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Part 10 - LAODECIA


 

Rev 3:14 "To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation.
Rev 3:15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!
Rev 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
Rev 3:17 You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
Rev 3:18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
Rev 3:19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.
Rev 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
Rev 3:21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.
Rev 3:22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."

The name Laodikeia comes from two words Lao=people and decia = justice.. So Laodicea means = "justice for the people" It was founded by Antiochus II between 260 and 246 BC, and was named in honor of his wife, Laodice. But Laodice afterwards poisoned Antiochus. This is the same Antiochus who formed the marriage league with Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt, in fulfillment of Daniel 11:6.

The city was located about forty miles southeast of Philadelphia and one hundred miles east of Ephesus. Situated on the river Lycus not far from Colosse it was surrounded by rich farming area which provided for the city in abundance. But its importance comes from its position. Laodicea was on the crossroads between the important Ionian cities of that time. This produced a vigorous trade center and a banking capital. As a result people became very wealthy. Laodicea was mostly populated with Syrians and Jews transported from Babylon. Jews like their counter parts elsewhere in the world - because of their hard work and cleverness - controlled most of the trade and commerce in the city. It is assessed that there were over 7,500 Jewish families at the time this letter was written. Cicero is known to have lived in this city around 50 BC. In AD 60 an earthquake destroyed the city and the citizens were able to rebuild it without the help pf Rome. In AD 66 the city was destroyed by another earthquake and was rebuilt by Marcus Aurelius.

Laodecia was the headquarters of medical practices of that period. Siting on a volcanic mountain side the city had a number of hot, cold, and lukewarm springs. Most of these waters contained large number of minerals and was supposed have healing properties.These provided the rich with a series of health resorts which were supervised by a leading physician. Thousands of sick people journeyed to Laodicea to these spas to benefit from the medical treatments offered by the physicians, the eye salve, the mineral water, and the hot and lukewarm springs. Although the water was pleasing to the body , it was nauseating to drink.

In this rich city was a rich Christian Church.

Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation.

Jesus introduces himself to this church with three epithets.

Amen - The ultimate realization of all promises of God to mankind.

John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.

What Jesus is saying is that he will come back to give to each person the justice that is merited - Laodecia. This is emphasized in the second epithet of faithful and true witness. Jesus is faithful but he is the witness to all men. It is the rejection or acceptance of Jesus that ultimately decided everyoneís fate. He is also the Ruler of all Godís creation. He is the judge because all authority in heaven and earth are given to Jesus.

Mat 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

John 5:22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,

Rev 3:15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!
Rev 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

Laodecian Church was a luke warm Church. But they did do a lot of good works. They were active in social uplifting and community projects etc. They expected to be justified by their works apart from Jesus. The cross was missing. They knew of the lukewarm springs which were not nauseating to drink. Like those waters Jesus says he will have to spit them out - reject them out from his choice. In spiritual matters we need to make a choice. We cannot be neutral. You must either reject or accept the demands of Jesus. There are only two classes of people. Those who are saved and those who are not saved. There is no purgatory bussiness here. The lukewarmenss of the churches around the world is the result of well being. They feel no necessity . Growth always comes through conflict in a sinful world. This is why Adam was given the blessing upon the fall

Gen 3:18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.

Gen 3:19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

Only in an unfallen state can conflict be eliminated without harm. Until then every man have this choice which he should make.

 

Rev 3:17 You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

Jesus talking to the rich Laodicians in their own terms. They were proud of their riches and great acquisitions. Such prosperity develops an antipathy to spiritual matters.

Deu 8:17 You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me."
Deu 8:18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.
Deu 8:19 If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.

Deu 8:20 Like the nations the LORD destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the LORD your God.

Rev 3:18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

The city was also noted for the black cloth manufactured there from black wool produced in the valley. The wool was glossy black and of a soft texture almost like silk and famous throughout the whole region,. Black garments were almost universally worn by the Laodiceans and it symbolized their social status. They also wore gold ornaments. Christ advised the Christians of the city to buy of Him, "gold refined in the fire, .... and white clothes to wear". The people of Laodicea were familiar with the white toga worn by Roman citizens and officials. Only the Roman citizens were privileged to wear this white garment and it was a high honor. It was symbol of victory and authority. They were the rulers. In the Bible white represents purity and righteousness. Jesus asks the Laodecians to wear the imputed righteousness of Jesus so that they become victors and rulers of the earth. Come and be part of the King who is coming to judge.

We have elsewhere referred to the School of Medicine and Aesculapius. There were over two hundred Temples of Karu dedicated to Aesculapius, the Greek god of medicine. In this temple they made the famous Phygian eye salve, called collyrium. Jesus the Great Physician, prescribes to this the spiritually blind Laodiceans to buy eye salve from Him that they might have spiritual vision instead of the eye salve from the heather gods.

Rev 3:19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.

In the midst of plenty and abundance Jesus says he will rebuke and discipline so that they may bring forth repentance. Rebuke and disciplining in the lives of Christians are meant to produce repentance and growth. This gives us the insight for one of the reasons for pain and sufferring.

Heb 12:5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
Heb 12:6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."

Heb 12:7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?
Heb 12:8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.
Heb 12:9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!
Heb 12:10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.
Heb 12:11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Heb 12:12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.
Heb 12:13 "Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
Heb 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
Heb 12:15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Rev 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
Rev 3:21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.

This famous verse is used to show that Jesus is knocking at the doors of human heart. So he is. Why is it that Jesus the ruler of all creation standing outside and knock. He is the ruler. He has all the authority over all his creations. But he will not impose his authority on manís heart. Every man is given freedom of choice. It is a freedom He has given at the time of creation. In spite of all the evil that has come out this freedom, God is not going to take it away. It is something God respects - even when it hurts to His core. God is not a tyrant, nor man a victim. The reality of the incarnation and the cross is the statement of this fact. Incarnation itself will be meaningless unless we understand this great truth. Jesus knocks at the heart. He will not open the door. The latch is given to man in the inside. If he opens it, Jesus promises to come in and have fellowship with him.

The consequence of this is that he gives the right to sit with Jesus on the throne.

Dispensationally this last Church represents the end time church which has gone apostate. They became powerful, wealthy and controlled the commerce. For it they have to become neither cold not hot. They still holds on the name. But they will never proclaim Jesus as Lord. Toleration of pagan religions and syncretism will be hall mark of this church. Everything is acceptable. At the end of this era is the white throne - the judgement seat of Jesus which will give justice to all men. Then the overcomers will be sitting with him on the throne. This again indicates a rapture long before the white throne.