The Book of REVELATION
James J. Barker
THE CHURCH IN THYATIRA
- Thyatira was about 40 miles southeast of Pergamos
(2:12-17). Of the seven letters, the letter to the church in Thyatira is the
- Thyatira was a military town as well as a big commercial
center. It was also an idolatrous town with a big temple devoted to the worship
of Apollo, who according to Roman mythology was the son of
- Thyatira was the headquarters for many of the trade
guilds – the potters’ guild, the tanners’ guild, the weavers’ guild, the
robe-makers’ guild, the dyer’s guild, and so forth.
- In Acts 16:14, we read that Lydia was a seller of purple
(dye) and she was from the city of Thyatira. In fact, it very well may
have been Lydia who first brought the Gospel to
- I have divided my exposition
into three parts:
- Our Lord
identifies Himself as “the Son of God” (2:18). This is significant.
It is the only reference to this title in the book of
- Some Bible
teachers say this is because the city of Thyatira was known for worshipping
Apollo “the sun god.”
- Others say it
is because false idolatrous practices were being taught in the church of
Thyatira. These false teachings would later develop into the error of
Romanism – e.g., the worship of Mary as “the mother of
- Harry Ironside
wrote that when Christ “addresses Himself to the church of Thyatira, He speaks
solemnly as ‘the Son of God.’ Why does the Lord Jesus Christ emphasize the
fact of His deity here? Because Rome everywhere has accustomed people to
think of Him as the Son of Mary. I once talked with a woman who told me
she would sooner go to Mary than to Christ or the Father. She said, ‘There
is nobody that has so much influence with a son as his mother, and if Jesus
Christ is inclined to be a bit hard-hearted, I just go to His good, kind mother,
and I ask her to please say a good word to Him for me.’ What a caricature
of our Lord Jesus Christ! Think of having to go to anybody else to win His
favor. Who else could be compared with Him? Thus Christ is degraded
into the position of the Son of Mary, rather than the Son of God, who came in
infinite grace to save poor sinners”
- Our Lord
commends the church in Thyatira for their works (mentions twice), their charity
(or love), their service, their faith, and their patience
- Note that none
of the three preceding churches were commended for their love or their
- But after this brief commendation, comes a strong
- This is the age of political correctness, moral
relativism, syncretism, and ecumenism. It is the day of no moral
- The big word today is “tolerance.” Today we are
constantly being told that the #1 sin is intolerance. Furthermore,
Bible-believing Christians are often roundly criticized for being
intolerant. We are accused of being intolerant of homosexuality, abortion,
smutty TV shows and movies, pornography, evolution, so-called "global warming,"
liberalism, Islam and other false religions, etc.
- (Of course, atheists, liberals, Muslims, sodomites, and
other unbelievers are very intolerant of Biblical
- But when we read the Bible, we find that God Himself is
intolerant of certain things (cf. 2:6, 15).
- Furthermore, our Lord accused the church in Thyatira of
tolerating “that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess”
- There are quite a few Jezebels in the churches today and
God wants us to put them out. We need to keep God’s house
- This Jezebel is very much like her namesake of old,
Queen Jezebel, the wicked wife of King Ahab. Jezebel vigorously
promoted Baal worship in Israel. If it had not been for the prophet Elijah
she may have succeeded in replacing worship of the true God of the Bible with
- By the way, there are many individuals here in America
who want to replace worship of the true God of the Bible with the worship of
false gods – the gods of Mormonism, Islam, Scientology,
- Last week I mentioned that to understand the reference
to Balaam (2:14), one has to know the Old Testament. Jezebel (2:20) is the most wicked
woman in the Bible.
- We are told in I Kings
18 that Jezebel slew the prophets of the LORD. She was a cold-blooded
- Jezebel had innocent
Naboth stoned to death. She tried to kill the prophet
- “But there was none
like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the
LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up” (I Kings
- We must not allow any
Jezebels near our pulpit. According to the New Testament, the local church is to
be run by a male pastor, assisted by other men (assistant pastors and
deacons). This is plainly taught in passages such as I Timothy 3 and
- First Timothy 2:12
says, “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man,
but to be in silence.”
- However, there are some
women who have usurped the position of pastor and teacher. They are
nothing but modern-day Jezebels. These painted, worldly lady preachers
like Joyce Meyers are a disgrace.
- Do you remember when
Jehu arrived at Jezreel? Second Kings 9:30 says, “Jezebel heard of it; and
she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a
- Then Jehu told the
eunuchs to “throw her down. So they threw her down” (II Kings 9:33).
This was God’s judgment upon wicked Queen Jezebel. Elijah predicted that
dogs would eat her flesh.
- This Jezebel in the
church at Thyatira was teaching the congregation to indulge in heathen worship,
which involved idolatry and immorality (Rev. 2:20,
- Jezebel’s doctrine and
worship is referred to in 2:24 as “the depths (deep things) of
- First Corinthians 2:10
refers to “the deep things of God.” God has His deep things and so does
- It is a shame but there
are many churches which tolerate lady preachers, false doctrine, and
immorality. Our Lord says those who get caught up in this will be
severely judged (2:22, 23).
- God gave Jezebel time
to repent (2:21). He gave those in the church in Thyatira who were mixed
up with Jezebel time to repent (2:22). Perhaps the Lord is giving
you time to repent.
- In Thyatira, God turned
the bed of adultery into a sickbed and then a deathbed (2:22,
23). There are many lost sinners on their deathbeds now, who a
short while ago thought they were having a good time committing
- “Marriage is honourable
in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will
judge” (Hebrews 13:4).
- God judged Queen
Jezebel. God judged the Jezebel in Thyatira. And God judged those in
the church in Thyatira who would not repent. And God will continue to
judge those who sin.
- The Bible uses the
words “adultery” and “fornication” in two different ways. There is literal
adultery, and then there is spiritual adultery.
- “Ye adulterers and
adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?
whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God" (James
4:4; cf. Rev. 17:1-5).
- Vance Havner said,
“When we marry, we take vows and assume responsibilities and make
promises. When we confess Christ as Saviour and Lord, we do the same
thing. There are church members aplenty who would not think of being
untrue to their marriage vows but who have no conscience about their vows to
Christ and the church. They would have all the privileges of the gospel
with none of the responsibilities. That is why they prefer preachers who
offer much but demand little of prospective disciples” (Messages on
- Not everyone in the church at Thyatira was following
Jezebel (2:24). There were still a faithful remnant in the church at
- These faithful church members were not going along with
the worldly Jezebel religion.
- They were “holding fast” till Christ returned
(2:25; cf. 2:13; 3:3, 11).
- The Bible teaches that the second coming of Christ is
imminent (2:25; cf. 3:3; 22:7, 20). This is the main problem with
the view that the seven churches represent seven distinct church ages from the
apostolic to the apostate.
- A better view is that these were seven literal churches
in Asia Minor, and that each one is a picture of a different type of
church. And, some churches can be
like one of the seven churches in one way, and in some ways be like some of the
other churches in other ways.
- The church of Thyatira does resemble the corrupt Roman
Catholic Church in many ways (idols, depths of Satan, etc.), but the application
is to all churches and to all believers (2:29).
- Revelation 2:26-28 refers to Christ’s millennial
kingdom. Rebellious sinners will be “broken to shivers”
- Christ “shall rule them with a rod of iron” (2:27).
Psalm 2:9 says the very same thing.
- According to Rev. 2:26, all faithful believers will rule
and reign with Christ. This is what the apostle Paul meant when he said in
I Corinthians 6:2, “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the
- And in II Timothy 2:12,
Paul wrote, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with
- Revelation 20:6 says we
shall reign with Christ a thousand years.
- Here in
Revelation 2:28, our Lord is called "the morning star." He is called “the bright and morning star” in
- By the way, watch out for dangerous and inaccurate Bible
versions like the NIV. Isaiah 14:12 reads like this in the NIV: “How you
have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the
- The KJV says, "How art thou
fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!" Not "morning
the NIV identifies Lucifer as
“the morning star," a title given to the Lord Jesus Christ in Revelation
- The KJV says the devil is "son of the morning.”
There is a big difference between the KJV and the new
- Christ is the “morning star” (Rev. 2:28) – not
- The Lord is coming back. In the meantime He tells
us to “hold fast” (Rev. 2:25).
- Hold fast to the right
- And hold fast to the right