(tenth of our articles on the Seven Churches of Asia Minor. Revelation 1-3)
“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: ‘I know your works….'” (Revelation 2:18ff)
David Jeremiah calls Thyatira “The Suburban Church.” J. Vernon McGee called it “Paganism unlimited.” Other commentators call it “The Corrupt Church.” I call it “The Easy-going, Overly Tolerant Church.” Apparently it stood for little and fell for a great deal.
This was the home church for Jezebel, a morally corrupt woman who was not to be trifled with. No one dared cross her, so she was allowed to spread her poison within the church and beyond.
In 190 BC Thyatira became a Roman city. It was famous for its production of wool and purple dye. Lydia, leader of the church at Philippi, was born here (Acts 16:14). When the city was destroyed it was never rebuilt. Ruins today cover only a city block. In the first century, it was the headquarters for many guilds: potters, tanners, weavers, robe makers, and dyers. It was the center of the dyeing industry. (The color purpose spoken of in the New Testament is today called “turkey red,” according to J. Vernon McGee. He said, “And I mean that color is red!“)
How the Ascended Lord spoke of Himself—
“These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and feet like fine brass.” This must be one of the few times where the Lord Jesus refers to Himself as “The Son of God.” In most cases throughout the New Testament, it was “Son of Man.” But here He calls Himself by that distinguished title.
What must those eyes have been like? I have a personal feeling that the eyes of Jesus in their natural human state were something special, and have two scriptures that suggest it. Both are in Luke 22. “Now the men who held Jesus mocked Him and beat Him. And having blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face….” (vs. 64) They could not stand to look into the eyes of the One they were beating. Earlier, we read of Peter’s denials. “Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord….and Peter went out and wept bitterly” (vs. 60-62). Those eyes!
Eyes afire! This speaks to us of judgement. And He does have stern words for this church, but they’re not all bad.