|Thyatira - |
(Lydia, the probable agent of carrying the gospel to her native town.) (See LYDIA.) Thyatira lay a little to the left of the road from Pergamos to Sardis (Strabo 13:4, who calls it "a Macedonian colony"); on the Lycus, a little to the S. of the Hyllus, at the N. end of the valley between Mount Tmolus and the southern ridge of Tetanus. Founded by Seleucus Nicator. On the confines of Mysia and Ionia. A corporate guild of dyers is mentioned in three inscriptions of the times of the Roman empire between Vespasian and Caracalla. To it probably belonged Lydia, the seller of purple (i.e. scarlet, for the ancients called many bright red colors "purple") stuffs (Acts 16:14). The waters are so suited for dyeing that nowhere is the scarlet of fezzes thought to be so brilliant and permanent as that made here. Modern Thyatira contains a population of 17,000.
In Revelation 2:18-25, "the Son of God who hath eyes like unto a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass," stands in contrast to the sun god. Tyrimnas, the tutelary god of Thyatira, represented with flaming rays and feet of burnished brass. Christ commends Thyatira's works, charity, service, faith, and patience. Thyatira's "last works were more than the first," realizing 1 Thessalonians 4:1, instead of retrograding from "first love and first works" as Ephesus (Revelation 2:4-5); the converse of Matthew 12:45; 2 Peter 2:20. Yet Thyatira "suffered that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols." (See JEZEBEL.) Some self-styled prophetess, or collection of prophets (the feminine in Hebrew idiom expressing a multitude), closely attached to and influencing the Thyatira church and its presiding bishop or "angel" (the Alexandrinus and Vaticanus manuscripts read "thy wife" for "that woman") as Jezebel did her weak husband Ahab.
The presiding angel ought to have exercised his authority over the prophetess or prophets so-called, who seduced many into the libertinism of the Balaamites and Nicolaitans of Thyatira's more powerful neighbour Pergamos (Revelation 2:6; Revelation 2:14; Revelation 2:16). (See BALAAMITES; NICOLAITANS.) The Lord encourages the faithful section at Thyatira. "Unto you (omit 'and' with the Alexandrinus and the Vaticanus manuscripts, the Sinaiticus manuscript reads: 'among ') the rest in Thyatira I say, ... I will put upon you none other burden (save abstinence from and protestation against these abominations: this the seducers regarded as an intolerable burden, see Matthew 11:30); but that which ye have hold fast until I come." A shrine outside Thyatira walls was sacred to the sibyl Sambatha, a Jewess or Chaldaean, in an enclosure called "the Chaldaean court."