THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST

Previous: Revelation 2:23

"Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. 25 But hold fast what you have till I come." - Revelation 2:24-25

It has taken us a long time to highlight the problems of the Middle Ages. It is no surprise because that period of history lasted approximately one thousand years, and the changes in the Church were numerous and radical. Honestly, we have just scratched the surface of all that happened during that time.

I have been eager to get to this point so that I can say, once again, that I am not against everything that is Catholic. It is only unbiblical teaching and actions that we oppose. And the sad reality is, every denomination has its problems in these areas. All we can do is to keep going back to the Scriptures to minimize the error that can creep in to any of our churches.

In this segment, we will notice and celebrate the many godly and faithful leaders and members of the Church at Thyatira as well as the heroes of the evolving Catholic Church of the Middle Ages.

At the close of our last installment we mentioned that verse 23 applied to the corrupt non-believers, but this next verse begins to offer advice to true believers.

First Jesus addressed the angel/messenger of the Church, who was the pastor there. "Now to you I say..." The pastor evidently opposed the false teaching that had corrupted the Church in Thyatira. We don't know what he actually did to minimize the damage caused by their "Jezebel," but since he was the shepherd of the flock, many - maybe even the majority - were preserved by his vigilance.

"And to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say..." Then Jesus included all the others in the Church who had resisted the temptation to believe false teaching. Whether or not they realized it, those fallacies had actually originated with Satan himself! The previous church, Pergamum, had been located where Satan's throne existed, but in this Church, and the Church age that it represents, Satan had found ways to make great inroads through false teaching and immoral activities. We might think that the Devil's ways would be immediately recognized and rejected by Christians. However, in his original form he was known as Lucifer, or "light-bearer" (Isaiah 14:12 ff.). Look at what the Apostle Paul had to say about people who brought false teaching to Corinth:

"I will put on you no other burden." For the faithful saints at Thyatira Jesus did not have any further instructions. Their work had already been most difficult, standing as they did for the truth against such an adversary.

However, He did ask them to stay strong. "But hold fast what you have till I come." They would be tempted to give up when they felt that they were losing the spiritual battle. At one point the prophet Elijah complained to God,

And he said, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life." - 1 Kings 19:14

To this the Lord explained,

Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him." - 1 Kings 19:18

No matter how difficult it has ever been for the Church to be successful during its two-thousand-year history, and no matter how brutally Satan has assaulted it, it has never been destroyed! This is a direct fulfillment of Jesus' powerful prophecy in Matthew 16:18, "I will build My church." Let's analyze that magnificent statement.

"I" - Untold numbers of rich and powerful people have built their political or business empires, but none has been as successful as Jesus Christ. That is because of who He is. As we have already shown, He is God the Son, the Creator, our Messiah/ Savior, and returning King of Kings. As God, He is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.

"Will" - Everything He has ever set out to do He has accomplished. There is no limitation of His resources, opportunity, willpower, or any other thing that could hinder His progress. By His words He brought the universe into being (Genesis 1:3, 1:6 etc.; John 1:1-3, 10). By His words He predicted the formation of His Church. Satanic opposition is a reality, but He declared, "The gates of hades will not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18).

"Build" - Among the many illustrations of His Church, it is portrayed as a building. He is the foundation of the building, and believers are "living stones" (1 Peter 2:5).

"My" - There is naturally a sense of ownership for each member of the Church. We proudly refer to it as "our Church." But in reality, Jesus is the originator, builder, supervisor, and owner of His Church.

"Church" - The Greek word for Church literally means "called out." It was the normal word for an assembly, like the town council. Spiritually, it is an assembly of born-again believers who were "called out" of the evil world system by Jesus. (See the notes on chapter 1, verse 20).

Because the Church is Christ's own work, there is always a "remnant" of true believers. There are tens of thousands of faithful pastors today who are doing their best to follow the Bible and protect their flocks from false teaching. Their denominations, seminaries, and leaders may be slipping, but they "hold fast" to the truth.

In spite of the problems of the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church had many inspirational leaders. They were not perfect, since Jesus was the only sinless human, but they were faithful, and the Lord enabled them to accomplish much for His Church.

This list includes scholars like Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, devotional writers like Thomas a Kempis, Inspirational leaders like Francis of Assisi, courageous soldiers, like many of the Crusaders, and Joan of Arc, reformers like the Waldensians, John Huss, John Wycliffe, and the numerous witnesses listed in Foxes' Book of Martyrs.

These heroes of the faith were not flawless either. But like the 7000 faithful prophets in Elijah's day, for every one whose name has come down to us today as a godly example, there were undoubtedly thousands of others who were faithful to the Lord during the Middle Ages.


Come back soon for the next installment of our verse-by-verse study of the Book of Revelation.
Next: Revelation 2:26-29



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