Today we approach the church at Thyratira. Honestly, I wish we did not have to visit here, but we must. The horrors we will find here should make us blush, but I fear they will not. Why? Probably because we will discover that we might just fit in at Thyatira. I hope not. I wish it were not so, but given the state of the church in 2016, I will not be surprised.
It is likely no accident that Jesus’ letter to the church at Thyatira is the longest of the seven letters. Of all seven of the cities Jesus referenced, Thyatira was the most corrupt. It was the base of many trade guilds, the ancestors of modern day trade unions. These guilds were the main source of persecution for the Christians there. In order to be able to hold a job or run a business, one had to be a member of the guild. Each guild had a patron deity and Christians who refused to bow to the guild’s deity could not work in Thyatira.
The modern city of Akhisar sits atop the ruins of Thyatira. A military town, founded by Seuleucus, Thyatira was the smallest city of the seven. The main industry in the city was, in John’s day, and remains today, the production of dyed wools and other dyed goods.
Now that we’ve learned a bit about the city, let’s listen to what Jesus had to say about the congregation at Thyatira.
18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
19 “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.
20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.
21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.
22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works,
23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.
24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden.
25 Only hold fast what you have until I come.
26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations,
27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.
28 And I will give him the morning star.
29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Jesus’ greeting to the church at Thyatira has a familiar ring to it. Do you recall reading something similar in Daniel 10? Take a look.
6 His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude.
Sound kinda familiar? Daniel was given a vision of a man who was described in the same way that Jesus describes himself to the church at Thyatira.
I can almost see Jesus looking at the congregation, placing his two fingers into a ‘V’ and moving them from His eyes toward the people and saying in an ominous voice, “I see what you are doing.” Nothing gets by Jesus. He misses nothing.
The feet of burnished bronze seem to indicate purity, strength, and holiness. The words seem to indicate Christ’s role as Divine Judge. This is the only time in The Revelation that Jesus is identified as the Son of God, which emphasizes His deity.
Y’all, the greeting alone nearly has me face-to-the-floor in repentance. I want so much to walk in holiness before God. We cannot compromise with the world, and there cannot be tolerance of sin in the midst of Christ’s church. Next week we will continue our study of the church at Thyatira. Let’s engage.
- Has anything we studied today challenged your faith?
- Imagine Jesus standing in front of you with the ‘V’ fingers coming from His eyes to yours and hearing Him say, “I see what you are doing.” How does that hit you, friends? Don’t give me Sunday school answers, please. Let’s get real and honest here.
- Tolerance is almost an anthem in our modern day society. Tolerance of all sorts of ungodly things is expected from Christians, yet there is little tolerance for Christian beliefs. How and where do you see this being played out today?