Rev. 2:18-29 – To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, the One whose eyes are like a fiery flame, and whose feet are like fine bronze says: I know your works – your love, faithfulness, service, and endurance. Your last works are greater than the first. But I have this against you: you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and teaches and deceives My slaves to commit sexual immorality and to eat meat sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to repent of her sexual immorality. Look! I will throw her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her practices. I will kill her children with the plague. Then all the churches will know that I am the One who examines minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you according to your works. I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who haven’t known the deep things of Satan – as they say – I do not put any other burden on you. But hold on to what you have until I come. The victor and the one who keeps My works to the end: I will give him authority over the nations – and He will shepherd them with an iron scepter; He will shatter them like pottery – just as I have received [this] from My Father. I will also give him the morning star. Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. (HCSB)
Lydia, a seller of purple goods, whose heart God opened to the message of Christ, is from this commercial center steeped in paganism (Acts 16:14). Having heard Paul’s proclamation of the gospel in Philippi, she may have taken the good news back to Thyatira and been among the first to evangelize her city. Thyatira is a military town that also boasts guilds dealing in metals and fabric. Guild members celebrate their patron deities in festivals that no doubt tempt Christians. Some even may have given in to the message of a “prophetess” who promoted illicit sex and food sacrificed to idols. The city is known for its temple to Apollo, the sun god. Thyatira is the smallest of the seven cities yet receives the longest letter, and one of the sternest rebukes, from Christ.