[Jer.24:1-8: Jeremiah presents a vision a concerning the good and bad figs. By this the Lord reveals that at times where a Babylonian captivity comes to his people you can have the best and worst of people dwelling together as one people yet the Lord makes a difference. At Thyatira we shall find this. A mixture of the very best with the very worst in the one and same church].
Thyatira was 35 miles southeast of Pergamum. It was the smallest of all the communities but a busy commercial centre. Pliny called it an ‘unimportant community’ yet it was in fact a place of importance. It recieved its name from Thuateira who was the daughter of king Seleucus I Nicator in 290 BC. It is believed that this name meant chaste but this church was in danger of being rejected for lack of being chaste.
1. It was a military base – a garrison town. It was later called Ashisar meaning White Fortress. It was the gateway to Pergamos. As you approached it there were mountains on left and right of it. It was literally a crossroads. A roman road from Pergamos to Sardis ran through it; it was also on the border of two provinces.
2. Its trade: It had more guilds than any other city in the whole province of Asia: - inscriptions mention wool-workers, linen-workers, garment makers, dyers, leather-workers, tanners, potters, bakers, slave-dealers, and bronze-smiths. Its dying trade came from the madder root which produced a strong red or scarlet colour. They also traded in the dye of the murex shellfish which produced a strong purple. We see these two colours of scarlet and purple in Revelation 17 when we see the Harlot Church.
Acts 16:14 speaks of “…a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira…” This was just one of the common trades of this city.
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;”
Son of God – He is normally called the “Son of man” which emphasises His humanity. But here He is called the Son of God which emphasises His divinity. Christ's answer to this church was to reveal His absolute divinity.
Eyes like unto a flame of fire – his vision and sight was as fire. It would burn through every mirage. It would search to the very heart and depths of the situation and condition of this church.
Feet like fine brass – This is the only place in the NT where this term is used. It literally means metal of brilliance, shinning, burnished copper. It is metal that has been through the fire, or improved by the fire. Of course we know that the risen Christ does not pass through trials. What this reveals is that Christ walks with His saints when they pass through fiery trials.
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.”
i) Works, ii) Charity, iii) Service (diakonia) = attend, aid, serve, relief; iv) Faith, v) Patience = stay under, endure. vi) “…and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.” This was an amazing list of qualities which Christ commended in this church. You would almost think that if such things were commended that Christ would not be able to find any wrong in their midst.
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…”
Although there was a great deal of good attributes in this chur...ch which Christ commended He is not slow to point out what is wrong. Christ is still the same. He said that there were "A few things" He had against them. If Christ is against something in your church you better know about it and do something about it. His problem with this church was focused on one basic area not many diverse issues. That issue was Jezebel.
Sufferest = allow, tolerate – turn a blind eye, ignore—no protest, no contending, no conflict, no division—unity and peace of the wrong kind. This great church was tolerating Jezebel which was ready to wreck all that was good.
She was going around calling herself a prophetess. She was a self-proclaimed prophetess (prophēti) – gifted ministry; prophetic insight:- visions, dreams, words, revelations, prophesies—But in her we see ministry and gifting without character.
Teach (didaskō) = to give instruction; i) she was giving extra-biblical teachings, ii) she was teaching a compromise of the narrow way, iii) she was redefined prophetic ministry. True prophetic ministry is not a little word of encouragement or a positive prophecy. It is a revealing of the mind and thought of Christ concerning His church.
Seduce (planaō) = to cause to roam, go astray, deceive, err, wander, be out of the way. The result and fruit of her gifted teaching ministry was that many were going astray from the narrow way of the Gospel.
Servants (doulos) = bond slave, love slave, willing servant. Those she was ecoieving were once dedicated servants of Christ. Their loyalty had changed from Him to her. Her teaching had usurped the authority of His Word. This reveals the first generation and beginning of apostacy,. In its first form we see those who once held to truth now turning to error.
The name Jezebel means to be chaste; free from carnal connection (Heb). Jezebel is of course mentioned 23 times in Bible. She was the daughter of the king of Tyre and Sidon (Phoenicia: this people recieved their name from 'purple' taken from the murex shellfish. This people were dominated by old fashioned Babylonianism. Jezebel married King Ahab of Israel and brough her religious Babylonish religion with her. She was zealous, dominating and a real schemer and manipulator.
II Kgs.9:30, “…she painted her face, and tired her head…” = dye (specifically stibium for the eyes); fair colours, glistering; paint [-ed]. This is how she came forth just before her death when Jehu came for her. He had no sympathy for this painted Jezebel and her religious games. Her daughter, Athaliah, married the son of Jehoshaphat, King of Judah (I Kgs.16-21; II Kgs.9:30-37). By this intrusion the whole people of God were affected by this wicked lady. Her husband, children and grandchildren were all killed as a result of this terrible apostasy.
In the church at Thyatira her influence was also terrible: “…teach…seduce…to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.” Previously in 2:14 we read, “…thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.” In both Pergamos and Thyatira, idolatry and fornication are connected. Idolatry leads to fornication (sexual immorality). “…eat things offered to idols” is mentioned 10 times in the Bible.
In Thyatira the many trade guilds involved eating and feasting on foods dedicated to idols. Jezebel taught the believers in this church that such things would be ok and not compromise their walk with God. Her doctrine brought this compromise into the church. An idol is anything that replace obedience to christ.
Idol (eidōlothuton) = an image that you sacrifice to; it is an identifiable something that you will sacrifice, or give, your time, money, affections or focus to. The teaching and ministry of this painted lady raised up false idols in this church. Once dedicated members relaxed under her ministry and allowed idols to replace Christ in their hearts.
2:21-22, “And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.”
Fornication (porneia) = harlotry; every form of sexual sin; used twice in ch.17 of the Harlot Church.
Adultery = to commit adultery is unfaithfullness to a marriage bond. Christ is warning very strongly that there were those who were being unfaithful to a relationship with Him through her influence.
Repentance is used 3 times in this verse. True repentance would beak her influence in this church. If true repentance came they would repent of tolerating her and cast her out of the church. Christ was saying to them ‘Because you like the bed of fornication I will cast you into a bed of tribulation.’ Great tribulation = great physical sufferings
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.”
Her children – the result of the mixture and confusion. These are the false converts who join an apostate church. This is the second phase of apostacy. The second generation of converts are tares, false christians, counterfeit believers. They did not enter the church by way of the true Gospel or true conversion. They have never experienced true repentance.
Reigns = kidneys, inward parts,
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.”
In this church were the "rest" - this was those who refused to partake of her devilish doctrines. They were a holy remnant. They did not hold her doctrine and did not know the depths of Satan. Those who followed Jezebel professed to "know" the depths of Satan.
Depths (bathos) = profundity, extent, mystery, deepness, (right down to the ankle bones)—these apostate worldly believers professed to follow Christ, love Christ, preach Christ but they had a fascination with Satan. They told everyone that they had secret inside prophetic revelation, insight and knowledge concerning Satan and his tactics.—“known” ginōskō, Gnostics.
Much of the teaching on binding of demons over cities, demonology, dicernment ministries, spiritual warfare, etc comes under such a bracket. I have watched men bind demons who had the loosest tongues in the Church. I have watched men casting out demons who were immoral in life and mind. I have known woman who proclaimed that they had the gift of discerning of spirits yet they were proud, blind, arrogant and hard hearted. This is pure Jezebel religion.
While they profess to know the depths of Satan, true believers know the depth of God – Rom.11:33; I Cor.2:10.
2:25, “But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.”
This is the first promise to any of the churches concerning His second coming. The great battle in this church is to just stand and not give ground to Jezebel. To stand still in an unmoveable manner while all around compromise is a great act. It might seem like very little accomplished yet in a day of apostasy it is a great act.
2:26-27, “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 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.”
It is how you finish that matters not how you began. To overcome Jezebel in the church will mean the reward of having power over the nations in the age to come. If you cannot stand your ground here and now against this compromising prophetess you most certainly wont be fit to rule in the age to come. Our fight against Jezebel is preparation for ruling with a rod of iron over nations. There is nothing weak in the Gospel as far as meakness towards sin. We are to be militant, dogmatic and strong when faced with compromise. Toleration of sin is not allowable.
2:28, “And I will give him the morning star.”
Christ is the morning star, 22:16, “I Jesus…am…the bright and morning star.”—it arose in the east before the sun arose. Christ is the herald of the coming dawn. Your battle in your church may seem very dark when you see the compromise and toleration of evil. But lift up your head. Look to Christ. Your faith in Christ is an encouragement that one day soon His kingdom will come down on this earth in power at His return and He will rule with a rod of iron.
2:29, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
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