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Turning from Sin. Revelation 2:18-29
March 4, 2018

The Presbyterian Church leadership of Canada set up a commission last year and named it the "Rainbow Communion," with the intent of researching the idea of having the church officially and publicly repent for what some called its sins against the LGBTQ community. To the average non-Christian the creation of a "Rainbow Communion" might seem on its face to be rather innocuous in nature, but this is only true because people today are so used to seeing the LGBTQ community draping itself in the rainbow flag. But within the Judeo-Christian religious tradition, the rainbow has served as one of its most important and enduring symbols for several thousand years. The rainbow was not an arbitrary symbol chosen by church leaders to celebrate sexual diversity, quite the contrary is true; the rainbow became a symbol for the church because God had flooded the world in order to rid it of the debauched "wickedness of man" whose thoughts were on "evil continually." In it written in Genesis 9, that after flooding the world to cleanse it of this evil, the rainbow was decreed by God to be a symbol of a covenant between Himself, humanity and all livings things that He would never again destroy the world by flood (Genesis 9:8-13). Now intelligent people know that symbols and symbolic acts have real psychological power, and thus this surrendering of God's symbol to the LGBTQ community must be regarded as a shocking submission to a community that has, for the most part, little love for Christianity, and which at one point, in the guise of the Gay Liberation Front, had vowed to destroy the church completely. (


Despite the clear biblical teaching to the contrary, churches throughout history have tolerated sin, following a pattern like the Thyatiran congregation in Revelation 2, whose members were engaging in both spiritual and physical adultery. Through the insidious efforts of a false teacher, those sins had become pervasive in this congregation. The letter Christ addressed to its members was a sobering one, and marks a new phase in the letters to the seven churches. The letter to the church in Thyatira begins the second group of messages to the churches of Asia. (The Seven Churches of Asia Minor Slide) In the first group, the church of Ephesus was characterized by loyalty to Christ which was lacking in love. In the church of Smyrna loyalty was tested by fire. In the church of Pergamum the loyalty was lacking in moral passion. Yet all three churches were true to the faith, and had not yielded to the assaults of evil. “In the case of the church at Thyatira, as of the churches in Sardis and Laodicea, the situation was far more serious. Here not merely a small minority was indifferent, but large numbers had actually yielded to the demoralizing influences of false teaching. There is a progressive worsening in the character of these seven churches, as they depict becoming more and more influenced by evil. That downward spiral reached its lowest point at Laodicea. (Charles Erdman. The Revelation of John [Philadelphia: Westminster, 1966], 56)


The letter to the church in Thyatiran found in Revelation 2:18-29 is the longest of the seven, though addressed to the church in the smallest of the seven cities. It has an important message for the church today: false doctrine and sin are not to be allowedeven under the banner of a false understanding of love, toleration, and unity. There may be much that is commendable in a church. It may appear on the surface to have an effective ministry, be growing numerically, pleasant and even well regarded by the community. Yet immorality and false doctrine, if not confronted, will bring judgment from the Lord of the church.  Christ calls the Church in Thyatira and all those who bear His name to Turn from their Sin or face His judgement. With this command, the letter to the Church in Thyatira presents 1) The Church, City and Correspondent and Commendation (Revelation 2:18-19), 2) The Concern (Revelation 2:20–23) finally 3)The Command and Counsel (Revelation 2:24-29).


Christ calls the Church in Thyatira and all those who bear His name to Turn from their Sin as seen through:

1)         The Church, City, Correspondentand Commendation(Revelation 2:18-19)

Revelation 2:18-1918 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze. 19I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first (ESV)


As is the case with the churches at Smyrna and Pergamum, the Bible does not record the founding of the Church at Thyatira. According to Acts 16:14, “A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God,” was converted under Paul’s ministry at Philippi. Verse 15 records that members of her household also came to saving faith in Christ and were baptized. It is possible that Lydia and her household participated in starting the church at Thyatira. It has been suggested that some of Paul’s converts at Ephesus went out and evangelized Thyatira (Acts 19:10).( Johnson, A. F. (1981). Revelation. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 443). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.)


From Pergamum, northernmost of the seven cities, the Roman road curved east and then southeast to Thyatira, approximately forty miles away. The City of Thyatira was located in a long north-south valley connecting the valleys of the Caicus and Hermus rivers. Unlike Smyrna or Pergamum, Thyatira was built in relatively flat country and lacked an acropolis (City Slide). Since it possessed no natural fortifications, it would draw heavily upon the spirit of its soldier-citizens to make up for its vulnerability(Mounce, R. H. (1997). The Book of Revelation (p. 84). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)


The pressure faced by the Christians in Thyatira came from the guilds. To hold a job or run a business, it was necessary to be a member of a guild. Each guild had its patron deity, in whose honor feasts were held—complete with meat sacrificed to idols and sexual immorality. Christians faced the dilemma of attending those feasts or possibly losing their livelihood. How some in the Thyatira church were handling the situation caused the Lord Jesus Christ great concern. (Excavation slide) Much of ancient Thyatira is covered by the modern city in Turkey of Akhisar meaning “white castle”( Smith, W. (1986). In Smith’s Bible Dictionary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.) Shown here is a small area that has been excavated. It features a fifth- to sixth-century basilica used for civic purposes (Duvall, J. S. (2014). Revelation. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (p. 60). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.).


The Correspondent is identified through the title Son of God and the two descriptive phrases drawn from the vision of the risen Christ in Revelation 1:12–17 identify the writer as the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ chose the phrases from that earlier vision that best fit His approach to each church. Son of God emphasizes Christ’s deity, stressing the truth that He is of one essence with the Father (cf. John 5:18). His approach to the church at Thyatira is not as sympathetic High Priest, but as divine judge. Not comfort, but judgment is in store for the church at Thyatira when Christ’s divine power moves against this adulterous assembly.


As the divine Son of God, Jesus Christ has eyes like a flame of fire. His piercing, laserlike vision sees all; nothing can be disguised, covered, or hidden from Him. Describing Jesus Christ in His second coming glory, Revelation 19:12 says that “His eyes are a flame of fire” (cf. Dan. 10:6). A church may feel satisfied with itself, have a good reputation in the community, or even with other churches. But the penetrating eyes of the Lord Jesus Christ see it as it really is. That is why it is crucial to never evaluate a ministry on externals. It doesn’t matter the attendance, numberof visitors, new members, giving, programs or any other factor if a ministry lacks holiness.


Of Christ, the description of His feet as being like burnished bronze is reminiscent of Revelation 19:15, where it says of Christ that “He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.” That Christ’s feet glowed brilliantly like burnished bronze depicts His purity and holiness as He tramples out impurity. Putting both descriptions together: The eyes like a flame of fire indicate the penetrating power of his vision; the feet like burnished bronze indicate strength for executing judgment.( Barton, B. B. (2000). Revelation. (G. R. Osborne, Ed.) (p. 32). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers)


Please turn to 1 Peter 4 (p.1016)


This terrifying description of the Lord Jesus Christ must have created shock, alarm, and fear when this letter was read to the congregation at Thyatira. It should have come as a sobering realization to them, as it should to all sinning Christians, that Christ will judge continual, unrepented sin. God intends the church to be His flagship of holiness on earth. The entire scope of redemptive history sees the Father preparing His people, like a pure bride, prepared for Christ the bridegroom. That is why Peter instructs the saints:

1 Peter 4:15-18 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” (ESV)

  • Divine judgment on believers is the decision God renders on their sin, which includes chastening and leads to cleansing (cf. 5:9–10) of the household of God, but not eternal condemnation. It is also meant to serve as a warning to the unredeemed. Though God chastens His own people now, His future judgment of the lost will be infinitely more devastating (cf. Dan. 12:2; Matt. 13:41–42, 49–50; 22:11–14; 25:41; Mark 9:44–49; Luke 13:23–28; 16:23–24; Rev. 14:10–11) (MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2004). 1 Peter (p. 256). Chicago: Moody Publishers.).


As He had with the churches at Ephesus and Pergamum, Christ commended the church at Thyatira in verse 19 before voicing His concerns about it. He assured them that He had not forgotten their righteous works/deeds (cf. Heb. 6:10), which He divided into four categories. First, the believers at Thyatira were showing love for God and for one another—although that love was apparently fragile, since there was not a strong foundation of unified sound doctrine. In some ways, Thyatira was strong where Ephesus was weak; in fact, it is the first of the seven churches to be commended for its love. Second, Christ commended them for their faith. Pistis (faith) is better translated “fidelity,” or “faithfulness.” The true Christians in Thyatira were dependable, reliable, and consistent (cf. v. 25). Faith and love are frequently linked in the New Testament (e.g., 1 Cor. 13:2, 13; 2 Cor. 8:7; Gal. 5:6; Eph. 1:15; 3:17; Col. 1:4; 1 Thess. 1:3; 3:6; 5:8; 2 Thess. 1:3; 1 Tim. 1:14; 2:15; 6:11; 2 Tim. 1:13; 2:22; 3:10; Titus 2:2). Out of faith and love grow service and patient endurance/perseverance. Those who love will express that love through meeting the needs of others. Those who are faithful will steadfastly persevere in the faith (cf. Matt. 16:24–26; 24:13). When love and faith characterize a church, the result will always be an excess of service and endurance. The term for “service” used here also means “ministry.” It refers to an active life of care and help, to charitable service and ministry to others (Osborne, G. R. (2016). Revelation: Verse by Verse (p. 61). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press).


Not only did the Thyatiran Christians possess these virtues, but also their latter works/deeds of late exceeded the first/were greater in number than at first. Their loving service was becoming more consistent, and their faithful perseverance growing stronger. They were growing in grace, maturing in their Christian lives, and advancing the cause of Christ (cf. 2 Pet. 1:8). For that behavior they were to be commended. John Stott writes: “The church of Thyatira understood that the Christian life is a life of growth, of progress, of development.” Knowing this, each of us should pray that our “latter workswill  be “greater in number than at first (Phillips, R. D. (2017). Revelation. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 122–123). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.)

  • One of the most dangerous places individual Christians or congregations can be is complacent. Without continually checking against God’s standards, we can become complacent with our personal and corporate status. Without checking against God’s standards we can be busy and genuinely love one another but miss the greater mission and purpose that God has for us. Worse yet, sin and false teachers can creep in unnoticed and unchecked.


Illustration: Good works will always be the result of righteousness but never the cause of it. D. L. Moody gave a story of this: “If I have an orchard, and two apples trees in it which both bear some bitter apples, perfectly worthless, does it make any difference to me that the one tree has got perhaps five hundred apples, all bad, and the other only two, both bad?Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” No one can earn righteousness by doing a certain number of good works. Such thinking is a never-ending cycle of deception. Two good works or two hundred—it makes no difference. Our righteousness can come only through perfection, through the Lord Jesus Christ. (Leadership Ministries Worldwide. (2004). Practical Illustrations: Romans (p. 88). Chattanooga, TN: Leadership Ministries Worldwide.)


Christ calls the Church in Thyatira and all those who bear His name to Turn from their Sin as seen through:

2)      The Concern (Revelation 2:20–23)

Revelation 2:20–23 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. (ESV)


Despite the commendation they received, all was not well with the church at Thyatira. The problem was not external persecution, but internal compromise; not vicious wolves from outside the flock, but perverse people from within (cf. Acts 20:29–30). The penetrating gaze of the Lord of the church had discerned serious error, causing Him to warn that I have this against you. The use of the singular pronoun points this admonition especially to the leader of the congregation. The indictment is that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and is teaching and seducing/leads My servants to practice/astray so that they commit acts of sexual immorality and eat food sacrificed to idols. Thyatira had the opposite problem that Ephesus had. Whereas the Ephesian church had been good at dealing with false teachers but had lacked love, the church in Thyatira had lots of love but had become tolerant of false teachers. And, as was happening in Pergamum, the church in Thyatira was tolerating false teaching that was attempting to compromise with the pagan society (Barton, B. B. (2000). Revelation. (G. R. Osborne, Ed.) (p. 32). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.).


The sin, apparently involving the majority of the Thyatira church’s members, was twofold. First, they violated the clear biblical teaching that women are not teach or exercise authority over a man (1 Tim. 2:12). That led them to tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. They compounded their error of permitting her to teach by allowing her to teach error. As a result, Jesus declares, she is teaching and seducing/leads My servants to practice/astray so that they commit acts of sexual immorality and eat food sacrificed to idols. Jezebel is seen as a satanic force (this is the only place in the book a person wields this terrible power) claiming the Spirit’s authority (as a prophetess) but leading many of God’s “slaves” astray into heresy (Osborne, G. R. (2002). Revelation (pp. 157–158). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.).


Jezebel undoubtedly was not the false prophetess’s real name, but like the infamous wife of King Ahab, she was Satan’s agent to corrupt God’s people. Therefore the Lord branded her with the symbolic name Jezebel. The Old Testament Jezebel was an unspeakably vile woman—so much so that the Bible names marrying her as the most evil thing wicked King Ahab did, which lead him to serve Baal and worship him” (1 Kings 16:30–31). Through Jezebel’s evil influence, Baal worship became widespread in Israel. If the devil cannot destroy the church by persecution or heresy, he will try to corrupt it with evil.” This was the role played by the Jezebel in the church of Thyatira. (Phillips, R. D. (2017). Revelation. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (p. 125). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.)


Like her Old Testament counterpart, the woman in Thyatira who falsely called herself a prophetess succeeded in leading Christ’s servants astray so that they committed acts of sexual immorality and to ear food sacrificed to idols. (Altar Slide) Shown here is a stone altar found at ancient Thyatira.( Duvall, J. S. (2014). Revelation. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (p. 62). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.) Sexual immorality is serious because sex outside marriage always hurts someone. It displeases God because it shows that we prefer to satisfy our desires our own way instead of according to God’s Word. It hurts others because it violates the commitment so necessary to a relationship. It hurts us because it often brings disease to our bodies and adversely affects our personalities. Sexual immorality can destroy families, churches, and communities because it destroys the integrity on which these relationships are built. God wants to protect us from hurting ourselves and others; thus, we are to have no part in sexual immorality, even if our culture accepts it. (Barton, B. B. (2000). Revelation. (G. R. Osborne, Ed.) (p. 34). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.)


How could something so clearly forbidden in scripture be accepted in Thyatira? Jezebel may have espoused the philosophical dualism so prevalent in contemporary Greek philosophy. When brought into the church, that teaching falsely held that the spirit is good, and the flesh is evil. It lied to people that God is only interested in the spirit, its purveyors falsely argued, it doesn’t matter what one does with one’s body. Thus, according to Jezebel, it did not matter if Christians committed acts of sexual immorality or ate food sacrificed to idols. She may also have taken a twisted, antinomian view of God’s grace, arguing that it did not matter if Christians sinned, since God would graciously forgive them. Perhaps she also encouraged Christians to experience the deep things of Satan so they could better witness to the unsaved. Whatever the specific content of her false teaching, it led the majority of the Thyatiran believers astray from truth and righteousness. The prophetess and her followers had been so ready to conform to the practices of their heathen neighbours that they had lost sight of the essential Christian position. They had exalted expediency over principle.( Morris, L. (1987). Revelation: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 20, p. 75). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.)

  • Whenever someone gives a justification for an action pointing to the apparent success of results, popularity, quickness or ease of implementation instead of the Biblical expectation, sinful compromise is near.


Please turn to Matthew 18 (p.823)


The Bible teaches that true Christians can fall into sexual immorality (cf. 1 Cor. 6:15–20) and idolatry (cf. 1 Cor. 10:21). But to lead other Christians into false doctrine or immoral living is a very serious sin, one meriting the most severe punishment. In Matthew 18:6–10, Jesus graphically described the serious consequences for those who lead other believers into sin:

Matthew 18:6-10 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire. 10 See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven (ESV)

  • The “little ones who believe” in Christ are not physical children, but spiritual children—believers. It is so serious to lead another believer into sin that the Lord said death by drowning was a better option. The imagery of maiming oneself is language depicting the need for drastic action in dealing with sin.


In Revelation 2:21, graciously the Lord gave the false prophetess at Thyatira time to repent, but illustrating the sad truth that people love darkness rather than the light (John 3:19), she refuses/did not want to repent of her sexual immorality. Because of God’s love, there is the possibility of the forgiveness of human sins. That forgiveness is not a “cheap grace which justifies the sin, but the costly grace that justifies the repentant sinner” (D. Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship as quoted in Palmer, E. F., & Ogilvie, L. J. (1982). 1, 2 & 3 John / Revelation (Vol. 35, p. 137). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.).


Her blunt and final refusal to repent would lead to a terrible judgment, introduced by the arresting word in verse 22: behold. Because Jezebel refused to repent, Christ declared I will throw her onto a sickbed. Perhaps God intended her to experience the consequences of her sexual immorality through disease. The bed where she would commit her sexual immorality would become a sickbed, leading to death and hellthe ultimate resting place for those who refuse to repent.


Divine judgment was about to fall not only on Jezebel, but also on those who commit adultery with her. The Lord threatens to cast them into great tribulationnot the eschatological tribulation described in Revelation 4–19, but distress or trouble. Since these were the sinning Christians who had believed her lies, the Lord does not threaten to send them to hell as He did the false prophetess. He promises to bring them severe chastening—possibly even physical death (cf. 1 Cor. 11:30; 1 John 5:16)—unless they repent of her works/deeds. No amount of loving and sacrificial works can compensate for tolerance of evil (Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 575). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.).


In verse 23,  Christ names a third group facing divine judgment, declaring, I will strike/kill her children dead/with pestilence. Jezebel’s children were not her biological but her spiritual children. The church was about forty years old when John wrote, so that her false teaching had been around long enough for a second generation of errorists to have arisen. As he did with Ananias and Sapphira, the Lord threatens to strike/kill these errorists dead/with pestilence (literally “kill them with death”). It was too late for Jezebel; her heart was hardened in unrepentant sin. But the Lord Jesus Christ mercifully warns her disciples to repent while there is still time.

  • The severe judgment promised to the false prophetess and her followers again reveals Christ’s passion for a doctrinally and behaviorally pure church. He will do whatever is necessary to purge His church of sineven to the point of taking the lives of false teachers. That sobering reality should cause all who purport to be teachers and preachers in the church to be certain they are speaking the truth (cf. James 3:1). It should also warn Christians who are following false teachers to repent of their sins, lest they face divine chastening.


Christ would receive glory when He judged Jezebel and her followers. When that happened, all the churches will know that He is the One who searches mind and heart. That phrase offers further confirmation of Christ’s deity, since it is used in the Old Testament in reference to the Father (e.g., 1 Chron. 28:9; Ps. 7:9; Prov. 24:12; Jer. 11:20; 17:10; 20:12). After He judged the Thyatira church, all the churches would be warned against the evil of tolerating sin. They would also realize that nothing can be hidden from the penetrating gaze of the Lord of the churches.


Christ then addressed a word of comfort to those true believers in the Thyatira church who had not followed Jezebel’s false teaching: I will give to each of you according to your works/deeds. Christ’s unerring judgment would be based on each person’s works/deeds. (cf. Mt. 7:16; 16:27; Rev. 22:12Rom. 2:6; 2 Tim. 4:14). Those who were innocent would not be punished along with the guilty. Judgment must begin with the household of God (1 Pet. 4:17). But Christ’s judgment will fairly reflect each person’s deeds—a reality that should bring fear to those who teach and practice false doctrine, but comfort and hope to those whose faith is genuine manifested in righteous deeds. We reap what we sow. This is true for believers (but does not effect salvation) and unbelievers (cf. Job 34:11; Ps. 28:4; 62:12; Prov. 24:12; Eccl. 12:14; Jer. 17:10; 32:19; Matt. 16:27; 25:31–46; Rom. 2:6; 14:12; 1 Cor. 3:8; Gal. 6:7–10; 1 Tim. 4:14; 1 Pet. 1:17; Rev. 2:23; 20:12; 22:12) (Utley, R. J. (2001). Hope in Hard Times - The Final Curtain: Revelation (Vol. Volume 12, p. 41). Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International.).

Illustration: IN HIS BOOK Founding Brothers, Joseph J. Ellis writes of the story of Major John André. In 1780 Maj. John André was captured while attempting to serve as a British spy in league with Benedict Arnold to produce a major strategic debacle on the Hudson River at West Point. By all accounts, André was a model British officer with impeccable manners, who had the misfortune to be caught doing his duty. Several members of Washington’s staff, including Hamilton, pleaded that André‘s life be spared because of his exceptional character. Washington dismissed the requests as sentimental, pointing out that if André had succeeded in his mission, it might very well have turned the tide of the war. The staff then supported André’s gallant request that he be shot like an officer rather than hanged as a spy. Washington also rejected this request, explaining that André, regardless of his personal attractiveness, was no more and no less than a spy. He was hanged the next day.

In this example from history, we see that George Washington was a man who understood what was at stake in the conflict, had a clear vision of right and wrong, and acted in accord with what he knew to be right. The rightness or wrongness of the hanging of Major John André had nothing to do with his appearance, his polite manner, or any affection his character might generate. He deserved to be hanged, so Washington had him hanged. There is a great need in our time for men and women like George Washingtonpeople who are gripped by the truth of God’s Word such that the arbiter of right and wrong is what God has spoken. We need people who understand what God calls the church to do and who do that with no favoritism shown for those who, from the world’s perspective, are wealthy, influential, or significant . The church in Thyatira needed to exclude Jezebel. They should not fail to do so because she is attractive, eloquent, or influential or because she claims to be a prophet. They must do what they know to be right.(Hamilton, J. M., Jr. (2012). Preaching the Word: Revelation—The Spirit Speaks to the Churches. (R. K. Hughes, Ed.) (pp. 93–94). Wheaton, IL: Crossway.)


Finally, Christ calls the Church in Thyatira and all those who bear His name to Turn from their Sin as seen through:

3)      The Command and Counsel (Revelation 2:24-29).

Revelation 2:24-2924 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. 25 Only hold fast what you have until I come. 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ (ESV)


Please turn to Malachi 3 (p.802)


In Revelation 2:24, having warned the practitioners of false doctrine to repent, Christ addressed words of comfort to the rest of you in Thyatira, who did not hold to Jezebel’s false teaching. They are reminiscent of God’s words of comfort to those in Malachi’s day who feared being swept up in divine judgment:

Malachi 3:16-1816 Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name. 17 They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. 18 Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him. (ESV)


Christ further defined the true believersin Revelation 2:24 as those who have not learned/known what some call the deep things of Satan. Jezebel and her followers claimed to be plumbing the very depths of Satan’s domain and remaining spiritually unscathed. In their perverse, libertine, licentious false theology, they believed they could do so with impunity. This pre-Gnostic teaching said that one was free to engage the sphere of Satan and participate in sins of the body without harming the spirit. Since the spirit belongs to God, their twisted logic went, what does it matter if the body attends idolatrous feasts and engages in sexual immorality? They imagined themselves to be free to explore the satanic sphere and then brazenly come to worship God.

  • Is that what you see yourself doing today? Do you think it’s fine to run your business, your friendships, your relationships, your marriage and your life as you please as long as you confess the sins on Sunday? This is the same twisted thinking of one who really doesn’t know God.


To the true believers who had not experienced the alleged deeper knowledge claimed by these heretics, Christ said, I do not lay on you any other burden . Bearing the burden of seeing blatant false teaching and immoral living rampant in their church, and having to resist the incessant solicitation and ridicule from the Jezebel party, was burden enough for them to bear. But lest they become overconfident, Christ exhorts them im verse 25: Only hold fast until I come (cf. 1 Cor. 10:12). Christ’s followers must persevere (cf. v. 20) amidst persecution, heresy and apathy. This is a command (AORIST ACTIVE IMPERATIVE). Jesus is on His way; He is coming soon (cf. 2:16; 22:7, 20). This is the hope and encouragement of every generation of Christians (Utley, R. J. (2001). Hope in Hard Times - The Final Curtain: Revelation (Vol. Volume 12, p. 41). Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International.).


We see Christ’s Counsel in verse 26, to the one who conquers/overcomes (i.e., a true Christian; cf. 1 John 5:5) and … keeps Christ’s works/deeds (in contrast to those in v. 22 who practiced Jezebel’s evil deeds) until the end, reflecting steadfast obedience which marks a genuine Christian, Christ promises two things. First, Christ will give such people authority over the nations; and as verse 27 specifies, they will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken to pieces. That promise, taken from Psalm 2:7–9, is for those who remained faithful to Christ despite being beaten and despised in this life. These will rule with Him in His earthly kingdom. They will exercise authority over the nations, ruling them with a rod of iron (cf. Rev. 12:5; 19:15). Those nations who rebel against Christ’s rule and threaten His people will be destroyed. Those people who rule with Him will help protect His people and promote holiness and righteousness. Christ will delegate authority to them as He also has received authority from His Father (cf. John 5:22, 27).


Christ also promised in verse 28 to give to His faithful followers the morning star. The morning star is Christ Himselfa title He assumes in Revelation 22:16 (cf. 2 Pet. 1:19). Christ promised believers Himself in all His fullness; the One whom we “now … know in part [we will] then … know fully just as [we] also have been fully known” (1 Cor. 13:12). For the Romans that star was a symbol of victory and sovereignty; Roman generals built temples in honour of Venus, and Caesar’s armies had its sign inscribed on their standards. If that be in view the promise strengthens the declarations in vs 26–27; the overcomer is doubly assured of his participation with Christ in his triumph and rule ( Beasley-Murray, G. R. (1994). Revelation. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 1430). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.).


The concluding words in verse 29, he who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches, are a charge to heed the message of the letter to the church at Thyatira. This letter reveals the seriousness of practicing and tolerating sin, and that God will judge continued, unrepentant sin in the church. He has also shown a pattern of obedience that marks true Christians. Finally, we can know God’s gracious promise to His own is that, in spite of struggles with sin and error in churches, they will experience all the fullness of Christ as they reign with Him in His kingdom. Those churches, like Thyatira, who fail to heed the message will receive divine judgment; those who do heed its message will receive divine blessing.


(Format Note: Outline & some base commentary from MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1999). Revelation 1–11 (pp. 94–105). Chicago: Moody Press.)


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