(Today’s post by Adam Cooper)
The Church at Thyatira
This is the fourth of the seven churches addressed here in the beginning of Revelation. In looking at the name Thyatira I found some interesting things that I feel are relevant to this discussion: the name Thyatira from Hitchcock’s Bible Dictionary means “sacrifice of labor”, others have translated it to mean “continual sacrifice”. Thyatira was a Turkish city which is now named differently. The name Thyatira is derived from the Greek word Thuateira the Turkish equivalent of which is Tepe Mezarligi which means “hill graveyard”. The church at Thyatira is being addressed by Christ in this letter and this is one of the places in Scripture where He affirms His deity (v.18). As I read this letter I cannot help but think of an annual performance review by a supervisor: “I know what you have been doing and you have improved over time” and then comes the BUT. It seems there is always a BUT in an annual performance review; however, a BUT from the Son of God is usually not good. Jesus begins addressing the false teaching that has run through this church. A teacher (prophetess) whom He calls Jezebel has been leading the church members in “acts of immorality (v.20).” If you remember back to the Old Testament Jezebel wanted to destroy all of the Jews and is arguably one of the most evil women in the Old Testament. We get the impression here that this Jezebel is trying to destroy the church in Thyatira with her teachings toward immorality; something we are told she does not repent for.
Jesus outlines the fate that awaits any of those who remain misled by her. He even likens following her to adultery which I also find interesting since the church is the Bride of Christ and adultery by your waiting bride would not be tolerated in Jewish society. This statement just serves to underline the importance of this church’s falling away.
There are some in this church who are found to be persevering in spite of this woman’s false teachings; people He says are full of love and faith and service. He says that these who remain steadfast and do not follow her or come to “know the deep things of Satan (v.24)” will not be held accountable for those who have. Here Psalm 2 is quoted concerning Christ and His rule over the “nations” and the reward for those who persevere is Himself. How do we know this? In verse 28 He tells them He will give them the “morning star.” In Revelation 22:16 Christ specifically refers to Himself as the morning star, “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
Now that we have looked through some of the images brought forth from these verses how can we apply this to us, the church in 2015? The church in Thyatira is being led astray because of loose morality and false teaching. This ‘teacher’ was leading these people in ways that were sexually immoral and calling it Christian. Look at the Church today; have we gone the way of the church in Thyatira with our loose morality and our questionable interpretation of Scripture?
Christ possess “eyes like a flame of fire (v.18)” which He uses to see into the depths of our souls. He can see the lusts of our hearts and He can tell if we are only playing church. Even those who may agree that the Church has lost a morale foothold, I ask, “Is the rest of YOUR house clean?” Does your heart harbor the lusts of your eyes? Do you commit adultery in the way you look at, or think about, women who are not your bride? If you do, remember that Christ can see through your charade and He has “feet like burnished bronze (v.18)” which He will use to cast us into the “great tribulation (v.22).”
As I have said before it is time for us to be counter-cultural in our thinking. As more and more immoralities become “acceptable” to the church, the church begins to look more and more like the church described in these verses. It is our job as Christians to keep ourselves pure for the coming Bridegroom and to not let ourselves be defiled by the ravages and torrid acceptances of society. It is my prayer for each of us reading today that we will all take “moral stock” of ourselves and make sure what Christ can see on the inside is as good as what we are portraying on the outside.