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“Write to the angel of the church at Thyatira: THE SON OF GOD,

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the one with eyes

like flames of fire,

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and with feet of bronze

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says this:


“Write this to the church that is fully known and understood by God and is facing the opposition of economic pressure: GOD, the one having the knowledge necessary to judge or to purify, the one having strong and beautiful foundations, says this:


1: What does the phrase “Son of God” mean?

Modern westerners struggle to understand that this means the same thing as “God.” But in ancient cultures the son of a god and goddess was just as much a god as his “parents.”  El was a god of the Babylonians; his son was Marduk, also known as Bel. Marduk became more powerful than El, overshadowing his father in popularity, and over time was seen by the Babylonians as the head over their pantheon of gods. From the perspective of other ancient cultures, Christianity’s use of this term makes it look like we worship more than one God. Although we use a term that is familiar to them, we have filled it with unique meaning. Whereas their gods were often at war with each other, fighting for their own interests, the God of the Bible is a picture of “diverse unity.” Either God is three entities that always function as one, with no conflict between them, or God is one single entity who reveals himself to us in three primary ways so that we can understand Him better. In reality it is hard for us to wrap our minds around the concept of a triune God, but that is what the Bible portrays.


Fire was a symbol of purification or punishment. In this case, as in Revelation 1:14, it can be either one, depending on the condition of one’s heart.

3: “feet of bronze”

Feet could indicate one’s foundations, or what one has built his life on. Bronze was considered strong yet beautiful because it was shiny. The strength that Jesus demonstrates is not a scary strength unless you oppose Him. The believers who were the first recipients of this letter were constantly threatened and beaten down by powerful people, but Jesus has a power that is beautiful to them because it is used to encourage them.

The Possible Symbolism of Thyatira

What the city was known for: Guilds were very strong in Thyatira. They were highly loyal to pagan gods and their members participated in various rituals to those gods. These guilds would not allow anyone to be a member, or work in the industries controlled by them, unless he was also willing to join in the rituals to those gods. This was not just any economic pressure, but intense economic pressure that threatened the very livelihood of believers in Jesus.

What the city’s name meant: The name Thyatira meant “sacrifice of labor,” as if the demands of the guilds were warranted and no one should refuse them. Besides that, they seemed proud of these requirements for working in the guilds. I can hear them saying to the Christians, “What’s your problem? It’s just the way things are; it’s the price you have to pay to work here. You either play by these rules or you don’t play at all. If you want to hold rigidly to your Jesus-God then fine, but you won’t work and you won’t have food to eat. It’s your choice.” Another way to look at it is this: They offered their labor itself as an offering to the pagan gods, and they could not understand why the Christians were not willing to do the same.