Provoking The Lord To Jealousy

“…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.” (Rev. 2:20 KJV)

In the last two posts we have looked at ancient society and idol worship. Now we want to discuss Jezebel, the false prophetess.

Like Balaam and the Nicolaitans, she was responsible for seducing the people of God to participate in the idolatrous feasts of pagans and to participate in immorality.

Two blogs back we looked at the importance of the pagan sacrifices in ancient cultures. Not only were they important in a religious and civil sense but also socially. The early Christian’s daily life was spent in the midst of a society saturated in idol worship and immorality. This is why Paul said to the Corinthian Christians:

“Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say. Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a SHARING in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a SHARING in the body of Christ? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread. Look at the nation of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices SHARERS in the altar? What do we mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but I say that the things which the gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God; and I do not want you to become SHARERS IN DEMONS. You CANNOT drink the cup of the Lord and the CUP OF DEMONS; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the TABLE OF DEMONS. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy?”

(I Corinthians 10: 14 – 22 emphasis mine)

If the Old Testament children of Israel, who did not have the indwelling Holy Spirit, provoked the Lord to jealousy with idols; HOW MUCH MORE the New Testament believers who have the indwelling Holy Spirit in them and are becoming sharers in demons by eating the sacrifices to these demons. This is why James 4: 5 says

“Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealousy desires the Spirit which He made to dwell in us?””

As we will see, Jezebel, and these New Testament Christians who followed her, DID provoke the Lord to jealousy. What was written in Deuteronomy, still applies to us and the bond servants in Thyratira:

“They made Him jealous with strange gods; With abominations they provoked Him to anger. They sacrificed to demons who were not God, To gods whom they have not known, New gods who came lately, Whom your fathers did not dread.” (Deut. 32: 16-17)

And in another place it says:

“They have made Me jealous with what is not God. They have provoked Me to anger with their idols. (Deut. 32: 21a)

Paul warned us in I Corinthians 10: 11 that:

“Now these things” [what happened in the Old Testament] “happened to them” [the Old Testament children of God] “as an example” [to New Testament believers] “and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” (Emphasis mine)

In other words, we, the New Testament Christians, like the children of Israel, can provoke the Lord to jealousy and anger by getting involved with idols, gods of other religions, or other abominations; such as witchcraft, divination, sorcery, spells, mediums, spiritist, necromancy (Deut. 18: 10-14), astrology and other evil practices. Paul instructed us to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. John told us to keep ourselves from idols and there are still plenty of idols around today. For example, do you know that a

“…covetous man, ….is an idolater…..’ (Ephesians 5:5)

Mammon or worldly riches is the idol of today’s covetous man and he is bowing down to and sacrificing his life to mammon. Jesus said you can not serve Him and mammon!

Also listen to what Samuel told Saul when Saul failed to obey the Lord’s command to exterminate the Amalekites:

“For rebellion is as the sin of divination” [or witchcraft] “and insubordination is as iniquity and IDOLATRY.” (I Samuel 15:23 addition and emphasis mine)

In the Lord’s eyes many things are idolatry, not just worshipping an idol in a pagan temple.

Jude said in verse 21:

“..keep yourselves in the love of God…”

The Lord Jesus said

“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. (John 15: 9-10)

When we came to Christ we had to repent or change our mind and behavior toward sin. Upon receiving the Holy Spirit, He spread the love of God in our hearts and gave us wonderful promises that, by renewing our mind, we can escape the corruption that is in the world through lust and order our daily behavior to imitate Christ. This is Truth but we throw a wrench in the gears of these Truths by not maintaining our initial repentance or turning away from sin.

Dear Reader, let us press on in imitating Christ by keeping His commandments, walking in agape love toward our fellow Christians and all men. Pay close attention to yourself. The deceitfulness of sin makes you believe that the sinful act will bring you true happiness. Our true joy, happiness and fulfillment lies only in our relationship with the Lord Jesus. Your life is hid in His.

Don’t let the deceitfulness of sin lull you to sleep and you awake to find yourself in darkness enslaved to practices that are an abomination to the Savior. Do not provoke Him to jealously. Repent if you need to and get up from defeat and go on in overcoming victory in the power of His Spirit. May God richly bless our obedience!

Carl

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