Revelation 2:18-29 NIV
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 bronze. I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.
Nevertheless, I have this against you: you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 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. 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.
Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, “I will not impose any other burden on you, except to hold on to what you have until I come.” To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations – that one “will rule them with an iron sceptre and will dash them to pieces like pottery” – just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give that one the morning star. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
This church also felt the powerful pull of false teaching that leads sincere believers to sin: “by her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.”
We also see another danger – the danger of the false prophet. It is alarming how a charismatic individual can convince their audience that they are hearing God and speaking on his behalf – yet they speak evil. Such people can be hard to deal with, particularly if they have a following.
Yet we cannot be silent when people speak what is clearly contrary to Scripture. Jesus rebukes the church for tolerating Jezebel’s false “ministry”: “you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet.”
Jesus also highlights the seduction of “Satan’s so-called deep secrets” – of “new revelation“, or “deep teaching“. Cults can form and churches can split when a leader proclaims some “new revelation” or “deeper understanding”. This deception is not too different from the original deception in Eden, when Eve sought to be more that she was and to know more than God had revealed.
We need to be on our guard against such things!
Jesus also encourages the faithful. When we have heresy and immorality all around us, we can get discouraged. Sometimes we just need to “hold on”. (“…hold on to what you have until I come.”) There are times when we simply have to endure, holding on to Jesus, to what he has revealed to us and to what he has done in our lives.
In his perfect time, he will defeat his enemies (we’ll see this as we read on)… and he will bring us through our times of testing!