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Rebuke the Adversary Until I Come!

18 Apr
Adversary

from Google Images

Presently I am involved in a study of the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3, specifically at this time with the church of Thyatira (Revelation 2:29). Thyatira was the smallest of the seven cities, but it received the largest of Jesus’ letters. The church there was commended for several good things it had been doing, and Jesus even mentioned they were doing more or greater works in their latter ministry than they had been doing in the beginning (Revelation 2:19-20). Nevertheless, they were guilty of permitting a false prophetess, Jezebel (the Jerusalem authorities), to seduce his disciples, removing them from his protection and authority.

At Revelation 2:24 Jesus was addressing his disciples who had not known the depths of the doctrine of Jezebel, who was the enemy or adversary of Christ. I question whether the word Satan in this verse should be used to indicate a spirit being. Thayer defines the Greek word satanas (G4567) as “adversary (one who opposes another in purpose or act)…” Under that definition, it can mean a human adversary, and I believe that Jezebel, the Jewish authorities in the first century, were arch enemies, or adversaries, of Christ and the Gospel. I believe it is in this context that we should understand Jesus’ promise to protect those disciples who have not known the depths (G899) of the doctrine of Jezebel (cf. Revelation 2:22-23).

At this point, it seems that Jesus refers back to Revelation 2:20, where Jezebel, acting as a prophetess, had been seducing Jesus’ disciples to indulge in a strange relationship (fornication) by causing them to eat what is sacrificed to idols. That is, instead of partaking of Jesus, they partook of the teachings of men—men held in admiration, perhaps the traditions of the elders (cf. Matthew 15:1-9), which made God’s word ineffective in men’s lives.

If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as,  (21)  “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!”  (22)  (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men?  (23)  These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence (Colossians 2:20-23).

Jezebel’s doctrine would make a man appear wise in a man-made religion, but such teaching has no value for actually helping anyone who is tempted to do evil. With this in mind, I believe knowing the depths (G899) of Satan (the enemy) has to do with indulging in a spiritual relationship with Jezebel, the self-styled prophetess of Jerusalem, who subjected her disciples to the Oral Law, i.e. the traditions of the elders. The seduction implied a spiritual union was involved (cf. Matthew 1:25) and, therefore, is one of fornication (Revelation 2:20), because it is a union apart from Jesus, the bridegroom of the church. It probably involved knowing the secrets of the enemy, why Jezebel persecuted believers and entering into that work through agreement.

Through the Holy Spirit, believers are able to search out the deep things (G899) the secret things of God. We are able to know and understand things men have never thought of before, but were kept secret by God until the coming of Jesus (1Corinthians 2:9-10). It appears that believers in Thyatira were already being persecuted (Revelation 1:9), so Jesus seems to mean that as long as they remain faithful to him, not allowing themselves to be seduced into committing fornication with Jezebel, Jesus will keep them from the trial that shall come upon the whole earth (Revelation 3:10).

Jesus said the believers at Thyatira had preached the Gospel well, and their labor and faithfulness in doing so had increased over the years, and they were to hold fast to that tradition until he returned (Revelation 2:25; cf. 2:19). I believe the normal understanding of Jesus words “until I come” would be that it wouldn’t be much longer. That is, the believers in Thyatira were faithful in preaching the Gospel under troublesome times, and they were told to hold on, or continue to do so, until I come—implying it won’t be much longer (cf. Proverbs 13:12).

 

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Posted by on April 18, 2019 in Apocalypse, Book of Revelation

 

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