Friday, October 2, 2015

The Church of Thyatira


Thyatira: 'Continual Sacrifice'

Thyatira was a prosperous town which was well connected to other important cities. It was located on the Hermus River, 38 miles from Pergamos, and 32 miles from Sardis. It was an important manufacturing center noted for dying fabrics and garment making (Lydia, in Acts 16:14 had a business in fabric dyes). Thyatira was also known for its pottery, it's coppersmithing and brass working industries. These powerful Trade Guilds not only controlled business, but each Trade Guild had its own gods which were involved in pagan religious worship and immorality. It was almost impossible to conduct business without belonging to a Trade Guild. 

During his second missionary journey (Acts 16:13-15) the apostle Paul travelled to Phillipi where he meets Lydia, a seller of purple. She listens to Paul's preaching and is so convinced of his message that she and her household are baptized. It is likely that Lydia helped spread the Gospel throughout Thyatira.

In the message to this church, Christ calls Himself, the Son of God, stressing His deity. He is revealed as a Judge. The 'eyes like a flame of fire' suggest discernment and perception which searches out all iniquity. His 'feet like fine bronze' shows He is all powerful in judgment. Bronze, which symbolically means testing shows that Christ tests the works of man. The reference to bronze is also an illusion to the brass working industry of Thyatira.

Christ praises this church for works, love, service, faith and patience. This is the only church that Christ gives praise to for its love. It's love became a part of the problem, though. The congregation loved so much that they tolerated sin and failed to exercise church discipline. This church allowed 'Jezebel' to teach compromise and immorality. 

(Remember King Ahab's Jezebel. She was the daughter of a priest king of Tyre and was married to Ahab for political reasons. She had a strong, domineering, forceful character and was fanatically devoted to Baal. This eventually led to the death of many true prophets of God.)

God extends grace to the Jezebel of Thyatira to repent, but she would not. This indicates she made a conscious choice to continue on in her sin of compromise and immorality. She tolerated evil and had learned Satans' so called 'deep secrets,' which she also taught.

This church therefore allowed 'Jezebel' to teach compromise and immorality. They evidently did not accept the finished work of Christ on the cross as enough, but thought they needed other gods and religious systems, much to their hurt!

However, those who are victorious and do not fall for her deception, God gives authority to rule over the nations. He says they will rule with an iron sceptre and dash them to pieces, like pottery. Another allusion to one of the top industries of Thyatira - pottery. He says He will give them the place of the morning star.

(Lucifer is called the morning star, as well as Jesus Christ. The title was a place that Lucifer attempted to gain but which was triumphed over by Christ, who is the true Morning Star! The 'morning star' will be given to believers who rule and reign with Christ in the Millennium. Revelation 2: 28; 2 Peter 1:19; Daniel 12:3)

The Seven Churches of Revelation

Introduction to the Seven Churches of Revelation
Sweet Smelling Smyrna
Where Did I Leave My Love (Ephesus)
Pergamus: Compromised and Indulged
Sardis: The Living Dead
Falling Away into Laodicea
Philadelphia, the Faithful Church

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