Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 59
WINKING AT EVIL? WAKE UP! – PART 2
REVELATION 2:11 – 3:22
Again, we always like to remind folks who maybe new to the program that we’re non-denominational. I don’t follow any particular denominational line. We’re going to teach the Word the way we see it and the Spirit leads, and I think a lot of people are beginning to understand that if you just look at what it says it’s there as plain as day, and I always stress, it’s just as important to look for what is not there as what is there.
And, in that line, I can say that very thing concerning these seven letters we’ve been studying here in Revelation, and this is why I feel that they are Jewish. They are still under the Kingdom economy because there is not one Pauline doctrinal statement in here, not a one. There’s not a reference to salvation by faith alone. For these Jewish believers it’s all works as we saw in the last program. And there’s no reference to faith in the death burial and resurrection for salvation as it is for us today in this Age of Grace. It was all based on who Jesus of Nazareth really is and was for these Jewish believers. So, all of these things are pertinent to Bible study; that you recognize to whom it’s spoken. What is the language that’s being used? Who’s writing it? And then, what is not there. And that pretty much settles it.
All right, we’re going to go right on from where we left off and that would be in Revelation chapter 2,and we’re going to start the letter to Thyatira, which is verse 18. And again, remember, these are all words spoken by the Son of Man, as He’s referred to Israel so often, but here He’s referred to as the Son of God. So remember those are all titles that mean the same person.
“And unto the angel (or the minister or the leader) of the church (assembly) in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who has eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;” Now again, as we pointed out in one of the programs last taping, what do those terminologies refer to? Love? Mercy? Grace? No. What? Judgment! He is about ready to move in with judgment. And remember, God is just as capable of pouring out judgment as He is mercy and grace.
Israel experienced it in her past history. My, what was the whole purpose of the prophets? To warn Israel that if they did not turn from their wicked ways judgment was coming. Well, not the flood, not the Tribulation back then, but invading armies. And did it happen? Yes, it happened because Israel refused to listen.
Well, we have the same thing now. Remember, this is probably written, I think, in the late 50’s; that is of the first century. We’re talking about somewhere between 55 and 60 AD during which time Paul is also writing his letters to the Gentile churches, but Peter, James, and John are still dealing with the Jewish element, and oh, if people could only see that.
Now, while we had a break I put the timeline on the board and I’m going to just rehearse it briefly. We come out of the Old Testament to Christ’s earthly ministry and it’s all Jewish. And again, I’m going to use the verse that we’ve used so often. You can turn with me, if you will, to Romans 15 verse 8, and this is for people who do not understand that Christ’s earthly ministry was only to the nation of Israel. Oh, they know the verse in John, “He came unto His own and His own received Him not.” They know that much, but I guess they think His own rejected Him in the first week of His ministry and then He began ministering to Gentiles. Nothing could be further from the truth!
I was reading somebody again just the other day, where this fellow was saying that all those multitudes that Jesus ministered to were Gentile. That’s not what this Book says! Got Romans 15 verse 8? We’ve used it a lot the last year, and I’ll keep using it because it says it all!
“Now I say, (now this is Paul writing to Gentiles) that Jesus Christ was a minister of (the whole world? Of Gentiles? But what?) the circumcision…” Now that’s plain English. Why can’t they see that? He was a minister of the circumcision, Israel,
“…for the truth of God to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” Well, come back to my timeline, all the way back to Abraham. Promises and prophecy. Promises and prophecy. And as I mentioned, I think in last month’s taping, there were over 350 distinct prophecies concerning His first advent and every one of them were fulfilled to the last jot and tittle. Now, there was also a bunch of them that went on to the end that had not yet been fulfilled, but they will be!
Now, back to the timeline. So anyway, He comes out of the Old Testament economy; He begins His earthly ministry, strictly to the nation of Israel, but the Romans and the Jews brought about the crucifixion. He arose from the dead. After forty days with the Twelve, or the Eleven, He went back to Glory, and then everything is left on the shoulders of particularly Peter, James, and John. Those are the only three we really get much activity from.
All right, now then, if you’ll follow my timeline, Peter, James, and John continue to minister to these Jews who had become believers first in Christ’s earthly ministry. I suppose I could put the three years up there to help identify what I’m talking about. Here we have His three years of earthly ministry, then He goes back to glory and Peter, James, and John continue what was started here. Nothing is different. They perform the miracles. They are still under the signs and wonders, and so they are ministering now still to the “circumcision,” to the Jews with the idea that the 7 years of Tribulation is right out in front of them. The whole prophetic program is going to be fulfilled and that it’s going to be followed by the Second Coming and then would come that glorious Kingdom here on earth.
And so, the whole idea was for these believing Jews, and when I speak of a believing Jew, we’re talking about Jews who had embraced Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah! They are not believing in the death, burial, and resurrection as we are, although they certainly know that the One who was killed and rose from the dead, went back to glory and was in a position to come again. But, what they’re looking for is the fulfillment of these promises made to their forefathers. And that had to rest on Christ’s return, but that couldn’t happen until the rest of prophecy concerning the seven years of Tribulation had been fulfilled first.
All right, now a verse just comes to mind. Let’s go back to Matthew chapter 24, verse 13, and I’ve stressed it when we teach these verses in Matthew 24 that this is all Tribulation ground. If you have a red-lettered edition, it’s red. These are the words of the Lord Jesus before He ascends, and in fact, this is even before the crucifixion and the Twelve have just asked Him, what are going to be the signs of your coming and the end of the age?
All right, so He starts unfolding everything that pertains to these seven years of Tribulation, or the wrath and vexation. All right, the only verse I want you to look at right now is verse 13. And this is what Peter, James, and John are admonishing these Jewish believers to look at. If they can just get through the horrors of those seven years they will witness the return of the King. And what does it say?
“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Now, He wasn’t talking about their eternal salvation. They weren’t talking about their spiritual salvation; He was talking about the physical. If you believers can endure these seven years and come out at the other end still alive, then you’ll be able to go into the Kingdom as flesh and blood. And remember, a remnant of Jews will. A scattering of Gentiles will. But nevertheless, this is what Jesus is referring to when He speaks of these things that are right out in front of them.
Now, I guess I also have to make note of the fact that this timeline, that we’ve been looking at, especially since we started our study in James, Peter, and John; so far as these Jewish believers are concerned this was the timeline. They were expecting the wrath and vexation to come in and then would come the Second Coming, and then would come the Kingdom, and then Israel could be the evangelists of the world. Now, of course, we understand that from our vantage point, God stopped this whole shebang right here shortly before the Tribulation came in and instead of bringing in wrath, He opens up the timeline with the grace of God, or what we call the out-calling of the Body of Christ, which puts all this out into the future.
And so we are now in the 1900 and some year period of time where all of this has been put on hold, but these Jews that Peter, James, and John are ministering to don’t know that. This is what I always have to stress. There’s nothing in these letters, there’s nothing in the book of Revelation to indicate that the timeline is going to be interrupted.
Now, the only place in Scripture where we have an indication of that timeline being interrupted is in Luke 4, and we’re not going to look at that now, but you remember in Luke 4 when Jesus stopped in the middle of Isaiah chapter 60 verse 2, when He said, “And today this has been fulfilled in your ears.” Well, He stopped just ahead of the description of the Tribulation.But no one else had any clue that this was going to be interrupted and that these things were not going to be finished. All right, so back to Revelation chapter 2 and verse 18. He’s speaking of judgment.
“…who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass.” Brass always throughout the Old Testament spoke of judgment.
“I know thy works, (again, see the emphasis) and charity, (love) and service, and faith, (yes, there were some good people in these assemblies) and thy patience, (and then He comes back and emphasizes what for the second time?) and thy works; (Works. Works. Works) and the last to be more than the first.” So there was good element in every one of these assemblies. And even Thyatira, but along with the good element what do we have? A Jezebel!
Now, I usually like to just tantalize people’s thinking. Does any sane woman name her daughter Jezebel? Do you? Have you ever heard of one? I haven’t. Why? Because she was the epitome of wickedness. The gal knew nothing but sexual immorality. That was her thing. All right, now that was back in the Old Testament, but here to point out the Jewishness of it all, the Lord refers to this woman who was doing the same thing within this Jewish believing community – another Jezebel. Not the same one that you’ve got back there in the book of Kings, but she was a Jezebel because she was promoting sexual immorality amongst these Jewish congregations.
“Notwithstanding (in spite of all their works) I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest (permit) that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess,…” Now, I don’t want to give people the impression that I’m anti-woman, or anti-female, but when you look a the New Age movement today, or when you look at the pagan, mythological religions of ancient history, who was usually the promoter of it? Women.
Look at your New Age movement, who are your greatest promoters of the New Age? Who are the ones most likely to succumb to it? The women and the same way in mythology. It was those goddesses that hooked the masses of people. Well, it’s the same way here. Here she had come into this Jewish assembly and called herself a prophetess. Now, how did she get away with it? Well, the element that should have known better condoned it. They said, oh well, she’s not going to do that much harm, let’s not cause a big division. Am I making my point? This is what’s happening today. This is exactly what happens today. An element comes into a local church and even though most of the people know it’s dead wrong they don’t want to cause any waves, they don’t want to cause any problems so they condone it. And that’s exactly what the Lord warns against. And what does she begin to do?
“…to teach and to seduce my servants (and for what purpose?) to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.” Much different than what you had in Pergamus? Huh-uh. Much different than what we see today? Huh-uh. It’s just over and over throughout human history. This has been the thing that has plagued the human race, especially when you get into the realm of religion. Okay, take warning. She has been dealt with by the Lord evidently, because He says in the first person:
“And I gave her space (or I gave her time) to repent of her fornication; (her immorality) and she repented not.” She wouldn’t have a thing to do with the Lord’s pleading.
“Behold, (the Lord says) I will (What is that? That’s a promise. And here comes the prophecy) cast her into a bed,…” Now, let’s compare the two Jezebel’s for just a moment. If you know anything about Jezebel, the queen wife of King Ahab, what was her end? They threw her down didn’t they? And she was killed in the process, just utterly thrown down and destroyed. But see, this Jezebel, God is going to cast into a “bed” but it’s going to be a bed of judgment.
“…and them that commit adultery with her (and they’re going to go) into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.” Now, Jezebel back in the Old Testament had an untimely end, no doubt about it, and for all her beauty and all of her abilities to seduce, she still had a rather horrible ending, but it was rather quick. But this Jezebel, it’s going to be a seven-year period of tribulation and judgment.
And again, I don’t want people to think that I’m a fear-monger, but listen, these seven years are going to be beyond comprehension. And again, I’m going to take you back to Matthew 24, the words of the Lord Jesus Himself, concerning this seven-year period. Now, I know He’s referring specifically here in this verse we’re going to read to the last half. But as I’ve stressed over the years, remember the first half is not going to be a Sunday school picnic by any stretch, because one fourth of the world’s population will lose their lives in the first half.
The other three-fourth’s in the last half, but nevertheless it’s going to be a horrible seven-year period and this is what this Jezebel and her followers are being warned of, that they would be going into the horrors of the Tribulation. All right, Matthew 24 verse 21, and remember this is from the lips of the Lord Jesus Himself. The Creator of everything. The Author of this Book. The One who controls the future.
“For then (especially the last half of the seven years) shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” And you know I’ve always reminded people since I’ve taught these things, He’s going clear back to the Noahic Flood, and it was awful. He comes on up through the various times of judging the nation of Israel and some of those times were awful. But then He comes on and looks into the future from the time of 30-32 AD and He looks down the corridors of time all the way up to this seven-year period and he said, even that which is in between, there would be nothing to compare with this period of time.
Now, if you know anything about recent history, what is He looking past? The Holocaust; Hitler’s death ovens. Even they could not compare with the horrors of these final three and a half years. And when you see the human race behaving themselves as they are lately, can you say, “No wonder.” It’s no wonder. I’m surprised God hasn’t already moved.
You know, I remember way back, I think probably in the 80’s, Billy Graham made the statement that if God does not judge America, Sodom and Gomorrah will scream “You’re not fair.” Well, if Billy Graham thought it was that bad in the 80’s, then what in the world must God think today. And it’s getting worse by the week. All right, so these judgments are coming and God’s wrath is suddenly going to be released. So again, here is the judgment that’s going to befall this unbelieving, immoral segment of even the Jewish people.
“Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, (but He always gives them the loophole and what was it?) except they repent of their deeds.” God would still forgive. Never forget, how does Romans 5 put it? “That where sin abounds Grace doeth much more abound.” And here it is, even this wicked woman who was leading people into gross immorality, God was ready to forgive her. God’s grace was ready to bring her back, if she would repent. But she would not, and if she would not, God says:
“And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches (assemblies. All seven of them, now don’t forget we’re talking about seven assemblies) shall know that I am he who searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto you every one of you according to your works.” They’re going to get what they deserve.
“But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira as many as have not this doctrine, (you have not followed Jezebel) and which have not know the depths of Satan, as they speak;(Now stop a minute. What does that mean? For those who had followed Jezebel, who were they really kowtowing to? Satan. And the depths of it.) I will put upon you no other burden.” In other words, for those that were keeping themselves free of the influence of Jezebel and the immorality, God was still going to protect them in a special way.
“But that which ye have already hold fast (how long?) till I come.” Now, you see, they were looking for this timeline on top. They were still expecting all these events to be fulfilled according to the Old Testament promises and so the Lord is telling them, if you can just bear up, and as we say in Matthew 24, if they could endure these things until the end, then they would enjoy the blessings of the Kingdom.
“And he that overcometh, (in other words can resist the temptations of even the influence of a Jezebel, if they can hold fast and overcome) and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:” Now, we’ll pick this up in our next program. I haven’t got time and I want to take you back to Deuteronomy and see how the nation of Israel is indeed going to be the number one nation in the Kingdom economy.