Jezebel

” The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this…” (Rev. 2:18 NASB)

In this scripture, the Lord is telling the apostle John what to write to the Thyatira messenger. He emphasizes two personal characteristics regarding his eyes and feet. Vincent says regarding the “eyes like a flame of fire”:

“Fire, in scripture, is the expression of divine anger. The figure may include the thought of the clear and penetrating insight of the Son of Man; but it also expresses His indignation at the sin which His divine insight detects.”

The Moody Bible Commentary says the following about “His feet are like burnished bronze”:

“His bronze feet were ready to trample His enemies should they not be devoured by the sword in His mouth.” (Isaiah 11:4 says about The Lord Jesus, “…He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.”)

Dear Reader, what an awesome and Holy God we serve. Jude exhorts the believers in Jude 21 to “keep yourselves in the love of God..”. Pay close attention to yourself and never be found involved in anything that is an abomination to your God. Instead,

“…let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe for our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12: 28-29 NASB).

After He commends the church messenger on several items, He tells him:

” ‘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 eats things sacrificed to idols. (Rev. 2:20 NASB).

I have read that Benjamin Franklin was a Deist. A Deist believes in a Creator who, after creating, does not interfere in His Creation. Mr. Franklin must have never read the seven letters in Revelation. Here we see the Lord being intimately involved in the lives of His people. He is correcting the messenger in Thyatira for tolerating a woman in the church who said she was a prophetess but was not. She had turned the grace of God into licentiousness in some of the unsuspecting. This is exactly what Jude and Paul were warning the churches about.

The Lord uses the name “Jezebel” to identify the woman. It is not known if this is just a symbolic name or her actual name. If it is symbolic, it is referring to the notorious OT Jezebel (I Kings 16:31). She was the daughter of pagan King Ethbaal of Sidon and with her marriage to King Ahab of the northern kingdom of Israel, Israel’s apostasy became more decided and deadly. She attempted to kill all the prophets of God. She was a priestess of Astarte (or Ashtaroth) and also worshipped Baal the Sun-god. She built a large temple to both in Israel. One had 400 priest to Astarte and the other had 450 priest to Baal. Even Israel’s King Ahab offered sacrifices in person at these temples. In the end she was killed by being thrown out an upstairs window and dogs consumed her corpse. (Vincent)

We will have to wait until heaven to find out if her name was symbolic or was her actual name. Either way, by using the name, I believe He was telling the church she was not born again but a worshipper of a pagan deity. Eusebius’ early church history tells us that Simon the Magician (Acts 8:9) faked his conversion recorded in Acts and was a false Christian who seduced God’s bond-servants. Many years ago, I had a former high school friend tell me that the only reason he had attended a certain church was to seduce the young ladies there. He and I had walked the aisle to receive Jesus at the same time when we were pre-teens. Paul had talked about being in peril from false brethren. Dear Reader, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

Through the woman’s false spiritual gift, she “…teaches and leads my bond- servants astray…”. In the Greek, what she was teaching lead to a fundamental departure from the truth (Vincent). This is the changing of the grace of God into licentiousness that Jude warned about. In Roman 1:1 Paul calls himself a bond-servant; therefore, we know these are born-again people. The deception she spread caused these people to believe it was okay to “commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols”.

We will discuss these two acts in our next post. Hopefully we have a renewed vision of our Lord and an appreciation for the need to be vigilant in our Christian walk. Thank you for your time.

“Little children, guard yourselves from idols.” (I John 5:21)

Carl

Lord Jesus Deals With False Teachers

“But I have this against you…” Jesus (Rev. 2:20)

Welcome back in 2018! I hope you had a wonderful celebration of the Lord’s birth and a safe and happy New Years celebration. May you bear much fruit for the Lord in 2018; thereby, glorifying the Father.

We will now return to our study of the book of Jude. Before Christmas we had concluded our study of Jude’s description of false teachers. Now, we will look at our Lord’s reaction to these false teachers.

In the Book of Revelation, the apostle John records how the Lord Jesus appears to him and, among other things, gives him a message for seven churches in Asia Minor.

In the letter to the “angel” or messenger (pastor or elders) of the Thyatira church, the Lord Jesus identifies a false teacher tolerated by the church:

” ‘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. And I gave her time to repent; and she does not want to repent of her immorality. Behold, I will cast her upon 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.'” Rev. 2: 20-23 NASB

In the letter to the Pergamum church, He identifies those who hold to false teaching:

” ‘But I have a few things against you, because you have there, some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit acts of immorality. Thus you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of my mouth.’ “. Rev. 2: 14-16 NASB

In the letter to the Ephesus church, He commends them because:

” ‘ …you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false. (2: 2) Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.’ ” (2:6 NASB)

In the letter to the Sardis church, sin had made such inroads into the church that He tells them

“…I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Wake up…If therefore you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you.” (3: 1-3 NASB)

Paul says we were “dead” in our trespasses and sin before we were born again. I think this describes how far Sardis had backsliden in their Christian walk. If you looked at their deeds, they evidently were like the deeds of those who had no reverential awe of God, the ungodly. He tells them to “Wake up…”.

In the letter to the Laodicea church, they had reached such a state of deception, that He told them:

” ‘ I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot. So because year are lukewarm and neither hot or cold, I will spit you out of my mouth…(v 3: 15-16) Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent’ “. (3:19 NASB)

So we see that five of the seven churches had false teachers, had people in their congregation who believed false doctrine or were in a corrupt state brought on by error. We also know that Peter, John, and Paul warned about these false teachers that were deceiving the early church. Today, you only have to read your Bible and look at Christendom to realize that the false teachers are still hear today.

The next post will expand on the Lord’s comments to Thyatira and how this corresponds to what Jude has warned us about. In the mean time,

“keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 21).

Sanctifying grace and peace be upon you.

Carl

Hidden Reefs

“These men are those who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves;…  Jude 12

We continue our discussion of Jude’s false teachers:

7. Jude says these false teachers are deadly like hidden reefs in the sea that sink ships drowning the occupants. They are merchants of death while they partake of the Lord’s Supper with the unsuspecting children of God, giving the impression they are servants of God. Instead they are satan’s ambassadors bent on destroying the church of the living God.

They appear to have spiritual gifts but actually are like clouds without water, and autumn trees without fruit. They seemly offer something spiritual and good, but in reality do not have anything from the Lord.

8. “…and perished in the rebellion of Koran.” (Verse 11) – they reject the God given authority like Koran did Moses.

9. “…grumblers, finding fault,…” (verse 16) – they discontentedly complain about God but not in a loud, outspoken manner; instead in a muttering undertone lest they become obvious.

While visiting a church decades ago, as we were preparing to leave at the end of the service, an acquaintance took me by the arm and whispered in my ear, “Do these guys (the preacher and staff) really believe God is going to put all these people (lost sinners) in hell?” That was all he said and walked into the exiting crowd. I was shocked by the question and what it exposed about him. He had been deceived by a co-worker who was a false teacher who taught everyone gets to heaven in the end, even the devil.

This guy was a hidden reef, in rebellion like Koran, and a grumbler.

This concludes our discussion of the false teachers in Jude.  There are no doubt false teachers are in the visible church today. I hope this gives you some insight into what to watch out for in your and your descendants Christian experience.

Our next post will look at what the Risen Lord Jesus said and did about this.

May your love abound for the brethren and all men,

Carl

Woe to them!

“Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain,…” Jude 11

Thank you for joining us again as we continue our discussion on Jude’s false teachers.

5. “For they have gone the way of Cain,…” The false teachers’ beliefs on salvation were like Cain’s, the son of the first man, Adam. Like Cain, they were religious but did not believe in the blood atonement; therefore, these false teachers had to explain it away.  Let us be reminded that He, Jesus,

“…through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. ” Hebrew 9:12

6.”…and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam,..” (verse 11) – Balaam, a prophet, was enticed by a heathen king to curse Israel for a price. You may remember him as the person the donkey talked to. Though God did not allow him to curse Israel, Balaam was later responsible for Israel being seduced by Moabite women, leading to idolatry, which caused the wrath of God to come upon the nation and kill a good number of men. And he did it for his financial gain.

Like Balaam, these false teachers use their prophetical gifts for the purpose of self-aggrandizement, and endeavor to make their services attractive by EXCLUDING FROM RELIGION ALL THAT IS STRENUOUS AND DIFFICULT, AND OPENING THE DOOR TO EVERY KIND OF INDULGENCE.” (Wuest – emphasis mine)

A wise man once told me, if you want to know if Jesus is present in a church meeting, just watch and see who gets the glory, man or Jesus. False teachers like the glory.

Thank you for your precious time. We hope you have been built up spiritually through this study. Our next post will be last on the descriptions of the false teachers.

Blessings on You,

Carl

Flattery

“…they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage…” Jude 16b

Welcome back. We continue with Jude’s description of false teachers:

4. Though evidently these false teachers had not reached Rome yet, Paul issues a similar warning to the Roman disciples:

“Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Jesus Christ but of their own appetites; and by their SMOOTH AND FLATTERING SPEECH they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.” (Romans 16:17-18 emphasis mine)

The false teachers, needing to gain the trust of Jesus’ unsuspecting bond servants, used flattery to entrap them.  A review of Proverb will show you how the enemy uses flattery to deceive people.

Along this same vein, Dear Reader, be very careful of those who try to make the gospel mysterious by talking about this mystery and that mystery, making themselves out to have some deep private revelation, drawing people to themselves instead of Jesus, and complicating the gospel with their great swelling words.

“But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your mind should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” 2Cor. 10:3 emphasis mine

Carl

Dreaming in Jude

“Yet in the same manner these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh,…” Jude 8

Welcome back as we continue our study of the false teachers in Jude:

3. Our opening scripture means they indulged in what we would call pornography.   “Dreaming” means metaphorically “to be beguiled with sensual images and carried away to an impious course of conduct” (Thayer). As a result they were defiling their physical bodies with acts of immorality.

The term “in the same manner” refers to verse 6 – 7 where Jude compares them to the fallen angels who left heaven and committed fornication with the wicked women of the earth (Genesis 6) and to the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah who committed “gross immorality” (NASB) or “fornication” (KJV). God has the fallen angels in prison for their sin TODAY awaiting the final judgment and the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah are still “undergoing the punishment of eternal fire” TODAY. Both are held up as an “example” which means “something held up to view as a warning” (Wuest). Jude holds both of these exhibits up to the brethren as a warning that God will not be mocked, He will not be “outwitted or evaded”. They are still a warning to us today.

These false teachers, while claiming to be God’s spokesman, were participating in fornication and adultery.  Not only them, but, as we will see,  the Lord’s bond servants they deceived.  Thank you for your precious time.

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification, that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God;…” (I Thess 4:3-5)

Carl

Jude’s False Teachers

“…ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Jude 4b)

Today we begin the first of several posts describing the false teachers in Jude:

1. They are “…ungodly persons…”  (asebes) – means they are “destitute of reverential awe toward God, impious”. In other words, there is no fear of God in them; therefore, they have no real knowledge (Proverb 1:7) and they do not keep away from evil (Proverb 16:6) but instead spread pernicious opinions and immorality.

As ungodly persons they are “following after their own ungodly lusts”, in other words their evil passionate cravings dominated them mentally and physically. They follow these impulses instead of being led by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.  They are also “worldly minded”, in other words they consider the world and the things of the world precious instead of forsaking them and having a renewed mind. (v 18-19)

2. They have apostatized – they do not follow the commands of God the Father or Lord Jesus. Jude compares them in verse 5 to those who God saved out of Egypt but had to be destroyed in the wilderness because they refused to obey Him and possess the promise land. The refusal to obey is apostasy.

See you next post when we will continue this subject. Thank you for your precious time.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  Romans 12:21

Carl