The Assembly of Thyatira

The Assembly of Thyatira

Historical and Geographical Background:

Situated on the confines of Mysia and Ionia. According to Pliny it was known in earlier times as Pelopia and Euhippia.  The city was known as “Pelopia” (Greek language: Πελοπία), but it was named Thyateira (Θυάτειρα) by king Seleucus I Nicator in 290 BC. He was at war with Lysimachus when he learned that his wife had given birth to a daughter. Its prosperity received a new impulse under the Roman Emperor Vespasian. The city contained a number of corporate guilds, as potters, tanners, weavers, robe-makers, and dyers. It was from Thyatira that Lydia the purple-seller of Philippi came, Paul’s first European convert, (Read the following;

Act_16:14  And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple of the city of Thyatira, one reverencing God, listened, whose heart the Lord opened thoroughly to pay attention to the things being spoken by Paul.

Act_16:40  And going out from the prison, they went into the house of Lydia. And seeing the brothers, they exhorted them, and went out.).

The numerous streams of the adjacent country were full of leeches. The principal deity of the city was Apollo, worshipped as the Sun-God under the surname Tyrimnas. A shrine outside the walls was dedicated to Sambatha, a sibyl. The place was never of paramount political importance.

 

colossae Patmos Island
Illustrated Map of the Patmos Island and the Seven Assemblies.

Map of the Asia Minor area with location of Thyatira

Religious Background:

Nicator named it “Thyatira” (Greek, “thygater”, for daughter) on being informed that a daughter had been born to him.  Thyateira (also Thyatira) was the name of the modern Turkish city of Akhisar (“white castle”). The name comes from Koine Greek “Θυάτειρα” (Thuateira). The Turkish equivalent of Thyateira is Tepe Mezarlığı, meaning hill graveyard.

This city became well known for the center for trade guilds.  Memberships were compulsory and also essentials for the privileged and purpose of trading.  Corporate bodies, well organized must add, providing few benefits and taking actions in their interests.  Each guild was under the patronage of a pagan deity, to whom were paid proceedings, feast and in other meaningful manner every year to that particular pagan deity.  The believer must be a participant of the pagan activity which also had an essential appeal to the flesh.  This was very difficult to the new believer in Christ because there is only One God and Savior, Jesus Christ the Only Lord and Way.

In 1922, the Patriarch of Constantinople appointed an Exarch for Western and Central Europe with the title Archbishop of Thyateira. The current Archbishop of Thyateira (since 1988) is Gregorios Theocharous. The Archbishop of Thyateira resides in London and has pastoral responsibility for the Greek Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom.  The see of Thyatira is also included, without archiepiscopal rank, in the Catholic Church’s list of titular sees.

This particular assembly represent the medieval papacy (600 A.D. to 1500 A.D.).  Among all the seven assemblies, this particular one was the least of them in a geographical area (size of the city was the smallest among the seven assemblies) but the longest of the letters dictated by the Lord to John.

The Assembly:

Let’s start with the Bible Study of this particular assembly.

Rev 2:18

(18)  And to the angel of the assembly in Thyatira, write: These things says the Son of God, the One having His eyes as a flame of fire, and His feet like burnished brass:

In the previous verse please notice once again, as in the past messages send by the Lord to the other assemblies that he called his angel that have the specific task of the delivery of this message or letter.  As always this is very important because the Lord is confining this important task to someone that He can trust and knows will not let Him down during the process of the delivery of the letter.  There a few remarkable moments described by the Bible in where some of the messengers of the Lord had been intercepted by the devil and it has been trying in a delivery manner by the devil, to interfered and intercept such message, to either stop totally the delivery or delay until the very last minute such delivery. It is why the Lord name specifically angels for the delivery of messages.  Here is an example of this event;

Dan 10:12-13

(12)  And he said to me, Do not fear, Daniel. For from the first day that you set your heart to understand and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard. And I have come because of your words.

(13)  But the king of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty one days. But, lo, Michael, one of the first rulers, came to help me. And I stayed there with the kings of Persia.

In the same command voice the Lord said… “, write”…  This particular command was designated to John, whose is used by the Lord as a scribed for the message.

The Lord God continues His dictation to John by saying the following;…” These things says the Son of God, the One having His eyes as a flame of fire, and His feet like burnished brass:”, and the first thing you must noticed is the pluralistic term God uses at the beginning of the message in relation to the different subjects He wants us to know. Right after the Lord is described as (the below charts are based on the LITV Bible (Literal Translation of the Bible) (you will find this translation on http://www.e-Sword.net this is a trusted and completely free of charge software)):

The Son of GOD

36 verses found, 37 matches

Matthew 5 verses found 5 matches
Mark 2 verses found 2 matches
Luke 4 verses found 4 matches
John 7 verses found 7 matches
Acts 2 verses found 2 matches
Romans 1 verse found 1 match
2 Corinthians 1 verse found 1 match
Galatians 1 verse found 1 match
Ephesians 1 verse found 1 match
Hebrews 4 verses found 4 matches
1 John 7 verses found 8 matches
Revelation 1 verse found 1 match

the One having His eyes as a flame of fire

1 verse found, 1 match

Revelation 1 verse found 1 match

His feet like burnished brass

2 verses found, 2 matches

Revelation 2 verses found 2 matches

 

These are all attributes that only you can find them under the New Testament.

(Rev 2:19)  I know your works, and the love, and the ministry, and the faith, and your patience, and your works; and the last being more than the first.

In the above verse the Lord started by indicating the positive points of the assembly of Thyatira.  Keep in mind that the Lord always see us for what we are and how we are.

The first He mentioned is that the Lord knows her “works”, but also noticed how in this particular translation the last word is also the one that is at the beginning of this assembly positives points.  There is a big difference among the two, and that is that the first one is about their labor in the field of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. Toil
    1. (Verb) work extremely hard or incessantly.

“We toiled away”

  • (Synonyms) work hard, labor, exert oneself, slave (away), grind away, strive, work one’s fingers to the bone, put one’s nose to the grindstone.
  • (Noun) exhausting physical labor.

“a life of toil”

  • (Synonyms) hard work, labor, exertion, slaving, drudgery, effort, industry, ‘blood, sweat, and tears.

G2041  (ἔργον / ergon)

er’-gon

From ἔργω ergō (a primary but obsolete word; to work); toil (as an effort or occupation); by implication an act: – deed, doing, labour, work.

Total KJV occurrences: 176

And the second one is in regard to the “deeds” of the assembly, this is very noticeable when the Lord indicated that “…the last being more than the first…”.  All of these attributes are connected to the “fruits of the Spirit”;

Gal_5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith,

Eph_5:9  For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth,

  • Love
    1. G26 ἀγάπη / agapē

ag-ah’-pay

From G25; love, that is, affection or benevolence; specifically (plural) a love feast: – (feast of) charity ([-ably]), dear, love.

Total KJV occurrences: 116

  • Ministry
    1. G1248 διακονία / diakonia

dee-ak-on-ee’-ah

From G1249; attendance (as a servant, etc.); figuratively (eleemosynary) aid, (official) service (especially of the Christian teacher, or technically of the diaconate): – (ad-) minister (-ing, -tration, -try), office, relief, service (-ing).

Total KJV occurrences: 34

  • Faith
    1. G4102 πίστις / pistis

pis’-tis

From G3982; persuasion, that is, credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly constancy in such profession; by extension the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself: – assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.

Total KJV occurrences: 244

  • Patience
    1. G5281 ὑπομονή / hupomonē

hoop-om-on-ay’

From G5278; cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy: – enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting).

Total KJV occurrences: 32

  • Works ( this particular used of this word at the end of the attributes of this assembly are more like “Deeds”).

In all these attributable gifts given by the Lord to this assembly, they were working in conjunction, none of them bigger than the other, until…

Thyatira Positive Elements (Click on this link to see the Graphic on the Positive Elements of Thyatira assembly)

(Rev 2:20 LITV)  But I have a few things against you, that you allow the woman Jezebel to teach, she saying herself to be a prophetess, and to cause My slaves to go astray, and to commit fornication, and to eat idol sacrifices.

Now here is the only point that this particular assembly neglected:

Enabling outside sources to infiltrate into the cell of the Body of Christ (please notice that I am indicating this as a “cell of the Body of Christ” and not the “Body of Christ”) and not stopping such actions.  As a result of enabling this outside intervention of this woman, a chaos was created and the gears of the Gospel were not turning properly if so.  Some of the consequences of this inadvertent event are:

    1. Belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religious (especially Christian) doctrine.

“Huss was burned for heresy”

  1. Synonyms: dissension, dissent, nonconformity, heterodoxy, unorthodoxy, apostasy, blasphemy, freethinking; agnosticism, atheism, nonbelief; idolatry, paganism

“an age in which scientists were often accused of heresy”

  1. Opinion profoundly at odds with what is generally accepted.
  • Implosion of the cell of the Body of Christ
  • Distrust
  • Ignorance purposely or inadvertently of the Word of God
    1. Unavailability of the Holy Spirit for the understanding the Word of God (Holy Bible)
  • Spiritual fornication which is one of the most difficult sins to be recognized by the human mind when is out of the influence of the Holy spirit
  • Co-participating with the idol sacrifices
  • Many more

Let’s have a review of who was “Jezebel”:

There is a total of 20 verses with 23 matches of her name in the Holy Bible, indicating to us how important is to understand the When, Why and How of Jezebel.

1st King16:31 talks about how this particular woman became part of the history of Israel (Northern Kingdom).  Ahab (Omri’s son (Omri was the king that the people of the Northern Kingdom considered to be the founder of such, even though there were kings before him)) after becoming the king of Israel married a “Sidonian Princess” with the name of “Jezebel” and by doing so, Ahab offers his loyalty and worshiping to their deity “Baal”.

The queen Jezebel wanting to keep her religious believe among the people of Israel, demanded to replace all in the high places of the kingdom the altars from the ones dedicated to “YHWH” and in place of them to put the ones belong to Ba’al and was dedicated to eradicating the worshiping to “YHWH” in the land of Israel by also killing the prophets of GOD, read 1st King 18:4, 1st King 18:13.  It is amazing to me, the kind of demonic spirit this woman was posses with that Elijah (the prophet of GOD) was not afraid of confronting the false prophets from Ba’al, nor the army but with a single treat from this woman Elijah escaped trembling and hiding in a cave, read 1st King 19:2.

During this time, there was a farmer with a small but beautiful vineyard, his name was Naboth and who was a man of God.  The Ahab desired Naboth vineyard but unable to acquire it, his wife Jezebel promised to him (Ahab) to get the vineyard as a present for him.  Utilizing many non-legal and non-truthful ways had the people of Israel stoning Naboth and as a result of the death of him the property passed to Ahab’s hands, read 1st King 21:5 – 1st King 21:15.

It was not until GOD Himself demanded from His prophet Elijah to hit the road and to understand that He had many more of His prophets to do the task if it was necessary, to talk to the king Ahab.  In conclusion, Jezebel was push out of the window of her palace and ate by the dogs, read 1st King 21:23, 2nd King 9:10 – 2nd King 9:37.

Background on the City of Zidon (Sidon) and their deity Ba’al:

The city flourished as part of a loose confederacy of city-states spread along the coast of the land of Canaan. Although they shared “a common linguistic, cultural, and religious inheritance, the region was very rarely politically united, with each city operating as a sovereign state ruled over by a king or local dynast” (Miles, 26). This brought Sidon into competition with the other states of Phoenicia for trade and, especially, with the city of Tyre. In the 10th century BCE, the balance of power shifted to Tyre primarily due to the leadership of that city’s kings, Abibaal and, after him, his son Hiram. Tyre forged trade agreements with the newly minted kingdom of Israel-Judah and her king David. This agreement made Tyre wealthy and Sidon, trying to compete, entered into their own pacts with the kingdom of Israel including the marriage of the Sidonian princess Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, to King Ahab of Israel (a story famous from the Bible). Jezebel’s insistence on maintaining her own religion and personal identity was an affront to a number of Ahab’s subjects and, most notably, the prophet Elijah who denounced her. Jezebel and Ahab’s rule was ended by a coup by the general Jehu and, with it, Sidonian trade agreements with Israel.

The Purple dye is what gave the Phoenicians their name from the Greeks, Phoinkes, and meaning `the purple people’ and although it would come to be commonly associated with the city of Tyre, its manufacture was originally at Sidon.

baal1
Ba’al was a Phoenician deity that among other powers attributed to him were being judge of the gods, the lord of the wind and weather, controller of the rain, storm, thunder and lighting.  It was also attributed to him the renewal of the vegetation every year.

There are a few things in common with this particular assembly and Jezebel:

  1. They were knowledgeable of the purple dye process /trade
  2. They were not unaware nor ignorant of the Word of GOD
  3. They were given the gift of repentance for them to take the step forward and recognize their sinning life
  4. Jezebel was brought to be part of the People of GOD / Thyatira were a cell of the Body of Christ
  5. The Chaldean priest who interpreted the esoteric doctrines of the Babylonians mysteries was called “Peter”, The Catholic church foundation of their principles is that their founder was the apostle “Peter” (by no means I am implying that the apostle Peter is not an apostle of the Lord Jesus, but in the other hand is one of the most important apostle for the Body of Christ).
  6. The insignia wore by the Babylonian priest above mentioned had two keys; one for the deity Janus and the other for Cybele. The Catholic Church have both symbols on the arms of the Papal garment symbolizing spiritual authority.
  7. The danger to Thyatira assembly came not by the persecution from the gentile world nor by the animosity of the Jewish attitudes, but instead came from within and so the same for the people of the kingdom of Israel when they brought such Jezebel to their lives.
  8. Jezebel acquired by “inquisition” Naboth’s vineyard and during the medieval the Catholic Church did so including the “Dark Ages” period.

(Rev 2:21 LITV)  And I gave time to her that she might repent of her fornication. And she did not repent.

(Rev 2:22 LITV)  Behold, I am throwing her into a bed, and into great affliction those committing adultery with her, unless they repent of their works.

The same way God offered to Jezebel the opportunity to repent, so He is doing with the members of the cell of the Body of Christ from the Assembly of Thyatira.

Joh 3:14-18 LITV

(14)  And even as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

(15)  that everyone believing into Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

(16)  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that everyone believing into Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

(17)  For God did not send His Son into the world that He might judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

(18)  The one believing into Him is not condemned; but the one not believing has already been condemned, for he has not believed into the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Notice how the Lord indicate, He will throw Jezebel “into a bed”, this particular expression is an expression of pain and immobilization, as if she will be a “disable/handicap” woman.  If you remember the Jezebel in the narrative from the Book of Kings was thrown from the castle window and the dogs ate her to the point of no recognition, but of course that was her physical body.  There is a second death and that is where the subject has no choice in the matter and no more opportunities are offer.

The Lord continue saying how He will put into “Great Affliction” those committing adultery with her.

Please notice how the Lord is using the verb “committing”, as an indicative of a continual and present action of the verb, indicative that those are the ones not repenting for their actions as Jezebel did.

The other important point to observe here is the point of the terms “”Great Affliction” = “Great Tribulation”:

  1. Great = G3173 μέγας – megas
    1. meg’-as
      1. Including the prolonged forms, femine μεγάλη megalē, plural μέγάλοι megaloi, etc.; compare also G3176, G3187], big (literally or figuratively, in a very wide application): – (+ fear) exceedingly, great (-est), high, large, loud, mighty, + (be) sore (afraid), strong, X to years.
      2. Total KJV occurrences: 195
    2. Affliction = G2347 θλίψις – thlipsis
      1. thlip’-sis
        1. From G2346; pressure (literally or figuratively): – afflicted, (-tion), anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation, trouble.
        2. Total KJV occurrences: 45

This particular term is not used but only for the moment in where the biggest event in human history will take place other than the “Coming of the Lord” of course.  This cannot be confuse with a tribulation, nor with a difficulties, nor for that matter with problems, under no circumstances should be so, but understand this is what is called in the Bible “The Great Tribulation”.  Unless of course they will repent of their actions, then and only then they will not go thru such event.

Rev 2:23 LITV

(23)  And I will kill her children with death; and all the assemblies will know that I am the One searching the inner parts and hearts. And I will give to each of you according to your works.

The Lord make very clear that the punishment for her children will be death, such sin cannot have any root left, must be taken completely out of the heart of the Body of Christ.  Look the way the Lord indicate how “all the assemblies”, as a plural noun, expressing that this will apply not just to the Thyatira assembly, which is this letter send to but to the rest of the assemblies.

Many times over, this part of the verse is interpreted as if we are save by works, which based on the Bible we are save by Grace, but the Lord and the Word of God doesn’t contradict itself at all.  This is because the Lord is talking here as if the Grace is no longer in action on earth, but under the “Great Tribulation” process in where your actions will take you out to the throne of God after being decapitated and in Heaven, wash out by the “Blood of the Lamb”:

Rev 7:14 LITV

(14)  And I said to him, Sir, you know. And he said to me, These are those coming out of the great tribulation; and they washed their robes and whitened them in the blood of the Lamb.

This is because there is no one that will go to the Father but Thru Him (Jesus Christ our Lord):

Joh 14:6 LITV

(6)  Jesus said to him, I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Rev 2:24-25 LITV

(24)  But I say to you and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this teaching, and who did not know the deep things of Satan, as they say: I am not casting another burden on you;

(25)  but what you have, hold until I shall come.

Observe how the Lord is making clear that this is for everyone that is reading this letter and not only to the assembly of Thyatira, the Lord says “…But I say to you and to the rest of Thyatira…”.  Indication that it is directed to the reader of this letter whether he is from the assembly of Thyatira or not and including Thyatira members.

Also and in a clear form the Lord indicates that those that are not mixed or infected with the teachings or doctrine of Jezebel and those that did not know the deep things of Satan are going to pass thru such burden.  In contrast with the deep things of God, of which we are call to pursue them and ask for them in prayer to receive them through the Holy Spirit on knowledge, wisdom and understand of the Word of God.  Read below:

1Co 2:10-15 LITV

(10)  But God revealed them to us by His Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

(11)  For who among men knows the things of a man, except the spirit of a man within him? So also no one has known the things of God except the Spirit of God.

(12)  But we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit from God, so that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God.

(13)  Which things we also speak, not in words taught in human wisdom, but in Words taught of the Holy Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things.

(14)  But a natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

(15)  But the spiritual one discerns all things, but he is discerned by no one.

Rev 2:26-27 LITV

(26)  And the one overcoming, and the one keeping My works until the end, “I will give to him authority over the nations,”

(27)  and “He will shepherd them with an iron staff” (they are “broken to pieces like clay vessels”), as I also have received from My Father. Psa. 2:8, 9

On verses 26 and 27, is the promise to the overcoming, but in this particular case, the overcomer must also keep the works of God until the end, but if you remember at the beginning of the letter there are two ways in where this term is expressed:

  • Toil
    • This is in where the member of the Body of Christ must work in every level to start the fields of the Gospel of the Lord. In where, as in human terms we say, blood, sweat and tears are brought to the field hoping the labor will be enough and that the seed of the Gospel is in a good grounds for it to grow and sustained the storms.
  • Deeds
    • Our main job as a members of the Body of Christ is to live a life in Christ like behavior by feeding the hungry, protecting the homeless and the widow, promoting the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, Discipleship others and in prayer and supplication to ask the Lord for the Body of Christ and Israel protection waiting patiently for the Coming of the Lord.

The Lord says He will give to those that do as He ask, authority over the nations to the point of shepherd them with an iron staff.  That is an incredible authority, like no one ever will have, supervised by the Lord Jesus our Savior.  Look in the parenthesis of the verse on how the Lord says that these nations are broken to pieces like clay vessels and that reminds me the vision that the prophet Daniel had of the statue in different metals, where the feet were a mix of Clay and Iron (please referred to my earlier Bible Study in this web in regard to the Book of Daniel).

Also if you read Psalm 2, which is in where it is a reference of the above verse, please notice that there are three speakers in that Psalm (Please read Psalm 2).

Rev 2:28-29 LITV

(28)  And I will give to him the Morning Star.

(29)  The one who has an ear, hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.

But that is not all that the Lord is given away, there is more, much more.

He is giving “the Morning Star”, I tell you that we already have the Morning Star which is Jesus Christ our Lord.  Of course the Lord closes the Letter with the advice to everyone that either are listening or reading these letters (not just the Thyatira letter) not just to read them, but to hear them and put them into practice.

God Bless You !

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