Jesus' Words To The Church In Thyatira

18 “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.

19 “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20 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. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 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, 23 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. 24 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. 25 Only hold fast what you have until I come. 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 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. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” (Revelation 2:18-29)

The city of Thyatira was the smallest and least significant of the seven churches that are addressed in the book of Revelation. And yet, this is the longest of all of the letters that were given to the churches.

And when you read the opening words of this letter and begin to consider the attributes of Jesus that are used when He addresses this church you quickly get a sense of the tone of this particular letter. For example, consider that in Revelation 1:13, when the apostle John sees Jesus in a vision (we read that entire section two weeks ago), Jesus is described as the “son of man”.

  • This title describes Jesus in His humanity

  • Here Jesus identifies with sinful men as their High Priest and as the Lamb of God who will take away their sins.

  • Upon seeing Jesus in this vision John falls to the ground as though dead, Jesus - the son of man, reaches out His right hand to John and says, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” (Revelation 1:17-18)

Contrast that scene, however, with our text today in which Jesus has the title, “the Son of God”. Jesus comes to this church as the exalted God and LORD of all. He comes as the one who judges sin.

In Revelation 2:21 we see that the time for mercy has come to an end and now Jesus says, “I gave her (Jezebel) time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.” (2:21) Furthermore Jesus speaks of throwing ‘Jezebel’ upon a sickbed, throwing others into great tribulation and still others He will strike dead.

Revelation 2: 22-23 – Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation…and I will strike her children dead.

In the introduction of this letter we also see Jesus described as having “...eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze” (18).

  • With His eyes, Jesus searches the mind and the heart of every person.

  • These are the eyes that can separate the wheat from the tares;

  • the sheep from the goats;

  • those who profess faith from those who actually possess it;

  • the saved from the unsaved.

These are the eyes that bring light to the darkness. It brings the light that sinners try so desperately to escape from. John 3:19-21 – And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

Jesus is also described here as having feet like burnished bronze.

In Isaiah 5 the Lord speaks of an enemy who is being sent by Him to judge Judah. The description of this army who is coming for battle is so intimidating and even horrifying. He says, “None is weary, none stumbles, none slumbers or sleeps, not a waistband is loose, not a sandal strap broken; their arrows are sharp, all their bows bent, their horses’ hoofs seem like flint, and their wheels like the whirlwind.” (Isaiah 5:27-28)

  • This is a picture of an army who arrives to battle ready to conquer.

  • They arrive and they do not desire rest or need sleep - they arrive unweary.

  • They arrive as a skillful warrior ready to fight victoriously.

This is the sense that we ought to get when we read of Jesus whose feet are like ‘burnished bronze’. This speaks of Jesus being skilled in battle. His armor is polished and it will reflect Jesus’ holiness and glory, blinding His enemies eyes.

Jesus’ opening words to this church begins with the highest of praise. He says, “I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.” (work or works is mentioned five times in this text)

These words are similar to the words that the apostle Paul says to Timothy when he says, “You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me...”.

  • Timothy has watched carefully Paul’s life and has come to know him in a profound way.

  • Paul’s life is an open book before Timothy.

  • Paul hides nothing from him and in doing so Paul’s life is proved to be genuine and sincere.