By Patrick Hawthorne
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. (Revelation 2:18-24 KJV)
Have you ever skimmed through a passage in the Bible because -well let’s be totally honest – it seemed boring? Don’t look at me so holy. I’m sure we all have a time or two. That used to be my attitude when faced with having to read about the seven churches in the book of Revelation. My attitude has since changed now that I have made the commitment to conduct a serious study of these churches from chapters 2 and 3. What I have discovered is truly astounding.
For this post I would like to focus on the Church of Thyatira. Well, let me rephrase. I would like to focus on a couple of verses that are dealing with the church body’s deception by the false prophetess, Jezebel.
I will not go into all the wrong doings of Jezebel other than to write that she was a false teacher who was leading many in the congregation down a very dangerous path. As with the Jezebel of the Old Testament, I’m sure this Jezebel was equally manipulative, cunning, and full of evil. After all, the Word tells us that she knew the depths, the deep things, of satan.
Yet, the acts of Jezebel are not my main focus. My focus is on the response of Jesus toward those who were being deceived. In verse 24 it is written, “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.”
Who is Jesus speaking to in this verse? It is well accepted that the angel of the church, translated ‘messenger,’ is not an actual angel but is the pastor of the church. Notice in verse 24, Jesus says, “But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira.” Here Jesus is speaking to the pastor, the deceived portion of the congregation, and those not deceived. He is saying to all, “I will put upon you none other burden.”
“But, how can this be?” you may ask. “I may be able to understand the deceived portion of the congregation, but not the pastor. After all, wasn’t the pastor the very one who allowed Jezebel a platform from which to teach?”
This message to the church goes to show just how powerful the spirit of deception can be. Both the pastor and many in his congregation were seduced. They were deceived by a smooth talking woman, and a group of her followers, who were using subtle and delicate means to introduce a heretical teaching that was straight from the pit of hell.
But here is the point I would like you to receive. Jesus says in verse 23, “I am He which searches the reins and hearts.” Jesus knew the pastor and his congregation were being seduced and deceived. He also knew that they were a ministry minded church full of love, patience, faith, service, and good works (verse 19). In essence Jesus is telling them, “You strayed from the path but I am here to correct you and get you back on course. If you heed My words, I will not hold you guilty for the sins of Jezebel.
This is great news! When we falter in the course of our race, Jesus knows exactly how to get us back to where we need to be. Take joy in His correction. It is never to harm but to help. God loves us so much that He provides grace and mercy, even if we find ourselves in a spiritual mess. Why? Because He searches the reins and the hearts. Be blessed.