The Church Of Thyatira
Revelation 2:18 "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;"
The dates of Thyatira are approximately 606--1517 A.D. The first, what they consider, true papacy began to reign around 606 A.D. Now there's different dates, but they figure about 600, 605, or 606. We find 1517 the Reformation came into full swing w/ Martin Luther, and God began to bring his people out in a greater way than ever before.
Thyatira has 2 possible meanings: First it could mean female domination, or it could simply mean the daughter of Tyre.
The Revelation that Jesus gives of Himself to this church is
1.) As the son of God, who has his eyes like unto a flame of fire and his feet are like fine brass. In Revelation 1:13, Jesus is called the son of man showing that he's our high priest and our example and mediator. But here, he speaks of himself as the son of God.
2.) Psalms 2:7 we read-- Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee. And so, as the son of God, Jesus has the authority of God in himself--this is possibly a contrast to the fact that in Thyatira they had a temple to Apollo, the sun god, who was worshipped there. And also in the church age of Thyatira the pope was making the outrageous claim that he stood as God to the people and that he was God's vicar and he stood as Christ on the earth and had dominion over heaven and purgatory and hell, etc.
3.) Also He has eyes as a flame of fire, and so God in his son, Jesus, sees the wrong and the corruption in the false church, and he says I know you thoroughly and I look w/ eyes, as it were, of judgment. I'm going to judge this thing. Also, the sun god, Apollo, was supposed to be in dominion over fire, but Jesus shows that He is the one w/ these eyes as a flame of fire and that God is judge.
Now he says he has feet like fine brass.--a brilliant alloy of brass, pure that glowed pure white when it was heated up to it's molten state. And so we see Jesus in his walk kept himself pure from the corrupt systems of religion and man's religion of this world. And his walk of purity and separation is going to judge this compromise and this sin within his church. Also we find that the pure, humble, holy, righteous walk of Jesus Christ stands as a testimony of judgment to his supposed successors--the popes. And we know that the Catholic Church history is full of descriptions of gross sin committed by one after another of these men who claimed to be God's representatives on earth.
The historical background of Thyatira--see end of study.
Revelation 2:19 "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."
1.) Now Jesus begins to describe the condition of his church. Verse 19 says, I know or literally I have known. I've known your works you're doing for me. (Greek) ERGA--describes a spiritual labor, in this context, which comes forth and is produced by divine energy within their lives, and so there were people even in this church age who were working faithfully for God.
2.) And he says I know thy charity -- thy agape = self-sacrificing love for me and for the body. So Thyatira is commended for their agape and for the fact that they maintained the right motive in these works that they did for God. They didn't get snared in self-righteousness or legalism or thinking that their works were earning their way, but they did them after the right motive of love for Jesus, where as Ephesus did not.
3.) He says I know thy faith --Hebrews 11 says without faith, it's impossible to please God, but even in these works they kept looking to God; they kept believing that He was going to be the rewarder of their works.
4.) He also says I know thy service -- service (Greek) DIAKAMOS--that is a more mundane aspect of working for God and serving His people, as compared to the works we saw previously.
5.) I know thy patience-- patience (Greek) HUPOMONE--I know the fact that you are staying under. You are abiding under. You are humbling yourself before me and you are carrying your load, and you are trusting in me that as you patiently maintain and do my work, I'm going to come and reward you. Again he says, in this verse, thy works. And the last to be more than the first--so in this church age we find that the last works were greater than the first.
Thyatira was the longest of the church ages--about 900 years or more and the first part of it encompassed the time of the darkest hour--the midnight hour of the papacy in the 800's and the 900's up to a 1000 or so, it was the rankest time of sin in the papacy and in the Catholic Church. And it was a period of unchecked papal power where the popes claimed and exercised dominion over the kingdoms of the earth. But later on, reform began to come--for example under Pope Hildebrand in 1050 A.D. he began to clean up the church. Also we find that there were reform movements in the 13 and 1400's--these were predecessors of what we know today as the Reformation. There were reform movements within and apart from the Catholic Church later in this church age, so Jesus is saying your last works are even greater than the first.
John Wycliff in the 1300's was a giant of a man of God, a tremendous reformer who stood against this system, and God backed him up by causing the nobles to side w/ him so that he could be protected and his teaching spread into Bohemia w/ John Huss in the 1300's. In 1400's to early 1500's, Tyndale translated his Bible and was later martyred. Savana Rola in 1400's led reform in Italy.
There were reform movements called the Albigensis--these were in a number of countries all over Europe, and they would hide up in the hills and would have their copies of the scriptures and would study them and then some of them would take little treks down into the cities and they would infiltrate the universities and begin to talk to students saying, look I have a copy of the scriptures here and something bothers me about this--doesn't seem like our church is doing things right. They would begin to pull them out of the deception they were in. Then they would take refuge in the hills again. So there were people working for God all through this time. 1 Kings 18:4,13, God hid prophets in a cave and fed them w/ bread (the Word) and water (the Spirit). Possibly this is what it will be like in these last days under world government.
Revelation 2:20 "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 to idols."
But Jesus goes on in verse 20 w/ his warnings to this church. It says, "I have a few things against thee." A "few things" here are omitted in the original and what Jesus is saying here is: "Notwithstanding I have against thee that thou sufferest that woman Jezebel." That's the one particular thing he has against them.
Now you suffer her-- you tolerate her, you allow her, you let her go and do what she is doing.
"That woman Jezebel" could be either translated as a wife or a woman, so the idea of marriage here is closely associated, as Jezebel was married to Ahab (1 & 2 Kings).
But Jezebel may very well mean--without a husband or without a lord. So he says--you have this woman Jezebel who's claiming to be married, but she's really without a husband. Even up until recent times, the Catholic Church claimed that Mary was without a husband all of her life. They call her that blessed and ever virgin Mary, and that she had no other children besides Jesus. (But we know Mary had other children).
75 years after King Solomon, Ahab of Israel married Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, the king of Sidon (1 Kings 16:31). This Ethbaal was a priest of Estarte who was a female deity, and they called her the queen of heaven.
Jeremiah 7:18--Jeremiah denounces this worship of the queen of heaven--and that's what they called Mary in the Catholic Church--the queen of heaven--that's her title.
Now this goddess Estarte was worshipped by backslidden Israel because of Jezebel's influence. She introduced this worship into Israel. We read that she had 850 prophets--prophets of Baal--prophets of Ashtereth or Estarte in her court. And the worship of these deities included fornication in dedication or honor to them, because Ashtereth or Estarte is a fertility goddess.
Now Jezebel was a high priestess and prophetess of this goddess and Estarte represents the female principle--that was the life giving principle-- she was the fertility goddess.
1 Kings 18:30-40 we read how Elijah proved that Yahweh (Heb. word for LORD) is God and not Baal, and he slew these 850 prophets after he proved it. And Jesus is going to come and slain these false prophets.
Now in the Thyatira age, Jezebel would correspond to this Catholic system that introduced a female deity among God's people--Mary. The mother and child is a theme that's repeated from Babylon and many false religions in India and other places. It took its expression in Mary and her child and so spiritual Israel here is doing just what physical Israel did under Jezebel. They're marrying into this false system w/ a false deity.
They really did exalt Mary above Jesus Christ saying that Mary was over Jesus, because she was the mother of God and that you can pray to Mary and Mary will plead w/ her son because she is more merciful than her son, and he in turn will go to the father so that the final result is that Mary is the one w/ all the love and all the mercy. Jesus and his father are hard to please--they are austere, so you have to go to Mary. This is exactly what they do!
We find that there are Elijahs in this time just as there was an Elijah to confront Jezebel. There were men of God who stood in the face of this thing, and they brought glory to God and to his truth and in order to establish the truth--they found that they had to tear down the lies and the result was that they saved themselves and many multitudes of people who listen to them.
This woman Jezebel, Jesus said, is being allowed to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and this is a spiritual fornication taking them away from God and against God. They're legally supposed to be married to Christ, but she is pulling them away. She is teaching them to commit fornication.
Now there's a vivid description of this spiritual fornication in Proverbs 7 talking about an adulterous woman, and she's a picture of this system and she seduces God's Israelite sons, and God warns his sons that her bed is the gateway into the pit, and He says don't go there. You can read in particular about this woman in Proverbs 7:4,5,11-13,19,20,24-27.
The irony of the whole thing is that we have a church which claims to stand for God and yet it's the gateway to the pit. And if you marry yourself to her, you'll go where she's going. So she teaches them to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols. Now the (Mass) is an idolatrous sacrifice and it's directly contrary to many scriptures in the book of Hebrews and other places which show that Christ was given once and died once--he doesn't suffer over and over again, as they teach that he does in the (Mass).
And we find parallels here to this doctrine of Balaam and the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes which has the same result--to teach them to commit fornication. Only this time, instead of many individual men teaching this doctrine, we find one woman teaching this doctrine. That the whole thing had become an all encompassing system under the head of this woman, Jezebel. Jesus says not to tolerate this!
Revelation 2:21 "And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not."
I gave her space (Greek)--CHRONOS = time. I gave her a long time to repent but she did not repent. Fornication here implies lewdness in sex or coarseness. And Jesus says, she repented not. Literally--she is not willing to repent. She is continually not willing to repent. Jesus loves this woman (even in the state she's in), and He's giving her time to repent--shows the mercy and grace of God!
Where did she commit fornication? In a bed. This literal woman, Jezebel, (she was a real woman in the Thyatira town) apparently was calling herself a prophetess and yet she was guilty of many acts of sexual immorality and this is done in a bed, so God goes on and says He will cast her into a bed of tribulation (a little sarcasm is used here).
Revelation 2:22 "Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds."
God is saying I will judge her spiritual adultery by casting her into a bed of trouble and tribulation of affliction. There was an actual woman in the actual local church of Thyatira. Now she may not have been named Jezebel but God is giving her this name to show what she represents. Most likely she was a woman who claimed to be getting an abundance of revelations and she was moving in the "spirit" and yet her life was evidence that she was not of God. But she was having influence over people in the church, and so God is going to cast her into this bed of troubles.
He said that I will not only cast her but these that commit fornication w/ her into this bed of trouble, except they repent of their deeds (Greek--"her deeds"). Literally it says--except they repent "out of her deeds". It's her deeds that they are partaking in by submitting to her.
Revelation 2:23 "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."
"And I will kill her children with death" --literally, I will kill them in death--in the power of death, in the realm of death. I will kill them in separation--eternally which is the second death.
And so there are those who don't heed the warning and won't allow themselves to be saved out of this false church. This applies both to individual men and also her children, those churches which came out of her. The Roman Catholic church still calls the Protestant world her wayward children. (Rev.18:4;John 12:43)
"I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts." It's the spirit of God that searches the heart Romans 8:27 tells us. These reins literally are "kidneys"--the deep part of you. The deep part of you was regarded as the seat of your emotions and of your heart, your soul, and your will.
I will give unto every one of you according to your works. This encompasses not only those who go in w/ her and partake of her deeds, but the whole church. He's saying I'm going to judge righteously between you all, and those who stand for me will get according to their works and they who stand for her will get according to her works.
Revelation 2:24 "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."
"But unto you I say" --unto my true people. You--refers to the righteous, those who do not associate and marry themselves to her. So there were those who did not have this doctrine and there were those all through this church who realized that Jesus was the head of the church and that there were false impostures standing in these gorgeous robes claiming to be Christ's representative. This doctrine = Jezebel's teaching.
"The depths of Satan as they speak "
This refers to those false men of God. They were not saying, what we have here is the depths of Satan--they weren't saying that--there would be no deception then. In other words, they say--we have these deep, deep mysteries--the mystery of the Mass and these mysteries of Mary, etc... Jesus says these are the depths of Satan, and these men call them deep things as they speak. They are deep things because they involve knowledge that was w/ held and used only by the priests and the Mass was in Latin and the people didn't understand it and so on.
Jesus is saying here that it is the depths of Satan as they speak. In other words, it is not really deep at all--it's just the same old thing that came out of Babylon: false religion and to him it's not deep, it's just a facade and he sees right through it.
Now what must be done. He says "I will put upon you none other burden." These people were being required to stand, and the darkness and bondage and brainwash was so heavy that it took about all the spiritual strength they had to maintain the right attitude and the belief that they were in the truth and that this system was false. Because this was the only church that existed, so there was a great temptation to think that if you go against it--your going against the true established church of God because there is no other, (except you)--if you become a reformer.
And so he says I'll put upon you no other burden. I know how dark the time is. I know you are living in the midnight hour of the papacy. I know you don't fully understand and possess my word, etc... So just hold fast. I'm not going to put any greater burden on you or require that you become the perfected bride in this church age. Just hold fast to what you have and be an example and testimony of protest against these abominations.
Revelation 2:25 "But that which ye have already hold fast till I come."
"But that which ye have already" is the subject mentioned in verse 19: your works, faith, charity, patience. Hold fast till I come--literally--hold fast until I should come, until such a time as I should come, so there's an uncertainty here about when he should come--but he will come. For them he came, in effect, when they were called home to be w/ him when they died, because Jesus didn't come in that age. But still the promise was just as sure. And the overcomers shall rise first and they which are alive shall meet Christ in the air.
Revelation 2:26 "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power (authority) over the nations."
If you conquer spiritually, I will set you over these natural things as well.
"Keepeth my works." Keepeth literally means the works of me. That is, keep the truth that I died for your sins and that your salvation is by trusting in me alone. It pertains mainly to the fact that they had to keep the truth alive in their hearts of the work that Jesus had done for them, because this was a church age that was full of a false doctrine of works and people were trusting in works and in rituals to obtain their salvation.
So Jesus said keep my works, not the vain works taught by the organized church. Not beating yourself, or denying yourself, or crawling up steps in Rome that were supposed to be super-naturally transported from Jerusalem and kissing each one on the way up and there by obtaining a certain number of days less off of your punishment in purgatory, not paying money to get your relatives out of purgatory. Of course, we know that there was the sale of indulgences. It was rampant and up toward the end of this period there was a monk named Teztle who went around to Germany selling the most powerful indulgences that had ever yet been granted, and the purpose of it was to pay for Saint Peter's Cathedral; and he said that as soon as your money clinks in the bottom of the pot your dead relatives will fly out of purgatory. But the people were steeped in this superstition, and God is telling His overcomers to stand against the lies and the brain wash and don't let it infect you. Realize what I've done for you and keep my works.
John 6:28,29-- Also, Jesus is telling them to keep my works in your own lives. Keep doing the works that spring out of faith and out of the motive that he had commended in talking about their love and their patience and labors. Let your love and faith in me continue to be the motive for the works you do (Gal.5:6).
"Unto the end" --for each individual in the church meant their end--whatever would be required of them in their life and in their walk up till the end of it. He was asking them to keep a faithful walk w/ him, unto the end of life here on earth.
Revelation 2:27 "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."
This is another promise to the overcomer. And he shall rule them --Literally it means, he shall shepherd or govern them (the nations). He that overcometh is going to be set as a shepherd of the nations, and he'll shepherd them w/ a rod of iron. In the Millennium, when Jesus establishes his kingdom on the earth, the Bible teaches that he's going to set his saints over that kingdom and that there will be a rule of God upon the earth. At last, the prayer will be fulfilled where Jesus prayed, "Thy kingdom come" and God is not going to tolerate sin and rebellion and wars and anti-christ philosophies to be rampant on the earth any longer. Rev. 5:10;20:6;12:5-- overcomers from all ages, not just these saints. Now this should be our vision--to reign w/ Christ in the Millennium w/ the highest position we can obtain to. Some will rule over 5 cities and some over 10 cities, etc..
He shall rule all nations-- ETHNOS in the Greek denotes a race. All the races, the families of the earth, shall be ruled by God through his people.
And as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers.
The analogy here is of an old useless pot "cracked" perhaps not fulfilling it's purpose for which it was made, and so he said you're going to dash these old pots--the nations-- w/ this rod of iron; they're going to be broken to shivers. In other words, they're going to be smashed down so that they might be remolded into a new framework, system, so that God might have his way on the earth and cause it to function in the way that he had ordained.
The nations will be reorganized after the battle of Armageddon, at the beginning of the Millennium, and Jerusalem will become the capital of the world, God's seat, as it were, upon this earth, and His people shall rule. Natural Israel shall rule and the saints shall be the glorified saints ruling over the earth (Isa. 2:2,3).
Even as I received of my Father.
So we find that God gave Christ the authority to rule all nations, and He said sit at my right hand until your enemies become your footstool, and now Christ gives us this same authority to rule the nations. John 5:22 shows this authority in Jesus. Jesus overcame and tells us that is the grounds for us becoming rulers and reigners w/ him--the work that he did, and we need to keep his work.
Revelation 2:28 "And I will give him the morning star."
The morning star is the last star that's visible before the dawning of the day, and he's telling them--you in this church age are living in a dark night. You are living in a period of gross darkness; where darkness is covering not only the nations, but the church and we even know this period as "the dark ages"--the midnight hour of the papacy when the light of God was almost lost to his people and the thin silver thread of truth, as it were, became almost impossible to see. But God always had a people through this time--who were holding on to him w/ as much truth as they had, w/ a faithful heart.
He is telling them, because of your faithfulness to hold onto my truth, and to trust in me and to keep my works--I'm going to give you the morning star. There's going to be a day dawning and there's going to be a daystar arising in your heart, and he said, "I am that daystar arising in your heart." The morning star shall be yours! You shall have me.
The meaning of the reward--ruling all nations--the main fulfillment is after the battle of Armageddon when God sets up his kingdom on earth at the second coming of Christ. The nations existing are broken, made into a new government, and the saints rule w/ him and this is a promise to all overcomers.
Meaning--God promises all his saints that they are going to reign w/ him.
Meaning of morning star is the sign of a new day, and so Jesus is the sign of a new day and Jesus said in Rev. 22:16 "I am the bright and morning star."
2 Peter 1:19-- the daystar shall arise in our hearts. That's where we have that morning star--in our hearts. It's Christ in you the hope of glory (Col. 1:27). It's the relationship we have w/ Jesus that gives us that hope of a new day, because we shall be transformed in the twinkling of an eye
( 1 Cor. 15:51-54). A new day for some will be at the Rapture.
Spiritual lessons from this church age are several and really important for us
1.) We see first of all that Jezebel--a false woman--an untrue woman, a woman untrue to her husband. And as we saw this corresponds clearly, there's no other way to take it and nothing else it can really apply to but the Catholic system leading the church astray into idolatry and sin and away from the pure doctrine of Christ, as to his nature and his salvation, and every facet of the doctrine of Christ in some way is corrupted in this system, and Jesus is telling us here that we must not allow the same thing to occur to us. We should not allow this Jezebel in our midst. We should learn the lessons of the past, take the example of these who came out of this and the many who even gave their life to get free of this bondage, and we should not associate w/ this woman. I'm not talking about that we should not associate w/ the people as untouchable and take a self-righteous attitude toward them, but the woman, the system, is a hateful thing in God's eyes.
It's a grievous thing, it brakes God's heart and fills His heart w/ indignation that such a lie should be fostered on His people for so long and so heavily, and He's telling us to not fall in w/ this system, no matter how appealing it will be to the senses, no matter how glorious it will look outwardly.
2.) Because she, Jezebel's system, is not willing to repent. She is continually not willing to repent. Therefore, don't be deceived, don't think she's going to repent.
3.) The 3rd Spiritual lesson we see is as follows: I will kill her children w/ death. As we saw, this killing w/ death is literally, I will kill them in death. Jesus isn't saying I will kill them w/ death because that's self explanatory. Everybody who is killed w/ death is dead. What he means is, "I will kill them in the realm of death." This is a killing that is going to go on into eternity. It's a second death, an eternal death, and he's warning these who will stay her children. He's warning those who will say I'm going to be part of this system till I die no matter what, that if they keep that attitude the church is going to come to a place where it's going to cost them their salvation. This applies both to children as individuals and children as denominations. As we saw, the Roman Catholic church calls the denominations her wayward children and if they claim her again as their mother, they will die w/ her in that bed of trouble that God will cast her into.
4.) Lesson #4: He that keepeth my works-- Jesus is telling us that we must stand upon the truth of the blood sacrifice which was accomplished once and for all for our sins, not of our own works. We have to be like Abel-- though others resist and misunderstand, he knew that salvation only came through the blood of the lamb. He had the truth in his heart that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. We must stand against the false self-righteous facade of this modern Cain church which is offering up man's works and labors to try to please God. (We also see a lot of this in the new age movement). In talking to Catholics be careful w/ these truths, be wise, loving and gentle. People who are steeped in something; you have to bring them out step by step in a gentle way or you will loose them somewhere along the way.
Thyatira ("Female domination" or "Daughter of Tyre")
Founded by Seleucus Nicator, a general of Alexander, south of R. Hyllus. On Roman road from Pergamos to Sardis. Its chief deity was Apollo (the sun god). City full of idolatry and sin. Rome and the emperor were deified and celebrated in games. Temple of female oracle, Sambatha, in enclosure called "court of the Chaldeans." Had guilds of garment dyers, tanners, robe makers, potters, bakers, and smiths. Still a flourishing garment-dying center today. Home of Lydia (a seller of purple-dyed fabrics), Paul's first known convert in Asia (Acts 16:14).