She was a rising star on the speaking circuit.
Crowds grew with every meeting. Her books stayed on the NYT bestseller list for months.
Her fans couldn't gush enough:
"She's changed my life!"
"Religion finally made sense to me the way she explains it!"
"Finally, a woman taking the lead in spiritual matters!"
Oprah loved her. Ellen was put on hold trying to book her for a show.
The world called her a prophetess.
Jesus called her Jezebel.
The third church mentioned in Revelation 2 was located in a city called Thyatira. This city was known for its prosperity, culture, and the freedom it allowed women in the ancient world to pursue careers. When the risen Christ spoke through John to the church located there, he commended their faithfulness to Him, but as he did with the first two, he ended with "I have something against you."
This is the only time a woman is singled out as the focal point of God's rebuke. We are not told exactly who this woman is, but Jesus calls her Jezebel--a name anyone understands as the epitome of female evil.
She may not have even been a recognized part of the real church, but she was wreaking havoc upon it anyway. Her flashy programs, ear-tickling messages, and enticing approach were leading many away from the truth and into dangerous ground. And the beloved pastor was standing by doing nothing.
This rebuke seems to be directed to the church leader, rather than the entire congregation, although he holds them accountable as well. The pastor or "angel" was allowing this woman to ensnare his own flock without a fight. He must have been the passive sort, the nice guy who just wants everyone to like him. But his passivity resulted in the destruction of many true believers as they were snatched by Jezebel's message, unchallenged by their own shepherd.
Jesus promises severe punishment to everyone involved---and ultimate destruction of Jezebel.
Is this happening in your church? Has heresy crept in unchallenged?
What about your family? Who are your children's heroes? Have you sat by while they develop dangerous attractions to ungodly role models?
What about their spiritual life? Are you proud of your open-minded philosophy: Let the children choose their own religion?
Have you nurtured their growing bodies but neglected their spirits?
Jesus has a stern word for you: "I will throw you into great tribulation with her if you do not repent of her deeds."
Notice he does not tell them to repent of their deeds.
The leaders of this church were not engaging in evil themselves, but it was happening to their flock on their watch and God held them accountable.
What's happening on your watch? You can't pretend you don't know. God knows and He knows whether you could have stopped it and didn't.
Who are the rising stars in your circle?
Check for a nickname.
You want to stay away from the ones Jesus calls Jezebel.