A Study in the Word: Revelation 2:18-29


Thyatira represents churches that compromise morality.  The description of Christ sets the tone (2:18).  With the strength of bronze to stand against moral compromise, He exercises the deepest insight into church character.

Thyatira took great pride in trade guilds.  They represented the business strength of the city, but their meetings concluded with worship to their patron god.  Precise incidents that occasioned this letter are not clearly stated, but the tenor of the letter points to a church that is “open” to cultural acceptance of immorality.  Such “openness” is actually being taught in the church and is growing because too few are standing against it.

This church had a history of being very active in Christian ministry (2:19).  But compromising with morality was now robbing it of its divine reason for existing (2:20).  People who disdain morality are like Jezebel, a most despicable character in the history of Israel (1 Kings 21).  They assume authority (“Prophetess”) that says they have a “new revelation.”  They teach, but the underlying lesson seeks toleration of immorality and idolatry.  Essentially, a society that has lost all regard for moral standards expects the church to join them, so a church gives way in order to maintain its standing in the community.

They show no sign of repentance (2:21).  The great majority of church people are good-hearted and well-intentioned, but they are presumed by the deceitful to be mere pawns to get their way.  Christ instructs the church to stop tolerating the presence of those who would rob the church of its divine distinction.  Christian kindness fails to be Christian when allowed to become a doormat (2:20).

God will condemn the immoral (2:22-23a), so a church must maintain its Christian integrity.  If not, mortality follows (2:23a).  He expects the church to be proactive (2:23b).  Some are aware of this satanic danger.  They are urged to “hold fast” to the sanctity of the church until judgment comes (2:24-25).  Active opposition to immorality will be rewarded through the power of the King and his kingdom (2:26-27; Psalm 2:8-9).

Thyatira was the smallest of these seven cities.  The church may reflect that small size, but her ministry blessings gave her a worthy status in the Lord’s eyes, a “morning star” status (2:28), only if she would stand against immorality and take Christ’s warning seriously (2:29).  Low standards of morality and toleration of worldly standards are death knells of a church.

Dr. David Moore is a Baptist preacher in Pampa and an online instructor in Bible and theology for Taylor University and Nations University.  Email: dm5867se@outlook.com