He that overcometh, will I give power over the nations–and I will give him the morning star. Rev. 2:26?28
To the church of Thyatira, John begins his letter by describing Jesus as the Son of God, establishing a clear distinction from any false gods among the pagan cults of the Thyatiran populace. The Christian community is recognized for their faith and endurance, but scolded for their forbearance of a prophetess “who teaches and misleads [His] servants to play the harlot and to eat food sacrificed to idols” (Rev. 2:20). The author warns that compromise will lead to a spiritual death. To those who are victorious over the deceits and temptations of idolatry, two gifts are promised: authority over the nations, a reference to a Jewish messiah, and the morning star. Though the meaning of the latter is uncertain, the symbolism inherent in this reference denotes Christ as a celestial light in whom the faithful will share the heavenly scene of eternal life.
Angels function as messengers of God and guardians of His children. Through these divine beings, God sends us promises, warnings and consolations. The Thyatiran angel holds the morning star in his left hand, the pledged gift Jesus will give to His faithful. One of only two angels in this series depicted frontally, it is the singular angel whose armor is primarily concealed and whose clothing lacks any ornamentation. Unique to this window is striated glass that appears as striped cloth on the shoulders of the cloak, the front panel of the vestment and the scarf around the angel’s neck. Due to the multiple layering of colored glass, both flat and drapery, the Thyatiran angel’s cloak appears to have various cloths comprising the garment. Tiffany Studios masterfully created a robe with dramatic effects of light, color and texture.
The theologian Emanuel Swedenborg says Thyatira represents people who “are in faith separate from charity.” In the letter to Thyatira they are challenged to let the truth guide them to do good, and through good works and reliance on the Lord to win victory over selfishness to live a regenerated life. They are promised that “to those who overcome I will give power over the nations and I will give them the morning star.” The gift that results from fighting temptations is “to rule over the nations” that is to overcome the evils, and the morning star represents “intelligence and wisdom given by the Lord.”