Bible and Theology
Thyatira and the Need for Discernment
Michael Youssef, Ph.D.
Nov 8, 2022
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Read Revelation 2:18-29.

In the ancient world, in order to work in the city of Thyatira, a person had to be a member of the appropriate trade union. If you were a leatherworker, you needed to be a member of the leatherworkers' union. If you were a stonemason, you needed to join up with the stonemasons' union. No one could have a job if they didn't have the backing of their industry's union.

Without discernment, a believer will inevitably drift away from the Truth and drown in a sea of confusion.


Each trade union had its own patron god, and each god was worshiped at a pagan festival held in their honor. Members of each union were required to attend these festivals—and to participate. That meant eating the meat that had been sacrificed to these false gods and engaging with the temple prostitutes as an act of "worship."

You can understand the dilemma the Christians in Thyatira faced. However, a false teacher in their midst claimed there was no problem at all. This "Jezebel" taught that believers could take part in pagan festivals and still walk in step with the Lord. Of course, nothing could be further from the Truth. So, Jesus said to them, "You lack discernment—that's why you freely accept false teachers in your midst!"

Without discernment, a believer will inevitably drift away from the Truth and drown in a sea of confusion. That is why Jesus, in His grace, tells us to wake up, discern, and repent. When we turn our backs on the darkness of this world, we receive the light of His glory. When we give up Jezebel, we get Christ.

Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times when I am tempted to follow teaching that satisfies my flesh rather than Your Truth that requires sacrifice. By the power of Your Spirit, I want to take up my cross and follow You. You are my great reward. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols" (Revelation 2:20).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon series Letters from Jesus: WATCH NOW | LISTEN NOW