This verse contains another clue as to the extent of the church’s knowledge regarding Jezebel’s activities. It is probable that she’ll work undercover, secretly luring unwary disciples into her net. The phrase “depths of Satan” unlocks to our view the nature of her practices. Within the church she has formed a cult of esoteric worship.
All idolatry is in essence Satanic. Yet to claim knowledge of the depths of Satan reveals a spiritual vehemence of which it is unlikely the church of Thyatira has any knowledge. We see this, then, as a revelation–a warning given to disclose to the church what this woman is really about. As false teachers can only be known by their fruits (Matt. 7: 16-20), so the fruits of Jezebel, concealed by her clandestine activities, are exposed and brought to light. Openly she and her adherents profess Christianity. Secretly they profess advancement in Satanic knowledge.
It is thought by some that this anti-typical Jezebel is linked to the “harlot church,” seen sitting on the back of the beast during the first half of Daniel’s 70th week (see Rev. 17: 3-5). According to this view, the apostasy will occur when the western church and Israel unite to sign a deal with Antichrist. We will explore this theory further when we get to the relevant chapters of the book.
In this section of the epistle, Christ sends a message of encouragement to those who have not become part of Jezebel’s inner cult. No other message of prophetic judgment is committed the angel of the church of Thyatira. The responsibility of the church is to eradicate the problem before it brings on the destruction of the assembly. That is their only “burden.”
(2: 25) “But that which ye have already, hold fast till I come.”
We find this message particularly appropriate for today’s time. There is a need to “hold fast” the doctrines which we have received. That means remaining faithful to the Gospel which saved our souls. To depart from this is to deny the faith, and to overthrow our own salvation.
The rise of emergent forms of Christianity informs us that many are departing from their “first love.” This trend is often seen linked with a fervent proselytism as newfangled teachers attempt to lure “seekers” into their nets. By causing them to doubt the doctrines taught by accredited ministers of the word, they proceed to instill into souls a false but specious replacement Gospel. Once a disciple is hooked and landed in such manner, he/she typically becomes an enemy of the orthodox faith.
The church of Thyatira, commended for its works, charity, service, and faith, is admonished to hold fast to the received faith. Jezebel may be busy sowing doubt in the minds of weaker disciples, enticing them to attend her secret meetings. But it is more than likely that the rest of the church is closing their eyes to what is going on.
A false sense of charity never releases a church from investigating what is happening among its members. Many pastors and ministers would do well to hearken more closely to the words of this epistle, and investigate any Bible study groups being held outside of their supervision. Such a course would put an effective halt to those who, like Jezebel, labor to lure others into the snares of deceit.
(2: 26) “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power to the nations.”
Here is the reward which will be given to those who defend the orthodox faith and labor to purge out hypocrities and imposters from their midst. They are promised “power over the nations.” What does this mean? It means conjoint sovereignty with Christ when He comes to rule and reign over all the kingdoms of the world (kosmos). Universality of Divine government is expressly declared in Revelation 11: 15, Zechariah 14: 9, and other Scriptures.
But most notably the concept is revealed in Daniel 7, where we read, that upon the coming of the Son of Man to destroy the fourth beast, the “kingdom and dominion, and greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, Whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; and all dominions shall serve and obey Him” (Dan. 7: 27). The phrase “under the heavens” determines the nature and extent of the predicted kingdom. It is not a figurative, hypothetical kingdom, but one that bears sway over the habitable globe. “All dominions shall serve and obey Him.”
To overcomers is extended a promise of ruling and reigning with Christ. The Lord, in reference to His return, promised to grant faithful servants a share in His universal sovereignty. “Verily, I say unto you, that He shall make him ruler over all His goods” (Matt. 24: 47). And, the triumphant king is described as appointing these same servants as rulers over cities (Luke 19: 17, 19). “Do ye not know,” saith Paul, “that the saints shall judge the world?” (1 Cor. 6: 2). There can be doubt, therefore, that the promise addressed to the church in Thyartira will be literally fulfilled.
(2: 27) “(And He shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers:) even as I also received of my Father.
Here is an allusion to Psalm 2, which confirms our above view. “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Ps. 2: 8-9). When the heavenly Bridegroom comes, He and His bride (the church) shall rule and reign together. The second Eve will share in the dominion of the Second Adam.
In accordance with Daniel’s vision (see Dan. 7: 13-14), Christ confirms that He received the kingdom from His Father. Hence, He has authority to confer kingship upon those made worthy by His blood.
(2: 28) “And I will give him the morning-star.”
Reference is made to the inspired prophecy of Balaam: “I shall see Him, but now now: I shall behold Him, but not nigh: there shall come a star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth” (Numbers 24: 17). The name “Sheth” implies all men, inasmuch as all men are descendents of Seth through Noah. Here we have another confirmation that our Lord’s kingdom will be established on earth.
It is evident, therefore, that the only correct interpretation of these promises is that held by Pre-Millennialists. Irenaeus, Tertullian, Lactantius, and others, were no strangers to the truths concerning Christ’s coming kingdom. As professing Christians we are not obliged to take their word for it. However, we are obliged to accept the statements of the Word of God, as Christ speaks to His churches.
(2: 29) “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
Naturally, not all will be found willing to accept the doctrines of truth. There be many, indeed, who teach a subjective past fulfillment of Daniel 7. Therefore, it comes as no surprise to hear our Lord saying, “He who hath an ear, let Him hear.” It is as much as if Christ knew men would murmur: “This is a hard saying; who can hear it?” (John 6: 60). But what is hard for some is easy for others. We believe what the word of God says; that the Bible contains the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; and that the predictions concerning Christ’s kingdom will come to pass–regardless of what man has to say about it.