The Cure for Restless Hearts
Dr. Jim Denison
Jesus wrote the longest letter in Revelation to its smallest church, proof that the issue we are studying today is crucial. Thyatira was located 40 miles due east of Pergamum. Its major importance was as a textile manufacturing center. Purple dye, the most coveted in the ancient world, was made from the roots of the madder plant, a species which was abundant in the region. The book of Acts describes Lydia of Philippi as a dealer in purple from Thyatira (Acts 16:14).
If Pergamum was the Washington, D.C. of ancient Asia, Thyatira was their Chicago–a blue-collar workers’ town. And central to her economy and culture were the trade unions which dominated her life.
Every industry had one. Each trade union had its own patron god or goddess. Each week the union would meet together to worship its deity. An animal would be sacrificed on the altar of that god, then eaten in a feast. Drunken orgies would usually follow. If you did not attend the meetings of your trade union, you could not work. You could not support yourself or your family. You might starve to death.