CHURCH IN THYATIRA 2:18-29

The second and third chapters of Revelation record Jesus’ communication to seven of the churches in Asia. This article is the fourth in a series of seven reviewing these chapters. Although Jesus spoke specifically to each church, his message is of great significance to all who want to enter the Kingdom of God.

And to the angel [messenger] of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this: (Revelation 2:18)

Thyatira was a commercial center known for its many trade guilds, more than any other Asian city. Some trades found in ancient inscriptions were: wool-workers, linen-workers, makers of outer garments, dyers, leather-workers, tanners, potters, bakers, slave-dealers, and bronze smiths. The city was known throughout the Roman Empire as the producer of purple dye made from the madder-root instead of the more common shell-fish. A member of this guild seems to have been Lydia of Thyatira, who, according to Acts 16:14, sold her dyes in Philippi. Lydia was the first person in Europe to convert to Christianity.

The description of Jesus in the book of Revelation is very different from the historical records of him in the Gospels. What is written in the Gospels are “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ [Messiah], the son of God: and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31). The supernatural power and authority he manifested also provides a glimpse into what he will do when he returns. Not demonstrated but foretold is Jesus’ wielding God’s judgement and wrath. The book of Revelation shows him as such, which is a very different picture indeed. 

At the beginning of each gospel, John the Baptist tells what Jesus will do. “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11). After Jesus ascended into heaven, the baptism of the holy spirit began; when he returns, the baptism of fire will commence. Revelation gives us a picture of that age to come.

In the vision of Revelation 2:18, Jesus’ eyes are like a flame of fire, indicating he sees all with correct discernment (1:14; 19:12; and 5:6). Jesus sees the truth − that which is really going on − while humanity lives in constant deception.  Jesus helps churches to see what he sees. The burnished bronze feet indicate the strength and power to crush underfoot (1:15). Jesus is presented as the enforcer against those who promote wrong doctrine. The following provides additional insight about wrong doctrine – Galatians 1:7-10; 2 Corinthians 11:12-15;

1 Timothy 4:1-3; Jude; 1 John 4:1-6; and Revelation 22:18-19.

I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. (Revelation 2:19)

The saints in Thyatira were growing in many good things: love, faith, service, and perseverance; however, there were some problems.

But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. (Revelation 2:20)

“Jezebel” was a symbolic name for wickedness relating back to the evil woman of the same name in Israel’s history. Ahab, the king of Israel, married the daughter of Ethbaal, the King of Sidon who was also the high priest of Baal. This wicked woman, Jezebel, purposed to eliminate the worship of Yahweh in Israel and demanded Baal worship. She murdered the prophets of Yahweh and cultivated the prophets of Baal. She encouraged her husband to do more evil in Israel than all kings before him. Ahab and Jezebel’s daughter married the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. She, like her mother, was very wicked and brought Baal worship and much destruction into Judah.

The Jezebel of Revelation was active in the church influencing the believers to participate in immoral conduct and idolatry. She called herself a prophetess, but her teaching was false. Sacrificing to idols and immorality has come up for a second time, the first with the church at Pergamum (2:14). The church Epistles tie these two sins together and relate convincingly to our modern lifestyle.

For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (Ephesians 5:5)

Therefore, consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.

(Colossians 3:5)

Immorality, impurity, covetousness, passion, evil desire, and greed amount to idolatry as they replace the worship of Yahweh. The common idolatry in each of the seven churches and throughout all Asia was emperor worship – they worshipped a man as god. Many today worship Jesus as God. Trinitarianism promotes that Jesus is God, but the Scriptures never teach the trinity or that Jesus is God, rather that he is the Son of God. Worshipping Jesus as God is the same as emperor worship – worshipping a man instead of Yahweh, our God.

I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality.

Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds.

And I will kill her children [her followers] with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. (Revelation 2:21-23)

She was given time to repent but refused; therefore, harsh justified consequences were given. The original Jezebel was thrown out a window and eaten by dogs. When the dogs eliminated, that was her memorial or monument. The judgment for those who lead others away from Yahweh has been and will continue to be severe.  Repentance is an option presented often to these churches, along with the warning of consequences (Revelation 2:5, 16, 21, 22; 3:3, 19).

“I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.” God knows the heart and has given Jesus the ability to know also (Jeremiah 17:10; 11:20; Romans 8:27; Psalm 7:9; 1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Kings 8:39; 1 Chronicles 28:9; Psalm 139:1; and Acts 1:24). Jesus has “eyes like a flame of fire” not only enabling him to see and discern what is happening in the churches but also the hearts of people.

Jesus declares that he will give to each one according to his deeds. This frequently repeated biblical concept is often ignored by those misunderstanding “saved by grace”. Note some of the many places this truth is stated – Matthew 16:27; Romans 2:4-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Colossians 3:3-6; 1 Peter 1:17; Revelation 20:12; 1 Kings 8:39; Psalm 62:12; Jeremiah 32:19; Ezekiel 18:30.

But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them – I place no other burden on you.

Nevertheless, what you have, hold fast until I come. (Revelation 2:24-25)

“Holdfast until I come” and “holdfast until the end” are vital and repeated often – Revelation 2:25-26; 3:11; Colossians 1:21-23; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; Hebrews 3:6; 4:14; and 10:23.

He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS;

AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also 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.

(Revelation 2:24-29)

Jesus quoted from Psalm 2 where Yahweh made these promises to the Messiah and now Jesus includes the faithful to inherit the same promises. These verses, Revelation 1:5-6; 5:10 and 20:6, also talk about this inheritance.  The second part of the eternal promise is He will give us the morning star, and (according to Revelation 22:16) Jesus is the morning star. t

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