Under His Eye

Bible Book: Revelation  2 : 18-19
Subject: Thyatira, Letter to; Omniscience of God
Series: Revelation

There are a lot of mysterious passages in the Bible, many of which are found in the Book of Revelation. I found it rather amusing when a man who almost never attended a worship service told me that he did not understand the rest of the Bible, but he could explain Revelation to me. One of those biblical mysteries is found in Zechariah 3:9: "For behold, the stone that I have set before Joshua; on one stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave an inscription on it,’ declares the LORD of hosts, ‘and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day." The reference to the stone is Messianic. In Psalm 118:22, we find a reference to the stone which Jesus applied to Himself: "The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone."

What does the Scripture mean when it says "on one stone are seven eyes"? I doubt very seriously that it means that three people will each have two eyes on Him, and one person who is blind in one eye will have that eye focused on Him. The number seven is the perfect, or complete number. It means that there is coming a day when all eyes will be on Jesus. In the mean time, Jesus has His eyes on His church. He sits at the right hand of the Father, but His eyes, like flames of fire are focused on His church. His purpose is to bless, to protect, to purify and sanctify His bride. Jesus claimed to have His eyes focused on the church at Thyatira. Before we get into the letter, let us look at the city in which this church was located. Remember that each church was a real, historical church.

Thyatira (modern Akhisar, Turkey) was located on the major inland route from Sardis to Pergamos in the Lycus River valley. Although it was never as great a city as some of the other cities of the region, Thyatira was important, both to the region and to Rome. It was established as a military outpost to guard against an invasion by Barbarians. It also gained importance commercially through its commerce in wool, linen, leather works, tanning, and bronze work. It was well known for its dyes and dyed apparel.

Thyatira was the center of a number of trade guilds which used the natural resources of the area to make it a very profitable site. Thyatira had a Jewish contingent out of which grew a New Testament church. Paul’s first converts from the European continent was Lydia, a dealer in purple dye or dyed clothing from Thyatira. Paul and his companions met her "down by the river side" outside of the garrison city of Philippi in Macedonia (Acts 16:14). She may well have been a member of a guild there which dealt in purple dye.

The church at Thyatira received both a commendation and a complaint from the Lord in this letter.

The church was praised for its works of charity, service, and faith (Rev. 2:19), but criticized for allowing the followers of Jezebel to prosper in its midst (2:20).

Apollo, the Sun god, was the chief deity of the city. Some of the statements in the letter seem to allude to the influence of this pagan religion. Emperor worship was also practiced there and in every place where it was practiced Christians who refused to compromise were subject to persecution.


"To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, the One whose eyes are like a fiery flame, and whose feet are like fine bronze says..." (Rev 2:18, HCSB).

1) The letter is addressed to the angel of the church at Thyatira.

The word translated angel is the word for messenger, thus the pastor of the church. A specific church is addressed, "the church in Thyatira." This was a real church at a real place at a real time. This was one of the seven churches to receive a letter in the Revelation. The number seven denotes perfection or completion. There were many other churches in the region and throughout the Roman Empire that did not receive a letter, but the number seven clearly represents the complete church, of any age or place. There are many churches in the world today that could find themselves in this letter. The entire letter may not fit perfectly, but elements of the letter will find an application in many churches today.

2) The Author is the Son of God.

Jesus introduces Himself here as the Son of God. This is the only use of the term in the Book of Revelation. It is possible that Jesus is using a play on words here: Apollo was the sun god, but Jesus is the Son of God. Every one of the ten plagues in Exodus was directed at one of the primary deities of Egypt, so it is not a major stretch to see Jesus making a statement that would once and for all time put this pagan deity in its place.

3) He has eyes like flames of fire.

While this may refer to the sun god, it more likely refers to the Author’s penetrating discernment of the conditions in the church, including the devastating effects of the Jezebel who was loose in the church. In the first chapter, His eyes are like flames of fire. They knew nothing of laser beams in the First Century, but today we can appreciate the image of One whose laser vision penetrates the hearts and minds of each person.

4) His feet are like burnished bronze.

Some see this as a symbol of crushing force, with emphasis on His power to accomplish his purpose. His are not feet of clay that will crumble when they come into contact with an obstacle. He will put every enemy under his feet, or make them His footstool. This really is amazing. He has something like laser vision. He can see what is in every heart. His feet are like burnished bronze. Whatever He decides to do, He can do, and He will do it.


"I know your works——your love, faithfulness, service, and endurance. Your last works are greater than the first."

1) Jesus has perfect knowledge of each church and each individual.

His eyes are like laser beams or flames of fire, penetrating the thoughts of each person. He had perfect knowledge of the church at Thyatira and here He commends them for their good works. There are many churches today that are doing some good things, even if they are not doing all they should be doing. There are many churches that have faithful members who are serving the Lord faithfully, even while others are unfaithful, undisciplined, and immoral.

2) He knows their love.

He does not explain this, but how can we not hold this up against the letter to Ephesus, a church that was sound doctrinally, but it had left its first love. The church’s first love is for its Lord, but the Bible clearly teaches in 1 John that we cannot love God if we do not love one another. The church at Ephesus had faltered in its love for God and for one another. They were not guilty of that in Thyatira.

3) He knew their faithfulness.

Sadly, when it comes to faithfulness most of us never look past one’s attendance. If we check the Sunday School records and see that George has not missed but two Sundays in the past year we say he is faithful. There is more, however, to being faithful than Sunday School attendance, as importance as that is. We are told in Hebrews that we must not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. Sadly, we live in a day in which many of our most - shall we say "faithful" members - attend only on Sunday morning. They do not come back Sunday evening or Wednesday evening. We should be faithful in attendance, but there are many people who are in church every Sunday morning who dishonor the Lord during the week.

A friend told me he went to his CPA to pick up his tax materials, and to get the verdict! The CPA commented on another member of his church, impressed by the amount of money the man gave to his church each year. My friend was surprised. The man in question would go to the Sunday School office every Sunday morning and write out a check for the cash received in Sunday School. This was many years ago when there was a lot of change and small bills in the Sunday School offering. The man claimed he needed the change in his business - and he would save the treasurer the trouble of wrapping the coins. Little did they realize he was saving his canceled checks and claiming they were contributions to his church. That man was there every Sunday, but was he faithful to the Lord?

4) He knew their service.

These people - or many of them - served the Lord in and through the church. This often meant helping to meet the physical needs of other members as well as serving non-members. Paul places great emphasis on ministering to widows and orphans. The first controversy we know of in the early church was over their ministry to widows and orphans. They elected seven men (Acts 6) and put them in charge of this ministry. Interestingly, the very word used here for service (diakonia) is the word from which we get the word deacon. If there is anyone who should be faithful in serving the Lord is a deacon.

There are many ways to serve the Lord and His church. Some teach, some sing in the choir, some serve on committees, some simply make themselves available. The blind poet, John Milton was right: "They also serve who only stand and wait" - that is, if they are making themselves available to the Lord.

5) He knew their endurance.

The KJV translates it "patience", while the NAS renders it "perseverance." The word literally means a willingness, or even a determination to remain under trying circumstances rather than running from them. Literally, Jesus is saying, He is keenly aware of the patient endurance of many of the members of this church. He is aware of those today who are faithful, not only in good times, but also when the going gets rough.

There is an old saying: When the going gets rough, the rough get going. The Lord is looking, not for the rough person, but for the faithful person who will endure trials, challenges, and even persecution and remain faithful to Him. There were many martyrs in the early church. There have been a lot of martyrs in the church in recent years. What has been your most severe trial in recent days? What have you had to endure for the Lord? What is keeping you from being faithful to the Lord, or from serving Him? Maybe this is the day you ought to repent.

6) He adds, "Your last works are greater than the first."

The faithful among this church had grown more faithful. Their last works were greater than the first.

Their love was greater than it had been at the first. Their service was greater than ever. Their endurance was improving all the time. No wonder the Lord commends these members.


"But I have this against you: you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and teaches and deceives My slaves to commit sexual immorality and to eat meat sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to repent of her sexual immorality. Look! I will throw her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her practices. I will kill her children with the plague" (2:20-23a, HCSB).

1) The complaint is from the One Who has perfect knowledge of them.

He has perfect knowledge of their work, service, love, and endurance. He also has perfect knowledge of the fact that they were tolerating evil and that the evil was spreading. No amount of work can compensate for the tolerance of evil. Not then, not now!

2) They were tolerating a woman Jezebel.

This name was probably used metaphorically of the ancient queen of Israel, the wife of Ahab, who brought prophets of Baal with her when she married the king. She seduced a nation with idolatry and the immorality, which was not only tolerated, but encouraged under this fertility cult. Her teachings seemed to be similar to those false teaching condemned in the letter to Pergamos. What do we know about this Jezebel?

a. She called herself a prophetess.

She was a self-proclaimed prophetess and she had a following. She had obviously been very successful in seducing some of the members of the church. Many had come out of a pagan background in which immorality flourished. We are not told that all those who were faithful, loved the Lord, served Him, and endured persecution had been deceived by this woman. However, some of the faithful may have lacked the courage to confront her with this evil. The Author of this letter has no such qualms.

b. She led members into immorality.

There is no reason to assume that this means anything other than actual immorality. Why should we be so shocked that those people, many recently converted from paganism, would become immoral? A former president of the United States flaunted immorality before the world, and masses said, "It’s only sex." While the same man was playing up to the pastor of a well known church in Little Rock, he was using state troopers as pimps.

Some churches today are ordaining homosexuals. Church members are crusading for the right to kill unborn babies. Priests have preyed on young boys and bishops covered up for them. But let us be warned, Jesus know what is going on in His church.

c. She led them into idolatry.

Idolatry is often portrayed as spiritual adultery in the Old Testament. Let us be sure we understand this: as surely as a man is hurt if his wife is unfaithful, God is offended when a member of the bride of Christ bows before a god "who is no god."

Jesus if well aware of the idolatry that plagues His church today. New Age religions, or post-modern religious philosophies are having a devastating impact on the church. Moral relativism is wide-spread, and the worst thing you can possible do is to insist that Jesus is the only way. A large percentage of people who call themselves evangelical Christians do not believe that Jesus is the only way to go to Heaven. Almost half of people who claim to be evangelical Christians say they do not believe the Bible is inerrant. They are open to idolatry of the Twenty-first Century kind. Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses are seducing our members. Easter mysticism has influenced millions in American, and the American media is giving Islam a pass while providing air time for the enemies of the Cross.

There is another form of idolatry that had spread throughout the Lord’s church today. It is a combination of materialism and recreation. Americans are obsessed with their possessions - houses, cars, boats, R Vs, money, stocks and bonds, and jewelry. Even active church members can hardly wait to get out of church to rush to the cafeteria and then to the golf course, the mall, or the theater.

These are often the ones who do not make it back Sunday evening. If your mind is on what you are going to be doing when church is over, please have the integrity not to call what you are doing worship!

This Jezebel taught members of this church, at least a significant number of them to compromise in the worship of idols, worship of the emperor, and to compromise with the local trade guilds so that they would not lose their jobs or their lives. She would pay dearly for her sins.

d. She refused to repent of her own immorality.

She refused to repent, just as many people today who live in open sin refuse to repent. There is forgiveness for those who repent. For those who will not repent, there is only judgment.

e. Jesus Himself will punish her.

This is shocking. When Jesus specifically says that He is going to punish an individual you can be sure that they will not deceive Him. This woman had deceived others, she would not deceive Jesus. What is it that makes one refuse to repent when confronted with their sins? Whatever her reasons were, she had not repented. Many church members today need to be on their face before the Lord in bitter tears, repenting of their sins, but in many churches today they will never hear a sermon that proclaims God’s demand for repentance. John the Baptist would not get too far in some churches today - they prefer a reed shaken by the winds of tolerance.

f. He will also judge all who are deceived by her.

Not only would Jesus punish this woman, He would punish all who were deceived by her. If they were deceived, should they be held accountable? If they had been faithful to Him and to His Word they would not have been deceived. Yes, they will be punished.


"Then all the churches will know that I am the One who examines minds and hearts, and I am the One who examines minds and hearts."

How can anyone read these words without being overwhelmed by the holiness of God? We like to emphasize various attributes of God: God is love, God is all powerful, God is every where present at the same time, God is all knowing. Well, let me stress this as strongly as possible, God is holy. There is no more essential truth in the Word of God than this. Not only is He holy, he expects His church to be holy.

I have heard people say, "I’m a Christian, but I’m no saint." My dear friend, biblically speaking, if you are not a saint you are not a Christian. A saint is one who is separated by the Lord for His glory and service. God demands holiness of those who profess Him.

1) Jesus wants all churches to know what He would do about this Jezebel.

2) He wants all churches to know, " I am the One who examines minds and hearts."

If you are saved you are not about to lose your salvation. If you are lost, church membership is not going to save you from the judgment of God. If you are lost, you will be punished for all eternity unless you repent while there is time. If you are saved, God will deal with you as a father deals with a child.

Jesus stresses that we will be judged according to our works. Paul is very clear about this:

"Each one’s work will become obvious, for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire; the fire will test the quality of each one’s work. If anyone’s work that he has built survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, it will be lost, but he will be saved; yet it will be like an escape through fire (1 Cor 3:13-15, HCSB).


"I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who haven’t known the deep things of Satan——as they say——I do not put any other burden on you. But hold on to what you have until I come."

From this, we know that all of the people in the church at Thyatira had not been deceived by this Jezebel. A significant number had, but many had remained faithful (v. 19). Those who "haven’t known the deep things of Satan" are the faithful saints who had not been deceived by the Jezebel who practiced and taught idolatry and immorality. The deep things of Satan today may well include all sorts of occult activity, much of which has reached inside the church.

How many people check the horoscope in the morning paper each day? How many people call the psychic hot line or visit those who are supposed to know the future? How many church members are there out there who just wonder, "What if", when it comes to reincarnation, Indian shamanism (popularized in America by New Agers)? How many church members are there who cannot distinguish between biblical angels and TV angels? How many church members are there who cannot discern the difference between biblical miracles and TV miracles. How many members of mainline churches have been deceived by the cults like Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses? Before we condemn those ancient church members for their apostasy or ignorance we had better take a fresh look at the church today.

Those who had remained faithful would not be punished. Our Lord is not only a God of justice, He is a God of mercy and grace. He promised to put no further burden on them than that which they faced in the city of Thyatira where they were being persecuted for their faith. Our Lord still knows who is faithful and who has compromised with Satan.


"The victor and the one who keeps My works to the end: I will give him authority over the nations—— and He will shepherd them with an iron scepter; He will shatter them like pottery —— just as I have received this from My Father. I will also give him the morning star."

1) The promise is made to the ones who are faithful to the end.

2) He will give them authority over the nations.

3) He will shepherd them with an iron scepter.

4) He will shatter them like pottery.

5) He will give them the authority of the Father.

6) He will give them the morning star.

What is the morning star. A better question might be Who is the Morning Star. In Rev, 22:16, Jesus proclaimed, "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star." Some have suggested that the gift is eternal life. Well, Jesus is our life, He is eternal life. What greater gift can we receive?


"Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches."


Now let us take a minute to contrast the church at Thyatira with the church at Ephesus. The church at Ephesus had grown weak in love, but they were faithful to test and refute false teachers. In Thyatira they were growing in godly love, but they were too tolerant of false doctrine. Both extremes must be avoided in the church, and let’s face it, no church sets out to establish itself in either extreme. They get there by drifting incrementally, step by step in one direction or the other. Sometimes it takes generation, others drift, and sometimes new members influence others. Sometimes old members influence new members to compromise.

The Bible demands that Christians and churches speak the truth in love. That is the biblical balance. Unloving orthodoxy and loving compromise both dishonor God. They also invite His judgment. If the Holy Spirit convicts you today and you sense that you have drifted in either direction, please repent right now.

If you have never received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, this is the accepted time, this is the day of salvation. Let me pray with you right now.

Let me read the last verse again: "Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches."