THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST

Previous: Revelation 2:17

To Thyatira 2:18-29 (Middle Ages of the Church - AD 476-1517)

18 "And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, 'These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 19 "I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. 22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. 23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.

24 "Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. 25 But hold fast what you have till I come. 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations-

27 'He shall rule them with a rod of iron;
They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessels'-
as I also have received from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star.
29 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."' - Revelation 2:18-29

We come now to the shocking letter to Thyatira. It reveals valuable insight into the condition of the First Century Church.

"And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write. . . " As in each of these letters, the message is addressed to the angel ("messenger") of the church. See the notes about this, and how it probably means the pastor of the church, in chapter 2, verse 1.

Thyatira was on the Roman Road in a valley between Pergamum and Sardis alongside of the Lycus river. There are many suggestions about the meaning of the name, but Greek authorities say it is of "uncertain origin." We do know that it had older names, like Pelopia and Semiramis (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia http://www.bible-history.com/isbe/T/THYATIRA/ ).

Semiramis is especially interesting because this was the name of the prototype goddess of the Babylonians, who was said to have been the wife of Ninus, another name for Nimrod, the Biblical character we discussed earlier in our study of "Satan's throne" in Pergamum. See the notes on chapter 2, verse 13. The ancient Babylonian religion, with its astrology, sorcery, and idolatry had been the source of most other major false mythologies and beliefs, and had transferred its leadership to the city of Pergamum, just a few miles Northwest of Thyatira.

Religious shrines in Thyatira included the temple of the ancient Lydian sun-god, Tyrimnos, and another one dedicated to Sambethe (ISBE, ibid,).

Inscriptions found there refer to many trade guilds, including bronze-smiths, wool and linen-workers, dyers, tanners, leather-workers, and others (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thyatira ).

Thyatira is only mentioned in the Bible as one of the Seven Churches (Revelation chapters 1 and 2), and once in the Book of Acts. It was the hometown of Lydia, a business woman in Philippi. She was the first recorded convert to Christianity in Europe.

Therefore, sailing from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and the next day came to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is the foremost city of that part of Macedonia, a colony. And we were staying in that city for some days. 13 And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. 14 Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. 15 And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay." So she persuaded us.- Acts 16:11-15

This letter is the longest of all the messages to the Seven Churches even though the church was the smallest of the seven. It was full of valuable information, not only about the condition of the local Church at Thyatira in the First Century Church, but it was also prophetic of the fourth period of Church history. It prefigures a long, morally dark phase of Christianity, from about the time of the fall of the Western Roman Empire in AD 476 until the time of the Reformation, which began in 1517. During this time such unfortunate historical events, as the inquisitions and the Crusades demonstrated the deepening lack of spirituality of the church. It was also the time when indulgences were sold, whereby people could pay money to supposedly have their sins removed. This led to the posting of Luther's 95 T heses on the door of the Wittenberg church and the beginning of the next period of Church history, the Reformation.

Connection

"These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass." - Revelation 2:18b-d

Surprisingly, the description "Son of God" only occurs once in the entire Revelation! Jesus called himself "Son of Man" in chapter 1, verse 13 (see the notes there). That title emphasized His humanity, his coming as a Kinsman-Redeemer, to redeem us from the penalty of our sin. But here he reminds the Church that He is the very Son of God! He will come as the Righteous Judge to those who ignore His warnings.

These descriptions: "Who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass," are pictures of judgment. See notes on Chapter 1, verse 14. This is a valuable reminder, not only to the early Church, but to the "politically correct" Church of our own generation, that we are the Bride of Christ, and are to be kept pure for Him (Ephesians 5:25-27).

The Apostle Paul confronted the Corinthian Christians when they thought they were just being "tolerant," that they must excommunicate the flagrant sinner that was ruining their testimony (1 Corinthians 5:1-12).

Peter said this about the Church maintaining its purity:

17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? - 1 Peter 4:17

Jesus gave us the perfect formula for dealing with sin in the church.

15 "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that 'by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.' 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. - Matthew 18:15-17


Next: Revelation 2:19


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