The Agora
Bible Articles and Lessons: T

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Thyatira ecclesia (Rev 2:18-25)

"Thyatira had a false prophetess Jezebel who had already been openly admonished regarding her evil teaching (whatever it was): 'I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.' Included in the Lord's rebuke of this ecclesia is the reproach: 'Thou sufferest that woman Jezebel to teach and to seduce my servants....' Even so, Thyatira was not deemed unworthy of fellowship with the Lord. And far from there being any requirement placed on the faithful to separate themselves from the contaminating influence of Jezebel and her coterie, the exact opposite is explicitly laid upon them: 'But unto you I say, and unto the rest that are in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already, hold fast till I come.' Such words need no explaining. They tell their own story.

"Other letters to the Churches emphasize the same lesson even more forcefully, if that be possible. Ecclesias like Smyrna and Philadelphia incurred no reproach from the Lord of any sort. Yet if the 'exclusives' are right in their insistence on a 'pure fellowship', both of these ecclesias were sadly at fault in that they had not broken off all fellowship with Sardis, Thyatira, Laodicea. The rejoinder that they were too far from these other ecclesias to know about the vexed problems existing there is ridiculous nonsense. Asia was one of the most highly developed areas in the Roman Empire, and these cities lay on its main arteries. Intercommunication in remote corners of the empire may have been somewhat uncertain, but here in Asia conditions were more comparable with the twentieth century. Thus Smyrna and Philadelphia continued in uninterrupted fellowship with ecclesias which the Lord himself castigated" (HAW, "Block Disfellowship", Tes 43:341).

Brother Thomas concludes the same -- that is, that all other ecclesias (those other six mentioned in the Apocalypse and their latter-day counterparts) are "in fellowship" with Laodicea (Eur 1:403). His position here is decidedly at variance with many of the "stricter fellowships" of today!

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