THYATIRA--THE DEPTHS OF SATAN (Google Video--Highest Quality)
Thyatira, modern day Akhisar, is located 42 miles inland from the Aegean Sea. It is the fourth of the seven churches addressed by the apostle John in the book of Revelation. The ancient city was known for its textiles and dyeing trade from the various guilds of wool workers, linen weavers, tanners, and dyers. One of the well-to-do agents of a purple-dye firm in Thyatira was Lydia. Lydia of Thyatira was the first recorded convert to Christianity in Europe. Acts 16: 14-15 says: “One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple, who was a worshipper of God. The Lord opened her heart to give heed to what was said by Paul. And when she was baptized, with her household, she besought us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay." And she prevailed upon us.”
In was in A.D. 49 or 50 that Thyatira was visited by the apostle Paul who was guided there by a vision from the Holy Spirit. (Acts 16:9-10). Paul was accompanied by Silas, Timothy and Luke, the author of the book of Acts. Paul preached for the first time on European soil in the city of Philippi (Acts 16:12-40) and baptized Lydia there in a river just to the west of the city.
Tyrian purple, also known as royal purple, imperial purple or imperial dye, is a purple-red dye which was first produced by the ancient Phoenicians in the city of Tyre. Tyrian purple was expensive as Theopompus, the fourth-century BC historian reported: "Purple for dyes fetched its weight in silver at Colophon" in Asia Minor he said. The dye’s substance occurs naturally, but must be harvested by humans. It consists of a fresh mucous secretion from the gland of a medium-sized predatory sea snail-- the spiny dye-murex.
In nature the snails use their secretion as part of their predatory behaviour and as an antimicrobial lining on egg masses. The snail secretes this substance when it is poked or physically attacked. The dye can be collected either by "milking" the snails, or by collecting and then crushing the snails completely.
Here, the Byzantine Emperor Justinian is dressed in Tyrian purple. Purple—Tyrian purple; fit for a king…and yes, fit for the King of kings and Lord of lords. When our Lord Jesus entered His last conflict, they placed upon Him a purple robe, clothing fit for the King of kings. John 19:1, 2 says: “Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe” mocking His claim that He was the King of the Jews.
Jesus was “twice tortured by the scourge.” (DA 742). You know, one scourging was enough to kill a man. The Bible says in Matthew 27:28: “And they stripped Him, and put on him a scarlet robe.” Friends, how precious is the blood of Christ as He spilt that blood in our behalf.
You know, I am constantly amazed how the Lord has used the archeologist Ron Wyatt. Here was a humble man whom the Lord used to discover Noah’s Ark, the true site of Mt. Sinai; the exact location of the crossing of the Red Sea and finally, this man of God was led by the Lord to rediscover the place of the cross and the cave where the Ark of the Covenant is hidden. In that cave Mr. Wyatt found the blood of our Saviour spilled through Golgotha’s crack upon the mercy seat where the Ten Commandments are housed.
Imagine, the blood of Jesus our Saviour has been found and it was analyzed and tested. You would think that blood that was found from a time period of almost 2000 years ago would reveal nothing…but that is not the case with this blood. When the blood analysis came back, it revealed that this blood was ALIVE…ALIVE, and was found to contain only 23 chromosomes, evidence that Christ’s birth was supernatural. He was born of a virgin according to the Scriptures. The blood of Jesus was found alive because Jesus of Nazareth is truly God and our precious Lord. Soon, the Ark of the Covenant will be released from its hiding place establishing the fact that God’s law does not change. That’s why the blood was spilt. God’s holy law has been in effect from the beginning of time and will remain that way forever. It’s the standard of the judgment in the soon coming Great White Judgment at the second coming.
REVELATION 2:18 SAYS: AND UNTO 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.
The author of this message is Jesus the Son of God. Up to this time the Lord had not assumed His supreme title as the Son of God. He had addressed the churches as the One holding the seven stars, showing His care for his ministers and His people. He had addressed the church at Smyrna as “the first and the last” so that He might give comfort to those who would suffer a martyr’s death, and with Pergamos, our Lord was the one “which had the sharp sword with two edges” reminding His people that they are to live not by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4). The people in Thyatira were to hold the Scriptures as their infallible guide, but unfortunately, they did not follow the Lord’s instruction and now the Lord addresses Himself to His people with His supreme title. He is the Son of God! It’s a title of judgment and the Lord comes in judgment on a church which has departed from His way.
Jesus again describes Himself with the symbols of judgment when He says that He is the one “who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire.” The Lord Jesus is the One who searches the heart. His eyes are like a flame of fire because He is the One who sees men and women for what they are. He knows their motives and why they do what they do and He reads their character and pierces their innermost thoughts. Hebrews 4:13 says: “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” Christ is the One who searches the heart in judgment and He is also pictured here in the Revelation as the One who has “his feet like fine brass.”
Our Lord will be the One who will crush and burn the wicked in His wrath during the seven last plagues and at His second coming. It’s at the second coming that Christ comes and His feet will tread down the wicked. His feet will be like fine brass, burning and purifying. Habakkuk 3:5 says: “Before Him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting.”
Habakkuk here is predicting a future appearance of the Lord to judge the nations as the Lord comes in flaming fire to judge the wicked and the dead. Christ is seen in this text treading upon the wicked. And for the Lord to describe Himself to Thyatira as the One having feet like unto fine brass means that judgment has come to the church at Thyatira. Christ is judging a church that has departed from His truth. Pergamos, our last church, compromised with the world—a union of church and state was begun. Pergamos simply absorbed what was valuable in their culture until finally every government, every industry, all the educational institutions, everything, came under the direct control of this corrupt church. Now judgment comes upon Thyatira, a church which has slid even further into apostasy and reaches the “depths of Satan.”
REVELATION 2:19: I KNOW THY WORKS, AND CHARITY, AND SERVICE, AND FAITH, AND THY PATIENCE, AND THY WORKS; AND THE LAST TO BE MORE THAN THE FIRST.
The word 'Thyatira' literally means 'a continual sacrifice' predicting the rise of Roman Catholicism There were many godly saints during the Middle Ages in the church at Thyatira who faithfully followed the Lord and sought to serve in a continual sacrifice of service and the Lord acknowledges their works, charity, service, faith and patience. Yet something was wrong here. Roman Catholicism can be seen in Thyatira in the sense of a continual sacrifice through the abomination of the mass…The teaching that in the sacrament of the mass, through the broken bread and the poured out wine, there is a perpetual sacrifice over and over again of the Lord Jesus Christ in His death. That is why, according to Catholicism, a priest is necessary that, through this continual sacrifice, we in some way can merit some grace and favor from God.
Thyatira; “a continual sacrifice.” Father Richard Chilson was questioned about the mass and its finished work, in a video entitled 'Catholicism: Crisis of Faith' by Lumen Productions. Here is what he had to say: 'The Eucharist for Catholics is ultimately a mystical understanding...the Eucharist, by making present that sacrifice throughout history, helps us to open our eyes to what is really going on continually - that God is continually, through Jesus Christ, reconciling the universe to Himself. It allows us to personally come into that moment, and be reconciled with God again and again and again…” The continual sacrifice of the mass indicates that the work of Jesus as sacrifice is not yet finished and must be repeated again, and again and again, but friends, when Jesus died on the cross, he cried in a loud voice: “IT IS FINISHED.” His sacrifice was complete and now a repentant sinner, by faith, has the blood of Jesus applied to Him and He is made whole and complete. He is saved by faith in Christ. In other words: "IT IS FINISHED" there is salvation in Jesus. It is not necessary to repeat that awful sacrifice in the sacrifice of the mass. Peter says: "knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ" (1Pet. 1:18).
And so in Thyatira the people of God are within this massive super organization, this massive structure, and the Lord commends them for their works, their love, faith and service. They are performing good works. It’s mentioned twice. “I know thy works” the Lord says. But what kind of works were being performed in Thyatira? The Bible says “thy works” as opposed to the works of the Lord. You see, the believers in Thyatira believed that in order to be saved it was necessary to take long pilgrimages so that they might have their sins forgiven. They attended church under pain of committing a mortal sin. And it was necessary to open one’s heart to a man in the confessional, or else they thought a person could not receive forgiveness. Works of all kinds were advocated during this tragic period of church history, and yet the people believed that they were sincerely serving God. “I know thy works,” the Lord says to Thyatira.
And God’s people found themselves in this long night of moral darkness primarily because they had departed from taking the Word of God as their standard for faith and practice. Instead, the traditions of men started creeping in and these held more weight than the Word of God. There was a falling away from the truth. In verse 7 of 2 Thessalonians 2, the apostle Paul warns his brethren that” the mystery of iniquity doth already work.” Even at that early date, Paul saw creeping into the church errors that would prepare the way for the development of the papacy. The “man of sin” would exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped. Look at verse 20 of Revelation 2:
REVELATION 2:20: NOTWITHSTANDING I HAVE A FEW THINGS AGAINST THEE, BECAUSE THOU SUFFEREST 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.
Jezebel is the name Christ uses to describe the church for this period and Jezebel was the pagan wife of Ahab, the king of Israel. 1 Kings 16:30 says: “And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jereboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him.” Ahab did evil in the sight of the Lord. It was nothing for him to continue the calf worship of Jereboam under the symbol of an ox. In fact, he was not satisfied with this. He married Jezebel, a prophetess of Baal, the sun god. Ahab married her for her influence, but he found her to be too headstrong, a wicked woman who wanted full control. The marriage of Ahab to Jezebel effected a full compromise with the world.
One of the things that the Lord finds offensive in the character of this church is that she tolerates evil teachers and their teaching. Thyatira had an unhealthy tolerance of those who professed to be teachers of God but were not. The church tolerated false teachers and false doctrines and did not deal with them as they should have and so pagan practices like the worship of idols and sun, Sunday worship came into the church. Unconsecrated leaders of the church tampered with the second and fourth commandments, encouraged the adoration of images and relics, and eased Sunday worship into the church.
The church at Ephesus had tested those who called themselves apostles and had rejected these false apostles, but here at Thyatira the church allows them in her presence, to her own detriment. We should not tolerate evil, but rather resist and rebuke it. And then there is the subject of the assumption of Mary. The Roman Catholic Church teaches as dogma that the Virgin Mary, "having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory." This means that Mary was transported into Heaven with her body and soul united. Catholic Christians believe that if Mary was preserved from sin by the free gift of God, she would not be bound to experience the consequences of sin--death--in the same way we do. Mary's assumption shows the result of this freedom from sin--the immediate union of her whole being with her Son Jesus Christ with God at the end of her life and yet there is not ONE text of Scripture indicating that this is so. Consequently, it is false teaching and should be seen such. The assumption of Mary is a false doctrine and should be rejected.
On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII solemnly declared: “By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.
Since the declaration of Papal Infallibility by Vatican I in 1870, this declaration by Pius XII has been the only ex cathedra use of Papal Infallibility. While Pope Pius XII deliberately left open the question of whether Mary died before her Assumption, the more common teaching of the early Fathers is that she did.
Jezebel is the symbolic name used by the Lord to represent the history of the church at Thyatira. And in all history there is not another character who so completely represents the papal system, its character, its work and worship than the unclean wife of Ahab. She was a heathen married to a Jew, and this describes the papal system. It is paganism joined with an obsolete Judaism. Jezebel called herself a prophetess and undertook to be a teacher to God’s servants. So does the papacy. The papacy claims to be God’s only infallible teacher of the Word of God.
Friends, nowhere in the Bible can we find even a hint that the Lord has appointed any man to be the head of the church. The doctrine of papal supremacy is directly opposed to the teachings of the Scriptures. Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 23:11 and 12: “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” True greatness is measured by moral worth, not position in the church. And the Bible declares that it is the Lord Jesus Christ who is the head of the church. Turn to Ephesians 5:23: “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the Saviour of the body.” Ephesians 2:20 says: “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord.”
The doctrine of papal supremacy is opposed in the Scriptures, and the pope can have no power over Christ’s church except by usurpation, by the use of power, especially political power. When the papacy ascended, God’s church had to go into the wilderness because two cannot walk together except they be agreed. One of the events which forced God’s church into the wilderness was the Edict of Justinian issued in AD. 532.
Archibald Bower says of the Edict of Justinian: “By an edict which he issued to unite all men in one faith, whether Jews, Gentiles, or Christians, such as did not, in the term of three months, embrace and profess the Catholic faith, were declared infamous, and as such, excluded from all employments both civil and military, rendered incapable of leaving anything by will, and their estates confiscated, whether real or personal...Great numbers were driven from their habitations with their wives and children, stripped and naked. Others betook themselves to flight, carrying with them what they could conceal, for their support and maintenance; but they were plundered of the little they had, and many of them inhumanely massacred by the Catholic peasants, or the soldiery, who guarded the passes.” Bower, The History of the Popes, Vol 1, 334.
In the year 533 Justinian issued another decree where he exalted the papacy to the highest earthly position possible. But it was not until the year 538 when the power of the Ostrogoths was crushed that the papacy in reality became supreme. And this accession of the Roman Church to power in 538 A.D. marked the beginning of the Dark Ages and the beginning of the history of Thyatira.
Jezebel was a prophetess of Baal and she sought to seduce the people of God into apostasy. She persecuted the faithful children of God, and the Lord sent a famine of three and a half years to convince and punish the people for their rebellion. The Lord also sent a message of reform through the prophet Elijah during this period, but they would not change and the doom of Jezebel is an object lesson for all who have heard the Word of God but have chosen not follow it. Jezebel persecuted the faithful children of God and so did the papacy.
REVELATION 2:21 says: AND I GAVE HER SPACE TO REPENT OF HER FORNICATION; AND SHE REPENTED NOT.
The Lord gave the church at Thyatira time to repent and He did this by giving her strong men with equally strong messages to bring her back to the truth. Men like Peter Waldo, a wealthy French merchant. .Amid the gloom that settled upon the earth during the long period of papal supremacy, the light of truth could not be wholly extinguished. In every age there were witnesses for God—men and women who cherished faith in Christ as the only mediator between God and man, who held the Bible as the only rule of faith and practice, and who keep holy the Saturday Sabbath. How much the world owes to these men, posterity will never know. They were branded as heretics, their motives impugned, their characters maligned, their writings suppressed, misrepresented, or mutilated and millions were placed before the torture chamber. Yet they stood firm, and from age to age maintained their faith in its purity, as a sacred heritage for the generations to come.
PETER WALDO (c. 1140- c 1218) was the founder of the Waldensians. He was a rich merchant from the city of Lyon when around 1160 he began to preach and teach in the streets, based on his ideas of simplicity and poverty, notably that "No man can serve two masters, God and mammon.” By 1170 he had gathered a number of followers who believed in lay preaching, voluntary poverty and fidelity to the “Word of God.”
In 1179, Waldo and one of his disciples were welcomed to Rome by Pope Alexander III where they had to explain their faith in the priesthood of the believer, the gospel in the local language and the issue of self-imposed poverty. The Waldensians were later condemned at the Third Lateran Council and sentenced to death in various European countries during the 12th to the 14th centuries. The Third Lateran Council "gave permission to princes to reduce heretics to slavery and shortened the time of penance by two years for those taking up arms against them" (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, V, p. 519) .
As the historian says: “The fleeing Christians who escaped from the wrath of the Roman church and state, found a haven in the mountains and valleys of the north of Italy, and the south of France, in main, although they fled into all nations wherein they could find an entrance and protection from the persecutions of the papacy. Though these Christians were known by many names for various reasons in their new homes, yet the predominating name for them seems to have been ‘Vaudois,’ which means ‘Valley Dwellers.’ From the fact they dwelt in the valleys of the mountains they received the name ‘Valley Dwellers,” or, in the native tongue, ‘Vaudois.’ The Vaudois, known as such by the world, but holding to the true Bible name, were persecuted for the true faith. They observed the seventh day of the week, according to the commandment, immersed for believers’ baptism, and kept the Passover, or the Lord’s Supper, once a year, in the first month” (Persecutions and Atrocities on the Vaudois, pp. 348-349). Church and state had united to persecute God’s true followers. The woman of Revelation 17 was now sitting upon the beast, being supported by the Roman government.
And then there was John Wycliffe, who in the year 1320, translated the Holy Bible into the language of the people. He preached in the English countryside teaching the distinctive doctrines of the Bible: salvation through faith in Chris alonet, and the sole infallibility of the Scriptures. He turned the minds of men from the pope and the Church of Rome to the Word of God. And before the church could reach him he died. But the church would not be satisfied while his body rested quietly in the grave awaiting the resurrection. More than 40 years after his death, by the decree of the Council of Constance, his bones were exhumed and publicly burned, and the ashes were thrown into a neighboring brook. But the brook, says one writer, “conveyed his ashes into Avon, Avon into Severn, Severn into the narrow seas, they into the main ocean. And thus the ashes of Wycliffe are the emblem of his doctrine, which now is dispersed all the world over.” The Great Controversy, 96. “I gave her space to repent,” the Bible says, “and she repented not.”
And who can forget John Huss, who lived around 1360. Huss was a priest who read the writings of Wycliffe and believed them to be true. He taught that “the precepts of Scripture, conveyed through the understanding, are to rule the conscience: in other words, that God speaking in the Bible, and not the church speaking through the priesthood, is the one infallible guide.” Ibid. 102. And for believing this he was called before the church and there declared a heretic. He died singing: “Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me” and so continued his voice until it was silenced forever. “I gave her space to repent... and she repented not” were the words of Jesus to the church at Thyatira.
And then there was William Tyndale. “While Luther was opening a closed Bible to the people of Germany, Tyndale was impelled by the Spirit of God to do the same for England. Wycliffe’s Bible had been translated from the Latin text, which contained many errors. It had never been printed, and the cost of manuscript copies was so great that but few wealthy men or nobles could procure it; and, furthermore, being strictly proscribed by the church, it had a comparatively narrow circulation. In 1516, a year before the appearance of Luther’s theses, Erasmus had published his Greek and Latin version of the New Testament. Now for the first time the word of God was printed in the original tongue. In this work many errors of former versions were corrected, and the sense was more clearly rendered. It led many among the educated classes to a better knowledge of the truth, and gave a new impetus to the work of reform. But the common people were still, to a great extent, debarred from God’s word. Tyndale was to complete the work of Wycliffe in giving the Bible to his countrymen.”
Protestant reformer and Bible translator
And what can we say of Martin Luther, who in 1517 nailed his 95 thesis to the church door, thus breaking the back of the papacy. The year 1517 markes the beginning of a new era for the church and the world. Martin Luther gave the first blow of the Reformation. He firmly declared that Christians should receive no other doctrines except those which rest only on the authority of the Word of God. He fearlessly attacked indulgences in the church and sought reform here. His famous words still speak to us today. He said: “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture, or by the clearest reasoning, “unless I am persuaded by means of the passages I have quoted, and unless they thus render my conscience bound by the Word of God, I cannot and I will not retract, for it is unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience. Here I stand, I can do on other; may God help me. Amen.”
The dark ages for this world and for the people of God were to last 1260 years. In the church at Pergamos, we studied that the apostasy of the bishops reached its height in the year A.D. 538 when the pope was named the head of all the churches. The oppressive papal rule was to last for 1260 years. The man of sin was to rule for this long period of time before his rule would be broken. And it was in the year 1798, during the Napoleonic wars, that the French General Louis Alexandre Berthier marched his troops into the city of Rome and captured the then-reigning pope, Pope Pius 6, and put him in prison thus giving the papacy a “deadly wound.” This event fulfilled the 1260 years of Papal suppression. This is the time period of the church at Thyatira.
The year 1798 brought an end to the dark ages and the dawn of a new tomorrow. Verse 22 of Revelation continues the history of Thyatira:
REVELATION 2:22: BEHOLD, I WILL CAST HER INTO A BED, AND THEM THAT COMMIT ADULTERY WITH HER INTO GREAT TRIBULATION, EXCEPT THEY REPENT OF THEIR DEEDS. 23. AND I WILL KILL HER CHILDREN WITH DEATH; AND ALL THE CHURCHES SHALL KNOW THAT I AM HE WHICH SEARCHETH THE REINS AND HEARTS: AND I WILL GIVE UNTO EVERY ONE OF YOU ACCORDING TO YOUR WORKS. 24. BUT UNTO YOU I SAY, AND UNTO THE REST IN THYATIRA, AS MANY AS HAVE NOT THIS DOCTRINE, AND WHICH HAVE NOT KNOWN THE DEPTHS OF SATAN, AS THEY SPEAK; I WILL PUT UPON YOU NONE OTHER BURDEN.
This woman, Jezebel, the Bible says, reached the full depths of Satan. She was involved in whoredoms and witchcrafts, and the papal church has followed Jezebel’s path by resorting to astrology and spiritualism as part of her worship. (2 Kings 9:22). This church was also involved in the worship of images and relics. This was a gradual change, but it was so firmly established in the church that by A.D. 787 the Second General Council of Nicaea was called for this very purpose. Oh, the images were at first introduced, not to be worshipped, but to give instruction to those who could not read. The result was that they ended in turning the people from the Creator to that which was created. The second commandment, forbidding image worship, was eliminated from the Ten Commandments, and the tenth commandment was divided in order to preserve the number. The fourth commandment was also tampered with during this church period. The Sabbath commandment was transferred to the first day of the week, a day which has absolutely no Scripture backing. Surely, the depths of Satan were reached during this period of church history.
The Bible says “…AND WHICH HAVE NOT KNOWN THE DEPTHS OF SATAN.” Some of the “depths of Satan” can be demonstrated in the instruments of torture used by the Catholic Church. The accused was placed in this chair to be questioned, just a taste of things to come.
The accused had there bones shattered and then a hammer to the heart finished them off.
These devices were used for gouging, tearing, dismembering, crushing and other cruelties.
Masks like these were worn by the torturer to instill further fear.
The 'Iron Maiden", the victim was spiked.
The "Pear", inserted into the mouth or other places (genitals) and twisted open mutilating the insides.
The "Thumb Screw", skin was separated from the bone and the bones crushed and splintered.
The "wheel", used to slowly burn the victim every turn on the wheel.
The "Bronze Bowl" Rats or mice were stuck inside the bowl facing the stomach, the top was set on fire and the rats would eat their way through the stomach and intestines.
The "Head Crusher", the accused had their head stuffed in this device and the torturer cranked it until the eyes burst, the jaw shattered, and finally the skull burst open.
Millions died in the Inquisition and today’s pope, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was head of the Catholic Church's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, whose mission is to "to promote and safeguard the doctrine on the faith and morals throughout the Catholic world" (John Paul II). The CDF was originally called the Sacred Congregation of the Universal Inquisition as its duty was to defend the Church from heresy. It is the oldest of the Curia's nine congregations Imagine, Benedict xvi formerly the head of “the inquisition, now pope and leader of the Roman Church.
”But in Revelation 2:24, the Lord speaks to the rest in the church at Thyatira. He speaks to those who had not yielded to the apostasy and promises them that He would put no other burden upon them.
REVELATION 2:25 and 26: BUT THAT WHICH YE HAVE ALREADY HOLD FAST TILL I COME. AND HE THAT OVERCOMETH, AND KEEPETH MY WORKS UNTO THE END, TO HIM WILL I GIVE POWER OVER THE NATIONS;
Here the believer is encouraged to be faithful until the end. He is encouraged to be an overcomer, and the Lord will give him power over the nations. When the Lord returns the second time, He will then sit on the throne of His glory according to Matthew 25:32. “And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.”
Friends, it is at the second coming and during the thousand years that follow that the Lord fulfills His promises to His people that they will be given power over the nations. During this period of time, the judgment of the wicked will be determined and the saints will have the honor of sharing with Christ in the execution of the sentence of the wicked. Psalms 149:5-9 says: “Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints.” Our Lord Jesus promised His people that one day they would have power over the nations. It is not the proud of the earth but the meek that will inherit the earth. It is not to those who grasp for power that power will finally be given, but to the humble, the down-trodden, those who hold the works of the Lord until the end that will at last rule the earth.
REVELATION 2:27 and 28: AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON; AS THE VESSELS OF A POTTER SHALL THEY BE BROKEN TO SHIVERS: EVEN AS I RECEIVED OF MY FATHER. AND I WILL GIVE HIM THE MORNING STAR.
The N. I. V. of the Bible says it this way beginning with verse 26: “To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations--He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery just as I have received authority from my Father.” This is a direct quotation from Psalms 2 where the Scriptures speak of the Lord and His anointed. This is a psalm of the kings of the earth against the true King and his people. And the object of the psalm is to convey the idea that in the end it will be the King of kings that will have the final word. Yes, the heathen “rage, and the people imagine a vain thing.” “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed,” but in the end it will be the Lord “that sitteth in the heavens” that “shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” The Mighty One, the One who has already conquered, He is the One who will conquer the wicked.
In verse 8 of Psalm 2 the Bible says: “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” The heathen are given to God’s people not for their salvation, but for their destruction. And the wicked come before the righteous at the beginning of the judgment, at the beginning of the thousand years, to receive their just punishments. It is the righteous who sit with the Lord Jesus to determine the amount of punishment to be meted out to those who did not chose to serve God while here on earth. And because they refused to serve Him here, they will not serve Him in the earth made new. Truly, “the uttermost parts of the earth” are for the possession of the righteous. (Psalm 2:8).
This promise to the overcomer given to the church at Thyatira is significant to us because just like in Psalm chapter 2 it seems like the wicked have conquered. It seems like they have taken over the world and the church and there appears to be no possibility of the Lord winning His cause. The majority have established rule, and they are against God’s people, but the Lord gives the church at Thyatira this promise because in the end it will pay to serve Him as Lord of their lives. In the end, the Lord and the righteous will be the majority, and the wicked will not be~ they will not exist. In the end they will be broken to shivers, and they will fall apart like a pottery vessel disintegrates after a fall or a blow. “As the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father,” the Lord assures His people. Just be faithful with what I have given you, the Lord says, and “I will put upon you none other burden “and I will give him the morning star.” The Lord Jesus Himself is the bright add morning star according to Revelation 22:16. His light is to shine into the hearts of all His people, especially those who remain faithful to the end.
REVELATION 2:29: HE THAT HATH AN EAR, LET HIM HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT SAITH UNTO THE CHURCHES.
In summary then, our Lord finds that the Thyatira church did much good. Although supreme control was passing ever so slowly to one man, still thousands of Catholic monks and priests and lay people in this church clung to Jesus in spite of their ignorance of God’s Word. And these faithful believers performed many good works. They set up charities, hospitals, monasteries and raised up many churches. Thousands devoted themselves continually to a life of poverty and prayer. Yes, these believers did many wonderful things for their Lord, but the Lord didn’t just have good things to say to this church. The double-edged sword of the Word of God revealed another side. Pergamos compromised and the church of Thyatira committed fornication, by mingling church and state. Whenever the church commits fornication, this means that she has departed from Her Lord and is now depending on the state for her money, her strength and her power. And that is just what the church of this period did. She departed from Her Lord just like Jezebel of the Old Testament. This pagan wife of Ahab persecuted God’s true prophets and she helped promote the worship of a false god called Baal, the sun god. And it was during this church period (Thyatira) that Sunday became the official day of worship for the Christian church. The sun god of Baal became the leader of the professed Christian world.
If ever a system was anti-Christ it is the system of Roman Catholicism, and it will prove to be such in the end - if you're a prophetic scholar you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. These were the issues at the heart of the Reformation Germany in 1521, the conflict that led to Reformation revival. Now remember please that the leaders of the Reformation were Roman Catholic priests, but they opened the Scriptures - Wycliffe, Huss, Zwingle, Calvin, and Luther - and many of them died for their faith. When Luther was asked to recant his Protestant beliefs he said these words, and we would do well to bind them to our hearts: 'My conscience is captive to the word of God'. The reformers cry ought to be our cry today: 'Sola Scriptura', Scripture alone, 'Sola Fide', faith alone, and 'Only through Christ alone' can we come to God - and not just for doctrine's sake, but the eternal salvation of men and women's souls depends upon it!
Can I ask you in closing: have you experienced the salvation of the Bible, not the salvation of Romanism or the salvation of Protestantism, the salvation of the Bible? It's available, 1 John 5:13 says: 'These things', the word of God, 'have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God'. You can know this evening, why? Because Jesus died, paid the penalty, was buried in the grave - the work complete - rose again on the third day, ascended to heaven, and He is alive tonight, able to save better than any church. He offers salvation as a free gift of grace to all who will receive it by faith and faith alone.
And so from the year 538 to the year 1798, we have the darkest period of church history. It is called the dark ages primarily because God’s Word was not read, it was not heard much among the people, and it was not practiced. During this period the established church continued to grow more and more corrupt as it became more and more political. In spite of the millions within the Roman system who loved Christ and gave all of themselves for the Lord’s sake, in spite of all this, the general trend of the Roman Catholic Church during the middle ages was toward persecution and corruption. Millions died in the Inquisition, hundreds of thousands who did not go along with Catholic doctrine were systematically persecuted and eliminated. This is the record of history and it cannot be easily explained away. But to the faithful in Thyatira, Christ offered an understanding commendation. To the faithful in Thyatira, Jesus would require nothing else but to hold fast what they already believed. They were to hold fast the truth of the Word of God. So ends the history of this unfaithful church as we pass on to the study of the fifth letter of Jesus to His seven churches...the church of Sardis.
HE THAT HATH AN EAR, LET HIM HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT SAITH UNTO THE CHURCHES.