In Revelation 2:21 the Lord is still speaking to the leader of the church at Thyatira, and he is speaking about that Jezebel he mentioned in the previous verse. Jezebel is a name for those who claim to be Jews, but are not. That is, they claim to be the people of God, but they don’t obey him. They are the Jews who crucified the Lord. She was given time to repent, probably the time between Jesus’ resurrection and Stephen’s death (cir. 3 1/2 years), but they didn’t. This period was a period of relative safety granted the elect believers, as mentioned in Revelation 12:14. It culminated in spilling righteous blood, so the Jerusalem authorities simply wouldn’t repent.
Jesus said he planned to cast her into a bed (G2825), which represented the kind of bed or couch one reclined upon to eat at a table in ancient Judea (cf. Luke 17:34). It was also the type of bed one would lay upon when sick (cf. Luke 5:18), which was light enough for one man to carry (Luke 5:24). Perhaps, Jesus’ point has to do with her being sick, and she will never recover, or she will lie upon a couch and be forced to partake of the wrath of God. The latter seems to be closest to the truth, for she had been drunk with the blood of the saints (Revelation 17:6), with which she had also made others drunk (cf. Revelation 17:2), so it is fitting that she should partake (eat) of God’s wrath.
Jesus claimed that this Jezebel was given time to repent but didn’t, and now repentance would not be offered (Revelation 2:21), but repentance is offered to those of the church who still partake of her doctrines (Revelation 2:22; cf. 18:4). If the church wouldn’t repent (Revelation 2:22), Jesus said they, who continue to commit fornication with her, will also partake of her judgment, which includes being thrown upon a bed (G2825) and forced to partake of the wrath of God (cf. Revelation 18:4-8).
As mentioned in a previous study, committing fornication in this context involves having a relationship with the enemies of God, and in this context that would be the Jerusalem authorities. Those, who indulge in a spiritual relationship with them, partake of (eat of, live off of) their teachings, which often made the word of God of no effect (cf. Galatians 5:2, 4; Romans 9:31-32). One cannot live by the Law (works / flesh) and by Christ (grace – Romans 10:3-5).
The children of Jezebel (Revelation 2:23) are those people who believe what is preached by the Jerusalem authorities, and that includes her representatives in Asia Minor. Any disciples who were made by her, or her representatives, are not disciples of Christ. They are disciples / children of Jezebel, the Jerusalem authorities. We need to keep in mind at this point that Jesus claimed such disciples are twice the child of hell (Gehenna – G1067; see Matthew 23:15). That is, they are the more zealous (cf. Philippians 3:6) for the teaching of their mother, Jerusalem, (Jezebel) and are twice as worthy of judgment.
Jesus said he would “kill her children with death,” which is an odd way to put that. One may kill with a sword, but to kill with death seems redundant. If one is killed, how would death, itself, be the means of death? I believe what is meant here has to do with the first death and the second death (cf. Revelation 2:11; 20:6, 14).
By mentioning a second death, it is implied there is a first death. The two are not the same thing. In a previous study I showed that the second death is physical death. We all die, but believers are not hurt by physical death, because we are given eternal life. The first death, which is implied by the fact that a second death is mentioned (cf. Revelation 2:11), must, therefore, concern spiritual death, from which we need a resurrection, or as Jesus described it: we must be born again (John 3:3, 7). So, Jesus claimed that any disciples made through a union of his people with Jezebel would not be his disciples. Rather, they would have no spiritual life at all. In other words, the labor or works (G2041 – cf. Revelation 2:19) of those believers, who preached in the name of Jerusalem (or the Law), would be labor spent in vain. This, no doubt, is reflected in the work of the ‘wicked servant’ mentioned in Luke’s Parable of the Pounds and Matthew’s Parable of the Talents.
Everything that Jesus said he intended to do in Revelation 2:23 was done so that the churches (the whole church) would know and understand that he, Jesus, searches the hearts of his people (i.e. he is God – Jeremiah 17:10) and rewards everyone according to his works. What he says, therefore, is both a reason for hope and a warning. Jesus’ words represent hope for those who labor according to their faith, as is seen in Matthew 25:16-17, because his disciples will be rewarded according to their works (Matthew 25:19-23). On the other hand, he, who casts aside his faith in Christ (Matthew 25:18) and labors according to the Law or the flesh, labors in his own strength. He would have even what was given him taken away, and he would be cast out into outer darkness, i.e. spiritual death (Matthew 25:24-30). That is, Jesus will slay him with spiritual death, just as Adam and Eve were slain in Genesis 3.