Jesus, the author of this message describes Himself to the church in Thyatira in verse 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.”
He begins the description with the Son of God. This title does not only mean that God is His Father, it also means He is God, the Son, wholly God. It is a redemptive title as it reminds us of who Jesus is, but it along with the rest of the description also remind us of Jesus divinity and fierceness. The Son of God brings justice, judgement, and peace with God. The Son of God is the one who shows the signs and wonders of God. (Matthew 14:33). It is the title that Satan and his demons called Jesus. (Matthew 4:3 & 6, Matthew 8:29). It is the title associated with Jesus as the Christ. When the Pharisees questioned Jesus before His crucifixtion, they asked Him if He was the Son of God. (Matthew 26:63). When Peter recognized Jesus as Messiah, he said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” and Jesus told him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-20). After King Nebuchadnezzar threw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the furnace and he saw Jesus walking with them saving them from fiery death, the king described Him, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” (Daniel 3:25). It was that revelation of Jesus Christ which led to Nebuchadnezzar’s change of heart.
Jesus is described as having eyes like a flame of fire and feet like burnished bonze He is also described with eyes like flaming fire in Revelation 19:11-16 when He returns riding the white horse and leading the angel army. In Daniel 10:5-6 Daniel saw a vision which terrified him.
“I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. 6 His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude.”
Jesus spoke to Daniel and said, “O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you.…Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.” (Daniel 10:11-12). Jesus then went on to give Daniel the prophecies about the end times, the persecution of the church by Satan and the antichrist and what He would do to crush Satan.
The Jesus described to the church in Thyatira is God, The Righteous Judge. In verse 19 Jesus commends the church.
“I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first”
This was a church who was maturing, growing more Christ-like each day. Unlike some who begin with burning zeal for the Lord and then stagnate as their flame gets smaller, Thyatira developed and transformed. Their flame grew brighter. What a wonderful acclamation to receive. But of course there was a problem as well. In this case it was not a group of people, it was one person. Jesus called her Jezebel. Verse 20 reads,
“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.”
The church tolerated her. Tolerance is the PC thing to do. The world led by their prince Satan calls people to tolerate sin, especially sins like sexual immorality. We are supposed to accept people’s personal choices and bear their lifestyles of depravity and decadence. If we don’t we’re called haters. But those lifestyles lead to hell. (Ephesians 5:5). They affect more than just the person practicing. She can’t practice it alone. 1 Corinthians 6:15-20 reads,
“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
And this woman called herself a prophetess and used that self-proclamation to lead the weak people, the new Christians into her lies. And she was causing them to sin and think that those sins were okay. Paul put it this way in 1 Corinthians 8:7-13,
“However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. 9 But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? 11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died.12 Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.”
Jesus told the church not to tolerate her, but He didn’t say not to love her. He loved her. He wanted her to repent and He wanted her to stop leading people to sin and more tolerance of sin. But she refused to repent so He had to stop her. He gave her consequences and those consequences would affect her and all those who practiced her sins with her. Verses 21-23 read,
“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.”
There were serious consequences. Her sexual immorality would lead her to be very sick and those who fell into her sins would also suffer. Maybe she had an STD. Maybe she had a disease designed especially for her. Jesus killed her children right out. It was better that they die than grow up learning their mother’s lifestyle and spreading it to others. This punishment would stop her even against her will. And it would show the churches that God knows what it done in secret. He is the light that reveals the sins done in darkness. And He will make the sinner pay for those secret sins. Ephesians 5:3-14 puts it this way,
“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
It is not loving to tolerate sinful lifestyles. It is harmful. The church in Thyatira may have been growing and showing the Fruit of the Spirit, but their tolerance was stunting some and causing them to remain in the flesh. And so sending them ignorantly down the path to Hell. (Galatians 5:16-25). Where is the love in that? Where is the love in letting someone think that God is okay with their sins? We are not told to bear one another’s sins. We can’t bear the load or pay the price of another person’s sin and so we can’t tolerate sin. Galatians 6:1-5 puts it this way,
“Brothers if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.”
Not everyone in the church practiced sexual immorality with this woman. The affliction of her sin would only affect her and those who followed her. In love for one another and in hope for one another, the church couldn’t continue to allow her to do what she was doing to the church. Verses 24-29 read,
“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.”
Jesus is the Righteous Judge, but did you know that believers will judge with Him? 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 says,
“Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!”
We will rule with Christ! There are two paths, one leads to Hell and death, the other leads to the kingdom of God and eternal life. Psalm 49:13-15 reads,
“This is the path of those who have foolish confidence;
yet after them people approve of their boasts. Selah
14 Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol;
death shall be their shepherd,
and the upright shall rule over them in the morning.
Their form shall be consumed in Sheol, with no place to dwell.
15 But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,
for he will receive me. Selah”
What is the morning star? Revelation 22:16 answers.
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
Jesus is the morning star and 2 Peter 1:17-19 describes how one day, He will be completely revealed to us.
“For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,”
Nothing will be unknown to us on that day. We will be with the Light and all secrets will be known. The Morning Star is the Spirit of Prophecy, the Spirit of God’s Word made known. And from the beginning we were meant to shine as morning stars with Jesus. From the beginning we were called to be sons of God with the Son of God. The Lord says it in Job 38:4-7
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
6 On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
7 when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
Believer, is your politically correct “love” masking your tolerance of sin and allowing people to walk blindly into Hell? Or do you love them enough to be the morning star with Jesus and shine a light into the darkness? Jesus is The Son of God with flaming eyes and feet like burnished bronze. Jesus loves them enough to be the Son of God for them. Do you love them enough to let Jesus be the Son of God?