Good morning, Reader! Have you enjoyed reading about the different churches and how we can learn from each one? These posts aren’t all inclusive in their history, nor are they meant to be. The goal is to give you an idea of what was going on during that timeframe.
Today’s letter to Thyatira is quite interesting! In the church age timeframe, it existed between 606-1517 AD. At this point, we see a church that is known for its idolatry. Although the “spirit” of the Roman Catholic Church began as early as the 300’s, the official “incorporation” of the Roman Catholic Church began in early 600 AD. Its basic structure is the same today, i.e. the Pope and hierarchy. With each year, more idolatrous doctrine was added to its arsenal of corruption. Later years also brought: the mass, Mary now called the Mother of God and worthy to be worshipped, the doctrine of purgatory, and Latin being the language of prayer and worship in the church (both imposed by Gregory the Great).
During this timeframe, Emperor Phocas appointed Boniface, then the Bishop of Rome, to be “pope” of all the churches in the Roman empire. The Catholic Church teaches that Peter was their first pope but the Scriptures are quite clear that Peter was the Apostle to the Jews and Paul to the Gentiles.
Jesus commends them for their love, faith, service and perseverance. However, they allowed some of the awful doctrines above to creep into their midst. Note that Jezebel is mentioned in verse 20. Jesus tells them here that she calls herself a prophetess, she teaches and seduces His servants to commit fornication with her, and she also taught eating things sacrificed to idols. First of all, committing fornication here refers to spiritual fornication, which was leaving their first love, the Lord Jesus, and worshipping someone else. Who could they be worshipping? It is not known if this woman was an actual person or if it is referring to the same doctrines that Jezebel held, one of which was:
The sacrifice of the mass has one purpose and that is for the sacrificial offering. However, what do the verses above tell us? Jesus’ blood was shed once for all sin! Daily sacrifices by Catholic priests is not necessary. They are not worshipping the same Christ as we are. We serve a risen Saviour and they are all about death. Why? There’s money to be made in death (prayers for the dead, purgatory, indulgences, etc.) according to the Catholic Church’s doctrine.
You may be saying, well what about communion in my non-denominational church? It’s a whole different story when we celebrate communion in remembrance of the Lord as He taught us in the Last Supper. We think on what Jesus did for us and we do this in remembrance of Him and His work on the cross for our sin. We don’t believe, as the Catholics, that the juice is miraculously transformed into His blood and His body is miraculously transformed into His body! This is the doctrine of transubstantiation and Pope Innocent III made it dogma (Catholic doctrine) in the year 1215. Do you see how through the years, beliefs and man-made doctrines were incorporated into this church? This religion became one of works based salvation, not salvation by faith. These are the types of things that Thyatira was allowing into their church. A church should never be tolerant of sin and should be able to recognize it when it enters into their midst. We are blessed to have the Scriptures to turn to and practically every home has a Bible so we can study for ourselves! Unfortunately, the priests and hierarchy were the only ones allowed to reveal the Scriptures.
What do we have to learn from this church today? A lot! We must hold true to God’s Word over what a church hierarchy has to say. The Catholic Church is not the only one that added to these compromises. There are many other religions who have an “additional book” for members to read, which is in addition to God’s Word (and in most cases, supersedes the Bible). The Catholic Church claims that whatever the Pope says supersedes what the Bible states. This is blasphemous, to say they least!
A church’s authority should never be equal to the Scriptures nor should it be above Scriptures. NEVER! When a church remembers this, they will not be seduced by false doctrine. It is toward the end of this Church age that the Protestant Reformation began. What a blessing to all the churches and members to follow!
One interesting note is that this church was known for its idolatry. Jezebel is at the core of this idolatry. Jesus says that Jezebel was their prophetess. Interestingly enough, Mary is at the core of the Roman Catholic Church and has been for centuries. She has been elevated to a point where members pray to her (the rosary); they claim she has performed miracles; they call her Mother of God, etc. These practices began early in church history but are still going on today!
Friend, it is no coincidence that God has placed you here for such a time as this so that you may be saved if you are not already. Please click here and the link will open up in a separate tab to You Can Be Born Again and Know It!