Notes on Thyatira - Rev 2:18-29
To air on Tuesday 4/28/2015 7 pm CDT on http://leadingedgeradio.com/ channel #1
· It was on the imperial post road that connected the 7 churches.
· It was the least important of the 7 churches...why did it get more attention than the others?
· It is an armed garrison.
· Thyatira had no special pagan religious significance.
· It was not a center of either Caesar or state worship.
· Its local hero-god was called Tyrimnus and he appears on its coins on horseback armed with battle-axe and club.
· It had a fortune-telling shrine
· There appears to be little threat of DIRECT persecution to the Thyatiran Church when this letter was written.
· We know less about the history of Thyatira than about any other of the seven cities.
· It was a great commercial city, known for the dyeing industry and trade in woolen goods.
· Hometown of Lydia, the seller of purple, came (Acts 16:14).
· Thyratira had a large number of trade guilds or labor unions. More than any other city at that time. Inscriptions mention the following: wool-workers, linen-workers, makers of outer garments, dyers, leather-workers, tanners, potters, bakers, slave-dealers, and bronze-smiths.
· Membership in these guilds may have been the catalysis for the problem of the Church in Thyatira.
· To refuse to join one of these guilds would be much the same as to refuse to join a trade union today. It would mean to give up all prospect of commercial existence.
· Apollo was considered the God of the unions.
· Why should a Christian not join one of these guilds?
· They held common meals or feasts.
· These feasts would be held in a temple and involved eating meat sacrifice to idols which was forbidden for the new Christians.
· These meals would end up as drunken feast and would often include sexual immorality and over indulgence.
· Was it possible for a Christian to be part of such occasions?
Revelation 2:18-29 New Living Translation
The Message to the Church in Thyatira
18 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Thyatira. This is the message from the Son of God, whose eyes are like flames of fire, whose feet are like polished bronze:
19 “I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things.
20 “But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman—that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet—to lead my servants astray. She teaches them to commit sexual sin and to eat food offered to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to turn away from her immorality.
22 “Therefore, I will throw her on a bed of suffering,[a] and those who commit adultery with her will suffer greatly unless they repent and turn away from her evil deeds. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve.
24 “But I also have a message for the rest of you in Thyatira who have not followed this false teaching (‘deeper truths,’ as they call them—depths of Satan, actually). I will ask nothing more of you 25 except that you hold tightly to what you have until I come. 26 To all who are victorious, who obey me to the very end, to them I will give authority over all the nations.
27 They will rule the nations with an iron rod
and smash them like clay pots.
28 They will have the same authority I received from my Father, and I will also give them the morning star!
29 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.
VS 18 –
The flaming eyes could mean:
· Could be his burning with anger against sin and the light that sees beyond the disguises into a man's inmost heart.
· Christ see all things.
· Could refer to judgement.
Feet are like polished bronze could mean:
· He is steady and steadfast.
· He will move very quickly and be everywhere.
· He will pursue evil things.
· He will put his foot on them
VS 19 –
· They are doing some things right and Jesus notices and commends them.
· They have the ability to love.
· They were doing more, they are progressing and growing.
· Their attributes go in pairs. Service is the outcome of love and patient endurance is the product of loyalty or faith.
VS 20 –
· Their sin was to not stop this false prophetess from leading people astray.
· That doesn't seem huge until we take a look at Jezebel.
The old testament 1 Kings Jezebel:
· Jezebel was a Phoenician Princess, temple prophetess and prostitute.
· She was the daughter of Ethbaal.
· So she marries Israel King Ahab (Northern Kingdom).
· Their reign was the most evil time in the divided Kingdom
· By law, Ahab could not marry a pagan priestess.
· Introduced Baal worship
· Child Sacrifice
· Killed the prophets of God
· Killed Naboth
· She was the catalyst for the eventual downfall and exile (scattering – lost 10 tribes) of the Northern Kingdom.
· Through her daughter Athaliah, she was the catalyst for the eventual downfall and exile of the Southern Kingdom.
· Jezebel’s death.
· From bible.org commentary:
The king of Phoenicia was not only the political leader of his people, he was also the high priest of their religion, as his name Ethbaal implies. Jezebel had grown up steeped in the worship of Baal and his female consort, Astarte (or Ashtoreth). Baal was considered to be the god of the land. He owned it, they said, and he controlled its weather and the increase of its crops and cattle. Ashtoreth was considered to be the mother-goddess of fertility. So idols of both Baal and Ashtoreth stood side by side in their temples and were worshiped by priests and temple prostitutes with lewd dances and sacred orgies, with the hope that their god and goddess would follow their example and increase the productivity of their agriculture, their animals, and their children. In times of crisis such as famine, they slashed themselves and even sacrificed their children to appease the gods and implore their help.
Jezebel was fanatical about her religion. The worship of Jehovah must have seemed dull and commonplace by comparison, and she was determined to change it. She was a headstrong, self-willed, domineering woman, and with a moral weakling for a husband, she had little trouble getting her way. She got him to build a house for Baal beside the palace in Samaria, as well as an “Ashtoreth,” that is, an idol of the fertility goddess. Then she brought 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Ashtoreth from Phoenicia, housed them in the palace, and fed them in royal style. Their duties would have been to promote the worship of Baal and Ashtoreth throughout the land.
Not satisfied to establish her religion in Israel, Jezebel sought to stamp out every remnant of Jehovah worship and to kill every true prophet of God. She had to have things completely her way, and she almost succeeded. Some prophets survived by compromising their convictions and turning into “yes” men for Ahab. Another group of 100 were hidden in a cave and fed secretly by a godly servant of Ahab named Obadiah. But Elijah was the only one courageous enough to stand up openly against Jezebel’s wickedness. God gave him a great victory when he called down fire from heaven upon Mount Carmel. The prophets of Baal were slain and it looked as though the nation would turn back to God. But Jezebel was not finished with her sinister work. She swore in her rage that she would kill Elijah, and he ran for his life, collapsed in the wilderness under a juniper tree, and pleaded with God to let him die. It was the lowest point in the godly prophet’s great career. And Baal worship lived on, dragging the nation to new depths of degradation. This stubborn, headstrong, self-willed wife of Ahab brought disruption and distress to Israel for years to come.
Of course, Ahab was just as self-willed as Jezebel, but with a different temperament. For one thing, he had willfully entered a marriage that was politically convenient, but contrary to every word from God. But Ahab’s self-will becomes even more evident in an incident involving the king and his vegetable garden. Shortly after his marriage to Jezebel, Ahab not only beautified the palace at Samaria so that it came to be called “the ivory house” (1 Kgs. 22:39), but he also built a second palace in Jezreel, twenty-five miles to the north, in an area of a more moderate climate in the wintertime. “Now it came about after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard which was in Jezreel beside the palace of Ahab king of Samaria” (1 Kgs. 21:1). Ahab decided he wanted Naboth’s property, so he went to him and said, “Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden because it is close beside my house, and I will give you a better vineyard than it in its place; if you like, I will give you the price of it in money” (1 Kgs. 21:2). Naboth declined the offer, just as he should have done, for God had forbidden the Jews to sell their paternal inheritance (Lev. 25:23-34). Naboth was simply obeying the law of the Lord.
“So Ahab came into his house sullen and vexed because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him .... And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face and ate no food” (1 Kgs. 21:4).
Ahab was forbidden from:
1. A marriage to Jezebel
2. Making treaties with Pagans
3. Worship of other Gods
Deuteronomy 7:1 -4
1 “When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are about to enter and occupy, he will clear away many nations ahead of you: the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These seven nations are greater and more numerous than you. 2 When the Lord your God hands these nations over to you and you conquer them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaties with them and show them no mercy. 3 You must not intermarry with them. Do not let your daughters and sons marry their sons and daughters, 4 for they will lead your children away from me to worship other gods.
Lev 26:12 I will walk among you; I will be your God, and you will be my people.
She was deep in to pagan Gods and set up temples and alters to Baal alters other Gods where they practice child sacrifice and child sex slavery
· She killed the prophets of God
1 Kings 18:4 While Jezebel was killing off the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.)
· She killed Naboth
Ahab wanted to put a veggie garden in by his palace but the land he fancied was a family vineyard.
1 Kings 21: 2- 7
2 One day Ahab said to Naboth, “Since your vineyard is so convenient to my palace, I would like to buy it to use as a vegetable garden. I will give you a better vineyard in exchange, or if you prefer, I will pay you for it.”
3 But Naboth replied, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance that was passed down by my ancestors.”
4 So Ahab went home angry and sullen because of Naboth’s answer. The king went to bed with his face to the wall and refused to eat!
5 “What’s the matter?” his wife Jezebel asked him. “What’s made you so upset that you’re not eating?”
6 “I asked Naboth to sell me his vineyard or trade it, but he refused!” Ahab told her.
7 “Are you the king of Israel or not?” Jezebel demanded. “Get up and eat something, and don’t worry about it. I’ll get you Naboth’s vineyard!”
· With her Phoenician background, Jezebel could not seem to understand that even the king in Israel was subject to the laws of God.
· Her daughter Athaliah married the King Jehoram of Judah (Southern Kingdom) and did the same. When she found out her husband and son were dead she took the throne and killed all of her heirs. They were held in captivity by the Babylonians for 70 years.
2 Chronicles 22: 10-12
10 When Athaliah, the mother of King Ahaziah of Judah, learned that her son was dead, she began to destroy the rest of Judah’s royal family. 11 But Ahaziah’s sister Jehosheba,[i] the daughter of King Jehoram, took Ahaziah’s infant son, Joash, and stole him away from among the rest of the king’s children, who were about to be killed. She put Joash and his nurse in a bedroom. In this way, Jehosheba, wife of Jehoiada the priest and sister of Ahaziah, hid the child so that Athaliah could not murder him. 12 Joash remained hidden in the Temple of God for six years while Athaliah ruled over the land.
· So this one women infected the entire Hebrew population.
· As we know, Jezebel got her just reward. She was thrown out the window, and her blood spattered against the wall and on the horses. Her body was trampled under horses’ hooves. Her body was left there while the new King ate and drank....probably a celebration party. When they went to retrieve her body all that was left was her skull, her feet, and her hands. She had been eaten in the streets by wild dogs just as Lord said she would through his servant Elijah
2 kings 9:32-37
32 He looked up at the window and called out, “Who is on my side? Who?” Two or three eunuchs looked down at him. 33 “Throw her down!” Jehu said. So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered the wall and the horses as they trampled her underfoot.
34 Jehu went in and ate and drank. “Take care of that cursed woman,” he said, “and bury her, for she was a king’s daughter.” 35 But when they went out to bury her, they found nothing except her skull, her feet and her hands. 36 They went back and told Jehu, who said, “This is the word of the Lord that he spoke through his servant Elijah the Tishbite: On the plot of ground at Jezreel dogs will devour Jezebel’s flesh.[f] 37 Jezebel’s body will be like dung on the ground in the plot at Jezreel, so that no one will be able to say, ‘This is Jezebel.’”
· **********************************************************************The Jezebel in Thyatira brought new ways into the church. They were evil ways.
· This may have been an individual, a group or an ideology.
· This was a problem for the Christians. They needed to work in order to live.
· They would have worked in different trades.
· So they had to join their trade unions.
· Otherwise, it would have been difficult for them to earn money.
· They would have had to attend the trade feasts.
· There people would sacrifice animals to their idols. They would eat the meat of the animals.
· The Christians had to make a decision.
· If the Jezebel of the church of Thyatira was an actual person she/he was probably appeared to be an upstanding citizen of fine character, talented speaker, attractive, had a nice presence and charismatic.
· Because this Jezebel was a prophetess she was important in the church. Members would listen to her and new members would be confused by the teachings.
· Have you ever watched an activist atheist speak? I remember hearing a women debating with a Christian. She had a very sweet Southern voice, almost like a child but her words did not match her voice. She had a great presence, very attractive, pink fuzzy button down cardigan and completely evil to the core.
· Example for today...Ashley Madison is an online dating service and social networking service who targets married people. They serve as a vehicle to destroy marriages and families. Their slogan is "Life is short. Have an affair.
· I remember a few years ago when Noel Biderman, CEO and founder made the talk show circuit. He was well dressed, well spoken, well-educated and moderately attractive.
He has said that he writes the commercials for his company (which have featured two attractive people in the throes of passion, and then the sign: "This couple is married...but not to each other"), which the LA Times called "hilarious." Biderman designed Ashley Madison to focus on married women, instead of married men. "I was very confident that men would gravitate towards a service to conduct these otherwise anonymous affairs. They were seemingly doing it already," Biderman told BusinessWeek. "I was much less confident that women would behave that way.
· Per Wikipedia the site has 22 million members in 26 countries.
· Biderman has ever legal right to establish his business, no one should deny him of that LEGALLY.
· However, how have we as a society become so calloused and depraved that such a business could boost 22 million members?
· Why are 22 million people so anxious to commit adultery (or the murder of the family unit)?
***Question: Why did church allow Jezebel to continue teaching?
Vs. 22 ‘So I will throw her on a bed of suffering’.
· The Hebrew ‘to fall on a bed’ means to become ill.
· ‘To throw on a bed’ means that someone makes you ill.
Those who take part in adultery with her’.
· This could be literal adultery but more likely those who take part in and accept the ideology or teaching of Jezebel.
· We are the bride of Christ and God is a jealous God. (Exodus 34:14 and 2 Corinthians 11:2 ) Therefore serving other Gods is adultery.
“…unless they repent and turn away from her evil deeds.”
· This means that there is still an opportunity for mercy.
· God does not want anyone to die.
· He does not want anyone to be apart from him.
· It is never too late.
· You have never gone too far to be outside of the realm of his forgiveness.
Vs 23 ‘I will strike her children dead’. This means ‘I will kill her children with death.
· This could mean disease or hunger. All will result in death. ‘Her children’ may be her own children.
· They may be those who follow her teaching.
· The tribe of Dan paid dearly for their transgressions with Baal. They lost their right to be numbered with the twelve tribes of Israel. See Revelation 7:5-8. The tribe of Dan is missing. Which tribe did God replace them with? See Revelation 21:12. When the New Jerusalem is described, there are twelve gates named for the twelve tribes of Israel - THE TRIBE OF DAN WILL NOT BE NAMED THERE!
Vs 24 & 25
(‘deeper truths,’ as they call them—depths of Satan, actually)
· From Matthew Henry commentary:
“What these seducers called their doctrines--depths, profound mysteries, amusing the people, and endeavoring to persuade them that they had a deeper insight into religion than their own ministers had attained to. What Christ called them--depths of Satan, Satanical delusions and devices, diabolical mysteries; for there is a mystery of iniquity, as well and the great mystery of godliness. It is a dangerous thing to despise the mystery of God, and it is as dangerous to receive the mysteries of Satan.
· Not all of the members of the church were buying into the false teaching
· Those who are not involved....good job and keep it up!
· Those who are not involved....good job and keep it up
· From Matthew Henry Commentary:
“I will not overburden your faith with any new mysteries, nor your consciences with any new laws. I only require your attention to what you have received.”
Vs. 26 & 27
1. He is not talking of a millennial reign here, but rather referring to our spiritual state with Christ.
2. More likely: From bible.org
“The reward for such faithfulness was the privilege of reigning with Christ in His earthly kingdom.28 The Lord intended the prospect of this blessing to motivate the unfaithful in the church to return to God’s will for them and to encourage the faithful to persevere. Believers who are faithful will receive authority in heaven from Jesus Christ and will “rule” (lit. shepherd) others during the millennium.29 It will be run like our world today, with prime ministers, governors, and mayors who will rule for and with Christ. Where you sit then depends on how you live now. You may not live in a position of power now, but if you serve the Lord faithfully, God will give you a position of power and prestige in His kingdom.”
1 Corinthians 6:2 New Living Translation
2 Don’t you realize that someday we believers will judge the world? And since you are going to judge the world, can’t you decide even these little things among yourselves?
28 Jesus replied, “I assure you that when the world is made new and the Son of Man sits upon his glorious throne, you who have been my followers will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
· From Grace Communion International:
“Whatever the case, the meaning is clear: The now powerless church existing under human government will have power over the nations under Christ. The saints will inherit the earth, as Christ said (Matthew 5:55). And they would judge the world in whatever way that “judging” is to be understood (1 Corinthians 6:2).”
*** see notes on views of the Millennium below
Vs 28 “Morning star”
· Morning star Greek: light-bringing, giving light
· Some say it signifies the 2nd coming
· Some say it means "victory" or "overcome"
· Possibly enlightenment. The end of mysteries.
1. Christ wins in the end and “Team Jesus” wins with him. As for “Team Satan”…Romans 14:11 New Living Translation
11 For the Scriptures say,
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bend to me,
and every tongue will declare allegiance to God
2. Satan can dress up pretty and talk sweet... Keep your eyes focused on the cross so you will not be seduced by false doctrine or the depths of Satan.
3. Political correctness and moral relativity are the gateway drugs to disaster. Love the sinner but hate the sin. When tolerance turns to acceptance you have effectively committed adultery against God.
Views on the Millennium
4 events of end times in unknown order:
“Preterism is a Christian eschatological view that interprets prophecies of the Bible as events which have already happened. Daniel is interpreted as events that happened in the second century BC, while Revelation is interpreted as events that happened in the first century AD. Preterism holds that Ancient Israel finds its continuation or fulfillment in the Christian church at the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. The term Preterism comes from the Latin praetor, which is listed in Webster's 1913 dictionary as a prefix denoting that something is "past" or "beyond", signifying that either all or a majority of Bible prophecy was fulfilled by AD 70. “ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preterism)
Important Terms from http://www.christianciv.com/eschatology_bs_Sect1.htm
“Eschatology: The study (Greek logos) of last things (Greek eschaton), i.e., the end of the world, the Last Judgment, the Second Coming of Christ, the resurrection of the body and, in general, anything relating to the future.
The Second Coming of Christ (also known as the Second Advent and the Return of Christ): Christ's physical return to earth, mentioned in such passages as Acts 1:11, 1 Thessalonians 4, and Hebrews 9:28.
The Millennium: The thousand-year reign of Christ mentioned in Revelation, chapter 20. Premillennialists ("Chiliasts") believe in a literal thousand-year reign in the future. Amillennialists and postmillennialists believe that the thousand years is a figurative number for the entire period from Christ's first coming until His second.
Premillennialism (Also known as Chiliasm from the Greek word for "thousand"): The belief that the Second Coming of Christ occurs before the millennium, which is a literal 1000 years. The resurrection of Christians occurs at the beginning of the millennium, the resurrection of the unsaved at the end of the millennium.
Postmillennialism: The belief that the Second Coming of Christ occurs after the millennium. There is an increase in the spread of God's rule in every area of life during the millennium (a figurative concept referring to the entire New Testament age).
1. Christ’s ascension after resurrection
2. Immediate beginning of the ”Last days”
A. One view is the “Last days” go on for 40 years and end with the tribulation and destruction of the temple in AD 70.
B. Another view is the “Last days” is the period from Christ first to second coming.
C. Some believe the tribulation lasts from Pentecost to the second coming.
3. Immediately the Millennium begins but the time the earth begins to Christianize is unknown.
4. Christianization takes place.
5. Some believe Armageddon takes place.
6. Christ returns
7. He resurrects the believers
8. final judgment
9. Heaven and eternity begins
Amillennialism: The belief that the Second Coming occurs at the end of history, like postmillennialism, but there is no earthly millennium. The millennium is purely spiritual, applying only to heaven and the Church.
Dispensationalism: The belief that history is divided into several distinct dispensations, or ages in which God relates to mankind in a different way. The most important distinction is between Israel's Age of Law on the one hand, and the Church's Age of Grace on the other. Dispensationalism is pretribulationist and premillennial. The Church Age ends and God's plan for Israel resumes when the Church is raptured at the beginning of the Tribulation. The millennium is Israel-centered: It rules over all other nations and animal sacrifices are performed in the Temple as in the Old Testament.
The Great Tribulation: The great judgment of God that is foretold in such passages as Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, and the Book of Revelation. The main events occur in the land of Israel.
The Last Days: Most believe that these are the days of great evil before the Great Tribulation. Some believe that the Last Days refers to the entire New Testament/Church period.
The Rapture: The physical resurrection of believers, both living and dead, who will meet Christ in the air at His Second Coming. The word "rapture" is a transliteration of the Latin translation of the word found in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and translated in English as "caught up."
Futurist interpretation of the Tribulation: The Great Tribulation is yet to come.
Preterist interpretation of the Tribulation: The Tribulation has already occurred.
Church Historicist interpretation: The Tribulation is experienced by the Church throughout its history.
Pretribulation (Pretrib) Rapture: The rapture occurs before the Tribulation. (The standard Dispensational view).
Midtribulation (Midtrib) Rapture: The rapture occurs in the middle of the Tribulation.
Posttribulation (Posttrib) Rapture: The rapture occurs after the seven years of the Tribulation. (Historic premillennialist view).”
“Armageddon is a terrible war provoked by the Antichrist. Most people on earth will die. God's anger, hatred, and wrath are poured out over mankind and the earth at this time. A series of violent events are predicted in Daniel 9, Matthew 24, and Revelation 4-19.”