In Jezebel, I went into detail about teaching and misleading the people of God to commit sexual immorality and what that means biblically. Now I want to take a look at eating things sacrificed to idols and what that means literally and figuratively as the word “eat” here in Revelation 2:20 can mean both.
To start with, historically, there was a woman there in Thyatira who proclaimed she spoke oracles and decided to begin to say she was speaking for God (called herself a prophetess- Revelation 2:20.). There was a temple of fortune tellers that a woman did preside over. As I read the history, of the area, this temple was supposedly one where people could hear from Apollos himself. What is more interesting is that this same temple was known as Jewish, Chaldean and/or Persian. Here is a direct quote:
“If the sibyl Sambatha was really a Jewess, lending her aid…and not discountenanced by the authorities of the Judeo-Christian church at Thyatira, both the censure and its qualification become easy of explanation.” (Dr. William Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, 1872)
“The prophetic utterances of women called sibyls in ancient Greece and Rome, believed to have been inspired by the god Apollo; collections of these utterances played an important part in the religious history of ancient Rome…They are now believed to have been composed by Jews, and later by Christians, both groups imitating earlier pagan oracles in their attempts to win converts…” (Universal Standard Encyclopedia)
She was not a believer in Jesus Christ. Yet, that doesn’t mean she didn’t pretend to be as I have already described in Jezebel. This is the first clue in why John,in Revelation, revealed this as a Jezebel. She acted quite like the queen in 1 and 2 Kings by leading God’s people astray why pretending to be a follower by marrying the king of Judah at the time. Please note the bolded statement above “attempts to win converts“. This is a concerning statement because thus began the adding to the simple grace, new covenant message that I talked about in my last blog. I also want to point out the following bit of information below:
“When a woman is used symbolically in Scripture, she represents a religious entity. This might be either positive or negative. On the positive side, there is Israel as the Wife of Jehovah and the Church as the bride of Messiah. On the negative side, there is the woman with the leaven (Mtt. Mat. 13:33), the Great Harlot of Rev. Rev. 17:1+, and here, the woman Jezebel.”—Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003), 58.
Here we find that symbolically Jezebel can mean a religious entity trying to amalgamate (to mix or merge to make a combination; unite; combine; to unite two things to make it one) with the simple grace new covenant message and make it a message of works of law. Let me explain further.
When we look at the words “eat food sacrificed to idols” we need to look at it without the glasses of “The Corrupt Church” or “The Worldly Church”. These are titles that were added later and were NEVER a part of the original text and can color the way we read something. They are NOT helpful. I want to look at the word tolerate, permit, allow, remit again from verse 20 in chapter 2. Here it is in Greek:
863 aphíēmi (from 575 /apó, “away from” and hiēmi, “send”) – properly, send away; release (discharge).
This is the same verb that is used in Matthew 18 the famous chapter on FORGIVENESS. Yes, Jesus Christ was saying to this church…I have this against you, because you have released, allowed, permitted, sent away or FORGIVEN what this woman, Jezebel, is teaching and is misleading My people about committing sexual immorality, which I wrote about in my last post, and to eat things sacrificed to idols. It wasn’t that this church was slack in their “morals” or they were “corrupt” but that they forgave, remitted, permitted without confronting a very real problem within their church (body) community. This brought real harm to especially new believers in Jesus.
Now I want to make it clear that as Paul states in 1 Corinthians:
“Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him. However not all men have this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat. But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols?” 1 Corinthians 8:4-10 NASB
Food, whether sacrificed to idols or not does NOT COMMEND(3936 parístēmi (from 3844 /pará, “from close-beside” and 2476 /hístēmi, “to stand”) – properly, stand close beside, i.e. ready to present (exhibit).) us to God. It in no way brings us close to God. Nothing, no other act, no other work of ours will EVER bring us close to God. The one and only thing that EVER brings us close to God is our simple faith in our loving Savior Jesus Christ. No act of ours except our belief in Who Jesus Christ is will ever out do what Christ did for us. This is the sneakiness of what the enemy wants us to believe is that there is something more we have to do that will commend us to God. The truth of the matter is that Christ died for us, once and for all. The war is FINISHED. Jesus Christ won for us. All we have to do is believe and we are commended to God and the seal of that truth is the Holy Spirit who comes and lives in us. The very word used in 1 Corinthians 8:8 is part of the word Holy Spirit- para!
Once again Jezebel was trying to put extra tasks on the people of God saying if you do this or that it will get you closer to God when the truth is He lives in you when you receive Christ’s free gift.
Now God gave her time to repent (to turn, believe, see things His way). To see Him in the new covenant of grace that He died to give. He also gave the church community time to deal with this very real problem. He was letting the whole church, His whole body, see that He searches the minds and hearts of all. Because the Body of Christ was not responding and calling out what was known to be “false teaching” and this was causing the little ones to stumble He, Himself, would cast (present singular tense used here -so that means this particular individual only) “her” into a sickbed (a couch, bed, portable bed or mat, a couch for reclining at meals, possibly also a bier.) rendering her incapable of continuing with her false teaching (Remember to see this as God’s loving kindness to her and others). In this lifetime the people that will follow in her footsteps (her children) will have tribulation (2347 thlípsis – properly, pressure (what constricts or rubs together), used of a narrow place that “hems someone in”; tribulation, especially internal pressure that causes someone to feel confined (restricted, “without options”),2347 /thlípsis (“compression, tribulation”) carries the challenge of coping with the internal pressure of a tribulation, especially when feeling there is “no way of escape” (“hemmed in”)) as they are truly intentionally trying to deceive His people. When people reject the Christ and what He has done this is a true sin-peshah (see Horizontal and Vertical (Part 4) for more info on sin, iniquity and transgression). As people intentionally turn away from God they do feel hemmed in, no way of escape, troubled etc—definition of tribulation. This is His loving kindness bringing them to repentance. It is truly a way to bring them to the understanding of how much they need Christ. We need to remember His ways are higher than ours.
Yet, with the church in Thyatira, Jesus states–as many of you who do not have this doctrine I will put no other burden upon you. The church was NOT CORRUPT. They had simply allowed, forgave or remitted someone to teach that things other than Jesus Christ and what He did on the Cross could make you closer, more righteous, and/or holier to God. They did not hold to the doctrine of Satan—the wilfull addition to the Gospel of Grace by adding extra burdens to the Followers of Christ other than the simple understanding that we are ONLY made RIGHTEOUS in Jesus Christ.
We must see this teaching as “the things of Satan” because it is in direct opposition to what Jesus Himself taught. The first is sexual immorality: as I described as pretending to be a follower of Christ and purposefully leading people away from the truth (see my last post) and of what Jesus Christ did for the whole world and that all we need to do is believe in Who He is (see What Does God Really Want From You? for more info). The second is: eating food sacrificed to idols,magic H would mean this food now holds special powers which is in direct opposition to the establishment of the New Covenant by Jeus Himself at the Last Supper where He clearly used food, wine and bread, to signify His Body and Blood that would bring ALL we would ever need. This is why this would be termed “the things of Satan” because the enemy always tries to counterfeit the real.
I hope this clarifies for you, as it has for me, what Jezebel in Revelation 2 means.