Read Revelation 2:18-29
18 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Thyatira. This is the message from the Son of God, whose eyes are like flames of fire, whose feet are like polished bronze:
19 “I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things.
20 “But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman—that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet—to lead my servants astray. She teaches them to commit sexual sin and to eat food offered to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to turn away from her immorality.
22 “Therefore, I will throw her on a bed of suffering, and those who commit adultery with her will suffer greatly unless they repent and turn away from her evil deeds. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve.
24 “But I also have a message for the rest of you in Thyatira who have not followed this false teaching (‘deeper truths,’ as they call them—depths of Satan, actually). I will ask nothing more of you25 except that you hold tightly to what you have until I come. 26 To all who are victorious, who obey me to the very end,
To them I will give authority over all the nations.
27 They will rule the nations with an iron rod
and smash them like clay pots.
28 They will have the same authority I received from my Father, and I will also give them the morning star!
29 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. (NLT)
Beware the church leader who claims to know the secret truths of God, who claims to be a mouthpiece of God. True, any preacher seeks to present God’s truth, but they dare not claim infallibility and dare not teach so as to lead people astray.
In the church at Thyatira, it seems a certain woman (not called Jezebel but echoing that ancient woman’s wickedness) was condoning things that ought not be condoned. An articulate, personable, assertive individual can lead people into all sorts of wrong directions. Beware the person who claims to speak for God but does not live for God.
Some church members will follow the leader no matter what the leader seems to be saying. And if that leader is encouraging things like sexual immorality, it is even easier to follow them. “Be a Christian and have all the sex you like” is a seductive message!
This is a good reason to share leadership in the church so that no one individual has all the power. And every message given needs to be tested against the orthodox teaching handed down to us from the past and the conviction of the Spirit in the present.
Even given this ‘Jezebel’, the church is commended for growth in maturity. Not all have gone along with her. A sobering reminder that our churches are always a mixture of the true and the false, the good and the not so good.