8 - Thyatira
Rev 2:18-29 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.
- The Commission (vrs. 18)
- “…to the angel of the church, which is at Thyatira”
- The angel is the one who has responsibility for the well-being of the church.
- A leader, an elder, a guardian angel
- The City - Thyatira (vrs. 18)
- a small but significant city that is Situated on the confines of Mysia and Ionia.
- Thyatira is an amalgamation of various ethnic groups and different gods.
- It is interesting to speculate that the church at Thyatira was founded by a woman who heard the gospel in Philippi. Her name, of course, was Lydia. It was from Thyatira that Lydia the purple-seller of Philippi came, Paul's first European convert.
- She was a seller of fabric.
- The city's commerce revolved around fabric production, and copper.
- The city contained a number of corporate guilds, as potters, tanners, weavers, robe-makers, and dyers. With the guilds came the worship of guild gods.
- As a member of the guilds. You would be expected to make sacrifice or participate in the feast of the guilds. This naturally presented a problem for the Christians in Thyatira.
- The association and participation with guild functions presented a conflict of interest for Christians. How could they continue to be involved in a social structure that was primarily anti-christ.
- There were numerous streams of the adjacent country were full of leeches.
- The principal deity of the city was Apollo, worshipped as the Sun-God under the surname Tyrimnas.
- A shrine outside the walls was dedicated to Sambatha, a sibyl. The place was never of paramount political importance.
- The Author
- Son of God - this letter is not from someone that the Christians in Thyatira could take or leave, it was from someone who has authority over them. Compare Son of man, Rev_1:13; Psa_2:7; Rev_19:13.
- Who hath His eyes, etc. -without a doubt, the bears witness to the omniscience of Jesus Christ. The all knowing, who who is able with his eyes to penetrate the hearts of the Christians at Thyatira. You cannot lie to me, or deceive me, your whole life is an open book to Jesus Christ. See on Rev_1:14, Rev_1:15.
- His feet were like brass - this suggests his role as the universal judge. Brass is always a biblical symbol of judgment.
i. The brazen serpent
ii. the brazen altar
iii. all speak of judgment
- The Commendation (verse 19)
- Thy works, and the last, etc. –
i. what a wonderful commendation, the Lord gives to his children, which live in a very pagan society.
- The Complaint (verses 20-23)
- A few things
- Thou sufferest (ἐᾶς) -Used absolutely. Toleratest.
- That woman - Rev., the woman. Some translate thy wife.
- Jezebel –
i. Expositors are divided as to the symbolic import of the name in this passage, some referring it to a single person - “some single wicked woman in the Church of Thyatira inheriting this name of infamy in the Church of God,” giving herself out as a prophetess, and seducing the servants of Christ to commit fornication and to eat things offered to idols.
ii. One expositor views Jezebel here, as the wife of the pastor.
iii. Others interpret the name as designating an influential heretical party in the Church: a group of women who behaved as the Old Testament Jezebel did.
iv. ” It is clear, at any rate, that Thyatira, like the Church of old, had sinned by her alliance with a corrupt faith and practice.
v. Historically – Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal, king of Sidon (1Ki_16:31 , 1 Kings 21:25, 2 Kings 9:7), formerly a priest of Astarte, and who had made his way to the throne by the murder of his predecessor Pheles.
1. Ahab's marriage with her was the first instance of a marriage with a heathen princess of a king of the northern kingdom of Israel. This alliance was a turning-point in the moral history of the kingdom
2. Jezebel looked down with perverse pride upon a people whose religion she neither understood nor respected.
3. Though the ten tribes had yielded to idolatry in the worship of the calves, the true God was still worshipped and the law of Moses acknowledged.
4. From the time of Ahab's marriage the apostasy of Israel became more decided and deadly. She was “a woman in whom, with the reckless and licentious habits of an Oriental queen, were united the fiercest and sternest qualities inherent in the old Semitic race.
5. Her husband, in whom generous and gentle feelings were not wanting, was yet of a weak and yielding character which soon made him a tool in her hands.... The wild license of her life and the magical fascination of her arts or her character became a proverb in the nation. Round her and from her, in different degrees of nearness, is evolved the awful drama of the most eventful crisis of this portion of the Israelite history” (Stanley, “Jewish Church”).
6. She sought to exterminate the prophets of Jehovah (1Ki_18:13), and inaugurated the worship of Baal the Sun-God on a magnificent scale.
7. Two sanctuaries were established, one for each of the great Phoenician deities, at each of the two new capitals of the kingdom, Samaria and Jezreel. The sanctuary of Astarte or Ashtaroth (the Phoenician Venus) at Jezreel was under Jezebel's special sanction, and there is reason to suppose that she ministered as a priestess in that licentious worship.
8. Four hundred priests or prophets were attached to this sanctuary and were supported at her table. The sanctuary to Baal at Samaria was large enough to contain all the worshippers of the northern kingdom. Its staff consisted of four hundred and fifty priests, and the interior contained representations of the Sun-God on small pillars, while a large statue of the same deity was set up in front. At these sanctuaries Ahab in person offered sacrifices.
- Which calleth herself a prophetess, - she claimed to have revelation from God.
- To teach and to seduce (διδάσκειν καὶ πλανᾶσθαι) The word πλανᾶν to seduce is found oftener in Revelation than elsewhere in the New Testament. It never means mere error as such, but fundamental departure from the truth.
- To commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols - Both sins of the historical Jezebel. See 2Ki_9:22, 2Ki_9:30; Jer_4:30; Nah_3:4.
- Time to repent - Rev 2:21 - Space (χρόνον) Lit., time, as Rev. Repent (μετανοήσῃ) See on Mat_3:2; see on Mat_21:29.
- Of her fornication (ἐκ) Lit., out of; i.e., so as to come out of and escape from her sin. See on Rev_2:7.
i. Not physical adultery
ii. not mental adultery
iii. But spiritual adultery - unfaithfulness of our commitment and worship of God.
- Into a bed - Rev 2:22 - Of anguish. The scene of the sin is also the scene of the punishment. i. Commit adultery (μοιχεύοντας) A wider term than πορνεῦσαι to commit fornication. Compare the metaphorical meaning expressing the rebellion and idolatry of Israel (Jer_3:8; Jer_5:7; Eze_16:32).
ii. With her (μετ' αὐτῆς) Not with her as the conjux adulteri, but who share with her in her adulteries.
iii. Of their deeds (ἐκ τῶν ἔργων αὐτῶν) Read αὐτῆς her (deeds). Repent out of (ἐκ) as in Rev_2:21.
iv. Rev 2:23 - Children (τέκνα) Emphatic. Distinguished from the participators of Rev_2:22, as her proper adherents, “who are begotten of her and go to constitute her.” Others, however, deny any distinction (Milligan), and others (as Trench) explain as the less forward and prominent members of the wicked company, deceived where the others were the deceivers.
v. With death (ἐν θανάτῳ) To kill with death is a very strong expression. Compare Lev_20:10, Sept., θανάτῳ θανατούσθωσαν shall be put to death (A. V. and Rev.). Lit., let them be put to death with death. The reference can hardly be to the slaughter of Ahab's seventy sons (2Ki_10:6, 2Ki_10:7) who were not Jezebel's children.
vi. All the churches Not merely the seven churches, but the churches throughout the world.
vii. Shall know (γνώσονται) See on Joh_2:24.
viii. Searcheth (ἐρευνῶν) See Joh_5:39; Joh_7:52; Rom_8:27. Compare Jer_11:20; Jer_17:10; Jer_20:12; 1Pe_1:11. Denoting a careful search, a following up or tracking. See Gen_31:35; 1Ki_20:6; Pro_20:27; 1Co_2:10.
ix. Reins (νεφροὺς) Only here in the New Testament. Strictly, kidneys. Used of the thoughts, feelings, and purposes of the soul. A similar use of the physical for the spiritual organ is σπλάγχνα bowels for heart. See pitiful, 1Pe_3:8.
- The Counsel - Rev 2:24 –
- And unto the rest #. And which (καὶ οἵτινες) The compound relative, which, classifies; which are of those who know not, etc.
- The depths of Satan (τὰ βάθη τοῦ Σατανᾶ)
- As they speak - Rev., as they say. The questions are, 1st. What is the phrase alluded to? Is it the familiar formula of these heretics, “the depths,” or “the depths of God,” the depths of Satan being added by the Lord himself in ironical contrast with the depths of divine knowledge, - or is it the depths of Satan? 2nd. Does as they say refer to Christians, describing the depths of the Gnostics as depths of Satan, or does it refer to the heretics themselves, calling their own mysteries depths of Satan?
- Other burden (ἄλλο βάτος) - The words for burden in the New Testament are ὄγκος (only in Heb_12:1), βάρος (Mat_20:12; Gal_6:2), and φορτίον (Mat_11:30; Mat_23:4; Gal_6:5). ὄγκος refers to bulk, βάρος to weight, φορτίον to a burden so far as it is born (φέρω).
- The Challenge -Rev 2:25 –
- Hold fast (κρατήσατε) See on Mar_7:3; see on Act_3:11.
- Till I come (ἄχρις οὗ ἂν ἥξω) The conditional particle ἂν marks the time of His coming as uncertain.
- Rev 2:26 - Keepeth my works (τηρῶν τὰ ἔργα μου) The phrase occurs only here in the New Testament. The works are those which Christ commands, which He does, and which are the fruits of His Spsrit. See on Joh_4:47.
- We Power (ἐξουσίαν) - See on Joh_1:12. Rev., better, authority.
- Nations (ἐθνῶν) - See on Mat_25:32, and see on Gentiles, Luk_2:32. Properly, here, the Gentiles, as opposed to the true Israel of God.
- Rev 2:27 - Shall rule (ποιμανεῖ) Lit., shall shepherd. A comparison with Rev_7:17, brings out the terrible irony in this word. Compare Psa_2:9, Sept., where the same word is used. A.V., break. See on rule, Mat_2:6; see on feed, Act_20:28; see on 1Pe_5:2; see on Jud_1:12.
- Rod (ῥάβδῳ) - Commonly rendered staff, once sceptre, Heb_1:8. This is its meaning here.
- Vessels (σκεύη) - See on goods, Mat_12:29; see on vessel, 1Pe_3:7.
- Of the potter (κεραμικὰ) - From κέραμος potter's clay.
- Shall they be broken to shivers - The A.V. follows the reading συντριβήσεται, the future tense of the verb. The correct reading is συντρίβεται, the present tense. Render therefore, as Rev., “as the vessels of the potter are broken.” See on Mar_5:4, and see on bruising, Luk_9:39. The σύν together gives the picture of the fragments collapsing into a heap.
- Rev 2:28 - The morning-star (τὸν ἀστέρα τὸν πρωΐ́νόν) The star, that of the morning. 1Jo_4:9.
i. The reference is, most probably, to Christ himself. See Rev_22:16.
ii. He will give Himself. This interpretation falls in with the promise of power over the nations in Rev_2:26.
iii. The star was the ancient emblem of sovereignty. See Num_24:17; Mat_2:2. “It was the symbol of sovereignty on its brighter and benignant side, and was therefore the fitting and necessary complement of the dread attributes that had gone before.
iv. The king came not only to judge and punish, but also to illumine and cheer” (Plumptre). Compare 2Pe_1:19. When
- The church in Thyatira represents the corrupt church in any age.
- Joseph Smith and Mormonism claiming to have a revelation from God.
- Mary Eddy Baker, as Jezebel leading multitudes into adultery.
- Jehovah's Witnesses
- Herbert W. Armstrong and the worldwide Church of God.
- Harold Camping and family radio
- papal dominion from 500 AD - the second coming of Christ