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Thyatira (Turkey)
Thyatira (Asia Minor)

Thyatira (Greekτὰ Θυάτειρα), today's Akhisar in Turkey, was located in the Lycus Valley, on the road from Pergamon to Sardis, and was an important trading and commercial city of Asia Minor Lydia in ancient times. The fourth of the seven epistles in the Apocalypse of John was addressed to the Christian community of Thyatira. According to Rudolf Steiner, the community of Thyatira represents the Greco-Latin cultural epoch in which the Christ incarnated on earth.

„18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze. 19 “I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. 24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. 25 Only hold fast what you have until I come. 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’“

Rudolf Steiner gave the following explanation with reference to the occult order of the planets:

„For this, however, it is still necessary to go through the fourth cultural epoch. There the Redeemer, Christ Jesus, appears Himself. It is the church at Thyatira. There he announces himself as the "Son of God, who has eyes like flames of fire and his feet like brass". Now he announces himself as the Son of God, now he is the leader of the fourth cultural epoch, where man has descended to the physical plane, where he himself has created his image in the outer means of culture. Now the period has come when the Deity himself becomes man, himself flesh, himself person, the age in which man has descended to the degree of personality, where in the sculptures of the Greeks the individualised Deity appears as personality, where in the Roman citizen the personality enters the world plan. This age must at the same time have received an impulse from the fact that the divine appears in human form. The descended human being could only be saved by the God himself appearing as a human being. The "I-am" or the I in the astral body had to receive the impulse of the Christ Jesus. What had previously only appeared in the germ, the I or "I-am", was to enter the outer plan of world history. The Son of God may therefore say as the leader of the future: "And all the churches shall know the I-am who searches the hearts and kidneys" (Rev 2:23). The "I-am", the fourth member of the human being, is emphasised here. "As I have received of my Father, and I will give him the morning star" (Rev 2:28).

What does "morning star" mean here? We know that the Earth passes through Saturn, the Sun, the Moon, the Earth, Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan. That is how it is usually pronounced and that is how it is correct. But I have already pointed out that the development of the earth is divided into the time of Mars and the time of Mercury because of the mysterious connection which exists between the earth and Mars in the first half of the Earth's state and between the Earth and Mercury in the second half. That is why Mars and Mercury are put in the place of the earth. It is said that the earth passes through Saturn, the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter and Venus in its development. Thus we have Mercury as the star which actually sets the tone, as the power in the second period of the earth. Mercury is the star which represents to us the direction-giving force, the upward direction which man must take.

Here I come to a place where we must, so to speak, reveal a little secret which, in fact, may only be revealed at this point. For in occultism, for those who would only misuse spiritual science, and would have misused it especially in older times, there has always been what one might call a mask. They did not express themselves directly, but put up something to conceal the true state of affairs. Medieval esotericism knew no other way to help itself than by crude means. It called Mercury Venus and Venus Mercury. In truth, if we want to speak in the sense of esotericism, as the apocalypticist did, we should address Mercury as the morning star. By morning star he means Mercury: I have given your I the direction upwards, through the morning star, Mercury. - You can also find in certain books of the Middle Ages, which are really accurate, that the stars of our planetary system are enumerated in this way: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and the Earth is not followed by Venus, Mercury, as now, but vice versa Mercury, Venus. Hence it is said here: "As I have received of my Father; and will give him the morning star."“ (Lit.:GA 104, p. 81ff)


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References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
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Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English (by Steiner Online Library).
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.