Friday, February 15, 2013

To the Church in Laodecea

   And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 
   “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 
   “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 
  “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 
   “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 
   “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
  “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 
  “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 
   “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.3:14-22  

7. The Church in Laodicea (A.D.1884-the end of time)

   Christ had something for which to praise each of the first six churches.  The seventh, the last, church receives nothing but condemnation and a chance to repent.

   In writing about the Philadelphian Church, in the previous post, Dr. McGee* states that the rapture happened in that time period; the second to the last church period in world history.  He continues by saying that the church that would be left on the earth, after the rapture, would be just an organization…and we are finally going to hear it called a great harlot.  As I pointed out in that post, his take on this idea just does not seem supportable, and so we will move on from here.

Nero offered financial aid when an earthquake destroyed Laodicea, but the citizens turned his offer down, saying that they had sufficient financial resources to handle the situation themselves. One of the reasons for this prosperity was their commerce in the fine woolen garments for which their area was renowned. And a famous school of medicine ... kept the citizens supplied with eyesalve. Signs of the Times^^ 

   It is interesting that these things that Nero offered the city of Laodecea are exactly the things Christ referred to in His address to the church. I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.

The Tepid Church

   In view of what Christ said about this church, here in The Apocalypse, the words of Paul in Col. 2:1 sound prophetic, For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea.  The state of the Laodicean church was a matter of great concern to Paul; according to our study this church represents the last church period in history.  

   As I see it the churches of our era are that church; the fact that we are so lukewarm to Christ should cause each of us much concern.  So much concern, in fact, that we would do something about it.  Christ has no words of praise for this church.  Surely, this must tell us something about the level of spirituality of today’s church.  Hype, banging drums and loud choruses do not constitute spirituality.

   The faithful and true witness sent this message to the church of the 20th and 21st centuries.  It is fitting that the faithful and true witness in 1:5 is speaking to the church that has lost the truth to higher education.  He is speaking to the church that says, I am rich, I have goods and I have knowledge.  He speaks to the church that does not know that it is, bankrupt, miserable, poor, blind and naked.  

   There is little effective prayer in North American churches.  There are no more revivals.  Sunday evening services have succumbed to Sunday evening TV.   The modern day church is blind to the truth and the shamefulness of its immoral teachings is nakedly evident.  

   So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.  Is the last church in the history of the world going to be vomited out by Christ because it is lukewarm? 

  Divorce and remarriage, condemned in the Bible, are prevalent in modern churches. The whole "gay/lesbian" scene is eagerly accepted in today's churches, because the church does not want to seem prudish.  Church leaders and members in today's churches do not care what the Bible says, they would rather have the approval of society than the approval of the Lord. 

  However, it is not too late! be zealous, shake off you apathetic spirit and repent of your lackadaisical attitude toward spiritual matters.  It is not too late to repent of spiritual carelessness.  The Lord is still waiting. 

  Several years ago I read that in China alone, every time we take a breath another person is born again.  To the bulk of the Chinese people Christianity is new.  They are excited about it.  They come to North America as missionaries.  To the North American people the Bible says But he is waiting, for the good reason that he is not willing that any should perish, and he is giving more time for sinners to repent. 2 Peter 3:9 The Living Bible.

   As many as I love I rebuke and chasten.  Wuest# has translated this verse into these beautiful words, as many as I am fond of, I reprove so as to bring out conviction and confession, and I discipline, correct and guide.

  I am well aware that till now, whenever anyone has predicted the time of Christ's return, they have been wrong.  In spite of that I venture to say that world events are shaping up to the Battle of Armageddon in the Near East, and the Bible does say that, in order to end that battle Christ will return.

To end the introductions

Chapters 2-3 are divided into seven sections.  If each of the seven churches  would receive, only its appropriate introductory letter, it would be easy to see that these words to individual churches are only introductions to the real body of the message, which begins in 4:1.  It has been suggested that The Revelation was written out seven times and that the appropriate introduction was sent with their copy of The Revelation.  

* Through the Bible with Dr. J Vernon McGee.

^^ Signs of the Times Magaizines: What the Revelation says about. March 1998. David C. James
# An Expanded Translation, K.W. Wuest.

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