Revelation 2:18-29 Part 2

18) And write the message for the Church in Thyatira:   The Son of God Who has eyes as flames of fire, and Whose feet are burnished bronze, says these things.

19) I know your works and the love and the faithfulness and the service and your perseverance, and the last works greater than the first.

20) But I have against you that you suffer the woman Jezabel who calls herself a prophetess and teaches and deceives My servants to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols;

21) 1and I gave her time that she might repent, and she is not willing to repent from her fornication.

22) Lo!  I cast her into bed and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation unless they repent from her works,

23) and I will destroy her children in death, and all the Churches will know that I Am He Who searches reins and hearts, and I will give to each of you according to your works.

24) But to the rest of you in Thyatira, in as much as you have not this teaching, who do not know Satan’s depths (as they say), I lay on you no other charge.

25) However, hold fast what you have until I come.

26) And he who overcomes and keeps My works throughout [until the consummation] I will give to him authority over the nations,

27) and he shall tend them with a scepter of iron, dashing them in pieces as the potters’ vessels as I also have received of My Father.

28) And I will give to him the morning star.

29) He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches.


Let me remind you of what was said last Lord’s day, that the pursuit of Jesus’ apostles and His Churches in the nations by judaists was the single most injurious threat – borne out by the text of Jesus’ message here to the Church at Thyatira.

In every location recorded in Scripture, judaist treatment of the apostles, and their slanderous accusations against the Churches to the Roman authorities, confirm exactly what Jesus warned His disciples about before His crucifixion.

The very same suborning of witnesses, accusations and slanders of judaists against the Son of God in Jerusalem – resulting in His crucifixion at the hands of the Romans – was now occurring in all of the Churches throughout the nations.  They were all undergoing the very same satanically inspired malice and hostility suffered by God the Son in His trial and crucifixion.

And, I might add, as we’ve seen on several occasions there were judaist infiltrators inside the Churches defiling the Body of Christ with their lustful lifestyles – eating food sacrificed to idols and committing fornication – and teaching others to do the same, and requiring adherence to judaistic customs and ceremonies in order to be considered “Christian”.

And, as we also saw, it was this loathing of Christ and His Church by Israel’s judaists that ultimately brought upon them the calamitous desolation of the entire nation in 70AD that our Lord had promised, as recorded by Matthew.  All of the blood of the righteous, from Abel to Zachariah would be brought to their account.  Their hypocrisy and deceit with regard to those united to the Christ was rewarded with just compensation.  In today’s terms it might be called “a behavioral adjustment”.

All Israel was “divorced” and executed for its adultery through the terms of the covenant.  And it was the newly enthroned King of the nations Who brought the wrath of God against them in a baptismal flood reminiscent of the Noahic account in Moses’ book of the Genesis.  Also, in that same book, is the account of the baptismal flood of death at the Red Sea.

And let me just give you a refresher course this morning in the Biblical theology of baptism.  After all, the text of John’s Revelation does, indeed, look forward to Israel’s inundation in a flood of judgment.  But I’m doing this for a couple of reasons; first, we all need to be reminded of our baptisms; and right now, at the beginning of a new year, is a good time to do that; and, secondly, this is the same Biblical hermeneutic as that which is required in order to understand Jesus’ message to the Church at Thyatira.

Remember – the Bible is one Word of God.  It isn’t two books, one for “old testament Israel”, and another for the New Testament Church!  All of it prophesied and foreshadowed the Christ of God and His work.  And He fills up all of that which foreshadowed Him. It is a seamless covenantal word which agrees in all of its parts.  So, when we can see the mighty work of God throughout His history of His creation – and see it all through His eyes (as He directed it to be written), then the glory of it all becomes so much more clear to those of us who He has kept for Himself.  (And that’s what we mean by the term “hermeneutic”, for it has to do with the way we read and interpret God’s Word.)

So here is the Biblical hermeneutic of baptism, so clearly enunciated by Jesus’ apostles, and directing us to an understanding of the inundation of the covenant nation of Israel in the wrath and fury of the Son of God.  And, as I said, this is the same Biblical hermeneutic that is required of us as we approach Jesus’ message to the Church at Thyatira.  It must be through His eyes, since it is His history and His creation and His inspired Word.

The Scripture says, and our reformation documents follow suit, that baptism is a sign and a seal of God’s covenant with His people.  Jesus Himself replaced the “cutting off” of circumcision, since He suffered the ultimate “cutting off” in the flood of judgment from His Father at His crucifixion, death and burial.  Jesus was “immersed” in the wrath of God the Father. 

Therefore, with the crucifixion of Jesus, circumcision is no longer the “mark” of God’s covenant.  That mark was filled up in the cutting off of the Christ and His having perfectly satisfied, not only the mark of circumcision, but also the entirety of the sacrificial and ceremonial system.

As a sign, baptism signifies that there is a flood of judgment. All sin will be washed away from the presence of God. All in Adam are sinful and justly deserve to be swept away in this flood, and none can withstand this judgment because all born from Adam are filthy, through and through. But, by God's grace, there is One who was clean and capable – the very Son of God; and He has taken upon himself the filth of our sins and has undergone immersion in this judgment flood “for us”. If his baptism into death (i.e. his immersion into this judgment from the Father) (if it) was for our sake, then we are clean. We will be spared the flood.

And, further, baptism is a “seal” in this respect: It obligates those who receive it to live as the redeemed in Christ and “ingrafted” into Him. It obligates them to live as though they are, in fact, clean - and clean because of the flood of judgment received by Christ on their behalf. They can never again be as though they were not marked for this purpose (that purpose being to be his faithful subjects). They are sealed as rightfully belonging to Christ; and their only options are faithful subjection to his kingdom - or condemnation as a traitor. They can never again be seen as an "alien" child of Adam.  They can be "faithful" or they can be an "exiled traitor".  Those are the only options.

Baptism is also a seal of the covenant in this respect: When a baptized person ponders his own baptism and says "this is true" (i.e. I deserved to be swept away in a flood of judgment from God, but Jesus Christ took my filth upon Himself and was inundated in the wrath of God in my place – therefore I am not subject to the “immersion” in the flood), the fact of his baptism and his faith response to it proves to him that he is, in fact, clean and in union in Christ.  He is IN CHRIST, and not immersed in the flood.

You must understand, as God revealed it, that Noah and his family were “saved” by baptism!  This is directly from the apostle Peter.  It was the sanctions of God’s Covenant that immersed the world in the flood of judgment.  Immersion is the sign of judgment!

At the Red Sea it was Egypt that was immersed!  Israel was saved by baptism – the baptism of judgment upon traitorous and treacherous Egypt – all foreshadowing the flood of judgment to come upon the Christ, Who became sin for His people!  He saved His people by being immersed in the flood of wrath and judgment of the Father in our place.

So, you see, immersion is a pre-crucifixion sign of wrath and judgment to come… the wrath and judgment of God upon the Christ.  But for those united to the Christ, there is no more sign of inundation in the judgment of God – but the sign of the outpouring of Holy Spirit on all of His newborns.

Baptistic folks, arrogantly refusing to see this glorious working of God through His Own covenant in history, adamantly proclaim that children have no choice in the matter of baptism, or know nothing of the event (as if God needs a child's permission to choose him into covenantal obligation). Obviously this involves some rebellion on their part as to the nature of human freedom and God's "obligation" to give us some choice in the matter.

We did not voluntarily become the slaves of our Lord. Christ is not a beggar for subjects. He is a conqueror; and those who are his “subjects” are free!  We are free from the inundating judgment of God; and we are that because he has conquered us, rebirthed us, and adopted us into His newborn family, and united us to Jesus Christ Who did, indeed, suffer the flood of wrath and judgment of God – as foreshadowed in the older Scripture!

There is no sign and seal of immersion for us, because God’s wrath toward us has been satiated upon the Christ!  And just as there is a new sign and seal replacing Passover and all the other sacrificial renderings in the older Scripture, so there is a new sign and seal replacing circumcision and immersion in the older Scripture.

And, practically speaking, while I’m at it let me just say to you that, with regard to children, there is an unequal “yoking” that occurs among parents – one requiring the Biblical sign and seal of God’s covenant for the children, and the other wanting the children to have a “choice” later in life when they attain a certain age.  The one wishes to obligate the children to be servants of Jesus Christ in the covenant of God; the other wishing to obligate God to save the children when the children choose to be His servants.  This is a very serious unequal yoking.

And, to take this one further step, that unequal yoking with regard to children is furthered as one parent requires the children to be full participants in the covenant by admitting them to the table of our Lord – and the other wishes to excommunicate the children from the table and the covenant promises of God until they’re old enough to choose Christ for themselves.  That, too, is a serious unequal yoking.  And it ought to be settled before marriage or before planning to bear children.

Okay.  Now that I’ve got that off of my mind, let me use, just for a minute or two, the very same covenantal hermeneutic for another subject as we prepare to look at the text of Jesus’ message to the Church at Thyatira.

It was the leadership and people of Israel who never believed or faithed in what God said and what He promised.  Instead, there was a false religion – judaism – from the beginning.  Please remember that Israel did not just “apostatize”, over a period of time, from the true religion.  The religion of Israel was always judaism rather than Christianity, which was the religion revealed by God from the beginning!  Only a few, such as the ones in the “hall of faith”, as recorded in the letter to the Hebrews, (only a few) believed God and “saw Jesus’ day” (as Jesus said of Abraham).  And, as Jesus said to the judaists, “if you didn’t believe Moses, then you won’t believe Me; for Moses spoke of Me”.

This is perfectly evident when reading the older Scripture, for God’s anger burst forth upon Israel on numerous occasions.  Even as God was “patient” with her - giving her time to respond in repentance to His Word through the prophets – he did punish her often for her unbelieving idolatry and her adultery.  Israel was forever in rebellion.  She never believed; and her woes were myriad because of it.

Just think about this for a moment:  The Jews don't offer sacrifices anymore because the Lord Jesus filled up those prophetic and foreshadowing sacrifices and ceremonies when he died on the cross and rose again, thus establishing the Third Temple, the one not made by the hands of men. This is “third temple theology”, you see.

The first temple (Solomon’s) was destroyed by God when He drew armies from the East to decimate Israel (586 BC), destroying the temple and taking all Israel into captivity for 70 years.  The second temple was the one that existed on the temple mount in the time of Jesus, the one of which He said that He would leave no stone on another. 

And once he had filled up the sacrifices in His Own atonement, our ascended Sovereign physically stopped the sacrifices from being able to be offered again by calling forth the Roman armies, through Vespasian's son, Titus, to destroy the Second Temple… for the third temple was then present in His body!

Even a casual reading of the book of Hebrews establishes the truth that once the old sacrificial shadows were filled up in Christ, God would remove them, thus preventing the judaists from reverting back to a decrepit, obsolete and cultic system. Hebrews 8:13, written before 70AD, states:


“By calling this covenant ‘new’, he has made the first one OBSOLETE; and what is obsolete and aging WILL SOON DISAPPEAR.”


Hebrews 8:13 stands at the end of a long line of arguments.  Hear this:


"The former regulation is SET ASIDE because it was WEAK and USELESS, and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God" (Hebrews 7:18, 19).


"Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever. The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, THE TRUE TABERNACLE SET UP BY THE LORD, not by man" (Hebrews 7:27-8:1).  (That’s the third temple.)


Then following Hebrews 8:13 the argument continues in Hebrews nine and ten to the effect that a standing Jewish Temple with bloody sacrifices has become a monument to a lie because:


"Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary . . . The Holy Spirit was showing by this that THE WAY INTO THE MOST HOLY PLACE HAD NOT YET BEEN DISCLOSED AS LONG AS THE FIRST TABERNACLE WAS STILL STANDING" (Hebrews 9:1, 8).  


And then the argument continues:


"For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own.  Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him" (Hebrews 9:24-28).


And then the writer of Hebrews finishes:


"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water" (Hebrews 10:19-22).


The point of all of this is that the judaist’s “second temple” was destroyed in the Parousia of Jesus Christ – never again to be rebuilt.  For there is now a “new” temple (the third one) made without hands – a temple in which there is no more need for the ceremonies and sacrifices which judaism never understood anyway, but so desires to re-institute!

And the fact that judaists still want to rebuild that temple on the temple mount indicates that most of them – including many evangelicals – remain in rebellion against “third temple” Biblical Christianity.  We already have the third temple, and, from the beginning, judaists never believed; and, with few exceptions, they still don’t.  And it’s also obvious that our Lord has used Mohammedism, which built a mosque on the temple mount, to entirely block any building of a third temple of judaism!  As I said, we already have the third temple!

Now.  As far as the text is concerned, we need to use the same, Biblical, covenantal method of interpretation; i.e. seeing things through God’s eyes, since this is His Revelation of His Covenant, in His creation and in His history.

Since we’ve spoken about Israel’s covenant-breaking idolatry and rebellion from the beginning, let me just read a couple of short passages of scripture for you.  The first being 1 Kings 21:25-26:


25) (But there was none like unto Ahab, who did sell himself to do that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.

26) And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites did, whom Jahveh cast out before the children of Israel.)


In this passage king Ahab, king of Israel, wanted a vineyard, but the owner wouldn’t sell it.  Ahab was downcast about it.  His wife, Jezabel, suborned witnesses and had the owner stoned to death for idolatry so her husband, king Ahab, could take possession of the vineyard.

After that, Jezebel and Ahab “did abominably” in the sight of God, participating in the worship and feasting of the pagans and their gods and goddesses.  Then Elijah, the prophet of God, prophesied that “Jezebel” would die and be eaten by dogs and birds of prey.

The second passage is 2 Kings 9:22:


22) And it came to pass, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, Is it peace, Jehu? And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?


This passage reflects what was occurring approximately fifteen years after the event with Ahab and his wife; and Jezebel’s actions are called harlotries and witchcraft!

So Jezebel was the wicked queen of Israel who suborned witnesses against an innocent property owner who was then stoned for idolatry, and his property was taken from his estate by the king of Israel.  Then Jezebel led her husband, and all of Israel (her children) into pagan idolatry, feasting with the surrounding pagans and worshipping with them.  And, directly from the Word of God, she is called a harlot and a witch.

It is critical to note that Ahab later regretted these things and repented in sorrow.  So God put off temporal judgment against Israel, but promised His judgment upon the children of Israel… Jezebel’s children.  For it was her who led her husband and all of Israel into fornication and eating with the pagans in their idolatrous feasts.

There was much that could be commended by our Lord Jesus in the Church at Thyatira.  It was active in love and faith and service, and in perseverance.  In fact, its activity was increasing!  “Your last works greater than the first” Jesus said (in verse 19).

But our Lord Jesus Christ addresses the Church at Thyatira as “the Son of God Who has eyes as flames of fire, and Whose feet are burnished bronze”.

The “Son of God”, Daniel chapter six, who appears to Daniel personally in Chapter ten.  And this is what Daniel writes:


4) And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel,

5) I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, a man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with pure gold of Uphaz:

6) his body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as flaming torches, and his arms and his feet like unto burnished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.


The Lord Jesus Christ identifies Himself to the Church at Thyayira as “The Son of God Who has eyes as flames of fire, and Whose feet are burnished bronze”.  There is no other King of Kings except the One Who appeared to Daniel.


“I Am He, the everlasting King.  I commend you for your works and the love and the faithfulness and the service and your perseverance.

“But I have against you that you suffer the woman Jezabel who calls herself a prophetess and teaches and deceives My servants to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols.”


We will finish the message from Jesus Christ to the Church at Thyatira next time.  For now, it is enough to know that the occasions are numerous in the older Revelation from God through His prophets, that Israel is referred to as the “harlot” – just as Jezebel is called the harlot queen.

There is much here to think about for next Lord’s Day – as we will finish chapter two.  For now, we have a solid, Biblical framework by which we might see the Church at Thyatira as our Lord Jesus did.