TO THE CHURCH IN THYATIRA
Leslie M. John
“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” (Revelation 2:20)
Letter to the Church in Thyatira is the fourth letter written by John to the elder of this church at the command of Lord Jesus Christ, “the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass” (cf. Rev. 2:18).
The metal brass in scriptures represents judgment. The Lord will surely judge everyone without any exception. He judges those in the present church that they may repent and return: He judges the children of God in eternity to reward them: and He judges the unsaved to be cast into “lake of fire”.
Lord Jesus Christ humbled Himself and came into this world in the form of a servant in the likeness of man seeking that which was lost (cf. Luke19:10). John saw Him and said “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 b ESV)
When He comes again He will no more be like a “lamb” but will be as the “Lion of the tribe of Judah”. He will rule the nations with a “rod of iron”. John saw heaven opened and He beheld a white horse and He who was seated on it was called z”Faithful and True and in righteousness” He judges and makes war. (cf. Revelation 19:11-12)
While the Lord had great appreciation for the church in Thyatira for their love, faith, service and patient endurance, He was very shrewd in His words and condemned their idolatry and sexual immorality. He does not tolerate idolatry, much less if structures of idols are placed in the church and worship is rendered to them. God is Spirit and He said:
“Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 26:1)
The glory of the LORD departed from Solomon’s temple because he loved “many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites” (Ref. 1 Kings 11:1)
Prophet Ezekiel saw the “glory of the God of Israel” returning to the temple from “the way of the east: His voice was like a voice of many waters: and the earth shined with glory” as prophesied. (Ref. Ezekiel 11:22-23 and Ezekiel 43:2)
The Lord says the latter works of this church in Thyatira will exceed the first. However, He was against this church for its tolerance of the kind of sins that the woman named Jezebel committed. Jezebel was the wife of Ahab, who thought it is of no great significance to marry her, who went and served “Baal” and worshipped him. There is was none like Ahab, who sold himself to wickedness in the sight of the LORD.
She called herself as prophetess and taught seducing of the LORD’s servants to worship idols and practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols: thus kindling the anger of the LORD. The church at Thyatira, which practiced these evil deeds, did not repent of that evil. (Ref. 1 Kings 16:31, 1 Kings21:25: Rev. 2:20)
The young man sent by Prophet Elisha anointed Jehu as King over Israel and ordered him to kill Jezebel and prophesied that dogs will eat her (Ref. 2 Kings 9:4-10)
“And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the portion of Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her. And he opened the door, and fled” (2 Kings 9:10)
This prophecy was fulfilled when she was thrown down from the window by eunuchs at the orders of Jehu.
“And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down: and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trod her under foot. And when he had come in, he did eat and drink, and said, Go, see now this cursed woman, and bury her: for she is a king’s daughter” (2 Kings 9:33-34)
The Lord was very angry with the church in Thyatira and said unless they repented of their deeds, He will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into “great tribulation”. This church would be on the earth to face “great tribulation” unless they repented of their wickedness. This church is the one that has idols of Mary, and other men, who were called as “Saints” and worship is rendered to them. The Lord says unless they repent of their wickedness, He will kill her children with death and all the churches will know that God searches the minds and hearts of everyone. He gives everyone according to one’s works.
Apostle Paul has a message for all of us such as the one that the Lord had through John to the church in Thyatira. Do we presume that we can get along with refusal to repent of our sin depicting contempt towards God’s riches in kindness, forbearance and patience? God’ kindness is meant to lead us to repentance and not surely to continue in sin. If our hearts are hardened and we remain impenitent we are storing up wrath for ourselves. The Lord shows His righteousness when He returns. He renders each one according to one’s own works (Ref. Romans 2:4-6)
The Lord instructs the rest of the members of the church in Thyatira, who do not follow Jezebel’s deeds, to hold fast unto their faithfulness toward the Lord until He comes. He promises them the power to rule over the nations: even as that He received of His Father. He commands them to overcome the activities of the devil: the prominent of them are idolatry and sexual immorality.
The Lord promises to give to those who follow Him the “morning star”, which is His name (cf. Rev. 22:16), sharing His glory with us, in order that we may shine like Him in perfect brightness. These blessings are as much applicable to us even this day as it was during the days when the letter was written to the church in Thyatira. It is not an ordinary reward to have power over nations even as Lord Jesus received from His Father. He who can understand let Him understand.
“He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches” (Revelation 2:29)