The Church in Thyatira (Part 1)

The world and society looks down upon the Church that is seen by them to be unyielding, intolerant and dogmatic about what they believe, teach and practice. We live in a world that wants to be flexible in all of life and expects everyone else to be as they are. When people aren’t, especially the Church of Jesus, we are looked upon with scorn and treated as it we are criminals, when in fact all we desire to do is honor our Lord and King, Jesus! When we uphold Biblical teaching and morality we are seen as intolerant yet the Lord looks at them and sees them as “tolerant”!

Rev 2:20 You tolerate that woman Jezebel. This tolerance means tolerating sin, wickedness and ungodly behavior.

Where verse 20 is addressing gross evil, in our lives it might be more subtle, cunning and obscure. Now we arrive at the fourth letter … which it addressed to the pastor of the Church at Thyatira. The content is directed at him and through him to his flock. The letter is longer yet carries the same format on the one hand and deep seriousness on the other hand.

Rev 2:18 “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. 19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. 20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. 24 Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you): 25 Only hold on to what you have until I come. 26 To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— 27 ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery’—just as I have received authority from my Father. 28 I will also give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

1) The City of Thyatira. This was not an important city. Her military power and administrative importance were negligible … but her trade was healthy. Trade boosted the economy and created work opportunities. She could be called a city of merchants and tradesmen. Perhaps a good example is that of a godly lady who became a believer and a sterling example of gospel service. Ac 16:14 One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. She was a committed Jew who became a follower of Jesus. She came from Thyatira and was a business lady. Due to the nature of the City, the Church was not affected much by emperor worship [imperial cult], rather their challenge came from the many trade and craftsman’s guild. They were like unions. Everyone needed to belong to one. The difference between what we know as Trade Unions today and the guilds of those days was that these guilds had regular “society meals” dedicated to a pagan deity. As the meals progressed, so intoxication increased leading to debauchery and sexual immorality. Christians were caught up in the middle. They needed to belong to a guild and they belonged to the Church. They needed their Church and it’s teaching about Jesus. They needed their employment for survival. Yet they did not need to debauched immorality. In many cases we could draw equivalents in our modern society. We need employment and we need the Lord Jesus yet often the places of employment push us to the limits, seeking to compromise our faith and reduce our integrity to theirs. Much prayer, caution, watchfulness and faithfulness to the Lord Jesus is required to remain true to Him. 2) The presentation of the Lord Jesus. These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. As we come to terms like “the Son of God” we must always remember God is three in one. He is the Triune God. He is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. This means when the text refers to the Son of God it is referring to the Almighty, Sovereign God. Always remember that there is one God. Jesus is not “a God”. He is God, Lord, Savior and King of His Church. (a) His Blazing eyes. We saw this in chapter 1:14 … eyes are like blazing fire. The picture is that fire burns away all the covering so that nothing is hidden. The “blazing” pictures irresistible penetration. Again the concept of omniscience comes to mind. Our Lord sees everything, nothing misses His penetrating x-ray vision, anticipating verse 23. Beloved, never forget that the Lord Jesus knows everything about us because He sees everything about us! This ought to cause us to reconsider succumbing to temptation and pursue holiness. (b) His Burnished feet. Again this comes from the picture in chapter 1 … His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace. Here we again see the omnipotent power of Jesus in destructive judgment. It anticipates verses 26-27. O beloved friend. Because of wickedness and depravity judgment is inevitable … destructively so! Again we have a stern reminder to be godly and to pray for souls to be saved. We can’t see the Lord eye to eye, neither can we draw pictures in our mind about what God looks like … no one can and live because He is the trice holy God, but we can look at passages in the Bible, especially in Revelation and let God tell us what He looks like. As frightful as His omniscience and omnipotence are, so are they comforting to the child of God.

Lord, thank You for glimpses of Yourself in the Bible. Amen.

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