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                                                 Threatened  Judgments
An opportunity was given spiritual Jezebel to "repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Through Elijah, Jezebel was warned and threatened and given ample opportunity to repent before she met her doom. Likewise spiritual Jezebel was given time to repent and reform. All through the long Thyatiran period call after call to repentance was made through messages of rebuke and warning delivered by men in and out of the church who sensed the need of revival and reformation. Among these reformers were cardinals, priests, monks, and other church officials. Popes were charged by church leaders with being the predicted antichrist in the temple of God, which they believed was evidence that Christ’s return was near at hand. The long delay of retribution did not indicate that the Lord was overlooking and winking at sin, as many seem to believe. (Ecclesiastes 8:11.) It rather indicated the patience and long-suffering of a merciful God.

 Jezebel is threatened with sore judgments if she does not repent and reform. I "will cast her upon a bed of sickness, and I will severely afflict those who commit adultery with her." (Weymouth.) "I will lay her on a sickbed, and bring her paramour into sore distress." (Moffatt.) The bed of sin would become the bed of sickness and suffering. The place of her sins would become the place of her punishments. This is the fate of all harlots and adulterers. Disease and suffering are the reward of their immorality. Jezebel is charged with spiritual adultery. Her lovers, or paramours, are "the kings of the earth" who have committed fornication with her. (Revelation 18:1-5.) The unlawful union of church and state will eventually bring terrible retribution to both church and state. The testimony of history proves that the predictions concerning spiritual Jezebel were literally fulfilled. Ethbaal means "with Baal" or "in coalition with Baal." Jezebel, like her father, was an ardent and loyal supporter of Baal worship. Under her reign church and state were united. Israel joined in unlawful union with a pagan system of religion, and was therefore guilty of spiritual fornication. Terrible were the consequences.
 The weapons of Jezebel were turned upon her own head. Elijah the prophet said to her: "In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even your." 1 Kings 21:19. Jezebel was so eaten by ravenous dogs that "they found no more of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands." 2 Kings 9:35. In Revelation 19:17, 18, we are told that modern Jezebel, or Babylon, will be devoured by birds and beasts of prey. The fate of Jezebel was foretold by "His servant Elijah," and the fate of her antitype was predicted by "His servant John." The execution of the terrible threat against Jezebel is pictured in chapters 17 and 18 of the Revelation. Here is described the bed of torment into which spiritual Jezebel will eventually be cast. Babylon will be rewarded on the basis of her treatment of the saints of God. She will be recompensed according to her works.
                                                   The  Jezebel  Family
"And I will kill her children with death," or "her children I will exterminate" (Moffatt), is the judgment threatened upon the family of Jezebel. Ahaziah, Jezebel’s son, became a cripple from a fall, and spent the remainder of his life on a bed of anguish and affliction. The entire family was finally exterminated, as the Lord decreed. The two sons who became kings were slain, and the agents of Jehu "took the king’s sons, and slew seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets, and sent them unto him to Jezreel."
 Spiritual Jezebel and her family will also be utterly destroyed. In Revelation 17:5 the "children" are described as the "daughters" of the harlot "mother." Papal Rome calls herself "mother," and continually speaks of Catholics as her "children." The Protestant churches are sometimes spoken of as wayward children who will someday return home, and when they do a hearty welcome awaits them from the "mother church of Christendom." Jesus declared that the judgments upon the Jezebel family would be open and manifest to "all the churches." "The doom of the offenders was to be known as widely as the scandal had been." (Charles, Page 72.)
 "I will kill her children with pestilence" is the note in the Revised Version. Although this doubtless has reference to the seven last plagues in which is "filled up the wrath of God" against Babylon and her family, it may also have an application to the plagues and pestilences which swept Europe between the fourteenth and eighteenth centuries. Besides the pneumonic plague which destroyed millions of lives, there was the terrible plague known as The Black Death. It was reported to Pope Clement at Avignon that throughout the East, with the exception of China, 23,840,000 people had died of the plague. Many other millions died in China. Heeker estimates a total of 25,000,000 deaths in Europe, and this is considered conservative. These terrible visitations were at the time considered judgments from God because of the corruption that existed in the church and among the nations.
 The judgments upon Jezebel would reveal the fact that the One who "searches the reins and hearts" and gives to every one according to his works is indeed "the Son of God." This constitutes a promise to those who remained faithful to Him during this trying period, and a threat to those who united with the apostate church. The language indicates a time of investigative judgment before the execution of the sentence decreed. The threatened judgments included the "children" as well as the mother. Here we have the verdict of Christ upon Romanism and the semi papal religious establishments that grew out of, and have retained many of the objectionable features of, the semi pagan mother system. Jezebel and her family include all the religious systems or churches that separated from the Papacy but still cling to her doctrines and practices and who commit spiritual fornication with kings and nations by uniting with them when opportunity presents itself.
 Under the reign of Jezebel the religion of Israel was paganized. Just so the "falling away" produced the semi pagan papal church of the Middle Ages. "Roman Catholicism is a God-dishonoring mixture of Judaism, Paganism and Christianity. Protestantism increasingly follows in its train." (MeCarrell, Page 41.) Of this combination, Seiss says: "Pagan life was transferred in Christian veins, heathen pomp and ceremony commingled with Christian rites and sacraments, and the professed Bride of Christ transformed into a queenly adulteress, the harlot mother of a harlot household." (Page 194.)
 In Thyatira was a great temple dedicated to Apollo, the sun-god and chief deity of the city, in which was an altar to a goddess who was the high priestess of Apollo. Baal was the sun-god of the Sidonians, and under the reign of Jezebel became the chief god in the apostasy of Israel. Jezebel was the high priestess and spokesman of Baal. Sun worship is the foundation of all pagan religions, and has been perpetuated m the papal system. The Papacy forsook the Sabbath of Jehovah, the memorial of creation and the sign of true worship, and adopted the sun’s day, or Sunday, as the day of worship, and almost all Protestant churches follow her example without a particle of Biblical evidence for the practice.
                                                  The  Reformation
It is believed that the Reformation is referred to in verse 19, where a change for the better is to take place toward the close of the period. "I know that of late you have toiled harder than you did at first" and "I know that your life of late has been better than it was at first" are other translations. Martin Luther and his fellow Reformers, through the power of the Word in the hands of the Spirit, broke the power of spiritual Jezebel and brought an end to the three and a half prophetic years of drought and darkness. Luther was the Elijah of the sixteenth century. It is regrettable that the Reformation, like that begun by Elijah, came to a standstill, and is still incomplete. It will be finished when the final warning message "in the spirit and power of Elias" the prophet lightens the earth with its glory.
 "But to you I say, to the rest that are in Thyatira" (RV), indicates that the remainder of the epistle is addressed to those who espoused the cause of the Reformation, and have not known "the deep things of Satan" (RV). "The deep mysteries of Satan" is another rendering. Satan’s religious system is called "the mystery of iniquity," and his church, "Mystery, Bahylon the Great." The Catholics boast of having adopted and Christianized paganism in order to defeat Satan with his own religion. Thus paganism with its "mysteries" and "the deep things of Satan" became the religion of the church during the Thyatiran period.
The Gnostics of the second century and onward spoke of their knowledge as "the depth" or "the deep things of God" or "the deep things of depth," in contrast with the simple faith and doctrines of the primitive church. The expression "the depth of knowledge" is a quotation from the great Ephesian philosopher, Heraclitus, of the sixth century. His ideas were so obscure and mysterious that he was called "Heraclitus the Obscure." What the Gnostics called "the deep things of God," the Lord called "the depths of Satan." They boasted of their superior wisdom, especially regarding the mysteries or "deep things of God." Christ "thus intimates with a severe irony what was the real character of those ‘depth’ into which they profess to have entered, and into which they sought to guide others." (Trench, Page 154.)

"None other burden" was to be laid upon the faithful of the Thyatiran period except to keep themselves unspotted from, and to continually protest against, the Jezebel abominations. Abstinence from those evil things that are divinely forbidden is called a "burden" in the decree of the Jerusalem council recorded in Acts 15:28, 29. The Gnostics misapplied Paul’s teachings on justification and the law, and made him say that the law was abolished as the rule of life and conduct in order that they might be freed from its strict requirements, just as so many of their successors of the modern religious world have done. The law is rejected by many as if it were an intolerable burden. No other burden, or duty, was to be required of God’s people during this evil period than to hold fast to what they already possessed till Christ came to bring them more light during the coming Reformation. Only hold fast to that you have received until I come, is the admonition given. With the giving of additional light during the Reformation, more responsibility would be enjoined. All men are held responsible in proportion to the light received or the truth that is available.

"Till I come" must include the promise of the Second Advent, which would soon follow the reign of spiritual Jezebel. Paul declared that the "falling away," or great papal apostasy, would end with a great reformation and the coming of Christ. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-8.) This is the first of the seven epistles that mentions the return of Christ, and indicates that the Thyatiran period would reach to the near approach of that great event, to the time when the Second Advent message would be due the world. God’s people were to hold so fast to what they had of sound doctrine and spiritual experience that none could wrest it from them, till the coming of Christ would bring an end to the long and painful struggle between truth and falsehood. "Ever and ever in Scripture, not the day of death but the day of the Lord Jesus, is put as the end of all conflict." (Trench, Page 156.)

                                                  The  Promised  Reward
Jesus declared that the overcomer who "keeps My works unto the end" would be given power over the nations, which he would rule with a rod of iron, and that He would give them "the morning star." "He who conquers and is careful to live My life to the end" or "who obeys My commands to the very end" or "who lays to heart what I enjoin," are different translations. The works of Christ are here contrasted with the works of Jezebel. To the disciples Jesus said of the one who would believe on Him: "The works that I do shall he do also." The works of Christ are such as He can approve of, works that are in harmony with His Word and law.

"Unto the end" doubtless has special reference to the end of the Christian race, or "the end of the world." (Matthew 24:13-14. Revelation 3:10,11.) It is not the beginning but the end of the race that determines the prize. To conquer is not enough; the victorious experience must be maintained to the end of the conflict. "I will give him authority over the nations" (Moffatt), is the promise to those who get the victory over sin. The tables will turn, and the saints who have been persecuted pilgrims and strangers in this rebel world will inherit and rule over the earth as was God’s purpose in the beginning when He gave the dominion to Adam. The royal power and authority of Christ will be shared with His victorious saints, who constitute His bride and queen. (Matthew 19:27, 28; Revelation 3:21.)

Verse 27 is a quotation from Psalms 2:9, which is a prophecy of the Messiah. The Hebrew word for "break" is rendered "rule" in the Greek Septuagint. It literally means "shepherd." Shall be their shepherd" is the Septuagint. "Rod" is better rendered "scepter" as in Hebrews 1:8. The rule of Christ will be as absolute as that of an Oriental shepherd over his sheep, or a potter over the vessels he makes and then breaks in pieces in order to make better vessels. The breaking in pieces "as the vessels of a potter" probably has reference to the destruction of the wicked nations, an event that must precede the absolute and everlasting reign of Christ as the Shepherd of His people. (Daniel 2:32-45.)

The new order of things must be preceded by the breaking up of the old. The Master Potter breaks the old so He can reconstruct the new. Christ breaks in pieces all the wicked nations so that He might restore the dominion of Adam and the kingdom of David with Himself as the King of kings and Lord of lords. The statement, "As I received of My Father," is doubtless also taken from Psalms 2:7-9. Satan offered the throne and kingdom of this world to Christ, but He spurned the offer because of the conditions imposed and the fact that Satan was a usurper with no real right to the earthly principality. (Luke 4:5-8; 22:29; Revelation 11:15.) The cross as the only pathway to the crown was appointed by the Father.

                                                  The  Morning  Star
"I will grant him to see the Morning-star" (Moffatt) was the climax of the promise. Star in the Apocalypse is symbolic of one in authority. Christ promises to share not only His throne but also His kingly authority and glory. He will clothe His victorious soldiers of the cross with the glory of the brightness of the stars. (Daniel 12:3; Matthew 13:43.) The redeemed will reflect the glory and brightness of Christ, and shine with Him in the kingdom. Jesus is the royal Star that arose out of Jacob. He is the "Day Star" that brings the "day (lawn" to those who take heed to the "more sure word of prophecy." He is the "bright and morning Star" who is to reign over the throne of David forever. (Num. 21:17; Matthew 2:2; 2 Peter 1:19, Revelation 22:16.) The morning star rises during the darkest part of the night just before the dawn, which is ushered in by the rising sun. Christ is the Sun of Righteousness, and will bring with Him the dawn of eternal day.
 The promise of the morning star indicates that a night, or period of darkness, was coming a close. The morning star is the sign and promise of greater light. It does not disperse the darkness but is a sign that the soon-rising sun will scatter the darkness of night and usher in the dawn of day that will be followed by the "perfect day" of noontide glory. Wycliffe in the fourteenth century and Savonarola in the fifteenth were morning stars of the Reformation. They and others were beacon lights heralding the coming dawn of a new day of light and truth and liberty, when the morning stars would give place to the Sun of Righteousness. The Thyatiran period would be followed by the Reformation,, which would prepare the church for the coming of Christ. The epistle of Christ to the church of Thyatira takes us through the apostasy of the Middle Ages and brings us to the Reformation period.
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