Notwithstanding, I have a few things against thee
By way of complaint; so the Arabic version renders it, "I have a certain complaint against thee". The impartiality of Christ may be observed in taking notice of the bad deeds, as well as of the good ones of his people, and his tenderness in representing them as few; and these things he had against them not in a judicial way to their condemnation, but in a providential way, in order to chastise them for them, for their good; and they are as follow:
because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel;
or "thy wife Jezebel", as the Complutensian edition and Syriac version read; the name of King Ahab's wife, who seduced him, in the Hebrew language is "Izebel", but is read by the Septuagint in ( 1 Kings 16:31 ) , Jezebel, as here; and by Josephus F1 Jezabela; she had her name from (lbz) , "Zebel", "dung", to which Elijah has reference in ( 2 Kings 9:37 ) ; the Ethiopic version calls her "Elzabel". By her is meant the apostate church of Rome, comparable to Jezebel, the wife of Ahab; as she was the daughter of an Heathen, so is Rome Papal the daughter of Rome Pagan; and as she was the wife of Ahab, and therefore a queen, so the whore of Babylon calls herself; and as Jezebel was famous for her paintings, so the church of Rome for her pretensions to religion and holiness, and for the gaudiness of her worship; and as she was remarkable for her idolatry, whoredoms, witchcrafts, and cruel persecution of the prophets of the Lord, and for murder, and innocent blood she shed; so the church of Rome, for her idolatrous worship of images, for her whoredoms, both in a literal and spiritual sense, and for the witchcrafts, magic, and devilish arts many of her popes have been addicted to, and especially for her barbarities and cruelties exercised upon the true professors of Christ, and for the blood of the martyrs, with which she has been drunk; and as Jezebel stirred up Ahab against good and faithful men, is has this church stirred up the secular powers, emperors, kings, and princes, against the true followers of Christ: and the end of both of them is much alike; as scarce anything was left of Jezebel, so Babylon the great, the mother of harlots, shall be cast into the sea, and be found no more at all: compare ( 2 Kings 9:7 2 Kings 9:22 2 Kings 9:30 2 Kings 9:31 2 Kings 9:33 2 Kings 9:37 ) with ( Revelation 17:1 Revelation 17:2 Revelation 17:4-6 Revelation 17:17 Revelation 17:18 ) ( Revelation 18:3 Revelation 18:7 Revelation 18:21 Revelation 18:23 ) ;
which calleth herself a prophetess;
as perhaps Jezebel might do, since she was such a favourer of the prophets of Baal, and so familiarly conversed with them, and kept them, even a hundred of them, at her table: and certain it is, that the antitype of her pretends to an infallible interpretation of the Scriptures, and to have a bulk of unwritten traditions; and which interpretations and traditions are to be regarded as an infallible rule of faith and practice. Now what is complained of in the true members and followers of Christ is, that they suffered this woman
when it was insufferable for a woman to teach, and especially such a strumpet:
and to seduce my servants to commit fornication;
to deceive such who called themselves the servants of Christ, and draw them into the commission of spiritual fornication, which is idolatry; as the idolatrous worship of the Mass, and of images and saints departed:
and to eat things sacrificed unto idols;
as Balaam, or the pope, before had done, ( Revelation 2:14 ) . This may have respect to the latter part of this period, when the eyes of many began to be opened to see these false doctrines and idolatrous practices, and yet had not courage enough to oppose them as they should.
F1 Antiqu. l. 8. c. 13. sect. 1. 4, 7.