Thyatira: Hold Fast

David Bast

Read: Revelation 2:18-25

Hold fast what you have until I come. (v. 25)

Thyatira didn’t have great cultural importance, like Ephesus; it wasn’t a significant religious center, like Pergamum; it didn’t occupy a strategic site, like Laodicea. All Thyatira had was trade. The business of Thyatira was business. But that presented a problem for the church there. Working in business meant belonging to the trade guilds, quasi-religious organizations that controlled all employment. Their gatherings involved sacrifices to the gods, with eating and drinking the sacrificial offerings. And as so often with boozy parties, sexual shenanigans soon followed. Could Christians participate in such things?

“Jezebel” (a code name for an influential teacher in the congregation) said yes; Jesus said no; and the church mostly said nothing, hoping the issue would just fade away. Jesus had a lot of good to say about this church, but he criticized them for one thing: their tolerance! For the church to tolerate people who are different is good. To tolerate false teaching and immoral behavior is not.

Christ’s word to us is, “Hold fast . . . until I come.” That isn’t just negative—standing firm against sin. It’s also positive—holding fast in following and imitating Jesus. I like how Mr. Standfast in Pilgrim’s Progress summed up his life: “I have loved to hear my Lord spoken of, and wherever I have seen the print of his shoe in the earth, there I have coveted to set my foot too.” —David Bast

As you pray, ask for wisdom about when to tolerate and when to hold fast.