“Christ’s Message to Thyatira Part 2”
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Revelation 2.18-29 Part 2
Revelation 2:18-29. We’ll finish Christ’s Message to Thyatira today.
ILL: When my family and I were living in Canada, Alberta, we sat under the ministry of Jim Tillotson at Meadowlands Baptist Church in Edmonton, Alberta, which is about 6 hours north of Montana. Jim Tillotson is now the president of Faith Baptist Bible College and Seminary in Ankeny Iowa.
Dr. Tillotson gave an illustration during his time at Meadowlands that was real event in the life of the church. There were two men were considered to be Christian. One newly came to Christ and another had been a part of the church for a while. The older Christian took the younger Christian to a bar.
Now, the younger Christian has had a problem with alcohol in his past. While they were at the bar, they drank too much and the older Christian told the younger Christian that he should not drink that much. But the younger Christian refused and eventually left the bar with a woman.
Now that is a tragic situation. One man leading another man into a place where he was tempted.
Now, that’s not exactly like the Jezebel in our passage, but it is similar in this sense: he led, although not deliberately, he led that man into sin: drunkenness and fornication. A bar is clearly no place for a Christian, let alone someone who is struggling with alcohol.
Jezebel was also leading people into sin. But she was doing so, deliberately. The Jezebel in our passage claimed to be a prophetess, and taught Christians to practice idolatry and fornication. As we saw from the Scripture last time, no truly Christian assembly can tolerate its members practicing idolatry or fornication.
Revelation 2:18–29 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; 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. 20 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. 21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 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. 23 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. 24 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. 25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. 26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27 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. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
We cannot tolerate practicing idolatry, whether it is theological idolatry as in the praying to saints, or allowing for life dominating sins and addiction: like addictions to money, alcohol, food, or drugs or the like.
And obviously we cannot tolerate fornication and cohabitation. Physical intimacy outside of the marriage between one man and one woman will not be tolerated.
And toleration was the problem in the church Thyatira.
Revelation 2:20 20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, …. And that word “sufferest” is the word for toleration. The problem was Christians were tolerating a woman who was leading people into idolatry and fornication.
Obviously therefore as Christians we have to do the opposite of that, which is not to tolerate it. Since Christ is against it; so must we be. And what that means is that we will attempt to help people and encourage them to follow Christ and to follow the Bible. We will be gentle with them lovingly care for them and come alongside them and be a blessing to them and express our compassion to them. And it also means that if there is a refusal to conform to the clear teaching of Scripture then we will continue to have to not tolerate those sins. That would obviously be through church discipline.
But that is the last straw. As they say, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” A true Christian horse will not only be willingly led to water but he will drink! A true Christian will be correctable and seek to follow the Scripture.
And again, compassion, grace, mercy, and love are the guiding factors, as well as the Lord’s desire for purity in His church. Because, as a church, we best be in a condition to invite the Lord’s blessing, not his punishment.
TRANS: And that is exactly what Jezebel was doing: she was inviting the Lord’s punishment upon her and her followers in the church! In verses 21-23, we have Jesus ultimatum: repent or die.
Jesus’ Ultimatum: Repent or Die
Let us read these verses again…
Revelation 2:21–23 21 And I gave her space/time to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 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. 23 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.
As King and Lord of the church, the one whose eyes are as a flame of fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze… He is the one who says “I gave her time to repent of her fornication and she did not repent.”
He gives time to repent [and we should too]…if they don’t want to, then want?
He gave her time to repent. When anybody is caught up in some sin and is even idolatrous and is leading others to idolatry, the Lord who is infinitely patient gave her time to turn from her sin.
The Lord was calling upon her to repent. He was calling on her to turn away from her idolatry and fornication and leading people into those sins.
ILL Let me illustrate repentance, which is necessary for salvation. Let’s say you are sleeping in your home and your home catches on fire. You wake up to the sound of your fire alarms. There you are in your house, stuck …there is no way out. Any moment, the whole house could collapse on you, or the fire or the fumes could kill you.
All of a sudden, a firefighter appears at your window. The firefighter says, “Repent of your home and trust me and you’ll live! Turn your back on your home and come to the window and be saved!”
But then you say, “I can’t do that, my whole life is in this house.” You can either trust the fireman and be saved, or cling to your life in your house.”
That’s just like what Christ is calling upon you to do. Your life is keeping you from trusting Christ to be saved! Your desire for your life keeps you from being saved!
Christ is pictured in the firefighter. Your life is like that burning house… At any moment, your life could be gone and if you don’t get rescued, hell awaits… Unless you turn from your very life and all the stuff in your life, you cannot be saved!
This is repentance! Turn from your life, its collapsing around you! And trust Christ to save you from your life.
This is trust and repentance. Both are required and they are both expressed in the same action! You can’t trust the fireman without repenting of your life in your house.
APP: So what any Jezebel should do is to flee Christ who died for you and was raised from the dead for you! The question is will you love your life? If you do, you’ll lose it. But if you lose your life and turn from it and turn to Christ, you’ll save it. Lose your life! Can’t you see it’s on fire?
So, someone who trusts in Christ commits to Him… and naturally he’s not committed to his own life.
Jesus gave Jezebel time to repent. But she did not repent… now what?
APP: often lost people or churchgoers who are living in sin often think themselves they have time yet to turn from sin and live a fruitful life that is pleasing to God. You could imagine Jezebel thinking that she had time yet to repent… But no, her time was up.
Don’t waste another moment. If you need Christ, you come to Christ today. If you are living in some sin don’t let the sun go down… Get your heart right before God today!
Mysteriously, Jesus’ plan was to throw her upon a bed…
Thrown into bed
Revelation 2:22 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.
Unless they repent of their deeds, that is their idolatry and fornication, Jesus will punish them for their sin. And he will punish them upon this earth. They will suffer physically on earth because of their sin.
Those who commit adultery with her will be thrown into great tribulation. They will have great distress.
And Jezebel herself will be cast into a bed. Through her idolatry and fornication, she used a bed wickedly. The punishment will fit the crime.
You use the bed wickedly?
Hebrews 13:4 4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
The Lord Jesus will now throw you into a bed. Now, it is somewhat difficult to determine exactly what the Lord Jesus’ punishment for her is. The word “bed” is used to refer to a deathbed or a sick bed. Some people believe it refers to a funeral bed, like a casket.
Because the New Testament primarily uses the word to refer to a sick bed, that is why I understand it here this way. Very well could be that her sickness was to be a sickness unto death.
And let us not gloss over the fact that it is Jesus who is the one who throws her into that bed of sickness.
ILL: This isn’t the first time the Lord judged people for their sin upon the earth.
The prophet Elijah confronted King Jehoram of Judah about his sin of idolatry and murder. Elijah predicted that the Lord would strike Jehoram’s family with a great disaster and he himself would suffer a bowel disease until his bowels come out because of the sickness. And sure enough after they were invaded by the Philistines and others and after all of his possessions including his sons and his wives were taken from him, after all of this, the Lord struck him in his bowels with an incurable disease. After two years his bowels came out because of the sickness and he died. And the Scripture records that he departed with no one’s regret.
In Acts 12, Herod had John’s brother James’ head chopped off and also had Peter imprisoned. And at the end of that chapter while he was speaking he did not give God the glory as he was being worshiped by the people as a god… While he was speaking he was struck dead and worms ate him.
1 John 5:16: There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.
A similar verse is in 1 Co. 11 about the Lord’s table…
1 Corinthians 11:28–30 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation/condemnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. [sleep refers to Christian death… many died because they mistreated the Lord’s table]
And so then verse 23 of Revelation 2, the Lord promises to kill Jezebel’s children with death. Children would be her disciples so the Lord promises to kill them and to do so wielding the sword of death.
That is such strange wording … He will kill somebody with death. Human beings do not have the ability to kill with death. Only the Lord Jesus wields that kind of a sword.
He promises that they will die… They will suffer the punishment of their sins.
He who has eyes of fire… He is the one who searches the hearts and minds.
Jeremiah 17:10 10 I the LORD search the heart, I test the minds, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
And this punishment was meant for a purpose…
Revelation 2:23 23 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.
It was a testimony to all the churches. That every church might know. Jesus will kill those people with death. Why will he do that? Because he wants all the churches to know that he is the one who searches the minds and the hearts and he is the judge who will give to everyone of you according to your works.
Jesus is the judge. John 5:22 indicates that God the Father does not judge anyone but he has given all judgment to the Son.
That is why that every Christian will appear before the judgment seat of Christ to receive the things done in his body whether good or bad.
That’s why Paul exhorts Timothy the way he does…
2 Timothy 4:1 1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; … to preach the word…
The Lord Jesus, as the Son of Man of Daniel 7 into whose hands has been committed a kingdom with people out of every tribe and tongue and nation… Whose kingdom will never be destroyed… It is he who judges.
He searches the minds and hearts and he will give to each one according to his deeds.
TRANS: Now … thankfully, the church was not just made up of idolatrous fornicators. Thankfully there was at least a small percentage of Christians who were faithful to the Lord and the Lord encourages them in verses 24-25….
Jesus Encourages the Faithful (vv.24-25)
Revelation 2:24–25 24 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. 25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.
How should a faithful few respond amid disastrous compromise?
There was the faithful remnant who first…don’t have the doctrine AND second who did not know the depths of Satan… the deep things, these esoteric teachings from Satan… and the idolators themselves are the ones who are calling it that!
…” which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak”
These are the Christians in Thyatira who tolerated Jezebel but they themselves did not follow her teaching. They didn’t have her doctrine and they didn’t know the self-described deep things of Satan.
And Jesus lays no other burden upon them. He calls upon them to hold fast what they have remaining.
What faithfulness they have their love, service, faith and endurance… They are to keep going with it. They are to hold fast until Jesus comes.
They are not allowed to tolerate anyone who is leading people to commit fornication and idolatry. No, instead they are to hold fast to what they have remaining… faith, love, service, and endurance. And to hold fast to it is going to require separation from idolatry and fornication… That is going to take confrontation of sin and a gentle coming alongside and a compassionate intolerance to evil and when all else fails, as we’ve discussed before, excommunication. 1 Co. 5:11 says we are not even to eat with those who claim to be Christians but who are drunkards or fornicators, let alone accept them into membership.
APP: and that is what we are called upon to do, “hold fast until Jesus comes.” The mindset of the return of Christ… knowing that He will return and He will return in glory with his holy angels in all of his power and glory… Hold fast until he comes. Keep being faithful keep following Christ. Don’t fall for the deceptive nature of false teaching and how it appeals to the flesh.
Be mindful that Jesus will come again! He will come again to rapture the church and to rescue us from this world… and we are waiting for that.
1 Thessalonians 4:16–17 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
John writes earlier in …
Revelation 1:7 7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
Luke 21:34–36 34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
We must be ready … because…
Matthew 24:36 36 … of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
Matthew 24:44 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
TRANS: and for those who are ready for his coming and persevere in trusting in Jesus to the end…
Jesus’ Promise to Those Who Persevere (vv.26-29)
Revelation 2:26–29 26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end [that’s Christian perseverance], to him will I give power over the nations: 27 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. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Jesus writes this to simple Christians who are faithful. Overcomers are simply Christians… These Christians persevere, they keep Jesus works unto the end.
He gives them three promises …
And these promises are fascinating … The first two are a quotation from Psalm 2, which we read last time. These first two promises were originally given to the Son of God. God the Father gave these promises to the God the Son.
And Jesus even mentions this when he says at the end of verse 27, “even as I received of My Father.” Jesus recognizes that these promises were originally given to him. But now, he is giving the same promises to his people!
Power over the nations
God the Father promised to the Son to give to him power, that is, authority over the nations.
Psalm 2:8 8 Ask of me, [says the Father to the Son] and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
And in Rev. 2:26 Jesus promises to give that very authority to us. He gives to us authority over the nations just as He received from His Father in Psalm 2!
And so that’s further proof that we are joint heirs with Christ! Paul says that very thing in…
Romans 8:17 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ…
What Christ inherits His people will inherit also!
Rule them with iron rod
And that is why Jesus can say in verse 27 that we will rule them with an iron rod just as he will.
When Jesus comes back, He will have authority over the nations and rule over them…
Revelation 19:15 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
And then Christ will set up His 1000 year reign!
And we who persevere in trusting in Jesus will reign with him…
Revelation 20:6 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
2 Timothy 2:12 12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him…
Daniel 7:27 27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
Revelation 5:10 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
And speaking of the new universe and the new earth, which is the eternal state for the believer…
Revelation 22:5 5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they [the believers in Christ, the co-heir with Christ… he it is this verse says who] shall reign for ever and ever.
Glorious! Now hold fast to what you have!
Get your heart right before Christ!
Given the morning star
And Jesus says that He will give to the overcomer, the victorious one, the saint…verse 28…
Revelation 2:28 28 And I will give him the morning star.
Jesus himself is described as the “bright and morning star” in Revelation 22:16…
Revelation 22:16 16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
So clearly the morning star refers to Jesus Himself, but in what way?
This could also be a restatement of the rule that we’ll share with Christ. That’s how I’m taking it this morning, at least. The morning star refers to Christ’s coming rule and thus it is a restatement of His giving to us to reign with Him.
I’ll briefly prove it without getting into the details… If you take this passage with Numbers 24:14-20, Psalm 2:7-9, and 2 Peter 1:19, you can begin to see this. Balaam in Numbers 24 prophesies that a future ruler will be a rising star and He’ll have a scepter and will crush the princes of the nations. He will rule over them.
So Jesus will give to us the morning star; He’ll give to us the right to rule and reign with Him in the Millennium and beyond.
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Revelation 2.18-29 Part 2
APP: Now, you can look about and get so discouraged about the nation! Afghanistan and how our rulers have handled that. Oh how the rulers of this world are trying to figure out how to cast off God’s rule! That’s from Psalm 2!
Inflation, the southern border, covid, …why can’t the rulers figure it out? …
Psalm 2:2–3 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
They are generally, rebelling against the Lord!
They can’t rule right because they aren’t connected to the true ruler, Jesus Christ.
But don’t worry… eventually you’ll get your shot to reign! Right? We’ll rule and reign with Christ!
You say, “Well, I don’t want to reign and rule…. That’s not my cup of tea…” Don’t worry saint, you’ll be glorified and have the Lord Jesus as your King on the earth!
This world will end, everything in this world is a loss; it’ll all be burned up! Let’s hold fast, stand firm, and be ready for Christ’s coming.