Revelation 2:18 – “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
Thyatira was located in modern day Akhisar. It was founded as a military outpost and became noted for its many trade guilds. It was a center of business and it was a manufacturing cite for purple dye. Although it was an important trade town, out of the seven churches addressed in the book of Revelation, it was the smallest and least significant. Although I’m sure they did, there is no record in church history of Christians suffering persecution in this town. Even though this was a small and almost insignificant town, God still recognized it and found it important enough to address. Let this be said of all of us. There is none that is to unnoticeable or small for God to recognize and love.
Jesus here uses a title of deity: Son of God. The Jews knew that to be the son of something you took on that exact nature. So for Jesus to be the Son of God, He was claiming to have the very nature of God. He reminds the Christians in Thyatira that he is God and this is what the I AM has to say.
In the rest of His description, let’s revisit our study on 1:14-15: The description of His eyes speak of his penetrating knowledge and insight into everything there is to know. Fire is a symbol of judgement in the Bible, and with this knowledge and insight, there is no other person worhty or qualified enough to be judge over all things. Continuing into the theme of judgement, John now speaks of Jesus’ feet. Brass also speaks of judgement. Jesus has brass feet and they are described as glowing in a furnace. This speaks of Jesus withstanding the fires of judgement on calvary and coming through with His refined purity just like brass. The sacrificial altar of the tabernacle and temple in the Old testament was brass and is a symbol of the purity of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. He paid our price for us. With this and only this we can be made pure also. Amen!
Revelation 2:19 – I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.
As said earlier, Jesus still knows them even though they are small. He knows the works they do, the love they show towards God and others, the ministry they carry out, the faith that drives them, and the perserverance they exhibit. And most importantly, they are continually growing and their fruit now is more than what it was at first. Let us take their example and continually be sanctified in the Lord!
Revelation 2:20 – Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.
Even though they had all that going for them, they tolerated a woman who Jesus calls Jezebel. This is more than likely not her name but it she represents and carries out the kind of evil attributed to the real Jezebel in the Old Testament. See 1 Kings 16-21 & 2 Kings 9:30-37. If you were called a “Judas” or a “Hitler”, you would know what is implied by this. This is the same for this woman. She claimed to be a prophetess but was a “Jezebel”. Read Matthew 24:11. What does Jesus promise that comes to fruition in this verse?
What was she teaching? David Guzik explains it well: “Mainly, she was an immoral and ungodly influence on others, and led others into sin. Jezebel led others into immorality and idolatry. Because of the strong trade guilds in Thyatira, the sexual immorality and the eating of things sacrificed to idols was probably connected with the mandatory social occasions of the guilds. Perhaps a Christian was invited to the monthly meeting of the goldsmith’s guild, and the meeting was held at the temple of Apollo. “Jezebel” would allow or encourage the man to go – perhaps even using a “prophetic” word – and when the man went, he would fall into immorality and idolatry. The draw to the guilds and their meetings was powerful. “No merchant or trader could hope to prosper or make money unless he was a member of his trade guild.” (Barclay) Nonetheless, Christians were expected to stand in the face of this kind of pressure. One ancient Christian named Tertullian wrote about Christians who made their living in trades connected to pagan idolatry. A painter might find work in pagan temples or a sculptor might be hired to make a statue of a pagan god. They would justify this by saying, “This is my living, and I must live.” Tertullian replied Vivere ergo habes? “Must you live?””
Jesus claims the ones she misleads are his servants. They are his own people, and we should take heed of this and remember that because we are his doesn’t mean that we can’t be mislead. Read Mark 9:42. These are strong words from our Lord!
Let us not forget the main complaint of Jesus. Not that Jezebel was misleading servants (although this was a big problem) but that it was being tolerated by the Christians in Thyatira. Read 2 Timothy 4:3-4. What can we take from this verse?
Revelation 2:21 – I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.
The fact that Jesus gave Jezebel a chance to repent shows that he extends His love and mercy to everyone and not just some. Let us
do the same!
For those who haven’t accepted Jesus and repented, let us remind them that this is not an unlimited time offer. Judgment will come and it will be to late. Read Genesis 6:3.
Revelation 2:22 – So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways.
Jezebel was unwilling to repent, and just one of her judgments was to be cast in a bed of suffering. The greek word for bed here means literally “banqueting couch”. Part of her judgment would come on earth while she was spreading her teachings. She would not only suffer spiritually by being thrown into the lake of fire at the end of the age, but she would also suffer here on earth in a physical manner. Her sexual immoralities may have lead to sexual diseases for example. Read 1 Corinthians 11:29-30. What does this verse say about how God can inflict judgment? Can it be physical as well as spiritual?
This warning goes to those who follow Jezebel as well, unless they are to repent. Read Psalms 103:12. No matter what we have done, as long as we come to God in repentance, He forgives all! Amen!
Revelation 2:23 – I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.
The children Jesus speaks of here are the disciples Jezebel creates by spreading her teachings. They are the offspring of her spiritual adulteries.
Here Jesus explains why he will judge Jezebel and her “children” not only at the end of the age but here on earth. Because then the Christians around them will be able to visualize what can be the result of sin. He knows and searches hearts and minds. The greek words for hearts and minds is literally “hearts and kidneys”. In the ancient Jewish tradition, the heart was the place of intellect and the kidneys was the place of emotion. Jesus knew their thoughts and feelings and he would speak to them through what judgment he let happen to Jezebel and her followers.
Jesus will judge all people, believers and non-believers. Unbelievers will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment (more on this later in Revelation) and will be judged on their unbelief in Jesus and as a result will be thrown into the lake of fire. Jesus will also judge his servants (believers) but not for salvation. They will be judged for rewards based on their deeds done on earth. Read Matthew 16:27 & Romans 2:6, and then compare it to 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. What can you deduce from the comparison for these verses?
Revelation 2:24 – Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you).
Jesus now addresses those who do not hold to Jezebels teachings but are holding firm to the faith. He tells them that he will not ask them to do anything more. They have enough to deal with in defending against the heresies of Jezebel. God will not burden us with more than what he knows we can handle.
“Satan’s deep secrets”. Many heretical groups at that time believed that in order to know and to concur Satan’s deep secrets, you had to first experience them and give in to your sinful desires. Read Galatians 5:19-21. What does scripture say?
Revelation 2:25 – Only hold on to what you have until I come.
They were to only hold on to what they had. What did they have? Jesus, which is all they would ever need.
Revelation 2:26 – To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations.
He who overcomes and does my will. What is the will of God? Read John 6:28-29.
Read 1 Corinthians 6:2 & 2 Timothy 2:12. When Jesus returns, we will rule side by side our Lord and Savior.
Revelation 2:27 – ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery’ [fn]–just as I have received authority from my Father.
This verse is a quote from Psalm 2. When Jesus comes back, He will rule with the authority given to Him by the Father and righteousness will be enforced. The greek word for rule in this verse is poimanei which means “to shepherd”. When Jesus rules it will not be a dictatorship like rulers of world history ruled. He will execute judgment but He will also administer mercy and give direction to His sheep. It will be as a parent disciplines and guides and directs and loves their children.
Revelation 2:28 – I will also give him the morning star.
What is the morning star? Let’s look ahead in Revelation and read 22:16. What or should I say whom is the morning star?
Revelation 2:29 – He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
As all the other letters, this is addressed not only to the church of Thyatira but to all Jezebels, those who follow Jezebels, those who permit Jezebels, and the faithful of all ages.