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Thyatira: Embracing Iniquity. 521. March 17, 2024

Updated: Mar 18


KEY SCRIPTURES:  

Revelation 2:18-29

18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.28 And I will give him the morning star.29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

RELEVANCE

As with Pergamos, Thyatira also housed two congregations—the righteous and the sensual. 


Thyatira church was divided—the people were divided. It had those within who followed the Lord, and beside them in the pew were those under the spell of seduction, trying to change the concept of faith.  


Sometimes, and sadly, Church civil wars take place, and similar division was here.


Elders were appointed in every church to guide and protect the sheep. These churches were under the five-fold ministry of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher (Ephesians 4:11). Where were the Bible-believing elders? Every Bible-believing church needs strong and alert shepherds. Sin continually attempts to sleaze its way under the front door, as it did here. Its shape and name do not matter.


The righteous held onto their Lord. He was their anchor during this time of Church compromise and denial of the holy intricacies of God's Word.


The other congregants, the sensual, were the progressives, trying to water down, deny and change the meanings of God's Word to suit the fleshy nature they chose not to deny. 


The word sensual in the Bible means belonging to the breath or the sensuous nature with its subjection to appetite and passion. Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines a sensualist as a person given to the indulgence of the appetites or senses who places his chief happiness in carnal pleasures. 


What level of sin will you tolerate? More to the point, what level of sin do you think Jesus would accept in His Bride? The leaders of this Church thought they would be part of that glorious Bride. Do you think? This letter shows us what Jesus thinks.


Through the ages, some have argued that because humans are sensual beings, meaning of the senses, there is little we can do about sin and worldliness, and therefore, we can mix our sensuality with our spirituality. This position denies the completeness of the transformational work of the Holy Spirit.


Holding onto our sensual state when the Lord works so hard to take us to higher ground is a flawed doctrine. His Son did not die brutally and alone on that Cross so we could be fleshly Christians. Quite the opposite, in fact. Jesus died so we could follow Him into a life of the utmost self-denial, to be led by the Spirit as a blind person is hand-led by the one who sees—completely reliant, taking the same path as our betrothed and guide.  


Yet, here, we have a Church similar to Pergamos regarding sin, but further down that highway to hell.


Choosing to remain sensual when we are called to much higher planes is preferring the low road. 

The sensualists in Thytira fought against the righteous for power over the congregation, maybe even laughing at their 'old fashioned' ways, preaching the very opposite of God's Word—a sensual message of non-denial. Consequently, instead of bringing life, the cup of communion became their chalice of potential death. 


The Jezebel in this Church, who called herself a prophetess, is named after the Jezebel of the Old Testament, the wife of Ahab, King of wicked Israel. Ahab's Jezebel worshipped other gods and was violent, wicked in heart and mind and manipulative. That evil woman had many people in fear, even Elijah the Prophet. She thought the Kingdom was hers, not Ahab's. She was the power behind the throne. She loaded the gun.  


For God to grant Thyatira's Jezebel the dishonour of naming her identically, she must have been similar—proud, without fear of God, powerful in the Church, and misleading. According to one source, she may have even been the Pastor's wife. 


This leads us to another big issue. Who in the Church did she seduce? 


When Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons and the like knock on doors, the questions they ask have been carefully designed and crafted by Head Office. Why? To see if whoever opens the door knows enough about their Bible to repel them like the pirate slave-owners they are. I am speaking about the system, not its misled flock.


The people they mostly conscript to their doctrines of devils are those with insufficient knowledge of their Bibles to refute them. This devious manipulation of scripture would have happened at Thyatira, picking off the weak and vulnerable. Nobody in a Church is above God, and the righteous should have swiftly driven them off along with their doctrine. 


But Christians are often gentle souls, not making waves because they think they're alone on this issue, might upset friendships or relations, or hope the teachings will return to normal sooner or later, praying there will be repentance from the pulpit. 


Despite the wickedness and lack of prior remorse, God extended His grace to this Church long after we would have shut it down. Psalm 103:17 says, "But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;" The Lord's anger was upon the wicked, but His mercy towards that Church was obtained by the righteous.


Sometimes, individual Christians can be as divided as this Church, seemingly having a demon and an angel wrestling within, with the angel winning some days and the demon winning others.


Taking that point into account, would we be attentive if we received a similar letter from the Son of God?


PRAYER

Wonderful Father, we ponder how a Church can become so distantly detached from your objectives. You sent your Son to die on His Cross for our souls. Please help me be grateful for the direction you have set in Your Word and not seek to dilute or modify it for any pursuits. 

Photo by Josh Eckstein


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