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Thyatira – Spiritual Warfare

/ World of the Bible

030824PM Stones-21 Sardis

WTB-55
THYATIRA:
ARE YOU DRESSED FOR BATTLE?
Watch out there are deadly missles
headed your way!

 

Above the softness of our blue green planet there are hostile forces poised. They range across space lurking and flying about at their master’s bidding. They are former angels. They are Satan the Dragon’s army. They are deadly, vile, malignant and very intelligent. In fact, the word demon in Greek means “intelligence”.
These aliens to our planet are highly skilled, incredibly powerful, usually invisible – warriors. They can hear us talk, they can pass through walls, they can fly through space, they inhabit human and animal bodies, they alter human behavior, they afflict humans with disease, anguish and turmoil.

These extra-terrestrial beings can take on various forms looking human, looking powerful, looking fearsome. They are watching over the realm of the serpent and his seed. You see, we saints of God are at war this evening. There is a conflict going on the likes of which most of us haven’t fully comprehended.

 

Swirling around us the unseen beings of the spirit world are locked in mortal combat. Behind the scenes in every boardroom, political planning session, military strategy session, classroom, worship service and everywhere else, these unseen spirits watch, listen and whisper their lies. It is the battle for the Earth that rages. The god of this world has dispatched his demon warriors with one target, blind the minds of earth’s inhabitants until they can’t see and won’t follow – God !

 

What are their arrows? They shoot to deaden our senses, enflame our desires, deceive our minds, short circuit our consciences and deafen our ears to God’s Word!

 

Please stand as we read together Ephesians 6.10-18

HOW DO WE RESIST SATAN?

 

  1. stay CLOTHED WITH POWER THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT Luke 24:49 “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
  2. keep wearing THE NEW YOU. Ephesians 4:24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
  3. always WEAR OUR armor OF light. Romans 13:12 The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
  4. WEAR JESUS and neglect lust. Romans 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
  5. walk in the light. I Thessalonians 5:5-8 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness;6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.7 For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night.8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.
  6. we must WEAR ALL THE ARMOR ALL THE TIME Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. As Rome declined Gibbon said they complained and laid aside armor as heavy.
  • “Put It On” Resisting the devil is not a matter of speaking to him or rebuking him. Scripture clearly describes the armor we are to use in battle, and it consists of divine provisions we are to rely on.  In Eph. 6:11 and 13, Paul puts it in this way: “Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil….Take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”  “Full armor” means every piece issued is essential.
  • “If you[1] are to be a soldier in this army, if you are to fight victoriously in this crusade, you have to put on the entire equipment given to you. That is a rule in any army….  And that is infinitely more true in this spiritual realm and warfare with which we are concerned…because your understanding is inadequate.  It is God alone who knows your enemy, and He knows exactly the provision that is essential to you if you are to continue standing.  Every single part and portion of this armor is absolutely essential; and the first thing you have to learn is that you are not in a position to pick and choose”
  1. WEARING THE ARMOR IS CHRISTLIKENESS. Colossians 3:12 And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;

 

 

EXHORTATION:
MODERN-DAY CONTACTS

 

  1. AMUSEMENTS to avoid
  • Movies that follow the theme of Satan and his demons.
  • Television programs dealing with the occult.
  • Music that popularizes demonic activities.
  • Plays promoting contact with demons.
  1. GAMES which encourage contact with demons and their related activities should be avoided and burned! (This is the scriptural method of with such things.)
  2. The feeding of one’s mind on the lewd information and photographs so widely and easily available gives a ground of entrance for the demons of sensuality.
  3. ACTUAL OCCUITIC PRACTICE A list of those things which bring with them demonic contact: black magic, astrology, fetishes and talismans, fortune-telling, seance meetings, witchcraft, palmistry, spiritism, ESP (extra-sensory perception), pictures of witches and occult propaganda, voodoo dolls, candles with occult significance, incense, excessive superstition, religious practices that highlight the emotional, cults, Satan worship, tarot cards, ouija boards, crystal balls, black cubes and related occult practices.

 

DEFENSES

AGAINST DEMONS

 

  1. CONFESSION OF JESUS CHRIST AS PERSONAL LORD AND SAVIOR. Full deliverance comes only through personally claiming His blood and His victory at Calvary on your behalf
  • John 12:46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.
  1. CANCELLATION OF ALL OCCULT/DEMONIC PRACTICES. Name the sin specifically and burn every trace of any tangible paraphernalia.  A total removal and destruction is the only cancellation that God accepts.
  • Acts 19:11-20 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. 13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. 14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? 16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. 19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed. (KJV)

The Equipment (vv. 14-18)

Spiritual bootcamp

equipment

 

In verses 14-17 is a list of the combat equipment that the Holy Spirit issues to every believer at the moment of salvation. By faith and obedient experience we find Christ is:

 

  1. Defensive Equipment (vv. 14-17a)
    1. Belt of Truth. Implement of battle hung from the belt which held the soldier’s robe together.  This means “honesty,” “truthfulness,” “integrity,” and “sincerity.” — Duplicity brings defeat!. we wear his Truth is the belt of truthfulness. John 14:6 Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Christ, saturates us with word of God and it becomes part of our very life.
    2. Breastplate of Righteousness. This was a heavy piece of armor that completely enclosed the body.  This means personal, daily righteousness maintained by confession of sin. — Impurity will bring defeat!. we wear his Righteousness
      1. 1 Corinthians 1:30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,
      2. 2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. This armor is imputed righteousness. It is Jesus Christ, not ours but  His righteousness.
    3. Shoes of Peace. Soles of the soldier were impregnated with heavy, spike-like hobnails which gave him a good footing.  This carries with it the idea of “readiness” or “peace of mind” — Anxiety brings defeat!  we wear his Peace Ephesians 2:14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,
    4. Shield of Faith. It was a portable door which the soldier hid behind.  The shield served as the buffer from the flaming darts of the enemy.  Faith extinguishes all the flaming missiles of the evil one. — Doubt brings defeat!
    5. Helmet of Salvation. The meaning of the helmet is assurance of salvation. — Lack of assurance brings defeat! we wear his Salvation Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

  1. Offensive Equipment (vv. 17b, 18)
    1. Sword of the Spirit. Memorizing the Scripture is essential to effectiveness in battle. we wear his Word   the sword of the Spirit is letting His Word dwell in us. Colossians 3:16-17 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
    2. This includes petition at all times for others as well as yourself.
    3. The good soldier must be ever alert.

 

MODERN EXAMPLES FOR US

 

 

  • PAUL – USE THE WEAPONS. Ephesians 6.10-17 This spiritual weaponry is not man-made, for Paul wrote: Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.  We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:3-5).
  • PETER – LIVE HUMBLY  1st Peter 5.5-11
  • JOHN – LIVE HOLY 1st John 3.7-9
  • JESUS – USE THE WORD Matthew 4 (God’s Word works, Jesus even used the Old Testament to defeat the Devil!)

 

The attack  was temptation to sin. In the Gospels we have Satan tempting Christ. The 40 days were filled with a spiritual struggle. The climax of Satan’s attack is given in Matthew and Luke 4. In Matthew 4 we have the chronological order.

 

  1. Physical Attack: Stones to bread was literally Satan saying will you fulfil your legitimate desires in an illegitimate way. Therefore Christ shows us we need to totally depend on God’s provision.
    1. Christ’s APPETITEs were targeted, His human Desire to Enjoy (Mt. 4:2-4; Luke. 4:2-4; I John 2:16 ‘lust flesh’.
      1. In the Bread into stones temptation Satan attacks Christ at the point of submission to the will of God. Would Christ submit and obey the Father at all costs or not.
      2. This attack was the temptation to satisfy a legitimate desire by illegitimate means. This is the whole realm of sensual things, drugs, and alcohol. Trying to get what only God can give. Filling that God shaped vacuum in our lives with pleasure over worship.
      3. Therefore Christ shows us we need to totally depend on God’s provision.
    2. Christ’s ANSWER: Deuteronomy 8:3 “So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every [word] that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD. (NKJV)
  2. Mental Attack: Cast self down was literally Satan saying will you produce spiritual results in an unspiritual way. Therefore Christ shows us we need to totally depend on God’s timing.
    1. Christ’s AMBITIONs were targeted, His human Desire to Achieve 4:5-6;  Luke. 4:9-11; I John 2:16 ‘pride of life’.
      1. In the jump temptation the Devil was attacking Christ and His reliance upon God and His timing. Stunts, dazzling displays and presumption are all contrary to God’s plan.
      2. This attack was according to J. Oswald Sanders the temptation to produce spiritual results in an unspiritual way. This is the whole realm of rivalry, externalism, pride, haughtiness and self-reliance.
    2. THE ANSWER: Deuteronomy 6:16 You must not provoke him and try his patience as you did when you complained against him at Massah. Therefore Christ shows us we need to totally depend on God’s timing.
  • Spiritual Attack: Bow down was literally Satan saying will you obtain lawful heritage unlawfully. Therefore Christ shows us we need to totally depend on God’s method.
    1. Christ’s values were targeted, His human The Desire to Obtain Matthew 4:8-11; Luke 4:5-7; I John 2:16 ‘lust of eyes’ In the bow down temptation the Devil was offering the possibility of Christ circumventing the Cross and Calvary.
      1. This was the escape pain and suffering route. Again this was the temptation to obtain a godly heritage in an ungodly way!
      2. This is the whole realm of materialism, greed, possessiveness, trust in riches and worldliness.
    2. THE ANSWER: Deuteronomy 6:13 “You shall fear the LORD your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name. (NKJV). Therefore Christ shows us we need to totally depend on God’s method.

 

The perfect Answer of Christ to Temptation

 

  • His answer was Simple: Christ used a simple method when facing temptation: His response was not clever, novel or sophisticated. Even a child could understand exactly what He said.

 

  • His answer was Scriptural: Christ used a scriptural method when facing temptation: For each temptation He had discovered an appropriate Scripture. For each temptation He quoted an appropriate Scripture.

 

  • His answer was Successful: In relation to Christ = TOTAL TRIUMPH He is absolutely seen as pure and empowered by the Spirit. He goes on in ministry enables and strengthened. In relation to Satan = TOTAL DEFEAT he is absolutely exposed as being in line for his final defeat and destruction in the lake of fire forever. In relation to Believers = TOTAL ASSURANCE because x met and conquered Satan, through Jesus we are more than conquerors. No temptation but God is able to give us an exit!

 

What was the path to victory? Quote Scripture like Jesus! Use the Word (that’s what Christ did). He planned and prepared. Note the 1st word Christ spoke “Man shall not…” this is an insight into the most powerful truth in this passage: JESUS MET AND MASTERED SATAN AS A MAN!  He did not face him as God’s Son that would not have been a match. Jesus met Satan with the same two, and the only two resources we have – the Word of God and the Spirit of God. If the Word of God is hidden in our hearts we will say with the Psalmist (119:9-11) how can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! 11 Your word I have hidden in my heart,  that I might not sin against You! (NKJV)

 

So Jesus did not zap Satan with His deity, He flattened him with totally obedient humanity. Now we know Jesus had no evil desires Satan could attach to (John 14:30) “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. NKJV. But the real battleground of the devil is our will. Jesus had already proclaimed His life’s direction as DOING THE WILL OF God and not his own (Hebrews 10:7, 9) Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come— In the volume of the book it is written of Me— To do Your will, O God.’ ” then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. NKJV. Doing God’s will is another way of saying Walk in the Spirit.

 

Jonathan Edwards, one of the great preachers of early American history, once made this resolution:  “Resolved, Never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.”

 

 

They had a problem with sin

 

Thyatira
The Peril of Compromise

What, then, was the problem in Thyatira? We know less about Thyatira than about any other of the seven cities and are, therefore, seriously handicapped in trying to reconstruct the situation. The one thing we do know is that it was a great commercial centre, specially of the dyeing industry and of the trade in woollen goods. It was from Thyatira that Lydia, the seller or purple, came (Acts 16:14).

  • From inscriptions discovered we learn that it had an extraordinary number of trade guilds. These were associations for mutual profit and pleasure of people employed in certain trades. There were guilds of workers in wool, leather, linen and bronze, makers of outer garments, dyers, potters, bakers and slave-dealers.
  • Here, we think, was the problem of the Church in Thyatira. To refuse to join one of these guilds would be much the same as to refuse to join a trade union today. It would mean to give up all prospect of commercial existence. Why should a Christian not join one of these guilds? They held common meals. These would very often be held in a temple and even if not, they would begin and end with a formal sacrifice to the gods, and the meat eaten would be meat which had already been offered to idols. Further, it often happened that these communal meals were occasions of drunken revelry and slack morality. Was it possible for a Christian to be part of such occasions?
  • Here was the problem at Thyatira; the threat came from inside the Church. There was a strong movement, led by the woman addressed as Jezebel, which pled for compromise with the world’s standards in the interests of business and commercial prosperity, maintaining, no doubt, that the Holy Spirit could preserve them from any harm. The answer of the Risen Christ is unequivocal. With such things the Christian must have nothing to do.

 

  • One of the great problems of the Christian Church was that of meat offered to idols and it was one which met the Christian every day. When a man made a sacrifice in a Greek temple, very little of the meat was burned on the altar. Sometimes all that was actually burned was a few hairs cut from the forehead of the animal. The priests received a share of the meat of the animal as their perquisite; and the worshipper received the rest. With it he did one of two things. He might hold a feast of his friends within the temple precincts. A common form of invitation to a festal meal ran: “I invite you to dine with me at the table of our Lord Serapis.” Or he might take the meat home and hold a feast in his own house. Here was the Christian problem. Could a Christian, in a temple or anywhere else, eat meat which had been consecrated to idols? Paul discusses this very problem in 1 Corinthians 8–10.
  • The problem was complicated by the fact that even the meat in butchers’ shops might well have been offered to idols previously. The priests in the temples could not possibly consume all the meat which fell to them and therefore, sold much of their share to the butchers’ shops. Such meat was the best meat. What was a Christian going to do about that? The Church had no doubt as to where a Christian’s duty lay. Abstention from things offered to idols was one of the conditions on which the Gentiles received the right of entry into the Christian Church (Acts 15:29).
  • The prohibition of meat offered to idols had one far-reaching consequence. It came near to cutting off a Christian from all social fellowship with non-Christians; there were few social occasions, and almost no banquets, which he could share with the heathen world. This had another consequence which, as we have already said, we think was at the back of the situation in Thyatira. It meant that the Christian could not join any trade guild for all the guilds had a common meal as a central part of their practice which might well be held in a heathen temple and would largely consist of meat offered to idols. His abstention from guild membership was equivalent to commercial suicide.
  • Here is where Jezebel came in. She urged upon the Christians that there was no need to cut themselves off from society or abstain from the guilds. When she did so, she was not proceeding on grounds of principle but was simply trying to protect her business interests. Jezebel is to be counted amongst those to whom the claims of commercial success speak more loudly than the claims of Christ[2].

 

They needed to See Jesus

 

The letter opens with a description of the Risen Christ which has a threat in it. His eyes are like a flame of fire and his feet like burnished bronze. The description is taken from that of the angelic messenger in Daniel 10:6: “His face was like the appearance of lightning, and his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze.”

  • The flaming eyes must stand for two things, blazing anger against sin and the awful penetration of that gaze which strips the disguises away and sees into a man’s inmost heart.
  • The brazen feet must stand for the immovable power of the Risen Christ. A message which begins like that will certainly be no soothing tranquillizer.

 

Living for jesus

was hard in thyatira

 

Thyatira was renowned for it’s’ trade guilds.   Much like our unions today.  They set prices for labor and sales areas and so on:  Potters, dyers, tanners, bakers, metal workers, textile makers, bronze smiths, slave dealers, leather workers and the rest had their guilds in this town.  Let’s note three things.

 

  1. Trade guilds were compulsory. to be employed in a trade was only via the guild.  It was a closed shop.
  2. Every guild in Thyatira had a patron God or Goddess. Thus, every guild function began with paying homage to that deity by offering–this was the obligatory opening to all meetings which were required to be an artisan/craftsman. Business followed and then the customary banquets known for their sexual freedom.  The cost for the Christian was unmistakable.
  • Ramsay the famed 19th century archaeologist, writes “revelry, license and intoxication marked these pagan religious societies (trade guilds) lounging on dining couches, surrounded by troupes of dancing, singing and slaves…would be fatal to all self-restraining spirits”.  In short, a guild was no place for Christians quitting the union was economic suicide.!!!

 

  1. The third church to whom the Lord sent a letter of warning was at Thyatira, and her problem was toleration of sin. The Lord said to her, “I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond–servants astray, so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols” (Rev. 2:19–20). The church had many good things to commend it, but it became the victim of a false teacher who masqueraded as a teacher of God. She led many of the believers into idol worship and the sexual immorality associated with it, and the church and its leaders tolerated her and her doctrine. Christians still succumb in similar ways. When the things of the world are idolized, as they frequently are even by believers, it is impossible not to be drawn into the moral and spiritual compromises that such idolatry demands. When a person longs to be like the world and insists on aping, he soon will be thinking and acting like it. The Lord does not tolerate sin in His church, and righteousness is not a matter of balancing good things with bad. Thyatira’s good list was longer than her bad, but that did not protect her from judgment. The Lord had given her ample time to repent, and when she refused, He said, “Behold, I will cast her upon a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. And I will kill her children with pestilence; and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds” (Rev. 2:22–23). The bed of vice would be turned into a bed of death for all who remained in the sin, and other churches would be warned by the judgment on those believers. Many churches are afraid to deal with known sin in their midst. They do not want to confront members with their immorality or unbiblical ideas, for fear of losing those members or of being called prudish, old fashioned, or unloving. But love does not wink at sin and never condones wickedness and unrighteousness (1 Cor. 13:6). The Lord’s judgment was only on those church members involved in the idolatry and immorality. To the faithful ones Jesus said, “I place no other burden on you. Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come” (Rev. 2:24–25). In other words,Jesus warned, even the most faithful believers are never beyond danger until they are one day with the Lord. Until that day—whether it comes by death or the Lord’s return—the exhortation is to “hold fast” to Christ and the standards of His Word.

 

The pattern of regression in the five churches is clear: from loss of first love for Christ, to compromise with the world, to tolerance of sin, to contentment with programs and activities, to satisfaction with possessions and self. The adversary attacks the whole church in this fashion by tempting individuals in the church to fall into such sins. There is no attack on the purity and holiness of the church that is not a personal attack on the people within that congregation. This attack can be seen in the experience of Peter (Luke 22:31–32; 1 Pet. 5:8) and of Paul (2 Cor. 12:7; 1 Thess. 2:18). No believer is exempt.

Recognizing Satan’s schemes, Paul closes his letter to Ephesus by giving his brothers and sisters there both encouragement and warning, much as Jesus did in His letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor over 30 years later. In 6:10–13 the apostle outlines the necessary information in regard to the preparation, the armor, the enemy, the battle, and the victory of the believer’s warfare.[3]

 

Of all the seven letters this is the most enigmatic. Our trouble is that we have so little definite information about Thyatira and we are presented with a series of four questions—What was the situation of the Church in Thyatira? Who was Jezebel? What did she teach? What do the promises made to the Church at Thyatira mean?

  • The letter goes on to terms of the highest praise. The love and loyalty and service and endurance of the Church at Thyatira are matters for congratulation. We must note how these great qualities go in pairs. Service is the outcome of love and patient endurance the product of loyalty.
  • Then comes the condemnation of the woman Jezebel and all her ways and teaching; and one can hardly avoid the conclusion that she had very considerable influence in the Church at Thyatira.
  • The necessary conclusion seems to be this. On the surface the Church at Thyatira was strong and flourishing. If a stranger went into it, he would be impressed with its abounding energy and its generous liberality and its apparent steadfastness. For all that, there was something essential missing. Here is a warning. A church which is crowded with people and which is a hive of energy is not necessarily a real Church. It is possible for a Church to be crowded because its people came to be entertained instead of instructed, and to be soothed instead of confronted with the fact of sin and the offer of salvation; it may be a highly successful Christian club rather than a real Christian congregation.

 

The other part of Jezebel’s teaching is not so clear. She is said to teach the people to commit fornication (verse 20); she is urged to repent from her fornication (verse 21); and her paramours and her children are threatened along with her (verses 22, 23). Is this reference to be taken literally or in the metaphorical sense which is so common in Scripture to sexual immorality or to spiritual infidelity?

  • There is no doubt that in Scripture infidelity to God is expressed in terms of fornication and adultery. Israel is the Bride of God (Isaiah 54:5; Jeremiah 3:20); and in the New Testament the Church is the Bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:1, 2; Ephesians 5:24–28). Again and again in the Old Testament the Israelites are, therefore, said to “play the harlot after strange gods” (Exodus 34:15, 16; Deuteronomy 31:16; Hosea 9:1). In the New Testament the age which is unfaithful to Jesus Christ is an “evil and adulterous generation” (Matthew 12:39; 16:4; Mark 8:38). Is the fornication which Jezebel’s teaching inculcated a spiritual infidelity to Jesus Christ? If that is the meaning, her paramours (verse 22) will be those who are flirting with this kind of teaching and her children (verse 23) those who have accepted it.
  • It may well be that the teaching of Jezebel was that the Christians did not need to be so exclusive in their worship of Jesus Christ and, above all, that there was no need for them to refuse to say, “Caesar is Lord,” and to burn their pinch of incense. If the Christian Church as a whole had accepted that form of teaching, the inevitable consequence would have been that Christianity would have become nothing more than still another of those religions of which the Roman Empire was so full. The claim of Christianity is not that Jesus Christ is one of the Saviors nor even the chief of Saviors; but that he is the only Savior.
  • It seems to us that in this case all the threads tie up and there is no necessity to make a choice between views. All the probability is that Jezebel was teaching that a Christian ought to accommodate himself to the world; in other words she was urging on the Church a spiritual infidelity which was bound to issue in physical fornication. It is in the mercy of God that the teaching of Jezebel and her like did not become the view of the Church. If that had happened, the Church would have become a king of pleasant paganism. On this Paul said: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:2). And Jesus said the last word on the matter: “No one can serve two masters. … You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). The old choice is still the new choice: “Choose you this day whom you will serve” (Deuteronomy 30:19; Joshua 24:15).

 

[1]  Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Christian Soldier [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1977], p. 179.

[2]  Barclay, William, Daily Study Bible Series: The Revelation of John – Volume 1 Chapters 1-5 (Revised Edition), (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press) 2000, c1976.

[3]MacArthur, John F., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, (Chicago: Moody Press) 1983.

 
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