Seven Churches - Thyatira
The fourth study about the seven churches of Revelation is concerning the letter to the church at Thyatira.
To the Church in Thyatira - Revelation 2:18-29 .....'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; 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. 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. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.'
The Thyatira period of the church is thought to be during the church "dark ages" when the Roman Catholic Church reigned from about 538 A.D. to the start of the Protestant reformation in the 16th Century.
Christ says He knows the works, charity, service, faith and patience of Thyatira. The faith of this church produces good works in them. They don't just claim to be Christians, they do works out of love for Christ and these works are the outward evidence of their true faith. It is believed, from the Greek meaning that the phrase "last to be more than the first" relates to the works of Thyatira. Which means that this church experienced spiritual growth. Their faith and works grew stronger (last works more than the first works) as apposed to that of Ephesus, which experienced a spiritual fall. So how is your walk with Jesus going? The Christian faith is a progressive faith and we grow with each step we take. Are you growing in Christ? Are your works of love and service to God improving and becoming more and stronger?
Jesus rebukes Thyatira for "suffering" Jezebel. That word suffering actually means "putting up with". So Jesus is accusing Thyatira for putting up with Jezebel and her teachings. Now who is Jezebel? In the Old Testament we had a woman called Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab, who led Israel into Baal worship, and Sun worship (See 1 Kings 16:31, 1 Kings 21:25). Now in 1 Kings 18:13 it says that Jezebel also slew the prophets of the Lord God. So during this spiritual church age of Thyatira, there was a woman who led God's people into sun worship and idolatry, and she also caused God's people to be killed. In Bible prophecy a woman is a symbol of a church, just like the woman in white in Revelation 12 represents God's true church and the harlot woman in Revelation 17 and 18 represents an apostate fallen church. So who is this woman Jezebel? We know it isn't the original Jezebel from the Old Testament, because she was killed, instead this is spiritual Jezebel who during the time of 538 A.D. to the 1500's led God's people into idolatry and persecuted and killed the saints. This is none other than the Roman Catholic Church. Find out the truth about the antichrist and you will see more information on what the Roman Catholic Church did.
"Jezebel is a figurative name, alluding to Ahab's wife, who slew the prophets of the Lord, led her husband into idolatry, and fed the prophets of Baal at her own table. A more striking figure could not have been used to denote the Papal abominations." (Review and Herald, vol 8, Oct 16, 1856)
So Jesus rebukes His people for putting up with the abominations that infiltrated the church. Many openly submitted to Roman Catholic apostasy and no earnest effort was made to rebuke and stop the tide of evil flooding God's church. In the Thyatira church age, apostasy was openly and defiantly rampant, even more so than in the Pergamos church age. And just as Jezebel in the Old Testament slew the prophets of God, the Roman Catholic Church slew the true Christians who would not go along with her false teachings.
It's interesting that Christ says this woman Jezebel calls herself a "prophetess". So this church would be claiming to be doing God's work, but in truth it would be a fallen church, doing the work of Satan. She isn't a prophet of God, she is a prophet of the evil one. The Roman Catholic Church claims to be doing God's work, but in reality, as we can see from her false teachings and her history of killing God's people, she is doing the work of Satan.
In His great mercy, Jesus gives Jezebel (this apostate church) time to repent. But she would not, and in open defiance continued to reject the truth of God's Word and cause many to commit fornication with her and lead them into apostasy. The Roman Catholic Church openly rejected the Word of God and exalted the Popes in place of Christ Jesus and led their followers down the path of great apostasy.
The children who Jesus says He will kill are those who commit fornication with this apostate church, in open rebellion against the truth of God's Word. Now there are and have been countless members of the Roman Catholic Church and Jesus isn't saying that He is going to kill everyone who was and is a member of this apostate church. There are many who were living in complete ignorance and the truth had not been shown them. God will judge these people according to how they lived up to the light they had. The children who Jesus is talking about are those who, after the truth has been shown them, continue to reject the truth in rebellion against God and continue to follow Jezebel in apostasy. Then God's mercy will come to an end for them and they will be killed. God's mercy is conditional upon our repentance of our sinful ways and turning to the truth and living by it, through the power of Christ's righteousness. God still has some of His people within the Roman Catholic Church and any other fallen church, which is why He is telling His people to COME OUT OF BABYLON.
When Jesus said "to the rest in Thyatira" who have not known the "depths of Satan", He is talking about the small groups of people throughout the Middle Ages that sought to remain loyal to true apostolic Christianity. Such people were found both within and outside the Catholic Church. Particularly important were such groups as the Waldenses on the continent of Europe and the followers of Wycliffe in England. Neither of these groups had the measure of truth that was revealed and proclaimed later in the Protestant Reformation, but they truly lived up to the light that had been revealed to them, and the message "unto the rest in Thyatira" was appropriate to them. Upon them God put no further burden than to be faithful to the light that was theirs, and Jesus says "HOLD FAST" that truth which you have!
What can we learn from this today? Well, it is clear that God is not happy with us "putting up with" false teachings and doctrines within our churches. We MUST stand up for the truth and expose any error. And we certainly must not "commit fornication" with apostate churches like the Roman Catholic Church or any other fallen church. There is a great drive to unite the churches today, but we MUST stay separate and not join in.
Revelation 14:1,4 ...'And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads ... These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins.'
"women" = CHURCHES
The main reason that this website is here, is because of the great error and apostasy found within "Christianity" around the world. The Roman Catholic Church has the largest number of members with over 1 billion, and yet the Bible reveals this church to be apostate. And we now also have many of the Protestant churches heading back to Rome, back to the "mother" (Mother of harlots). So while the world is preaching ecumenism, driven by the Catholic Church, we remain steadfast upon the truth, upon the Rock which is Christ Jesus, and we say, come out of her and stay separate, because God is going to pour out His wrath upon her and anyone who continues to commit fornication with her. Please study the truth for yourself and find out about God's end time remnant church. Follow Jesus, not Jezebel! To those who overcome, God will grant them to rule over the nations with Jesus.
This concludes the Bible study on the fourth of the seven churches of Revelation - Thyatira. For the Bible study on the next church, see Seven Churches of Revelation - Sardis.