Counter God


The angel of the church in Thyatira must confront the essence of idolatry, this is what the Spirit says to the churches. The living one of the Apocalypse announces his self-designation: the Son of God. This is the only time that this title is used in Revelation, and with good reason. The Son of God comes with feet of burnished bronze (to wage war inside the church), and flaming eyes (to wage war inside the individual). He affirms the church for many good works, love, faith, endurance, even pointing out that they are getting better at what they are as a church. But as with the last letter, there is pretense on the inside. There is a self-designated prophetess and teacher, corrupting the church from the inside. Pretense is not simply deceit. To pretend to be what one is not is to remake oneself in one’s own image. This is to usurp the divine, to claim a divinity for oneself as creator. The claim here is that the pretender knows (gnosis) the deep things of the counter-God. The pretender claims knowledge that is not revealed by the one with flaming eyes who sees all things and knows all things. God must battle the counter-God. The self-designated divine, Son of God, battles the self-designated human (prophet and teacher). The essence of idolatry is to make God into what God is not, to depose the divine, and to stand in its place, the creation claiming Lordship over the creator. The Son of God is the only one who can stand in the place of God. For this reason the pretender and those who follow her, “her children,” must be destroyed. The divine offers a time of mercy, time for repentance, for the rejection of this idolatry. But again, the divine is itself rejected. The Son of God has flaming eyes “that search the mind and heart,” and promises power and dominion to those who conquer. The divine alone has the power to grant power, to elevate into position of rulership. The divine is self-giving, promising to give itself to them as the “morning star” (22:16) that will be the light of revelation. Only by this revelation can the counter-God be defeated. Idolatry cannot abide in the divine light of the morning star.

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