Summary: The Church at Thyatira had much to commend it but had one fatal flaw, it allowed Jezebel and her teaching to flourish
The Fourth Church of the Apocalypse - The Church at Thyatira
We have been looking at the Churches of the Apocalypse during lockdown
However, as it was Pentecost last week, we ducked out of our series to look at Acts 2 as an exception
We are now back on course and looking at the fourth Church of the apocalypse today the church of Thyatira
I think it would be good to have a quick recap of where we have got to in the Book of Revelation form the previous studies
The Book of Revelation was written in AD 95 or
96 probably by the Apostle John when banished to
the Island of Patmos.
The seven churches of Revelation are
1) Ephesus Rev 2:1-7
2) Smyrna Rev. 2:8-11
3) Pergamum Rev. 2:12-17
4) Thyatira Rev. 2:18-29
5) Sardis Rev. 3:1-6
6) Philadelphia Rev.3:7-13
7) Laodicea Rev. 3:14-22
All the churches are in about a 100-mile radius of each other.
Why the number seven? The number seven was considered by the people of the time to be the perfect number.
John uses it 54 times in the Book of Revelation.
(William Barclay The Daily Study Bible Revised Edition Vol 1 page 28)
The Angel of the Church is I believe the Bishop or the leader of the Church in the particular place
i) Four weeks ago we looked at the first Church of the Apocalypse- The Church of Ephesus and drew the lesson that we must come back to our first love.
It is good to have a Christian orthodoxy but in the end it the love of Christ that counts.
Ephesus was the church called back to its first love of Christ that it had lost
ii) Three weeks ago we looked at the Church of Smyrna and drew the lesson that loyalty to Christ is important - even if it means we die, as Polycarp the Bishop of Smyrna did in 155AD in the flames
iii) Two weeks ago we looked at the third church of the Apocalypse, the Church at Pergamum
And the catchword there was
“Caesar or Christ
There is no compromise”
This week we are looking at the fourth Church of the Apocalypse - the Church of Thyatira
And the catchword for this week is there can be no compromise with false teaching within the church
A large town Akhisar stands on the site of Thyatira.
William Barclay describes it as follows:
It lies in the long valley connecting the valleys of the Hermus and Caicus rivers
It lies on the road that connected Pergamum to Sardis and went on to Philadephia and Laodicea.
It was a frontier garrison town on the west of the territory of Seluceus I of Syria and later the Eastern frontier of the Kingdom of Pergamum, and when Pergamum was willed by Attalus III in 133 BC to the Romans, it became a part of the Roman Province of Asia.
It was strategically important and linked Rome to the Eastern Provinces.
And it was the gateway to Pergamum
The trouble was that it was not capable of a long defence as it lay in an open valley.
The city had no specific religious significance unlike the previous three cities of the Churches of the Apocalypse nor was it a centre of Caesar worship
Though It did possess a fortune telling Shrine presided over by a female oracle called Sambathe.
(William Barclay - The Daily Study Bible - Revelation of St. John Vol. 1 p.102)
Perhaps that is where is could have opened itself up for the woman called Jezebel, by Christ in the letter, to lead certain members of the Church astray
It was also an important centre of manufacture, dyeing garment making, pottery and brass working.
Probably the best known inhabitant to us is Lydia, who Paul met in Philippi and who was the first convert and leader of the first church on European soil (Acts 16:14).
Lydia was probably an overseas agent of a local Thyatiran manufacturer and was probably arranging the sale of purple dyed woolen goods at the time Paul met her.
This purple was obtained from the Madder root, and was still produced in the district into the 20th Century under the name "Turkey Red".
In the first century AD if you wanted to make a living in a trade you had to be a member of the Guild and the Guild meeting would include a meal held in a Temple to a false God
Was that the sort of compromise that the Jezebel of this letter was teaching?
Or was it real adultery and fornication?
We just don’t know
Let’s take the letter apart
This letter can be broken down into four parts:
a) The Lord introduces Himself (v.18)
b) He commends them (v.19)