The seven letters laodicea

The seven letters laodicea

To Laodicea

30-12-2018

Pr Edi Giudetti

The Contemporary Church

The Ineffective Church

The seventh and last Church both of Revelation and of History, demonstrates to us its willingness to adapt to the culture that surrounds it so well, that it is indistinguishable from its surroundings. The Laodicean Church is The contemporary Church, it is the church of its times and works with the time it lives in, and it perfectly describes the Church period we live in today.  

The Laodicean Church did not only compromise with the culture of the day, it set its efforts in line with the culture of it’s day, it was contemporary, con-tempo, linked with the times. It thought its efforts were all of value and effective, but in the end, its effect had no value and was perfectly ineffective in doing the work the Lord would be pleased with. 

Only CONDEMNATION and no COMMENDATION was given it in this letter. 

The Laodicean Church, the Contemporary Church, is the only Church of the Seven that Jesus explicitly states he stands outside of and calls those who respond to his knocking to answer and invite him in. 

THE WITNESS OF AN INEFFECTIVE WORK, BLINDED BY PROSPERITY, WHO STANDS OUTSIDE THE DOOR AND KNOCKS.

The Witness of

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 

Revelation 3:14

The faithful and true witness

Laodicea: Of all the seven churches addressed in the apocalypse of John (the 2nd and 3rdChapters of Revelation), the Church of Laodicea receives the most condemning rebuke of them all. Within this Church there is not even a hint of a remnant, unlike the ‘few names even in Sardis which had not defiled their garments Laodicea has none spoken of without defilement.

Condemnations in the Bible, legal condemnations, are not to be given without the witness of two or three to establish the truth of the charges laid. 

False witnesses were gathered against Jesus and even against Paul in the New Testament, these the Bible describes as “Sons of Belial”, that is, Sons of the devil in 1 Kings 21:10. That account speaks of two who would falsely witness and condemn Naboth to have him killed for the King to take his land unlawfully. 

But Jesus is the faithful and true witness   

In Christ dwelleth the fullness of the godhead bodilytells Paul in Colossians 2:9. 

Jesus Christ is the completeness of the triune Godhead in physical form, he is “God manifest in the flesh”. 

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God almightyand it is this Godhead, the witness of three, that draws witness to the Church of Laodicea. He is faithful, and he is true and when he witnesses against us we can know and not question the validity of his words.

Have you ever read his letter, the Bible, and not been witnessed against?

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”

Heb 4:12

This is the same Godhead that speaks to you and I, it is his letter to us, both for encouragement and exhortation, for rebuke and for comfort. Yet in just such a manner he writes to the Laodiceans, even though nothing good is found in them.

These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

He is NOT “the beginning of Gods creation” as the ESV deceptively and satanically puts it, the phrase is not to be taken out of the context of the passage and distorted in order to create another version. It is not to be confused with the balance of the Bible.

It astounds me to think how often the ignorant phrase that “no doctrine has been seriously affected by new versions” is repeated and believed. The ESV is becoming the GO-TO version of many independent Baptists today who’s desire it is to join the Church of Laodicea. 

The new phrase found in the ESV is used by JW’s, by Mormons and by every other cult to disprove the deity of Christ and teach that Jesus was ‘the beginning of Gods creation’, the first thing God had made.

No beloved, the Bible does not say “The beginning of Gods creation” but “the beginning of the creation of God”, the context is in line with Christ being the AMEN, the Faithful and TRUE witness, lining itself up with “The God of Truth” in Isaiah 65:16 from where we get the transliterated word “Amen”. 

The beginning of the creation of God shows him in the beginning with God, All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1-2)

In Genesis 1, in the beginning of the Creation of God, the first of the six days of Creation, we see God already there, “In the beginning God”. Jesus is the point from which all things that had a beginning began.

If you own a copy of the English Satanic Version of the Bible, throw it out or burn it that no one else be deceived. 

These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

There is no other faithful witness that can witness a work and speak with such authority. 

The works of all men will be judged in light of the truth, no argument will be made against it, for HE is the God of Truth, the AMEN, the Faithful and True witness who will judge, and he perfectly condemns the Church of Laodicea in this letter, and today we do well to read what he has to say.

The witness of An ineffective work,

15I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

Rev 3:15-16

Probably one of the most often cited and contextually misinterpreted passages in Revelation. 

The two areas that misconstrued are;

  1. That temperature = levels of vitality.  (Matt 24:12..Because the love of many shall wax cold)
  2. That the vitality relates to zealousness. (Be on fire for the Lord)

Neither of those however fit the context of the passage or the history of the time.

Lets consider them together

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

I would thou wert cold or hot.

If vitality, or life, is determined by temperature and hot means alive while cold refers to dead, why does Jesus specifically prefer Cold AND Hot as opposed to lukewarm?

I would thou wert cold or hot.

The will of the Lord is that the Laodiceans were either cold or hot but not lukewarm.

He specifically states that being lukewarm causes him to vomit them out of his mouth but he prefers them to be COLD or HOT. 

We can’t escape the simplicity of the context here. 

SECONDLY Jesus is speaking about their WORK and not their zeal  I know thy works, Works are either effective or they are ineffective, it has nothing to do with passion or zealousness.

We all can be passionately in error or zealous after an error. Galatians 4:17 warns the Christians of false teachers and says “They zealously affect you, but not well”. But Paul continues on in the next verse saying “ But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing” (Gal 4:18)

No beloved, Jesus is referring to the effectiveness of their WORKS and not the passion of their hearts.

  1. Cold or HOT are both good; hot to cold are not temperature graded levels of vitality.
  2. It is the effectiveness of the works and not the zealousness of the endeavour that is questioned. “I know thy works”

Can you now see how well the context of the passage bears witness of itself? You don’t need to know the custom of the times to know what the passage refers to, just read and deduce logically the passage itself.

NOW LET’S CONSIDER THE CONTEXT OF THE HISTORY

The Laodiceans knew exactly what Jesus was referring to.

Laodicea did not have access to its own stable water source, the water it did have was not drinkable.

Located 30 – 40 km south of Philadelphia, it has as one of its sources of water from the city of Hierapolis about 9km due north of Laodicea. (About as far as Diggers Rest is from here.)

The other source of water comes from the City of Colosse, the same City of the same name we have a letter addressed to by Paul in the New Testament. It lies about 16kl  East/south/east of Laodicea, (about as far as Taylors Lakes or Gisborne is from us.)

These are the two main sources of water that had EFFECTIVE BENEFIT to the City.

The water from Hierapolis was volcanic, its remarkable qualities provided not only a spectacular scenery as it flowed from its source, but also medicinal and healing qualities;

(A couple of photos in your newsletter shows some of the scenery from Hierapolis)

Colin Hemer in his book The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in their Local Setting writes;

The extraordinary phenomena of the waters of Hierapolis have captivated attention in this connection, and have often diverted notice from Laodicea itself.[1]

Modern travellers have been impressed by the almost unique scenic wonders of the great cliff below. Hot, sparkling waters rise from deep pools on the city-plateau, which they cross in narrow raised channels built of their own deposit of calcium carbonate, and spill over the escarpment edge in white cascades through stepped pools of snowy incrustation. The cliff is in full view of Laodicea, six miles away. It is some 300 feet high and extends nearly a mile. Its ever-changing reflections of light and colour are unspeakably beautiful, especially when viewed against the backdrop of the snowy peak of Cadmus.[2]

Hemer goes on to describe the waters as having medicinal properties and that it was well known in the region, reflected also by the Gods that adorned its coins;

 The medicinal virtues of its streams are reflected in the local religion (… the numerous representations of Asklepios and Hygieia on coinage). The city’s consequent prosperity as a health centre and its obtrusive proximity to Laodicea corroborate this application.

THAT IS THE “HOT” WATER OF HIERAPOLIS

The waters that flowed from Colosse were very different; The modern discoverer of Colosse W.J Hamilton describes it this way;

three clouded streams join above an ancient bridge and fall together into a chasm lined with travertine deposits of the water. Just below the bridge, however, a clear and pure stream falls in a double cascade into the gorge. This is evidently identical with the ayasma, or sacred spring, of mediaeval legend

(CRE, pp. 469–71).

Colin Hemer states;

Modern accounts have usually been interested in the physical phenomena associated with the other streams: the ancient inhabitants were concerned with necessities, and this stream, apparently perennial, alone met the basic need.

Hemer then concludes;

So the hot waters of Hierapolis were medicinal, the cold waters of Colossae pure and life-giving.

Now comparing that to the waters that were available to Laodicea.

We find that Laodicea did not have any springs of its own and the waters from the Lycus river dried up in summer time, the only more local option was delivered slowly via pipes from the hot mineral springs of Denezli, a modern city today about 7km away.

Colin Hemer writes of the waters coming from their source that;

on arrival the supply would have been tepid and its effect emetic[3]

In other words, on arrival the supply was lukewarm and nauseating. 

The ancient historian Strabo states that 

the waters of Laodicea were petrifying and yet drinkable [4]

(13.4.14 = p. 630)

Another historian by the name of Richard Chandler records in his 1817 Book that the local landowner of his time;

 ‘expressed his regret, that no water fit to drink could be discovered there’ [5]

(p. 270)

 

15I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

The lukewarm waters of Laodicea were on no benefit whatsoever, they had no value, no benefit to give to their recipients. Both the Hot waters of Hieraopilis and the cold waters of Colosse had value, but not those of Laodicea, they were nauseating.

The works of the contemporary Church in Laodicea was ineffective in their intention, and sufficed only to sicken the body.

The contemporary Church of today devise means to get people into the Church, they utilize the Music of the day, the entertainments of the day, the philosophies of the day, their Children are educated by the schools of the day, they read the books of the day and speak the language of the day and they adapt everything they do to the ways of the day.

THE RESULT IS A CONGREGATION JUST AS SICK AS THE CONTEMPORARY CULTURE THEY ADAPT TO.

They are no longer seen externally as separate, to the outside world they are like the seven women of Isaiah Chapter 4:1 who… shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: Only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach[6]

The Laodicean Church of the first century, is also the Contemporary church of the last century, nothing good will come from It and therefore nothing good is said about it. 

As far as Revelation 3:14-22 is concerned, there is no good and effective work done by this Church. All is wood, hay and stubble.

 

Blinded by prosperity

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: 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, andthatthe shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

The Lord makes clear that the prosperity of the Church blinded the church to its spiritual state. They had no ability to see that their actual state was the exact opposite to what they believed was true. No doubt they would have been completely shocked by this report card.

There is an historical uniqueness about the City of Laodicea that separated itself from the cities that surrounded it. It had a commercial center that was without parallel in the region, the personal wealth of its inhabitants would be made evident in the crisis that came upon it.

It was a center of commerce, the center of Banking. The Roman Senator Cicero was able to exchange his letters of credit in Laodicea, the coinage of Laodicea continued on well after that of the other cities fell away. 

The ancient historian Strabo make note that Laodicea was only a small city before the Pax Romana. The peace the Roman empire brought, had seen the City expand dramatically and many of its ancient ruins are evident today.

Its manufacturing exports of the unique Black wool gathered from the sheep men were able to cross breed until a unique wool of glossy black was created, it was of the finest texture and in high demand. 

From the minerals that were abundant in the region, it created a solvent sent in a block form throughout the regions to act as a medicine for both the ear and the eye.

It held weekly markets in the City that continued in the same place,according to Sir William Ramsay, as recent as one hundred years ago. 

when it was moved two or three miles north to the new village called Serai-Keui[7]

THE EARTHQUAKE

But the wealth of the people of the City came to the fore in the latter part of the first century where an Earthquake brought it to its knees as it did the cities that surrounded it.

But unlike those Cities, Laodicea refused the help of the Roman Caesars, but individuals took it upon themselves to rebuild the City even beyond its former glories. 

Each construction had its own inscriptions, like the plates that adorn some of the monuments in our Cities, these had inscribed in stone the name of the Benefactor and some words from him. This is known because much of it is still found today in the ancient site of the City.

JB Lightfoot Confirms this in his book on “Colossians and Philemon”;

The ruins of public buildings still bear testimony by their number and magnificence to the past greatness of the city.[8]

It was another ancient and famous writer by the name of Tacitus that wrote of the uniqueness of what Laodicea did after that earthquake saying;

In the same year the illustrious Asian cities of Laodicea, ruined by a great earthquake, received no remedy from us, but from their own resources”[9]

You recall the messages on the previous cities who did suffer from the earthquake of AD17, and how they received great clemency from the Emperor, not on for the rebuilding but also from the lifting of the burden of taxes for several years? 

The wealth and pride of Laodicea was such that it had no need of this help.

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:

To this very day many attribute material wealth as a blessing from God. Because the desires of the flesh seem to have been filled, because goods are increased and barns are built to house them, there is need of nothing, not even the Lord. 

Many books written by the missionaries of old, who were called by the Lord to go into a land and preach the Gospel, give testimony of the great joy and sustenance that was given them for their reliance upon the Lord to sustain them. 

It is this that I rejoice in when I see it. I so love to see the Lords hand evidently involved in the work I do, I morn greatly when too much time goes by before my prayers are answered and this only because my reliance is upon myself.

It is when I am poor that I am rich and not the other way around. 

The missionaries of Old did not first visit every church they could in order to drum up “Support” for their work, they trusted as Ezra did, Turn to Ezra Chapter 8:21

21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. 22For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our Godisupon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrathisagainst all them that forsake him. 23So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us.

Laodicea did what seemed practical, trusting the call of the Lord by faith seemed foolish, so they replaced faith with that which they thought expedient at the time.

Sadly however, when this succeeds in our eyes, when we are increased with goods and have need of nothing in our minds, we simply do not see our wretched state, we are “blinded by prosperity”. 

People don’t see the Lord in our lives when all our reliance has been upon commercial means of attainment.

Churches today are setting up businesses to supplement their ministries for two reasons;

  1. Because the faith of their congregations alone will not provide for the needs of the Church, and/or;
  2. Because they want to run ahead of the Lord and do work he has not commanded or yet prepared them for. 

The Contemporary Churches of today perfectly represent the Laodicean Church of yesterday, for all their wealth theyknowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

It is our pride, our self-congratulations, our self-exaltations and self-edifications that keep us from the true wealth; the Glory of God and our Lord Jesus Christ. 

To see his work, his way in his timing that some may be saved. 

So the Lord councils them;

18I 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 thatthe shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

The persecutions of Smyrna did not come upon Laodicea, Smyrna burned brightly for the Lord, and their Gold was pure. 

Their treasure was attained on earth and set in heaven and secured for eternity; that of Laodicea was attained on Earth and spent on earth, it was corrupt and motheaten and they were impoverished by it.

Their raiment was the black wool of that made and clothed by men and not the white raiment clothed by the Lord. They were naked in the clothes they clothed themselves with, willfully blinded. 

Like fable of “The Emperors New Clothes”, they had no idea they were naked, spiritually speaking.

The Eyesalve they sell to the world keeps them blind to themselves, to the point that they read this passage of the Bible that speaks so clearly of them and they think it’s someone else.

Have you ever asked yourself if that passage is speaking of you in any given point in your life? 

How beneficial are you to the work of the Lord right now? 

The medicinal heat of the waters coming into Laodicea were well regarded and beneficial, are you hot?

The life giving cool waters of Colosse, sustained life and quenched the thirsty soul, are you cold?

Or is the only benefit you are gaining for yourself, that you might be “Increased with goods and in need of nothing”? 

Have you been desirous of the things of the Lord since you have been saved or has the things of the Lord just been added to a bucket list you started from before you were saved?

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

Who Stands Outside the door and knocks

 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

As a new Christian in one such Church there was no doubt in my mind that I was being Chastened by the Lord. I was a part of a Charismatic, self serving, self aggrandizing Church that kept the Gospel of Christ well hidden lest it be seen by the world as a distinct entity. 

The original Pastor was as self-serving as his ministry and the man that eventually took over was worse. He cared nothing for the Bible nor its teaching, he cared little for the Gospel and less for the souls of men who would find themselves in hell if they never heard of the way of salvation. 

The pastor led the Church in a wild goose chase of spiritual experiences thinking it was rich and increased with its own goods. There are a multitude of such Churches today, in fact, they are the dominating type of Church that has infiltrated even traditional Churches. 

But there are some within who are saved and whom the Lord rebukes and chastens. 

Unlike the few who had not defiled themselves in Sardis, these are not spoken of with any esteem, the Lord rebukes them for their error though he loves them.

be zealous therefore, and repent.

It seems that is the only way out. Those I know who have come out of a Laodicean Church have done so with fervency, they had anointed their eyes with eyesalve, read their Bibles, and come out of the self-serving social clubs of the day.

20Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Few would consider the Lord standing outside these Churches. 

Many of the Churches I have seen have willingly invited lying and deceiving spirits into their assemblies, not desiring the spirit of truth. The ONLY ministers they will accept are those who will scratch them were they think they are itching. They desire not the knowledge of the Lord, nor sound doctrine.

The Bible speaks of that for the last days

2 Tim 4:3-4

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

The Lord desires we might recognize those days, turn back one chapter and consider from the first verse;

2 Tim 3:1-5

1This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

This is speaking of the Church beloved, not the world, this has always been the nature of the people of the world. Pastor Timothy is being instructed in what the Church will look like before the end comes, this is a picture of the last Church in the last days, a picture of Laodicea, lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 

There is no longer any distinction between the Church and the world, she has perfectly adapted herself to the world and the effect upon the Church is the same effect a Godless world endures.

Jesus is outside…..knocking.

21To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Just as Jesus overcame, so shall those who answer the door and allow him in. 

Jesus was a light in the world, the Church is charged to be such a light


[1]Colin J. Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.; Livonia, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Dove Booksellers, 2001), 186.

[2]Colin J. Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.; Livonia, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Dove Booksellers, 2001), 187.

[3]Colin J. Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.; Livonia, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Dove Booksellers, 2001), 188.

[4]Colin J. Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.; Livonia, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Dove Booksellers, 2001), 189.

[5]Colin J. Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.; Livonia, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Dove Booksellers, 2001), 189.

[7]W. M. Ramsay, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia and Their Place in the Plan of the Apocalypse, (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1904), 417.

[8]Joseph Barber Lightfoot, Colossians and Philemon, Crossway Classic Commentaries, (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1997), 20.

[9]Annals of Tacitus 14.27.1

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