Christ called this powerful woman in the church at Thyatira: ‘Jezebel’. We do not know whether that was her actual name or not. Christ may have meant that she was behaving like Jezebel in the Old Testament (the first part of the Bible).
That first Jezebel was the wife of the wicked king, Ahab. There are frequent references to her in 1 Kings chapters 16 to 21; 2 Kings 9:30-37 describes her death. Jezebel killed many of the people who served God (1 Kings 18:13). She urged Ahab to carry out many of his most wicked acts (1 Kings 21:25). Also, she introduced a new and wicked religion into Israel: the religion of the false gods called Baal and Asherah (1 Kings 18:19).
Baal and Asherah were male and female gods; wrong sex acts were an important part of their religion. The priests also offered animals to the images of these gods and the people ate the meat. So, that wrong religion was very similar to how this woman in Thyatira was behaving.
However, the woman in Thyatira would have insisted that she served the real God. Probably she encouraged this wrong behaviour for the same reasons as the Christians in Corinth who did similar things. They wanted to express the freedom that God had given to them (see 1 Corinthians 8:9 and 1 Corinthians 10:23). They considered themselves free from any rules; only the Holy Spirit guided them.
The woman in Thyatira believed that she was receiving messages from God by the power of the Holy Spirit. However, she was teaching things that were untrue and against God’s commands (see 1 Corinthians 12:3 and 1 John 2:4). She seemed to act in the power of the Holy Spirit; perhaps for that reason, many people followed her. The reality was that she was placing those weak Christians in great danger (Mark 9:42; 1 Corinthians 8:9-12; 1 Corinthians 10:1-12).
Next part: An opportunity to repent (Revelation 2:21)
Please use the links at the top of the page to find our other articles in this series. You can download all our articles if you go to the download page for our free 700+ page course book.
© 2016, Keith Simons.