Summary: Study six of the Book of Revelation.
Thyatira – represents the pagan church and the church age between AD 590 – 1000. Thyatira means “continual incense” or a continual sacrifice and has reference to the bruising of incense to cause a fragrant smell.
The Thyatira period undoubtedly sets forth the union of the church and state. The Roman church has risen to power upon the collapse of Roman rule and is the savior of the common people. Two decades of war and the death of the last emperor, Justinian who died in AD 565, had completely devastated Italy. Chaos reigned. A leader was desperately needed to restore civil order. The man who eventually filled this need was Gregory.
In 589 devastating floods swept the Italian countryside, destroying whole regions of crops. Worse still, a new outbreak of the plague had struck. Pope Pelagius was taken ill and died in 590. The church, practically the only source of order, acted quickly; it unanimously elected Gregory as pope – the first monk elevated to the papacy.
Gregory was a great administrator and organized the papal estates as relief sites to feed the hungry masses. The church became the authority of the state and also of the church. Later the same authority discharged the Inquisitions. The churches outreach to the poor and hungry set the direction of the Roman Catholic Church and it’s many avenues of generosity throughout the centuries.
The introduction of rituals and church doctrine supplanted the personal faith in Jesus Christ. Worship of the Virgin and Child and the Mass were made a definite part of the church service. Purgatory became a positive doctrine, and Mass was said for the dead. The false documents labeled Donation of Constantine and Decretals of Isidore were circulated to give power and rulership to the pope.
Thyatira seemed to imply a continual sacrifice. The significance of this is in the great fundamental error of the church of Rome – the sacrifice of the mass. The Roman Catholic priests declare that, in the mass, they offer a continual sacrifice for the living and the dead. This is the central, the root of blasphemy – the denial of the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross – the one, the only and all-sufficient offering for the sins of a guilty world.
Every time a priest stands at the alter of the roman Catholic Church to offer the sacrifice of the mass, he denies the unchanging deletion of sin and the work of Jesus’ death on the cross. Every time they offer the mass, every time they pronounce the blessing, they are sacrificing Christ again for the sins of the living and the dead. The only way Christ can be sacrificed is to be put to death; The priest kills Him again and again every time he offers. If this is the case, then every priest is guilty of murdering the Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of God.
God is going to judge the Church of Rome for this blasphemy; so Christ’s letter to the church of Thyatira speaks of the central blasphemy of the church of Rome. Our salvation rested on the finished work of Christ. We need no other sacrifice. Christ gave himself as the propitiation for our sins, and He alone is our savior. We require nothing else on which to enter the presence of God the Father.
Thyatira was located along a long vale or pass. As most cities were built on high cliffs to defense against attacks from invaders, Thyatira stood in the middle of a pass upon a very slight rising ground.
The strength of Thyatira was the fact that Rome stationed their elite guard there.
Thyatira was the center for many ancient guilds: the potters, tanners, weavers, robe makers, and dyers.
Lydia, the seller of purple, who in Phillipi became Paul’s first convert in Europe, came from here (Acts 16:14).
The purple color spoken of is what we know today as “Turkey Red”. The dye is taken from a plant that grows in that area.
The city was completely destroyed by invading Goths and was rebuilt. The only ruins left today is a very small block of the city.
4. Apollo, the sun god, was worshipped in this region.
The Letter to the Church of Thyatira
The Commission – And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira… - The Lord greets this church, as with all the churches, so as to met the special condition in which the church is found.
The Character – These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and His feet are like fine brass.
In this letter Jesus Christ introduces himself as “the Son of God” to reemphasize the fact that his deity is intact. He is not just the son of Mary but the savior of mankind, who came in infinite grace to save poor sinners.