Church of Thyatira, Part 4
to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine,
who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other
burden. But hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes, and keeps
My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—He shall
rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s
vessels—as I also have received 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. Revelation 2:24–29.
has affected many movements in history
our last look at the Church of Thyatira we considered the ongoing consequences
of apostasy in the church. As far as some historical implications of those
consequences, we considered a few of the more egregious teachings of Roman
Catholicism that replaced some teachings of Scripture. There are some who teach
on the Book of Revelation making it appear that Roman Catholicism is the only
form of apostate Christianity, but that is far from the truth.
effort of reformation in the church throughout history experienced a cooling off
and departure from the convictions of its initial reformers. If one would
seriously look at the practices and actual beliefs of many persons in those
denominations, churches, and movements, he would find their particular Thyatiran
attributes to be as far removed from Scriptural truth as the few things we found
in Roman Catholicism. And let us always keep in mind that as we consider errors
of any church, movement, or denomination, we are not making personal attacks on
the people as no doubt there is a host of God’s people in any or all those
all at Thyatira were apostate
addressed a host of people in the Church of Thyatira that did not go along with
these conditions of apostasy. In spite of apostate teaching and practice, there
were some in the church that experienced real salvation and were living holy
lives to the best of their ability under the conditions of that church. Jesus
encourages them by laying no other burden on them other than to hold fast what
they had experienced with Him. In acknowledging these saints He in no way
approves of the church nor does He particularly want for these saints to have to
may be asked, why did they not leave the church. The answer is that there was no
other church to which they could go. There were no other denominations in those
days, only the church of God. Why did they not break away and start a new
church? At the time, division in the church was condemned as non-Christian.
I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all
speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be
perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1
it appears from the way Jesus addresses the angel of the church that the
ministry as a whole were given over to apostasy suggesting that there were no
ministers that could have ministered to a group of come-outers.
under the apostate conditions of that church is was possible for some to
overcome those conditions in their personal lives. Christ says that they keep
His works. What are those works?
assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do
also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And
whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in
the Son. (John 14:12–13)
works did Jesus do? Certainly He performed miracles; and the early church
experienced miracles, just look in the Book of Acts. But the work of the church
is not to do miracles; it is to be witnesses to Christ, to preach the gospel.
The promise here seems to be that as these saints lived a holy life and shared
the gospel, they would have some influence on others in the church, and some
people in Thyatira—or the community where there is only an apostate
church—would accept the gospel and be saved from sin. Yes, those folks would
see the corruption in the church, but they would be influenced more by the godly
lives lived by these overcomers.
reinforce what He tells these people, the Glorified Christ quotes from Psalm
2:9, “He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces
like the potter's vessels”. The rod of iron is the word of God. These saints
follow the word of God inasmuch as they are able. They might participate in some
of the rituals of the church, but they will not submit to outright error. And it
is their example that overrides the influence of the apostate church as they
share the gospel with people.
is an example in the Old Testament that somewhat applies in this kind of
situation. Naaman was the commander of the army of the king of Syria and was an
honorable man. 2 Kings 5:1 tells us that God had given victory to the Syrians
because of him. Naaman had leprosy. When meeting with the prophet Elisha, he was
told to wash himself in the Jordan River seven times. When he did this, he was
instantly healed of the leprosy. Having come to believe in the true God, he
tells Elisha in verse 17, “your servant will no longer offer either burnt
offering or sacrifice to other gods, but to the LORD”. Being in service to the
king of Syria, he was not free to leave and take up residence where the true God
is worshipped. He had to go back to Syria and he had to attend church with his
boss, the king of Syria.
makes a special request for clemency in this situation in verse 18,
in this thing may the LORD pardon your servant: when my master goes into the
temple of Rimmon to worship there, and he leans on my hand, and I bow down in
the temple of Rimmon—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the LORD
please pardon your servant in this thing.
our time we might tell the man that he could not do that and be accepted by God;
but Elisha, God’s prophet, simply told him “Go in peace”. I mention this
to help us realize that some of God’s people are not in the best of spiritual
circumstances, but they have a grace to live for God that perhaps we cannot
the other hand, if you find yourself in an apostate circumstance and the Holy
Spirit leads you to come out, you cannot stay in that circumstance as your
disobedience will take you down and you will no longer be an overcomer—you,
too, will “be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels”. There can be no
excuse for staying in a spiritual environment from which God is calling you out.
Glorified Christ has a special gift for those that have ears to hear what the
Holy Spirit has to say to the churches. That gift is the morning star.
is a literal morning star, the attributes of which might help us to understand
and appreciate this gift from the Glorified Christ. Albert Barnes in his Notes
on the New Testament writes:
“morning star” is that bright planet—Venus—which at some seasons of the
year appears so beautifully in the east, leading on the morning—the harbinger
of the day. It is one of the most beautiful objects in nature, and is
susceptible of a great variety of uses for illustration. It appears as the
darkness passes away; it is an indication that the morning comes; it is
intermingled with the first rays of the light of the sun; it seems to be a
herald to announce the coming of that glorious luminary; it is a pledge of the
faithfulness of God.
also discover this morning star in Revelation 22:16, “I, Jesus, have sent My
angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the
Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star”. As the Glorified Christ
closes the Book of Revelation, He gives assurance to the churches, not just the
seven churches of Asia, but the church throughout all future ages.
assurance is founded on Himself; Who He is. That He is the Root of David is a
reference to Isaiah 11:1, “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a
Branch shall grow out of his roots”. This is a promise of the coming Messiah;
Jesus of Nazareth was born into this world in the royal family of King David.
His legal lineage was to the Davidic family through Joseph, who was not His
natural father but yet provided that essential legal link. This lineage is
recorded in the gospel of Matthew. Luke gives the Davidic lineage of Jesus
through the family of Mary His mother. This provides the required physical
lineage. Jesus is not just a prophet or a religious leader, He is Messiah, He is
God incarnate. This assurance helps God’s people to hold steady in any and all
kinds of conditions.
the morning star Dr. Albert Barnes writes: “The reference here is to that star
as the harbinger of day; and the meaning of the Saviour is, that he sustains a
relation to a dark world similar to this beautiful star”. Adam Clarke suggests
a similar meaning: “as the morning star ushers in the sun, so shall I usher in
the unclouded and eternal glories of the everlasting kingdom”.
the Glorified Christ is the morning star gives the church assurance that He is
indeed the promised Messiah that gave His life to make atonement for the sin of
the world. In so doing, He ushered in His kingdom and established His church.
2 Peter 1:19 we read more about the morning star, “And so we have the
prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a
dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts”.
Peter in writing to the church at large hearkens back to Messianic prophecy,
which was confirmed or made sure in Christ. The light of Christ shines in a sin
darkened world. Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. He who
follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life”.
some of the imagery of Barnes, Adam Clarke relates the morning star to none
other than Christ:
is the morning-star. He brings day with him into the soul, the light of grace
and of glory; and he will give his people that perfection of light and wisdom
which is requisite to the state of dignity and dominion that they shall have in
the morning of the resurrection.
the letter to the church at Thyatira we learn some valuable lessons. Christ
admonishes us to hear what the Holy Spirit has to say to us through this letter.
a ministry apostatizes, it is certain that a church will apostatize with it.
This produces the depths of Satan in which the fallen ministry replaces sound
doctrine of salvation with empty, pagan-like or humanistic teachings and ritual
that permit sin and give people a false sense of religious security. The
children are killed with death, that is, apostasy continues unabated into future
generations giving false hope of salvation when there is no reality of
even in the clutches of an apostate church, there can be some people that have a
genuine experience with God and live for Him in spite of the teaching, practice,
and influence of that church.
in times and conditions of apostasy, if you have a real experience of salvation,
hold on to that experience and do not give in to the seductive teachings and
practices that surround you. If at all possible, come out of such a church to a
church that believes, teaches and practices holy living.
is your Morning Star; He is your Savior and He will keep you walking and living
in the light of the gospel until He comes for you.