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The Church of Thyatira

By Greg Rangel 

And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write…” (Revelation 2:18a). 

The next church that Jesus addresses through his beloved Apostle John in the book of Revelation is that of Thyatira. 

The city of Thyatira was known as a city where much fashion was produced. Out of it came wool, dyed goods, especially purple goods, dyed with purple dye which was extracted from the madder root. 

Lydia, who is mentioned in Acts was from this city and her occupation was that of selling this dyed fabric (Acts 16:14). Because of its vast production of such goods, Thyatira had many trade guilds, which is the equivalent of today’s labor unions. These trade guilds were religious in nature. One could not make a living without being a member. Each one was dedicated to a particular deity. 

The feasts that were done in the names of these deities were the basic ways that these deities were worshiped, which included meals that were sacrificed to idols, drunkenness, and sexual orgies (much like what the children of Israel did when they erected a golden calf and they rose up to eat, drink, and play, because Moses had not come down from the mountain in Exodus 32. 

One of the great truths that we see throughout Scripture is that the Lord has called His church to a life of purity, a life of holy living. From the time that the church was born we see that the Lord has always wanted His people to remain pure and holy in every way. It is for this reason that He executed Ananias and his wife Sapphira when they decided to lie to the Lord (Acts 5). It is also for this reason that the Jerusalem church sent a letter addressed to the gentiles and told them that, “For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; that ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well” (Acts 15:28-29). And, it is also for this reason that Paul the Apostle dealt very sternly with the young man from Corinth that was living in sexual immorality with his mother in law (1 Corinthians 5). 

Regardless how many warnings are in Scripture, churches throughout history have always tolerated sin. Churches have always followed a pattern like that of Thyatira whose members were guilty of both, physical and spiritual adultery. And unfortunately, this is usually due to the hard and deceitful work of false teachers that have caused many from within the church to dwell in immorality because of their failure to teach the Word of God and give their people sound doctrine. This is the point that Paul makes below. 

When Paul wrote to Titus, he told him to “…speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things, that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed” (Titus 2:1-5 NKJV, emphasis added). 

The Thyatira church was guilty of immorality because of the false prophetess that was there. And that is usually the way it goes. Whenever there is false teaching, there is immorality in the midst of it. That is what we see that took place here with the Thyatira church. And that is why we also see that the Lord pronounces judgment upon it. 

Pastor John MacArthur wrote, “…the church at Thyatira had plunged headlong into the very depths of satanic deception…The letter to this church is the longest of the seven, though addressed to the church in the smallest of the seven cities. It has an important message for the church today: false doctrine and sin are not to be allowed – even under the banner of love, toleration, and unity. There may be much that is commendable in a church. It may appear on the surface to have an effective ministry, be growing numerically, and even have cordial society. Yet immorality and false doctrine, if not confronted, will bring judgment from the Lord of the church.” 

Greg Rangel
Borderland Calvary Chapel

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