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Its All About Power
Continuing our study into the churches of Revelation, we find the next message was unto the church at Thyatira. What is interesting about this is remember the first convert Paul had in Philippi was a woman named Lydia, a seller of purple from Thyatira. According to historical records, Thyatira was a bustling city of commerce and pretty much everyone belonged to a union of their respective trades which was made up of mainly pagan people. The Christians in order to make a living would have had to become a part of the unions and participate in these gatherings where there would be meals offered to idols in order to be successful in business in this town. Now let us see what the message is to this church.
Revelation 2:18-29 “And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet [are] like fine brass; I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last [to be] more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have [already] hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
Here we see Jesus commenting on the fact he knows of the charity, the service, the works etc they do. Take a look over the years at how many hospitals, schools, missions etc have been established in the name of the various churches and denominations. Look at how many ways there was traditionally to “earn your salvation”. Their works have been many over the years. But does he take that into account. No, not really, he instead rebukes them for allowing a false teacher to lead them astray. This is the only place in the entire book he calls himself the Son of God. Why is this? Well, the people here would have been into much idolatry so he wants it clear it is coming from the Son of God and not to be mistaken with someone else. He begins his rebuke by commenting on their allowing Jezebel to the lead them astray. Jezebel likely isn’t her name but instead it was given to this woman because of her character much like people still do today. She is calling herself a prophetess even though she isn’t and the people are not discerning this out.
Now this church is a church given to false teachings. Historically this period is from about 600 AD to 1517 AD, a time known as the Dark Ages. It is during this time period we see a MAJOR growth of the Catholic Church with its rituals and ways. It was during this time frame that we see such things introduced into the Catholic Church such as the elevation of Mary to mother of God, the confessional (where a priest absolves you of your sin), justification by works, purgatory, penance, and worship and praying to saints for help, etc. These are all false teachings that were tolerated and even embraced as the years passed by. The main church during this time frame is what has become the Roman Catholic Church. As I mentioned earlier, many things that went against the Biblical teachings had been gradually being introduced into the church in a way that it could be slipped in. In the council in 787 AD it was ordered that no church could be consecrated as a church without icons in it. There had been a great turmoil among the Christians about this as many considered this to be opening people up for idol worship. In fact this was a huge divider among the Christians of the era, whether to have statues, pictures, etc in the church or not. By 1054 AD we have the complete break between the Eastern churches (which today have become the Orthodox churches) and the Roman church which today are the Roman Catholics. The pope had gained in power to where he even has control over emperors and kings so the leader of the “Christian” church was also the power of the world. This was still pretty much the ONLY Christian churches at this time whether it was the Orthodox or the Catholics. Most of what we consider Christian has not come into existence at this point in history.
Now if we notice what does Jesus say to this church? “And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” During this time we see God gave the church time to repent of the evil it had been doing by adding these false things into the pure worship and yet the church didn’t repent. Instead it kept getting worse and the Catholic Church gained more power. God allowed the Muslims to overtake Jerusalem a couple of times and still no repentance. Then look in the middle of the 1300’s and what do we see; death and destruction coming among the lands just like they had been warned. That is the time of the Black Death. Plagues spread throughout the land. Some people did recognize this as a curse of God but just like today many refuse to accept anything bad that comes along as God’s judgment. Because people became disillusioned with the church and its power, it started the seeds with eventually led to the Reformation.
So how do you identify the church of Thyatira in today’s world? Look for the church that is telling you it’s ok to participate in business practices that go against the Christian beliefs. Now let me stress here it is NOT just the Roman Catholic church that is “committing adultery with the world” in today’s world but in MANY of the Protestant churches we find the very same things. Immorality, corruption of power, false teachings, and anything that takes our focus over truly serving Christ are all there if you care to look. The churches that teach it’s ok to do the things to get ahead in business, the churches you go to just to “make the right connections”, the churches that tell you God understands you have to go to the dinner and have the cocktails with the boss to get ahead, THOSE are the churches that are the Thyatira churches of today.
But what else does Jesus say? “But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.” This tells us that there are people in churches who are NOT falling into these traps and who have not fallen into the depths of Satan. They have not given in to the ploys and deceptions. They are NOT falling into the “accepted practices”. He tells us just to hold on and we will be rewarded. We can’t give in because everyone else is doing it and besides if the pastor says it’s ok it must be. No instead we are to remain strong. “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star.”
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