Skip to content

Thyatira wk.5


Thyatira - too much toleration

Revelation 2:18-29

Jesus’ words to the church in Thyatira include some commendation for their actions, but a ton of correction of their doctrine. They were sinfully more tolerant than God—which is still a temptation for us today. What should Christian tolerance look like in culture, community, and the church? Christianity begins with tolerance and moves to repentance and change. If we repent of our sin (incl. sexual immorality and sinful tolerance), we will be rewarded. If we do not, there will be justice in judgment.

The city of Thyatria, like the other 6 churches resides in what is now modern day Turkey. Thyatria was originally a military outpost for protection of the other surrounding cities and thus was considered insignificant. In the early days the city was designed to be picked up and moved on a whim or hold firm just long enough during an enemy attack to allow the surrounding cities to mount a proper defence. 

However, as the Roman empire grew the need for this to be an outpost or accordion was no longer necessary transforming itself into a powerhouse blue collar city. Thyatria became known for its trade guilds of all sorts becoming a city of value to the other surrounding towns for its work. Even with the rise of prominence due to its trade guilds it was still seen as insignificant when it came to matters of religion.  

Church history teaches us this church was planted by one of the converts from the ministry of the Apostle Paul. Possibly from the work of Lydia, Acts 16:14 mentions that Lydia came from the Jewish settlement at Thyatira. 

As with the previous 3 letters this letter to the church in Thyatira is spoken directly from the mouth of Jesus. This letter has a message for two different groups within their fellowship: The Faithful and The Tolerant. 

THE FAITHFUL – (2:19 & 2:24-25)

Jesus gives credit where credit is due by recognizing the faithful group within this church who has it going on in regards to Love, Faith, service, and Patient endurance.  Nearing the end of the letter he further commends them by saying, “24….I do not lay on you any other burden. 25 Only HOLD FAST what you have until I come.”

It is clear that this group was closely walking with God and avoiding the mess that had embroiled the others within the fellowship. Only hold fast – (krateō – To be powerful) The language here is to get stronger as time goes on.  Lean deeper into Christ. 

THE TOLERANT – (2:20-23)

When reading through these verses it became clear why Jesus’ eyes were burning with judgment (verse 18 “eyes of fire) as this group had gone wayward from the scriptures by following the direction of a false prophetess. The real name of this prophetess is not given but is referred to as one of the most infamous charters in the Old Testament of the Bible, Jezebel.

Back story on Jezebel….(1 Kings Chapters 18-22)

Jezebel was married to the king of Israel Ahab. Apart from Satan, Jezebel is possibly the most villainous character in all of the scriptures. Jezebel was from Lebanon and married king Ahab as a political gesture of unification. Jezebel had an uncanny ability to manipulate Ahab so she rose to great power within the kingdom of Israel. With her rise to power she brought paganism to the forefront as the state sponsored religion of Israel. She went so far as to kill all of the prophets and priests of Jehovah God. 

This particular form of paganism brought cult sex wherein people whould offer worship to Baal by praticing in orgies and offering sacrifices to idols. 

What did this false prophetess teach in Thyatira? 

While these were some slight variations with the teaching of this false prophetess they were very similar to Jezebel. It may sounds crazy but this prophetess was teaching group sex as a means to worship Jesus. This is a major departure from the teachings we see all across the New Testament as correct and right when it comes to sex. God’s plan for sex: One Man, One Wife, One Life The scriptures indicate Jesus has offered this false prophetess and her co-conspirators a chance to repent (stop) of their actions and makes it clear anyone who doesn’t will face destruction along with her.  Anything apart from One Man, One Wife, One Life is a line in the sand for Jesus and should also be for his followers. Things opposed to God’s plan for sex: Sex before marriage, Sex with anyone other than your spouse while in marriage, sex with someone of the same sex, and lastly porn. 

In this new age, these teachings are not of popular opinion and are seen as antiquated; but do not be mistaken all of these are completely opposed to the scriptures. If any person or church teaches any of these as acceptable they are not part of a biblical church in the eyes of God.   

Within this letter I believe the message is clear and we should not gloss over its uncomfortableness: Doing good deeds and saying the right things is not enough while living in blatant sin. We must put to death our sin. 

Matthew 23:27 & 28,  – “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.  

Hebrews 10:26 & 27 – For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.

If many of us were to be honest we are living in the spirit of Jezebel. We have allowed sin in general or sexual sin to creep into our lives and God is calling us to lay it down. 

To those of you who are walking works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance HOLD FAST! 

Do not be satisfied, press harder into Christ becoming more like him. 


questions for reflection

If you were being honest with yourself which camp would you fall into, The Faithful or The Tolerant?

How are you vetting the people who hold positions of influence in your lives to ensure what they are telling you is correct and biblical

What are some of the idols that often accompany and fuel the immorality we often see around us?

memory verse

“I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.”

Romans 16:17 ESV