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November 19    Scripture



Bible Cities: Thyatira
Ancient Thyatira

Map of Ancient Thyatira

THE CITY OF THYATIRA was a Macedonian colony. It was situated in Lydia, in Asia Minor, not far from the river Lycus, and between Sardis and Pergamos. It is still in existence, but is a poor town with a population of 6000, chiefly Turks. The church at Thyatira was one of the seven churches addressed by the Saviour in the revelation of St. John. The principal deity of the city was Apollo, but there was another superstition of an extremely curious nature, which seems to have been brought hither by some of the corrupted Jews of the dispersed tribes. It seems to have been an attempt to amalgamate the religion of Jehovah with that of heathenism. It is believed that the censure and denunciation launched in Rev. 2:18-23, against the Church in Thyatira, was because of the failure of the Church at that place to discountenance and reprove this amalgamation. - Ancient Geography

Thyatira in Easton's Bible Dictionary a city of Asia Minor, on the borders of Lydia and Mysia. Its modern name is Ak-hissar, i.e., "white castle." Here was one of the seven churches (Rev. 1:11; 2:18-28). Lydia, the seller of purple, or rather of cloth dyed with this colour, was from this city (Acts 16:14). It was and still is famous for its dyeing. Among the ruins, inscriptions have been found relating to the guild of dyers in that city in ancient times.

Thyatira in Fausset's Bible Dictionary (Lydia, the probable agent of carrying the gospel to her native town.) (See LYDIA.) Thyatira lay a little to the left of the road from Pergamos to Sardis (Strabo 13:4, who calls it "a Macedonian colony"); on the Lycus, a little to the S. of the Hyllus, at the N. end of the valley between Mount Tmolus and the southern ridge of Tetanus. Founded by Seleucus Nicator. On the confines of Mysia and Ionia. A corporate guild of dyers is mentioned in three inscriptions of the times of the Roman empire between Vespasian and Caracalla. To it probably belonged Lydia, the seller of purple (i.e. scarlet, for the ancients called many bright red colors "purple") stuffs (Acts 16:14). The waters are so suited for dyeing that nowhere is the scarlet of fezzes thought to be so brilliant and permanent as that made here. Modern Thyatira contains a population of 17,000. In Revelation 2:18-25, "the Son of God who hath eyes like unto a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass," stands in contrast to the sun god. Tyrimnas, the tutelary god of Thyatira, represented with flaming rays and feet of burnished brass. Christ commends Thyatira's works, charity, service, faith, and patience. Thyatira's "last works were more than the first," realizing 1 Thessalonians 4:1, instead of retrograding from "first love and first works" as Ephesus (Revelation 2:4-5); the converse of Matthew 12:45; 2 Peter 2:20. Yet Thyatira "suffered 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." (See JEZEBEL.) Some self-styled prophetess, or collection of prophets (the feminine in Hebrew idiom expressing a multitude), closely attached to and influencing the Thyatira church and its presiding bishop or "angel" (the Alexandrinus and Vaticanus manuscripts read "thy wife" for "that woman") as Jezebel did her weak husband Ahab. The presiding angel ought to have exercised his authority over the prophetess or prophets so-called, who seduced many into the libertinism of the Balaamites and Nicolaitans of Thyatira's more powerful neighbour Pergamos (Revelation 2:6; Revelation 2:14; Revelation 2:16). (See BALAAMITES; NICOLAITANS.) The Lord encourages the faithful section at Thyatira. "Unto you (omit 'and' with the Alexandrinus and the Vaticanus manuscripts, the Sinaiticus manuscript reads: 'among ') the rest in Thyatira I say, ... I will put upon you none other burden (save abstinence from and protestation against these abominations: this the seducers regarded as an intolerable burden, see Matthew 11:30); but that which ye have hold fast until I come." A shrine outside Thyatira walls was sacred to the sibyl Sambatha, a Jewess or Chaldaean, in an enclosure called "the Chaldaean court."

Thyatira in Hitchcock's Bible Names a perfume; sacrifice of labor

Thyatira in Naves Topical Bible The hometown of Lydia, a convert of Paul Ac 16:14 -John given a message for Re 1:11; 2:18,24

Thyatira in Smiths Bible Dictionary a city on the Lycus, founded by Seleucus Nicator, lay to the left of the road from Pergamos to Sardis, 27 miles from the latter city, and on the very confines of Mysia and Ionia, so as to be sometimes reckoned within the one and sometimes within the other. Dyeing apparently formed an important part of the industrial activity of Thyatira, as it did of that of Colossae and Laodicea. It is first mentioned in connection with Lydia, "a seller of purple." Ac 16:14 One of the Seven Churches of Asia was established here. Re 2:18- 29 The principal deity of the city was Apollo; but there was another superstition, of an extremely curious nature which seems to have been brought thither by some of the corrupted Jews of the dispersed tribes. A fane stood outside the walls, dedicated to Sambatha --the name of the sibyl who is sometimes called Chaldean, sometimes Jewish, sometimes Persian-- in the midst of an enclosure designated "the Chaldaeans' court." This seems to lend an illustration to the obscure passage in Re 2:20,21 which some interpret of the wife of the bishop. Now there is evidence to show that in Thyatira there was a great amalgamation of races. If the sibyl Sambatha was in reality a Jewess, lending her aid to the amalgamation of different religions, and not discountenanced by the authorities of the Judeo-Christian Church at Thyatira, both the censure and its qualification become easy of explanation. (The present name of the city is ak-Hissar ("white castle"). It has a reputation for the manufacture of scarlet cloth. Its present population is 15,000 to 20,000. There are nine mosques. --ED.)

Thyatira in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE thi-a-ti'-ra (Thuateira): Thyatira was a wealthy town in the northern part of Lydia of the Roman province of Asia, on the river Lycus. It stood so near to the borders of Mysia, that some of the early writers have regarded it as belonging to that country. Its early history is not well known, for until it was refounded by Seleucus Nicator (301-281 BC) it was a small, insignificant town. It stood on none of the Greek trade routes, but upon the lesser road between Pergamos and Sardis, and derived its wealth from the Lycus valley in which it rapidly became a commercial center, but never a metropolis. The name "Thyatira" means "the castle of Thya." Other names which it has borne are Pelopia and Semiramis. Before the time of Nicator the place was regarded as a holy city, for there stood the temple of the ancient Lydian sun- god, Tyrimnos; about it games were held in his honor. Upon the early coins of Thyatira this Asiatic god is represented as a horseman, bearing a double-headed battle-ax, similar to those represented on the sculptures of the Hittites. A goddess associated with him was Boreatene, a deity of less importance. Another temple at Thyatira was dedicated to Sambethe, and at this shrine was a prophetess, by some supposed to represent the Jezebel of Rev 2:20, who uttered the sayings which this deity would impart to the worshippers. Thyatira was specially noted for the trade guilds which were probably more completely organized there than in any other ancient city. Every artisan belonged to a guild, and every guild, which was an incorporated organization, possessed property in its own name, made contracts for great constructions, and wielded a wide influence. Powerful among them was the guild of coppersmiths; another was the guild of the dyers, who, it is believed, made use of the madder-root instead of shell-fish for making the purple dyestuffs. A member of this guild seems to have been Lydia of Thyatira, who, according to Acts 16:14, sold her dyes in Philippi. The color obtained by the use of this dye is now called Turkish red. The guilds were closely connected with the Asiatic religion of the place. Pagan feasts, with which immoral practices were associated, were held, and therefore the nature of the guilds was such that they were opposed to Christianity. According to Acts 19:10, Paul may have preached there while he was living at Ephesus, but this is uncertain; yet Christianity reached there at an early time. It was taught by many of the early church that no Christian might belong to one of the guilds, and thus the greatest opposition to Christianity was presented. Thyatira is now represented by the modern town of Ak-Hissar on a branch line of the Manisa-Soma Railroad, and on the old Rom road 9 hours from Sardis. Ak-Hissar is Turkish for "white castle," and near the modern town may be seen the ruins of the castle from which the name was derived. The village is of considerable size; most of the houses are of mud, but several of the buildings erected by Caracalla are still standing, yet none of them are perfect. In the higher part of the town are the ruins of one of the pagan temples, and in the walls of the houses are broken columns and sarcophagi and inscribed stones. The population of 20,000 is largely Greek and Armenian, yet a few Jews live among them. Before the town is a large marsh, fever-laden, and especially unhealthful in the summer time, formed by the Lycus, which the Turks now call Geurdeuk Chai. The chief modern industry is rug-making.

Thyatira Scripture - Acts 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard [us]: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

Thyatira Scripture - Revelation 1:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send [it] unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

Thyatira Scripture - Revelation 2:18 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;

Thyatira Scripture - Revelation 2:24 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.

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