We’re in Revelation 2, if you want to follow along in your Bibles, though I do have most of it in the notes here.
Father, we come to You in the name of Jesus. We ask You for the spirit of wisdom and revelation. We ask You
for the spirit of impartation and inspiration on this very important subject that’s on Your heart and in Your
Word. We thank You in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Jesus visited John the apostle on the island of Patmos to discuss. And He said, “I have a special message for
seven different churches.” And of course those seven messages were for the Church throughout Church history,
and these seven messages have a very relevant application to the Church in the generation in which the Lord
returns. And as you’ll see, this one right here is really appropriate with a lot of specific application.
“THESE THINGS SAYS THE SON OF GOD, WHOSE EYES ARE LIKE A FLAME OF FIRE”
Revelation 2:18-29. “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write, these things says the Son of God who has
eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like fine brass” (Rev. 2:18). So He gives three different facets of His
majesty here, verse 18. Then in verse 19, He gives five affirmations to the church in Thyatira. “I know your
works, your love, your service, your patience”—and the word patience here would mean “endurance in
persecution”—“and I know that as for your works, the last are more than the first” (v. 19, paraphrased). In other
words, “You’re becoming more faithful. You’re not becoming burnt out. You’re actually increasing your zeal
and faithfulness in these five virtues.” I mean, what an excellent church to be a part of. And that’s why I titled
this as I did. It’s a church that had deep commitment for the Lord, but it was a church that tolerated immorality.
And the Lord affirms these five virtues in this highly-committed church. They really loved Jesus, but they had
this very significant error or blind spot in their devotion to the Lord.
He gives them a very strong rebuke in verse 20. “Nevertheless, I have a few things against you, because you
tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce my servants to commit sexual
immorality” (Rev. 2:20, paraphrased). Jesus said, “The issue is toleration.” Now, it’s an important observation
that one of the primary virtues in our culture is toleration. And Jesus doesn’t tolerate. He uses the word allow
here in the New King James. But several new translations have the word tolerate. Jesus is tolerant of many
things, but there are many things He’s not tolerant of, and though it’s one of the main virtues in our society, it’s
a great weakness in the spirit of the body of Christ if we apply that in a wrong way.
JESUS’ THREEFOLD PLAN FOR DEALING WITH IMMORALITY IN THE CHURCH
Now in verses 21-23 He gives a warning, but He brings it up three levels of intensity. He gives a warning and
He says, “I’ll do this, and if you don’t listen, I’ll bring it up a notch. And if you don’t listen, I’ll bring it up a
notch again.” He’s speaking of Jezebel, a real woman in the church of Thyatira. “I gave her time to repent of her
sexual immorality.” She didn’t repent; so what is He going to do? Number one: “I will cast her into a sick bed,
her and those who commit adultery with her, into great tribulation” (Rev. 2:21-22). This is Jesus speaking, and
He’s not referring to the Great Tribulation at the end of the age. He’s saying, “I will cause great trouble in their
lives to wake them up.” And if they still won’t repent? “I will kill her children with death” (v. 23)—with
So first, Jesus will place her and her followers in a sick bed; then, He will trouble them in their life beyond
sickness; and then He will actually kill them. “I will take them home early to save them from denying their
faith.” It’s a commitment of love.
JESUS WILL ALWAYS USE THE LEAST SEVERE MEANS TO WAKE US UP TO LOVE
Now Jesus wouldn’t be invited to many charismatic conferences with this kind of doctrine. He just wouldn’t be.
But I’m sure that we’re all in agreement. We don’t pick and choose the parts of Jesus we like and the parts we
don’t like, and the parts of the Word we like, and the parts we don’t like. We’re committed to all of Jesus and
all of the Word of God. Now this is a commitment, by the way, on Jesus’ part. He says, “I will make you sick,”
number one. “I will cause you great trouble,” number two. “And I will actually kill some of you to keep you
from denying your faith.” This is a commitment of love. He says, “My commitment is to wake you up and save
you.” That’s the point. So this is not a side of Jesus that’s a little embarrassing; this is an expression of love. He
will always use the least severe means to awaken us to love. And if we’ll listen to the lesser pressures, it will
wake us up. Then we’ll avoid the greater pressures that are related to the discipline of God. Of course, the real
pressure we want is just the Word of God. We want to be disciplined by the Word. We want to hear the Word,
feel the sting of conviction, and let that be the pressure that wakes us up. That’s the real way to go. That’s the
way a disciple goes.
“I AM HE WHO SEARCHES THE MINDS AND HEARTS”
Verse 23: “I will kill her children with physical death” is what He’s talking about. Then He says, “I will do this
in such a way that all the churches know that I’m the One doing it” (Rev. 2:23b, paraphrased). Jesus is not
doing this in a corner. He’s not embarrassed about this part of His personality. He says, “I want everyone to
know it’s Me that’s acting, and I’m searching the mind and the heart of all My people. I want the fear of God to
fall on the churches when they see Me act this way, to awaken My church in My zeal for them. I will give to
each believer according to his works.” In other words, their life choices—what they choose and what they do
with their deeds, “That’s how I will relate to them,” He says, according to this discipline that He’s talking
THE TWO MAIN REWARDS THAT WILL MOTIVATE OUR OBEDIENCE IN CONQUERING SIN
Now in verses 26-28, He gives the eternal rewards. These eternal rewards are given specifically related to
overcoming immorality and overcoming idolatry. It’s really immorality and idolatry that he’s talking about. I’m
focusing more on the immorality here, but the idolatry is a very serious problem that will become more apparent
as we get closer to the coming of the Lord. He gives the two main rewards here, and if we study these out and
they touch our heart, they will actually affect and motivate us in the realm of obedience in these two areas of
immorality and idolatry.
“TO HIM I WILL GIVE POWER OVER THE NATIONS”
“He who overcomes,”—in the area of immorality—“and keeps My works until the end”—to the end of his
life—“to him I will give power over the nations” (Rev. 2:26). What a remarkable connection, that Jesus
connects ruling our spirit in this age to ruling the nation in the age to come. He says, “He will rule them with a
rod of iron; they shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels, as I also have received from My Father” (v.
27). And He’s talking about Psalm 2, because in Psalm 2 the Father promised the Son this very thing.
“AND I WILL GIVE HIM THE MORNING STAR”
Then He lists the second reward: “And I will give him the morning star” (Rev. 2:28). And of course later Jesus
tells us, “I am the Morning Star” (Rev. 22:16). In other words, “I will grant to them the brightness of My glory.
I will make them bright in My brightness, in the revelation of who I am. I will exhilarate their spirit with who I
am if they’ll say ‘yes’ to Me in this area.”
THREE FACETS OF THE REVELATION OF HIS MAJESTY
The primary message that Jesus is giving the church in Thyatira. First, He’s giving three facets of the revelation of His majesty. He talks about Himself. He’s the Son of God. He has eyes of fire and feet like brass. We’ll look at those in a moment. Then He gives five affirmations (Rev. 2:19). I mean, this is a highly committed church. Then He gives one rebuke, “You tolerate immorality and idolatry” (v. 20). Then in
verses 21-23, He gives that threefold warning, or that one warning with an ever-increasing intensity. “I will
make you sick; I will give you trouble; I will kill you if you don’t listen to Me because I want to wake You up
to save You from greater trouble.” And then He gives the two great rewards. They would rule the nations in
partnership with Jesus and He would reveal the brightness of His beauty and glory to their spirit to make them
bright with His own brightness. He says, “I will do those two things to you.” Now those rewards have their
fullness in the age to come. But we have those rewards in part even now. We have increased intimacy and
increased authority in our ministries in this age. But those have their fullest application in the age to come.
“HE WILL RULE THE NATIONS WITH A ROD OF IRON”
Thyatira was a city that had trade unions. And the commerce of that city was built around the various trades. And I have the information there, but here’s the issue, that the trade unions required the workers to attend these feasts to Apollos. These were idolatrous feasts, and they were filled with drunkenness and immorality. And so if you wanted a job and you were a part of this trade union, you had to go to those feasts. If you said, “No,” you actually lost your job. So this was a real point of pressure.
When Jesus says, “That woman Jezebel tells believers it’s OK for them to go and participate; I tell them it’s not
OK;” well, the man is stuck in the middle. And he says, “Well, one person says I can and another person that I
can’t. If I don’t go to those, I lose My job.”
Jesus says, “Tell them they will rule the nations with Me. They will get a much better job with Me.” For real!
There’s a little time delay, but they will obtain a much better job and a much longer-lasting, with greater
JESUS, THE SON OF GOD: THE REVELATION OF HIS POWER
Let’s look at this briefly for just a moment. The three facets of His majesty: He reveals
Himself as the Son of God, the One with eyes like a flame of fire, and the One who has feet like fine brass.
Paragraph A. Now when He talks about Himself as the Son of God, this is in contrast with chapter 1, in which
He revealed Himself as the Son of Man. And here He called Himself the Son of God. He’s saying, “I have the
full power of God to help you triumph over Jezebel. I have all the resources of the Godhead to help you if you
want Me to help you. And know this—that immorality and Jezebel and all the works of darkness, they’re a
bankrupt system. They won’t last.” I’ll add a verse to the notes here, 1 Jn. 2:16. The scripture says that “the lust
of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the [boastful] pride of life” is passing away. Here’s the point: Lust is a
bankrupt system. It won’t last. Inevitably, it’s gone in a short period of time. And He’s telling them, “I am God.
I have power over it. It’s a bankrupt system. I can deliver you. There’s no future in that kind of direction for
THE REVELATION OF HIS EYES OF FIRE
The revelation of His eyes. He says, “My eyes are on you, and My eyes are like fire.” Now when
He speaks of His eyes, one point is, “I am attentive to what You’re doing.” And there’s nothing that produces
the fear of God in us more than the revelation that the eyes of the Lord are on us; that when we say no to sin, He
actually sees us and it moves Him. When we have revelation that His eyes are actually fixed on us, it really
affects what we do in our private life. So He’s saying to them, “I am attentive to you. I care what you do. I’m
watching. I care about you saying ‘no’ to darkness. It moves Me when you say ‘no,’ and I will reward you
forever.” He talks about His eyes of fire. Now the eyes of fire have two different applications, and we get to
choose which one we want. Either He will impart the fire of His love to us or He will impart the fire of His
judgment, because to Him it’s the same thing. He only releases judgment to remove the things that hinder love.
So He will impart to us the kind of love for God that He has for the Father; the kind of love for Jesus that the
Father has for Him. He says, “I will impart to you My eyes of fire. I will give you that fiery desire. Or, if you
say no to that, My eyes of judgment will intervene with fire.”
HIS FEET ARE LIKE FINE BRASS
He speaks of His feet like fine brass or bronze. Now brass is a symbol of judgment against sin. And what He’s saying is, “I will trample over this area. I will help you get the victory.” The Old Testament Jezebel, as we’re going to see in a moment, is parallel to the New Testament Jezebel; they’re two different ladies, but they operate in the same spirit. The Old Testament Jezebel was trampled underfoot by the servant of
the Lord, and Jesus is making a reference to that. “As Old Testament Jezebel was trampled under feet by My
servant, so also I will prevail over the New Testament Jezebel and her spirit of immorality. I will trample over
this immorality, and anyone who wants help, I will help to gain victory”—because to trample over the enemy
means to have victory over them. So Jesus is saying, “Call on Me. I’m standing before You as the God that can
trample over this, and I will, and I will bring you to a place of victory in your own life.”
THE FIVE AFFIRMATIONS OF THE CHURCH’S FAITHFULNESS
So those are the three revelations that He gives that are related to overcoming immorality and idolatry. Now go
to the top of page 2. Roman numeral III. Here He gives five affirmations for their faithfulness. Now this is one
of the best churches you could ever imagine being a part of. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be a part of a church
where Jesus says, “I know your works”? In other words, “your outreach ministries.” “I know your love. You’re
motivated rightly. I know your service.” In practical ways they built up the body of Christ with the spirit of
servant hood. “I know your faith—you have confidence in God; you have confidence in My Word. And I know
your patience. You endure under pressure, and some of you have even lost your jobs, but you don’t back down.
I see this; you have tremendous dedication.”
Now the good news is that the Lord does know our decisions in life. Never does an act of obedience or an act of
service go unnoticed by the Lord. Even the smallest act is seen by the Lord. It says in Hebrews 6:10, “I will
remember even the smallest thing you do when you show love towards Me by serving the saints” (paraphrased).
He says, “As for your works, the last are more than the first” (Rev. 2:19). Now typically it’s the
other way around. Typically, when we first start a ministry, we’re more excited, and as the months and years
unfold, we get burnt out and we lose our zeal. “Well, we were really excited about that outreach, but now we’ve
been going on a few months or a few years and it fizzles out. People lose interest.”
Jesus says, “You guys are different. You actually get more committed the longer the ministry goes on,” which is
remarkable. I mean, I look at that and I say, “Wow. I want to be a part of a church like this.” He gives five
different affirmations of their virtue.
“NEVERTHELESS, I HAVE A FEW THINGS AGAINST YOU”
Now He gives them the main correction. And we understand that though Jesus affirms a
Church or an individual, He sees the whole truth. There’s no bias; there’s no prejudice. He sees clearly. He sees
our love even when we don’t see our love, but He also sees compromise, even if we come up with a Bible
verses to cover it up. People can find a Bible verse to cover up almost any sin that they want to get away with,
but they never, ever fool or manipulate Jesus. They can get other believers to applaud them and even agree with
them and go along with them, but they’ll never manipulate Jesus. And the Word will never change. So He says,
“As good of a church as you are with those five virtues I just mentioned, nevertheless, there’s a dark spot in
your character. And I want you to address it with zeal, because it’s a very, very dangerous dark spot. It’s a very
dangerous blind spot in your church life.” He says. “I have a few things against you, because you allow that
woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce”—two separate things—“to teach and
seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality” (Rev. 2:20).
And secondly, there are two things that they allow or tolerate. It’s the same word: to eat things sacrificed to
idols and to worship the idol. And what they said is, “You know, there’s not really a false god behind that stone
that we’re bowing before. It really doesn’t matter. We just eat the food, and it really doesn’t really matter, and
we’re engaged in a little drunkenness, a little immorality, but by the grace of God, we don’t get defiled by it
because we’re bigger than that. And it’s not a big deal. We’re just trying to relate to the society.” And they had
all this rationale. Much of that kind of stuff you hear today even in the body of Christ. It’s the same deception.
THE DOCTRINE OF THE DEEP THINGS OF SATAN
Jesus is speaking here to the church of Thyatira: “To you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not
have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan” (Rev. 2:24)—He’s calling this deception of
Jezebel, this doctrine of toleration, “the deep deception of Satan.” He says, “This is not an innocent or a small
thing. It’s a very dangerous deception.” As a matter of fact, it’s the deep things of Satan.
Now we might look at that and say, “Well, that seems awfully intense.” Because what does Jezebel do? She
presented the grace of God in a way that made it OK for them to be involved in these feasts, under the delusion
that they really weren’t defiled and it wasn’t a big deal. “And so what? We’re in grace…” But it’s a deception
so serious that Jesus related it and connected it to the depths of Satan.
HIS CORRECTION IS HIS COMMITMENT TO OUR GREATNESS
Jesus says, “I have a few things against you” (Rev. 2:20). Well, it’s basically one thing, but two
expressions. “You tolerate the immorality and the idolatry” (2:20, paraphrased)—those are the two different
expressions, but it’s the one big issue. They tolerate it. Now when Jesus gives correction to a church or an
individual, we understand that it’s not rejection. In fact, His correction is His commitment to our greatness. He
wants us to reach the highest heights we can reach in the Spirit, and He wants us to reach the highest potential
that we have in the will of God. When He corrects us, it’s actually an expression of His zeal for us. It’s an
expression of His commitment in love towards us. And He will intervene in the least severe way to wake us up.
Of course, He wants us to wake up just by the conviction of the Word. But if we won’t wake up by the
conviction of the Word, He will allow circumstances to wake us up. He doesn’t want to do that, but it’s better
than not waking up, because if we don’t wake up spiritually, we end up in far greater deception and some will
even deny their faith. And so in His zeal for them, He says, “I love you. I’m not mad at you. I’m actually
committed to you. That’s why I’m speaking so straightforwardly to you. I’m committed to your greatness.”
THE TWO-PRONGED ATTACK OF THE ENEMY: TEACHING AND SEDUCTION
He says, “Here’s what Jezebel does. She teaches My servants to commit immorality and to eat
things sacrificed to idols” (Rev. 2:20, paraphrased). She would teach and she would seduce. Those are two
different things that overlap. The teaching is theological. She would give the rationale, appealing to their logic
and explaining from the Bible why it was OK. And again, you can find an argument for almost any sin you
want if you’ll twist the Scriptures and distort them. But then she moved from teaching, from a theological
presentation, to seduction. She moved from logic to an emotional or a sensual appeal. Now she’s appealing to
their sinful appetites. So first she gives a Bible study and paves the way for their compromise. Then she hosts
the party and invites them to it and then they walk out what they learned at their Bible study. And now the
deception is complete.
So first she teaches—that’s always the enemy’s way—to give distortion of doctrine. And then she creates the
party and invites you to it and seduces you by your sinful appetites. And then we get lost and stuck in it, but
we’re emboldened by the false ideas we’ve received from the false teaching. So the enemy always uses first
teaching and then seduction. He creates the mindset, the framework, to explain why it’s OK to get drunk. “It’s
OK to do drugs and immorality in smaller measure. Try not to do too much!” And then he creates a setting
where we’re seduced when we have that wrong framework. And Jesus’ way is to give the truth, and the truth
will set us free.
“HAVING THEIR CONSCIENCES SEARED WITH A HOT IRON”
She taught liberty and grace in the context of attending these idolatrous feasts, which involved immorality. Now, significantly, immorality is at the top of the list of almost every single list of sins in the New Testament. There are several different lists in the New Testament where either Jesus or one of the apostles lists five, six, or seven different sinful activities. And immorality is at or near the top of that list almost every single time. In other words, it’s not innocent, it’s dangerous. Meaning, it defiles our spirit and it opens us up to different dimensions of demonic power in ways we don’t really comprehend. We think, “Well, I shouldn’t have done that; I feel a little bad about it.” But our conscience progressively gets defiled, then seared, and it gives way and makes room for us to enter into far greater deceptions years down the road. The enemy’s strategy is always to defile our conscience a little for a few months, or maybe a year or two at one level. Then he defiles a little more for the next year or two, and in the next year or two brings it up a notch. And after a decade or two of that, he has them completely entrapped with a seared conscience, even though they may be a believer raised
in the Church, still holding a confession that they love Jesus. But their conscience is so dulled, it’s no longer
moved by the Word of God. That’s what his plan is to do.
EATING FOODS SACRIFICED TO IDOLS IS FELLOWSHIPPING WITH DEMONS
Now this is not something we think about much, but I put it in here because it’s going to be really
important in the days to come. Idolatry is not innocent, nor is it just superstition. Paul tells us here in 1
Corinthians 10:20-21, “When the Gentiles go to those idolatrous feasts, they’re actually sacrificing to demons,
whether they believe it or not” (paraphrased). There are real demons receiving their sacrifice. And when they sit
at the table at those feasts, they’re actually fellowshipping with demons. Fellowshipping with demons. Now I’m
talking to the other guy who’s worshipping the idol. Paul said, “Pull the veil back, and see what’s happening in
the Spirit behind the scene. You’re actually interacting with demons in ways you don’t know.” Then he goes on
and talks about how, if they drink and eat at that table, they’re actually participating with demons.
COVETOUSNESS AND A DESIRE FOR TRANSCENDENCE: TWO SNARES OF SATAN
Now at the end of the age, the demonic idolatry realm is going to be far more sophisticated, because demons
will appear as angels of light. And people will think they’re having angelic encounters, and there are demons
actually seducing them into darkness. And one of the foundational issues I will look at in a moment is
covetousness. But another issue is the longing for transcendence, a desire to touch the supernatural realm. And
the way things are going in the days to come, there will be a demonic realm that’s exciting to people on the
front end; it will be filled with terrible bondage and torment on the back end. But at first it will be exciting:
supernatural, angels of light, power! It will touch the transcendent, supernatural realm a little. And it will stir up
or touch that longing in everyone for the supernatural realm.
Now right now our nation is far more secular than it is spiritual. And we’re more interested in the immorality
and the money and the pleasure, but before the Lord returns, the entire globe is going to be more spiritual than
secular. There will be a tremendous shift before it’s over. There’s going to be so much interaction with the
supernatural realm that there won’t be atheists. I mean, there might be a few, but what’s going to change is that
we’re going to move from a secular mindset to a spiritual mindset, but rooted in false ideologies. We’re still
some way away, but you can see it already on the horizon. Right now, it doesn’t look like idolatry will really
make a comeback in the Western world, but it will, because there will be real power encounters with it that are
IDOLATRY ROOTED IN THE LOVE OF MONEY
Paul the apostle linked idolatry to covetousness. Because one of the main reasons they would sacrifice to idols in the days of old was to get the demon, which they thought was an angel, to help them with their crops or their business. It was really rooted in the love or the desire for money. So if they would make that demon, which they thought was an angel, happy, then that demon would give them more financial benefits. So Paul several times right here in Colossians and Ephesians links covetousness to idolatry. He says, “That’s the real drive, is the longing for money.” But then there’s a second drive—the longing to touch the supernatural.
And both of those will come to a forefront.
Jesus said, “You tolerate,” or, “you allow.” Again, several translations use the word tolerate. “You tolerate Jezebel to teach and to seduce.” So again, she gives the doctrine. She gives the ideology, the teaching, and then she creates the context to seduce, to stir up the sinful passions. And they have to go together to be effective. Now today in our society, in the Western world, toleration is one of the main virtues.
As a matter of fact, you could almost have any religious belief you wanted as long as you tolerate everything.
The primary thing that’s taboo in our society is lack of tolerance. Now that’s a design of darkness. There is a
virtue in having respect towards people with different persuasions and points of view. We can respect people.
We can respect their right to express themselves and we can have a respectful interaction with them without
saying, “What you believe is true.” We could say, “You’re a very important person and you’re important
enough to be heard and to care about. But I love you so much that I’m going to inform you that this doctrine
that you believe is like a cancer.”
LOVE OF THE TRUTH THAT DOESN’T YIELD TO THE FALSE APPLICATION OF TOLERANCE
It’s like the doctor that won’t tell the patient that they have cancer. “Just go ahead and let them die, because I
don’t want to tell them the bad news. I don’t think I’ll tell them, because they’ve had such a tough month
anyway. I’ll just go ahead and let the cancer grow and let them die.’’ That’s the approach of tolerance in our
nation. And I don’t mean that every time you have a conversation with someone, you have to point out what
they believe that’s wrong. That’s not what I’m saying, but we wait for those opportune moments where the
Holy Spirit opens a door. But one of the main virtues in the kingdom of God is a love for truth that doesn’t yield
to this false application of tolerance. Again, there’s a good virtue of tolerance, if it means we’re respectful and
patient with each other and we give people a chance to be heard and we care about their opinions. That’s a good
application of tolerance, but there’s a counterfeit. There’s a false application of tolerance that says we esteem
their actual theological conclusions, and we don’t. We love them so much, we’ll tell them the truth. So the
virtue in the kingdom of God is called “love of truth.” And because of our love of truth, we’ll address the false
doctrines of those who believe them if they give us opportunity to do it. And again, we don’t always have
Well, they tolerated, they allowed Jezebel to continue in her ministry. Here are the leaders of the church. I
mean, they’re doing hard works of serving, sacrificial works of service. They’re motivated by love. They have
strong faith and confidence in God and the Word. They persevere under persecution. They don’t give up, they
don’t give in. But they have this one blind spot in their leadership, in their character. There’s this one lady
who’s got quite a following in the church. They don’t confront her; they just let it go on. Now we confront
others with kindness. We do it with a tender spirit. We do it in mercy, but we do confront. Confrontation
doesn’t mean you get mad and yell at them, but we don’t let it go unaddressed. We have to address it if we’re
committed to follow Jesus in the way the Word of God says. And He says, “You have to address it.” And then if
she says no, you have to dismiss her and not allow her to be in ministry any longer. And she is not going to like
this. Jezebel is not going to like this whole dialogue. And her followers aren’t going to like it. It’s going to
create trouble. And it’s going to create a counter-attack. But Jesus said, “You have to do it because it’s the love
of the truth.”
PAUL REQUIRED THOSE IN LEADERSHIP TO CONFRONT IMMORALITY IN THE CHURCH
Paul the apostle required the church leaders under him to confront immorality as well. They were
not confronting it in 1 Corinthians, in the church of Corinth. Here in 1 Corinthians 5, Paul says, “It is… reported
that there is sexual immorality among you” (1 Cor. 5:1). He says, “You’re puffed up with pride. You should be
sad. You should be mourning. You’re so proud because you think your church has power. You’re growing.
You’re excited.” He says, “You’re missing a huge point. There’s immorality in your church. You should be sad
and not so exhilarated by the fact that you’ve got some power and you’re growing so fast.” He says, “Mourn
that he that has done this deed. He should be taken from you. If we won’t repent, he needs to be removed from
the body.” Paul then takes it up a notch. He says, “More than just removing him from your midst, in the name of
Jesus, when you’re gathered together, here is what I command you to do. Deliver this man over to Satan that
Satan would destroy his flesh so that it will wake the brother up, so that he ends up saved in the day of the Lord,
so that he doesn’t renounce his salvation, because that’s where this brother is going if he doesn’t wake up.
Better that you turn him over to Satan and he becomes sick with a sickness that’s demonically caused.” Not all
sickness is directly like that; there are other sicknesses that are related to other sources. But this will be a
directly demonically-caused sickness. But the idea is to wake the brother up so that he repents, so that he ends
up saved when the whole story is told.
Paul says in verse 9, “I wrote you in my epistle, not to keep company with sexual immoral people. If they won’t
repent, you must break fellowship with them.” He says now in verse 10, “I didn’t mean sexually immoral
people of the world. If they’re unbelievers, of course they’re going to have immorality in their life. You would
have to go out of the world if you didn’t, if I commanded you not to relate to people with immorality and I
meant unbelievers. I mean only if they confess the name of Jesus. If they confess the name of Jesus and they
won’t repent, you must break fellowship with them” (1 Cor. 5:9-10, paraphrased).
Now there are steps. You go to them in private; then you take two. Then you bring in three. Then you bring it to
the church. There are steps and procedures in it, but it must be done. Now this is almost completely ignored in
the body of Christ throughout the world. Not exactly; that’s a little exaggerated, but this is almost completely
unheard of. But Paul insisted on this and so did Jesus.
THE EXAMPLE OF ELI THE PRIEST AND HIS TWO REBELLIOUS SINS
I give the reference here to Eli the High Priest. This was back just before the time of King David,
just a generation or two before David was king. Eli was the High Priest, the top leader, and Eli really loved
God, but he tolerated his sons. He let his sons continue in immorality, and the problem wasn’t that they were his
sons. The problem was that they were his sons and they were in spiritual leadership over the nation. So it was
more the fact they were leaders under him. They just happened to be his sons. And the Lord visited through the
prophet and warned him, but they wouldn’t repent of it. If they repent of it, you give great mercy and you cover
them. We’re not interested ever in uncovering any sin that’s repented of, but they wouldn’t repent of it. And Eli
wouldn’t take them out of leadership. And as you’ll see there if you read this on your own, the Lord said, “Eli,
the promise I had for you, I’m reversing it, and now there’s judgment coming to your house.” I mean, there are
great consequences to a leadership team that won’t obey this standard of truth.
Again, when I look at the church in America, so much of the church in America won’t obey this. There are
those who do, and I don’t know the percentage, but I know there’s a whole lot more who won’t. And it stirs up
the Lord’s heart. It’s not small to Him. Again, I want to stress it a thousand times: If they repent, we’re covered.
We don’t want to uncover anyone that repents, ever. That’s not the desire of our heart or of the Lord’s heart.
The key is to get them to repent of it.
TWO JEZEBELS, A THOUSAND YEARS APART
Jezebel. There were two women named Jezebel. There was an Old Testament Jezebel and a New
Testament Jezebel, and they were about a thousand years apart. So they’re not the same ladies at all. The Old
Testament Jezebel was married to King Ahab, the King of Israel. She financially supported eight hundred and
fifty false prophets. And she actually killed the true prophets with her sword; I mean, she sent the army in to kill
him. She tried to kill Elijah.
The New Testament Jezebel acted like the Old Testament Jezebel. They acted in the same spirit. And no one
knows how she got this name. I mean, hopefully her parents didn’t name her Jezebel. “She’s a cute little gal,
let’s call her Jezzie!” We don’t know how she got the name, but I believe it was more than symbolic. A lot of
commentators would say it’s just symbolic, but I think she actually went by the name. This is a theory, but my
guess is that somewhere along the line she said, “That’s my new name.” I’ve met a handful of guys over the
years, they always pick this name: “My name is Elijah!” His name used to be “Bill.”
“Hi Bill, how are you doing?”
“No, no, no, the Lord changed my name to Elijah.”
“Oh no…” I know where that’s going. “Well, to me you’re Bill.”
“No I’m not answering to Bill; I’m Elijah from now on.”
I say, “OK Bill, come on over.”
So my assumption is that she named herself that; that’s just an assumption. I don’t know where she got the
name. That’s not that important, but she was a recognized leader in the church. She claimed to be a prophetess,
which means she had a reputation for accurate prophetic revelation. And she had a reputation for some
demonstrations of power, or this claim to be a prophetess wouldn’t take. Now obviously, her revelation and her
power is suspect. But my point is not that it was the true revelation or power of God. My point is that she had
something going on that created quite a stir in the church of Thyatira; so much so that Jesus said, “I see your
claim, and she is well-known. She does operate in power, but it’s not right. And she does have ‘revelation,’ but
it’s wrong, it’s false. But a lot of guys and gals in the church, they’re following her. And she preaches this
doctrine of grace that it’s OK to do this, and it’s wrong that they’re doing this. And I want you to confront her.”
And the leaders of Thyatira were probably thinking, “Well, she’s got a pretty popular following, and she has a
little power, and she is a pretty strong-spirited gal. It’s going to be a big mess, and create a lot of division.”
Jesus said, “You do this. Don’t you dare neglect to do this, because there will be so much more damage done to
other people if she is not confronted. She will spread her wicked virus, her bad doctrine in confidence to walk in
immorality. It will spread to others if you don’t confront her.”
THE SPIRIT OF JEZEBEL: SEEKING EXHILARATION OUTSIDE THE WILL OF GOD
We talk about the spirit of Jezebel, which is not a biblical term. I think its a biblical idea, but you
don’t find anything in the Bible that says, “Spirit of Jezebel.” However, I think the idea is biblical. It refers to
those who promote immorality and idolatry—or, sorcery is a word that we would probably understand better in
our context. Immorality stimulates the body outside of the will of God; sorcery stimulates the spirit outside of
the will of God. And what this spirit of Jezebel wants is to bring this physical and spiritual exhilaration together
in combination. That’s what’s on Satan’s strategy for the end of the age, to bring both realms together. And
again, I have no doubt that this sorcery or idolatry will have angels of light. I mean, demons will appear, but
they’ll appear as good. But the spirit of Jezebel involves immorality and sorcery. Look at Paragraph J: It’s the
spirit behind the making, the selling and the buying of pornography. That’s what the spirit of Jezebel is, or
participating in any expression of immorality or sorcery or the combination of them together. As the Old
Testament killed the prophets physically, the New Testament spirit of Jezebel kills the prophets spiritually. You
get these devoted young people, or old people, even. They get devoted to the Lord, they want to move in the
anointing and the spirit of prophecy. They’re dabbling in immorality. They’re dabbling in pornography. It kills
the spirit of power in their life. It’s the same motive from Satan’s point of view, to kill the voice of the prophet.
“The spirit of Jezebel” is the most common criticism I hear among different prophetic folks. And it typically
means a woman with a strong personality, and that’s not what the spirit of Jezebel is. The spirit of Jezebel is not
a woman with a strong personality who needs to develop a little more people skills. That’s not what the spirit of
Jezebel is. Because there are a lot of men with strong personalities who need to develop their people skills. And
we just give them a little chance to develop those skills. We don’t label them Jezebel. Jezebel is about making,
promoting, selling, participating in pornography, immorality, and sorcery. That’s what Jezebel is. It’s not a
woman with a leadership gift that needed a little help on her people kills. Honestly, we need to take that label
off of ladies. I’ve heard that for years. I say, “No that’s not at all what’s going on.” Jezebel is coming out of the
pornography industry and it’s mostly led by men. The spirit of Jezebel is mostly a thing related to men. They’re
the ones who are promoting it, making it, selling it, and participating in it, although women do as well, but men
are far more involved in the spirit of Jezebel than women are.
THE PURPOSE OF THE SPIRIT OF JEZEBEL IS TO KILL THE PROPHETS
But here is my real point: The goal of the Old Testament Jezebel was to kill the prophets. The New Testament
expression of this is still to kill the voice of the prophetic anointing in us. Immorality, pornography, all that
stuff, kills our life in the spirit, and that’s the point from Satan’s point of view. We can’t dabble in that.
The man says, “Well we’re going to get married anyway.”
No, there are boundary lines that the Lord gives in His wisdom and He says, ‘Your obeying them is an
expression of your commitment to Me.”
It’s not about, “Anyway we’re going to get married one of these days, so we’re going to do what we do now.”
Jesus said, “I want you to obey Me on My terms, because you love Me and I say ‘no.’” It’s an expression of
your heart for Him. It’s not about your partner or your fiancée. It’s about your evaluation of Jesus and His word
to you. That’s how Jesus interprets it.
So I’m not talking about people who stumble and ask the Lord for forgiveness and they mean it. I’m talking
about people who say, “We’re just going to settle down and live in immorality. And we’re not calling it sin and
we don’t repent of it. And we love Jesus and we’re part of the Body of Christ and we’re just going to do it.’”
That’s a very different thing than someone who touches immorality, and then, when he touches it, says, “Oh, Jesus, it grieves my heart,” and they really declare war against it. That’s a whole different matter. The Lord has great grace on that.
This doctrine of Jezebel is called the depths of Satan. It’s not a small thing. It’s not a small thing at all to Jesus. This is a huge point. Because some folks think, “Well, I can do a little drugs, a little drunkenness, a little immorality, but hey, what about grace?” No, this is serious, that we wage war against these things because we can’t grow up in the Lord or move in the Spirit in a right way.
The man says, “Well I move in the Spirit a little,” but what spirit are you moving in? For real, Jezebel moved in the spirit. You can get some little power manifestations, but there are several different ways to explain that. I don’t want to go into that right now.
“I GAVE HER TIME TO REPENT OF HER IMMORALITY”
Jesus said, “I gave her time to repent” (Rev. 2:21). What’s amazing is that Jesus is seeking to win her. I mean, she is really corrupt, but He says, “There is still hope. I’m going to give her time.” He even gave Jezebel time. I mean, what an insight into His heart. He’s fighting for Jezebel. But He won’t make her say yes to Him. He won’t make anyone say yes to Him. He fights for us, but He requires that we make the choice.
And He will so honor our free will, He will let us go into the depths of perversion and deception if we choose to go there; He won’t stop us. He will put roadblocks, and that’s what this passage is about (vs. 21-23). He puts road blocks to wake us up, but He won’t force us to make a choice we won’t make. He will let us choose to go to hell, but He won’t violate our free will. He so honors the free will that He put in the human spirit. So He looked at Jezebel and He said, “I gave her time to repent.” She is still recoverable. That’s why He gave her time. Not because she’s a lost cause; she hadn’t crossed the line yet. There’s a place where people cross a line, where they have no interest in repenting, and that’s how they know they’ve crossed the line. Because it’s a big demonic deception; it’s one of the big fears that the Devil stirs in people, that they’ve committed blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. If you care that you’ve committed blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, if you care that you’ve crossed that line, then you haven’t crossed it. The people who cross that line have no desire at all to repent. They don’t even care that they’ve crossed that line. They’re happy to cross the line. So don’t let the Devil torment you with that. I love this. He gave her time to repent. Jesus was saying, “She still could recover, and I’m going for her.”
That’s the spirit of the next few verses (v. 21-24); He’s fighting for His people, not writing them off.
JESUS DELIVERS THE FALSE PROPHETESS OVER TO GREAT TRIBULATION
That’s the spirit of what happens next. He says, “I gave her time to repent of her immorality; she didn’t repent.
She refused, time after time, in spite of all the time I gave her. So here is what’s going to happen: I’m now going to wake her up with circumstances.” And He will allow the Devil to be involved in these circumstances. Sometimes the Lord allows the devil to be involved in them. Sometimes, the Lord does it directly. We don’t always know which is which. He says, “Here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to cast her on a sick bed.”
“Jesus, again, You’ll never get invited to a lot of charismatic conferences if You don’t change this doctrine.”
But He’s not going to change it. He casts people on a sick bed when they refuse to repent because He loves
them, and that’s the easiest way to wake them up. Now whether He uses the Devil, which He does, or whether
He doesn’t, He can do it both ways. He can cast them in a sick bed with demonic interference, because He has
power to do that. And when they repent, He frees them. I don’t know that it works exactly that scientifically.
But that’s the general idea, is to awaken them so that they repent. And He does this to those who commit
adultery with her. He throws them into great tribulation. “Great tribulation” means life pressures that are beyond
the sickness. It’s even more complex than the sick bed. And if they don’t repent of their deeds, He says, “I will
kill them” (Rev. 2:23, paraphrased). He’s talking about physically killing them in order to keep them from
denying their faith and going into deeper depravity and deception. “I will kill her children.” Now her children in
this context doesn’t mean Jezebel’s physical offspring; it means her disciples, or the people in the church in
Thyatira that are buying into her doctrine and into her seductive practices. Jesus said, “I want all the churches to
know that it’s Me doing it. I’m not ashamed of it. I’m not whispering it in a corner. I want it to be open
knowledge. It’s Me acting in My zeal to deliver My people. And I want them to know that I’m the God who
searches the mind and the heart. I’m watching the movements of everyone’s heart. And I want them to know
that there’s a pleasant application of that and there’s a painful application of that. I’m watching the minds and
hearts. I’m watching the diluted mindsets that are figuring out Bible verses to get away with sin. I see the operations of their minds that are not true. And I see the person who is stuck in sin, but they love Me and they’re trying to get free. I see their mind, too, and I want to help them.”
I don’t have this on the notes, but Ananias and Sapphira lied and God struck them dead (Acts 5:11). And then Luke writes that all the Church feared the Lord. That was a down payment of what Jesus was talking about. Jesus could have said, “I’ve done this before. I’ve killed some people, before and the fear of God fell on everyone and I woke up a whole lot of people.” But when the Lord kills someone, His desire again is to bring them home before they deny the Lord, before they get into deeper levels of sin and perversion.
Now He says in verse 25, “Tell them to hold fast what they have” (Rev. 2:25, paraphrased). He’s talking to the church leaders. He says, “Church leaders, hold fast to this. Don’t let go of what I’m teaching you here.” “Well, it’s going to cause division and trouble. People will leave the church and everyone will argue.” He says, “Hold fast to what I just told you. Don’t back off of this thing at all.”
Paragraph A. Believers are sometimes made sick or even die in the context of God’s judgment or God’s
discipline in immorality. Now every believer that’s in immorality doesn’t end up in discipline and judgment.
The Lord gives time, more time, and more time, but you never know how much time because He gives one man
a longer period than He gives the other. Because the Lord knows the mind and the heart and He knows what
will wake them up the best. He knows the constitution of each individual person and what will move them. Paul
knows the constitution of each individual person and what will move them.
“FOR THIS REASON MANY ARE WEAK AND SICK AMONG YOU, AND MANY SLEEP”
Now, Paul talked about this as well in 1 Corinthians 11. Here in 1 Corinthians 11:30, he’s talking about the
communion table. He’s talking about people taking communion without living right before God. He says, “For
this reason, many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep” (1 Cor. 11:30). They actually died physically.
He goes on to say, “Now, if we judge ourselves, we will not be judged by the Lord” (v. 31, paraphrased). The
point is, they were made weak, sick and dead by the judgment of God. But in verse 32 he tells us that this
judgment is not God writing someone off; it’s a discipline. It’s to wake them up; it’s an expression of the Lord’s
commitment to them because they won’t listen to His Word. He essentially says, “We are chastised and
disciplined by the Lord” (v. 32, paraphrased). It couldn’t be clearer that this is the work of Jesus. The reason is
so that those people won’t end up condemned; so that they won’t end up in hell. That’s the point. Again, Jesus
is committed in His zeal to wake them up, and if they’ll wake up by the Word of God, He says, “I don’t have to
put up the road block to wake you up.”
“DELIVER SUCH A ONE OVER TO SATAN FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF THE FLESH”
1 Corinthians 5 teaches us the same thing. We already looked at it, but I’ll look at it again. “It is… reported that
immorality exists among you… Deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh” (1 Cor. 5:1, 5).
God’s discipline includes even Satan making people sick. 1 Timothy 1:20 is a well-known verse which
describes Hymenaeus and Alexander. They were two brothers in the faith who suffered shipwreck in their faith,
and Paul said, “I delivered these brothers over to Satan so that they would be taught not to blaspheme the name
of Jesus” (1 Tim. 1:20, paraphrased). “I did this to teach them, to wake them up, because their faith is
shipwrecked, but I’m going after them still, and I’m going to turn them over to Satan.” And Satan destroys their
flesh, which means Satan makes them sick or kills them.
Well, it starts with a sick bed, then tribulation, then greater pressure. Then, paragraph B, “Then I kill her
children.” He says, “I will use physical death to protect them from going into deeper deception and deeper
perversion that they won’t be able to get out of later because I will never violate their free will.”
ALL THE CHURCHES WILL KNOW JESUS IN HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS AS JUDGE
The churches will know. Again, when Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead, “Great fear came upon all the Church” (Acts. 5:11)—the fear of God.
TWO PROMISES GIVEN TO THOSE WHO OVERCOME IMMORALITY AND IDOLATRY
Roman numeral VI. We’ll end with this. The two promises for the overcomer. These promises are actually
given by Jesus to motivate people related to immorality and idolatry. These aren’t random promises. My point
is that we meditate on these promises and take hold of them, and even experience a little of their fulfillment in
this age, knowing that the vast majority is in the age to come; but we can get a down-payment of these things
even now. When we touch these, it actually helps us in our war against immorality.
Jesus said, “He who overcomes and keeps My works until the end…” (Rev. 2:26).
By the way, He wants us to war against immorality and overcome until the end of our life. Not for a summer,
not a vow for a year. “No immorality, I won’t get drunk for a year, and then we’ll see where we go after that.”
He says, “No I want it until the end of your life.” Burn the bridges. Settle the issue—you’re not doing
pornography. You’re not doing immorality. You’re not doing drugs. You’re not doing darkness. Burn the bridge
and settle the issue until the end of your life, is what Jesus is saying. And again, He relates ruling our spirit in
this age to ruling over the nations in the age to come. “Tell them I will give them power over the nations.” Like,
what? He says, “Do they want power?” That’s why they’re going into idolatry, because they want the money
and they want the supernatural power. He says, “If they want power, I will give them more power than they can
imagine. They will rule with Me over the nations. Do they want intimacy?” That’s what they’re after in this
immorality, is a false intimacy. “They’ll be partnering with Me in the government of the earth, and I will bring
them into My counsel. And we together will rule. They’ll have partnership beyond anything that they could
Now it’s interesting. Well, I won’t go into it, but I will just say this for a few of you who will follow what I’m
saying. Jesus says, “He shall rule them with a rod of iron, and they shall be dashed to pieces” (v. 27,
paraphrased). This is a verse that David prophesied that the Father would speak to the Son. That’s why Jesus
said, “I receive this from My Father. My Father promised this to Me, but I’m going to bring My bride along
with this promise.”
WE DON’T HAVE AUTHORITY TO BIND IN SOCIETY THAT WHICH BINDS US IN PRIVATE
Now—“Dash the nations? Who wants to dash the nations? I thought we were supposed to fix the nations, not
dash them. Like, what?”
He’s talking about the end of the age, Great Tribulation judgments, and then on into the age to come. Jesus is
going to dash the infrastructures of the nations that have been defiled by the Harlot Babylon system. It’s the
Babylon system from which He’s freeing the nations. So what Jesus is really saying is, “If you don’t war
against the Babylon spirit in your life, why should I use you to fix the nations and help them get free of the
Babylon spirit?” We don’t have authority to bind in society that which binds us in our private life. We don’t
have that authority to bind in the life of another that which binds us. So Jesus says, “Why would I use you to
free the nations and their defilement in the infrastructure when they’re under the Harlot Babylon at the end of
the age? Why would I use you to free them from this Harlot Babylon spirit by dashing the nations and cleansing
the infrastructure if you yourself have never chosen to stay free from this? I want people who buy into this, who
believe in this, who believe in living freely and loving Me in this. It matters to them. Those are the ones that
will rule with Me, because they’ve proven that it matters to them. And if it matters to them in this age, then I
will use that as the criteria for the age to come, to bring them into partnership to cleanse the nations with Me.”
Then He goes and gives the second eternal reward. He says, “I will give them the Morning Star.” Of course, as
we know from Revelation 22:16, He is the Morning Star. Jesus is saying, “You want true pleasure? You want
true intimacy? I will reveal the brightness of My beauty and My glory. I will exhilarate your spirit and I will
make your spirit bright with My brightness. Come near to Me. Say no to a defiled spirit.” And we can have that
bright spirit in this age, but even in the age to come there’s a giving of Himself to us that’s related to our
obedience in this age.
Father, we say yes to You. We say yes to You. Let’s just stand before the Lord for a moment here. We say yes to You and to obedience to You. And we say no to the spirit of Jezebel.
We don’t want anything to do with Jezebel in our life and our ministry. We don’t want to tolerate it. We don’t want it in our community. We don’t want to come up with Bible verses that back it up so we can look the other way. We say no to this spirit. We don’t want any of it in our midst. But again, we’ll be merciful to those who war against it, even though it takes them time to get free. We’ll cover them and stand with them as long as they’re sincere. But to those who say no, who say that they’re not going to repent, we’ll take a stand against this. And Jesus, we make a commitment to You to stand with You in this.
Now, let’s just wait on the Lord for a moment here. Now I realize I gave you a lot of material here. I’m going to ask You to take this handout and to go over to the prayer room some and break down some of these verses and get acquainted with this. This is a very powerful exhortation. I don’t mean my exhortation; I mean the exhortation Jesus gave to the church of Thyatira. I’ve looked at that over the years and it makes my spirit tremble sometimes. I look at it and say, “Lord, this is really serious stuff and I want to agree with You. I want to go all the way with You in this.”
Anyway, I’m done preaching about this; let’s go back to the prayer mode. Lord, we say yes to you. We say yes to resisting the spirit of Jezebel. We say yes to being true to You. We want the brightness of who You are, Jesus to touch our spirit.
- Overcoming the Spirit of Immorality (Mt. 5:27-30) (raymondjclements.wordpress.com)
- Massacre of Innocence (raymondjclements.wordpress.com)
- PERGAMOS: A Church with Compromise (Rev. 2:12-17) (raymondjclements.wordpress.com)
- Honouring Marriage and Our Commitments (Mt. 5:31-37) (raymondjclements.wordpress.com)
- Overcoming the Spirit of Immorality (Mt. 5:27-30) (raymondjclements.wordpress.com)
- How the Lord Feels About a Believer: 7 Principles (raymondjclements.wordpress.com)
- Different Types of Heavenly Rewards in the Millennial Kingdom (raymondjclements.wordpress.com)
- The Role of Women in the Church “Bloom Where You’re Planted” (raymondjclements.wordpress.com)