The Seven Churches: THYATIRA

The Seven Churches: THYATIRA

THE “PERILOUS TIMES” Series continues with THYATIRA. How did the Church get to where it is today?

Thyatira The Corrupt Church


Revelation 2:18–29

The Works and Charity

The Sin and Seduction

The Reckoning and Retribution

The Promise and The Prize

Video: James O Keefe “price must be your life”

A theme is introduced to us by James Okeefe, the founder of Project Veritas in the USA. It is a theme of corruption that comes about through an enemy searching for and finding a vulnerability in you that he can exploit.

We have just left the Compromising Church of Pergamos and are now entering into the Corrupt Church of Thyatira

From a Church that simply wanted to MAINTAIN its freedoms and comforts, to one that wanted to PROSPER but retain the name of Christ.

Isaiah wrote of such people;

Isaiah 4:1

1 And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.


     •        The Church of Ephesus: the Legalistic Church that was ‘Strong on Doctrine’ but weak on Love. 

  • The Church of Smyrna: The Suffering Church, WHOSE PRICE WAS ITS LIFE
  • The Church of Pergamos sought Comfort Through Compromise
  • In Thyatira, we see a Church that does not compromise to RETAIN LIFE, but corrupt itself to ENRICH LIFE. Now the Church has shifted from SUFFERING for Christ (Smyrna) to SERENITY apart from Christ. From AFFLICTION to ADVANTAGE.

What we are seeing is the historical change of the Church through history to explain how it is that we have come to the PERILOUS TIMES written of by Paul for the Church of the last days. in

2 Timothy 3:1–9

Mr Okeefe makes the point we ought to consider as the last days unfold before us. 

Do you have a price in which you are willing to compromise or corrupt what you claim to believe?

The Works And Charity

The Works and Charity

18 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; 19 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.

The receiver of the letter from the sender, the angel of the church of Thyatira from The Son of God

An identifier of the sender as The Son of God is used only here in the entirety of the book of Revelation and one that is also an identifier of the medieval Church, that we would identify as The Roman Catholic Church.

(Please understand, this series is not about bagging out any group of Churches, this is about the history of how the Bible presents how we got to today. And with all of them, we are but scratching the surface.)

Eyes of justice, not blind and not impartial, but “like unto a flame of fire“, absolute and holding to account all sin and corruption and doing so with a vision that none can escape or hide from. 

Not the dens of the earth, nor the depths of the seas will escape the gaze of he “which was ordained of God to be the Judge of the quick and the dead” (Acts 10:42) the one able to judge the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb 4:12). 

He will not judge as MAN judges. 

Christ will not present ONE SIDE of a story and judge, as so many judge today, Jesus knows the hearts of all people, he knows the true perspective of all decisions and events, motives and intentions.

Jesus sees the whole picture

Immediately we get a fearful impression of what is coming!! 

1 Corinthians 3:13

13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

Even before the praise, before the rebuke, we seem warned by the author of the letter by the description of his discerning vision, to “try every mans work of what sort it is“, and also of his swiftness to judge the work, his feet are like fine brass.

To even begin to comprehend how naturally frightening this consideration is, one only need consider the extent with which fallen man will go to relieve himself of any consideration of RISK associated with such a trial.

Fallen man quite literally turns into an absolute fool in his attempt to convince the world that such a judgement will not occur.

“There is no judge” he says.

“There is no afterlife” he says.

“No God”, “No Hell”, “No eternal torment aligned with the sin of Satan”.

“The Universe has precisely the properties we should expect …nothing but blind pitiless indifference” Says Richard Dawkins.

Peter Hitchens (Brother of the late Christopher Hitchens)

It seems the more people they can convince against ultimate accountability, the more they can FEEL comfortable that they will never be subject to the INFURIATED STARE of the one who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire.

But while some cover themselves in mindless disbelief, there are also those who CLOAK THEMSELVES IN RELIGIOUS FIG LEAVES.

These are not BORN Again, they have not “believed to the saving of the soul“, they show up to Church every Sunday and have done so “religiously” for years, even decades, and they think themselves free from that fiery gaze, and out of the way of the swift “feet …like fine brass“.

They trust they have made their plans well; 

just like the lost man who believes the more he convinces others he will not be subject to judgment, these “RELIGIOUS ZEALOTS” believe their safety is found in NUMBERS.

The goats hide among the sheep, the tares among the wheat, not fearing the fire that will try their work of what sort it is. (1 Cor 3:13). Or fear that they will be “gathered in bundles to burn them” (Matt 13:30). “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom 3:18)

Religious they may be, but righteous they are not. 

As long as they carry a book with a leather cover that calls itself a Bible, they commend  themselves. Happy to find the shortfall in others, but none in themselves.

Paul speaks of them in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians;

2 Corinthians 10:12

12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

How would the Church have felt the moment they read the description of the author of this letter?

Perhaps they were a little more comforted as they read on…

19 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.

Works they seem to have done a plenty.

Charity, being identified as an exclusive form of love between brethren, they seemed to have well shared.

Service to those that are without, faith to him that is above. 

All seems good so far, but it is works that is the last, and that “to be more than the first“.


Thyatira, the fourth City as the postman journeyed from Patmos.

It was a garrison City, a military city. that no longer exists but is in ruins today. 

Historian George Barton, in his book “Archeology and the Bible” did not think we could learn anything respecting the discovery of the remains of Thyatira that would help us today, he simply wrote:

““Nothing has been discovered at Thyatira that throws light on the message to its church in Rev. 2:18–29.”[1][1]

But I disagree, I believe more than enough has been discovered to give to us an incredible insight into the Church of revelation through its Archeological discoveries.

Thyatira was not a coastal city, no harbour, no hill to house its acropolis and not overly significant. 

It was not a Royal City, nor a Ruling City and had no bearing on the politics of the day.

There is no indication it competed for the Religious honours that the Cities of Pergamos, Smyrna and Ephesus competed for, the City seemed to be satisfied that the gods of the realm would be its gods and made no effort to exalt one above another.

BUT it did house a huge contingent of Macedonian Troops and expanded more fully under the reign of Seleucid 1st, the head of the Seleucid Kingdom in the east.

As such, it did become a part of a major trade route and, and this is a key element, with so many skilled men, Thyatira contained the largest number of Trade Guilds in Asia.

A Trade Guild is an individual organisation created for the protection of and monopolising of individual trades within a City. Similar to Unions or Trade Organisations today, such as Builders Unions, Plumbers, Electrical etc, or trade control organisations such as the HIA and Master Builders in Australia.

William Ramsay notes;

It is therefore not surprising that more trade-guilds are known in Thyatira than in any other Asian city. The inscriptions, though not specially numerous, mention the following: wool-workers, linen-workers, makers of outer garments, dyers, leather-workers, tanners, potters, bakers, slave- dealers and bronze-smiths.[1][2]

We recall the woman named “Lydia” who was a “Seller of purple” from the City of Thyatira in Acts 16:14.

The god Apollo Tyrimnaeus was patron god of the guilds. He is seen as a warrior riding a horse with a double edged battle axe over his shoulder in the coins of the City.

A man was not able to partake in trade in the City, nor derive an income for his work unless he was a part of this trade Guild. There naturally would always be exceptions, but this was the general rule.

Many years ago at the age of 17 years, I worked in a factory in Sunshine. Myself and a friend worked there together. On a certain day and Union official came in to the factory to see the boss and immediately the foreman had my friend and I hide in the loft of the factory until the union official left the premises. 

To this day, you are not permitted to work on any commercial building site in melbourne unless you are a part of a trade Union. 

In ancient days Trade Guilds were very similar, but in reality they were a Protection racketthat ONLY benefited the early members.

You could not earn a living unless you joined the Guild.

Quoting Professor William Barclay, David Guzik in his Commentary on Revelation added;

 “No merchant or trader could hope to prosper or make money unless he was a member of his trade guild.”[1][3]

Therefore Christians joined these guilds in large numbers and as a result, transformed the nature of the guilds to become benevolent associations that would “do good works” within the civilisation.

As the City grew, the Church grew also and more Guilds became belevolent organisations as people enjoyed the satisfaction that came with the good works attended to.

“Rotary International is an international service organization whose stated purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian service and to advance goodwill and peace around the world.[1][4]

46,000 member clubs around the world with 1.4 million members, are able to to “good works” through this type of a “trade Guild”. 

Sadly however, the trade guilds of Thyatira resembled ‘Free Masonry‘ more than it did “Rotary”. 

There was a spiritual aspect to this that the Christians not only compromised with, but corrupted themselves. 

The Trade unions are one thing when it is only a membership fee that is required, but it becomes something else when the worship of pagan gods is added to that requirement. 

The “good works” attended to, seemed to permit them to justify idolatry and had the additional benefit of prospering them at the same time

The Gospel took a back seat, and good works prospered.

They fed the belly, but not the soul. 

19 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.

The Sin and Seduction

The Sin and Seduction

20 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. 21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 

Each guild had with it a Patron God to whom each member was to do honour. Some through rituals, some through feasts, some through offerings and some through a mixture of all these.

The Church of Thyatira fell perfectly into idolatry.

Remember that in Pergamos they mixed truth with error, they began the compromise. They hid leaven in their feasts.

In Thyatira it became a normal state of being, the leaven, leavened the whole lump, so much so that idolatry was readily mixed and excused.

20…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.

Colin Hemer notes something of value here, he says;

The choice of the name ‘Jezebel’ in 2:20 is likely to be pointedly apt, as was that of ‘Balaam’ (In the church of Pergamos).

 The syncretism exemplified in the city is in point here, but the particular problem seems to have been the guild-feasts, as the occasions when the Christian may have been particularly pressed by the need to conform to his environment.[1][5]

William Barclay again notes;

all the guilds had a common meal as a central part of their practice which might well be held in a heathen temple and would largely consist of meat offered to idols.[2][6]

Jezebel in the Old Testament had 850 Prophets under her charge. 400 of them ate at her table. How on Earth was she able to put all these men (850) under her spell?

 (1 Kings 18:19). In the Old Testament she was a prophet of the Prophets.

Her end was also prophesied. This woman of Sin, after painting her face and greeting Jehu, was thrown out her window where the Dogs left nothing of her except her hands, her feet and her painted, sinful head. (2 Kings 9:30-37)

SIDE NOTE: We have seen in Pergamos the Greek God Asclepius with his Serpent entwined Rod resembling Moses and the serpent raised on a pole in the wilderness.  

It’s curious to me that the Medusa of Greek Mythology, is the painted head of a woman with small serpents as the Biblical representation of SIN for hair! 

She had the ability to put men into a trance as soon as they looked at her.


Idolatry was the order for each and every guild. You needed to obey each of the rites of the guild in order to have life.

Tertullian, one of the strong Christian fathers, was the Bishop of Carthage and he heard that “A painter might find work in pagan temples or a sculptor might be hired to make a statue of a pagan god. They would justify this by saying, “This is my living, and I must live.” Tertullian replied, Vivere ergo habes? “Must you live?”[1][7]

And lived they did, in fact, they prospered greatly in this City, but not for Christ.

All the gods of the realm were attended to in worship or honour, even fainedly. 

We had seen last week respecting Pargamos and Zeus Soter (Saviour) in light of Christ. 

Athena in light of the Victory in Christ during their ANUAL WORSHIP, Thyatira went a step further, by bringing these gods into its daily ritual through employment in these guilds.

The gods were ABSORBED

21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 

It is at this point that we need to draw the association to a Church type that seems most clearly represented by the Church of Thyatira. 

The Ambulance System

Hospital System

Orphages. Soup kitchens, charity and missions were the greatest works of the Roman Catholic Church that was seen as a great positive for the populations in ONE sense only.

The willingness to assume the gods of the people into the faith became the secondary effort that would entice many into their fold.


The letter to the Church of Thyatira is the longest of all the letters and the Lord gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

The period represents the period of the Roman Catholic Church, understood to be from 606 AD to as late as 1520 AD which is the common believed beginning of the Reformation and the Protestant Church.

During this period, and after Theodosius made Christianity the Official Religion of the empire of Rome in 380AD, the Holy Roman Empire took over from where the Roman Empire fell away.

Bishops began to obtain great favour from the time of Constantine, but rose in even greater favour when Theodosius made Nicene Christianity the religion of the realm.

The Church herby “FORNICATING” with the rulers of the world for favour and material prosperity. 

There have been 266 Popes according to the “Pontifical Yearbook”, supposedly beginning with Peter, through to the current Jesuit Pope, Francis.

One of the Titles assumed by these men is Pontifex Maximus, it is a name originally given to the high priest of paganism in Rome from 242BC, until assumed by Emperor Gauss Julius Caesar Augustus 27BC.

It represents BOTH religious and STATE authority. It is the present Day Title of Pope Francis.

 21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 

The desire for an earthy Kingdom also began to be evident from 3rd and 4th century among Roman Catholic Christians. Origen being the first to allegorise the scriptures, and then 

Augustine of Hippo reinterpreted the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, not as an event yet future in history, but a present spiritual state in which the world will become more and more Christian until the entire globe is Christianised.

Amilenielism took hold of hearts and more and more people began to search for EARTHLY PROSPERITY as a result.

Is that YOU?

Amilenialsm as died a slow death as reality sinks in. Bible Colleges around the world have all but killed Christianity in its true sense. Corruption has krept into the schools until it crept into the hearts.


Have you exchanged the eternal for the temporal?

Is your desire to prosper temporarily here on earth and happy to be poor in heaven?

Perhaps you associate yourself better with Thyatira than any of the other Churches we have looked at to date?

The Reckoning and Retribution

The Reckoning and Retribution

22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. 23 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. 

Jesus had given to his disciples what we came to call The Great Commission. 

It is to preach the Gospel and to make disciples of men.

Matthew 28:18–20

18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Mark 16:15–16

15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

These scriptures form the basis of The Great Commission. This is the work that Jesus had called us all to attend to if we are born again. 

This is why Jesus came and died for. His concern was for the ETERNAL DAMNATION OF THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD.

He came “To seek and to save that which is lost” (Lk 19:10)

And this was NOT what the Church of Thyatira ever had as their focus. This was made EVIDENT BY THEIR WORKS.

The true Gospel COULD NOT BE MADE MANIFEST among the potpourri of other gods.

There was no possible way a man can claim that Jesus is “the way the truth and the life and NO MAN cometh to the faith BUT BY HIM” if other gods were an option.

There was equally NO WAY possible for men to have a desire to preach the truth of Christ AND suffer for his sake, if their PRIORITY was PROSPERITY this side of ETERNITY!!

Which are YOU???

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. 

I fear beloved that there are going to be multitudes of people who call themselves Christ Ones (Christians) who will be ashamed in that day; 

if you continue to live your life as you are, WILL YOU BE ONE OF THEM?


The Promise and The Prize

The Promise and The Prize

24 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. 25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27 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. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Note everyone that was a part of that Church held that same doctrine. 

As in all Churches, there were also those who faithfully served the Lord and did so in spite of the opposition by those around them. Some of that opposition would no doubt have been from those whose mouth testified to the same persuasion, but whose lives testified to FORNICATING WITH THE WORLD.

They are here encouraged to ‘Hold fast” “that which they have”.

A promise given to the overcomer and to those also whom the Lord has called to “repent” in verse 22. 

26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:27 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.

From verse 22 to now we get the strong impression that this TYPE of Church will remain until the end. 

The mention of “Great Tribulation” does indicate in its context that same time that is yet future, and now we have a promise that links itself in with the governing of Christ in the Millenium.

Revelation 19:15

15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

28 And I will give him the morning star.29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

“The Morning Star” a title of none other than Jesus Christ our Lord.

Revelation 22:16

16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.


Perhaps its not coincidental that Pergamos is on the way to Thyatira, just as COMPROMISE is on the way to CORRUPTION.

How you FINISH this race is absolutely more important than how you begun.

Regret that leads to forgivingness leads to resolution in the heart to courageously stand firm next time.

Regret that leads to apathy, leads to corruption in the heart that will cowardly fold next time.

Do you know what it would take for you to compromise or corrupt your faith in Jesus?

To those in Smyrna, it was their life.

To those in Pergamon, it was their comfort of life.

To those in Thyatira, it was their livelihood.

What is your price? Think of it now. 

Have you considered what your vulnerability is? 

The three friends of Daniel considered it,

Daniel 3:16–18

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

[1] [1] George A. Barton, Archaeology and the Bible. (Philadelphia: American Sunday-School Union, 1925).

[2] [1] Sir William Ramsey, Letters To The Seven Churches,.

[3] [1] David Guzik, Revelation, David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible, (Santa Barbara, CA: David Guzik, 2013), Re 2:20–21.

[4] [1]

[5] [1] Colin J. Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.; Livonia, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Dove Booksellers, 2001), 119–120.

[6] [2] William Barclay, Ed., The Revelation of John, The Daily Study Bible Series, (Philadelphia: The Westminster John Knox Press, 1976), 1:107.

[7] [1] David Guzik, Revelation, David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible, (Santa Barbara, CA: David Guzik, 2013), Re 2:20–21.


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