Revelation 2:18
And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things said the Son of God, who has his eyes like to a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) Thyatira was situated between Pergamos and Sardis, a little off the main road which connected these two cities. It was a Macedonian colony, founded by Alexander the Great after the overthrow of the Persian empire. The Macedonian colonists appear to have introduced the worship of Apollo, honoured as the Sun-god, under the name of Tyrimnas. It has been thought by some that the description here given of Christ—“the eyes of flame”—was selected in allusion to this worship of the Sun-god, under the form of some dazzlingly ornamented image. Certainly close commercial intercourse connected the daughter colony with its mother city. There seem to have been various mercantile guilds in the colony—bakers, potters, tanners, weavers, and dyers. The dye-trade was, perhaps, the most important. Lydia, the seller of purple, was in all likelihood connected with the guild of dyers; and her appearance in Philippi is an illustration of the trade relations of Macedonia and Thyatira. To her the Christian community at Thyatira may have owed its beginning. “She who had gone forth for a while, to buy and sell, and get gain, when she returned home may have brought home with her richer merchandise than any she had looked to obtain” (Trench). The population was of a mixed character, and included, besides Asiatics, Macedonians, Italians, and Chaldeans. The message which is sent to the Christians dwelling among them is from “the Son of God.” This is noteworthy, when we remember how persistently the other term, “Son of Man,” is used throughout the Book of Revelation, and that here only is the phrase “Son of God” used; but it suits, as does the whole description, the message which breathes the language of sovereignty and righteous sternness. The “eyes of flame” will search the reins and the hearts (Revelation 2:23); the “feet of fine brass” will tread down the enemies, and smooth the path before them, who will have power over the nations.

Revelation 2:18. And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write — “Next to Pergamos is Thyatira situated, at the distance of about forty-eight miles to the south-east. At present the city is called by the Turks Akhisar, or The White Castle, from the great quantities of white marble there abounding. Only one ancient edifice is left standing: the rest, even the churches, are so destroyed, that no vestiges of them are to be found. The principal inhabitants are Turks, who have here eight mosques. So terribly have the divine judgments, denounced in this letter, been poured upon this church!” “Akhizar, the ancient Thyatira,” observes the Rev. H. Lindsay, “is said to contain about thirty thousand inhabitants; of whom three thousand are Christians, all Greeks, except about two hundred Armenians. There is, however, but one Greek church and one Armenian. The superior of the Greek church, to whom I presented the Romaic Testament, esteemed it so great a treasure that he earnestly pressed me, if possible, to spare another, that one might be secured to the church, and be free from accidents, while the other went round among the people for their private reading. I have, therefore, since my return hither, sent him four copies.” Write; These things saith the Son of God — See how great he is who appeared like a Son of man, Revelation 1:13; who hath eyes bright and penetrating, like unto a flame of fire — Searching the reins and the heart, Revelation 2:23; and his feet like fine brass — Denoting his immense strength. Job comprises both these particulars, namely, his wisdom to discern whatever is amiss, and his power to avenge it, in one sentence, (Job 42:2,) saying, No thought is hidden from him, and he can do all things. Or the latter emblem, his feet being like fine brass, may signify that all his ways are gloriously just and holy.2:18-29 Even when the Lord knows the works of his people to be wrought in love, faith, zeal, and patience; yet if his eyes, which are as a flame of fire, observe them committing or allowing what is evil, he will rebuke, correct, or punish them. Here is praise of the ministry and people of Thyatira, by One who knew the principles from which they acted. They grew wiser and better. All Christians should earnestly desire that their last works may be their best works. Yet this church connived at some wicked seducers. God is known by the judgments he executes; and by this upon seducers, he shows his certain knowledge of the hearts of men, of their principles, designs, frame, and temper. Encouragement is given to those who kept themselves pure and undefiled. It is dangerous to despise the mystery of God, and as dangerous to receive the mysteries of Satan. Let us beware of the depths of Satan, of which those who know the least are the most happy. How tender Christ is of his faithful servants! He lays nothing upon his servants but what is for their good. There is promise of an ample reward to the persevering, victorious believer; also knowledge and wisdom, suitable to their power and dominion. Christ brings day with him into the soul, the light of grace and of glory, in the presence and enjoyment of him their Lord and Saviour. After every victory let us follow up our advantage against the enemy, that we may overcome and keep the works of Christ to the end.And unto the angel of the church - See the notes on Revelation 1:20.

These things saith the Son of God - This is the first time, in these epistles, that the name of the speaker is referred to. In each other instance there is merely some attribute of the Saviour mentioned. Perhaps the severity of the rebuke contemplated here made it proper that there should be a more impressive reference to the authority of the speaker; and hence he is introduced as the "Son of God." It is not a reference to him as the "Son of man "the common appellation which he gave to himself when on earth - for that might have suggested his humanity only, and would not have conveyed the same impression in regard to his authority; but it is to himself as sustaining the rank, and having the authority, of the Son of God - one who, therefore, has a right to speak, and a right to demand that what he says shall be heard.

Who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire - Compare the notes on Revelation 1:14. Before the glance of his eye all is light, and nothing can be concealed from his view. Nothing would be better suited to inspire awe then, as nothing should be now, than such a reference to the Son of God as being able to penetrate the secret recesses of the heart.

And his feet are like fine brass - See the notes on Revelation 1:15. Perhaps indicative of majesty and glory as he walked in the midst of the churches.

18. Thyatira—in Lydia, south of Pergamos. Lydia, the purple-seller of this city, having been converted at Philippi, a Macedonian city (with which Thyatira, as being a Macedonian colony, had naturally much intercourse), was probably the instrument of first carrying the Gospel to her native town. John follows the geographical order here, for Thyatira lay a little to the left of the road from Pergamos to Sardis [Strabo, 13:4].

Son of God … eyes like … fire … feet … like fine brass—or "glowing brass" (see on [2677]Re 1:14,15, whence this description is resumed). Again His attributes accord with His address. The title "Son of God," is from Ps 2:7, 9, which is referred to in Re 2:27. The attribute, "eyes like a flame," &c., answers to Re 2:23, "I am He which searcheth the reins and hearts." The attribute, "feet like … brass," answers to Re 2:27, "as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers," He treading them to pieces with His strong feet.

Thyatira was a city of Mysia or Lydia, not far from Philippi, the chief city of Macedonia; for Lydia, who traded in purple, and was of this city, went to Philippi to trade, as we read, Acts 16:12,14.

Eyes like unto a flame of fire: see Revelation 1:14,15: it signifies either angry eyes, or quick and piercing eyes. The comparing of

his feet to fine brass, seemeth to signify both the purity and holiness of his ways and methods of providence, and also his firmness and steadiness in them. And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write,.... Of the city of Thyatira; see Gill on Revelation 1:11; a church was formed here very likely by the Apostle Paul; Lydia was a native of this place, who, and her household were converted and baptized by him at Philippi, Acts 16:14; though Epiphanius (u) seems to grant, what some heretics objected to the authority of this book, that there was no church at Thyatira when this letter was written; however, it is certain, there was one in the "second" century, as the same writer observes, since, as he relates, it was overrun with the Cataphrygian heresy; and in the "fourth" century there was a bishop from Thyatira in the council of Nice; and even in the "eighth" century there was one Esaias a presbyter, who supplied the place of the bishop of Thyatira in another council at Nice (w): the Turks have now eight mosques in it, but there is not one Christian church or place of worship to be found in it (x). Who was the angel, or pastor of this church at the writing of this epistle, is not certain; however, it is designed for all the ministers and churches in the interval this church represents; and this period takes in the darkest and most superstitious times of Popery, until the Reformation. Thyatira is the same as Thygatira, which signifies a "daughter"; and it had its name, as Stephanus Byzantius says (y), from hence: Seleucus, the son of Nicanor, being at war with Lysimachus, and hearing that he had a daughter born, called this city Thygatira, which was before called Pelopia, and Semiramis; which is a very fit name for this church, and expresses the effeminacy of it, when the virgin Mary, whom the Romanists call the daughter of God, was more worshipped than her son; and was not only made a partner with him in the business of salvation, but even set above him; when there were such swarms of monks and friars, and religious orders of several sorts, as Franciscans and Dominicans, who claimed her as their patroness; when such numbers of them clad themselves in cowls and long garments, that they looked more like women in hoods and petticoats, than really men; hence also the corrupt part of this church is signified by the woman Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal the Zidonian; and it should not be forgot that there was once a she pope, a woman that sat in the papal chair, a whore in a literal sense; wherefore antichrist, or the popes of Rome, are filly called the great whore, the mother of harlots. Mr. Daubuz observes, that the first Christian of Thyatira was a woman, and that the false prophets which first enticed the Christians to apostasy in this church were women, as Maximilia, Quintilia, and Priscilla; to which I would add, that according to Epiphanius, that among those heretics, and which swallowed up this church, their bishops were women, and so were their presbyters, or elders; and Dr. Smith (z) is of opinion, that the inhabitants of this place, when Heathen, were worshippers of the goddess Diana; so that, upon all accounts, the church here was a fit symbol of the effeminate Church of Rome,

These things saith the Son of God; he who is truly, properly, naturally, and essentially the Son of God: this character Christ makes use of to assert his proper deity, as being of the same nature, and having the same perfections with his Father, as well as to command the greater regard to what he ordered to be written to the churches; and chiefly in opposition to the effeminate state of this church; it was time for him to take to him his highest name, as expressive of his highest nature, and to assert himself the Son of God, when Mary, his mother according to the flesh, and who was but a mere creature, was called the daughter of God, and set upon a level with him, and even preferred unto him:

who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire; quick and sharp, and penetrating through the darkness of this state; seeing into, discovering, and exposing the horrid actions and wickednesses of men done in the dark; expressing fury, wrath, and vengeance against the Romish antichrist and his followers; and may also design the light of Gospel doctrine, which broke out in those times at certain seasons, to the dispelling of Popish darkness in some measure; see Gill on Revelation 1:14,

and his feet are like fine brass; in the description of Christ in Revelation 1:14; it is added, as if they burned in a furnace; see Gill on Revelation 1:14; and may denote the strength, stability, and support Christ gave his people while suffering for his sake, when in the furnace and burning for him, which kind of death was much used in those times: hence Dr. More, to whom I am much obliged for many hints in this exposition of the epistles to the churches, thinks that Thyatira is an allusion to which signify "altars" for the burning of sweet odours; and so may be expressive of the burning of the saints, those sweet odours, as they are to God and Christ, with fire and faggot; which was now practised, as in the other period killing with the sword was chiefly used; in the midst of which Christ was present, supporting his people,

(u) Contra Haeres. l. 2. Haeres. 51. (w) Eccl. Hist. Magdeburgh. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 3. cent. 8. c. 2. p. 4. (x) Smith. Notitia, p. 130. (y) De Urbibus. (z) Notitia, p. 126.

And unto {18} the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

(18) The fourth passage is to the pastors of Thyatira. The introduction is taken from Re 1:14,15.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Revelation 2:18. ὁ ὑιὸς τοῦ θεοῦ. The Lord, who in Revelation 1:13 appears like a son of man, is, as the entire description (Revelation 1:13 sqq.) shows, the Son of God, although he does not there receive that precise name. But in the present epistle he expressly designates himself as such, because, especially in Revelation 2:27, this glory of his is asserted in accordance with Psalms 2. The two other designations, derived from Revelation 1:14-15, have their significance in the fact that the Lord with his eyes of flame penetrates[1216] all, and with his feet like brass treads down every thing impure and malevolent.[1217]

[1216] Cf. Revelation 2:23.

[1217] Cf. Revelation 2:27.

Revelation 2:18-29. The epistle to the church at Thyatira.

Thyatira, about nineteen hours from Pergamos, on the road thence to Sardis, not far from the river Lycus in Lydia,—now Akhissar,—was an inconsiderable city, belonging to the civil jurisdiction of Perg.[1211] A dealer in purple, Lydia of Thyatira, is mentioned in Acts 16:14; but that she founded the Christian church there,—a presumption according to which Hengstenb. immediately connects “works of love” with the “female origin of the church,”—is just as little to be asserted as there is foundation for the unfavorable supposition that Lydia may have been meant by Jezebel, Revelation 2:20.[1212] The church at Thyatira was, like the others in Asia, not purely Jewish-Christian, as Grot. thinks, in order to weaken an uncritical objection of the Alogi against the worth of the Apoc. But Revelation 2:20 rather refers explicitly to heathen Christian elements.[1213]

That Irenaeus could not have been the bishop[1214] to whom John writes, is mentioned already by N. de Lyra. C. a Lap. and others name Carpus as bishop.[1215]

[1211] See on Revelation 2:12 sqq.

[1212] Cf. Heinr.

[1213] “What had the Jews at that time to do with sacrifices to idols?”

[1214] Angel. Cf. Revelation 1:20.

[1215] Cf. on Revelation 2:12 sqq.Revelation 2:18-29. The longest message of the seven is to a church in the least important of the cities (judged from the historical standpoint) Thyatira, a township of Northern Lydia, the holy city of Apollo Tyrimnaios, adjacent to the high road between Perg. and Sardis. It soon became a centre of Montanism.The Church in Thyatira. 18–29

18. the Son of God] So designated, perhaps, because it is the power which He received from His Father which is the subject of the concluding promise, Revelation 2:27.

his eyes] Which search reins and heart, Revelation 2:23.

his feet] Of strength to break the nations to shivers like a potter’s vessel.Revelation 2:18. Τῆς ἐν Θυατείροις ἐκκλησίας) The Alex. cod., and also Tertullian, read τῷ ἐν Θυατίροις, without the addition of the word ἐκκλησίας.[36] Where the angels of the seven churches are mentioned together, ch. Revelation 1:20, the name of the church at Thyatira is not excepted. Now, where the series comes separately to the angel in Thyatira, the omission of the word church (for some in ancient times said that there was no church there at that time) certainly agrees with the small number of Christians in that town. An address is made to them separately in Revelation 2:24. Among the Hebrews, ten persons at least were required to constitute a holy assembly: again, when there were seventeen Christians at Neocæsarea, Gregory was given to them as bishop. Therefore the flock at Thyatira might have been small and unknown, which could scarcely support the name of a church, and yet had an angel. St Carpus is reported to have been here.

[36] A omits ἐκκλησίας; but Ch Vulg. have it. A reads τῷ for τῆς; C omits it.—E.Verses 18-29. - The epistle to the Church at Thyatira. The circuit now turns southwards. From Ephesus to Smyrna, and from Smyrna to Pergamum, was movement almost due north. Thyatira is on the Lycus, close to the Roman road between Pergamum and Sardis. It was refounded and named Thyatira by Seleucus Nicator, after the conquest of Persia by Alexander. It was strongly Macedonian in population; and it is worth noting that it is in Philippi, a city of Macedonia, that Lydia of Thyatira is found (Acts 16:14). An inscription in Greek and Latin shows that Vespasian restored the roads thereabouts. Three other inscriptions mention the dyers (οἱ βαφεῖς), for which Thyatira and the neighbourhood ('Iliad,' 4:141) were so famous, to which guild Lydia belonged (Acts 16:14). There is no allusion to the trade here; and modern authorities differ as to whether it survives or not at the present day. But the statement that "large quantities of scarlet cloth are sent weekly to Smyrna" (Macdonald's 'Life and Writings of St. John,' p. 187) seems to be decisive. Apollo, the sun god, was the chief deity at Thyatira, where he was worshipped under the Macedonian name of Tyrimnas. There is, perhaps, a reference by contrast to him in the epistle, in the opening description of the Son of God, and in "the morning star" to be given to "him that overcometh." A similar allusion to the worship of Dionysus was traced in the epistle to Smyrna. The modern name of the town is Ak-Hissar, "the white castle," so called from the rocky hill overhanging it, on which a fortress formerly stood. Of the nine thousand inhabitants, about three thousand are Christians, who have the trade of the place in their hands. The ancient Church of St. John the Divine has been turned into a mosque. This fourth and therefore central epistle is the longest of the seven. In some respects it is the most solemn of all. Here only is the majestic title, "the Son of God," introduced. In the introductory vision the expression used is "Son of man" (Revelation 1:13). "The Son of God," frequent in the Gospel and Epistles of St. John, occurs nowhere else in the Apocalypse. It may be suggested by Psalm 2:7, "Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee;" for Psalm 2:9 is quoted in ver. 27 (comp. also ver. 26 with Psalm 2:8). Verse 18. - Who hath his eyes like a flame (see notes on Revelation 1:14, 15). Thyatira

Situated on the confines of Mysia and Ionia. According to Pliny it was known in earlier times as Pelopia and Euhippia. Its prosperity received a new impulse under the Roman Emperor Vespasian. The city contained a number of corporate guilds, as potters, tanners, weavers, robe-makers, and dyers. It was from Thyatira that Lydia the purple-seller of Philippi came, Paul's first European convert. The numerous streams of the adjacent country were full of leeches. The principal deity of the city was Apollo, worshipped as the Sun-God under the surname Tyrimnas. A shrine outside the walls was dedicated to Sambatha, a sibyl. The place was never of paramount political importance.

Son of God

Compare Son of man, Revelation 1:13; Psalm 2:7; Revelation 19:13.

Who hath His eyes, etc.

See on Revelation 1:14, Revelation 1:15.

Thy works, and the last, etc.

Omit and, and read, as Rev., and that thy last works are more than the first.

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