Summary: Jesus told us to be in the world, but not of it. This at least implies we are to be engaged, interactive, present, making the world a better place. But it also means we have to govern our exposure to those things which dishonor God.
To the angel of the church of Thyatira write
These things says the Son of God, the one having his eyes like flame of fire, and his feet like polished bronze.
I know your works, and the love, and the faith, and the service (deaconate), and the patience (endurance), and your latter works are greater than your first.
But I have this against you
You tolerate the woman Jezebel, the one calling herself a prophet, and teaching and misleading my servants into sexual immorality (fornication, porn), and eating food sacrificed to idols.
And I have given her time so that she can repent, and she is not willing to repent of her fornication (sexual misconduct, porn).
I will throw her into a sickbed, and those committing adultery with her into great tribulation, if they will not repent of the her works.
And her children I will kill with death, and all the churches will know that I am the one who searches out the inner parts and the hearts,
And I will give to each of you according to your works.
But to you I say, to the other folks in Thyatira, who do not have this teaching, who have not known “the deep things” of Satan, as they say, I will not throw on you any other burden.
But what you have, hold onto until I come.
And the overcomers and those who invigilate until the end of my works
I will give to him authority over the nations, and he will shepherd them with a rod of iron, like the potter’s vessles are broken, as I have also received from my Father.
And I will give to him the morning star
The one having an ear, hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
vv 18-24 Thyatira apparently means “continual sacrifice”. Jesus’ eyes and feet are described this way in 1:14-15. The works of Thyatira were very good, but the doctrine was very bad. Jezebel was Ahab’s wife, who led the children of Israel to worship Baal, killed the prophets of God, and had over 800 false prophets of false gods under the employ of the Israeli government. Fornication is sex outside of marriage, but is often used as a metaphor of idolatry. Fornication often played a role in pagan worship practices. The death of the children may be a kind of venereal disease. Great tribulation is the final outpouring of the wrath of God. The Greek word for depths is bathos, a profound, deep teaching of Satan.
vv 25-29 The rod of rulership belongs to the Son of God who will rule over the nations (Ps. 2 and Jer 19:11). Only Jesus has this authority, but He will share it with those who overcome.
The Days of Thyatira
It’s difficult not to feel that we live in the days of Thyatira. The whole world seems to spin round entertainment and the social media that promotes it. And relationships have changed. You don’t have to be face to face with a person in order to have a conversation. You can meet online, or on a chat app. Beyond that, now there are chat bots, software engineered to respond like a real human so you can have a conversation without a human required. Some would think of this as progress. Others might think this is just the current example of technology outpacing the moral compass of its creators. Maybe both conclusions are true. Either way, we live in an age when the Church cannot be separate from the world even if it wants to be. Jesus told us to be in the world, but not of it. This at least implies we are to be engaged, interactive, present, making the world a better place. But it also means we have to govern our exposure to those things which dishonor God. Jesus identified two ways the church of Thyatira dishonoured God, fornication and using spiritual vision for profit.
Thyatira was a really good, active church-Jesus commends them for their service and love and endurance and continuous improvement. But they listened to false teachers who were ok with sexual immorality. This is a subject that many people are addressing today. If you pay attention to talk on the subject, you’ll see many people advocating the abolishment of marriage, “free” or “open” marriage, where both partners agree to be free to have other relationships where they get their physical needs met. And people are waiting longer to get married. When I was born the average age of marriage was about 21. Now it’s about 28. So, our bodies are ready to make babies long before we enter a relationship were the activity that leads to babies is sanctioned and, in fact, commanded by God. This means young people are driven by hormones to activities that are natural and good and designed by God for our blessing, but outside of the relationship that makes those activities more than merely natural, and makes them super-natural.