The Message to the Church in Thyatira

Thyatira was a city located in the Roman province of Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) in the first century AD. The city was situated on a major trade route between Pergamum and Sardis and was known for its production of woolen goods, dyes, and metalworking.

It was a relatively small city that was known for its guilds, which were associations of craftsmen and merchants who controlled the production and sale of goods in the city.

The sun-god Apollo was both the patron deity of the city and associated with the guilds. The trade guilds made it mandatory to worship Apollo, which created a significant issue for Christians.

In his letter to the church, Jesus addressed the challenge of living in a city where the worship of idols was mandatory.

Jesus – Not Apollo!

Apollo was the patron god of Thyatira. The sun god was supposed to protect and care for the city.

The city worshiped the sun, but the followers of Jesus worshiped the One who created the sun.

“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze” (Revelation 2.18).


Although the church encountered significant difficulties, it displayed several praiseworthy characteristics such as faith, love, service, endurance, and spiritual growth.

“I know your works: your love, faith, service, and endurance. I know that your latest works are greater than the first” (Revelation 2.19).

How incredibly profound would be the church’s example if these qualities were not only present but also continuously growing in strength?

Let’s pray for these character traits to be present in the church.

Jesus’ Rebuke

Even though Jesus could commend the church, he also had to rebuke them. As we read his words, it is important to understand the content of Jezebel’s teachings and the potential consequences of following her guidance.

“But I have this against you: you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet and is teaching and beguiling my servants to engage in sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols” (Revelation 2.20).

Participating in the trade guilds of Thyatira meant gathering in pagan temples, which was comparable to a modern-day business or social meeting in a restaurant.

In the first century, there was a significant difference from modern-day meetings in that food was offered to the temple idol during the gatherings. Additionally, the presence of temple prostitutes was not uncommon at the end of the meetings.

It seems that Jezebel held a certain level of influence within the church and granted permission to the tradesmen to take part in the temple gatherings.

Although this scene may seem distant from our present time, it is important to acknowledge the temptation to stray from Christ’s teachings when money and power become involved.

High Stakes

The stakes are high when we disregard the guidance of the One “who has eyes like a flame of fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze” (verse 18).

Jezebel was unwilling to change her mind and actions, so Jesus publicly proclaimed his condemnation of her in front of the congregation in Thyatira.

“I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.

“Beware, I am throwing her on a bed, and those who commit adultery with her I am throwing into great distress, unless they repent of her doings,

“And I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am the one who searches minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve” (Revelation 2.21-23).

James wrote about church leaders: “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will face stricter judgment” (James 3.1).

Although Jezebel held a leadership role and thus faced a more severe judgment, her followers needed to take heed of Jesus’ warning and make necessary changes to their behavior.

Today’s readers of the letter to Thyatira need to take note that the fundamental dangers of embracing false religion for the sake of financial gain still exist today, just as they did in the first century.

Hold Fast

Jesus identified the compromise that Jezebel proposed as “the deep things of Satan.”

The alternative to following deceptive teaching is to hold fast to the way of life that Jesus taught and modeled for his followers.

To avoid following deceptive teachings, we need to align ourselves with the way of life that Jesus taught and exemplified for his followers.

“But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call ‘the deep things of Satan,’ to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden;

“Only hold fast to what you have until I come” (Revelation 2.24-25).

Jesus has a promise for everyone who strives to live a Jesus-kind-of-life.

To everyone who conquers and continues to do my works to the end,

I will give authority over the nations,
to rule them with an iron scepter,
as when clay pots are shattered—

“Even as I also received authority from my Father. To the one who conquers I will also give the morning star.

Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches (Revelation 2.26-29).

People who “hold fast” by living a Jesus-kind-of-life are qualified to rule with Jesus when he gives us authority over the nations.

In today’s YouTube video, Rudy Ross has a good explanation of the “morning star.” The video is on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.


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