King's Business - 1948-01

of the Christians at Thyatira was manifested by their zealous service for Him. When a person professes to love the Saviour, but apparently has no desire to serve Him, one wonders if the profession is real. Love is not a synonym for faith. From the example of some of the present-day theological liberals, one is forced to con­ clude that it is possible to have a certain type of love for Christ, as an ideal Person, and even possess a desire to serve Him, without any real faith in Him as the divine Son of God, who atoned for our sins as the substitutionary sacrifice on the cross. The Christians from Thyatira not only loved the Saviour, but had real faith in Him as the only Redeemer. They are commended also for their patience. This, too, is an essential Christian virtue, sadly lacking among professing Christians of today. These people not only served the Lord, but when trials came, as they do to all Christians, they did not falter, but went steadily onward in patient endurance. Further, as time went by, they did not slacken their efforts for Christ, but actually increased them, so that the Lord could say of them: “ Of late you have toiled harder than you did at first” (Weymouth). Complaint (2:20, 21) But in spite of these praiseworthy qualities, the Lord had a serious complaint against the church of Thyatira. The words a few things in verse 20 should be omitted, for they were inserted by the translators and did not appear in the original text. They seem to minimize the charge that followed. The Lord declared: “ I have this against thee,” and He then pro­ ceeded to itemize His criticisms. Some in this church were being led astray by a wicked woman, Jezebel, who had set herself up as an inspired leader. What was the sin of the church as a whole? “ You tolerate the woman Jezebel” (R.V. and Weymouth). Only a part o f the church, perhaps even a small minority, had actually followed this woman in her evil teachings, but the rest were guilty o f permitting such evil. In the light of present-day apostasy, this is a striking lesson. It is not enough to remain personally aloof from false doc­ trine and corrupt practice, but, on the authority of the Word of the Lord, it is a sin for true Christians to allow such things in the church. As to this particular woman, it is likely that the name Jezebel is used symbolically. The original Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal, king o f the Zidonians (Phoenicians), infamous as the wicked wife of Ahab and the mother of Athaliah. She tried to blot out the _worship of Jehovah from Israel, and to substitute for it the idolatrous and corrupt worship of Baal. She was so completely evil that her very name became synonymous with depravity. Of this character was Jezebel of Thyatira. She claimed divine inspiration for her teachings “ which calleth herself a prophetess.” Apparently she was willing for her followers to hold sound doctrine, but she taught them to live impure lives and to compromise with false religion “ to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.” In other words, we find here a type of orthodoxy which is only head knowledge, existing along with personal licentiousness. This is most hate­ ful to the Lord. James describes such faith as dead and natu­ rally asks: “ Can that faith save?” (James 2:14 R .V .). There is a beautiful example of God’s grace in verse 21: “ And I gave her space to repent o f her fornication; and she repented not.” That this woman had been permitted to go as far on her evil course as she had was only that she might have “ space to repent.” “ The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffer- ing to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” -(2 Peter 3 :9 ). However, “ she repented not,” or more literally, “ she willeth not to repent.” Using these letters as the basis for an inspired prophetic outline of church history, the church in Thyatira well typifies the church of the Dark Ages. During this period, Romanism held full sway, and while there was much faithful service performed by true believers, yet the church as a whole for many years tolerated the control o f Jezebel. The chief sins of this period were, as in Thyatira, the compromise of true religion with idolatrous practices, and the complete separation of religion and life. As long as one rendered allegiance to the J A N U A R Y , I 9 4 8

IS IT A G O O D JO KE ? A genuinely good joke is worth a whole lot, but they are few and far between. When some woman blushes with embarrassment, When some heart carries away an ache, When something sacred is made to appear common, When a man’s weakness provides the cause for laughter, When profanity is required to make it funny,

When a little child is brought to tears, When everyone can’t join in the laughter, IT ’S A POOR JOKE !

church, his personal life was considered of no concern to the church. When those who name the name of Christ are un­ faithful to Him, that is spiritual adultery. This is still true of the Roman Church, which boasts that it never changes, but it is also the situation in many Protes­ tant denominations. No discipline is attempted (except of un­ compromising evangelicals); all types of evil are tolerated, and unquestioning subservience to the self-appointed leader­ ship is the chief requirement. Threat (2:22, 23) Christ will permit this condition to exist for a while longer; then terrible judgment will come. Jezebel and her adulterous followers are to suffer great tribulation, and finally, death itself. Then in the end it will be seen that Christ is indeed a righteous Judge as well as a mighty Saviour: “ All the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” Those who persist in following the errors of Jezebel, whether in their primary form in the Roman church, or in the Protestant variations, will likewise be cast into “great tribulation,” in fact into the Great Tribulation, for when the true Church is taken up in the rapture to be with her Lord, these false professors will remain on this earth to face the wrath of God which is yet to be poured out upon this wicked world. A note of grace is sounded: “ Except they repent of their deeds.” There is yet time for even unsaved professors to repent and turn in true faith to Christ. But let no one presume upon this.respite of grace. Exhortation (2:24, 25) There were many in Thyatira who did not follow the teach­ ings of Jezebel, who did not know “ the depths of Satan.” Satan, as well as God, has his “ deep things,” and happy is the person who never attains to such “ advanced knowledge.” The Lord exhorts His faithful followers: “ But that which ye have . . . hold fast till I come.” This is the first mention of the Lord’s Coming in these letters of Revelation. This type of church, once started, will, with the others, continue until Christ returns. Promise (2:26-29) While those who refuse to repent are threatened with judg­ ment, the “ overcomer” is given a special promise. Some day the Son of God will return and put down all evil, and then “ a king shall reign in righteousness.” He who is faithful now to that King will reign with Him some day. “ If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (2 Tim. 2:12). The .“ overcomer” is also promised “ the morning star” (verse 28). “ The morning star” refers to Christ’s coming for His own at the rapture (1 Thess. 4:13-18). Later, when He returns to the earth in power to' reign, He will come as “ the Sun of righteousness” (Mai. 4:2) and all shall behold His glory. “ He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” “ Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Page Nine

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