Biblical Turkey Guide
Although Thyatira that was established by as a Lydian city, it became a Macedonian colony later on. In the year 133 BC, it became the part of the Roman Empire. Located in a fertile plain without any natural defenses-Akhisar has been always subject to all kind of attacks. This was the home town of Lydia, rich widow whom Paul met in Philippi in Macedonia during his second missionary trip. The city was an important industrial center reputed because of its trade unions for wool, clothing and purple dyes. Since modern town of Akhisar is located on the ancient roads and has been subject to invasions and destruction, there is very little left from the ancient city. Besides this, modern city is built over the ancient town. One can still see the ruins of a columned street and an impressive Byzantine structure which is recognized as church or an administrative building.
The letter written to this church is the longest letter of 7 letters. It is full of accusations and blame for those participating in forbidden acts such as eating meat sacrificed to idols and sexual immorality.
Although Thytitara was smallest and least important of these seven cities, t he letter written to the church in Thytira was the longest of seven letters. Inscriptions which many bible scholars brought to light revealed that Thyatira had many trade guilds such as bakers,bronze makers, weavers, tanners , potters, clothiers, cobblers and dyers.
Thyatira was the hometown of Lydia, a rich and notable merchant, who became Paul's first convert on the European Soil in Philippi. Lydia traded in materials coloured with Thytira's purple dye, and she is mentioned by Luke as"a dealer in purple cloth". Evidently she had moved from her town Thytira to Philippi for business. It is not known whether Lydia returned to Thytira to spread the Christian faith or not, but the time when the Revelation was written, Thytira had a prosperous church.
Christ speaks about the Thytirian church with warmest commendations:
"I know your deeds, your love, your faith and your perseverance."
The community in Thytira was good at Christian service. They showed their love for Christ and kept their faith and endured to tribulations.
Just contrary to what Ephesian church did, Thytirians did more than what they had done at the beginning.
But one criticism appears in the letter. Christ warns Thytirians to tolerate a prophetess, Jezebel, misleading them to sexual immorality and eating the food sacrified to idols. Jezebel in the Old Testament was wife of King Ahab, priestess of Goddess Astarte and she tried to contaminate the people of Israil. New Jezebel who recarnated in thytira nearly a thousand year later, tried to encourage the Christiasn to attend the local festivals, arranged by the above mentioned guilds for pagan Gods. These ceremonies often ended with some immoral practises. Here in this letter Thyatirians are blamed to tolerate all these things.
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