July 2, 2006
A Message to Laodicea, Revelation 3:14-22
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3:14 Kai. tw/| avgge,lw| th/j evn Laodikei,a| evkklhsi,aj gra,yon\ Ta,de le,gei o` avmh,n( o` ma,rtuj o` pisto.j kai. avlhqino,j( h` avrch. th/j kti,sewj tou/ qeou/\ 3:15 oi=da, sou ta. e;rga o[ti ou;te yucro.j ei= ou;te zesto,jÅ o;felon yucro.j h=j h’ zesto,jÅ 3:16 ou[twj o[ti cliaro.j ei= kai. ou;te zesto.j ou;te yucro,j( me,llw se evme,sai evk tou/ sto,mato,j mouÅ 3:17 o[ti le,geij o[ti plou,sio,j eivmi kai. peplou,thka kai. ouvde.n crei,an e;cw( kai. ouvk oi=daj o[ti su. ei= o` talai,pwroj kai. evleeino.j kai. ptwco.j kai. tuflo.j kai. gumno,j( 3:18 sumbouleu,w soi avgora,sai parV evmou/ crusi,on pepurwme,non evk puro.j i[na plouth,sh|j( kai. i`ma,tia leuka. i[na periba,lh| kai. mh. fanerwqh/| h` aivscu,nh th/j gumno,thto,j sou( kai. kollÎoÐu,rion evgcri/sai tou.j ovfqalmou,j sou i[na ble,ph|jÅ 3:19 evgw. o[souj eva.n filw/ evle,gcw kai. paideu,w\ zh,leue ou=n kai. metano,hsonÅ 3:20 VIdou. e[sthka evpi. th.n qu,ran kai. krou,w\ eva,n tij avkou,sh| th/j fwnh/j mou kai. avnoi,xh| th.n qu,ran( Îkai.Ð eivseleu,somai pro.j auvto.n kai. deipnh,sw metV auvtou/ kai. auvto.j metV evmou/Å 3:21 ~O nikw/n dw,sw auvtw/| kaqi,sai metV evmou/ evn tw/| qro,nw| mou( w`j kavgw. evni,khsa kai. evka,qisa meta. tou/ patro,j mou evn tw/| qro,nw| auvtou/Å 3:22 ~O e;cwn ou=j avkousa,tw ti, to. pneu/ma le,gei tai/j evkklhsi,aijÅ
ai. tw/| avgge,lw| th/j evn Laodikei,a| evkklhsi,aj gra,yon\ Ta,de le,gei o` avmh,n( o` ma,rtuj o` pisto.j kai. avlhqino,j( h` avrch. th/j kti,sewj tou/ qeou/\
And to the messenger of the church in Laodicea write: These things says the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the origin of the creation of God;
And now we’re on to the worse church of the seven in the main address of this letter. And here we see Christ referring to himself as the Amen and as the faithful and true Witness. As such, his testimony and insight into this church is without question. He is both capable of raising an accusation as well as acting as his own credible witness. And that’s what he is about to do.
Now, several of the versions do have Christ as “the beginning of the creation of God”. And while this is technically correct, as avrch. can in fact be translated as “beginning”. But I do not want anyone to fall under the misconception that Christ was the first of God’s creations. Christ is not a created being. He is in fact “Creator”. And we need to be clear on this. So, this word can not only mean beginning, but also origin too. In Young’s Literal Translation, this word is rendered “chief”, which I think is also very applicable.
oi=da, sou ta. e;rga o[ti ou;te yucro.j ei= ou;te zesto,jÅ o;felon yucro.j h=j h’ zesto,jÅ
I have known your works, that neither cold you are nor hot; would that cold you were or hot.
Of the churches we’ve reviewed to this point, the church at Laodicea is utterly corrupt. When we examined the others, we see them all receive some commendation. The elders of this church have absolutely nothing to rejoice over.
I think one of the things that disturbs me much is the reference to our current generation being that of the Laodiceans. Apart from the fact I do not believe these seven churches represent seven dispensations, I still think the analogy is way off. And the reason for this assessment is quite simple when you consider we do have some noteworthy churches amongst us. This church wasn’t zealous, but lacking doctrine as those in Sardis. They weren’t consumed with doctrine, but lacking love as with the Ephesians. They weren’t under incredible persecution for their faith, either. This church was completely bankrupt.
ou[twj o[ti cliaro.j ei= kai. ou;te zesto.j ou;te yucro,j( me,llw se evme,sai evk tou/ sto,mato,j mouÅ
So that lukewarm you are and neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth;
As a consequence for their indifference, Christ warns this church of his intention to spew them from his mouth. In doing this, he also demonstrates his utter contempt for them and for their treatment of the word of God. They profess to know God and to believe in Christ, but give no demonstration of it.
Perhaps there is nothing to really point out here and I am struggling to make a distinction, but I do find it interesting that the use of the aorist infinitive evme,sai is used for “spit”. After all, the present indicative is used just prior to it in the verb “be about to”. When you read most translations, this statement is often written in the future tense. “I will spit you you.” And while the event does appear to happen in the future, it is not simply written in that fashion. Since the use of the aorist only conveys past tense when it’s used in the indicative mood, it is not used to express tense here. Rather it’s more punctiliar in nature as to emphasize that this is not an ongoing event in the future, but a very specific event. Again, it is my belief that while similar punishment may be applicable to other churches to follow, this pronouncement was and is intended for this specific church and not for an age.
o[ti le,geij o[ti plou,sio,j eivmi kai. peplou,thka kai. ouvde.n crei,an e;cw( kai. ouvk oi=daj o[ti su. ei= o` talai,pwroj kai. evleeino.j kai. ptwco.j kai. tuflo.j kai. gumno,j(
beacuse you say “I am rich and have become rich and have no need” and you have not known that you, you are the wretched and pitiable and poor and blind and naked,
Satan’s deceptions are often overlooked, even by those who would be quick to point them out. This church was fully convinced of their riches in Christ to the point they felt they were in need of nothing. This should not, under any circumstances, be confused with contentment. This church was not content with Christ at all. They didn’t know him. They were content with themselves, with their philosophies, with their position in society, and with their traditions. As such there was no room for Christ to penetrate their hearts and minds as we’ll soon see. In the other churches, we find a body of believers or a remnant. With this church, we find not a single believer recorded. They were found completely naked, blind and poor. Christ goes so far as to declare them “the wretched” with the use of the definite article. But he really drives it home with the additional use of the personal pronoun, su.. As a reminder, Greek verbs express person. So, the use of the personal pronoun is for emphasis. “You! You are the wretched.”
sumbouleu,w soi avgora,sai parV evmou/ crusi,on pepurwme,non evk puro.j i[na plouth,sh|j( kai. i`ma,tia leuka. i[na periba,lh| kai. mh. fanerwqh/| h` aivscu,nh th/j gumno,thto,j sou( kai. kollÎoÐu,rion evgcri/sai tou.j ovfqalmou,j sou i[na ble,ph|jÅ
I advise you to buy from me gold having been fired from fire in order that you migh be rich, and white garments in order that you might wear, and might not have revealed the shame of your nakedness, and eyesalve to put on your eyes in order that you might see.
As is generally the case, Christ offers an invitation to anyone in this congregation who might happen to be listening. But it is doubtfull any will hear. Just in case, he offers to cure all they suffer from. He offers to clothe them, give them the ability to see and even give them true riches. And perhaps this is why I so dislike the invitation system of today. If they will not harken unto the Lord’s very personal invitation, why will they consider a general one offered by man? After all, he is the Creator and fully capable of bringing a man unto repentance. Who are we to think we’re greater?
evgw. o[souj eva.n filw/ evle,gcw kai. paideu,w\ zh,leue ou=n kai. metano,hsonÅ
I, as many as I might have affection for, I bring to light and I instruct; be earnest therefore and urgently repent!
When we hear of Christ’s love for his elect, we often hear of his Agape love or his covenant love. But here we see the word filw/ which is the more affectionate form of love. What’s the special distinction? Well, not only is his love towards his elect a covenantal one, it is also deeply affectionate in nature. And those he happens to love, he will personally bring them to light as well as personally instruct through his word and his Spirit. He informs the Laodiceans of this and then gives them the aorist imperative to repent.
VIdou. e[sthka evpi. th.n qu,ran kai. krou,w\ eva,n tij avkou,sh| th/j fwnh/j mou kai. avnoi,xh| th.n qu,ran( Îkai.Ð eivseleu,somai pro.j auvto.n kai. deipnh,sw metV auvtou/ kai. auvto.j metV evmou/Å
Behold, I have stood at the door and I knock, if anyone might hear my sound and might open the door, I will come unto him, and I will eat with him, and he with me.
Christ’s invitation isn’t a short-term thing. I can remember hearing of this early in my Christian walk. I was told that Christ is only obligated to give one opportunity to hear the Gospel and to respond. If it’s rejected, well… But this is not what we see here. The use of the perfect indicative form of e[sthka combined with the present indicative form of krou,w\ indicates that Christ has been standing at this door and yet he continues to knock. His invitation is ongoing. While we may tire, Christ never does. Anyone who accepts will find Christ coming unto him and he will be allowed to sup with Christ.
~O nikw/n dw,sw auvtw/| kaqi,sai metV evmou/ evn tw/| qro,nw| mou( w`j kavgw. evni,khsa kai. evka,qisa meta. tou/ patro,j mou evn tw/| qro,nw| auvtou/Å
The one prevailing, I will give to him to sit down with me in my throne, as I also overcame and sat down with my Father in his throne.
Furthermore, Christ will allow all who overcome and persevere to the end the right to sit down at his throne, just as his Father gave him such right. This stands to remind us of the fact that we are truly joint-heirs with Christ.
~O e;cwn ou=j avkousa,tw ti, to. pneu/ma le,gei tai/j evkklhsi,aijÅ
The one having an ear, heed what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
Of course we need this letter in our day as the churches needed it when it was written. We are to desperately and urgently heed all that Christ has written to these churches. These addresses stand to show us what is commendable and what is deplorable despite all that is called Christian.