When Alexander the Great died his empire was divided between his 4 generals. General Seleucus took what was then called Syria. General Lysimachus took Eastern Asia but General Seleucus took part of that land away from Lysimachus and named a certain town Diospolis (the City of Zeus).
The pagan Greeks who were devout to their stone idol of their occult, imaginary god Zeus considered him “the father of gods and men, the ruler and protector of all”. After General Seleucus died the rule of Syria fell to Antiochus II, Diospolis had become a rich city, and in about 250 BC Antiochus II renamed it Laodicea in honor of his wife Laodice.
According to Smith’s Bible Dictionary Laodicea is defined justice of the people. The Laodicean society made their own rules according to their values and determined their own type of justice. The Greeks are credited with developing democratic principles and establishing the first democracy which is the pattern for all future democracies.
Laodicea, a very large and important city, was located about 40-60 miles east of Ephesus and had grown wealthy because it sat on the crossroads of the north-south trade route between the North and the South of Eastern Asia and the east-west trade route between the seacoast at Ephesus and the nations in Eastern Asia and the Orient. Laodicea was a great commercial center and people came there from everywhere to buy, sell and trade all manner of goods including gold.
Laodicea was situated in a wide valley of the Lycus River between Philadelphia to the north and Colossae to the southeast. It is just a few miles west of both Hierapolis and Colossae. Even after the Romans took over from the Greeks in about 131 BC Laodicea retained its Hellenistic (Greek) culture and remained one of the wealthiest cities in the ancient world.
Adding to Laodicea’s wealth was a gold mining industry, regional banking and finance, a large sheep farming industry that reared sheep with raven black wool, a large clothing manufacturing industry famous throughout the Roman Empire for the soft, raven black, wool clothing made from their own wool produced by their own black sheep.
Schools were there that made advancements in science and literature. People from all the eastern nations and the nations bordering the Mediterranean Sea lived in, worked at or visited Laodicea and, as was common in many of the Greek/Roman cities, a large, prosperous, Jewish community, that had been part of the much earlier Jewish Diasporas, made its home there.
The wealthy Laodiceans had a taste for the arts as is evidenced by their theaters. Laodicea contained all the normal occult temples to various imaginary deities that were scattered throughout the Roman Empire. The principal deity worshipped in Laodicea was the Phrygian god Men Karou and attached to his temple was, at the time, a world famous medical school which followed the teachings of Herophilus the Greek physician who taught that compound diseases required compound medicines.
This school developed a compound known as Phrygian Powder but was in reality a salve made of myrrh or spikenard mixed with a rare type of clay found only in the hills around Laodicea. The clay was mined, dried and ground into a powder before mixing.
This “compound medicine” was famous and much sought after throughout the Roman Empire and was used as a salve for the eyes and ears. Laodicea minted its own coins and among others dedicated to various occult gods and famous people Laodicean gold coins have been found that depict the pictures and the names of Zeuxis and Alexander Philalethes, 2 of its most famous doctors.
Modern analysis has shown the clay and its compound have no healing properties. Things haven’t changed much because many highly advertised modern medical remedies and vitamin products have no healing or protective properties but, like the ancients, people make good money from their sale. Of course the ancient, occult gods were invoked in the Laodicean medical process. Maybe that hasn’t changed much either.
Hierapolis, 6 miles to the northeast of Laodicea, was famous for its hot, therapeutic, mineral springs. Colossae, 10-12 miles to the southeast of Laodicea, was famous for its ice cold springs that provided drinking water. Roman engineers built aqueducts from both sources to pipe their water to Laodicea but their time, efforts and expense ended in failure of purpose.
The Laodiceans piped in their own water. The water from Hierapolis arrived tepid and polluted with minerals. The water from Colossae arrived lukewarm with its freshness gone. The wealth of Laodicea had bought them nothing. Are you seeing a pattern here?
Various reports state: Ancient Laodicea was finally abandoned because of earthquakes and the location of Laodicea has not yet been properly excavated and studied by archaeologists but protruding through the dirt, debris and wild plant growth are the ruins of 2 theaters, 1 Roman and 1 Greek, a large church, a huge colosseum which also served as an amphitheater, a life-sized statue of the goddess Isis in the ancient nymphaeum (monumental fountain), a triple arched gate to Ephesus flanked by towers, several other unidentified buildings and a decorated stone monument inscribed and dedicated to Marcus Sestius Philemon by a freed slave from Laodicea.
(Philemon 10) Could this Philemon be the Christian Philemon whom the Apostle Paul pleaded with to receive Paul’s spiritual son O’nes’i-mus who sounds like a runaway slave that had been converted to Christianity (V. 11-12) and Paul was sending him back home to help Philemon (V.16) because they were now brothers? Could O’nes’i-mus be the one who erected the scripted monument to Philemon?
Several scholars state the church at Laodicea could not have been founded by the Apostle Paul because (Col. 4:15) he said to send greetings to the brethren in Laodicea who had a church in Nymphas’ house. Nymphas? Named after the pagan goddesses Nymphs in the monumental fountain but converted to Christianity with a church in their house! A church in someone’s house fit the early pattern of Paul’s church planting.
(Acts 9:8-18 esp. V.15) Paul was a man on a mission for Jesus. (Rev. 2:1 thru 3:22) There are several churches in Asia besides the 7 churches mentioned in John’s vision. They are all in large cities located on Roman Roads. Would Paul have landed at a harbor someplace, made a mad dash right through Laodicea, going on inland to Colossae, planted a church there, rushed back through Laodicea again to the harbor and sailed away?
Of course not, the concept is ridiculous. Roman maps were accurate and displayed accurate distances. Paul started on a road someplace, went to large towns on that road system, entered the synagogues, expounded how the coming of Jesus was pointed to and prophesied about in the O T then he organized the Jewish believers into a church in someone’s house. As soon as the group of Christians were settled in the faith Paul moved on to fulfill Jesus’ command that he go to the Gentiles.
(Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:14 & Rev. 1:5) Those Messianic Jewish converts preached and taught salvation through the blood of Jesus to the Gentiles and Jews just like Paul had and eventually they built Christian churches in the towns where Paul had done his missionary work. (Col. 2:1) Paul had great conflict (fear, anxiety) for the Colossians, the Laodiceans and the newly converted in each church building which he had never seen.
(Col. 1:1-29 esp. V.10) Paul recounted Jesus’ power and mission and the church’s obligation (V.10) and cautioned (was anxious) them to be fruitful in every Christian work and to keep learning about God. If Paul had waited around until they grew in numbers and finally built a fine, shining, stone mason crafted, physical church he probably would have had only enough time to visit one town. Good grief!
THE CAIN AND ABLE WAR BROUGHT THE LAODICEANS TO WHERE THEY WERE
(Gen. 4:8 keyword: talked: then Cain killed Able) Have you noticed the Cain the Murderer and Able the Sacrificer’s verbal war raging inside your soul? I’ll bet you’ve noticed it in the souls of some of your Christian acquaintances too, haven’t you? (Gen. 4:3) Cain brings “earthy” things to your attention and fosters self-deception. Before you think I have lost my senses please read the next paragraph.
No, the Cain/Able event is not mentioned as a spiritual event in the life of a Christian BUT it is an apt description OF (Gal. 5:13-26 esp. V.17) (V.17) “For the flesh (human nature with its frailties and passions) lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” At this time please read (1John 1:7 thru 2:2) and underline the usages of we, us and our for better understanding.
(Gen. 4:4) Able brings the blood of the Sacrificial Lamb to your attention and fosters self-truth. Cain says; (Heb. 11:25 keyword: season: definition: Strong’s #4340: for the occasion only, temporary) “Enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.” (Luke 9:23) Able says; “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Just like he murdered his brother the Cain part of you wants to kill the Able part.
*** It is the war in every Christian’s inward conversation between carnal self(Cain) and sanctified self (Able). It is a spiritual war between human emotions, determined by self’s will, according to self’s values, based on one’s knowledge of God’s word and self’s desire to please God or to please self, which will result in physical actions. Read it again and think about it because it is your Cain and Able war.***
2 EXAMPLES across the spectrum of sin: #1) (Cain) That quick response to a provocation and take a wrathful reaction. OR: (Able Gal 5:20) “Keep your fists to yourself, wrath is sin”. #2) You are presented an opportunity for an illicit sexual fornication. (Cain) “Take it! You’ll never have an opportunity like this again! It’ll feel good!” AND: (Able 1Cor. 6:9-10) “Fornicators will go to hell.”
The Cain/Able effect is in every aspect of “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” When the Able part of you tells you to study God’s word, pray fervently, give money and time to church, witness to the lost, live a Christian life, let your light shine, help people, be filled with love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance and give yourself to the cause of Christ the Cain part says you don’t have time OR something else is more fun, pleasurable, rewarding or profitable.
(Prov. 2:13, John 3:19, 2Cor. 4:4 & Eph. 6:10-12 esp. V.12 keyword: darkness) Satan spiritually aids the Cain-self to bring Christians back into darkness. (2Cor. 3:17 then 4:6-7 esp. V.7 keywords: treasure in earthen vessels) The Holy Spirit within us (earthen vessels) spiritually aids the Able-self to keep Christians in the light through the word of God. BUT THE DECISIONS ARE ENTIRELY UP TO THE INDIVIDUAL CHRISTIAN, up to you, up to me and up to each individual Laodicean.
Cain says; “I have the right to be offended if I don’t like what the preacher says.” (Heb. 12:7-11) Able says; “Be humble, its God’s word, accept the Lord’s chastisement.” Cain says; “Look what he did! Punch his face with your fist!” (Gal. 5:22) Able says; “Don’t do that! Have the faith to be gentle, don’t kill your testimony, he knows you are a Christian.” Cain says; “Go out on the town, it’s just a harmless party. Your friends will all be there. You’ve worked hard this week, you deserve it.” (1John 2:15) Able says; “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.”
Proud Cain says; “The ballgame is on now you can pray and study some other time. You need to keep up with the statistics and players, they will be the conversation at work tomorrow.” (1John 2:15) Able says; “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Cain and Able even talk to preachers. Right in the middle of a beautiful, Holy Spirit anointed sermon (Psa. 10:4) Proud Cain says; “Whoa, if I’m not careful I might start preaching here.” (1Cor. 2:4) Able says; “Thank you oh Lord for thine anointing.” OR: Know it all Cain says; “You’re not getting it!” Able says; “Anoint me oh Lord so I can bring thy word to life within them.”
(Rev. 3:17) During services at the church in Laodicea Cain and Satan drowned out God’s words with thoughts about pride, possessions and pleasure and they didn’t hear the message; (Song of Solomon 2:15 paraphrased) “The little foxes spoil the vine when the grapes are tender.”
They did not see the image of a fox gnawing away at a vine to get to the sweetish sap (think Holy Spirit within us) flowing in the cambium layer between the bark and wood that nourishes the fruit on the branches which is a metaphor for (John 15:1-6) in which a Christian is compared to a vine and the constant gnawing of small, “harmless” temptations which result in sin erodes a Christian’s Holy Spirit relationship with God (Gal. 5:22-23 keywords: fruit of the Spirit) and they did not bear Christian fruit of the Spirit. Cain had beaten Able.
You’ve faced it, I’ve faced it, every other Christian faces it and every preacher faces it. The Cain and Able war is the everyday battle with self to give up worldly things and become a better, more aware, more productive, closer to God Christian. Cain loves the little foxes because the sin they cause impedes the vine’s (us) ability to let the Holy Spirit freely flow and direct a Christian’s spiritual life.
(John 4:14) Jesus has living water to give Christians through the Holy Spirit that will produce everlasting life. Able fights the little foxes because they carry rabies which is a disease (sin) that produces an inability to drink water (Jesus’ living water) and the rabies causes a slow, dying from the lack of Jesus’ water, painful, spiritual, Christian death.
Satan loves the little foxes and obviously Cain had loosed a huge pack of foxes that were running wild in the Christians of the Laodicean Church and the congregation refused to hear Able (2Cor. 6:17) who was screaming; “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
It takes time to grow into a mature Christian. (Ex. 23:27-30 keywords: By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land) Just like ancient Israel was to inherit the Promised Land little by little the church of the Laodiceans was supposed to grow little by little in their understanding of God’s Word, in grace, in knowledge, in wisdom, in producing spiritual fruit and in letting the mind of Christ grow in them so they could fully inherit their Promised Land of Salvation. But they didn’t because they were busy listening to Cain.
They couldn’t see Satan but every time the church house doors opened Satan was sitting on the altar, looking back over the congregation, slapping his thighs with glee, mocking them, making rude gestures in their faces and laughing while he watched the church of the Laodiceans shut Able down and commit spiritual suicide. (Rev. 3:14-16 esp. V.16) They were growing lukewarm (Luke 9:23-24) instead of taking up their cross for Christ daily.
(Rom. 1:28 keywords: reprobate mind- defined as: a rejected castaway soul & Heb. 3:12-19 then 6:4-6) The Christians of Laodicea were losing their knowledge of God, they were almost out of touch with God, (Rev. 3:16 keywords: spue thee out) the Holy Spirit was almost ready to depart and they would be turned over to a reprobate mind. The church in Laodicea mirrored their society because Cain was killing Able.
DAVID’S JEBUS IS A LESSON FOR THE LAODICEANS AND FOR US
(Gen. 9:25) Noah cursed his grandson Canaan (Gen. 10:15-18) who was the progenitor of the Canaanites among whom were the Jebusites. (Gen. 15:16, Deut. 7:1-10 & 20:16-18 then Josh. 6:21) God had ordered the Israelites to kill everything Canaanite, animals, people, all that breathed (Lev. 18:20-24) because of their horrible sins. Their judgment was coming.
(Ex. 33:1-3 keyword: stiffnecked) Moses was ordered to drive out the Canaanites through the power of God’s angel, (Num. 13:1 thru 14:35) but the stiffnecked Israelites ran away when 10 of the 12 spies sent into the Promised Land told a scary story about (13:29-33) the Jebusites among others and about the giants who were inhabitants of the Promised Land, you know the story.
(1Chron. 11:4) Jebus, the fortified capital city of the Jebusites would much later become known as Jerusalem. Through the power of God Joshua had led the Israelites to lay waste to everything in his path in the Promised Land. BUT:
(Josh.11:3-13 esp. V. 3 & 13 keywords: the cities that stood still in their strength) Joshua could not conquer Jebus (Jerusalem) the fortified capital city of the Jebusites. (Josh 9:3-19 esp. V.14 keywords: asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord) Was it a punishment for (V.6 & 14-15 keyword: Joshua) when Joshua listened to Cain, did not consult God for the truth and made a league (covenant by cutting apart flesh- a blood covenant) of peace with the Canaanites of Gibeon? SIN!
The Bible does not say the covenant of blood with the Canaanites was the reason Joshua could not conquer the fortified capital city of the Jebusites (Josh. 7:1-12 keyword: trespass) but it does fit the Ai pattern of God’s punishment.
(Num. 26:2) An Israelite had to be 20 years old to join the Israelite army. (1Sam. 16:1-13) Through the prophet Samuel God anointed David to be King over Israel when he was young. THEN: (1Sam. 17:1-50 esp. V.33 keyword: youth) David, the already anointed king of Israel, killed Goliath when David was a youth, possibly in his late teens.
(1Sam. 18:7) We all know the story of David’s travail and victories while he served in King Saul’s army. THEN: (2Sam. 5:1-3) David’s stronghold was in Hebron (to join) and he was 30 years old when, after king Saul was dead, the elders of Israel finally came to Hebron and anointed David to be king of Israel.
David had finally made it! He had passed all the tests and finally had just exactly what God had promised him. David looked around his kingdom and Jebus (Jerusalem), the plum of the Promised Land, was still in enemy hands 600 years after the time of Joshua SO: The Jebus blight in the heart of the Promised Land was old.
Jebus (Jerusalem), the stronghold of the Jebusites, still had not been conquered. (2Sam. 5:6) And the Jebusites told David if he tried to take their stronghold their blind and lame would defeat David. After salvation old sin, habitual sin, sins of the basic character like pride, quick temper, stubbornness, greed, lust, envy and etc. are the hardest sins of all for a Christian to overcome.
Isn’t that just like your Christian walk with God? You’ve finally made it! You got saved. You’ve gotten to God’s Promised Land of salvation. Then you look around and there it is a great big, nasty, Jebus of sin in your character daring you to conquer it.
AND THEREIN LIES THE FAILURE OF THE CHURCH OF THE LAODICEANS AND THEY MIRRORED THE SOCIETY OF THE CITY OF LAODICEA, proud, greedy, selfish and etc. Jesus didn’t send the message to the church in Laodicea. (Rev. 3:14) He sent it to the “church of the Laodiceans” because one could hardly tell the difference between the regular population of Laodicea and the Christians of Laodicea when they were away from their church house. The title of their letter was a subtle warning of what was coming.
(1Chron. 11:6) David sent Joab (compares very well to the Holy Spirit and God’s word) to conquer his Jebus. AND: God gives Christians his Holy Word and the Holy Spirit to help Able defeat Cain and wipe out the Jebusites from your life.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE that was a metaphor of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word in my life: I’m glad Able drowned out Cain so I could “hear” God’s word through the Holy Spirit during a common physical event in mountainous, snake infested Eastern Kentucky.
In the late summer of 2015 I went to a revival meeting several miles away from my home. The church was located up 3 consecutively smaller hollers (Hillbilly slang: the mountain valley, the hollow, between 2 mountain ridges or points). When I started home after church darkness had fallen and it was raining, dark and dreary.
The first road was very crooked as it wound down through the first holler. I’m 72 years old and I can’t see as well as I used to at night. I deeply appreciated the white line on the right side that marked the edge of the blacktop because I knew 3-4 feet past the white line the steep hill went nearly straight down 50-100 feet and ended in a rock strewn stream.
I was thinking about that white line; “Whoever came up with that idea did a great thing.” I wondered how many wrecks it had prevented and how many lives it had saved as I turned onto the second narrow, crooked, but a bit wider, blacktop road down the second narrow holler in the dark, rainy, low visibility night. Being wider it had a yellow center line in the middle and I started thinking about it; “That yellow line was a great idea too.”
“It keeps me on my side of the road and keeps ‘opposite direction from me’ traffic on their side of the road. It’s the dividing line that protects me from them.” I didn’t yet realize God was starting to give me something and I didn’t know I would share it with you.
That second road ended in a junction with the still wider third narrow, winding road with its yellow center line that went on down the third holler and I was glad to be on the last road home. I had traversed 2-3 sharp curves when I thought; “If my lights go out I’ll be in a bind because I can’t see anything in this darkness.”
That’s when chill bumps started racing over my body; “Wow! Thank You Jesus! Thank you Lord! I’ve got the Word of God on one side to keep me from wrecking, I’ve got the Holy Spirit on the other side to separate me from opposite direction harm and I’m following my Light (JESUS) who lights the way home (heaven).”
I came around another sharp curve and my lights illuminated a copperhead (a poisonous serpent) in the road. A slight adjustment with the steering wheel and I ran over it with my driver’s side tires, thump, thump.
My hair stood up and tears started trickling down my cheeks because of God’s blessing there in the dark, rainy, low visibility night on a narrow, crooked, Eastern Kentucky road; “I’ve got the Word of God on one side to keep me from wrecking. I’ve got the Holy Spirit on the other side to protect me from opposite direction harm. I’m following my Light (JESUS) who lights the way home (heaven) on this crooked road of life I must travel, my LIGHT illuminated the serpent and I ran over Satan on the way! Yipeee! Aaaamen! Thank you, Lord, for everything your grace and love has given me!”
AND UNTO THE ANGEL OF THE CHURCH OF THE LAODICEANS WRITE
(Rev. 3:14) “These things saith the Amen,” This particular application and definition of Amen is that it is a proper name SO: A signifies Amen is an identity. The definition goes back to the Hebrew and it means firm, faithfulness to build up, to support, to foster as a parent or a nurse.
It is a true identity because Jesus is firm in his purpose and is identified as the faithfulness of God when he went to the cross to build the way of our salvation because he loved us before we ever knew him. Jesus supports Christians (1John 1:1-3) because he is the living Word of God, (John 14:17-18) he is the Holy Spirit (1Tim. 3:16) and he is God manifested in the flesh. What Jesus says and does is his identity. Jesus gave his everything for us.
In these 3 presentations of himself Jesus’ personality never changes; it is always love, grace and mercy. Jesus saved us, built us up, supports us and like any good nurse he recognizes our ailments and offers us the cure. Also, like any good parent he warns us if we are going in the way of certain destruction.
But the offer of cure and the warning ends there because it is a love relationship. He loves us enough to do all that for us but do we love him enough to take the cure and heed the warning? That one word, Amen, defines the purpose of the message to the church of the Laodiceans and to us.
(Rev. 3:14 continued) “the faithful and true witness,” The statement; “the faithful and true witness” is a sad commentary on the Biblical knowledge of the Laodicean Christians because it is simply a shallow repeat of what is written above. Jesus knew their knowledge about him was shallow, without the depth of the fullness of scripture, and that is a reflection of and cause of their shallow relationship with him.
Laodicea is defined justice of the people. For effect the Laodicean church defined its own sense of justice by its decision to violate what Jesus instructs a church to be and the church mirrored their pagan society more than they did Jesus.
(Rev. 3:14 continued) “the beginning of the creation of God.” Beginning is defined as the commencement, the rank of first estate. Creation is defined as formation by the act of building, to fabricate through the idea of proprietorship of the manufacturer. Jesus is affirming; I am the only faithful and true witness because I fabricated man then I took a part of man and made a woman (see Part 1 for complete details). (Gen. 1:28) I told them to be fruitful and multiply and through that act (Psa. 139:13-16 esp. V. 13 & 16) I knew each of you Laodicean Christians in your mother’s womb before you were ever there.
Jesus is saying he supplied the basic souls, the personalities, the basic self of each of us but what we do with our “self” is ultimately our own decision according to our values just like Adam and Eve did.
(Rev. 3:15) “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot. I would that thou wert cold or hot.” (Prov. 15:3) “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” (Matt. 12:30) Jesus also said; “He that is not with me is against me.” (James 4:4) And also; “whosoever therefore will be a friend (dear, fond, associate) of the world is the enemy (hateful, odious, adversary) of God.”
It makes one want to scream; “What were the Laodiceans thinking? Can a man successfully plow in 2 directions at once?” Jesus is telling them their works are their identity and to him they are like their piped in water which is tepid and polluted.
(Rev. 3:16) “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue (projectile vomiting) thee out of my mouth.” The Laodiceans knew how putrid their water tasted, they knew how they gagged it out when they drank it and they could not help but know they and the tepid, polluted way they lived their lives had the same effect upon Jesus.
They were sickening to Jesus. They might not have known the above given scriptures but Jesus is giving them their very own scripture; “Here, this is you, and you make me sick.” It applies to modern Christians too.
Jesus is using their own example; The Laodiceans had piped in their own water but their time, effort and expense ended in failure of purpose. The water from Hierapolis arrived tepid and polluted with minerals. The water from Colossae arrived lukewarm with its freshness gone. The wealth of Laodicea had bought them nothing.
Jesus is saying; “Just like you I have expended much effort, time and expense (John 7:38 keywords: living water) to obtain “rivers of living water” from you and it has brought me nothing. You are a failure of my purpose because your water is polluted and lukewarm with its freshness gone.”
(Rev. 3:17) “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:”, 5, a holy number that describes their disgrace. This is a terrible, terrible, crushing accusation.
It defines the emptiness of their counterfeit riches of idolatry in a personal way that exposes the poverty of their naked, miserable wretchedness (Matt. 13:22 & 2Pet. 2:20-22) as they wallow like a sow in the muddy, stinking splendor of their greed for more and their pride of accomplishment that gurgles through a slop filled mouth; “I’m rich and increased with goods and I don’t need you Jesus.”
I have assumed these Christians simply did not know the scripture and did not try to know. It may be much worse than that because they may have read the other scriptures, ignored the Holy Spirit and simply did not care what God said or thought. Either way the result was the same, they are in danger of losing their salvation. Laodicea is defined justice of the people. (Prov. 12:15) “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes.” Obviously, they followed their own concept of the justice and decided they were right in their own eyes.
(Mark 8:36) “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul.” (Luke 16:19-20 key thought: Lazarus and the rich man were both Jews, God’s chosen people) BUT: (Luke 16:21-31) The rich man went to hell and was tormented but Lazarus was comforted in Abraham’s bosom.
Like men and women everywhere, in all times, who depend upon their riches, the Laodicean Christians refused to picture a beautiful chariot containing their deceased, mortal remains on the way to the cemetery with a U-Haul wagon attached behind so they could take their worldly goods with them (Luke 16:19-28) while their immortal soul with all the physical, emotional and mental attributes of their earthly body stood naked, ashamed, afraid, and wretched before the judgment seat of God (Luke 16:23-24 keyword: flame) knowing they would soon feel the flames of hell just like the rich man.
(Rev. 3:18) “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”
Remember the event about following my Light (Jesus) home (heaven) in the darkness on my sharp curve laden road of life I wrote about above?
God points out special, personal objects, events and situations in each Christian’s personal life that are metaphors pertaining to that individual Christian’s life that point out their own spiritual relationship with God. The scripture is filled with Jesus’ metaphors such as wheat and tares, whited sepulchers, whited wall, dove and etc.
In the above (Rev. 3:18) scripture Jesus names 5 underlined spiritual gifts only he can give that their physical riches can never buy. He is speaking of grace. We cannot force God to give us salvation, we cannot earn salvation by works and we have nothing valuable enough to purchase salvation. After salvation when we sin we can’t buy off God’s judgment for the same 3 reasons. (Eph. 2:4-10 esp. V.8 keywords: grace and gift then Heb. 4:12:-16 esp. V.16 keywords: throne of grace) Grace is free, it is a gift of God.
(Rev. 3:18) (#1) “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire,” Metaphors: Each Laodicean Christian was familiar with the process of mining the gold from the earth (salvation), then melting the gold (the fire of changing your life), then adding chemicals (Holy Spirit and Word of God) that cause the impurities (carnal emotions, attitudes and actions), in the gold to float to the top that are called dross (the scum of foreign matter, the dregs, on the surface of molten metal) so they can be scooped away (mercy and cleansing) in an ever progressive refinement (spiritual growth) until the gold is pure enough to be valuable enough to mint coinage.
The coins will bear an inscription written on the coins to be read (you can tell he’s a Christian by the way he talks) and an image on the coin to identify the coin (you can tell he’s a Christian by the way he looks-acts). The coin (a Christian) is finally valuable enough to be used by its owner (God) to purchase something (adding to God’s kingdom through Christian works, witnessing, giving, encouraging and etc.) which will glorify the name of Jesus. A Christian is supposed to be a reflection (a mirror) of Jesus. When people examine a Christian they should be able to say; “That person is a Christ-ian.” The term Christian is an identity. It’s personal.
(Rev. 3:18) (#2) “that thou (you) mayest be rich;” The Laodiceans are like all people. What are riches? That’s a legitimate question, think about it before you proceed. What are riches to you? Riches are fulfillment. Riches are emotional (feelings), mental (intellect, to know) and physical (bodily) fulfillment which produce satisfaction in the individual.
#1) What do you have feelings (emotions) about?
#2) What do you think (expend intellect, to know) about?
#3) What is required to fulfill the requirements of your flesh (physical needs)?
(Col. 1:16) Man was created by God and for God. SO: Man has within him a need to worship (emotional), to belong to (intellect, to know) and possess something and/or someone (physical) and these three needs result in a relationship with whatever or whoever you choose.
God gave mankind the freedom to choose his fulfillment based on his three needs emotions, intellect and physical. The key to a fulfilled life is to somehow fulfill all three needs at the same time so you can achieve complete satisfaction.
#1) Ultimately every person you have an intimate (emotional) relationship with will disappoint you in some fashion. No true, complete satisfaction there, it’s just life.
#2) You can study information, involve yourself with theater, games and etc. (intellect) but they are about someone else or something else. No true, satisfied relationship there because they do not know you nor do they care about you the person.
#3) If you had accumulated a room waist deep in golden coins or etc. you could go in, wallow, wiggle and immerse yourself in them (physical) and whisper softly and tenderly; “I love you.” The cold, cold metal would remain mute. Idols do not see, they do not hear, nor do they speak, nor do they feel. No true satisfaction (fulfillment) there. It is impersonal. But what about God? The God of Eden, the Almighty God who created us.
Regardless of what you knew about God before salvation it was simply about. Salvation is your introduction to God and God’s introduction to you. In reality, God’s gift of salvation was the first time you had ever been completely emotionally satisfied and you were fulfilled. If you proceeded to study the Bible, pray, go to church and Bible study so you could further develop your relationship with God your intellect was being satisfied on a continuing basis. Eventually you learned about (Matt. 6:25-34) and were relieved to know God would provide for all your physical needs, one way or another. Needs, not wants.
(Matt. 6:25-34) Jesus is saying he has true riches that will satisfy all our emotional, intellectual and physical needs. It’s personal.
We know the Christians at Laodicea had been saved because Jesus called them a church and sent them a message, (Matt. 15:8) they honored Jesus with their lips, but their heart was far from him. They had not grown in a personal relationship with Jesus. (Rev. 3:17) They trusted in their idols of riches and goods and felt they didn’t need anything. It was a counterfeit fulfillment. They trusted every Christian’s greatest enemy, SELF!
(Rev. 3:18) (#3) Jesus instructed the church of Laodicea to buy (obedience) from him “white raiment (purity, holiness), that thou mayest be clothed.” It was a direct slap at their raven black sheep’s wool clothing industry from which they obtained their riches. (2Cor. 4:4 keywords: god of this world hath blinded and light) It was a direct slap at Satan, the god of this world, who was drawing them away from the light (illumination) of the glorious gospel (good news) of Christ back into Satan’s blinding darkness of unbelief.
(Rev. 3:18) (#4) Jesus continued; “that the shame (disgrace, dishonesty) of thy nakedness do not appear;” We have seen how the New Testament scrolls were in common circulation because of the Roman Roads and mail system. Christianity was not a hidden religion. Many people who were not Christians were familiar with what was expected of Christians just like any modern church in the “freedom of religion” countries today, the Laodicean Christians’ language, greed, manner of doing business, entertainment and all their other activities were obviously naked for their whole world to see.
I wonder how many pagan conversations said; “The apostles preached and planted churches until the world is full of them. I’ve even read some of their scrolls and heard others talk about the rest of them. They say the Jew’s invisible God came as a man and taught this Christian religion, was killed because of it, he came back from death and walked and talked to them for 40 days then he went back into heaven and came back as some kind of Holy Spirit to dwell within them. I’m more loyal and follow the words of my gods and goddesses more than they do their invisible Christian God. I think I’ll stay right where I am!”
(2Cor. 4:4 keyword: blinded) The Laodiceans had helped the god of this world (Satan) keep the pagans blinded. The Laodicean Christians were dishonest in their half-hearted, fraternal order, social club worship of Jesus and the grace they claimed was a disgrace in the eyes of the people who observed them.
(Rev. 3:18) (#5) Jesus finished the verse with; “and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” Jesus is saying; “You as Christians are as useless as the eyesalve you sell all over the Roman world. I can give you the enlightenment of my Holy Word through my Holy Spirit if you want it (anoint thine eyes) then you can see.”
(Rev. 3:19) “As many as I love, I rebuke (sharp disapproval or criticism because of attitude and actions) and chasten (discipline to restrain): be zealous (enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or objective) therefore and repent (sorrow, regret for past sin, a change of mental and spiritual attitude toward sin).”
(Heb. 12:5-11) Jesus is saying; “I love you, you are in extreme danger of ruining our personal relationship forever (spue thee out), you are my children, I am your Father, this chastisement is proof of my love for you my children, if you were (V.8) bastards I would not care. It is for your profit (V.10) so you can partake of my holiness (purity, integrity of moral character, sanctity) and we can be in unity, its personal. (V.5) I chasten all of my children (V.6) so don’t despise it or faint because of it, (V.11) I know chastening is grievous at the time, but I don’t want you to commit spiritual suicide, it will bring the peaceable fruit of righteousness and we can be together in heaven forever.”
(Rev. 3:20) Even though he has all the power, authority and judgment at his disposal Jesus is still humble and offers love, grace, mercy, gentleness and kindness, as he gently knocks on the door of backslidden Christian’s hearts with his nail scarred hands and asks to be let in. (Rev. 1:20 & 2:4-5) He knocks on church house doors too and asks to be let in so he can kick gloating Satan off their altar, kick Satan off the throne of their hearts and kick Satan right out the church house door.
In the above scripture are 5 characteristics that are the soul of Jesus. (John 4:8-21) Jesus is love and love wants to give. (Eph. 2:8-22 esp. V.8 keyword: grace) The giving of Jesus’ love is grace. What would the Laodiceans have done, what would you do, if someone you loved rejected you, refused the greatest gifts you had to offer and wouldn’t even let you in their house? How many times would you come back and try again?
It is a shocking and humbling thing to think that Jesus, the Son of the God of all glory, in his Holy Spirit form, kept knocking at the door of the Laodiceans hearts (souls), and ours too, desiring to come in and be accepted.
THINK: That Jesus, in his Holy Spirit form, would stand outside the Laodiceans church house, and ours too, desiring to be let in so he can fellowship with those he loves most (1 Cor. 6:20 keyword: price) whose salvation and freedom he bought with his precious blood when he writhed in groaning, blood drenched, shattering agony on the cruel, rough, bloody cross at Calvary.
Shame on the Laodiceans, shame on the church, shame on you, shame on me and shame on all of us when we, because of our pride and selfishness, reject Jesus who bought the grace of God for us! Grace is free, it is the gift of God to us.
We, you, me, and the Laodiceans, need to see with our hearts the reality, the ceremony and the joy of our individual salvation and reconsider the blind selfishness of our relationship with the living Son of God. This is you, it is me, it is us; Jesus, in his Holy Spirit form, was right there with me. Jesus was gently extending his nail scarred hands to me, to ME, Mister Nobody, in my sorry road of life in Nowhere, East Kentucky. I was loved! It was personal. My heart was broken and I was infinitely ashamed of my sin. I was destitute and had no way to pay for the sin and lostness that was destroying me. I was terrified of hell and there was no way out, no way to avoid it.
I was crying and I sobbed out I was sorry I had sinned and that I would do anything if he would just save me. (Jer. 29:13, Mark 12:30, John 14:15 & 1John 4:7-8) That was the final requirement; I had given God my whole heart. Spiritually those nail scarred hands grasped mine. In the sphere of the spirit world where I could not see Jesus turned his gaze toward heaven and boldly stated; “I have applied my blood, this one is cleansed and he is free.”
Far yonder in that place named glory, in that place called forever, a mighty recording angel had the Book of Life opened, with great ceremony he wrote my name there, it was written in the scarlet blood of the Son of God (Luke 15:10) and the Almighty God of glory rejoiced in the presence of the angels that I had accepted the living grace of God.
(Rev. 3:21 keyword: overcometh) The overcoming is simply a choice. “I choose to serve Jesus even if it kills me because I trust him.” OR: “No, I don’t want your love, grace, mercy, gentleness and kindness. I want the counterfeit happiness the world has to offer. And no, I don’t want to sit with you in your throne.”
(Rev. 3:22) “Hear what Jesus is saying to the churches.” Us.
(Luke 16:22-28 esp. V. 24 keywords: he cried and spoke) The most terrible, gut wrenching, horribly pitiful thing about the rich man in hell is, he was crying as he spoke, and he did not ask to be removed from the torment of the flames. He knew he deserved to be there. SO: Let me ask you this question. How would you judge you?
(Rev. 3:14-22) Nine little verses of scripture. Nine little verses of scripture that contained no commendation, no compliment whatsoever. Nine little verses that condemned the church of the Laodiceans, that condemn the vast majority of the modern church in America, nine little verses that condemn the vast majority of the modern church in the developed world, that condemn the vast majority of the modern church wherever it is, nine little verses that condemn the vast majority of modern Christians wherever they are.