Summary: Thyatira was a minor town on the Circular Road of Asia, some twenty five miles southeast of Pergamum and halfway between Pergamum and Sardis. The town served as a military outpost for the kingdom of Pergamum and came under Roman rule at the same time as
THE REVELATION OF JESUS
Thyatira was a minor town on the Circular Road of Asia, some twenty five miles southeast of Pergamum and halfway between Pergamum and Sardis. The town served as a military outpost for the kingdom of Pergamum and came under Roman rule at the same time as Pergamum in 133 BC. Today the large Turkish city of Akhisar is on the same location.
Little is know about Thyatira. Even though it was not a great city, it was important because of it’s commerce in wool, linen, apparel, dyes, leatherwork, tanning and excellent bronze work. Trade guilds were the known commodity of this town.
As we’ve seen with the other cities, to be successful in business you had to belong to a trade guild (union). This association was closely linked with the religious life of the city. This included eating fellowship meals together at a pagan temple food offered to idols, and other unbridled excesses.
Religiously the city was unimportant, although the worship of Apollo and Artemis (Diana) was prominent.
The most famous early Christian of Thyatira was Lydia, a seller of purple fabric converted to Christ during Paul’s ministry in Philippi (Acts 16).
This letter to Thyatira is the longest letter to the churches, for this was the most corrupt of all the seven churches.
Characteristic vs 18
Jesus starts out the letter telling the congregation at Thyatira that he is the Son of God. This is the only time it appears in the book of Revelation (used 32 times in New Testament). Apollo, who was worshiped here, was known as the “son of god,” because he was the son of Zeus. This letter comes from the true Son of God. A point not missed by these believers.
From the vision of Chapter one, Jesus reminds them he has eyes...like blazing fire and feet...like burnished bronze. As we saw in chapter one, his eyes represented his omniscience (all knowledge), while his feet symbolized his omnipotence (all power).
His omniscience is expressed as he describes in detail their sin and its consequences. Christ’s power is shown in his treatment of Jezebel and her followers.
Jesus wants the Thyatirans to know without a doubt that he sees and knows everything and is taking action.
Compliment vs 19
Although there was a great deal that was wrong in the church at Thyatira, Jesus commends them for certain things.
The compliment parallels what Jesus said to the Ephesians. They were growing in their many activities. They are known for their love... faith.... service and perseverance. (Note: Love was missing in Ephesus).
These four virtues are probably meant to be paired, the first two, love and faith, are motives; the second two, service and perseverance, are deeds. Love for others had produced service and faith in Christ had assured perseverance in their commitment to Him.
They were not content to stand still in loving deeds and faithful perseverence. They had grown in faith and thus were stronger in love than when they first came to know Christ.
Most of us would have been impressed with this church. They were a growing church, they were busy doing God’s work. Most churches are evaluated by the ABCs: attendance, buildings and cash.
Sadly, a church can do many wonderful things and still miss the boat completely.
I love ice cream! If someone gave me a banana split with one drop of poison in it, I wouldn’t touch it for anything. It doesn’t matter how good the rest of it is, I won’t risk eating it because of the poison.
Some people say there is good in all churches. However, if there is some false teaching in the church, it poisons the whole. Saddam Hussein must have some good in him, I’m sure he loves his mother!
Criticism vs 20-22a
The criticism Jesus has for this church is severe. All their growth in love and faith was overshadowed by the success of a false teacher named Jezebel.
The original Jezebel in found in the Old Testament 1Kings 16-21 and 2 Kings 9. Jezebel was King Ahab’s wife. She was the daughter of the pagan priest Ethbaal, a worshiper of Baal. Ethbaal killed his brother in order to become king of Sidon (Lebanon). Jezebel worshiped Astarte, later called Aphrodite, whom the Romans called Venus, the goddess of lust.
When Ahab brought Jezebel to Israel she brought her religion with her. Jezebel built a temple to Baal and an altar to Astarte and passionately promoted their worship. She led Israel into Baal worship and turned their hearts from God. Elijah even ran from her. Judged by God, she met a violent death.
The Jezebel of the church of Thyatira was also leading people away from the true God. She had done the following:
* called herself a prophetess (spokeswoman for