Why Today's Christian Church is Laodicea
IS THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH OF TODAY LAODICEA?
Many Bible scholars identify the seven churches in Revelation with seven historical periods of time in the church age. A careful study will show striking similarities of these seven churches to the churches at the historical periods that they represent. If it is true, and I believe it is, we are the church of Laodicea, the seventh and last church period. Read below and see if the description doesn’t fits like a glove. But even if we are not the church of Laodicea, we can learn a lot by studying what God found wrong with this Church.
Revelation 3:14-16,19, “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. … As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.”
The Laodiceans were called lukewarm because their attitude toward God and God’s law – was indifference. I say that because we know that keeping the law was a problem for them, because Jesus said (in verse 15) “I know your works’. And then in verse 19 he tells them the remedy for their problem; “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” There would be no other reason to rebuke, chasten, and call for them to repent and be zealous’ unless they were presumptuous (unrepentant) sinners. Being ‘lukewarm’ tells us that they only kept some of God's laws but not all of them. They, like most Christians, had a ‘warm’ veneer of righteousness on the outside, attending church and doing ‘good’ things, but they were ‘lukewarm’ rebels at heart, rejecting some (or all) of God’s law, and thereby rejecting God's authority over them. To reject even one of God’s laws, is to rebel against God’s authority. Jesus had to tell them to be zealous for God and His law because they were not - they had only half heartily kept some of God's Laws, the rest they rejected or set aside – believing that the laws were not for them. Perhaps they were told that they are not under the law? This should remind us to those Christians who in Matthew 7:21-23 did many good and wonderful things, but Jesus rejected them at the gate of Heaven and called them 'lawless'. They were hot in some areas but cold in others, that made them lukewarm. They too were rejected by Jesus, 'Depart from me for I never knew you'.
It seems that the people of Laodicea have been deceived, just as those on the 'broad way leading to destruction'. They listened to false prophets who told them that they don't have to keep all of God's laws. But here, in this letter, the people have the words of a True Prophet who is a "True and Faithful Witness'. But, we continue to study.
Revelation 3:17-18, “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.”
First of all, they don’t know their true condition. They think that they are well off, but Jesus said, ‘no’, just the opposite is true. It seems that deception has caused them to be confused about what it takes to be acceptable to God. Perhaps someone told them that it was OK to reject God’s commandments, saying “You will surely not die”, so ‘just believe’, plead the blood, say the sinners prayer, accept the sacraments, do good deed, love one another, or pray to Mary.
The condition of the Laodicea church is that they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked – while they thought that they were rich, wealthy and in need of nothing. They were seriously deceived about their condition. This, of course, is speaking of their spiritual condition, they were spiritually wretched, spiritually miserable, spiritually poor, spiritually blind and spiritually naked.
Being spiritually poor means that they were spiritually lacking in their righteousness - "righteous" means that they keep God's law and repent when they fail. Spiritually miserable means that they were to be pitied for their spiritual condition. And they were spiritually wretched, because they we so deceived that they didn’t even know their desperate spiritual condition. And they were spiritually blind because they had no spiritual discernment to know it, because they didn't know or accept that God's laws were for them, so they didn't use them to discern 'right' from 'wrong', or 'good' from 'evil', and thus they were 'blind' to know what they were lacking. They were deceived into having a false sense of eternal security, but they were lost, and lacked a robe of righteousness. The 'blind' are walking in darkness of sin (2John 2:11), and because of that lawlessness, they lacked a robe of righteousness, which made them spiritually naked. Why were they in such a miserable condition? Could it be their spiritual leaders were convinced by deceivers that they could be saved and lawless at the same time? It seems as though they were told that it was OK to set God’s laws aside –since “salvation is by grace”. And while that is true, salvation is by God's grace, we have to ask, is that true even for the lawless rebels? Will God give His saving grace to those who dishonor Him by their disobedience, despise His word, thereby bring reproach upon God by spurning His authority? Those who are lawless somehow figure that certain laws don’t apply to them so they freely violate those laws, and never repent, and thus they are spiritually poor, blind, miserable and naked .
Having rejected God’s law(s), they don’t see the violation of the rejected law(s) as sin, so they are spiritually blind, spiritually poor of righteousness and therefore spiritually naked of a robe of righteousness. So now they are sinners who don’t even know that they are sinners, so they are spiritually wretched, and feeling no need for repentance, so they will never repent, they are spiritually miserable.
This Laodicea condition is a description of presumptuous sinners who have reject some, or all, of God’s laws, and so when they violate the rejected law(s) they don’t consider it to be a sin, and therefore they will never repent. They are sinners who think that they are saints. They kept enough of God’s laws to look moral in man’s eyes, however the outright rejection of even one of God’s laws makes you a rebel in God’s eyes. Doesn’t that sounds like the lawless ‘church’ of today?
You may be saying, that’s not my church, we keep God’s commandment. Do you keep all Ten of the Ten Commandments? Do you keep the Sabbath (4th commandment)? Do you worship Yahoveh alone (1st Commandment)? Do you keep God’s commandment which forbids the eating of pork, shrimp, lobster, or meat with its blood in it? Do you keep the Biblical Holy Days; Passover, Pentecost, Trumpets, Yom Kipper and Tabernacles? If you can answer ‘yes’ to these questions, you are doing well. If you answered ‘no’ to any of these questions, and don’t know that you need to repent, you have been deceived and you are spiritually poor, blind, miserable and wretched. (The Scriptures tell us that if we were to be judged today, we would be among the lost lawless, who need to repent.) For rejecting even one of God’s laws is an act of rebellion against His authority, and that will cause you to fall under His judgment – the judgment of a jealous God who is a consuming fire.
It was their spiritually blindness, which resulted in Laodicea’s nakedness. Their blindness was because they were walking contrary to God’s law – they were walking in darkness because they had no light – and therefore lacked any righteousness. Those in Laodicea were naked of righteousness, that is, they lacked ‘the robe of righteousness’ that they should have had to cover their sinful nakedness. Lamentation 1:8 (ESV), “Jerusalem sinned grievously; therefore she became filthy; all who honored her despise her, for they have seen her nakedness; she herself groans and turns her face away.” To be ‘naked’ is to lack righteousness. The robe they needed is defined a few chapters later in Revelation 19:7-8, “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And 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.” The fine linen robe that Laodicea was missing was the ‘righteous acts of the saints’, i.e., keeping the Commandments of God.
Righteousness according to Jesus in Matthew 5:17-20, according to Luke 1:6, and according to Moses words in Deuteronomy 6:25 - is keeping the law of God. Laodicea apparently had no righteousness, because they didn’t walk in the light of God’s word and keep His law. In that respect, Laodicea is a mirror image of the Christian church of today, telling and convincing people that there is no need to keep God’s law, they say it’s been done away at the cross. So the people reject God’s laws and live in sin, assuming they are saved by ‘cheap grace’, and not even knowing that they are lost – and being told, ‘surely you will not die’. They are ‘wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked’.
God told Laodicea that they needed to see their own condition, and gain for themselves a robe of righteousness. If they don’t, He will vomit them out because of their lawlessness (Revelation 3:16) just as He vomited Israel out of the land because of their lawlessness (Leviticus 18:24-28). Woe to the shepherds who teach others to be lawless – theirs will be the greater condemnation.
There was the same problem in Jeremiah’s time, it was because of the religious leaders. Lamentations 2:14, “Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; They have not uncovered your iniquity, To bring back your captives, But have envisioned for you false prophecies and delusions.” The religious leaders were teaching people falsely and did ‘not uncover the people’s sins’. The religious leaders were indifferent to the law of God and indifferent on how people violated it, we could say that they were lawless and teaching people to be lawless. What has changed today? The religious leaders (Jeremiah 6:14) said, ‘peace, peace’, telling people that everything is fine, there’s nothing to worry about, your salvation is secure – while the people are lawless and condemned. And the same lawless message is going out of the pulpits today. Lawless and sinful people are told, “'you surely will not die' for breaking God's law, because we are under grace". And they are told just ‘believe in Jesus’, say the sinner's prayer, trust in the blood, receive the sacraments, or go to confession, and God will be pleased – and everything is OK – we are at peace with God - when it is not true. In most cases the religious leaders aren’t evil, just deceived, and teaching what their ‘church denomination’ requires them to teach.
The bottom line for those in Laodicea is this, Revelation 3:19, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” Those in Laodicea will receive God’s rebuke and chastening, but that's from a loving God in effort to get them to “be zealous and repent”. ‘Repent’ of course literally means to stop what you are doing and go the other way. So to repent of their sins, or law breaking, has to mean to stop breaking God’s law and start keeping it. But in connection with repenting, God told them to be ‘zealous’. We might ask, zealous for what? I believe that we can know that by reading Acts 21:20, “And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law”. These early Christians who we read about in the Book of Acts were described as Jews that were zealous for the Law of God. To be zealous means that they were eager and willing to learn of God’s law and to keep it – and that dovetails perfectly with the command to ‘repent’. Is this a message needed in our church today? Absolutely, because today’s church is wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked – while they think that they are rich, wealthy, righteous, and in need of nothing!
Revelation 3: 20-22, “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.”
When we knock on Heaven’s door, it means that we are seeking to communicate with God by prayer. For Jesus to knock on our door means that he wants to communicate with us. How does he do that? He is the 'word made flesh' he communicates through his word, that is, his teachings as recorded in the New Testament. What does it mean to ‘hear’ Jesus' voice and ‘open the door’? John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” It means to hear and obey his teachings as we read in the Gospels – Jesus’ teachings and commands were for us to keep God’s law (Matthew 5:17-19, John 14:15-21, Revelation 12:17, 14:12, 22:14), to worship the Father alone (Matthew 4:10, John 4:22-23, John 17:3), to pray to the Father alone (Matthew 6:8-13), and seeking forgiveness from the Father alone (Matthew 6:14-15). What does it mean that he will come in and dine with us? John 14:23-24, “Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.” It means fellowship, friendship, and it means that God will love you and you will receive God’s saving grace – saving grace is what He gives to those who love Him and keep His commandments, those are whom He loves (Exodus 20:6, John 14:21, 23-24).
Laodicea is today's Christian church which Jesus is rebuking and calling to repent – because they have turned away from Jesus’ words and teachings. But in reality, in rejecting Jesus’ teachings they are rejecting the words of God our Father (Yahoveh) which He gave to Jesus to speak. So when Jesus and his teachings are rejected by the Christian church, and the Father is rejected with him.
The lawless Christian church is much like the Prodigal son. Having rejected his father's rules and laws, the Prodigal son, after a short while, became wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. What the Prodigal son became physically, the Christian church has become spiritually by rejecting the 'law and prophets' the church is living in the filth of rebellion, sin and lawlessness. How did the son recover from being wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked? He saw the error of his ways, then he humbled himself and returned to father, even offer to be a servant who would necessarily obey all of the commands of the father. The prodigal son submitted himself to the father as his supreme authority. And that's the message that Jesus wants us to see here.
It’s very clear from the Scriptures what God wants of us and what God expects of us. It’s also very clear by looking at Christianity that it is certainly not ready for Jesus’ return. I fear for those that call themselves Christians on Judgment Day. They are not even coming close to living as God, or Jesus, have called us to live.
Although almost all in the church think they are saved by what they believe, their church membership, by church sacraments, or their person relationship with Jesus, so they won’t seek their own righteousness by repenting of their sins - and yet they are anxiously waiting for Jesus, even praying for his soon return! They are hopelessly lost, wretched, poor, blind and naked, and they will be turned away at the gates of Heaven because they didn’t enter the narrow gate of ‘Repentance’ which is at the beginning of the narrow way. That gate would have led them to travel the narrow road of obedience to God’s laws, leading to the celestial city.
Yes, ‘many’ are deceived and you may say it’s not their fault for the Church and Pastors have deceived them. But yet, are they not responsible for using the resources available to them to seek out the truth for themselves? Will they be responsible for what they know and also for what they should know? Is willfully ignorant going to be a valid excuse on Judgment Day? Can we Justify ignorance when Bibles are plentiful and available to all? According to Matthew 7:13-14, all on the Broad way were deceived, yet their final end is eternal destruction. So it appears that just because they are deceived does not mean that God’s will automatically forgive them. But, thankfully, God is the judge, He will decide these matters.
If they could be saved while being so deceived, there would be no need for missionaries. We need good missionaries who will bring the truth to the lost people in our churches today. Unfortunately, today's missionaries are trained by the 'lawless' church and are lawless Christians themselves. How can they convert people to God's ways when they themselves are deceived?
But you, reader, now you know better. Please respond in a way that will glorify God. And pray that Yahoveh will open the eyes of the spiritually “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” Laodiceans as He did for the Prodigal Son – that they may see the truth and clothe themselves with their own righteousness before Judgment Day. End
For more information on these topics, and others, continue to read articles on this site (www.getsaved.site) and see my books.
And please, don't tell me I'm wrong unless you can show me I'm wrong from the Scriptures...And if you do find that I am wrong, please let me know.