The current name for Thyatira is Akhisar, meaning white castle. The city was known for its purple cloth trade in the first century. The evidences for dyeing facilities and purple trade were found as part of the archaeological work.
The seven cities mentioned in the book of Revelation are marked in the below map with their current names.
Paul’s ministry in Thyatira:
Paul visited Thyatira during his second missionary journey (Acts 16:14). He had traveled to Philippi as part of the Macedonian call he had received. The city of Philippi possibly did not have enough families to form a synagogue, since Paul was searching for a place of prayer near the riverside. He met Lydia, a dealer of purple cloth from the city of Thyatira. Because of Paul’s ministry, Lydia and her family accepted the Lord and invited Paul and Barnabas to stay along with them in Thyatira (Acts 16:15). If we combine the Macedonian call Paul received and the text in Acts chapter 16, Lydia and her family could be the first converts in Thyatira due to Paul’s ministry.
False Prophet and false teachings:
Though Thyatira was commended by God for its love, faith, deeds, and perseverance, it was another church along with Pergamum which yielded to the sins of sexual immorality. God specifically calls out the lady named Jezebel or she has the attributes of old testament Jezebel (wife of Ahab), who mislead the church believers to sexual immorality and food sacrificed to idols. God pronounces judgment of suffering on Jezebel and her followers.
Those who do not follow the false teachings and prophesies of Jezebel were asked to hold on to their faith.
Some of the punishment listed for the church of Thyatira, if they don’t repent:
- Jezebel’s children will be dead (Rev 2:23)
- Jezebel will be casted to the bed of suffering (Rev 2:22)
- Her followers will suffer intensely (Rev 2:22)
- Everyone will be repaid according to their deeds (Rev 2:23)
John, the favorite disciple of Jesus would have clearly noticed the difference between the Jesus he had spent time on earth vs Jesus in his glory and power based on the above punishments.
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