The Bible teaches us to ‘test the spirits’ to see whether they are from God since many false prophets have gone out into the world. This passage from Revelations 2 illustrates the consequences of failure in discerning false teachings that caused the church in Thyatira to fall into adultery and idolatry.
In many ways, the church at Thyatira was a model church – possessing love, service, faith and patience. However, despite these glowing virtues, God saw the significant problems that plagued the church. The congregation was misled into committing sexual immorality and idolatry by Jezebel (v20), a false prophet who refused to repent from her adulterous ways.
This passage is a rebuke because God wants His people to repent and be freed from eternal damnation. His Word exists so we do not perish. When we fall into sin and disobey God’s commands, more often than not it reflects a heart that does not believe in His promises. There is a seed of doubt that His will is for the good of His people, that His plan works for our joy and happiness. From the beginning, Adam and Eve fell into that same trap, believing that God forbid them from eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, to prevent them from being like Him, knowing good and evil. It is not entirely false, because “their eyes were opened”, but it is misleading because it caused them to misunderstand God’s good intentions behind the command.
It is the devil and his schemes that tries to drive us towards sin and away from God. He tricks us into thinking that rebelling against God’s will allows you to be free, independent, even happy. What he deliberately omits is the ultimate consequence of that disobedience – that at the end of it all, you will perish and face the wrath of God.
How can we distinguish between what is wrong and right? How can we discern between teachings that are true and almost true? There is great danger in believing in ‘almost truths’. They are deceptively right (since it is not entirely wrong) but ultimately inches us away from God and closer to sin.
The same deception is reflected in the church in Thyatira as they fell into the sin of adultery, partaking in sexual relations that are not pleasing to God. As we were created as sexual beings, partaking in sexual intercourse is in our nature and works to expresses the intimacy and closeness in relationships, as reflection of Christ’s relationship with His church. It is a beautiful relationship that truly glorifies God when it is done within the covenant of marriage, according to His design.
When we begin to doubt God’s intentions, we begin to doubt His plans and designs. We start questioning whether His commandments are worth following. It is critical that we understand and remember that our ultimate joy is found in our obedience and faithfulness to God, because in our submission to His will and commands, God is glorified, and God is pleased.
If this passage rebuked you, repent once again and leave your sins behind. God promises two thing to those who are faithful to the end (v26-27) and lives according to His will. He promises that these people will, together with Christ, will receive Christ and rule with Him. Let us be faithful and live in accordance to His will.