Summary of passage: Jesus says the church in Thyatira is improving but they are tolerating Jezebel and her teachings, which lead to sexual immorality and idol worship. Jesus intends to make those who commit adultery with her suffer and will kill her children. Those who haven’t followed her Jesus encourages to hold fast to him. If they do, he will give them authority over nations and the morning star.
6) The Lord commended their improvement in deeds, love, faith, service, and perseverance of him.
7a) Thyatira and Pergamum both were susceptible to false teachings and prophets, sexual immorality, and idol worship.
b) She was impudent, shameless, evil, wicked, ruthless, unrepentant, murderer, a thief, and a bully. She abused her power to gain what she wanted. She pushed her religion upon everyone. She was a false prophetess. She almost brought down God’s people (see End Notes for her history).
c) She will suffer and her children will be struck dead.
8 ) Personal question. My answer: Jesus is just (punishing according to deed). It challenges me to do right always, to know I will be judged by Jesus, even in the little things. To remember Jesus is not just the “warm and fuzzy” Jesus some churches portray him as; he’s also the final judger of deeds and a healthy fear would be good to imbed in my soul.
Conclusions: The questions themselves weren’t challenging; the commentary and meaning behind it all especially in relation to the other churches was. I would encourage all of you to take your time here. Read more than the passage. Really study what Jesus is saying here. Imbed it in your soul. Read commentaries. Ask questions. Investigate. I promise you will be rewarded if you do.
That being said, be cautious of commentaries especially ones online. One commentary I read said the children of Jezebel was the Roman Catholic Church and the commentator went on to chastise the church. Obviously, Catholicism did not exist in the first century so this interpretation is extreme.
Use common sense and prayer. If something is way out there, don’t believe it. If it doesn’t line up with your beliefs of what is right or what the bible says, then disregard it. Remember, gathering ideas is a good thing; but we also cannot know God’s ways. Man’s interpretations and analysis is not God’s. But we can learn from those around us. Hence, our time sharing our answers in BSF!
With practice and God’s guidance you will be able to decipher the good versus the junk out there and you will grow in unbelievable ways.
End Notes: Jezebel’s name is synonymous with evil. She was a princess of the Phoenicians and was married to Ahab, king of Israel for political reasons. She worshipped Baal and brought her religion with her (hence God forbid the marriage of foreigners). She convinced Arab to build a temple to Baal in the capital of Jerusalem and set out to exterminate the worship of the One, True God. She installed 850 priests of Baal and slaughtered God’s prophets.
In the end, she died as she deserved–thrown out a window and driven over by a chariot. Her body was left to be ravaged by the dogs, fulfilling Elijah’s prophecy (1 Kings 21).
Thyatira was the most insignificant of the 7 cities. It was the smallest and no persecution or suffering of Christians is even recorded in history occurring in this city.
Map of Thyatira
Still, it was a city of trade and Acts 16:14-15 mentions Lydia who traded in cloth, a good Thyratira specialized in.
To say “son of” something meant to the Jews you had the nature of that something. Here, Jesus purposely uses “Son of God” to emphasize his deity to the people. Revelation 1:14 and 1:15 is repeated here as well when Jesus describes himself with “eyes like blazing fire and feet like burnished bronze.”
Again, fire is judgment here and bronze is pure and steadfast.
Jesus picks this insignificant church in the ancient world to show that no one is insignificant in his eyes. He cares for all and watches all. He praises their love, faith, service, and perseverance–4 qualities that mark a good Christian.
The people were following a woman who was leading them astray, a false prophetess whom Jesus warned about in Matthew 24:11. Whether her name was actually Jezebel or not, scholars are unsure. Some even speculate she was the pastor’s wife as the Greek words could be indicative of that translation.
What is important here is the significance of the name; every Jewish person would have known immediately who Jezebel was and how evil she was in the eyes of the Lord.
Her sin was leading others to sin (Mark 9:42). In the ancient world and beyond into Medieval times, a craftsman had to be a member of a trade guild in order to prosper and gain work. Here, in ancient times, trade guilds were closely associated with the pagan gods which would entail sexual immorality and the eating of foods in the people’s worship ceremonies.
Note “my” servants. We are all Jesus’s.
“Deep secrets” of Satan referred to the Gnostics who all claimed they knew such things.
Giving her time to repent is Jesus’s great mercy and love. We are all given time to repent, but the time is limited.
The sin was also tolerating Jezebel. The people needed to throw her out and now before she could corrupt others.
“Adultery” here is also spiritual adultery. The people were betraying Jesus when they followed pagan ways.
The NIV uses “bed of suffering”, which is much closer to another translation of “sickbed.” We know from 1 Corinthians 11:30 that God does use sickness as a method of judgment. The word used here for “bed” in Greek is a banqueting couch.
“Suffer intensely” is also rendered “great tribulation” in some translations, which brings up THE Great Tribulation. “Striking her children dead” and the mention of the tribulation here has some scholars saying all this is for future generations–meaning us.
Jesus still hopes for repentance “unless they repent of their ways”. He uses punishments as a push towards him. He never loses hope until the last second.
“Heart and minds” in Greek is “heart and kidneys.” The heart was the source of intellect; the kidneys emotions. God wants both.
Hold on until Jesus comes. We are to hold fast to him until the End.
Jesus is encouraging the faithful: “overcome and do my will to the end.” We are to focus on Jesus despite all the immoral crap around us in the world. If we do, we are promised the ultimate reward: the morning Star, which is Jesus himself (Revelation 22:16). Morning star could also be knowledge of God’s ways (2 Peter 1:19). I happen to think it’s both–we get Jesus and knowledge all at once!
The iron scepter is a reminder that Jesus shall vanquish the unfaithful. He alone is to worry.
Scholars debate when as always–either the millennium rule or the final rule or rule from heaven.
The Greek word here translated “rule” means to shepherd.
Again, Jesus tells us this message is for all including us. A warning to unrepentant sinners; a ray of hope for those holding on to him.
Fun Fact: This is the first and only time Jesus calls himself the Son of God in the book of Revelation. Why? Because this church is heavily engaged in idolatry.