"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. I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. 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. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 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.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. 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): Only hold on to what you have until I come. To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— 'He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery'just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (NIV)
was a city on the Lycus, founded by Seleucus Nicator, lay to the left of the road from Pergamos to Sardis, 27 miles from the latter city, and on the very confines of Mysia and Ionia, so as to be sometimes reckoned within the one and sometimes within the other. Dyeing apparently formed an important part of the industrial activity of Thyatira, as it did of that of Colossae and Laodicea. It is first mentioned in connection with Lydia, "a seller of purple." Acts 16:14.
One of the Seven Churches of Asia was established here. Rev 2:18-29. The principal deity of the city was Apollo; but there was another superstition, of an extremely curious nature which seems to have been brought thither by some of the corrupted Jews of the dispersed tribes. A fane stood outside the walls, dedicated to Sambatha — the name of the sibyl who is sometimes called Chaldean, sometimes Jewish, sometimes Persian — in the midst of an enclosure designated "the Chaldaeans' court." This seems to lend an illustration to the obscure passage in Rev 2:20,21, which some interpret of the wife of the bishop. Now there is evidence to show that in Thyatira there was a great amalgamation of races. If the sibyl Sambatha was in reality a Jewess, lending her aid to the amalgamation of different religions, and not discountenanced by the authorities of the Judeo-Christian Church at Thyatira, both the censure and its qualification become easy of explanation.
Christ Commendations to this Church
Christ commends Thyatira's works, charity, service, faith, and patience. Thyatira's "last works were more than the first," realizing 1 Thessalonians 4:1, told them in instead of retrograding from "first love and first works" as Ephesus (Rev 2:4-5); the converse of Matt 12:45; 2 Peter 2:20. The Aposltle Paul relayed God's message to them in the 4th Chapter as he wrote the closing part of his Epistle to them: "Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit".
They not only retained what they had received at first, but grew in grace, and in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ. This is a rare thing in most Christian churches: they generally lose the power of religion, and rest in the forms of worship; and it requires a powerful revival to bring them to such a state that their last works shall be more than their first.
Christ's Indictment against Thyatira
"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".
We do not know who this Jezebel was, yet from the allusion we may take it for granted she was a woman of power and influence in Thyatira, who corrupted the true religion, and harassed the followers of God in that city, as the "other Jezebel" did in Israel.
The intimation here is that this Jezebel may have been the "wife" of the Bishop of the church, and he acted criminally in God's eyes because he was failing as the pastor of the church by allowing her to teach and seduce God's servants. She called herself a "prophetess", a "teacher"; and her crime was she taught the Christians that "fornication, and eating things offered to idols, were matters of indifference", and thus they were seduced from the truth. But it is probable that by "fornication" here is meant "idolatry" which most often is its meaning accorsing to the Scriptures. Could it be that it is too gross to suppose that the wife of the Bishop of this church could literally teach fornication withion the ranks? apparently this is the indictment handed down to theis church by God. The messenger ("angel") or "Bishop" of this church, , tolerated this: He had the authority (power) to have cast her and the guilty people out of the church, or, as his wife, he could nhave and should have restrained her; but he did not do it, thus she had ample opportunity to seduce the faithful. .
The "presiding angel" (pastor) should have exercised his authority over the prophetess or prophets so-called, who seduced many into the libertinism of the BALAAMITES and NICOLAITANS of Thyatira's more powerful neighbour Pergamos (Rev 2:6,14,16). The Lord encourages the faithful section at Thyatira. "Unto you the rest in Thyatira I say,"I will put upon you none other burden (save abstinence from and protestation against these abominations": this the seducers regarded as an intolerable burden, see Matt 11:30); but that which ye have hold fast until I come." A shrine outside Thyatira walls was sacred to the sibyl Sambatha, a Jewess or Chaldaean, in an enclosure called "the Chaldaean court."
Christ tells The Apostle John:
"I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 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. just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches".
That is, God will destroy her offspring and memory, ruin her idolatry and fornication.. Jezebel's two sons, being both kings were both slain; and after that, all the seventy sons of Ahab; (2 Kings 10:1;) in all which the hand of God was very visible. In the same manner God predicts the destruction of the heretics and heresies referred to; see verse 16.
It should seem by the expression," I am he which searcheth the reins and the hearts", that any heretics that lurked around would have sowed their false doctrines secretly. But notice here that our Saviour tells them that it was in vain, because he had power to bring their deeds to light, and possessed "divine power" to search into the wills and affections of all men; and hereby he would show both them and us that he is, according to his title, "The Son of God"; and has the ability to view and expose their wicked actions.actions like a "consuming fire", searching into everything, and burnning up the chaff that cannot stand his "fiery trying"; so such an extent that the "depths of Satan", shall not avail nothing to anyone who think by their secret craft can undermine the Christian religion; Christ will not only bring all wicked schemes to light. but he will also bring confusion and baffle all their evil intentions. (Revelation 17:9).
"I will put upon you none other burden upon those who have not known or learned "Satan's dark secrets".
This commendation was given to those members who remained sound in true Christian doctrine. and constituted the "sound" part of the church. There was no need for Christ to give them any new "exhortation" or charges. they didn't require no new advice but simply to continue to persevere . (Romans 15:14-15).
The expression of "burden" is taken from the history of Ahab,( 2 Kings 9:25): The Lord laid the same burden on him. "Burden" a word often used by the prophets to signify a prophecy that threatened heavy and severe things to be suffered. (Isaiah 13:1, and Num 4:19).
It is worthy to remark that the "Gnostics" called their doctrine "the depths of God", and the "depths of Bythos", intimating that they contained the most profound secrets of divine wisdom. Christ here calls them the "depths of Satan", being master pieces of his subtlety. Perhaps they thought them to be of God, while all the time they were deceived by the Devil.
He shall rule them with a rod of iron] He shall restrain vice by the strictest administration of justice; and those who finally despise the word and rebel shall be broken and destroyed, so as never more to be able to make head against the truth. This seems to refer to the pagan world; and perhaps Constantine the Great may be intended, who, when he overcame Licinius, became the instrument in God's hand of destroying idolatry over the whole Roman empire; and it was so effectually broken as to be ever after like the fragments of an earthen vessel, of no use in themselves, and incapable of being ever united to any good purpose.
[And I will give him the morning star.] He shall have the brightest and most glorious empire, next to that of Christ himself. And it is certain that the Roman empire under Constantine the Great was the brightest emblem of the latter day glory which has ever yet been exhibited to the world. It is well known that sun, moon, and stars are emblems, in prophetic language, of empires, kingdoms, and states. And as the morning star is that which immediately precedes the rising of the sun, it probably here intends an empire which should usher in the universal sway of the kingdom of Christ.
[He that hath an ear] Let every Christian pay the strictest regard to these predictions of Christ; and let them have a suitable influence on his heart and life.