Some Christians and churches feel a need to be all-inclusive when it comes to spiritual and moral boundaries. Evidently, the ancient church in Thyatira felt that way as well. On the surface, the church was commendable for its love, faith, service, and patience. But Christ, with “eyes like a flame of fire,” recognized their deficit (verse 18). The One “who searches the minds and hearts” pierced through their veneers and penetrated the heart of the problem—immorality. According to verse 20, it only took one person, a self-proclaimed “prophetess,” to corrupt the church.
What does Christ say to a church that tolerates immorality in its midst? The Threat of Discipline (Revelation 2:22) — When the prophetess refused an opportunity to repent, Christ warned of His judgment: “Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed.” Whether taken figuratively or literally, those words are cautionary. God is holy and will not tolerate rebellion forever. As Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
The Threat of Death (Revelation 2:22-23) — Again, Christ’s warning may have been figurative or literal. His promise to kill the woman’s children may have referred to physical children born of her immorality or the spiritual children whom she seduced into her practices. This warning was not just to her but also to “those who commit adultery with her.” Christ was prepared to judge anyone associated with the woman’s immorality. Without repentance, they would find themselves in “great tribulation.”
The Message to the Christians (Revelation 2:24-25) — Not every believer in Thyatira was immoral. There were some who knew God’s holy standards and would not budge from them. The message for those who did not engage in the cult of immorality was to stand their ground—“hold fast what you have till I come” (verse 25).
The Message to the Conquerors (Revelation 2:26-29) — All who would choose faithfulness “until the end” would become conquerors. Christ promised that they would rule the nations with Him during the Millennium, and they would be raptured to heaven with Him—the “Bright and Morning star”—before the Tribulation (Revelation 22:16).
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