Revelation 2:18–29 (NKJV)
John moves to the fourth church of Revelation, Thyatira. He has written to Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamos in their particular circumstances, and now move to the church known as a church with corruption as their flaw.
18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write,Revelation 2:18-29
‘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.” ’
This letter opens with another ominous greeting, from the Son of God “who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass,” signifying an image that is piercing, able to see beyond the surface and into the sinfulness and wrongdoing that may happen behind the scenes. Thyatira seems to be a church that needs examination. Christ is also said to have feet of burnished brass, signifying the purity of Christ as opposed to the sinfulness of the city. Before the rebuke, however, Christ offers praise and commendation for the church’s works, love, service, faith, and patience. They serve well, doing great works, even more so as they continue in their service. They are a loving people, and are patient in tribulation and in waiting for the coming of the Lord. But, like two of the previous churches, Christ has something against them, in that they allow a contemporary Jezebel (controlling, lewd) to teach seductive doctrine within the church. She claims to be a prophetess, but she leads church members to engage in sexual sins and in eating things sacrificed to idols. Sexual immorality was a hallmark of the original Jezebel’s reign, as was idolatry, as she influenced the ancient Israelites to worship Baal. This modern Jezebel lead Christians to eat meat offered to idols, but this was not just eating meat, it was eaten in pagan temples and idolatry followed suit. She was adulterating church members physically and spiritually.
Christ was patient with her, allowing her time to repent, but she did not. Therefore, He would cast her into a sick bed, allowing her to suffer illness as a result of her sexual sins, as He will anyone who commits adultery with her. They will all suffer tribulation, great tribulation as a matter of fact, unless they repent of their actions. He pledges to allow their children to die of disease as well, and then all the churches will know that Jesus searches hearts and minds, and that nothing is hidden from His piercing fiery eyes. As He sees and judges, each will receive the payment for their acts. This sounds very much like the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases found in infants born to parents who are promiscuous. It also sounds like children born with addiction because of their parents’ drug use. The acts in which we engage have consequences far beyond the parents’ suffering. What we do affects everyone around us in some way. Sin in never an isolated incident. When a child is born into a sinful situation to sinful parents, they suffer consequences they never deserved, and they may grow up into the same sinful lifestyle that will one day kill them.
Jesus then inspired John to write further to those who have not embraced the doctrine of their Jezebel. They will not feel any further burden if they have not known the depths of Satan taught by the sinful so-called prophetess. If they have rejected her ideology, they will not be judged as she and her disciples. They must, however, hold fast to their way of belief and not sway. The reward for the church in Thyatira involved political influence and spiritual authority. Those who overcome the enemy and keep the works of God will rule over the nations with power. They will wield a rod of iron and crush the heathen nations like they were pottery. This power and authority is of the same type as the power given to Jesus by the Father, and will be wielded after the battle of Armageddon, when Christ and His church will rule and reign for a thousand years. The overcomers in the church will also receive the morning star, which is an expression of the oneness with Christ that will be known by believers when they rule with Him. We will be like Him. What a promise, what an anticipated blessing! This is the promise to Thyatira and to us if we are faithful and hold fast our faith until He comes!