Dec 22, 2015
There is much more that could be written about the Thyatira church era, since it covers a period of nearly a thousand years. This present study, however, must focus upon the main issue raised in the message to the church, where Jezebel is singled out for condemnation. Even as she killed the prophets, so also did the church kill the overcomers, along with genuine heretics, by the spirit of Jezebel.
The other issue put forth in Revelation 2:21 was Jezebel’s “immorality” (porneuo). This word describes the actions of church leadership as well as the spiritual adultery of the bride of Christ. Any time people are led to worship any god or anyone other than Jesus Christ Himself, or follow the laws of men, it is spiritual adultery.
Keep in mind that the church in the Pentecostal age was a manifestation of King Saul, who was made king because the people had rejected God (1 Samuel 8:7). It should also be noted that the people themselves did not know that they had rejected God. From their perspective, they just wanted a leader like the nations. The problem was that they lacked true knowledge of the situation, because they did not have the mind of God.
The Spirit of Knowledge (Isaiah 11:2) was their greatest need at that moment. The same was true of the church of Thyatira. True knowledge is to know Christ, His mind, His purpose, His goals, and His will. True knowledge is to see things through the eyes of Christ, rather than to lean upon one’s own understanding. This was the great lack in the Thyatira age, and its main symptom was the lack of education.
The Church Disqualified
Most of that era is now called The Dark Ages, although from the church perspective, the Dark Ages (saeculum obscurum) lasted just sixty years from the election of Pope Sergius III in 904 until the death of Pope John XII in 964.
Cardinal Baronius (1538-1607) wrote a history of the popes in a book called Annales Ecclesiastici. He tells us of Theodora, wife of Theophylact, the senator of Rome, and their daughter Marozia, who, as a young girl, gave birth to the son of Pope Sergius, who ruled as pontiff from 904-911 A.D. The young boy grew up to become Pope John XI (931-935), becoming Pope at the age of twenty. His appointment was ensured by his mother, who was the de facto ruler of Rome at the time.
The Wikipedia tells us,
The period was first identified and named by the Italian Cardinal and ecclesiastical historian Caesar Baronius in his Annales Ecclesiastici in the sixteenth century. Baronius' primary source for his history of this period was Liutprand of Cremona. Other scholars have dated the period more broadly or narrowly, and other terms, such as the Pornocracy (German: Pornokratie, from Greek pornokratiā, "prostitute rule") …
The term Pornocracy was coined by Liutprand, who lived during that time (920-972 A.D.), and Baronius used the term as well 600 years later in writing his book on papal history. It is clear that the church historians saw the tenth century as the low point in church morality, as well as in civil power.
There is far too much sordid history for us to include here. It is readily available in many sources where church history is discussed. Our purpose is to present a general history of time, along with some understanding of its prophetic meaning.
The most important feature of the saeculum obscurum was the fact that it began toward the end of the eighteenth Jubilee of the church, dating from 33 A.D. (18 x 49 = 882, which, added to 33 A.D. brings us to 915 A.D.). Each jubilee cycle of church history fulfills a year in the reign of King Saul. In other words, Saul’s forty-year reign prophesied of the forty-Jubilee reign of the church in the Pentecostal Age.
King Saul was disqualified (1 Samuel 15:26) in his eighteenth year during his war against the Amalekites. Saul had been called to bring judgment upon the Amalekites after their grace period of 414 years was completed, dating from their attack upon Israel as they came out of Egypt (Exodus 17:14-16).
Saul, being king at the time, was God’s appointed judge to execute the sentence (curse of the law) upon Amalek. Saul, however, spared the Amalekite king (Agag) and thereby took Amalek’s curse upon himself. In biblical law, a judge can only forgive sin if he is willing to pay its penalty. Jesus did this on the cross, being willing to pay the penalty for the sin of the world. When Saul forgave Agag, he took the curse upon himself and was then disqualified as king of Israel.
Since Saul was a type of the church, his disqualification in his eighteenth year prophesied of the church’s disqualification toward the end of its eighteenth Jubilee (866-915 A.D.). This was the time in church history where the divine decree ensured that the church’s anointing as king would not last forever. The church would be replaced ultimately by the overcomers in the Tabernacles Age. For further study of the prophecies of Saul, see my book, Secrets of Time, chapter 6.
The Deep Things of Satan
Revelation 2:24 continues,
24 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. 25 Nevertheless, what you have, hold fast until I come.
What the glorified Christ calls “the deep things of Satan” is related to the teachings of Jezebel in the local church of Thyatira, as well as the spirit of Jezebel in the Thyatira church era. As we have seen, the spirit of Jezebel involves persecution of the prophets and the remnant of grace, as well as her “acts of immorality.” The spirit of Jezebel teaches that it is good and righteous to set aside the love of God toward those believed to be heretics. The church attempted to eradicate “heresy” and to bring all men into unity and conformity to the beliefs of the hierarchy. Hence, love was sacrificed on the altar of unity.
The two largest issues that dominated the previous church era were (1) the nature of Christ, i.e., the Trinity, and (2) Universal Reconciliation and the ultimate destiny of unbelievers. After these church councils had done their work, it was as if a declaration of war had been issued. The simple apostolic formula of faith in Christ that formerly defined a believer was discarded in favor of faith in the church’s ever-increasing list of creeds. It was as if Paul’s statement in Ephesians 2:8 now was to read, “For by grace you have been saved through faith and belief in the Trinity and in eternal punishment.”
Hence, I have heard it said: “If you do not believe in eternal hell, then you will go there”—as if one’s belief in hell were a prerequisite to salvation. The fact is, even Paul recognized that there were differences of opinion among believers, but never did he complicate his simple message of salvation by adding creeds to faith in Christ. The “core” of faith that is essential is to believe that Jesus died as the sacrifice for sin, rose again for our justification, and ascended to the throne on high. Anything beyond that is cause for an honest and loving discussion.
I have seen by personal experience how the charge of “heresy” can suddenly call forth the spirit of Jezebel upon otherwise loving Christians. Christians can love any “lost” soul, but a “heretic” is treated as an enemy. It is comparable to the more secular spirit of war, where a declaration of war justifies all hatred and unlawful behavior. So also the spirit of war from Jezebel comes upon many believers, and they treat “heretics” as enemies. This is one of the “deep things of Satan” that the glorified Christ held against the church of Thyatira.
The Blessings for Overcomers
There are two blessings given to the overcomers. Revelation 2:26, 27 records the first blessing:
26 And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; 27 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.
Here we see that only the overcomers will be given authority over the nations. No such reward is given to those influenced by Jezebel in the church. This is a veiled reference to the church’s disqualification during the Thyatira era, even as Saul was disqualified earlier.
Psalm 2:8, 9 is applied to the overcomers:
8 Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, thou shalt shatter them like earthenware.
Under the Old Covenant, men used physical swords to kill and to destroy. The spirit of Jezebel employed such methods as well, having an Old Covenant mindset. But the remnant of grace knows that “the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses” (2 Corinthians 10:4). The overcomers use “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). The Jezebel spirit disagrees, for “the flesh is hostile toward God” and “does not subject itself to the law of God” (Romans 8:7).
Those who choose the New Covenant sword and who conquer the world through love are those who will be given authority in the age to come. The second blessing is seen in Revelation 2:28, 29,
28 and I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Toward the end of the book of Revelation, Jesus says in Revelation 22:16, “I am the root and offspring of David, the bright morning star.” It is the same “star” prophesied in the oracle of Balaam in Numbers 24:17, saying,
17 I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; a star shall come forth from Jacob, and a scepter shall rise from Israel, and shall crush through the forehead of Moab, and tear down all the sons of Sheth.
Balaam was a prophet with wrong motives. He prophesied things that are part of Scripture. His problem was not false prophecy, but a carnal heart that was “false” to Christ. His prophecy identifies the “star” with the “scepter.” Hence, it goes with the previous blessing about authority being given to the overcomers. The “star” is Christ, but the overcomers are His body. Therefore, the authority given to Christ is given to the overcomers who are “in Him.”
Paul says in Ephesians 1:18-23,
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. 22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all.
Paul tells us that the “saints” are “His inheritance,” which He received when He was seated at the right hand of God in heaven. Further, Christ, “as head over all things,” was given to the church as well. Unfortunately, the church as a whole did not qualify as overcomers, even as Israel as a whole did not qualify as the remnant of grace (Romans 11:7). In the days of Ahab and Jezebel, there was only a remnant of 7,000 in all of Israel. In the parallel church of Thyatira there was also a small remnant of grace within the church.
In either case, the overcoming remnant are the ones who will be given the morning star and the scepter that goes with it. By the sword of the Spirit, they will shatter all resistance to the rule of Christ until all things are subjected under His feet.
This is part 27 of a series titled "Studies in the Book of Revelation." To view all parts, click the link below.