In this message to the “idolatrous” church in Thyatira, Jesus takes all the symbols of judgment and issues a strong rebuke against those in the church who corrupt true religion and seduce others from the truth.
v.18-19 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.”
This is the first and only time in Revelation that Jesus calls Himself the Son of God; His supreme title as Deity. Seemingly, Jesus had purposed it especially for Thyatira because it is the only church given to idolatry. The disdain of which is clearly evidenced by the two strong symbols Jesus associates with His name. “Eyes like a flame of fire” and “feet like fine brass” both speak of judgment.
As always, our Lord Jesus first acknowledges the good works of the congregation. That they had grown, and were more impressive than works accomplished earlier, when the church was first established.
And herein is a lesson for us, considering the strong rebuke about to come. That works alone are not a guarantee that we are in a right relationship with Almighty God.
v.20 “Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and beguile My servants to commit sexual immorality and to eat things sacrificed to idols.”
The exact identity of this beguiling prophetess called “that woman Jezebel” is not known. In fact, Jezebel might not have been her surname. According to Scripture the name Jezebel virtually became a by-word for all that was abominable following the ancient Queens’ corruption of Israel with idols and pagan practices (2 Kings 9:22; 1 Kings 16:31; 21:25,26). It’s quite possible that Jesus was merely pin pointing a particular female member of the congregation who had been corrupting the church in the manner of Jezebel, and not necessarily identifying her by name.
Nonetheless, she’s a corrupt and dangerous figure who had slithered into the church disguised as a prophetess in order to beguile the congregation into committing themselves to idolatry and sexual immorality (probably according to the doctrine of the Nicolaitans).