Thyatira

Thyatira_Home of LydiaTo the Church at Thyatira

History

Thyatira means carries the meaning of “continual sacrifice”. Thyatira was a Macedonian colony, founded by Alexander the Great after the Persian Empire was overthrown. The people who lived in Thyatira introduced Apollo, who was honored as the Sun-god, and went by the name of Tyrimnas. Some theologians have speculated that the description of Christ (“the eyes of flame”), was selected in allusion to this worship of the sun-god. Thyatira was a very important city because it was positioned in such a way that it connected Pergamum with the city of Sardis. In addition, the road continued to Philadelphia and Laodicea, which linked them with both Smyrna and Byzantium. Thyatira was a great commercial town as well because it connected all the cities listed above, and it was always heavily traveled by merchants from Asia and the east. Thyatira was also a very strategic town because it lay in a long valley that connected the Hermus and Caicus river valleys. Thyatira was known as the gateway to Pergamos, and it was manned by Macedonian troops. The leaders of Pergamos knew that Thyatira would never hold in the event of an attack (because it was in an open valley) so in case of attack it would be used as a delaying position so that Pergamos could prepare to counterattack. Thyatira today is located in the modern day city of Akhisar Turkey.

Thyatira at the time of the John’s letters to the churches was not a big pagan city. It did have one local “hero-god” known as Tyrimnus who was on the cities coins. From a religious point of view it did have a shrine for fortune-telling that was presided over by a female oracle called Sambathe. Not much more is known about Thyatira, however Lydia (Acts 16:14) who was saved and baptized was from Thyatira. From history we do know that it was a great commercial center and that were many trade guilds there. There were many guilds there that included people who worked in leather, bronze, wool, pottery, linen, bakers, and even slave traders. So what message did Christ have for the Church at Thyatira?

 

To the Church at Thyatira Write:

Revelation 2:18-29

18) And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

19) I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

20) Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

21) And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

22) Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

23) And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

24) But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.

25) But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.

26) And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

27) And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

28) And I will give him the morning star.

29) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

 

Chapter 2 Verse 18

In this verse Jesus says that he has eyes like a flame of fire, and feet like fine brass. If we remember Revelations 1:14-15 we remember it describing Jesus as “… (having) eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace…” In this situation the eyes of Christ are set for judgment because he knows the sins the Church at Thyatira are into and he is not pleased. The second thing we see is that his “feet are like fine brass as if burned in a furnace”. From this then we can see that Jesus is being described as someone who has no sin, and because of the Christ’s perfection he has the authority to cast judgment on Thyatira.

Chapter 2 Verse 19

Jesus tells the Christians at Thyatira that he knows what they have been doing. In the Amplified Bible verse 19 reads “I know your record and what you are doing, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your recent works are more numerous and greater than your first ones” so apparently they had been doing many Christian deeds. If we look closer we see that the Church at Thyatira have five major points that they are executing properly: love, faith, service, endurance, and increasing in good works. To me, this sounds like a Church that I would want to attend, however not everything is as it seems. If we think back to Ephesus, it too was a “busy church” however as we saw that is not always a good thing. While researching this I read an interesting example of this, and being a previous CAD programmer it made a lot of sense. If we think of their deeds as “Divine Production” then moving toward higher ground with all axes aligned. “The Lord had seen their love (Y-axis), faith (X-axis), service (Time axis), and endurance (Z-axis). They were making progress and accomplishing more as they advanced toward the high ground and doing “continual sacrifice” in order to gain entrance into the kingdom. However, even though the Christians at Thyatira were moving forward in many areas they had a big problem by the name of Jezebel.

Chapter 2 Verse 20-23

The reprimand comes because Thyatira is “allowing” Jezebel to teach and seduce the Church. This false prophetess is getting the members of the church to commit fornication and leading them to eat food which is used as sacrifices to false gods. To understand this “Revelation” version of Jezebel you need to know who the original Jezebel was. During this period there was a major move going on called the “Christian Montanist” movement in the same area gave leadership roles to two women Priscilla and Maximilla. The Montanism movement had similar views about the basic tenets of Christian doctrine, but this movement was later declared a heresy. So with all this going on, it would appear that they were allowing “that” woman Jezebel to teach and seduce God’s servants. So who was Jezebel?

Jezebel was the daughter of the king of the Zidonians. The Zidonian people were worshippers of Baal, and the considered “Jehovah” as nothing more than a “local god”. Jezebel had 400 priests lived in the temple that she built for them. This woman knew no end to sin, and it was to this woman that the King of northern Israel married which led to many evil consequences for the Israel and even her father’s name “Ethbaal” meant “Man of Baal”. To this woman King Ahab allowed himself to bond, and she seized on his fascination of her to become one with the King of Israel. Ahab became captivated by Jezebel (and a captive) because he “took her to wife, and went and served Baal and worshipped him.” Even though Ahab had many “sins” his marriage to Jezebel and subsequently him serving Baal led him and the Israelites into many years of idolatry. These sins meant that they broke the first two commandments of God over and over again. Also, it led to moral and spiritual decay which worked for Jezebel because she wanted to end all worship of Jehovah. Jezebel was also a forceful woman who lived to get her own way, and she used her perverted skills to destroy a king and bring into degradation a nation called Israel. She was a very and radical devotee of Baal, and she worshipped Ashtaroth the famous goddess of the Zidonians with a passion known to no other. However, she was not content just for her to worship these false gods, but she also wanted to convert everyone to Baal. She established two major heathen sanctuaries in Samaria and Jezeel just for this purpose. Her zeal was so strong that she led a campaign to rid Israel of all the Prophets of Jehovah so that only Baal would be worshipped. In the end God raised up Elijah and Jezebel was dealt with by Jehu, but we can see now why God is so angry with the Church at Thyatira.

Revelations Jezebel

“Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.” (Revelation 2:20)

The Church Age version of Jezebel was just like her predecessor, and the Believers at Thyatira were reprimanded for tolerating Jezebel the Prostitute and Idolater of Babylon teaching in the church. What the Church failed to realize is that Satan himself was behind Jezebel, and there can be no compromise with the forces of evil. Just as in Israel, Jezebel had weaseled her way in the church at Thyatira, and was corrupting them from within.  The word “fornication” comes from the Greek word “porneuo”, which means “to prostitute one’s body, to commit fornication, or one given to idolatry”. If you following back to the root then it has the following meanings “harlot, idolatress, male prostitute, and finally a slave or one entirely under the control of the LOVE of sinning”. As we can see from this scripture, Jezebel was more than just leading them down a dark path but she in fact was leading them into slavery from which they may never return. The danger here for Believers is that we need to be extremely cautious who we listen to because just because a speaker, pastor, teacher, or whoever sounds “anointed” does not mean that they are. Jesus said very clearly in Matthew 24:4-5 “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many”. He warned us in 1 Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils”. The devil is not a red face dude with horns, but the Bible says that he comes as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). One example of this is a preacher I met years ago that said it was okay to be a “swinger”. I was like what? He said, well my wife is right there with me and I am not lusting after the other woman. This is a great example of what is starting to creep into our churches among other devilish doctrines such as Chrislam. Even so, the Lord’s mercy is still greater than our sin and in verse 21 she was given a chance to repent but didn’t. So what was the result?

“Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works”. Notice that will God will cast judgment on her, and those who committed adultery with her with great tribulation unless they what? REPENT!! Even after all they have done, His mercy is still reaching out. Always know that God’s grace will precede His judgment, and we are seeing that today. Even though His judgment is starting to fall on America, there is still time if America (as a nation) will repent. In Exodus 20:5 God says he would put the iniquity of the father on the children unto the third and fourth generations. If we look at verse 23 again we see he tells the Church that he will “kill her children with death…I will give unto every one of you according to your works”. God’s Word from Genesis to Revelations is seamless, and we know that God’s Word never changes and neither do his commandments. The Bible clearly states the wages of sin is death; however there is a death on this side of the grave which translates into affliction, stress, oppression, and tribulation if we rebel against God. Even Paul gave Believers over to Satan so that their souls might be saved (1 Corinthians 5:5), and what was the sin? FORNICATION! What people fail to realize is that there are two types of fornication. The first is of course sex outside of God’s parameters. However, idolatry is a form of “spiritual fornication” because we are joining ourselves to whatever idol we worship (movie stars, sports figures, cars, boats, or houses), and the list goes on and on. We must remember this warning wasn’t just for Thyatira, but for all Believers. So who we join ourselves with will have a huge impact on our lives. Jesus also tells us that it is HE that searcheth (or examines) our hearts (innermost being), and many may outwardly talk the talk, but inside they may be full of dead men’s bones (Matthew 23:27). We must constantly ask God to search our hearts and lives to see if there is anything that needs to be dealt with because we never want to give any place or authority to the devil in our lives. As King David said in Psalm 139:23 “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts”. Also in Jeremiah 17:10 God says “”I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” God is the only one who knows us, and we must rely on him to show us our real true inner selves.

Chapter 2 Verse 24-25

However, God always has a remnant that will not bow down to anyone but him. He tells those that did not follow Jezebel that he will not put them under any other burden, and that they should “hold fast that which you have already till I come”. Even today, there is a remnant that has not bowed to the almighty dollar, the ever increasing idols or the world (bands, actors, or sports teams) because this remnant knows that these idols are evil and giving them God’s money is sin. I know this is hard to swallow (I had to dump a lot of idols), but if we are going to make it in these last days there can be NOTHING before God.

Chapter 2 Verse 26-29

To previous Churches Jesus only says “to he that overcometh”, but to Thyatira he tells them “he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end”. So part of receiving he promise is to not only overcome Jezebel, but also to keep the faith “till the end”. In Matthew 24:13 Jesus told us “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Many places in the New Testament tell us to endure and stand so no matter what doctrine of Jezebel (or others) comes our way we need to stand against it (in love). So what happens if we overcome and keep his works till the end? First, it says that they will rule over the nations. The word “nations” here is the Greek word “ethnos” which means a troop, tribe, nation, or an ethnic group. Jesus will appoint his children who have overcome the right to rule various nations during the 1000 year millennium with him. The morning star refers to an honor given to us by Christ who is in fact called the “Bright and Morning Star” in Revelation 22:16. We have such great promises, and it amazes me at times why Believers are still choosing to live however they want…

And so it ends again with: “He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches”.

Thyatira
The words of the son of God, to the church at Thyatira,
He has knowledge of everything about you, Through His eyes like blazing fire,
I know your deeds your love and faith, and all that you preserve,
You are doing more than you ever have, but, now listen, so you can hear.
I have something important against you, you tolerate Jezebel,
Who in the book of Kings, worshipped the false prophet, Baal.
She called herself a prophetess, but let God’s children astray,
I have given her time to change, from her evil and sinful ways.
But, she has not responded, so she must bear the effect,
And also those who sinned with her, will bear the consequence of her sect.
I do this so the churches know, that I search all hearts and minds,
And I will repay anyone according to what I find.
But, I say to those who rejected her, who did not follow her ways,
I will not put upon them, the burden which I have laid.
To he whom will overcome, and practices my will to the end,
I will share my authority with, over the nations of my kingdom.

By: Roo Palmer
July 13, 2008