The Seven Church of Asia: The Church of Thyatira

thyatira-home-of-lydiaThe city of Thyatira was not known as a political or military centre due to its location in a valley. While many felt that it couldn’t be breached, time demonstrated that it was vulnerable to attacks and it eventually suffered military defeats in several instances throughout its history. The city was well known for its diverse occupations and strong economy which meant, much like Pergamos, it was subject to trade guilds however unlike the other cities mentioned it was the least known, least important, and least remarkable of the cities.[i] If you wanted a place to find work, Thyratira was the place to go! It was a city of incredible wealth and prosperity. We are told that Lydia was from Thyratira  and a seller of purple fabrics (Acts 16:14) which, along with metal manufacturing, were the two main trades in this city.The situation with the trade guilds wasn’t a lighter burden in Thyratira:

If you wish to get ahead in this world, you must belong to a trade guild; if you belong to a guild, you r very membership implies that you worship its god. You will be expected to attend the guild festivals and to eat food part of which is offered to the tutelary deity and which you receive on your table as a gift from a god. And then, when the feast ends, and the real- grossly immoral- fun begins, you must not walk out unless you desire to become the object of ridicule and persecution.[ii]

There was an incredible dilemma placed before these Christians living in this city. If they didn’t follow the rules of the trade guild, they would be cast out without any chance of earning a living which led to eventual hunger and persecution for yourself and your family. The other side was to continue participating in the trade guild which led to idolatry and a denial of the Lord. Christians were faced with unquestionable decisions which would affect all those they held dear.

This letter to the church in Thyratira is the longest of the seven individual messages. The Lord has much to say to them in regards to commendations and rebuke.

The term “Son of God” is not found in the first chapter of the letter which is unlike most other descriptive statements of the Lord Jesus Christ. There certainly could be a parallel in mind here with the title Son of Man and it would fit quite well with the themes presented to us of judgment and protection found in Daniel. (10:6; 3:24-25) The Lord Jesus is also referred to as the one whose eyes are as a flaming fire and also whose feet are as burnished bronze. The “feet” in scripture generally refer to trampling down one’s enemy in judgment. These folks in Thyatira would have known too well the significance of heavy bronze feet trampling over the church as a symbol of great judgment. These symbols would have communicated the seriousness of the words of the One speaking to them.

The church is firstly commended for its love, faith, service and perseverance. Beale argues that when love, faith and endurance are used elsewhere in this book that they generally refer to a persevering witness. This church was commended for what its sister church in Ephesus lacked. This church was remembered their first love and exceed it as we can see in the phrase  “last works are greater than the first”. The problem with the church in Thyatira was the polar opposite to Ephesus in that the church lacked the ability to discern false teaching something that Ephesus excelled in.

The solution to the problem of fidelity to the Lord or to the trade guild was found by one who claimed to speak for God. This “teacher” called herself a prophetess while the Lord calls her Jezebel. This was probably not her real name but to communicate that her actions were of the same spirit as the original Jezebel. The Lord’s evaluation of Thyatira is really not much different than what we saw in Pergamos. Much like the teaching of Balaam (v.14) was an OT reference indicating similarities to what was happening in Pergamos, the mention of “Jezebel” is used in the same manner.[iii]  Jezebel led King Ahab and Israel into Baal worship (1 Kings 21:25-26) due to her husband’s compromising (1 Kings 16:31). One must wonder if the phrase the deep things of Satan doesn’t give us a clue into her mindset. Johnson writes: Perhaps among the deep things disseminated by the prophetess was the insight that bodily behaviour is spiritually insignificant, so that those in the know could participate in idolatrous feasts, and even their sensual excesses, with spiritual impunity.[iv] There is certainly a lesson for us today in this message seeing that we as believers can be prone to being deceived into committing adultery. It is usually far more subtle in our day and age. It is not always easy not participating in certain work functions or social gatherings due to the fact that we are viewed as outcasts.  It is not out of the norm also to see Christians lose promotions for not being a part of the team? The danger of idolatry in our age is still alive and well. Anything that has won our love and in which we place out trust in that is not God becomes to us an idol.

This Jezebel was given time to repent from her idolatrous teaching by the Lord but to no avail yet she is still given some time to repent. (22b) her lack of repentance will lead her to be thrown on a bed of sickness. The bed of sickness was an expression synonymous with suffering. Those who follow her will go through a similar suffering referred to as a “great tribulation”. Much like the sons of Jezebel died due to her sin against Naboth (1 Kings 21:17-29; 2 Kings 9:30-37), so will the children of this false teacher. This judgment could have waited till the final judgment however the Lord seems to be pointing to more immediate judgment. The reason for this is so the churches will know that the Lord, whose eyes are like a flaming fire, searches the hearts & minds. The text is probably referring back to Jeremiah 17:10 “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds. This text in Jeremiah speaks of Israel being led astray to worship other gods due to financial prosperity.

The Lord still has a faithful people who have not experienced the “deep things of Satan” and the Lord places no other burden upon these faithful men.

The Lord of the churches’ commands them, like their sister churches,  to overcome to which brings the promise of reigning with the Messiah. Those who conquer will share in the promises of Psalm 2:8-9.[v]

[i] Triumph of the Lamb, D. Johnson, Page 79

[ii] More than Conquerers, W. Hendricksen, Bakerbooks, Page 79

[iii] Notice the paralell usage of “to fornicate and to eat meats sacrificed to idols” (v14 & 20).

[iv] Johnson Page 80

[v] There is some sense where this rule has already been inaugurated (Acts. 13:33; Romans 1:4; Hebrews 1:2-5; 5:5; 7:28) and that we are a kingdom today. (Rev. 1:6)


One thought on “The Seven Church of Asia: The Church of Thyatira

  1. 1.To the Churches I write my testimony.
    My name is Melissa Neff and I am sorry that I am late to give it to You I Pray that God will for give me I am now 25 and I died at 15. So I should have wrote you all 10 years ago.
    I died from why a freshmen in high school at Graham TX from trying to fit in at school.
    My friend Casey talked me in to doing a pill popping competition that she won at and by lunch she started to seizure and to die by lunch time at school and when I heard what had happened to here I began to cry and repent cause I knew what I had done and didn’t want to die. I repented for God knows how long and tried to throw it up but in my shame it would not come up. I didn’t tell any one not even my family after school was over cause of my shame of what I had done and the vise principle told my mom that they thought that I had taken then to like Casey but I lied to them all in my shame. My mom and sister believed my lie so they went to the store and I told the I was sleepy so I didn’t go with them to the store I laid down on my sisters bed by my self crying and repenting to God in hope he would save me from what I had done to my self.

    I fell a sleep and I die right there in my sisters bed.
    I woke up in a circle field of wheat Casey was already there before I got there and around the wheat was big dark trees and out of the trees came the reaper he grabbed Casey before she could even scream right in front of me.
    Then he came at me!! I cried Jesus for fear of what I had done and I felt a hand grab me on my left shoulder and pulled me up before the reaper got me
    and then I found my self on a mountain and looked to my lift to see who had saved me and I saw JESUS he was pointing and I looked down and there was people who talked English just like u or me and the people where on a beach and they where screaming at the top of there lungs we dont need you!! You haven’t been here all this time and they where shooting rockets at the sky and I looked up to see what they where talking to and it was JESUS FATHER his face was in the clouds and from there I was taken to see Gods kingdom was put on Earth and four angles at each corner of Gods kingdom then I woke bake up alive and amazed at what Jesus showed me.
    Then when I woke up told told my mom every thing that had happened and what Jesus showed me and she opened up the Bible with God words in it turned it to Revelation which I had never read before In my life!!!!!!!!!!!

    Revelation chapter 1:7
    Behold, He comes with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, and the ones who pierced Him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of Him. Yes, Amen.
    Revelation 7:1
    And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on every tree.

    The Holy Spirit told me not to keep this from you all so wake up.

    Revelation 7:2
    And I saw another angel coming up the rising sun, having a seal of the living God. And he cried with a great voice to the four angels to whom it was given to them to harm the earth and the sea, saying, Do not harm the earth, nor the sea, nor the trees, until we seal the slaves of our God on there foreheads.

    Revelation 1:8
    I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, says the Lord, the One who is, and the One was, and who is coming- the Almighty.

    Ps I was saved throw Jesus name cause I was not baptized and the reason I write to you is Jesus just woke me up cause I had fallen asleep. He woke me up by putting sours on my face but I didn’t know why then he throw a fish bone in my lung and it pierced my left lung and I began to bleed in side from my left lung down my spine and I didn’t go to the doc cause I didn’t think they could help me then I thought about it and knew what I had done and in my shame I repented again for my sins of all the commandments I had broken and prayed to Jesus to please not let me die like that and repented for a week I think I hurt so bad for my blasphemy and asked him to please help me and take that burden off of me cause I couldn’t handle it and I knew only Jesus could save me and I felt the Holy Spirit when he came in to the room and healed me and when I told the doc about my lung they said I was fine and there was nothing wrong with me and looked at me crazy but what they didn’t know is that Jesus fixed it. Keep the Faith in Jesus. Jesus can do any thing he wants to from saving you to killing you.
    Where the Churches of Revelation and the eating before idols is eat in front of the Tv. I found on Youtube that almost all the movie stars have sold there souls to demons for money beware of them and there music cause God gave them over to what they thought they wanted but leads to death. I am a shamed we have all fallen for tricks and I Pray God will for give us. We have all fallen from Gods grace! Ever on say when God strikes us we will rebuild. But what God wants is us to repent and know where you have fallen. We are the Churches of Revelation we must all Repent our sins we have all fallen!! I am a shamed and wish I could take back all the evil I have seen and heard and have spoke. We are supposed to love as Jesus did and help each other and Guard the 10 commandments and get God back in the school before God kills the children for are stupidity and ungodliness. God is just waiting to here us all repent of are sins for they are many for i live in Babylon the great ow how she will fall!! The cry’s of the unborn baby’s reach God throne and he sees All we are doing at all times. Amen
    Ow after the fish bone the Holy spirit told me to wake Gods people up and he told me to get baptized in a river not a church. So I did and have been under attack ever since I did.
    With out God we have nothing all we have came from him Amen and he can take it all away if we don’t do as God says. I am a sinner just as any one ells on this world and a shamed just as any one ells is. All we can do is try are best that we can do and hope that God will for give us for are sins, even if we cant for give are selfs for them.

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