Thyatira, the “Tolerant” Church
- These 7 letters give an overview of the conditions of all churches.
- All churches today are in some way similar to these 7 churches.
- We ourselves may be identical to any one of them, or we may have a combination of any of their characteristics.
- Thus, the epistles serve as a guide to help us see our relationship to Christ.
- And how we can be more pleasing to Christ and a true church of the Lord.
- The city of Thyatira was situated where several valleys came together. With many people passing through, Thyatira became a trade city.
- There were many trades: wood workers, leather workers (tanners), makers of various fabrics; dyers of various clothes.
- Lydia, a seller of purple, was from Thyatira (Ac.16:14).
- As with the other cities in Asia, Thyatira was characterized by rampant idolatry.
Christ’s Communication. Rev 2:18
- "Son of God." This indicates His relationship to God the Father, and signifies that He is God. As such He is: The gift of God. John 3:16.
- God's spokesman. Heb 1:1-2
- The way to the Father. John 14:6.
- Man's Savior. Mat 1:21
- "Eyes like a flame of fire”
- expression found in 2 other places, both of Christ. Rev 1:14; Rev 19:11-13.
- Suggests eyes that can penetrate & see everything. Heb 4:13
- "Feet like fine brass."
- This phrase is symbolic of strength and is also found in Rev 1:15.
- His enemies will be put under His feet. 1 Cor 15:25
- He will tread upon them with the wrath of God. Rev 19:15.
Christ’s Commendation: Rev 2:19
- “I know thy works.” Jesus said the same thing in each of the letters.
- "Charity." (Agape) Love is the fountain from which flow true religious acts. Gal 5:6; 1 Cor 13:4-8
- "Faith." Without it, our worship is ritualistic and our works are a social service. Heb 11:1-3, 6; Jas 2:17-18, 26
- "Service" or "ministry.”
- Religious Jas 1:27
- Moral. Rom 12:1
- "Patience" or steadfastness. Rom 5:1-5; 15:4-6; Heb 6:11-12
- "The last to be more than the first."
- A growth in works.
- A church and its members should grow spiritually: 1 Pet 2:2; 2 Cor 4:16
Christ’s Condemnation: Rev 2:20
- "Thou sufferest the woman Jezebel."
- shows that the church was tolerating her works & influence when they should have withdrawn from her.
- This woman's name could have been named "Jezebel" or perhaps she was simply called this because of her similarity to the OT Jezebel.
- Jezebel was the wife of King Ahab, the king over the N. kingdom.
- She turned him fully to the worship of Baal, ordered the death of many prophets of God, including Elijah.
- A summary of Jezebel’s evil influence is found in 1 Kgs 21:25
- She "Calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols…"
- Thyatira was a trade city that had many trade guilds. Being in one of the guilds meant the association with idolatry.
- Each guild had its own guardian “god”, and one was expected to attend the festivals, and to eat things, which had been offered to their idol “god”.
- At the end of the festivals, there were immoral acts, as part of pagan religion.
- In this difficult situation, what was the Christian to do?
- If he quits the guild, he's out of a job, and would suffer want & hunger
- if he remained in the guild, and attended the immoral feasts, ate things sacrificed to idols and committed fornication, he denies the Lord.
- Perhaps, in this difficult situation, Jezebel pretended to have the solution..
- She apparently argued that one could not conquer sin unless he was thoroughly acquainted with its experiences
- Hence, one must "know the depths of Satan" (v.24) to conquer Satan.
- Some, "You need to mingle with people of the world in order to convert them."
- Instead of converting anyone from the world they are converted to the world.
Christ’s Caution: Rev 2:21-23
- "I gave her space to repent."
- The Lord was gracious in giving her time to repent, 3:9
- But now, since she had not repented, He would bring a terrible judgment upon her and her followers. He would:
- "Cast her into a bed" stricken with a sickness of some kind.
- "great tribulation" on those who followed her teaching and wickedness.
- "And I will kill her children." those taught by her would die (v.23).
- From observing these 3 punishments, the churches would know:
- It is Jesus who knows, not only the overt acts, but the secret thoughts, counsels, designs of men's hearts. 17:10
- The Lord knows all. He cannot be deceived. He knows us and renders to every man according to his works: Eph 6:8; Col 3:25
Christ’s Exhortation: Rev 2:24-25
- Upon those who were remaining faithful, Christ would impose no other burden...
- No other burden than the fight against Jezebel...
- And the abstinence from those immoral practices. Acts 15:28-29
- “But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.” Rev 3:11; Heb 4:14
Christ’s Promise: Rev 2:26-29
- Two blessings are promised to those who overcome:
- Power over the nations. Share in Christ's dominion over nations. Rev 3:21.
- The picture of their ruling with a "rod of iron" is symbolic of the certainty of their vindication and triumph with Christ. Psalms 2:8-9
- “The morning star.” The bright and morning star is the forerunner of light, harbinger of day, beautiful and brilliant. 2 Pet 1:19
- As the morning star rules the heavens, so will the faithful rule with Christ and share in His royal splendor and dominion.
- The star is symbolic of royalty being linked with the scepter – Num 24:17
- Rev 2:29: Take careful heed to the things mentioned!
- There are some good things we need to imitate regarding the church in Thyatira.
- Faith, love, service, patience, & to have our last works more than the first.
- Let us not ease up in our work, but keep pressing forward.
- There are some evil things we need to avoid.
- Keep on guard against those who will lead us into sin.
- We cannot allow or suffer such teachers among us.
- Let us all seek to triumph over sin and false doctrines, to come out victorious, and to overcome the obstacles that often arise before us, because the Lord, who has given us His great promises, is faithful to fulfill it!