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Us, Not Them - The Book of Revelation
Week 35, 2016
As we continue our study of the prophetic church at Thyatira (538-1798 AD), understanding Jezebel is a key to understanding what happened to the church in this time. There has been much teaching in the church about the “spirit of Jezebel,” which is derived from the biblical character who was King Ahab’s wife. Ahab was one of the wickedest kings in Israel’s history. It seems that Jezebel influenced many of his evil ways.
Jezebel was the most prominent wife of any king of Israel. She exerted significant influence and power over the nation by the force of her manipulative personality. Having a strong personality is not wrong in itself, but Jezebel used her influence to promote sexual immorality, the worship of false gods, and persecution of those who worshipped the Lord.
Many Christian leaders believe the spirit of Jezebel is the primary principality or power seeking to destroy the United States and virtually all Western civilization. This would be hard to argue against as we see what has unraveled the moral and spiritual foundations of our countries. It seems to follow the pattern of the biblical times of Jezebel. We can see the roots of this spirit infiltrating the church during the time of the prophetic church of Thyatira, as well as in the church today.
Before going deeper into what happened in the Middle Ages, we need to consider the deception of judging a whole group or organization by its most extreme elements. Even during times of the church’s worse corruption, a remnant always remained faithful to the Lord, just like during Ahab and Jezebel’s reign over Israel. Some of the greatest prophets and brightest lights were also raised up during the church’s darkest times.
The revelation of the “man of sin” in the temple of the Lord—or the church—is a revelation of the sin of man, or what we all are without the grace of God. In Scripture, we often see that even the prophets raised up to confront evil repented to God for the sins of Israel as if they too had committed them. The foundation of being a prophet to people is built on being an intercessor for the people. To do this, you must identify with them.
I have never been part of any denomination, but I have learned to love them all. There was a time when I daily studied the evils done in the name of Christ by the church in the Middle Ages. I began to hate the Roman Catholic Church by which these acts were committed. It took years for the Lord to change my heart so that I could start to respect, and then love, Roman Catholics. Along with the evil done by this church in the Middle Ages, there was also a lot of good—including being the primary force to turn back Islam’s conquest of Europe.
I now have many devout Roman Catholic friends who sometimes make me jealous of their close relationship with the Lord. There are now also about 100 million born again, Spirit filled Roman Catholics, mostly because of the extraordinary leadership of Pope John Paul II. My point is that even though I am not a member of the Roman Catholic Church, I identify with them and the evil done by some of them as “us” not “them.” This is the only way we can intercede for them (us) and learn the lessons, knowing we would have done the same things without the grace of God. It is part of His grace to teach us through the mistakes of others. This will benefit us if we accept it without the arrogance and delusion that we are not like them. We would be just like them if it were not for God’s grace.
Most denominations born out of the Protestant Reformation are called “Protestant” because they were born in protest of the Roman Catholic Church. Most of the Protestant churches that condemned the Catholic Church ended up doing the same things to subsequent movements born out of Protestantism. In the years that I was so incensed by the Roman Catholic Church, I personally did some destructive and divisive things in the congregations I was in. When I saw that I would have almost certainly done the same things as the Catholics did had I lived in that time, it helped me to repent of my destructive ways.
Those who presume that they would never have done these things are the ones most likely to do them. This is why we’re given the exhortation to “Take heed when you think you stand lest you fall” (see I Corinthians 10:12). It is when we think we can’t fall that we are certain to.
I plead with you to look at the terrible things done in the name of Christ as having been done by “us” not “them.” Beg for the grace to see and repent of the roots of this evil in ourselves. The “man of sin” or “sin of man” had to be revealed in the temple of the Lord so that it could be revealed in each of us, the temples. This will make increasing sense as we continue this study.
next week 36