The city of Thyatira is about forty miles southeast of Pergamum in a rich agricultural area. It was known for the making of purple dye. How the church of this community come into existence is unknown. What is known is that a woman named Lydia was brought to Christ by Paul in Acts 16.
Revelation 2:18 – And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: “The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.”
CHRIST THE HOLY ONE: Here Jesus introduces Himself as the “Son of God” instead of what He usually called Himself the “Son of man.” Since in every church how He describes Himself is part of the message to each church, how he depicts Himself is important. Here He is stating clearly that is the only way to God.
John 14:6 – Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
As Dr. Walvoord puts it: “The church of Thyatira was tolerating a departure from the true worship of Christ that was so serious that He responded with burning indignation and purifying judgment.”
Revelation 2:19 – “I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.”
COMMENDATION: None of the preceding churches were commended for their love of Christ, but this church is. Those that are loyal to God within this church truly are, but….
Revelation 2:20-23 – “But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am He who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.”
It is doubtful that the woman’s name was actually “Jezebel” it was a reference to the wife of Ahab of 1 Kings 16 who was known for her subtle corruption, immorality, and idolatry. This same influence has welcomed its way into this church and was corrupting it in the worst way possible. Jesus said He would cause her to fall ill and those that follow her practices into great tribulation.
Dr. Wolvoord found it notable that “adultery” was specifically called out against this church, since other churches has encountered “sexual immorality” as he states this: “is indicated, a reference to the violation of the marriage vow. Those in Thyatira who had sinned in this way had not only violated the moral law of God, but had sinned against their covenant relationship with God that bound them to inward as well as outward purity.”
This church is seen in the overall church throughout the Middle Ages. In this time Catholicism worshipped the mother of Jesus Christ and began placing statues everywhere. This is idolatry and also tries to approach God through someone that cannot and should not be used to gain access to God. Also in this time period took place such great events as the Plague, The Crusades, and various other hardships that devastated the population of humanity. From within this also came the Protestant Reformation which were those that saw the corruption within the Catholic Church and so separated themselves from it.
Dr. Wolvoord stated it this way: “The idolatry being tolerated in Thyatira also foreshadows the departure from the scriptural doctrine of the finished sacrifice of Christ. In the Middle Ages the false teaching of the continual sacrifice of Christ was advocated, transforming the observation of the elements of the Lord’s Supper into another sacrifice of Christ. This fundamental error of the church in the Middle Ages has been corrected in modern Protestantism by the recognition of the bread and the cup as symbols, but not the sacrifice itself, which Christ performed once and for all on the cross of Calvary, In contrast to the false doctrine exalting the Virgin Mary, Christ introduces Himself to the church of Thyatira as the Son of God, The One to whom alone we owe our redemption and in whose hands our final judgment rests.”
As I stated in part 1 of this series that the doctor was not a fan of Catholicism, but he himself was blind to the erroneous teaching of “once saved always saved,” which in itself is leading to the great apostasy and will be witnessed later in the letters that follow.
Revelation 2:24-25 – “But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold the teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. Only hold fast what you have until I come.”
Here is the first time in all the letters that a group is singled out within a local church as being true to Christ and He encouraged them to continue to do so. This also shows that the idea that these churches do truly reflect the church as a whole throughout the centuries could be fact. Since as mentioned above the Reformation took place, separating those that saw the corruption within the Catholic Church and like Martin Luther who started it, left that church behind. Here also is made mention for the first time of Jesus return to earth in His second coming.
Revelation 2:26-29 – “The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
In this closing Jesus promises those that overcome will be shepherds unto the nations that exist after His return and as God gave Him authority, He shall pass that authority on to those that prevail.