By Karen Jurgens
Jezebel works with religion and witchcraft to hinder the church from moving forward and advancing the Kingdom. ~ John Eckhard
Welcome to Thyatira. Situated thirty-five miles east of Pergamum, it was known for its wool and textile industries, whose trade guilds also doubled as social and religious clubs. Jesus appeared to this church with fiery eyes and burnished feet to deliver a message. Although He began by ticking off a list of all their commendable deeds, he ended with a stern warning:
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. I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality (Revelation 2:20-21 NASB).
The issue with this church refers back to Jezebel–the woman who drew her husband, King Ahab, into idolatry, immorality, and false worship, and who helped him acquire a neighboring field by arranging the murder of its owner, Naboth.
The main problem in Thyatira involved the church leadership preaching a compromising message, promising freedom from God’s moral laws. Pastors proclaimed that if the spirit were secure in salvation, then sexual sins and idol worship wouldn’t hurt them. The focus was on serving self and being accepted by the world.
Sound familiar in some of today’s churches? But people can’t get away with these sins—even in our modern age. Listen to the consequences from the mouth of the Lord Himself:
Behold, I will throw her [Thyatira] on 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 (Revelation 2:22-23 NASB).
Wow, Jesus is adamant about severely punishing those who follow the Jezebel spirit. Rather ironic, don’t you think, that Jesus threw this church on a bed of sickness—the same bed where she had committed adultery.
Jezebel is one slick spirit that works in conjunction with the spirit of religion. Here’s a modern-day picture: A legalistic church tells us we’re fine if we’ve kept its rules, resulting in self-righteousness. The pastorate also loves to bestow a title of importance on people seeking recognition from the world, which goes a long way. Church members, wearing these titles like golden crowns, might be ordered to work shifts every week or month, tithe a certain amount, or perform in some other area to serve the pastorate. Of course, volunteering and tithing are good things that all church members should do, but when they’re forced or bribed into it, that’s where the line is crossed into the Jezebel spirit.
We know from scripture in Malachi 3:10 that those who tithe receive a blessing from God for their obedience. But the truth is that these rules don’t justify us in God’s eyes—faith does. We find our righteousness in the work of the cross and through trusting in Jesus who performed that work—not in just following the rules and being “religious.”
Jezebel also works with another spirit—the spirit of witchcraft—which is very subtle and thus hard to detect unless you’re paying close attention. Hidden lies inside partial truths swirl together to twist our perspectives by highlighting our personal wants and needs. This pull distracts us from God’s will and grace for the work He has called us to do. Our focus lands squarely on our needs, promoting and justifying selfishness.
Witchcraft also attacks our minds through controlling words. Watch out for the get-rich-quick gospel where a person must send a seed offering in return for an anointing or a percentage return on a donation—especially when it’s just available for the first three hundred callers!
There are true blessings from heaven and true financial miracles, but we must watch out for Jezebel, full of deceit and lies, lurking to “fleece the flock.” Hence, we all must pray faithfully about the fertile soil where we sow our seeds and plant our tithes.
Another ploy of Jezebel is through the idolatrous gospel. Unfortunately for many of today’s Western churches, their pastors are idolized by their congregations. Instead of running to Jesus and His Word, some run to the pastor and believe what he says is gospel truth.
Let’s run to Jesus and idolize Him—not a mortal man who preaches from a platform.
What do you think? Why did Jesus so vehemently warn this Revelation church to repent of her Jezebel spirit of immorality? The severe consequences of disobedience were designed to stop people from following Jezebel’s idolatry and witchcraft.
Knowing that the Lord is patient so that all may come to salvation, these consequences were actually merciful and full of God’s grace. He is patient toward us as He waits with open arms for us to come to Him and receive His free gift of salvation. He concludes with a wonderful promise for overcomers:
But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them-I place no other burden on you. Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS; AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches (Revelation 2:24-29 NASB).
Our next stop? The Revelation Church in Sardis. Meet you there.
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