The Revelation: Part 5 – Thyatira, Dealing With Trouble Within
Chan Pei Ling (Co-Writer & Mother of Keira)
The city of Thyatira was smaller than Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamum. It was a city that had many skilled craftsmen who worked in trade guilds. Trade guilds were associations for bakers, bronze workers, clothiers, cobblers, etc. The power of the guilds lies in their ability to produce the most beautiful articles and dominate the marketplace.
The craftsmen wanted to be part of these guilds since their success depended on being in one of these groups.
Considering the trade guilds profited heavily on the sale of the instruments for the temple, the people of Thyatira became extremely active in idol worship, which caused them to put great pressure on the church to compromise.
An Imagery of Jesus:
“To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.” (Revelation 2:18)
Message for the Church in Thyatira:
“I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.” (Revelation 2:19)
John encouraged the Thyatira church for persevering in their faith despite the challenges that they faced.
“Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.” (Revelation 2:20)
Warning about "Jezebel"
It is noteworthy that trouble had emerged from within the church rather than outside of the church.
John challenged the Christians to take action against this immoral person called “Jezebel”. Who was she? Was John making a metaphorical reference to the notorious “Queen Jezebel” of the Old Testament? Or was she a person that lived in the first-century?
According to scholars, this “Jezebel” was a female leader in the first-century church. She had led other Christians astray by enticing them with idolatry and blatantly committing sexual immorality within the church! John symbolically called her “Jezebel” to parallel her toxic behaviour with the Old Testament Jezebel.
Warnings and Instructions
“I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, ‘I will not impose any other burden on you, except to hold on to what you have until I come.’” (Revelation 2:21)
It seemed that this “Jezebel” had been warned before and given time to repent. Instead of repenting she continued in her evil ways. “Her children” referred to those who followed her ways and indulged in sin with her.
“Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.” This verse assures us that God is fair and impartial. He knows what we are thinking & how we feel, and will judge us accordingly.
Indeed it’s encouraging to know that in the Thyatira church, there were Christians who stood firm and did not follow this “Jezebel’s” teaching, in spite of how enticing sin can be.
Promise to the Overcomers
“To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations – that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’ – just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give that one the morning star. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelations 2:26-29)
On the whole, the Christians in Thyatira were faithful and persevering. Yet Jesus was upset with them because they tolerated sin within the church, when they knew it was wrong and should clean it out. Have we allowed sin in our lives? Are our minds shaped by the world or transformed by God's Word?
Keira is 12 years old and an avid fan of Marvel! In her free time, she dances ballet and builds forts out of blankets with her younger brothers.
From Left to Right:
Danny, Keira, Jojo (Josiah), Pei Ling, Titus
(Picture Credit: Chan Pei Ling)