The book of Revelation was written by John the Apostle who was exiled by emperor Domitian to the island of Patmos (AD 94-96). There the Lord gave John instructions to write letters to the persecuted churches in Asia – the one below to the church in Thyatira.
18 “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: 19 “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.
20 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. 21 And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. 22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. 23 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.
24 “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. 25 But hold fast what you have till I come. 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations— 27 ‘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; 28 and I will give him the morning star. 29 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ‘
Notes: Thyatira (present-day Akhisar in Turkey) was situated between two valleys and therefore an important military stronghold and hub for traders. The city was renowned for its strong trade guilds (ancient Grecko-Roman “worker unions”) each with its patron gods being honoured at the regular feasts. Jezebel was Queen of Israel who lead Israel astray into idolatry, immorality and cultic worship during the reign of her husband Ahab (refer to 1 Kings 16:31, 18:4,19 and 2 Kings 9:22). She used seduction, manipulation and intimidation to gain power over people. She and her children were executed by Ahab’s successor, Jehu.
- Complete the Revelation series table below by answering these questions (2:18-29):
- How does Christ reveal himself to this congregation?
- What does Christ commend in this congregation?
- What does Christ condemn in this congregation?
- What does Christ exhort in this congregation?
- What does Christ warn this congregation of?
- What does Christ promise to this congregation?
- Considering the severe tone and content of the letter, why would Jesus introduce himself as the One “who has eyes like a flame of fire, [with] feet like fine brass”? What does He mean to say to the church in Thyatira with this self-revelation? (verse 19)
- Noting how Jesus praised this church, how would you describe this church?
- With reference to “Jezebel … a prophet” (verse 20):
- Would you say there was a woman in the congregation with that name, or is it used symbolically? Why?
- Referring to the notes above on the practice of the trade guilds, as well as Jezebel (the wife of Ahab), what do you think was going in this church, which Jesus condemns?
- What inspires you about Jesus’ praise of Thyatira? Why?
- How does Jesus’ warning to Thyatira make you feel? Why?
- Jesus condemns a prophetess whom He calls Jezebel for leading the church into idolatry and immorality.
- Why did Jezebel have power of over the people? [hint: Jesus reveals himself of one who searches hearts in this letter…]
- How do you discern prophesy to be true or false? Do you have a personal example of being lead into deception for a while?
- How do you guard against compromising on your godly morals in a immoral society?
- What hope does Christ’s message in this letter give you?
Application and Prayer
Pray with David that God would test and purify your heart (to cleanse your desires and motives), and help you with discernment and perseverance in godly character.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.