Thyatira: Jezebel on the Loose – Revelation 2:18-29

By John Bellingham on September 13, 2020
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Thyatira:  Jezebel on the Loose

Revelation 2:18-29

I. God’s Power – v. 18

  1. Eyes of Fire
    1. Jesus sees and knows everything that is happening in His Church
    2. The Church in Thyatira was turning a blind eye to the Jezebel in their midst, but the Lord was not blind to what was happening
  2. Feet of Burnished Bronze
    1. The purity of this bronze speaks to the holiness of Christ
    2. Bronze was one of many products manufactured in the city of Thyatira


II. God’s Praise – v. 19

  1. Increasing Works
    1. The Church in Thyatira was spiritually vibrant, and the Christians were marked by faith, love, service, and patience
    2. Christ mentions their ‘works’ twice in the list, and indicates that these good works were increasing over time
    3. Thyatira is set in stark contrast with Ephesus in this respect: The Church in Ephesus had decreased in the virtue of love, but the Church in Thyatira had increased
  1. The Purpose of Works
    1. We are not saved by doing good works, but by grace alone through faith
    2. We are saved by grace, for the purpose of doing the works that God has ordained – Ephesians 2:8-9


III. God’s Patience – vv. 20-21

  1. Jezebel
    1. A troublesome woman was active in the Church of Thyatira and is introduced by Christ with the unflattering pseudonym ‘Jezebel’
      1. Queen Jezebel is perhaps the most notoriously evil woman in the Bible
      2. Jezebel was an enthusiastic patron of the worship of Baal, and a great persecutor of God’s people and prophets
      3. Jezebel was married to a weak and pathetic man named Ahab, who often abdicated responsibility to his evil wife
    2. In the Church of Thyatira this rogue woman was following in the footsteps of Jezebel
      1. She claimed to have a prophetic gift, but the gift was not being tested and used in a Biblical way
      2. She was exercising authority over the men of the Church in a way that contradicts the teaching of Paul in 1 Timothy 2
      3. She was advocating some form of antinomian heresy – encouraging the Church members to participate in pagan worship, and sexual sin
      4. She was given free reign in the Church, due to the weakness and cowardice of those who should have resisted her, and placed her under a Biblical process of discipline.
    3. God rebukes the Church for their toleration of this evil woman
      1. It is unlikely that she was embraced with open arms, and it is probably even the case that the Church leaders, and many members recognized that there was a problem
      2. A Biblical Church must never tolerate evil within the ranks, but must act courageously for the good of the flock by resisting wolves
  2. An Opportunity to Repent
    1. Although the Church failed in their responsibility to confront ‘Jezebel’ and to place her under discipline, God was not willing to ignore her
    2. The Lord testifies that he gave her time to repent of her sin, but that she stubbornly refused!
    3. God is gracious and patient with sinners, and gives us opportunity to repent. His patience, however, has limits!


IV. God’s Punishment – vv. 22-23

  1. Thrown of a Sick Bed
    1. The woman who provoked the Church to commit spiritual adultery, will end her days in bed – a sick bed!
    2. Although sickness is not always a sign of divine judgment or displeasure, God sometimes uses sickness as a form of judgment (ie. the Corinthian abuse of the Lord’s Table)
  2. The Motivation of Punishment
    1. God’s severe punishment of Jezebel and her followers is a harbinger of the greater punishment yet to come when the wicked are cast into the Lake of Fire
    2. God’s punishment sometimes breaks forth for the benefit of His Church – that “all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart”
  3. Salvation by Works?
    1. When Christ says in v. 23 that “I will give to each of you according to your works”, He is not teaching that salvation comes through the works that we offer to God.
    2. Good works are the evidence of a heart transformed by grace. Jezebel and her followers were made known by their works (ie. their refusal to repent), while true believers will walk in humble repentance before the Lord and one another


V. God’s Promise – vv. 24-29

  1. ‘Hold Fast’
    1. Although some members of the Church had fallen under Jezebel’s spell, not everyone had been duped by this evil woman
    2. The Lord speaks to the faithful members of Thyatira and urges them to persevere in the faith
  2. The Promise of Sharing in Christ’s Rule and Reign
    1. Jesus quotes from Psalm 2, and assures all faithful and persevering Christians that they will one day share in His rule and reign when the Kingdom is consummated
    2. In a real sense we already share in Christ’s rule as He spiritually rules over all things. This spiritual rule will become increasingly visible on the earth.
  3. The Promise of the Morning Star
    1. Jesus Himself is the Morning Star
    2. He is the Light of the world, and the light of the eternal city, which is His Church.



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