. Gentile converts refused. Jesus
recognized the contest between the two Israels
by calling one group, the synagogue of
I know the slander
of those who say they are Jews and are not, but a
synagogue of Satan.
In terms of theology, there
is a world of difference between a synagogue and
a church. A church consists of believers in
Christ whereas a synagogue consists of believers
in Jehovah. (Isnt this an amazing paradox
since Jesus is Jehovah? But, thats another
Jesus well understood the
conflict between Christianity and Judaism for He
had been condemned to death by Jewish
authorities. The conflict in Smyrna was intense
because Christianity declares Judaism obsolete.
The obsolescence of Judaism was a very hard thing
for Jewish converts to accept. To think suddenly
their entire religious system and culture had
been terminated by Jesus.
The differences are
significant and painful. Christians did not have
a high priest on Earth, they did not need animal
sacrifices, they did not need to attend feasts or
participate in temple services, they did not need
circumcision, and they did not need anything that
Judaism offered. This freedom from Judaism was an
endless source of conflict in Smyrna because some
of the Jewish converts wanted to be
Christian and yet observe their Jewish
traditions. (This conflict was so great during
the first century A.D. that God raise up a
brilliant Jew (the apostle Paul) to address the
controversy that came with converting from one
religion to another.)
Next, Jesus identified
Himself to the church at Smyrna as the
First and the Last, who died and came to
life again. Jesus described Himself as
the First and the Last, the One who died
and came to life again because this means
there is nothing that He has not first
experienced. In A.D. 95, Christianity was an illegal
religion in some parts of the Roman Empire.
The evil emperor Domitian (A.D. 81-96) put many
Christians to death before he was murdered.
Then, Nerva (A.D. 96-98)
ascended to Domitians throne but he soon
died within two years of illness. Then, Trajan
(A.D. 98-117) came to power and even though he
did not actively seek out Christians to kill
them, he mandated that if a Christian was to be
found, he must be arrested and executed unless he
immediately renounced his faith.
The ten days of
persecution mentioned by Jesus evidently refers
to an upcoming purge of Christians in Smyrna. Loyalty
tests and purges were frequently used by
Roman governors to maintain control over their
subjects, for no governor wanted to be charged
with treason against Caesar and lose his own
Jesus warned the
Christians in Smyrna of an upcoming purge and He
encouraged them to remain faithful even to
the point of death because those put to
death for His sake would, like Him, come to life
again. Last Jesus added, He who has an ear,
let him hear what the Spirit says to the
churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at
all by the second death (the death that
There is a hidden message of
strength and this phrase. Overcoming the fear of
torture and death in not a normal human
instinct. We instinctively do everything possible
to protect ourselves from harm (that is, after
adolescence). The hidden message that comes
through the Spirit is this: God will give a
martyrs courage when a martyrs
courage is required. In other words,
overcoming the fear of death is possible through
Gods grace because Gods grace is more
powerful than any fear!
So, Jesus said, be
firm in your stand for truth and remain loyal to
me even to the point of death and you will not be
hurt at all by the second death.
This is good news because
the second death is a death for which no martyrs
grace will be given nor will there be any
recovery or resurrection!
Revelation 20 tells us that
at the end of the 1,000 years, all the wicked
will be resurrected to receive Gods
judgment and then will be burned to death. This
coming event is the second death. (Revelation
The Church at Pergamum:
Revelation 2:12 To
the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These
are the words of him who has the (deadly)
sharp, double-edged sword (that comes from His
Revelation 2:13 I
know where you live where Satan has his throne.
Yet you remain true to my name. You did not
renounce your faith in me, even in the days of
Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to
death in your city where Satan lives.
Revelation 2:14 Nevertheless,
I have a few things against you: You have people
there who hold to the (lies) teaching of
Balaam who taught Balak to entice the
Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to
idols and by committing sexual immorality.
Revelation 2:15 Likewise
you also have those who hold to the (lies) teaching
of the Nicolaitans.
Revelation 2:16 Repent
therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and
will fight against them (who teach these
things) with the sword of my mouth.
Revelation 2:17 He
who has an ear, let him hear what the
Spirit says to the churches. To him that
overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna.
I will also give him a white stone with a new
name written upon it, known only to him who
Jesus spoke these words, Pergamum was the
cultural and religious center of Asia. Pergamum
was an old, highly respected city. At one time,
Pergamum had been the Roman capital of Asia.
Worship of the Roman Emperors began at Pergamum.
The city had many pagan temples and Eastern
Mysticism was very popular in Pergamum. Pergamum
was a big city and had a large class of educated
and wealthy people.
message to the church at Pergamum, Jesus twice
said that Satan had his throne in
Pergamum because as a
city, Pergamum was the undisputed queen of false
religion. Pergamum was the ivory tower of false
religion for Asia and naturally, its citizens
hated the followers of Jesus who condemned their
Jesus noted this hatred when
He mentioned the death of faithful Antipas. The
hatred toward Christians explains in part, why
some Christians in Pergamum were willing to make
so many compromises with the devil. The Christian
church at Pergamum had members who saw nothing
wrong with sexual immorality
nor the eating of foods sacrificed to idols.
Jesus referred to Balaam
because Balaam was an Old Testament prophet who
agreed to put a curse on Israel for a tidy sum of
money. However, when Balaam attempted to
speak curses, God put blessing in his mouth
instead. Finally, an exasperated Balaam told King
Balak (the enemy of Israel who had hired Balaam)
that Israel could only be defeated if Israel
offended God. This could be easily done by enticing
the young men of Israel into sexual
hearing this, King Balak invited the young men of
Israel to party. He sent scores of
beautiful whores into Israel bearing gifts and
through them, he enticed the young men of Israel
into eating food offered to idols, and then into
sexual immorality. (Numbers 25) Gods wrath
broke out on Israel and 24,000 Israelites were
killed. Balaam didnt have to kill a single
person. The parallel here is that the devil
brought a truck-load of sexually immoral
people into the church at Pergamum to rob the
church of its Godly connection and thus, its
strength. The devil knows that when our
connection with Jesus is broken through sin, we
have no power to overcome his sophistry. (1
You may recall that the
apostles had imposed four specific rules upon
Gentile converts at the first general conference
of the Christian church in A.D. 49. At the first
meeting the apostle James said, It is my
judgment, therefore, that we should not make it
difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to
God. Instead we should write to them, telling
them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from
sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled
animals and from blood. (Acts 15:19,20)
When Jesus spoke to the
church at Pergamum, He affirmed the Spirit-led
decision of the apostles by threatening to
destroy the sexually immoral church in Pergamum
unless they repented. The words of Jesus are not
fuzzy and they leave no wiggle room. Jesus
forbade sexual immorality and the eating of food
offered to idols. Eating polluted by idols was a
superstitious ritual that was supposed to give
the consumer the powers of the God who had
blessed the food.
Today, this is not a big
problem. But, in ancient times, it was a big
problem. The devil had merged this superstitious
pagan practice wit the words of Jesus to create a
distortion of the Lords Supper. (Keep in
mind that it wasnt necessarily the food
that was the problem, it was the superstitious
beliefs that went with the food that was the
1 Corinthians 8:4)
Jesus was on Earth He said, whoever eats my
flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I
will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh
is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever
eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me,
and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me
and I live because of the Father, so the one who
feeds on me will live because of me. This is the
bread that came down from heaven. Your
forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds
on this bread will live forever. (John
made these remarks within the context of eating
the Passover Feast. The Passover Lamb (the flesh)
eaten at the feast represented the spotless
life that was given up to pay the penalty
fro sin. The wine represented His blood, and the
bread represented His broken body. (Luke 22:19)
the observance of the Lords Supper became
corrupted, mingled with the common practice of
eating foods offered to idols. The devil used
superstition to distort the words of Jesus to
justify eating foods offered to idols. Very
also mentioned that some Christians in Pergamum
had accepted the teaching of Nicholas. This
should come as a surprise because Pergamum was a
very influential center of Gnostic training. The
Gnostics treated Scriptures as though they were
allegorical. In other words, the Gnostics put a
layer of fuzzy logic between the Word
of God and its obvious meaning so ordinary people
could not be confident about the meaning of Gods
Word (that is, it became difficult or impossible
to know right from wrong.).
had been (and continue to be) one of the devils
best tools fro leading Christians astray. How
many times have you heard it said, The
Bible does not mean what it says? Or even
worse, how many times have you heard a Bible
passage quoted out of its context? When lay
people begin to believe the lie that ordinary
people cannot understand Gods Word,
the devil has gained control of the church.
is no substitute for a plain thus saith the
Lord. Jesus was furious with the clergy
in Pergamum because they had accepted the lies of
Nicholas. Leaders who had the respect and trust
of the laymen were leading the laymen astray.
Jesus said, Repent therefore! Otherwise, I
will soon come to you and fight against the
clergy with the
His closing remarks to Pergamum, Jesus offered a
special reward to those who would overcome the
devils deceptions. Jesus said, To him
that overcomes, I will give some of the
hidden manna (pure food), I will also give him a
white stone with a new
name written on it, known only to him who
manna, the food of angels is not available to us.
The term hidden manna probably refers
to the pot of manna that was kept hidden in the
Ark of the Covenant. Unlike ordinary bread, manna
is a perfect food, full of vitality.
white stone Jesus promised will be a very
precious stone indeed because it will have
the inscription of a secret God-given name on it.
This secret name will serve as a password
enabling the over comer to enter into Gods
throne room. Think about it. Every over comer
will be able to enter into Gods awesome
presence to hear truth-full answers to his
this privilege with the Gnostics pursuit of
so-called higher knowledge that leads
to darkness and separation from God. The secret
password on the white stone will open the door to
light and truth. I cannot think of anything
better than having the privilege going before the
Fathers presence to personally ask a few
2:18 To the angel of the church
in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son
of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet
are like burnished
2:19 I know your deeds, your love and
faith, your services and perseverance, and that
you are now doing more than you did at first.
2:20 Nevertheless, I have this
against you: You
tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a
her teachings she misleads my servants into
sexual immorality and the eating of food
sacrificed to idols.
2:21 I have given her time to repent
of her immorality, but she is unwilling.
2:22 So I will cast her on a bed of
suffering, and I
will make those who commit adultery with her suffer
intensely, unless they
repent of her ways.
2:23 I will strike her children dead.
Then all the churches will know
that I am he who searches
hearts and minds, and I will repay each
of you according to your deeds.
2:24 Now I say to the rest of you in
Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching
and have not learned Satans
so-called deep secrets (I
will not impose any other burden on you)!
2:25 Only hold on to what you have
until I come.
2:26 To him who overcomes and does my
will to the end, I will give authority
over the nations
2:27 He will rule them with an
iron scepter, he will dash them to pieces like
pottery- just as I have received authority
from my Father.
2:28 I will give him the morning
2:29 He who has an ear,
let him hear what the
Spirit says to the churches.
spoke to the church members at Thyatira with
words of comfort and condemnation comfort
for the believers who were doing right and the
threat of death, death for those who were doing
wrong. The BIG problem in Thyatira (as in
Pergamum) was sexually immoral leadership.
was angry with church leaders at Thyatira because
they tolerated a woman named Jezebel in their
church! (See also 1 Corinthians 5:11.) The devil
is particularly gratified when an immoral person
holds a position of religious authority because
they can do so much damage to the mission of
Christianity. (See Ezekiel 36:20-23.)
numerous child abuse cause that have recently
surfaced have made this painfully clear. Catholic
priests and in fact, the Catholic Church, have
lost a lot of respect in recent weeks because of
sexual charges. In Thyatiras case, a
prominent woman named Jezebel was leading the
church into evil.
The Jezebel in Thyatira should not be
confused with Jezebel, the rebellious wife of
King Ahab who lived about a thousand years
in Thyatira must have been a very bright and
capable woman. She called herself a
prophetess, but she was
not a prophetess of Jesus. She prostituted the
teachings of Jesus by leading others to do the
very things that Jesus condemned! She justified
sexual immorality through Gnostic logic and
philosophy. Jezebel taught that sex was not
limited to the confines of marriage and she
freely engaged in sexual activities, herself.
also endorsed the popular belief that eating
flesh offered to idols insured the blessings of
those Gods to whom the meat was offered. The
bible does not reveal everything that Jezebel
taught, but we can determine why Jezebel was
successful in a Christian church!
promoted and endorsed ideas that gratified the
sensual passions of carnal members. It is amazing
what lay people will do (or not do) when someone
presuming to speak for God defines right and
wrong for them! In many cases, it seems as though
the Bible does not even exist. For example, after
the founder of the Worldwide Church of God,
Herbert W. Armstrong died in the early 1990s
his successor informed the church that several
moiré doctrines of the church were wrong.
just a few months, most of the lay members agreed
and the church imploded. Today, Armstrongs
church has all but disappeared. How could this
happen? Were the members of the Worldwide Church
of God following a religious leader or the
teachings of Jesus? Did the Bible suddenly change
when Mr. Armstrong died? (Incidentally, the
implosion of the Worldwide Church of God
parallels the coming experience of all religious
systems during the Great Tribulation. God is
about to separate people who love truth from
those who play follow the leader.)
skillfully merged contemporary pagan thinking and
practice with Christian ideals. This made the
threshold for Christian converts so low that
pagans could join the church at Thyatira without
having to give up their pagan ways! This is
an area where Christians have particular
vulnerability. In fact, many Christians today
teach that Jesus will unconditionally accept
any person that believes in Him. This
understanding is false because it is not
completely true. (Ezekiel 14:6-8)
Bible does teach that Jesus will
unconditionally accept any repentant sinner
that comes to Him IF the sinner is repentant. A
repentant sinner is a sinner who is deeply
sorrowful for his sin. A repentant sinner will
(a) loath the sin and (b) do whatever is humanly
possible to make it right and (c)
will cease from repeating the sin again.
devil believes there is a God and he trembles,
but he has not stopped doing evil nor repented of
his evil deeds. (James 2:19) Because Jezebel
lowered the threshold into the church of
Thyatira, church members were not required to
forsake their pagan ways. Thus, false teachings
found little resistance and lower standards of
behavior allowed the church to grow and prosper.
Membership swelled and the church was packed, but
the church did not grow in sanctification. The
members in Thyatira became more like the devil
instead of becoming more like Jesus.
condemned Jezebel for using the mysteries
of religion (Satans so-called dark
secrets or superstitions) to manipulate and
control an uninformed laity. The mysteries
of religion is a catchall phrase that
describes many meaningless rituals and traditions
(I call it religious bamboozle).
leaders have used religious bamboozle for
millenniums to sway and control the laity.
Invariably, television documentaries about
primitive tribes show a witch doctor conducting a
meaningless, but grossly expensive ritual to
invoke the blessings of the tribal gods.
not laugh at the poor heathen; similar rituals
occur in Christianity today. For varied reasons,
lay people do not study their Bible to understand
Gods truth for themselves and they end up
playing follow the leader. Since
religious bamboozle does not make any sense to
the laity, this lack of understanding makes the
mysteries of religion sacred and beyond question.
is so sad. Religious leaders have exerted
authority and dominion over their subjects for
thousands of years using religious bamboozle and
Jezebel was no exception. Jesus condemned Jezebel
for four reasons:
She led others to commit sexual immorality;
She led others to eat food sacrificed to idols;
She was defiant; and
She used bamboozle or Satans deep
had been confronted with her errors, but she
refused to repent and the religious leaders of
the church were unwilling to throw her out of the
church. So, Jesus revealed Jezebels true
condition to the church. Jesus said He would turn
her bed of pleasure into a bed of
also promised to inflict great suffering to her
followers who followed her example. In fact,
Jesus promised to strike her children dead.
Whether the children mentioned in verse 23 were
biological offspring or her spiritual offspring,
the Bible does not say. In either case, Jesus
left no wiggle room: Death to all who participate
in sexual immorality. (See also Colossians 3:5,6
and Revelation 22:15.)
devil is a master of gradualism. In fact, most
people do not perceive his stealthy efforts.
However, over time the separation between truth
and tradition becomes great. Jesus closed His
remarks to the church at Thyatira saying, To
him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I
will give authority over the nations. *
He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will
dash them to pieces like pottery just as I
received authority from my Father. I will also
give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let
him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
This occurs when the saints reign with Christ for
1,000 years. To be discussed when we get to
encouraged the church at Thyatira with two
wonderful promises for those who have ears for
what the Spirit says. First, overcoming sin is
possible through repentance and the indwelling
power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 6) People who
endure and fight the fight of faith will reign
with Jesus! They will share in His awesome
authority and at the appointed time, the redeemed
will sit in judgment on those who harmed them. (1
Corinthians 6:1-3; Revelation 20:4)
Jesus says every overcomer will be given the
Morning Star. The Morning Star is Jesus
Himself. (Revelation 22:16) Jesus offers every
repentant and faithful sinner Himself. Wit Jesus
we receive a God of love, a Savior who was
willing to die in our place, and a Savior who
offers us His perfect righteousness. (Romans
could be better? There is no God like the Father,
Son and Holy Spirit.