Thyatira was the hometown of Lydia, Paul’s first European convert (Acts 16:14), and Thyatira’s church was the recipient of Jesus’ fourth letter (Revelation 2:18-29).
“I know your works — your love, faithfulness, service, and endurance. I know that your last works are greater than the first” (Revelation 2:19, CSB). Jesus, “the Son of God,” saw something very good in His church. Whereas the church of Ephesus had abandoned their “first love” (Revelation 2:4, NKJV), the church at Thyatira had a Christ-likeness that was growing, becoming “greater.”
However, there was a problem... namely, Jezebel. Okay, Jesus calls her Jezebel, but surely that was symbolic. No momma would name her baby girl such an evil name! Would she?
In the Old Testament, Jezebel was the wife of King Ahab, and the notoriously evil queen who promoted the worship of pagan gods, ruthlessly murdered the innocent, and sought to exterminate the prophets of the Living God (I Kings 16-21). On the day of her death, she was thrown from the upper story of the palace, trampled by horses, and then her body was eaten by dogs... mostly. Apparently, she was so evil that the dogs refused to eat her skull, her hands, or her feet... yuck (II Kings 9:30-37).
Jesus declares, “I have this against you: You tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and teaches and deceives my servants to commit sexual immorality and to eat meat sacrificed to idols” (Revelation 2:19, CSB). Sadly, the church was allowing a false teacher to lead some into her detestable practices.
She was also teaching “the so-called secrets of Satan” (Revelation 2:24, CSB). What are the “secrets of Satan?” I wonder if this was a form of spiritual elitism. Maybe “Jezebel” was saying, “I alone know spiritual truths... things never taught before... truths not recorded in the Scriptures...” Maybe she was proclaiming, “if you will follow my doctrines, you can enjoy all the world’s pleasures...”
Listen up, church! God’s Word is truth... the whole truth... nothing but the truth! “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, CSB). “The word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12, CSB). The Word is like a plumb line: It’s always right! It’s absolutely true... always.
If Jezebel tries to sell a spiritual secret that is not authenticated by God’s Word, the church must rise up against Satan’s lies! We, the church, must know the truth that sets us free (John 8:32) from believing the lies of Satan.
We must “hold on to what we have” (Revelation 2:25, CSB). We have the thrilling truth of God’s perfect creation, the sad reality of man’s fall, the unequaled record of Jesus’ work of redemption and rescue, and the eternally true promise of life by grace through faith. Creation. Fall. Rescue. Life... the Gospel. We need nothing more.