Learn the patterns of deception and lies, deep things of Satan, that trick you into a distorted view of love, tolerance, and even God.
Revelation 2:18-29 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
“‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. Only hold fast what you have until I come. The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Revelation 2:24 talks about the deep things of Satan. What are the deep things of Satan? Why should we care?
Deep by definition means what is not on the surface. This means that the deep things of Satan cannot be what is visible or easily spotted by the human eye.
In our house, we have deep cleaning days when we go beyond the surface. For example, we take the cushions off of the couch and collect all the junk along with toy cars and Barbie shoes that you do not see when you sit on those comfy brown leather couches.
Similarly, the deep things of Satan may appear comfortable and normal until you experience deep cleansing by the power of God’s Word.
The problem is that most people do not even know what the deep things of Satan are and how they are held hostage by them. What they need is deep cleansing by the power of God’s Word to see that what is buried beneath the surface of their exterior spirituality is junk that stinks.
In Revelation 2:18-29, the church in Thyatira was held hostage by the deep things of Satan and they did not even know it. Buried beneath the surface of their spirituality was junk that stunk. Jesus threatened that if they wouldn’t repent and turn away, He would smash them like clay pots but if they overcame, He would give them authority to rule over nations. What is beneath the surface of your spirituality? Do you need deep cleansing?
The big idea here is that if we do not want to be smashed like clay pots but rather receive the authority to rule over nations we must never fall for the deep things of Satan.
How do we do that? By knowing what these deep things are and what they do. As we continue our series, “Uncovering Revelation,” verse by verse, Revelation 2:18-29 reveals that the deep things of Satan were nothing but three lies of Satan that successfully distorted their view of love, tolerance, and God.
Distorted View of Love
Verse 18 reads, “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God.” This is the only place in Revelation where Jesus uses His title the Son of God. Later in verses 27 and 28, we will see the reason for that but I do believe it is to show the love of God as John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
This is the love that Satan cannot stand, and this is the love Satan distorts through lies.
Verse 18 says, “who has eyes like a flame of fire,” To do what? Verse 23 says to search the innermost thoughts of our hearts. The flame is there to burn away any unrighteousness and disguises in us. We may fool everyone including ourselves but not Jesus.
He plans on going nowhere thus the verse also says His “feet are like burnished bronze.” No one can remove the Son of God from His church. In Thyatira, He was taking a stand, He would fight, and if He had to, He would smash the unrepentant ones like the clay pots to rescue His church. It is true for us today as well.
In verse 19, is Jesus’ commendation for their works. He says, “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.”
The works listed in verse 19 are love, faith, service, and endurance— the works of Jesus that He wants us to keep to receive authority and rule in verse 26.
The first work listed is their love. In the Greek, there are eight words for love. Unlike the church in Ephesus that lost their first love, Thyatira was doing even better now than when they first began.
Four are fairly known.
Eros from which you get the word erotic. It is physical love out of sexual desire.
Philia typically is the love between friends.
Storge is the natural love we feel toward other family members.
Agape is the unconditional, sacrificial divine love that surpasses all other kinds of love. Jesus commends the church on Thyatira for this.
Agape is essential for faith which is the second work that Jesus highlights. Faith, in Greek, is pistis. It is neither human belief nor trust, nor is it something we can produce on our own. Pistis is always “a gift from God, birthed by God the Holy Spirit through hearing of God’s Word. It is the God-initiated, God-persuaded unconditional sacrificial action of love in Christ granted to all believers for eternal salvation, and after that God continuously births faith in us to live out for Christ.
The third work is their service. In Greek, it is diakonia. It has a close connection with pistis [faith] because it refers to the Spirit-empowered service guided by faith, thus done willingly.
The last work is patient endurance. It comes from the Greek word, hupomoné— hypo means "under" and ménō means to remain or endure. The sense of the word is by remaining under Jesus, we endure the challenges God allows in our life to strengthen and prove our faith that He gives to save and sustain.
Now the question is, if all was well, then what went wrong and how did it go wrong?
For that, we need to understand the geography of Thyatira. Thyatira lay on the road which connected Pergamum with Sardis. What plagued the other churches in Asia Minor reached Thyatira as well. Thyatira mirrored the struggles of the church in Pergamum, namely idolatry and sexual immorality.
Satan used deception and lies through the pulpit to distort the view of love. They were probably fed a lie— love, accept, and affirm people and not judge else you will be judged. Don’t we hear the same rhetoric among Christians even today? If anything contradicts the truth is a lie and to call a “lie” a lie is to pass judgment. The Thyatiran church did not want to offend anyone. They went so far in being the “loving” church that they lost the ability to speak the truth in love.
I remember the first time when my wife cooked food for us. When we began to eat, she looked into my eyes for affirmation, and then she asked the question, “How is it?” I felt so bad; I didn’t want to hurt or offend my brand-new wife but also did not want to lie to her, and most importantly, I didn’t want to eat bad food for the rest of my life. So, I had to tell the truth but in love. Just so you know, now, I love her food. Imagine if I had lied, she would have never corrected it.
The food that Thyatira was lying about and lied to was spiritual food with eternal value.
The application is so critical for us because, in the name of love, all sorts of sins are being accommodated in the church in the United States. Among them, the chief sin is the sin of sexual immorality. Like Thyatira, Agape love is being distorted to accommodate Eros, erotic sexual love, without biblical boundaries and when any church or Christian refuses to affirm such love they are demonized for merely holding the biblical view of life, marriage, sexuality, family, and individuality. We must speak the truth in love.
Distorted View of Tolerance
In verse 20, we read the words of condemnation, “But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess.” To the church in Pergamum, Jesus used the story of Balaam, a self-proclaimed prophet of the Lord, in the book of Numbers who successfully corrupted Israel through the seduction of Moabite women.
For Thyatira, Jesus uses the story of Jezebel who led Israel into idolatry and adultery. We read about her in the Old Testament in 1 Kings 16 through 2 Kings 9. In short, in disobedience to God, Ahab the king of Israel married Jezebel who wasn’t a Jew and she turned his heart away from God to Baalism. Thus, idolatry and sexual immorality was normalized to please Baal.
In Thyatira, there was a woman who considered herself a prophet whether Jezebel was her real name or not she infiltrated the church as Jezebel the wife of King Ahab infiltrated Israel. Some scholars believe she might have been the wife of the bishop or pastor of the church in Thyatira.
Jesus, in verse 20, says about her, “and [she] is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.” Just as Jezebel in Israel became so powerful that even the great prophet Elijah ran for his life, Jezebel in Thyatira became so powerful that even the servants of Jesus followed her.
Jesus continues, in verse 21-23, “I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.”
It is a dreadful thing to fall under the hand of a wrathful God but notice that Jesus gave her time to repent, which she refused. He gives us time too because He never wants anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9).
I was part of a group of pastors who were mourning over the fact that the church in the United States today is expected to tolerate everyone’s views, lifestyle, and choices but we are not offered the same tolerance. They want us to be tolerant of their intolerance of our biblical views, lifestyles, and choices.
The application is, be tolerant, especially of those who are outside the church but not at the cost of your faith and the gospel. The distorted view of love in Thyatira led to a distorted view of tolerance. Since they did not want to offend anybody and tolerate everything, they reached a point where the truth of the gospel was not tolerated in the church because it probably was not preached out of fear of offending people. It is sad that many churches in America are falling into these deep things of Satan.
Distorted View of God
Have you ever been in a situation where you were a minority voice, an outdated voice, or an unpopular voice? That is how many Christians feel today and that is exactly how a remnant of believers in Thyatira probably felt.
Verse 24 reads, “But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. Only hold fast what you have until I come.’” The majority claimed to possess knowledge of the deep things of God. Jesus rebuked them and declared their knowledge to be nothing but the deep things of Satan by which they were deceived to believe in a distorted view of love, tolerance, and even God which was the actual objective.
It is not new. In the Garden of Eden, to Eve, Satan offered deep things of God too and seduced them to eat the forbidden fruit. Little did they know that the deep things of God were the deep things of Satan for God warned, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Satan deceived and lied and created doubts and disobedience to God by distorting the view of God. So, they died and introduced pain, suffering, death, and even eternal death to humanity.
Jesus closes His address in verses 26-29 with two promises, “The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Jesus is the true morning Star who will never fade and does not come and go with the cycle of a day or a year. His permanent presence is eternal in our lives. As the Son of God, Hebrews 1:3 says that He is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature. God’s love is fully manifest in His Son Jesus to pay for our sins and fix what was broken in Eden to restore us to God. Only the Son is the true heir of His Father and through Jesus, God made us sons and daughters thus co-heirs with Jesus.
Unlike Jesus, Satan is a fallen, faded morning star. He always wanted what belonged to the Son but God chose to give it to us in Jesus. Through deception and lies, the deep things of Satan, he wants to keep us from inheriting what Satan could never have—the Kingdom of God.
The application is, do not be deceived by Satan and keep the works of Jesus. Satan will use any means to convince you to take away what belongs to you in Jesus.
As we close let me share a story. A godly woman who fell in love with a non-believer came to her pastor and said, “Pastor, I prayed, and I know God wants me to marry him so that I can lead him to Jesus.
The Pastor said, “Ask yourself, will God go against His own words that repeatedly brought His wrath against God’s own people to allow you to marry a non-believer?”
She replied, “Oh but I am in love, how could God forbid love? For God is love.”
That is a distorted view of love that demands tolerance from believers in the name of love and God, only to gratify their sinful desires whether heterosexual relations or not. Satan often uses scriptures to trick God’s people. He even tried that with Jesus. So, even when it sounds biblical, do not give into a distorted view of love and tolerance, or else you will have a distorted view of God.
Find a spiritually mature mentor who can come along and help you to identify areas where Satan might be lying to you and deceiving you and you do not even know.
If you do not want to fall for the deep things of Satan then learn the patterns of deception and lies of Satan in your lives that trick you into a distorted view of love, tolerance, and even God.
1. What is the significance of Jesus’ title in relation to the need of the church in Thyatira?·
2. How did Jezebel misled the church in Thyatira?
1 Kings 21:25-26
3. Is there any connection between Revelation 2:20 and 1 Timothy 2:12? Why is or isn’t there a connection? If there is, does it have any significance to the church in the United States today?
4. Revelation 2:23 says “I will strike her children dead.” Who are these children? What do we learn from this?
5. What are the deep things of Satan?
Relationship to immorality and false teachings
6. Who/What is the morning star?
2 Peter 1:19
Deeper Study Questions
1. In Revelation 2:21, why did Jesus give the woman time to repent?
Read 2 Peter 3:9. How it applies to us individually both in receiving repentance for our own sins and in offering forgiveness to others who might have sinned against us (as in wronged us)?
2. What were the deeds of the church?
How important are these deeds for any believer?
Deed/Trait I excel in
Deed/Trait I need work on
3. Read Revelation 2:26-27 and Psalm 2:7-9.
What does it mean to you personally?
In what way are you doing or not doing the will of Jesus now and plan to continue to do His will to the end?
Jesus’ address to all seven churches in Revelation 2-3 has a specific pattern. To better learn to how to make observations in Scripture, spend a few minutes seeing the pattern by inserting the correct verse against the statement below, focusing only on Revelation 2:18-29.
Specific church addressed
Description of Jesus
Jesus commends the church
Jesus rebukes the church
Jesus gives a solution for the rebuke
Jesus gives a high-stakes warning
Jesus’ promise for those who conquer