“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
“‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. 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 what you have until I come. The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Understanding And Applying the Text
Christ introduced Himself as the “Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire and feet like burnished bronze.” This is from the first chapter. Revelation 1:14-15. Jesus does not hesitate to call Himself “the Son of God.”
Thyatira had a famous guild of bronze workers. The Greek translated “polished bronze” appears nowhere else in Greek literature. It is only found within Revelation. So the exact meaning is uncertain. But there is no question it refers to a metal. It suggests a valuable or fine bronze. The emphasis is on the quality of the metal. It denotes Christ’s immense strength.
Christ said He knew their works. He knew of their faith, their love, and their service to Him. They were patient. Not only did they have all that going for them. Their works were improving. The latest works exceed their previous works. Wouldn’t you like to have Jesus say those things about your church? They had to be thinking, “Alright! We are doing good.” But Christ stopped them in their tracks. “But I have this against you…”
They tolerated that woman Jezebel. Our culture teaches us, we are to be tolerant Tolerance is a good thing. We are to tolerate others. But there is nothing less tolerant than the “politically correct” police. If you want to see intolerance try not PC. Try speaking out against homosexuality, gay marriage, gender identification. Yes, they are tolerant of anyone who agrees with them. But they are only tolerant of those who agree with them.
The church in Thyatira was tolerant. They were politically correct. They tolerated unrighteousness and ungodliness. And Christ condemned them for it.
At Pergamos, there were many followers of Balaam. Here at Thyatira, the grand deceiver was Jezebel. Some manuscripts read “your wife, Jezebel” instead of “that woman, Jezebel.” Some scholars believe Jezebel was the wife of the pastor.
Jezebel in the Old Testament led God’s people to open idolatry. This Jezebel led them to partake in idolatry. She seems to have done this by enticing them to fornication. This is what Balaam did. The church at Pergamos was first enticed to idolatry, then to fornication.
Jezebel taught there were deep truths in the religions around them. As a result, many professing Christians were astray. It appears the church attempted to graft these heathen practices onto Christianity.
In the midst of grave sin, Christ remained patient. He gave Jezebel time to repent. But she did not. She followed her own desires, her own lusts. She continued to live in sexual immorality. As a result, Christ threw her into a sickbed. The context is an idiom for severe illness. But she would not suffer alone. Those who committed adultery with her also suffered.
Christ said He would strike her children dead. The context indicates this is not her physical children. Rather this is a reference to her followers. In fact, the NET translates it as followers. Christ said He would give according to works.
But to those who had not followed the false teaching. Christ does not give any further command. They were to keep on keeping on. They were overcome.
Christ made reference to “the deep things of Satan.” I cannot help but think this was a bit of sarcasm in Christ’s voice here. I am reminded of those who claim hidden secret messages in the Bible. They say if you want to know the deep thing of God you need to understand the secret code. That is pure Gnosticism! That is false! Read the scripture and ask the question, “What does it say?” That is how to find the deep things of God. But Christ said, “the deep things of Satan.” Because these were from the pit of hell. They were Satanic in origin.
Christ promised those who persevered would rule with Him. He would give them authority and they will rule with a rod of iron. This indicated that the rule would be strong and unbreakable. This is a reference back to Psalms. 2:8-9
Christ said He would give the morning star to the ones who held on and conquered. The sun, moon, and stars show power and authority in apocalyptic literature.
Those to whom the Holy Spirit has given the ability to understand were to take heed and listen to Christ’s words.