The Book of Revelation, in chapters 2 and 3, describes seven different churches located in what is known as an actual “mail route” in Asia Minor during New Testament times ( in Turkey today). Archeological and written records can attest to the veracity of the places mentioned here. [For some major highlights of these churches, click on this link: http://www.herbert-armstrong.org, click ENTER HERE , select “Books & Booklets” and scroll down to the booklet titled, “A True History of the True Church.”]
In these two chapters of Revelation the apostle John wrote down the messages to these seven churches given to him through a vision by the glorified Jesus Christ, who identifies Himself as “the Alpha (beginning) and the Omega (end), the First and the Last” (Revelation 1:11) and as “He who lives, and was dead and” — having resurrected from the grave, is now — “alive forevermore” (Verse 18). [See: The True Christ.]
Many Bible students have come to understand that these seven churches, which were located in a contiguous and consecutive line from the first church (at Ephesus) and on to the seventh (at Laodicea), picture the different eras that the Church which Jesus founded (Matthew 16:18) would undergo down through the centuries of the Church’s existence.
While this concept is plausible and may have been the actual case, a serious Bible student should also realize and remember that each of the messages which Jesus brought to the seven churches is to be heard [meaning, understood and heeded] by all true Christians, in whatever era of church history they may live. Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13 and 22 repeatedly invites all who care, to listen to what the Spirit [Jesus Himself; see 2 Corinthians 3:17 and The Trinity Doctrine Reconsidered ] says to the churches.”
It is vital to understand that the seven different spiritual states (or attitudes and traits) as shown by these seven churches can occur in Christians whenever and wherever they may live. However, certain periods in the history of the Church of God may exhibit a preponderant trait of one or more of these seven churches. This view will help one from feeling smug in believing that one is a part of a spiritually upright church or era (such as the most desired Philadelphia — “brotherly-loving” — church, Revelation 3:7-13) and then failing to examine oneself as to whether one is really of the true faith of Christ (2 Corinthians 13:5) and as to whether one really stands on solid Biblical ground, lest one fall (1 Corinthians 10:12).
The above-mentioned booklet (“A True History of the True Church”) explains more about the approximate period in which each era of the seven churches existed, has existed, or will exist. Members of the former Worldwide Church of God generally considered themselves as belonging to the sixth, the “Philadelphia,” era of God’s Church. After the WCG underwent the “changes” in the mid-1990s [see: About Pool of Siloam], one particular splinter group adopted the name “Philadelphia Church of God.”
Zeroing in on the Laodicean Church
Many Bible commentaries and websites have written about the Laodicean church described in Revelation 3:14-22 and about the city of Laodicea, where the church had a congregation. The background material about the city of Laodicea helps us to understand better the spiritual condition of the Laodicean church. Most of this material point out these salient features of Laodicea:
- Its water came from two sources: 1) hot springs some kilometers away from the city and 2) cold water from mountain springs in the nearby city of Colossae. By the time water from either source reached Laodicea through aqueducts, the water had become tepid or lukewarm.
- It was a wealthy city which had some kind of commercial bank, a textile industry, some medical school and a pharmaceutical industry that especially produced a type of eye salve.
The name “Laodicea” itself is derived from the combination of two Greek words: laos (meaning people) and dikeia (meaning just or right).
Of all the seven churches, why zero in on the Laodicean church?
As the supposed seventh and last “era” of the Church of God, the era of the Laodicean Church bears attitudes that find many parallels with the common attitudes of people in the world today during these “end times” (1 Timothy 4:2; 2 Timothy 3:1;1 Peter 1:5, 20; 2 Peter 3:3; Daniel 12:4, 9, etc.).
1. Lukewarm. Like lukewarm water for bathing, the Laodicean spirit or attitude is one where a person feels totally comfortable with where he is. We have talked about “comfort zone” many times. We’ve also talked about tepid, lukewarm water as being of “body temperature;” we hardly feel lukewarm water because it suits our body just right. No “ouch” from either hot water or cold water. Spiritually speaking, the Laodicean spirit or attitude is that of self-satisfaction.
In fact, that spirit makes the person feel that he is already “righteous” as he is — without a care to find out if one needs to change or move on toward “a perfect man, unto a measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). As the name “Laodicea” means, he doesn’t think twice that he is among the “righteous people” of God when perhaps he may be standing on shaky spiritual ground (1 Corinthians 10:12).
Like the Jews whom the first Christian martyr Stephen addressed, a lot of people today feel so sure and secure that they are heading in the right spiritual path and don’t know that they are resisting the Spirit of God (Acts 7:51-53) and are going astray from the truth. They will not receive instruction from God’s Word! To those who “hate instruction and cast [God’s] word behind” themselves, God says that they have forgotten Him and calls them “wicked” (Psalm 50:16-17, 22). God tells them to consider their ways, “Lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver” (Verse 22).
Like lukewarm water for drinking that is “emetic” (tending to cause vomiting), a lukewarm Christian is warned by Christ, “I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:16)! This Christian is about to be thrown out of Jesus’ spiritual body — the genuine Church of God (Colossians 1:18). He will join [or rejoin] the rest of wicked mankind that have been a part of “this world” — not yet in the Church of God — unless he repents and gets out of his smug, self-deceiving “righteousness.” “Righteousness” that is based on the wrong spiritual foundation is one that God considers no better than “filthy” (or more explicitly, “menstruous”) rags (Isaiah 64:6).
2. Rich and wealthy. Closely tied in with having a lukewarm, comfortable attitude, a Laodicean Christian may also be physically/materially rich and may thus feel also spiritually wealthy and self-sufficient — “in need of nothing” (Revelation 3:17). We talk of such a person as one “who has everything.” Never in previous times have people assiduously proclaimed, as now, a “health/wealth gospel” which equates material wealth, prosperity and health with spiritual health and wealth. To paraphrase a snidely humorous question, purveyors of this “gospel” may well ask, “If you are righteous, why aren’t you rich?”
In this our “time of the end,” knowledge in science, technology and even in history and the Bible has increased “exponentially” [as some have described it, meaning many, many times over previous knowledge] (Daniel 12:4). The apostle Paul warns that “knowledge puffs up” (1 Corinthians 8:1) — tends to make its possessor feel proud and above others who don’t have the same knowledge. That pride then tends to make one feel that one “has arrived” and need go no farther.
But Jesus, who knows what is in man’s heart better than we can know what is in our own hearts (John 2:24-25), sees through our facade of physical and spiritual wealth. He finds that, in actuality, Laodicean Christians are “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17) — and don’t know it! Puffed up with knowledge (whether about material things or spiritual things), men tend to forget that man’s knowledge cannot attain to the heights of God’s infinite knowledge.
Isaiah 55:8-9 declares, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways…For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” [See also Romans 11:33-35.]
This ought to make one humble and in awe of God. Thinking he knows enough, the Laodicean Christian thus fails to appreciate the apostle Peter’s inspired admonition to all believers in Christ: “…but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
A word to Laodicean Christians
Here is the KEY that proves which individuals are in God’s Church. It is composed only of those who are growing into truth as God reveals it. The moment anyone ceases to GROW, but wants to retain only what he had five or ten years ago, from that moment on the Holy Spirit ceases to live in him. [Emphasis supplied.]
—Herman Hoeh, “A True History of the True Church,” (published by Radio Church of God 1959, page 6 — see on-line access as referenced at the start of this present article)
See also: Two Goats Together, especially the box titled “Reexamining the roots of our beliefs.”
Because of the lack of true knowledge — and even rejection of God’s true knowledge (Hosea 4:6) — the Laodicean Christian becomes blinded to God’s truth and to his own spiritual “nakedness,” his lack of true righteousness. Thinking that he is fully “clothed” spiritually, the Laodicean Christian fails to see that he is “naked” — not clothed with true righteousness (Psalm 132:9), which comes from genuine faith in Christ (Romans 3:22). He has not truly “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14).
3. Having thrown Jesus out of their house. Blind to their lack of true knowledge of Christ — even trusting in lies about Christ and about His true teachings — Laodicean Christians don’t realize that they have already thrown Jesus out of their community or fellowship, though still professing to call Christ their “Lord.” [See: Is Jesus Your Lord — Really?] Christ is found outside their door, knocking to be let in (Revelation 3:20). Without Jesus — whom Paul calls “the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:17) — in their midst, the Holy Spirit “ceases to live…” in Laodicean Christians, as Herman Hoeh asserts.
[By the way, Revelation 3:20 has been used — or rather, misused — by many evangelical people to invite non-Christians (or the “unchurched,” as some call them) to “let Jesus come into your heart.” As mentioned earlier, Revelation 2 and 3 are addressed to people who already are Christians! But succumbing to human frailty while professing Christ as their Lord and Savior, all of these Christians (but two, those in Smyrna and Philadelphia) fell into some kind of spiritual ditch. Where Jesus invites all to come to Him is found in Matthew 11:28-30; John 7:37-39; and Revelation 22:17.]
Jesus’ counsel to Laodicean Christians
Jesus says that “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten” (Revelation 3:19). He commands His followers: “Therefore be zealous and repent” (same verse). For a church to be told to repent means that it has sinned against God and needs to shape up — or be shipped out of Christ’s body! Repentance is changing from a sinful condition to a righteous condition.
A person who is comfortable with sin will find it no great discomfort to change from bad to worse! Hebrews 11:25, after all, talks about the “pleasures of sin,” passing though they may be. The toboggan slide to the depths of sin is a joy ride for some moments! And one can be comfortable while relishing the ride, and its memory — until its consequence hits home! [See: The Deceitfulness of Sin.] It is the change from bad to good, to better, and to best that is uncomfortable — an uphill climb! Without God’s Spirit, that ascent to righteousness would be impossible. [See: The Higher Law of the Spirit.]
To be rebuked, chastened or corrected is no joy; it is, in fact, a painful and uncomfortable experience (Hebrews 12:11). Correction is humanly difficult to accept, because our natural human tendency is to protect our ego. Instead of facing the truth about ourselves head-on, we would rather “flatter” ourselves (Psalm 36:2) by justifying ourselves, deceiving ourselves (James 1:22) that we are OK when we are not. But, as the saying goes, “No pain, no gain.”
Hebrews 12:11 continues: “nevertheless, afterward it [God’s painful chastening in love] yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” True righteousness certainly comes through faith in Christ and His grace to justify us [make us just, clean and righteous] freely by His shed blood (Romans 3:22-26). But, after a believer has been justified freely, Jesus trains him in His righteous ways — according to His commandments (see Psalm 119:172). [See: Transgressions Under the First Covenant, The Law of Christ, Law Added to Law Transgressed, and Saved for Good Works.]
Can you imagine a vine that, left alone, naturally wants to go its own way, and here comes a gardener who wants to train the vine in his own design with a trellis or as an espalier? The vine branches have to be soft and yielded so that they don’t break or get injured when they are bent to conform to the gardener’s design. Resisting God’s purpose will only result in needless pain. Hardening oneself to what God is doing in one’s life will ultimately break and destroy one, keeping one out of God’s kingdom (Hebrews 3:8, 12-13, 15, 18; 4:1-7, 11).
Laodicean Christians have become set in their ways that do not conform to Jesus’ way — as shown in His Word, the Bible (both Old Testament and New). Unless they somehow “soften” their hearts (even as the wicked King Ahab “went softly” after he had been warned by the prophet Elijah about the dire consequence of his wickedness, 1 Kings 21:17-29), Laodicean Christians will be in for some draconian remedies! Jesus tells them:”I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich…” (Revelation 3:18).
“Gold refined in the fire” symbolizes the “true riches” that await a true child of God, who is promised “…the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:18). The Bible assures that the “saints” — the holy ones — of God will inherit glorious eternal life in God’s kingdom on earth (Matthew 19:29; 25:24, etc.; Matthew 5:5, etc.).
But the apostle Paul tells us this painful, uncomfortable truth: “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). The apostle Peter compares a true Christian’s faith (in God’s promises) to something even more precious than “gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire” (1 Peter 1:7).
It’s time that those who “despise…the chastening of the LORD” (Proverbs 3:11) listen up — and wise up! [See: The Flaming Sword East of Eden.]
Revelation 3:10 speaks about a yet future “hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” In Matthew 24:21 Jesus warned about the yet coming “great tribulation” which will threaten the survival of all life on this planet. [See: “The Next Chapter of History.”] Those of God’s people or God’s children [see: Are We All God’s Children?] who will not submit to God’s relatively gentle chastening now will, sooner or later, have to be chastened — have their spiritual “robes” cleansed by the blood of Jesus — with extreme pain through that fiery tribulation (Revelation 7:13-15; 1 Corinthians 3:13; 1 Peter 4:12).
That brings us to the next aspect of Jesus’ chastening of Laodicean Christians: “I counsel you to buy from Me…white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed” (Revelation 3:18). As mentioned earlier, Psalm 132:9 prays to God: “Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let Your saints shout for joy.” Notice who the psalmist wants God to clothe with righteousness: “Your priests.” Peter tells true Christians: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 1:9-10).
Revelation 1:6; 3:21; 5:10 and 20:4 amply declare that the saints of God, who will receive eternal life in a resurrection or change at Christ’s return (1 Corinthians 15:50-55, 21-23), will serve as kings and priests in God’s kingdom, which Jesus will establish on earth after His return here. What joy to look forward to! [See: World Peace at Last!]
Malachi plainly tells us what God’s intent for His priests is: “For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge [God’s pure truth], and people should seek the law [of God] from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts” (Malachi 2:7). A Laodicean Christian, who thinks he knows enough of God’s truth and needs no further instruction and makes light of God’s law, will be rejected from becoming God’s priest.
Notice this warning in Hosea 4:6: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children.”
How can God’s people who reject God’s law as valid and relevant now be in a right capacity to teach it to others in God’s kingdom (Isaiah 2:3; Micah 4:2)? And how will their children who are led to walk the same path as these parents make it into God’s kingdom themselves?
A true Christian who is “clothed with righteousness” is also clothed with Jesus Christ! As also mentioned earlier, Paul instructs: “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ , and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:14).
Revelation 19:7-8 shows that the true Church is symbolized as the Lamb’s (Jesus’) wife who “has made herself ready” to meet Christ at His return. How? “…to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”
While true righteousness includes righteous acts or deeds, this particular passage is better translated as “the righteousnesses [from the Greek dikaiomata] of the Holy One” [from the Greek hagion, in the singular number, as against the Greek hagioi — plural number not used here]. It is the “righteousnesses” of the “Holy One,” Jesus — both the righteousness imputed by grace through faith in Christ (Romans 3:22) and righteousness through such faith that makes it possible for a true Christian to obey God’s law and thus become righteous (James 2:18-26; 1 John 3:7) — that clothe the true Christian. [See: God’s Spirit and Obedience, The Higher Law of the Spirit, Saved for Good Works, Being and Doing, Freed From Bondage, and Two Goats Together (particularly the section on “Proper wedding attire”).]
The third counsel which Jesus gives to Laodicean Christians concerns true spiritual understanding and perception. It is true that every individual has his or her own perspective borne out of family background or rearing, or through self-education or being instructed by others in school, in church, through the media and society in general. One’s “worldview” serves as a lens by which a person “sees” things.
Laodicean Christians think that, based on their store of knowledge — whether self-acquired or learned from other human beings — they “see” God’s truth but actually don’t! Jesus tells them that they are miserably blind (Revelation 3:17)! He counsels them: “…anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see” (Verse 18).
It is the gift of the Spirit of God that makes it possible for a man to understand the “deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:9-15). That Spirit is the “eye salve” that opens the human spirit to the proper understanding of the deep and mysterious things of God.
Laodicean Christians are blind because they have resisted, and even rejected, the urgings of God’s Spirit through God’s Word as presented by those whom God has truly sent to teach His Word. Spiritual blindness can only be healed as one accepts instruction from those whom God has truly sent.
The narrative in John 9, about the congenitally blind man who received sight from obeying Jesus’ instructions, is instructive for Laodicean Christians — and all who think they “see” spiritual truth, the “things of God,” in “high definition” but who actually only see a fuzzy and distorted message of the Bible. As Herman Hoeh rightly observed, God’s Spirit fails to work in the life of a Laodicean Christian — unless the person repents. [See: About Pool of Siloam.]
In this our time of the “latter day/days” or the “last days” (Job 19:25; Jeremiah 23:20; 30:24, etc.; 2 Timothy 3:1; James 5:3; 2 Peter 3:3, etc), we have an abundance of preachers all claiming to have been “sent” or “commissioned” by God to bring His message to the world. It’s all as prophesied long ago by Jesus Christ about our times, when we are edging close to the total destruction of life on our planet: “For false christs [deceptive and wrong presentations of who Christ really is and what His message is truly about] and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:21-14).
Somewhere among this crowd of preachers and prophets are the true servants sent by God. Just because, for the moment, their voice may be drowned out by the overwhelming wrong voices does not mean that God is now so powerless as to be unable to send His own genuine and faithful messengers anytime. Someday — perhaps soon! — the voice of God’s true messengers will surely, clearly and powerfully be heard around the world (Revelation 11:3-10). [See: Beware of False Prophets and Spiritual Dyslexia.]
Those who have truly been called and chosen as God’s “elect” need to realize that it is possible — if they allow it — for them to be deceived by false teachings, as the Laodicean Christians clearly are! They need to heed God’s instruction to them through the apostle Peter: “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things [things outlined in Verses 5-9] you will never stumble; for an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10-11).
To make our election sure, we have to stir up the Spirit of God in us, get some “heat” and be fired up for our inheritance in the kingdom of God and for His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
The mind of Christ
Those in whom God’s Spirit truly resides — those whom Jesus knows because they truly have His Spirit — have the “mind of Christ.” As Paul put it: “For ‘who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?’ [quoted from Isaiah 40:13] But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).
Paul also exhorts: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). Paul then continues to explain what that mind is: a humble and obedient mind and attitude despite God’s blessings and even trials (Verses 6-11). In a word, the “mind of Christ” is contained in the whole of the Holy Scriptures.
Several have attempted to analyze and write about the “mind of Christ.” But to distill that mind into a few key Scripture passages, we have the following:
- Isaiah 8:20 — “To the law and to the testimony! [Revelation 19:10 says, ‘…the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’] If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light [truth] in them.”
We have here a standard to judge whether what a preacher or teacher of God’s Word says is true and correct — or is in error.
- Matthew 4:4 — “But He [Jesus] answered and said, “‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'”‘”
Here Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3. “Every word” that has proceeded from God’s mouth is contained in the Bible, both Old Testament and New. Zechariah 4:10 compares God’s every word to a “plumb line” (or a “plumb line in His [God’s] hand,” Amos 7:7-8) which God places in the hands of Zerubbabel [the original Zerubbabel having rebuilt the ruined temple at Jerusalem after the Jews’ Babylonian and Persian captivity (Ezra 1-6), and the latter “Zerubbabel” whom God will raise up in these end-times to repair God’s spiritual temple — the Church of God (compare with 1 Corinthians 3:16-17) — which has lain in ruins, so far].
God’s “every word” as a “plumb line” will show whether a preacher’s teaching lines up perfectly “vertical” or upright — true, correct, accurate. A teaching that “leans” to the right or to the left is in danger of “falling down” like a “Leaning Tower of Pisa!” [See: Leanings.]
When all of God’s people — including Laodicean Christians — learn to truly have the mind of Christ, they will be “purified, made white, and refined,” as Daniel 12:9-10 prophesies about our “time of the end.” They will “speak the same things” (1 Corinthians 1:10). They will “come to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). They will become a truly united church — not a divided church, as the Church of God, sadly, is today!
Jesus tells Laodicean Christians: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot” (Revelation 3:15). Harking back to the two sources of water in the city of Laodicea (hot and cold): hot water and cold water have many good uses that lukewarm water does not, and cannot, offer.
Hot water, for example, figures often as an ingredient in cooking food or in providing enjoyable hot drinks. It can (at the right temperature) cleanse our digestive system, greasy utensils, etc. It can kill unwanted vegetation and insect pests, etc. Hot compress (using comfortably hot water soaked in a towel) is used to relieve contusions and pains, etc. Steaming water used to be the main power source for running ships and trains; it is used today in steam inhalation for respiratory difficulties or in steam baths and saunas for health purposes, etc.
Spiritually speaking, a “hot” Christian is one who is zealous — full of enthusiasm and drive for Jesus Christ and His Word — but with right knowledge and understanding (Romans 10:2). A hot Christian is able to do a lot of good things for Christ: provide spiritual “food in due season” (Matthew 24:45-46) — fitting, apt and helpful teaching that gives encouragement and strength to the brethren, cleansing them of sin and weaknesses that hinder the growth of the church (James 5:19-20; Romans 15:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:15-16; Hebrews 10:24-25, etc.).
A “hot” Christian feeds daily on God’s Word, which gives him the energy and enthusiasm for God’s Work. The Word of God serves like a “fire” to purge one from sin (Luke 24:32; Jeremiah 20:9; Psalm 119:9) and to urge one to proper action (1 John 3:16-18). [See: The Flaming Sword East of Eden.]
Laodicean Christians have lost their zeal. That is why Jesus tells them: “Therefore be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:19) — get hot!
Cold water, on the other hand, is refreshing and relieving as well. Who has not enjoyed a refreshing glass of cold water or fruit juice to drink? And who has not used an “ice bag” to relieve one of headaches and other bodily pains?
Spiritually speaking, a “cold” Christian refreshes others with his or her presence and help. The apostle Paul praised Christians who refreshed him and the brethren (1 Corinthians 16:18; 2 Corinthians 7:13); 2 Timothy 1:16). Proverbs 25:13 says, “Like the cold of snow [a frozen form of water] in time of harvest is a faithful messenger to those who send him, for he refreshes the soul of his masters.”
Lukewarm Laodicean Christians fail at a time of spiritual harvest because, unlike “cold” Christians they fail to deliver God’s message faithfully. They show only little spiritual harvest, if any, for all their effort (compare with Haggai 1:6). That is why their displeased Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, tells them: “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:16)! These are Christians in peril of being severed from the body of Christ, the Church of God! Unless they repent, before it’s too late!
Hope of Laodicean Christians
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, Jesus addresses Himself to the Church of God as “the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 1:10). Christ is with all Christians — including Laodicean Christians — to superintend their beginning and their end. Jesus also addresses Himself as “He who lives and was dead, and behold I am alive forevermore” (Verse18).
Like Christ, there is hope that, although lukewarm Laodicean Christians may become kind of spiritually “dead” because of their imperfect works, they can be “alive forevermore” if they will turn to Jesus fully and wholeheartedly, to help them cast away their “dead works” through true faith in Christ and become a truly “righteous people” (Hebrews 6:1; 1 Peter 2:24).
Specifically to the Church at Laodicea, Jesus addresses Himself as “the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God” (Revelation 3:14). The words Jesus says to Laodicean Christians are true and faithful. He means business! He means to do everything He says He will! His words are not to be trifled with!
While He threatens to sever Laodicean Christians from His “body,” the true Church, He also offers a way out, if only they will repent and change. If and when they do change, He will surely fulfill all His promises (to clothe them with His righteousness so they won’t be spiritually naked, give them His Spirit to heal their spiritually blind eyes, and finally to give them their inheritance — the true riches — in God’s kingdom), as the “Amen” — So Be It!
As the “Beginning of the creation of God,” Jesus is “Captain” of our salvation (Hebrews 2:10) — He has pioneered the way to salvation and will bring us there with Him! To the house of the Laodicean Christians He says: “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” (Revelation 13:20).
Can you hear the voice of Jesus as you read His Word in the Holy Bible, and as His true servants teach it? Then He will come to your church and feed you with His true spiritual meat — now — and, more importantly, you will sit with Him at His banqueting table when He holds the great “marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:9) at His return!
Then you will receive your ultimate reward: “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” (Revelation 3:21). You will share rule with Christ in God’s kingdom, where — as perfect priests of God — you will teach rightly the human subjects of that kingdom about God’s perfect way that will lead to everlasting life, and pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11; 36:8)!
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit [Jesus] says to the churches” (Revelation 3: 22)!
Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.