Summary: week 7 in a Wednesday evening study through the book of Revelation
“A Message to a Corrupt Church”
Date: July 10, 2002
Place: Allendale Baptist
Text: Revelation 2: 18-29
We continue tonight in our study of the book of Revelation. This is the 4th letter to the churches in Asia Minor. This is the longest letter to the least significant.
Thyatira was a city located halfway between Pergamos and Sardis. The city was situated in a long valley that swept 40 miles to Pergamos, the capital city of this Roman province. Thyatira was an outpost and had no natural defenses and had a long history of being built and rebuilt. Some historians say this city was rebuilt more than any other ancient city. Originally populated by soldiers of Alexander the Great, it was little more than a military outpost to guard Pergamos.
There was some trade & commercial business in this city but it was known for the plant found in the area that produced the Purple dye used for the more expensive clothes the rich and famous wore.
Lydia came from this city on business to Philippi selling garments of purple and was one of the apostle Paul’s first converts during his ministry there. That can be found in Acts 16: 14-15.
The church at Thyatira, in the chronological order of the church age, represents the dark age of the church.
It was a time when the church returned to the ritualistic customs of worship. When it was said and believed that continual sacrifice had to be made for atonement of sin.
“To the angel of the church”
To the pastor
“These things says the Son of God”
The main title Jesus uses for Himself is the “Son of man”; but here He uses a title that speaks directly to the church of His deity.
The church at Thyatira had begun to worship not His deity but His humanity.
Jesus was God in the flesh but He is completely God.
They had in turn begun to worship the Virgin Mary.
Then we see Jesus described in 2 characters:
“ Who has eyes like a flame of fire”
This signifies His piercing, penetrating, perfect knowledge an insight into all persons and all things.
I have often told the story of the picture of Jesus on my Grandmother’s living room wall. No matter where you went in the room His eyes followed you.
There is a story of a burglar that broke into a home. The owners of the house had a parrot. The parrot said Jesus is watching you. The robber said hush. The parrot again said, Jesus is watching you. The robber turned & said Jesus, be quiet. The parrot said “I’m not Jesus, my name is Moses.” The robber said “what kind of people would name their parrot Moses?” The parrot said the same kind of people that would name their Doberman pincher Jesus.” (That one is free)
“And His feet like fine brass.”
* Glowing hot, brass feet are a clear reference to divine judgment. Jesus with feet of judgment is moving through His church to exercise His chastening authority upon the sin of the church.
Then comes the words of commendation
“I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience.”
Six virtues listed that are produced within the believer by the Holy Spirit.
Works – These are the credentials of the real/true believers.
Love – It was a church where there was true love, in spite of the fact that it had turned to ritualism.
Service – This speaks of the ministry of the church
Faith – Dr J. Vernon McGee says; “Though it is placed after works & love in this instance, it is the mainspring that turns the hands of works & love.”
Patience – This confirms the endurance even in the days of darkness.
Now the condemnation
“Nevertheless, I have a few things against you, because you allow that women Jezebel, who calls herself prophetess, tot each and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.”
Jezebel is referring to the O.T woman who married King Ahab. She brought paganism into the northern kingdom of Israel.
Evidently there was in this local church at Thyatira a woman who had a reputation as a teacher & prophetess who was the counterpart of this Jezebel of the O.T. She was a Phoenician princess, daughter of King Ethbaal of Tyre & Sidon, & passionately committed to the gods of her childhood, Tyrian Baal & his consort Asherah. She dominated her husband in religious matters. Her great opponent was Elijah, who triumphed over the priests of Baal at Mt Carmel (1 Kings 18:17-40). After Ahab’s death she ruled with great power as the queen mother. Because of her vicious rejection of Yahweh, Israel’s true God, her name became a byword for evil & religious apostasy.