What does Revelation 2:21 mean?
ESV: I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.
NIV: I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.
NASB: I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her sexual immorality.
CSB: I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to repent of her sexual immorality.
NLT: I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to turn away from her immorality.
KJV: And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
NKJV: And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent.
Verse Commentary:
In a remarkable display of grace, Jesus had given a woman identified as Jezebel time to repent, despite her leading Christians into immorality (Revelation 2:20). However, she rejected Jesus' kindness. Her heart was hardened and set on pursuing sexual sin. She was like the people of Sodom, who did not repent of their sexual immorality despite the presence of righteous Lot in their city (2 Peter 2:7–8). It is clear from this verse that legitimate repentance includes a forsaking of sin.

God's grace is His unmerited favor. Even the most hardened sinner can be forgiven if he responds appropriately to God's grace and turns from his sin. The apostle Paul called himself the foremost of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) and reflected on the amazing grace that saved him. He wrote in 1 Timothy 1:14 and 16: "the grace of our Lord overflowed for me…I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life."

Unbelievers must not presume upon God's patience, however. Thinking that they can plan to repent "someday," perhaps when they lie on their deathbed, may bring an alarming end to their presumption. Proverbs 27:1 commands, "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring." Also Proverbs 29:1 posts the warning, "He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing."
Verse Context:
Revelation 2:18–29 reveals what Jesus instructed John to write to the church at Thyatira. Although the church exhibited commendable virtues, it allowed an evil woman—here referred to as Jezebel—to lead its members into immorality and idolatry. Jesus predicted strict punishment for her and her followers. The churches would know by Jesus' action that He searches the mind and heart and deals with everyone according to his or her works. Those who did not follow Jezebel's teachings would not be punished, but Jesus encouraged them to stay loyal to Him until His return, when He will rule the nations and permit the faithful to rule with Him.
Chapter Summary:
The contents of Revelation 2 are miniature letters to four churches, dictated by Jesus to John. Ephesus and Smyrna were coastal cities, whereas Pergamum and Thyatira were inland cities. Three more such letters are in Revelation 3. Each of these messages contains a unique description of Jesus, a command, a promise. All but one—the church in Laodicea—receive some commendation. All but two of the seven letters—those to the churches in Smyrna and Philadelphia—also contain a critical rebuke. Like churches today, most of the congregations addressed by Jesus had both good characteristics and at least one point which needed correction.
Chapter Context:
In chapter 1, John introduced his order from Jesus Christ: to write out a message to seven churches in Asia (Revelation 1:9–11). Here in this chapter, John writes to the church in Ephesus, the church in Smyrna, the church in Pergamum, and the church in Thyatira. Chapter 3 will continue with messages to the other three churches. The rest of Revelation will explain future events connected to the ''end times.''
Book Summary:
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
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