Seven Churches – Thyatira: The Corrupt Church
Thyatira was located on the borders of Lydia and Mysia in Asia Minor (Turkey). Its modern name is Akhissar (meaning “white castle”).
Lydia, the seller of purple (cloth dyed this color), was from this city (Acts 16:14). She was the Apostle Paul’s first convert in Europe.
Although never a large city, Thyatira was a thriving manufacturing and commercial center during New Testament times. Archaeologists have uncovered evidence of many trade guilds and unions here. Membership in these trade guilds, necessary for financial and social success, often involved pagan customs and practices such as cult worship, union feasts using food sacrificed to idols, and loose sexual morality (Nelson’s Bible Dictionary).
There was a certain woman named “Jezebel” who taught and beguiled Christians to conform to pagan practices and to commit sexual immorality. She called herself a prophetess. Fausset’s Bible Dictionary says that it could have been a collection of prophets (the feminine in Hebrew idiom expressing a multitude). Whether “Jezebel” was one woman, or a company of so-called prophets, Jezebel was closely attached to and influential over the church of Thyatira and its presiding bishop, just as Jezebel in the Old Testament had control over her weak husband Ahab. The presiding bishop should have exercised his authority, as Jezebel seduced many into the practices of Balaam and the Nicolaitans.
Balaam worship (Numbers 22:5-7; 31:16; 25:1-2) included:
- Associating with the evil one
- Eating meat sacrificed to idols
- Committing fornication
The doctrine of the Nicolaitans included:
- Unrestrained indulgence
- Abusing the grace of God
Son of God – divine authority
Who has eyes like a flame of fire – intense love. His eyes also purge the soul.
His feet are like fine brass – strong and immovable
I know your works – your deeds
- Love – love for all, beginning with love for God
- Service – showing faith by works, James 2:18
- Faith – faith in God to do what He has promised
- Patience – endurance
As for your works, the last are more than the first.
You allow that woman Jezebel
- Which calls herself a prophetess
- To teach
- To seduce My servants into sexual immorality
- Gave her time to repent of sexual immorality, but she did not repent
Sexual immorality also applies to pornography and racy pictures. Behind pornography is the spirit of Jezebel. This spirit seduces men (and women, but mostly men), and even men of God, into sexual immorality. Pornography is a form of adultery and fornication, because Jesus said that if a man lustfully looks on a woman, he has committed adultery in his heart. Pornography also leads to acting out behaviors. Pornography hurts marriages. Pornography opens the door to demons in your life. The only way to get free from this spirit is by prayer, intercession, fasting, and submitting to accountability (such as a Christian men’s group or a group that focuses on getting set free from addictions).
The result of being under Jezebel’s seducing control is great tribulation for her and them that commit adultery with her. Idolatry is spiritual adultery.
Death to her children – all she produces will die.
All the churches shall know that I am He who searches the reins and the hearts –
Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.
Psalms 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
I will give to each one of you according to your works.
In John Paul Jackson’s book entitled Unmasking the Jezebel Spirit he goes into a detailed description of the characteristics of the Jezebel spirit. It’s a spirit that can work through both men and women. John Paul Jackson goes into great detail about how this spirit works in churches.
Dominion and authority. Overcomers shall have equal power and authority with Jesus.
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.