The Thyatiran Jezebel

Revelation

The Thyatiran Jezebel

September 24th, 1961 @ 10:50 AM

Revelation 2:18-29

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; 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. 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. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. 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. 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. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 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. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
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THE THYATIRAN JEZEBEL

DR. W. A. CRISWELL

Revelation 2:18-29

9-24-61     10:50 a.m.

On the radio you are sharing the services of the first Baptist Church in Dallas, and this is the pastor bringing the eleven o’clock morning message entitled The Thyatiran Jezebel.  In our preaching through the Bible, we are now in the Book of the Revelation, and we stopped last Sunday with the seventeenth verse and begin now with the eighteenth verse of chapter 2.

Several people have commented to me that they are afraid that neither they nor I are going to live long enough for me to finish this book.  So I have decided to see if I cannot speed it up a little.  The decision, the dedication may last just one week, but I am going to try.  Heretofore, I have preached about three sermons on each one of these seven churches.  I am going to see if I cannot preach just one sermon on each church.  And I have done so, trying to encompass in this brief awhile an exposition of this letter of our Lord to the church at Thyatira.   Now this is the text, Revelation 2:18 to the end of the chapter.  This is to the fourth church:

And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath eyes like unto a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass;

I know thy works, and charity, and service…and patience… and the last to be more than the first.

Notwithstanding I have these things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel—and Moffatt translates it “that Jezebel of a woman”—which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

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.

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.

But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.  He that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

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.

 And I will give him the morning star.  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

[Revelation 2:18-29]

In the circle of those seven churches in Asia, we have been going north: first Ephesus, then Smyrna, then Pergamos.  Now the great arch changes south and east down to Thyatira.  There is about sixty miles between Pergamos, the capital of the ancient Attalid kingdom and the capital of the Roman province of Asia, and Sardis, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia.  And Thyatira is right between the two, about thirty miles south of Pergamos and about thirty miles north of Sardis.

One of the strangest things; the longest letter that our Lord writes is to the church in the most inconsequential and insignificant town.  Pliny dismissed Thyatira with these contemptuous words, quote: “Thyatira and a few other unimportant communities,” end quote.  It emerged into history in about 290 BC, and was founded as a sentinel town and outpost military to guard Pergamos, destined to be destroyed and rebuilt and always in the path of attack.  In the days of the Roman Empire, it was a commercial center of some eminence, the center of a wool industry and of the dyeing industry.  Lydia, of Acts 16, was a Thyatira, a merchant princess selling purple [Acts 16:14].  Purple was a most expensive and precious commodity made out of the madder root found around Thyatira, and from a little sea animal, a shellfish called the murex.  And in the throat of that little sea animal, that little shellfish, could be extracted one tiny drop of that purple dye.  Pliny the Elder says that one pound of it would cost more than a thousand denarii.  And one denarius was the workingman’s pay for one day.  So Lydia was a most wealthy princess among merchants in selling one of the most costly commodities in the ancient Roman Empire.

Now, the Lord, in addressing this letter to the church in the city of Thyatira, introduces Himself with these words: “Thus saith the Son of God, whose eyes are like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass” [Revelation 2:18].  In each instance, the Lord’s introduction of Himself is pertinent to the message that He bears to the church.  He introduces Himself to Ephesus as “He that walks among the seven lampstands” [Revelation 2:1].  And He said to Ephesus, “Except thou turn and repent, I will remove thy lampstand” [Revelation 2:5].  He introduced Himself to Smyrna as the “First and the Last, He that was dead, and is alive again” [Revelation 2:8].  And He was seeking therein to comfort those Smyrnan Christians in their hours of persecution and martyrdom and trial.

To the church at Pergamos, He introduced Himself as “He that hath a sharp two-edged sword” [Revelation 2:12].  And speaking to the church, He said, “I will fight against these who hold the doctrines of the Nicolaitans with the sword of My mouth” [Revelation 2:15-16].  Then He introduces Himself to Thyatira as the Son of God [Revelation 2:18], that is, in contradistinction to this Jezebel who calls herself an oracle and an infallible authority from heaven.  He is the Son of God, whose eyes are like a flame of fire, who penetrates into the deepest heart and soul of a man, and His feet like molten, flaming, burnish brass [Revelation 2:18].  Brass in the Bible is a figure of judgment, the wrath of God against iniquity.  So I know from His introduction that this letter is going to be one of judgment, of castigation, the Son of God treading the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God [Revelation 19:15].

So, He begins.  Now, the great central point of this letter is this woman named Jezebel:  “Thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants” [Revelation 2:20].

Now, that’s an astonishing thing:  Jezebel immediately carries us back to the story of Ahab in the Old Testament.  He married a Zidonian princess, the daughter of the king.  And her name was Jezebel.  And when she came down to be the queen of Ahab and to live in the palace of Samaria, she brought with her, her heathen and her pagan gods [1 Kings 16:31].  And she led Israel into its times of worst apostasy.  She was a woman of great influence and ability.  She was a woman of tremendous zeal, and she not only brought all Israel to her knees, but she brought also the prophet Elijah, who fled from before her face and prayed that he might die [1 Kings 19:4].  Elijah, who faced Ahab fearlessly [1 Kings 18:15-19] and who called all of the prophets of Baal to Mount Carmel and slew them [1 Kings 18:20-40], yet the great prophet Elijah trembled and fled in the presence of that woman Jezebel who taught Israel to sin [1 Kings 19:1-4].  Now this woman in Thyatira is called “that Jezebel” [Revelation 2:20].  Well, who is she?

As you read through these books and books and books and books, you come across the most endless and the most fantastic identifications.  For example, in some of those ancient Greek manuscripts, the word sou, s-o-u, which means “dye,” is written after the word translated here woman.  Now the Greek word for woman, gunē, is also the Greek word for “wife.”  And some Greek manuscripts read “thy wife, Jezebel.”

Now this is addressed to the pastor of the church, “to the angel,” the messenger of the church [Revelation 2:18].  So there are many expositors who say that this Jezebel was the preacher’s wife and that she was undoing all of the good of her husband.  Well, well, you want to say anything?

There are others who identify this Jezebel with the oracle that was there in Thyatira, like the Oracle of Delphi, with its pythoness, its priestess.  Well, Thyatira had an oracle called the Sambathe, and in it, of course, was this pythoness priestess.  And she gave forth the oracles of the gods, and there are those who say that this Jezebel was that pythoness.

Well, that’s strange and far-fetched because that’s on the outside, whoever this is, is on the inside.  There are expositors who say that since Thyatira, above most any commercial city we know of in the Roman Empire, was organized into guilds.  Every man who worked belonged to a guild.  And every guild had a patron god or goddess.  And in working, why, they had their feasts and their orgies and all the other things in reverential devotion and service to those heathen gods.  And they say that there in Thyatira was a woman of great influence and zeal, and she sought to get the church to feel nothing at all about compromising and belonging to those guilds and worshipping those idols and entering into all of the orgies that characterized Oriental devotion.

Well, and another one:  he says that this Jezebel is Lydia herself.  Isn’t that an astonishing thing what they can think of?  And his idea is this: that Lydia came back to her home at Thyatira and found that her business interests conflicted with her religion.  And so she sought to get the church to compromise and to live in the world and to worship idols and to eat things sacrificed to idols, but at the same time to love Christ and worship the true God.  Well, you can go on and on with those fantastic expositions of these different men who write from the Book.

Now, I have what is to me the meaning of the passage, and to me it is very clear.  Our Lord writes prophetically.  These letters are in a book that calls itself a prophetic book, this book of prophecy.  And He uses that word “Jezebel” spiritually, figuratively.  And our Lord is writing here the spiritual prophetic development of the church through all of the centuries until He comes again, until He takes the church out of the world.  And these seven churches represent those seven great periods of church history, the prophetic spiritual story of the people of God [Revelation 2:1-3:22].

The Ephesian church represents the Ephesian period of church history, the church of the apostles, the first church in the days when God’s first emissaries proclaimed the message in the Mediterranean world, the Ephesian period of the church [Revelation 2:1-7].

That was followed by the Smyrnian period of the church, the days when the people of God suffered martyrdom and trial under the heavy hand of the Roman government [Revelation 2:8-11].

  Then we come to the Pergamean period of the church [Revelation 2:12-17], when the church is married to the world, when it is established as the great religion of the Roman Empire, when Constantine, the imperial Caesar, becomes a Christian, and when the priests of Apollo and Dionysius and Bacchus and Venus and Aphrodite and all the rest, rushed to their baptism, having been paid out of Caesar’s coffers as priests of idols.  Now, they are paid out of Caesar’s coffers to be priests of the new religion, since Caesar himself has become a Christian.  And that period of the establishment of the church, when it is married to the world, is signified by the Pergamean church.

And now we come to the Thyatiran period of the church [Revelation 2:18-29], when she is arrayed in purple and in scarlet and in the finest silks, and when she purports to be an oracle of God Himself, and she speaks with infallible authority as a prophetess of God.  For you see, all of these figures in the Book, all enmeshed, they are the same all the way through.  And a church is always presented under the figure of a woman.  You never refer to a church as a “he” or a “him.” Always the church is referred to as a “she” or a “her.”  The “him” of the Bible is the Word of God.  The “He” of the Book is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.  And His church is His bride, His espoused wife.  So I read here under the symbol of Jezebel, I read of a doctrinally apostate church that purports to speak infallibly as the oracle of God Himself, setting aside the great revelation of the Son of God, the Word of God from heaven.  This is the Thyatiran period of church history, prophetically viewed from the beginning in the eyes of our Lord that searcheth the days and the souls like a flame of fire [Revelation 2:18].

You see, all of this enmeshes.  The fourth parable in the thirteenth of Matthew, the chapter of the parables of the kingdom, the fourth parable is of a woman, and of a woman who corrupts [Matthew 13:33].  And the fourth parable of Matthew 13 is the same thing as this fourth letter among the seven churches of Asia [Revelation 2:18-29], and they have to do with a corrupting woman.  This parable:  “Speak ye unto them: the kingdom of heaven…” [Matthew 13:33].  Now that is Christendom.  In this kingdom of heaven there are tares along with the wheat [Matthew 13:24-30].  In this kingdom of heaven, there is just some of the seeds that falls on good ground [Matthew 13:8].  And until the end of time, the tares and the wheat are side by side [Matthew 13:30].  There is always an over-sowing by Satan wherever God’s Word is sown.  And Jesus said it will be that way until the end of the world, until the reapers come and take out the tares and burn them with unquenchable fire [Matthew 13:30].  Now, the kingdom of heaven is the administration of God’s work in this world by us, with the absent King, by man, us down here.

“The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened” [Matthew 13:33].  That meal, that fine flour of the meal offering, of the bread offering—meal to us is cornmeal, they didn’t have any corn in those days—it’s fine flour, the wheat offering, the bread offering, the manna offering, the flour offering: the bread offering.  Now, that fine flour represents our Lord.  He is the food of His people.  He is the manna from heaven.  He is the bread of life.  He is the fine flour, crushed, crucified, suffering.  He is the fine flour.  “Three measures”: the picture of the deity of this great revelation, God! [Matthew 13:33].

And a woman took leaven and put it in the fine flour [Matthew 13:33], the teaching and the revelation and the doctrine and the preaching of Christ, put it in His church.  Leaven, leaven is always a picture of evil, the doctrine, the evil apostate doctrine.  Our Lord will speak of the leaven of the Sadducees, the leaven of the Pharisees [Matthew 16:6], the leaven of the Herodians [Mark 8:15], and He explains He was teaching of the doctrine, the aberration, the wrong, the evil, the apostasy.

“Leaven”: words have meaning everywhere, and you have to be true to them.  And leaven, to the people who heard Him tell that parable, was without exception a figure of evil, and to this day, those Jewish people scour their houses before the Passover.  They scrub them.  Then when they get through, they call upon God in prayer that they have done their best, and if there is any leaven in their houses, they do not know where it is.  To them, it was evil.  And you use language like that.  We do all the time.  For example, if I were to say to somebody I loved: “Oh, my honey, my sweet, my, my angel heart,” oh, she knows exactly what I’m meaning.  But if I say to somebody I love: “Oh, my arsenic, my strychnine, my pet rattlesnake,” you just don’t do things like that.  You just don’t, for words have meaning.  And leaven to a Jew connoted corruption, it connoted evil.  And this woman took the truth of God, the Word of heaven, and she leavened it with her own prophetic oracular utterances.  And she set herself forth as being the oracle of God Himself, speaking authoritatively and infallibly!  And she changed the true doctrine, the meal offering; she leavened it, as God hath given it unto us [Revelation 2:20].

Oh, it is a remarkable thing what happens to God’s people.  One of the most significant of all of the things that you can find in the Old Testament is this, when Israel went out of Egypt, God taking His people out of the world, when Israel went out of Egypt there was a mixed multitude, a conglomerate that went along with her [Exodus 12:38].  And out there in the wilderness on the journey to Canaan’s Promised Land that mixed multitude that was among them fell a-lusting.  And the children of Israel wept also and they said, “Our soul is dried away.  There is nothing at all to eat besides this manna before our eyes” [Numbers 11:4-6].

That mixed multitude and they led Israel into a lusting because they were weary of the bread of heaven, of the manna from above.  “There is nothing to eat but this manna before our eyes” [Numbers 11:6].  When the church was established in the world, and when Constantine became a Christian, and when all of the priests of the idol temples became servants of the so-called Jesus, the new god, and when their idol temples were made over into churches, and when the church was dressed in silk and satin, and when she began to speak oracularly and infallibly, that mixed multitude on the inside of the church was pleased by the new way and the new presentation and the new doctrine.  They liked it, for the less spiritual people are, the more they are anxious to leave their spiritual destiny in the hands of others.

And the more people are given to the things of this life and this world, the more people dislike searching the Word of God for themselves.  They like for somebody else to tell them.  They like for somebody else to make out the rules for them.  And if those rules can be made light and if those rules can be enmeshed in the life of the world, they are delighted.  And they will stay with it to the end because this is the way for me to be saved.  “That’s what he says.  And this is how I am going to heaven, obeying what he says:”   They never seek for themselves.  They never read for themselves.  They never study for themselves.  But they turn their spiritual destiny over to somebody else; even to this woman Jezebel, who says that she speaks oracularly, infallibly as the true prophetess of God.  Now, she teaches them the deep things of God.  And the Lord calls it the deep things of Satan [Revelation 2:24].  You couldn’t, according to them and this woman Jezebel and this oracular infallible prophetess, you couldn’t read the Book for yourself.  And you can’t search the Scriptures for yourself.  And the plain, simple gospel of how a man is to be saved could not be found by the man himself.  You see, they must teach you the deep things of God.  So they have classes, and they have lectures, and they invite us to come, and there will we be instructed in the deep things of God, which the Lord says here are the deep things of Satan himself [Revelation 2:24].

No such a thing as the deep things of God:  any man can read it for himself.  Any man can believe for himself.  Any man can trust God for himself.  Any man can go to God for himself.  The Lord wrote it large on the sacred page.  And the only reason to have a minister in the church at all is that he might give himself wholly to the Word, that he might give himself to the direction of the church.  But the preacher has no more of the Spirit of God in him than any other man can have for himself.  In fact, there are a whole lot of men in this church that are twice as filled with the Spirit of God as I am.  And there are many, many, many godly people in this church before whom I feel like taking off my shoes and standing with bared head.  They love God.  And they know the Lord.  And they’ve given themselves to the service and ministry of Christ.  And they have the Spirit of Jesus in them beyond what I have.  And I could just pray, Lord, that I might be endowed, that I might be blessed like some of the people over whom God hath made me an undershepherd.

But we are all alike before the Lord.  You can have the Spirit of God without measure [John 3:34].  And you can read that Book to the content and the edification of your soul in the day and in the night.  And the wide open door is to us all.  There is no such thing as the deep things of God, as though somebody had the mysteries, and somebody had the keys, and somebody had the way, and somebody had the wide open door; these things are all open to all of us.  And all of us can share them fully, and preciously, and marvelously, and richly, and deeply, as God shall bid us and bless us in the coming.

Now, the Lord says here that there is coming a time when the judgments of the Almighty shall rest, shall rest, shall rest terribly, shall rest darkly, that when the judgments of God shall be visited upon this world beyond anything that this world has ever known before.  And that is the great revelation, this time of the judgment of God.

To you, He says, to the minority He says, to you He says who have not this doctrine, to you who have not fallen into this pit, to you, to the rest in Thyatira, to you I say:  “There is a twofold and infinite reward from above.  One, the Lord is coming, and He shall rule the nations with a rod of iron, and He shall break the vessel as a potter breaks a potsherd into pieces” [Revelation 2:24-29].  That great visitation when this Jezebel shall be destroyed is delineated in the seventeenth chapter of the Book of Revelation.  There she is called the scarlet whore.  There she is called the scarlet woman [Revelation 17:1-5].  And even here in this letter He says, “I cast her into a bed, and those that commit adultery with her, those that belong to her, shall be cast in the great trial, and I will kill her children with death.  And all the churches shall know that I am He which searcheth the reins and the hearts” [Revelation 2:22-23].

 That great judgment of God is coming upon this world when apostasy and false doctrine and all of the things that breed tyranny and destruction and hatred, when the false beast, which is government, and the false prophet, which is the church, the apostic church shall be cast out of God’s world forever and forever and forever.  He speaks of it here in the seventeenth chapter of the Revelation.  He delineates it.  But He says, there is always that minority, always that wheat with the tares [Matthew 13:24-30]; always that good with the bad [Matthew 13:47-50]; always that faithful martyr Antipas [Revelation 2:13]; always the seven thousand in Israel who have not bowed their knees to Baal, always God has that minority! [1 Kings 19:18].

And to you, he says, to the rest in Thyatira, this woman Jezebel has corrupted the entire Christendom with her false doctrine [Revelation 2:20-23].  But there is a minority!  And to you in Thyatira, to the rest, I have a twofold reward:  one, there is coming a time when God shall say, evil shall go no further; shall last no longer.  And God shall come in the presence and in the power of His Holy Son to take unto Himself His great power and to reign forever and forever.  And He shall rule with a rod of iron, and He shall break a vessel that is unclean and unuseful like a potter crushes it when it is not made well and useless; scattering it, breaking it to pieces [Revelation 2:24-27].  The great triumph of our day is in the hands of God, and it is surely, surely coming.

The second great, marvelous reward that He promises to His people is: “And I will give him the morning star” [Revelation 2:28].  In the Revelation [22:16], the Lord identifies Himself as the Morning Star. “I am the Bright and the Morning Star” [Revelation 22:16].  And to one who finds the truth, and the way, and the life revealed in the Word of God, to that one, God says, “I will give Him Myself, the Morning Star,” the Son of God Himself [Revelation 2:28].  “Darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people, said, Isaiah 60:2, “but the Lord shall shine upon His people.”

And, when we are given the Morning Star, that’s the announcement of the dawn.  That’s the proclamation of the new and the glorious day.  And when we have Christ, caught away with Him, the Morning Star, we are with Him at the dawning.  We are with Him at the great consummation of the age.  We are with our Lord in the denouement of all time.  The Morning Star is ours.  Christ is ours.  We with Him.  And when that marvelous new day comes, if we are dead, we shall be raised out of our graves [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17] and shall reign with Him [Revelation 22:5].  If we are present and alive until the time of His coming, we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, for that trumpet shall sound and we shall all be changed, and with our Lord [1 Corinthians 15:50-52]; come in glory and in majesty and in power, in a new heaven, in a new earth [Revelation 21:1], wherein Christ is our personal Lord and our reigning King, and we are brethren in the household of faith, in gladness, in glory, in joy, in victory, in triumph, in righteousness, in salvation, world without end.  This is the Book of the Revelation.  And this is the prophetic foreview of the development of the story of God’s cause and kingdom in the earth.  And the Lord is with us [1 Thess 4:17].

And it may be tomorrow, or it may be on a morrow beyond, or it may be at midnight, or it may be in the morning, any day, any hour, the Lord says: “Watch, watch for the victory is ours!”  And the Word is certain and the Savior has faithfully promised.

Do you belong to that faith?  Do you belong to that communion?  Do you belong to that kingdom?  Is it yours?  Do you have the Morning Star? [Revelation 2:28]. And when the day dawns, is it a day of dread and foreboding for you, or is it a day of triumphant victory?  It depends upon our soul’s response to the appeal of our Lord when He says:

Come, come, come.  Come unto Me.

[Matthew 11:28]

Come, and the Spirit and the bride say, Come.  And let him that heareth say, come.  And let him that is athirst come.  And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

[Revelation 22:17]

Come, come, come.  This is God’s day, and God’s hour, and God’s invitation, and God’s call.  This is the day of grace and salvation.  Come, come, come!  While we sing this hymn of appeal, in this balcony round about, somebody you, on this lower floor, somebody you, there is a stairway at the back on either side; there is a stairway at the front on either side, come!  If there is a family you to put your life in the care and in the keeping and in the love and prayers of this blessed congregation, come, come.  While we sing this hymn of appeal, down one of these stairways, into the aisle and to the front, “Pastor, here I am.  I give you my hand.  I give my heart to the Lord.”  Or a family you:  “Pastor, this is my wife, and these are our children.  All of us are coming.”  While we sing the song and make the appeal, will you make it now?  While we stand and while we sing.

THE THYATIRAN JEZEBEL

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Revelation 2:18-29

9-24-61

I.          The city

A.  Thyatira halfway between capital cities of Pergamos and Sardis

B. The longest letter of the seven is written to the most inconsequential town

1.  Pliny contemptuously dismissed Thyatira

2. Emerged into history in 290 BC, founded as a sentinel town and military outpost to guard Pergamos

C.  In Roman times it was a commercial center of some eminence

1. Center of wool industry and dyeing industry

2. Lydia was of Thyatira, merchant selling purple, one of the most costly commodities

II.         The letter

A. Christ’s introduction of Himself in each letter is pertinent to the message He bears to the church(Revelation 2:1, 5, 8, 12, 15-16, 18)

1. Introduces Himself to Thyatira as the Son of God – in direct contradistinction to Jezebel who calls herself an oracle and infallible authority from heaven

2.  With eyes of fire, penetrating into deepest heart and soul of man

3.  With feet like brass, is a figure of judgment against iniquity

B.  Central point of this letter is the woman named Jezebel(Revelation 2:20)

1.  Carries us back to the story of Ahab(1 Kings 16:31, 18:20-40, 19:4)

a. Led Israel into its times of worst apostasy

C.  Who is this woman in Thyatira called “that Jezebel”?

1.  Some manuscripts have sou, “thy”, written after the wordgune, translated “woman”, which also is Greek for “wife”

a. Many expositors say Jezebel was the preacher’s wife, and she was undoing all the good of her husband(Revelation 2:18)

2.  Others identify her with the local oracle and its pythoness

3.  Some say she was a woman of great influence who sought to get the church to belong to and worship the gods of the guilds

4.  Some say she is Lydia, who upon returning to Thyatira found her religion clashed with her business interests, so urged church to compromise

III.        Jezebel’s spiritual, historical, prophetic meaning

A.  This is a book of prophecy – the Lord uses “Jezebel” spiritually, figuratively

1.  He is writing the spiritual prophetic development of the church

2. In Scripture a church is always presented under the figure of a woman

3.  After the marriage of the church and the world in the Pergamean period is the Thyatiran period, when she is robed in purple, finest silks and speaks with infallible authority as a prophetess of God

a. Under the symbol of Jezebel, read of adoctrinally apostate church that purports to speak infallibly as the oracle of God, setting aside revelation of the Son of God

B.  These figures are the same throughout the Book

1.  The fourth parable in Matthew 13 – the corrupting woman(Matthew 13:30-33)

a. Putting leaven into the fine flour of the meal offering to corrupt it

i. Fine flour is Christ, the Bread of Life, the food of His people

ii. Leaven always a picture of evil

2.  A mixed multitude, especially after Constantine, into the church

a. Like the mixed multitude among Israel when God brought her out of Egypt, that led Israel into a lusting (Exodus 12:38, Numbers 11:4-6)

C. The more people are given to the things of this world, the more they dislike searching the Word of God for themselves

1. Turn their spiritual destiny over to someone else, like this Jezebel, who teaches “the deep things of God”

a. The Lord calls it the deep things of Satan (Revelation 2:24)

2. No such a thing as the “deep things of God” – any man can read for himself, believe for himself, go to God for himself

IV.       The coming judgment

A.  To the minority who does not fall into corruption there is a twofold reward

1.  Judgment of God upon the apostasy, destroying it forever(Revelation 2:22-29)

2.  Gives them the Morning Star – Christ is ours (Revelation 2:28, 22:16, Isaiah 60:2)

a. When that day comes, if we are dead, we shall be raised; if we are alive, we will be changed(1 Corinthians 15:50-52, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)