[Rev. 2:18] ¶ “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write the following: ¶ “This is the solemn pronouncement of the Son of God, the one who has eyes like a fiery flame and whose feet are like polished bronze: [Rev. 2:19] ‘I know your deeds: your love, faith, service, and steadfast endurance. In fact, your more recent deeds are greater than your earlier ones. [Rev. 2:20] But I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and by her teaching deceives my servants to commit sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. [Rev. 2:21] I have given her time to repent, but she is not willing to repent of her sexual immorality. [Rev. 2:22] Look! I am throwing her onto a bed of violent illness, and those who commit adultery with her into terrible suffering, unless they repent of her deeds. [Rev. 2:23] Furthermore, I will strike her followers with a deadly disease, and then all the churches will know that I am the one who searches minds and hearts. I will repay each one of you what your deeds deserve. [Rev. 2:24] But to the rest of you in Thyatira, all who do not hold to this teaching (who have not learned the so-called “deep secrets of Satan”), to you I say: I do not put any additional burden on you. [Rev. 2:25] However, hold on to what you have until I come. [Rev. 2:26] And to the one who conquers and who continues in my deeds until the end, I will give him authority over the nations– [Rev. 2:27] he will rule them with an iron rod and like clay jars he will break them to pieces, [Rev. 2:28] ¶ just as I have received the right to rule from my Father—and I will give him the morning star. [Rev. 2:29] The one who has an ear had better hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
It’s not the usual picture of “Jesus meek and mild” that we now find speaking to the Thyatirans. This Jesus has eyes of fire. This Jesus may surprise you. The following introductions with this mostly unfamiliar Jesus may be awkward because we live in an age where culture celebrates their sexual ‘freedoms’ and objects to anyone who dares call them “immoral”. But this is what Jesus did in addressing this church.
Here we find Jesus warning. Most warnings announce dire consequences. And these divine warnings are no different. But what might stun most modern readers is the nature of what has enraged Christ. For the most part, Materialism has conquered Western culture. Materialism says that we are just molecules and atoms – “We’re meat from the top down!” they assert. But Jesus says otherwise. Materialists regard sexual activity only as a physical activity. But Jesus says otherwise. Of course you don’t have to be a Materialist to be immoral. Some of these Thyatirans had somehow managed to merge their Christianity with sexual promiscuity – and now Christ was warning them.
To be a follow of Christ today is no less challenging than it was for those of Thyatira. We too have much to conquer. But we too are offered the prize of receiving the Morning Star (an allusion to the glory awaiting the faithful in the Resurrection). We would do well not to trifle with Christ’s warnings to be holy and especially when it comes to morality.