Study Guide: Revelation 1:18-29 (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, gas 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 pHe who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Christians must continue to be faithful to Christ, rejecting the temptation to sin that creeps in from the surrounding culture.
Thyatira was a marginalized city that found its identity in economics, having guilds that
worshipped pagan deities like Apollo. Though faithful in love, faith, and endurance, the
church in Thyatira was tempted to join in the pagan festivities in vogue in the city, including sexual immorality and eating food offered to idols. The church tolerated sin, and so are called in this letter to reject it while holding fast to the hope of the Gospel as they look toward the coming restoration.
- What can we learn about God from this passage? What is his character, and what does he care about?
- Who is “that woman Jezebel” (Revelation 2:20)? Where does she come from in the Old Testament, and what does she symbolize in this passage?
- Revelation 2:25 says, “Only hold fast what you have until I come.” To whom is this verse speaking? What must they hold fast?
- What (or who) is the morning star mentioned in Revelation 2:28? (Read the unwilling prophecy of Balaam in Numbers 24:17)
- While growing in love and good works, the church in Thyatira also tolerated sin that
was acceptable in the culture. As individuals and as the church, where do we allow the culture to creep in and redefine right and wrong?
- What is the right response once we have identified these areas of sin in our lives and the church?
- How do we help other believers when we see areas of sin in their lives, and how do we respond when others point out sin in our lives (see Matthew 18:15-20)?
Take some time to pray that God would reveal areas where we let sin creep into our lives
(personal and communal), and confess it. Ask for strength to “hold fast what you have” in the gospel (Revelation 2:25). Thank God for the gift of Christ, the morning star.