Verse of the Day Devotion: Revelation 2:18
“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this:” – Revelation 2:18
Over seven days, I will be looking at what John wrote, by the inspiration of God, to the seven major churches in Asia Minor. In these seven letters, God gives a message to each that is specific to each and speaks of issues that could fit the Churches throughout history. It is important to look at these and examine our church and ultimately ourselves to see where we stand regarding these.
We now come to the fourth church, the Church of Thyatira. Thyatira was a wealthy town on the Lycus River in the Roman province of Asia Minor, or modern-day Turkey. This is the only one of the messages to the seven Churches where the Jesus is called the Son of God. Its wealth no doubt came from the various industries that is found in the city, those being textile and clothing, coppersmiths, potters, tanners, leather cutters and bakers. It was also a regional center in the Asian slave trade network. An inscription mentions a slave trader who oversaw the public market at Thyatira and funded festivities for the imperial cult. Worship in the city centered on the Greek gods Apollo and Artemis, the protectors of civic welfare. They were originally Anatolian deities who were identified with Apollo and Artemis in the Greek pantheon. In fact, the Greek gods were given great remembrance and honor among the people, which probably brought much difficulty to the Church in their work.
The letter starts by, as in all the letters, declaring the good found in the Church. “I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first.” Revelation 2:19. The works of the congregation are specified in four ways: “Love (agape)” which includes love for God and acts of compassion for others. It means giving oneself for others as Christ did. “Faith”, which includes faith in God and Christ and faithfulness to God and his people. The faithful bear public witness to God in the face of conflict. “Service” which probably included actions ranging from witnessing to the lost and providing for the needy. And He adds that they have grown in the works they do, in that the works they do now are greater than when they started.
However, He has an issue with them as well. “But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bondservants astray, so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.” Revelation 2:20. Jezebel is a nickname that John gives to the woman at Thyatira in order to compare her to Queen Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab of Israel. “And it came about, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he married Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians and went to serve Baal and worshiped him.” 1 Kings 16:31. This woman refers to herself as a prophetess, but her teachings are far from truth, specifically she seduces the servants of God to immoral conduct and to the eating of meats that had been sacrificed to idols. He gave her opportunities to repent, but she did not. “And I gave her time to repent; and she does not want to repent of her immorality.” Revelation 2:21. And since she did not repent of leading many astray with her evil teachings, “Behold, I will cast her upon a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. And I will kill her children with pestilence; and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.” Revelation 2:22-23. And as it says in the above verse, “I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of their ways.” Revelation 2:22b.
And to those who do not follow the ways of Jezebel but remain true to God He says, “I place no other burden on you. Nevertheless, what you have, hold fast until I come.” Revelation 2:24b-23. The faithful believers did not fall into Satan’s trap, and they only needed to remain faithful until Christ’s return.
Then Jesus lists His promises to the believers in Thyatira. “The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my father. and I will give him the morning star.” Revelation 2:26-28. At Christ’s coming the saints shall possess the kingdom over the whole earth. These blessings include along with authority over the earth, victory over all the enemies, and the morning star. And since Jesus is the morning star, this means He will give Himself to His Church, and be in fellowship with them forever. “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star.” Revelation 22:16. Is not this a wonderful blessing to us who remain true to Christ and oppose the ways of Satan and his followers?
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.