The Blood Tipped EarFeb 02, 2023
We must be very careful in our study of God’s Word, that we not run ahead of His Spirit. Let Him be our teacher. Only the Spirit of God can make His Word real to you
Hi everyone, I’m Tammy Becker. Welcome to the Almighty God & Gospel Girl Podcast. This is week six into our brand-new series of Revelation and our podcast today is titled: A Blood Tipped Ear. My podcast today will be based on the reading of Revelation 2:18-3:6. And if you would like to follow along with the notes or maybe you would like to find the links to anything mentioned in the podcast today, you can go to the link in the description or by visiting www.youministries.com and visiting the corresponding page. As we get started today, I would like to remind you of my disclaimer, that as always…do not take my word, or anyone’s word for what you read…get yourself in the Bible and let God discern His Word to you. I am only human and make many mistakes and do not claim to know or understand everything in the Bible…I just hope by bringing out this study that your interest is sparked enough to get into God’s Word and begin to deep dive on your own.
We’re visiting the first century churches represented by the lampstands in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. Also, do you know that one of the scariest Bible verses lives in the book of Revelation? At least, one of the scariest to me and it doesn’t have anything to do with the number 666, Satan, or anything that you are probably thinking of right now. But what it has to do with is something so ordinary that you might never think about it. And it’s in Revelation. Before we get to the “scary” verse, let’s continue on talking about the churches.
As we leave Pergamum, we move inland to Thyatira. Nature itself has marked out this road, a very easy path to Thyatira, conducive for communication between one valley and the other. In ancient times, this was one of the chief travel routes of Asia Minor
Thyatira sat in this long pass, a city built for defense, not with physical towers or walls, but with the elite Roman guard stationed there. The safety also yielded many guild headquarters and became the center of industries for potters, tanners, weavers, robe makers, and dyers’ guilds. Lydia, the seller of purple, who was the first to turn to Christ in Europe, came from here (see Acts 16:14). Lydia’s “purple” is today known as “Turkey red,” a dye made from a plant that grows in this area.
The church at Thyatira represents the age of the church called Romanism, dominating the Dark Ages from A.D. 590 to approximately A.D. 1000. This season pictures the Son of God in judgment. His eyes are like a flame of fire, searching them out, and His feet are like burnished brass, which represents judgment. Christ is judging this church.
However, He also commends them. Often, it’s thought that the Roman church during the Dark Ages is to be condemned wholeheartedly, but remember to always check your history yourself—there was good happening, too.
The Lord Jesus says, “I see everything you’re doing for Me—including your love and faith, your service and persistence. Yes, very impressive! You get better at it every day.”
Jesus has six words of commendation for the church of the Dark Ages, when many true believers had a personal love of Christ which they demonstrated in their good works (see James 2:18). The good works were the credentials of real believers. Many lived spotless lives and by their good works “adorned the doctrine” (see Titus 2:10).
The church of Thyatira (and the Dark Ages, in spite of the fact that it had gone in for ritualism) was a church that loved the Lord. Wonderful saints of God lived during that period: Bernard of Clairvaux, Peter Waldo, John Wycliffe, John Huss, Savonarola, and Anselm were all godly saints in the Roman church. Their faith in Jesus Christ was the mainspring that turns the hands of works and love. Their patience increased, as did their good works.
All six of these virtues (good works, love, faith, ministry, patience, and increasing fruit) are produced by the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.
There is one frightful charge of condemnation: “You’ve tolerated Jezebel.” Jezebel had brought paganism into the northern kingdom of Israel. Evidently in the local church at Thyatira a woman with a reputation as a teacher and prophetess was allowed to teach error.
- There is a lot of speculation concerning the identity of Jezebel and how she influenced this first century church
- But like the mention of Balaam in Pergamum, we should understand Jesus is using this woman as a type
- Just as today, women in that day weren’t called Jezebel
- So Jesus is using the name to refer to the kind of influence present in the church
- So there were women in Thyatira acting in similar ways, corrupting the church through an ungodly influence
- Notice this negative influence has returned to an old favorite
- Believers were being persuaded to eat the meat sacrificed to idols in the temples or guild suppers
- And also to engage in the immoralities that accompanied those meals
- Clearly this was wrong, as Paul himself had written against the practice in his earlier letters to Corinth
- Christ says he gave time for the woman to repent, but she didn’t want to cease her immoralities
- She calls herself a prophetess, meaning she claims to hear from God
- So like Pergamum, the church in Thyatira was infiltrated by a false influence that was leading the believers astray
- In Pergamum, it was a Balaam, a believer motivated by greed to spread false teaching
- In Thyatira, it was a Jezebel, an unbeliever with an evil heart seeking to do the enemy’s will
- The Lord says He’s been waiting for the “Jezebel” to repent but she doesn’t want to turn from her immorality
- So the Lord’s piercing judgment will come upon the church, and a time of trial and testing will follow
- But like the mention of Balaam in Pergamum, we should understand Jesus is using this woman as a type
Like the historical period of the Dark Ages, pagan practices and idolatry were mingled with Christian works and worship. The papacy was elevated to a place of secular power Rituals and church doctrine took priority over personal faith in Jesus Christ. Worship of the Virgin and Child and the Mass were made a definitive part of the church service. Purgatory became a positive doctrine, and Mass was said for the dead. Bogus doctrinal statements were circulated to give power and rulership to the pope.
As Jezebel killed Naboth and persecuted God’s prophets (1 Kings 18-19), so the Roman church instituted the Inquisition during this period.
Jezebel “seduced” them away from the truth (in sharp contrast to Lydia, also from Thyatira, who was the first to turn to Christ). Yet Jesus said He gave her time/space to repent, but she wouldn’t. In history, the Lord patiently dealt with this false system for over a thousand years, and yet there has been no real change down through the centuries. In fact, Rome boasts she never changes—semper idem, always the same.
Jesus pronounces Jezebel’s judgment, and judgment on all who revel against Him (unless they repent). He will lay them low, He wants all the churches to know that He is able to see beyond appearances right into every motive—all our thoughts, feelings, and purposes. When He searches “the minds and the hearts” (2:23), He discerns our entire beings and will reward or judge according to what we deserve.
They must have been very encouraged to hear that Jesus knew of their deeds, love, faith, service and perseverance. That they were doing more than they did even at the first. The angel of Thyatira must have been on the edge of being prideful when he heard those words. Then Jesus lowered the boom.
Jesus is through with them tolerating a woman who pretended to be a prophet but was leading the people of the church into sexual immorality. He names this woman Jezebel, a direct reference to the most evil woman in the Old Testament. He says he gave her time to repent, but she has chosen not to. So, Jesus will torment her, kill her children, and make those who sin with her suffer intensely. Why so harsh? So all the churches will know that he knows their hearts and will repay each according to their deeds!
But to the rest in Thyatira, who didn’t get sucked into Satan’s schemes, who didn’t worship a parody of the Gospel, who didn’t think they were spiritual superiors, Jesus promised no other heavy burden. He knows our hearts and knows what we can stand.
Obviously, Christ is beginning to say to His church, “I am coming to take you out, and because of this, you should stand fast for Me. Overcome the false teachers and the works done only by effort, and not by the Holy Spirit.” To His church, Jesus promised to give “power over the nations” (2:26; see also 1 Corinthians 6:2) and a rule with a rod of iron, referring to the millennial reign of Christ in which we as believers will share.
When we persevere like this, Jesus said, “I will give him the morning star” (2:28). He Himself is the Bright and Morning Star (22:16), and His coming for His own at the Rapture is the hope of the church (see Titus 2:13). Can you imagine that? Receiving a morning star as your own?
Not everyone who gets this message will really hear it. The children of Jezebel won’t. But the true children of the Lord Jesus will hear, for the Holy Spirit opens the “blood-tipped ear.” We must be very careful in our study of God’s Word, that we not run ahead of His Spirit. Let Him be our teacher. Only the Spirit of God can make His Word real to you
Ok now patience! We are almost to the scariest verse in the Bible, but first let’s discuss the letter to Sardis. Jesus says that Sardis has a reputation for being alive but is a dead church. He begs them to come alive and repent. However, there are still a few faithful believers in Sardis, and Jesus wants them to stay faithful.
The reward for the faithful is spectacular. Their names will be in the book of life, and Jesus will personally acknowledge them before God and his angels. Try to imagine that. Jesus standing before God and his angels calling out your name as one of the faithful. Gives me the God bumps to think that could be my name he is calling out.
The church at Sardis met in a city set on the edge of a steep mountain, with only one entrance up the cliff. All Sardis had to do was put a guard at that one place to watch the city. It was thought throughout the ancient world to be impregnable.
Today the ruins of the temple of Cybele (Diana of Ephesus) and Apollo can still be seen atop the mountain. Here, Diana was the goddess of the moon and Apollo was the god of the sun—they were brother and sister who modeled a corrupt, sexual, vicious style of worship.
Jesus presents Himself to the church at Sardis as the One having the seven Spirits of God; that is, He sent the Holy Spirit into the world—which we desperately need today. Too often we think we need methods and all kinds of band-aid courses for believers that we think will solve our problems. But what we really need is to get to Jesus Christ, who only the Holy Spirit can make real and living to us.
Following the dark night of the Dark Ages, the Holy Spirit was still in the world doing His work. He moved in the hearts of people like Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, and many, many others.
“I know your works” (3:1). The Lord commends this church for how their faith produced good works, even when the church as a structure is dead. Many Protestant churches today just go through the form. They may be building all the time, and people may come on Sunday mornings—their name is alive but the church is dead. We did recover some of the critical doctrines like the authority of the Word of God, the total depravity of man, and justification by faith, but in many other ways the church did not recover. Instead, many of our conservative churches are “improving people” and using cosmetics on the carnal nature, thinking that a few little rules and regulations will enable you to live the Christian life. Also, instead of believing “by grace through faith alone” (see Ephesians 2:8) they preach you have to do something in order to be saved. These are the things which characterize Protestantism today; it is very far from its original position.
To them, Jesus says, “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God” (3:2).
This is the second word of condemnation, and a word of warning which meant something specific in Sardis.
Protestantism, as a whole, has turned away from looking for the coming of Jesus Christ. We’ve built up systems that certain things must be fulfilled before He can come—but He could come in the next moment or tomorrow. His imminent return is what we are to look for. Sardis didn’t know when the enemy was coming, and we don’t know when Christ is coming—we have no way of knowing at all.
In view of the fact that the Rapture could take place at any moment, the church is to be alert. The date is not set, nor even the period in which He will come. The church needs to be constantly on the alert for His coming, “looking for the blessed hope …” (Titus 2:13). You see, anyone can make ready for a fixed hour, but you must always be ready for an unexpected hour. The Lord Jesus is saying to Protestantism that we should constantly be on the alert.
“I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you” (3:3). Remember Sardis was built high upon a mountaintop, which was impossible to scale except at one point. But it was captured— two times. What happened? The guard went to sleep. The Lord says to the church at Sardis, “Don’t you go to sleep. Wake up and watch out.” He could come at any moment. The people of Sardis didn’t know when the enemy was coming, and we don’t know when the Lord Jesus is coming.
And now for the Lord’s commendation. A few people, a remnant, still walked with the Lord. They lived godly lives. The Lord said they are worthy. Protestantism today has its saints who love the Word, who are faithful to Him even in these days, and who stand by the Word of God. They don’t play around with sinful things. To these “overcomers,” the Lord said their names are indelible in the Book of Life. and He will present them by name to His Father and the angels. Of course these overcomers never succeed out of their own strength, cleverness, or ability, but only by the blood of Jesus.
In Scripture we read of only two books. One, the book of the generations of Adam (see Genesis 5:1)—we are all in that book, but it is a book of death— and two, “the book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ” (see Matthew 1:1), also known as the Lamb’s book of Life. You get into that book by faith in Christ. The book of Revelation places great importance on this Book of Life (see 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27; 22:19) and the names that are recorded or not recorded in it.
This statement in Revelation to Sardis that He will not blot out their names from the Book of Life (see 3:5), raises the question, Is it possible for you to be in the Book of Life and then have your name blotted out? Can you lose your salvation? If that is true, then the Lord Jesus should not have said, “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28). Again and again throughout Scripture we have the assurance that God keeps us saved. So what might this mean?
Some suggest that all names are recorded in the Book of Life because Jesus died for everyone. Everyone is given the responsibility in maturity to choose to accept or reject this gift from God. If they refuse it through their deaths, their names are blotted out. They didn’t want the gift.
The important thing is whether or not your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. If you receive the gift of eternal life, you will never lose that salvation. It is God’s gift to give to everyone who wants it. Listen to the Spirit’s voice speaking through the Word of God the message of Christ to His church today.
Two churches to go. Jesus has only good things to say to the church at Philadelphia, the first city named for brotherly love. Jesus compliments them for enduring trials even though they have little strength left. Since the church has been faithful, he will open doors for them that nobody can shut, and will have their enemies acknowledge that Jesus loves them. Since they have been faithful, Jesus will protect them from some of the upcoming trials, and will make them an integral part of the coming kingdom of God.
And about that scary verse…we just didn’t have the time to get to it today, but I promise it will be in next week’s episode. So that’s it for today friends. Please check out my website at www.youministries.com for all links and graphics mentioned in this podcast and if you would like to study the Bible with us in our private Facebook group just click the link in the description. Have a blessed week. Bye
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