Friday, February 8, 2013

To the Church at Thyatira


And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 
“I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 
“Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 
“And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. 
“Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. 
“I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works. 
“Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. 
“But hold fast what you have till I come. 
“And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations— 
‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’— as I also have received from My Father; 
“and I will give him the morning star. 
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. 2:18-29  


4. The Church in Thyatira  (AD 538-1565)

the Son of God who hath eyes like unto a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass," stands in contrast to the sun god. Tyrimnas, the tutelary god of Thyatira, represented with flaming rays and feet of burnished brass. Faussett
       
In 1:15 we saw Him who has feet like fine brass (representing judgement); here, in 2:18, He is coming to judge Jezebel ... and her children with death in the church in Thyatira. 2:23. 

   In this period of history it was the church that operated hospitals, orphanages and schools, Signs of the Times^^ so the compliment, given by Christ to this church, I know your works, love, service, faith, the last are more than the first is fitting here. 

   he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations.  This period of church history produced spiritual giants such as St. Francis of Assisi, the Waldensees and John Wycliffe. Signs of the Times^^  This is an interesting thought, but if the other blessings given by Christ are in the eternal realm why would this promise relate to the temporal?

   To the church board He says I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach.  The leaders in the church must know the Bible well enough and have enough moral fiber to allow only those to teach who are spiritually qualified.

   That woman Jezebel was an evil queen in Israel's history.  She was the one who was killing God's people during Elijah's time.  She is a symbol of evil, and as a symbol, she is mentioned here.  In The Apocalypse, the word woman refers to a way of life or to a body of teaching.  An example of this is in 12:1, where the woman symbolizes the moral, upright teachings and manner of life of righteous Jews.  In just such a way, Jezebel represents the evil, degrading teachings of Satan.

   My servants…eat things sacrificed unto idols.  Jezebel is used as a type of false teachers who, as the Church of Rome developed, wedded Christian doctrine to pagan ceremonies. Unger.++  There are many instances throughout the history of the Roman Church where the church did not convert non-Christians to Christ, but rather adopted their pagan ways into church practises and beliefs. 

   Verses 14-15 may well refer to physical licentiousness, but Jezebel in verses 20-21 refers to spiritual adultery, the picture of which is very clearly given by Hosea, a minor prophet. Hosea 3:1

   The thought that this refers to spiritual adultery rather than physical adultery is further portrayed in these words, that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, is allowed to teach and seduce.  Prophecy and teaching have to do with the mind and the spiritual state and not with physical fornication.  Although false Bible teachings, in many cases, do leave the door wide open to carnal freedoms.  You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. James 4:1 NIV 

   Now, having said that about spiritual adultery, I will also insist that spiritual adultery often leads to sins much more physical:



   1. they commit sexual immorality and 



  2. eat things sacrificed to idols.  Even if the Christians had no conscience pangs about this, how could they talk about their faith to the Greeks who saw them eat food that was sacrificed to the idols?  We, modern day Christians, should be more careful about our lifestyle.  So many of us watch the same movies; get just as ridiculously excited about professional sports; own cars and houses which are just as expensive as those of non-Christians; how can we with any effectiveness witness to them about Christ?

   I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her.  If she and her adulterous friends really want to spend their leisure time in "immoral" beds, I will let them have their way, but in judgement for sins I will cast her into a sickbed.  One might say, "The punishment suits the crime".


   I will kill her children with death.  This is a Hebrew phrase which is very emphatic. That is, I will certainly destroy her offspring and memory, and thereby ruin her designs. Clarke.   


  Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden.  This sounds like a continuation of the idea that Christ, is here condemning spiritual fornication, such as Satan worship and idolatry rather than physical fornication.

   Mr. Uriah Smith** says that the words, great tribulation, refer to past historical incidents.  These found their fulfillment in such tragedies as the bubonic plague (which started in 1334 AD) which killed forty percent of the population of Europe, and ...The Thirty Years war which in Germany alone is estimated to have caused ten million deaths out of a population of eighteen million! Signs of the Times, Mar. 1998.   

   Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, could perhaps be read as, to you, the preacher, the one to whom the letter was sent, and to the faithful followers of that assembly.  However, most translations checked, concerning this, have completely omitted the words and the meaning of, Now to you I say.

  I will give him the morning star.  These words are a good example of the symbolism found in The Revelation.  The morning star, Venus, is the brightest object in our sky, next to the sun and the moon.  This, symbolically, is the star that persevering Christians will receive as a reward.   Certainly, this cannot be taken literally, because the morning star is not a star at all, it is merely a planet of our own solar system.  Obviously, we are forced to use figurative analysis. 

_______________________________ 
** A Commenatry of Daniel and the Revelation by Uriah Smith, Seventh Day Advantist. 
^^ Signs of the Times Magaizines: What the Revelation says about. March 1998. David C. James 
++ Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Merrill F. Unger