Jesus reveals Himself as the foundation, the cornerstone. All authority has been given to Him and He alone has authority over all creation (Hebrews.1:1-3). While He reminds believers that it is to Him alone that we are to be obedient and serve, it must be done through a covenant love for Him and not out of a duty. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40) Notice that these verses are from the Torah (The Law) and Jesus makes it clear that they are as foundational for us now as they were then. “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17) (Remember that the New Testament had not been written yet and so all the declarations in the New Testament actually are almost all Old Testament proving that the Word of God is the same yesterday, today and forevermore. There are 1050 commandments in the New Testament.) So for the believers in Ephesus they continued to walk in “acts of love” but it had become about the works, not the love of Christ. So Jesus was reminding them that they needed to return to their “first love” and allow God’s love to flow through them to touch those they were serving. “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8) “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” (Colossians 3:23-24 emphasis mine)
The words to the Church of Smyrna are to remind us that there is no way to the Father and to eternal life except through Jesus Christ. “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this:” (Revelation 2:8) It was through Jesus’ obedience to His Father that He came to this earth as a baby and experienced life as a mortal man, experiencing everything you and I experience in this life. He became OUR sin (He was sinless) and chose to be scourged and crucified to pay the debt for our sin. He spent three days in Hades, Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.” (Ephesians 4:8) “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:5-13) “But from now on THE SON OF MAN WILL BE SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND of the power OF GOD.” (Luke 22:69)
“And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this:” (Revelation 2:12) The two-edged sword represents warfare. Jesus has been given all authority and will bring judgment in the last days. To the unbeliever, they will stand at The Great White Throne Seat of Judgment before being thrown into the Lake of Fire. For the believer they will stand before the Judgment Seat and it will be revealed what they have done or not done in the body of Christ to follow the plan that God had for their lives. “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are. Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS”; and again, “THE LORD KNOWS THE REASONINGS of the wise, THAT THEY ARE USELESS.” So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you,” (1 Corinthians 3:11-21) “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17)
We now come to the Church of Thyatira. “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write:
The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this: ‘I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. 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. Behold, I will throw her 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. 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 2:18-29)
If we are familiar with the Scriptures, we will recognize this description of Jesus from the Book of Daniel and his vision of the end times. “His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult.” (Daniel 10:6 emphasis mine)
“The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire,...” Fire represents refinement. Whenever I think of fire and God, I am reminded of HIs purging. Without purging, we will not be found acceptable in His sight. Refining means testing to prove that what is in us is true. It means that we are not just ceremonially clean but that we are morally clean! Throughout Scripture the Lord states that He will “burn away the chaff”, “refine in the refiner’s fire”, purify His sons and daughters. His Word is a fire in Jeremiah.23:29, “Is not My word like fire?” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?” In the Hebrews Epistle the Holy Spirit gives us another analogy, “and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, ‘MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.’ It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.” (Hebrews 12:5-8 emphasis mine)
When we see the Lord face to face His eyes will burn like fire. He is holy, no impure or immoral person will be able to stand before Him. The unbeliever will have no response or explanations for their sin and behavior because He sees all and the fire will further reveal their sin. They will then be thrown into the Lake of Fire forevermore. For the believer, there will still be sin that will be exposed, but there should be much less as the believer is called to be a servant, a disciple, one who follows the ways of the Lord. As he grows in spiritual wisdom and knowledge, the Holy Spirit will bring conviction upon him/her for the things that are sin and through repentance he/she will ask for forgiveness. This process can be very sorrowful and painful as the Lord reveals the darkness in our souls that must be purged. “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5) If we are truly disciples, His word will be sharper than a two-edged sword in our lives and we will be receptive to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and be living a life of submission where the Lord’s conviction is a constant companion. “Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified when You speak and blameless when You judge.” (Psalm 51:4) “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17) “Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7) “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints." (Revelation 19:7-8 emphasis mine)
King David was known as a “man after God’s own heart”, yet he sinned and received much scourging and discipline from the Lord. I believe that is why he was known for his heart of love for the Lord. When he was confronted with his sin he was deeply convicted and acknowledged that he had sinned against God and deserved whatever consequences he received from the Lord. He didn’t make excuses for his sin, he didn’t try and talk God out of his punishment, nor did he try and negotiate by promising to do better next time. No, he trusted God and DESIRED God’s refining fire to purge the sin from his life and make him whole again. Read some additional words that reflect this attitude, “The words of the LORD are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.” (Psalm 12:6) “For You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined.” (Psalms 66:10) The prophet Isaiah wrote these words given to him by God, "Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” (Isaiah 48:10)
This concept was very familiar to the Jewish people. We will look at a few more passages before moving on to the second half of this revelation of Jesus. "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, And against the man, My Associate," Declares the LORD of hosts. "Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; And I will turn My hand against the little ones. It will come about in all the land," declares the LORD, "That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will be left in it. And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, `They are My people,' And they will say, `The LORD is my God.' " (Zechariah 13:7-9) "He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness.” (Malachi 3:3) “Some of those who have insight will fall, in order to refine, purge and make them pure until the end time; because it is still to come at the appointed time.” (Daniel 11:35) This would be a good time to stop for a few minutes and go before the Lord and have the Holy Spirit search your heart and show you if there are areas that God’s refining fire is needed in your life. If there is anything revealed do not move on until you have allowed the Lord to do a full work in you and the conviction has brought you to repentance and submission so that He can work in you.
“and His feet are like burnished bronze,...” Bronze was a very familiar metal to the Jewish people, to welders and anyone who worked with metals. It was a copper based alloy that was known for its strength as well as its beauty. It was used on many parts of the temple altar. Swords were made of bronze. Burnished bronze would be likened to the metal coming out of the furnace, blazing hot! It is not the metal itself that is so special but the application of the metal to our lives. Bronze was one of the metals used in the temple, we are the temple of God. We are not to be weak and unstable in our position in the Lord. We are fortified by the Holy Spirit who strengthens us (as the bronze strengthens a structure) and will stand the test of time!
I am reminded of Daniel’s vision of the Ancient of Days (Almighty God) and the Son of Man (Yeshua, the Messiah). Let’s review it and see why the Lord chose to reveal Himself in this way to the Church of Thyatira. Remember, everything that is presented in the Book of Revelations has been written in the Scriptures. There is nothing new. This is the fulfillment of prophecy that must take place for the end to come and the Kingdom of God to be established. “I kept looking until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames; its wheels were a burning fire. A river of fire was flowing and coming out from before Him; thousands upon thousands were attending Him, and myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; the court sat, and the books were opened. Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire. As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time. I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:9-14)
The presence of God is a burning fire! None can see Him and live in our present condition! So the Holy Spirit is presenting to us an imagery of the holiness of the Lord and the importance of our having been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ while here on earth because there will NOT be a second chance once we enter the first death. This is very important to remember as we read what the Lord has to say to this church, and to you and me today! ‘I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. 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. Behold, I will throw her 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…’ Remember that the Church of Ephesus was reprimanded because they had left their first love, which is the foundation of our faith. This church has not lost their love for the Lord and their works of service are done because of the love of God in their hearts. They are vessels that are being filled and poured out over and over again. They have not grown weary in the face of persecution but have continued to reach out in love to others in sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This really sounds like a great loving fellowship of believers! But all is not well, and just because one part is healthy, does not mean that all parts of the congregation are healthy. And that part which is in sin cannot continue to be ignored, it must be purged. “...Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?” (1 Corinthians 5:6)
The spirit of Jezebel is like a cancer, specifically more like melanoma, it takes control of every cell around it and is deadly. Often leadership does not deal with this spirit because it will be very unpleasant and can bring much division and hurt to a congregation. But if it is left to grow without being addressed, the whole congregation will die, spiritually and even physically. Jezebel wants CONTROL! This spirit has no respect for authority and will undermine leadership to the point that the leadership will often leave because they do not know how to deal with it. Confrontation is not easy for any of us, but when it is such a strong controlling spirit it is especially difficult. This spirit is so strong that it actually causes fear in those around it so that they become so fearful they will just ignore it rather than face it. If left unchecked it will consume and destroy the entire congregation. Remember Elijah? He had just killed 450 prophets of Baal and Israel was convicted of their sin of idolatry worship. (1 Kings 18) But the queen, Jezebel, who had slain the prophets of the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, threatened to kill Elijah and he became so fearful that he fled! (If you are not familiar with the life of Elijah I suggest you stop right here and read the Scriptures.) God used him mightily, but this spirit unnerved him! 1 Kings 19 details Elijah’s flight and the fears he faced. We see the mercy and grace of God as He ministers to Elijah to strengthen him for his journey.
Please note Elijah’s words to the Lord after his first day’s journey. “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, ‘It is enough; now, O LORD, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.’” (1 Kings 19:4) For those who are called by God it is not uncommon for them to feel inadequate and rather than failing God they ask that He take them home. Look at Jonah 4:3,8 and Numbers 11:14-15. Jonah and Moses also experienced the same anguish and frustration at their inadequacies! Have you ever been there? Been to the place where you are so discouraged and so tired that you feel like you can’t go on? We’ve all been there. But there is a difference in feeling this way and being despondent and wanting to take your own life. Notice that Elijah asked God to take him home. As God responded to Elijah’s needs, Elijah accepted the Lord’s provisions and was willing to hear the Word of the Lord. Are you my dear friend? Are you so wrapped up in your own thoughts that you won’t let the Lord into your life to bring that healing?
Please pay close attention here, God heals and resolves issues in each of our lives in a personal way. Did God heal Elijah’s fatigue and fear? Yes! Did He send Him back to the battlefield to continue in the ministry God had given him? NO! There is a season in which God will call us for a specific work but that season often ends and another door opens to a new season. We need to learn to let go and let God lead us each and every day. TO STAY IN A MINISTRY WHERE GOD HAS REMOVED US IS SIN. That actually is a beginning of the spirit of Jezebel. That spirit is determined to control everything and everyone around it, including God! Elijah was obedient to the end.
1 Kings Chapter 19 leads us on the journey with Elijah in his last days of ministry. What a glorious exit! My dear friend, I want to be true to the Lord’s calling until the day the Lord calls me home. What a blessing it will be even if I don’t go out in a chariot of fire! But to know that I will someday hear those precious words, “Well done, good and faithful servant” will be worth all the pain and anguish we experience here on earth.
Can we honestly look at the families today who call themselves “Christian”? As we’ve discussed in so many of our devotions together, there is a great deception that many who think they will be saved and will not. It is not up to me to state who and who will not receive eternal life, but if we align our lives with the commandments we are given in Scripture we may begin to understand why our children are in such trouble. “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. Behold, I will throw her 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,...”
“God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19) ‘The LORD is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generations.’ (Numbers 14:18) “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) Ok, before you get up and walk away, let’s take another look at the Word of God and allow the Holy Spirit to open our hearts to some truth that our “easy grace” pastors have decided doesn’t apply. We CANNOT pick and choose what Scriptures we like and don’t like or which ones we will or won’t obey.
Let’s go back to our story of Elijah. Queen Jezebel’s husband was King Ahab, king of Israel. He allowed his wife to worship idols, kill God’s prophets, serve the prophets of Baal and all this turned his heart away from the One True Living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I suggest you read 1 Kings 21. I’m only going to quote a couple of the verses here. “Surely there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do evil in the sight of the LORD, because Jezebel his wife incited him. He acted very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites had done, whom the LORD cast out before the sons of Israel. It came about when Ahab heard these words, that he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and fasted, and he lay in sackcloth and went about despondently. Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, ‘Do you see how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the evil in his days, but I will bring the evil upon his house in his son’s days.’” (1 Kings 21:25-29) When Joram saw Jehu, he said, “Is it peace, Jehu?” And he answered, “What peace, so long as the harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?” (2 Kings 9:22 emphasis mine) If we do not repent and turn away from our sin, that sin will continue to abide on our descendants. Why? Because they will follow in our footsteps! Do the descendants have “free will” to make their own decisions? Absolutely! They can turn away from their sin and repent and receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior because the Lord’s mercies are new every morning. But if they choose not to we will continue to see the deterioration and the wrath of the Lord upon them until His wrath is complete. That is a very sobering truth. While I cannot insure that my descendants will receive salvation, I do have a choice of whether or not I am going to worship idols (even our music, television, internet and music choices reflect our heart and become idols in our lives) and sabotage God’s people and bring God’s wrath upon the heads of my descendants!
Please, let’s be clear here so there is no misunderstanding. God does not cause their hearts to be hardened and to turn away from Him. Each one makes his own decision! But each time a person rejects the Lord’s Word or His love, his heart will become hardened on its own. God has to allow it because it is the person’s choice, his free will, that he is exercising. God does not randomly choose who is His and whose heart will not receive Him. So while there is no guarantee that you as a strong believer in the Lord Jesus Christ will have your offspring also be strong believers, you are giving them a testimony as to the love and power of the Lord Jesus Christ and, as we continue to pray for them, a hope in the future that they will make the right choice. So it is not only for our benefit that our love is a true covenant love with the Lord and obedient to His Word, but it is a witness, a testimony, to everyone around us that the Lord is true and He is for us and not against us! “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31) Again, this is the bottom line, either we are walking with God or we are walking with Satan because there is no other choice!
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14) If you are reading this I will assume that you are in love with the Lord and desire a deeper relationship with Him. If that being the case, we must ask ourselves why we so easily stray from holiness, from righteous living, from a sanctified life that brings glory to the Lord God. It is NOW that we are walking testimonies of the Lord Jesus Christ! We are His representatives to draw others to Him. Worldly living does not set us apart nor testify of God’s goodness and grace, of His mercies that are new every morning! “Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness.” (Luke 11:35) (Lamentations 3:23) “The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him.’ The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him.” (Lamentations 3:22-25)
Look at the lawlessness and the immorality in our society today, it is out of control and it just gets worse every day! “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20) “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,” (2 Timothy 3:1-4) The Apostle Paul in his first letter to Timothy addresses a problem that has been in the church from the beginning, that of those saying “The Law” does not apply to believers in Jesus Christ. We have already addressed this many times. Jesus stated that He did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. But there is also a great misunderstanding about “The Law”. Even when the Lord God gave the Law to Moses, its intent was to be a guide to show us our sin so that we would turn away from it and turn to God and trust Him in all areas of our lives. God knew that man could not keep the law by himself, so man has interpreted it by his own understanding for thousands of years and caused misunderstanding between believers all these years. Let’s listen to what Paul wrote to Timothy, “But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching,” (1 Timothy 1:8-10 emphasis mine) Do you now see it? Everything that the law warns that is harmful to us and to our eternal life, our society now says is right and good. In the Book of Jude, James, the half brother of Jesus, and the leader of the church in Jerusalem, addressed this issue and is one we need to hear at this time. “just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.” (Jude 1:7) “It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage. But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.” (Jude 1:14-21 emphasis mine)
‘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.’ (emphasis mine) Jesus Christ is the One and only authority. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:11-16)
Each believer’s reward will be given when we stand before the Lord on Judgment Day. There are some who He will give authority over the nations. After reading of the problems in this church we are seeing that He calls us to stand for righteousness. We are called to defend the gospel of Jesus Christ and not to turn the other way and ignore the apostasy. We are to diligently love and guide and teach the believers through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us. If we allow the deception and abominations to abide we will be called to give an account as to why we allowed the fear to overcome the power of the Holy Spirit in us. Are you willing to speak the truth? Jesus spoke the truth and He was hated for it. If our first concern is that we want people to “like” us, we are going to have a problem in obeying the Holy Spirit. Do you have an ear to hear and to respond correctly to what the Spirit is saying to you today?
I would be greatly amiss if I did not focus a minute on those who the Lord acknowledges who have not known the things of Satan. ‘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,...” Notice a couple little words that are so easily passed over, “Nevertheless what you have…” What do they have? They have a surrendered life to the Lord. Those have chosen the “good” (agathos - the things of God) and not been overtaken by the way of the world. They have a heart of prayer that comes because of their love and desire for God and for His will to be in all things. “It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” (Revelation 19:8) “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” (Revelation 12:11) We must stay true to the Lord until the end in order for the Lord’s promises to be ours!
I am not fully understanding the last part of the Lord’s promise but I will share what I do know is true, and I know when the time is right the Lord will reveal more understanding to me. and I will “give him the morning star…” We know that Jesus is the bright morning star. “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” (Revelation 22:16) To the Jews who had doubted His divinity He is quoting Scripture testifying that He is the descendant of David that the Scriptures prophesied to. “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” (1 John 3:2) Both the Apostle Paul and the Apostle John remind us that we will get a new body but we really do not know what that body will look like. We will not know until that day. Jesus gives us all kinds of promises in His Word as to what some of the rewards will be that we will receive, but what we will look like is not one of those...until we get to this Scripture. While it does not describe our new bodies, we are told “we will be like Him”. Can you imagine? That doesn’t mean just in appearance but also in our spirit. We will not be “gods”, that is New Age apostasy. But we will be like Him and He will place His authority in us, even greater than we have experienced of the authority of the Holy Spirit in our lives while here on earth! But in order to receive this new body, these believers needed to repent of all their wickedness and sin so that the light of Christ will shine and the darkness will be cast out. Then Jesus Christ, the bright morning star, will be leading this church and these members will be reflecting His light! “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” (2 Peter 1:19) “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)
Can you see through these letters to the churches how Jesus is showing us the “narrow gate”? Are you beginning to understand why there are few who enter by it? These are heart issues that cannot be faked! I pray that as you read these letters you will ask the Holy Spirit to show you any areas that may be weak that you might go to the throne of grace and seek guidance. “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16)
Abba Father, thank You for Your amazing love! Thank You for Your ultimate sacrifice of Your One and Only Son, Jesus Christ who secured my salvation by the shedding of His blood. As I read His letters to the churches I am saddened by the sin that so easily entangles us and destroys the lives of so many. As we allow the Holy Spirit to search us today, forgive us, as we pray, for the areas of sin and weakness that we now seeing in our lives. We seek Your strength to walk in faith and no longer walk by sight in this dark world. Lead us to where You would have us go as a light in the short time that we still have remaining before total darkness sets in. We love You Lord with all of our hearts, mind, soul and strength. Gird our loins that we will stand and not fall. May Your words be spoken through us with love and also as a two-edged sword that will reveal the need in the lives of those You have called us to witness to. Thank You that You are faithful and it is You in us that is our strength! We love You and praise You! This we pray in the blessed name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, amen!