I turned to The Message, the contemporary language rendition of the Bible, to gain insight into this passage about judgment. Eugene Peterson has written introductions to each book which help me focus on the main lessons of the book.
For the book of Revelation, Peterson writes that it is about worship, and if we keep reading through all the imagery, we can pick up the rhythms of the book and partake in its worship. (And just like these days we are looking forward to celebrating Christ’s first advent, Christmas, Revelation teaches us about His second advent, and about how everyone will worship Christ).
This passage is written to the church in Thyatira. The members have done many things right; love, faith, service, and patient endurance.
Although the congregation at Thyatira has persevered in some ways, they are here reminded by John, in a vivid way, that they are tolerating a woman in their midst who is leading many into sin. By the language John uses he is clearly angry that this is happening. He calls the woman one who practices fornication and those she lead astray he describes as “adulterers”.
Why the anger? John here shows his pastoral heart; like a shepherd guarding his sheep he is looking out for the church. He knows what is best for the church and they are not experiencing it. He wants the church to be united in worship, not split by sin.
Let us likewise look out for each other and for our church; by praying, and caring, and leading worshipful lives. When we are united to serve Christ many will benefit. I realize that we can’t take any of this for granted. Satan does not want us to succeed in our acts of worship. Let us pray for our church.