Christís Speaking to the Local Churches in Revelation

To Thyatira

Among the seven local churches in Revelation, Witness Lee notes that Thyatira was found by the Lord to be in a state of apostasy. This local church had fallen away from Christ into both fornication and idolatry. Thus in Revelation 2:18-29 the Lord Jesus faithfully issues a word of strong judgment to this unrepentant apostate local church:

And to the messenger of the church in Thyatira write: These things says the Son of God, He who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like shining bronze: I know your works and love and faith and service and your endurance and that your last works are more than the first. But I have something against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, she who calls herself a prophetess and teaches and leads My slaves astray to commit fornication and to eat idol sacrifices. And I gave her time that she might repent, and she is not willing to repent of her fornication. Behold, I cast her into a bed, and those who commit adultery with her, into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works; And her children I will kill with death; and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the inward parts and the hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your works. But I say to you—the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they say—I put no other burden upon you; Nevertheless what you have hold fast until I come. And he who overcomes and he who keeps My works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; And he will shepherd them with an iron rod, as vessels of pottery are broken in pieces, as I also have received from My Father; And to him I will give the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Commenting on the Lord's injunction against idols to this local church, Witness Lee writes:

The fourth epistle is to Thyatira, in which fornication and idols are dealt with….Worldliness is always related to idols. If we are united to the world, we spontaneously have idols. The local churches should not have any kind of idols. An idol is simply a substitute of God. Anything that replaces God and possesses man is an idol. Nothing should ever be allowed to replace God in the local churches. And we should never have anything that possesses us. Our only possessor must be God Himself. Our relationship must only be with God; otherwise, we will bring in fornication and idolatry. The local churches must be so pure and separated from the world and idols.

(Witness Lee, Stream, 17)

Witness Lee goes on to point out that any union of the church with the world is actually spiritual fornication.

Spiritual fornication is the union of the church with the world. Whenever the church is united to the world, that is a kind of spiritual fornication. The church has nothing to do with the world and must be absolutely separated from the world. The world is the world, and the church is the church….The church must have nothing to do with any worldly thing. A local church must be so pure, so utterly separated from worldliness.

(Witness Lee, Stream, 17)

The Lord's warning to the apostate local church in Thyatira interpreted here by Witness Lee should serve to admonish all the local churches to be absolutely vigilant against any spiritual fornication. A local church should be pure, separated from any other element unto the Lord. Christís desire for the local churches is that they would have no substitutes for God, but instead would be absolutely possessed by Him and separated unto Him.

















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