Life-Study of Revelationby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to the fourth church, the church in Thyatira (2:18-29), the church in apostasy. Thyatira in Greek means “sacrifice of perfume,” or, “unceasing sacrifice.” As a sign, the church in Thyatira prefigures the Roman Catholic Church, which was fully formed as the apostate church by the establishment of the universal papal system in the latter part of the sixth century. This apostate church is full of sacrifices, as demonstrated in her unceasing mass.
Verse 18 says, “These things says the Son of God, who has eyes as a flame of fire, and His feet like shining brass.” The apostate Catholic Church strongly emphasizes Christ as the Son of Mary. Thus, here, the Lord, protesting against the apostasy of the Catholic Church, says that He is the Son of God.
In dealing with the worldly church, the church in Pergamos, the Lord referred to Himself as the One who has the sharp two-edged sword. In dealing with this apostate church, the church in Thyatira, He refers to Himself as the One who has “eyes as a flame of fire, and feet like shining brass.” The worldly church requires the dealing of His smiting and killing word, whereas the apostate church needs the judging of His searching eyes and treading feet. The Lord’s eyes search the inward parts and the heart, and His feet judge and give to everyone according to his works (2:23).
In verse 19 the Lord says, “I know your works and love and faith and service and your endurance, and that your last works are more than the first.” The apostate Catholic Church has many works and services. Her works in the last days are more than in the past.
One of the crucial points in the epistle to the church in Thyatira concerns the woman Jezebel. The Lord refers to her in verse 20, where He says, “But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My slaves astray to commit fornication and to eat idol sacrifices.” As we shall see, the woman here is the very woman prophesied by the Lord in Matthew 13:33, who added leaven (signifying evil, heretical, and pagan things) into the fine flour (signifying Christ as the meal offering for the satisfaction of God and man). This woman is also the great prostitute of Revelation 17, who mixes abominations with the divine things. The pagan wife of Ahab, Jezebel, was a type of this apostate church. The apostate church is filled with all manner of fornication and idolatry, both spiritual and physical.
Here the Lord indicates that the apostate church is a self-appointed prophetess. A prophet is one who speaks for God with God’s authorization. The apostate Catholic Church presumes to be authorized by God to speak for God. She demands that people listen to her rather than to God.
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