Thyatira: Faithfulness Fourth Seal: Religious Persecution 538 CE – 1516 CE
“I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads my bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality…But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them – I place no other burden on you. Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. He who overcomes, and he who keeps my deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations.” Revelation 2:19, 20, 24-26
Jezebel was a wicked queen who led the people of her nation to abandon God and worship idols and she killed those who refused to submit.
(1 Kin. 16: 31; 21:25; 2 Kin. 9: 7, 22) In prophetic language, a woman represents a city and a group of people that have something in common (i.e. citizens of a city [“city”zens] have their place of residence in common). (see Appendix 2) Here, Jezebel calls herself a prophetess, so Jezebel is a city and a group of people (“city”zens) who have a religion in common since they believe they speak for God.
In the year 533 CE the Roman Emperor Justinian declared that the Bishop of Rome was to be head of all Christian Churches. By the year 538 CE all opposition, both religious and civil, to this appointment was crushed. The Bishop of Rome (city) was firmly established in his authority over religious and civil matters. Those church members with the traits of Balaam and the Nicolaitans (city-zens) had finally attained all the power and riches they had so (commonality) desired. They had set up a powerful church and were designing doctrines that would lead the masses astray. But there were still believers who remained faithful to the teachings and the spirit of Jesus, although they did not fight hard enough in the beginning against this false church with its false doctrines. However, what was done was done and Jesus told them to hang on and as a reward they would rule with him.
“When the Lamb broke the fourth seal…I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.” Rev. 6:7,8
Hades is the Greek word for hell, and the experience of many of those who refused to follow Jezebel, the teachings of this false church, went through hell on earth, dying for their faithful adherence to the pure teachings of Jesus. The Inquisitions and persecutions, the torturous and agonizing deaths of the faithful were unrivaled by anything in history. Truly the ashen horse of Death followed by Hades, fell on these faithful people.