The Church Of Laodicea
Revelation 3:14 "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."
Now the dates for the Laodicean church age are, properly speaking, from the Rapture to the 6th seal in the book of Revelation. And the 6th seal is just after the tribulation saints have all been killed and given their lives for Jesus' name's sake and then resurrected. So it encompasses from the Rapture to their resurrection which is a period of 42 months or 1260 days or 3 ½ years. It's the Rapture to the end of the first 3 ½ years of the tribulation and all of the Christians who haven't backslidden have given their lives.
Now there's some overlap, of course, because these people had existed and have been Christians, by and large, before the Rapture. And so the Laodicean church is among us even today. And it's people who are born again but are lukewarm, and to one extent or another, liberalism has come into their thinking.
And we might take it back before the early 1900's or even further, because we find that the Reformation churches of Sardis kept going on and even now there are many Christians who are in those churches today. They are born again but lukewarm, not having totally dedicated themselves to Jesus Christ. And in a way, you can see a continuous line there, and you can also see Laodicea among the spirit- filled churches.
"These things saith the Amen"
Now the Revelation of Jesus to Laodicea is as "the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God." Now he calls himself the Amen, and that is a proper name. I am the Amen. "Amen" means "so let it be." And in this word "Amen", Jesus says, I am the fulfillment of God's Word. I am the one that says "so let it be." All the plan of God that was pictured in the typology of the O.T., in the sacrifices, in the tabernacle, in the feast's days, the whole plan of God, the whole Word of God, the inward thought and the outward expression, I am the one who says Amen to it, for I fulfill it all. I am the fulfillment of the plan of God. I am the perfect man; I am the Word made flesh. That's what Jesus was-- the perfect expression of God.
In Heb.1:3, we read of Jesus (read it). He is the expressed image of God and His plan.
In 2 Cor.1:19,20, we read that all the promises of God, Jesus is the Amen. It says that in him is Amen, and in him is yea. He is the fulfillment of God's promises.
Now he calls himself, "the faithful and true witness"
Now witness here implies just that-- a testimony. A testimony in word and in your walk, in your life, and if necessary, in your death. And in this church age, we're going to find out that death became necessary as part of that finished testimony.
Now the word "witness" here in the Greek is "martus." This Greek word from which we get our word martyr doesn't demand death. Now we think of a martyr as someone who gives their life. The Greek word meant "a witness", and it could involve giving your life for Jesus Christ. And because so often in the early church the saints did actually have to give their lives, the word came to mean "one who had been faithful in their witness even unto death." And so Jesus gave his life as a testimony to the truths of God, and his life was a testimony to the truths of God.
In John 18:37,38, Pilot asked Jesus a question and He said, (read). And so Jesus was a faithful witness to the truth in his life and in his death. And you find Laodicea is called to do the same thing, Rev.11:7,8 showing these tribulation saints (read). And so we find they are killed in that great world city, Babylon, all over the earth.
Now Jesus is telling them here, I am your example. If you look at my life, and if you take my strength within you and follow in my footsteps, you'll become a faithful martyr and I will show you how to walk in that path-- I'll give you the strength because that is what you'll have to do in order to stand for the truth of God.
Now Jesus also reveals himself as "the beginning of the creation of God"
That is, the beginning of that true perfect creation which God started out to make. The primary meaning we find here, in the beginning of the creation of God, is that he is the prototype; he's the one God started out to make. And in the new creation, because ( 2 Cor.5:17) tells us that if any man be in Christ he is a new creature; Christ is the first of this new creation. Christ is the first of this perfected race of men brought back into the image and likeness of God.
The Bible calls him the first fruits from among the dead. And in this sense, he reveals himself as the beginning of the creation of God. He's the true Adam, he's the last Adam, he's the second Adam. He's the one who came to bring mankind into that new creation in the Spirit. ( 1 Cor.15:45) The Greek here is "the last Adam was made a life giving spirit."
Now in Col.1:15-17, we can get some more light on this. Speaking of Jesus (Read). That is, the first born of all this new creation of God. Literally-- "thru him and into him." And he is before all things, and the word "before" can mean in time or in position and in a sense he's both, because in position he's before all things, and in time, in the new creation of God, he is also before all things. He is the first of those perfected sons of God. And therefore he's the captain of our salvation (Heb.2:10).
So we're talking about the first born from among the dead. This explains what is meant by Jesus being the first born of all creation in verse 15. In verse 18, it says he's the first born from among the dead.
Now, this means he's the first of the resurrected sons of God. You might say, well Enoch and Elijah were resurrected, but the only reason they were allowed to move into that position was because God was looking forward, prophetically, to what Jesus was going to do for them and because Jesus had paid the price for them. It's as though they borrowed a little bit of credit from the infinite heavenly bank account and that enabled them to take the trip in advance. But in the larger scope, Jesus is the first born from among the dead, the first of the resurrected sons of God. God was borrowing light from that new covenant in Christ. And therefore, they attained that position because of their walk before God.
Psalms 89:27 says of Christ (read)-- I will make him my first born, higher than the kings of the earth. So here God says, "I will make him my first born." There's a point in time, in his walk, when he will become my first born, as it were. And we find that's at the resurrection.
Psalms 2:7, Here prophetically spoken (read). Now we know this applies to the fact that Jesus Christ was begotten by God in the womb of Mary, and therefore he's the son of God. However, this also has an application to the resurrection and this is proven by Acts 13:32,33. Here Paul is preaching a sermon, and he says (read). So Paul takes this very same verse and applies it to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Now we find that Adam was innocent and untried. And when he was tried, he fell. And therefore he became the father of a race of fallen men. Now Christ is the first of a new race of men, a spiritual race begotten by God in the Spirit. That's why in John 3:3 it says that to enter the kingdom of God, you must be born again, because you must become a part of the new spiritual race, and this time, it's not a physical birth. Jesus said that which is flesh is flesh and that which is spirit is spirit. My words are spirit and life, he said. And he is talking about a spiritual birth where your sin- deadened spirit is given new life by the spirit of God. And that's how you are born again, your spirit is born again.
And so Christ is the first of a new race of perfected and resurrected men. Adam was the first of a race of fallen men. In Christ, all of that is reversed. The curse is reversed; sin is eradicated, sinful men are perfected and resurrected and taken to glory. And they become a race of perfected men in the image and likeness of God, to worship Him and to share His heart and His mind and His love for all eternity. And Christ is the first of this perfected race which God started out to make.
Now in 1 Cor.15:44-49 we read, speaking of the resurrection. And so we find that we in our lifetime have been members of both races. We've been in the old Adam and now we're in the new, and therefore, as we've born the image of the earthly and the natural, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly because our citizenship now is in heaven. Our position now is in this new Adam and he's the beginning of this new creation.
Hebrews 2:5-10 (read)-- We're speaking of the world to come. We see Jesus as the first of the new creation. It's his plan to bring many sons unto glory.
John 17:4,5 is another parallel passage. Here Jesus is praying (read). This was before the world was, the "kosmos" = "the ordered system that man has produced." It doesn't say before the earth was, that's a different word. But here we find Jesus is praying as our high priest and mediator. And as our high priest and mediator, he represents all of mankind and whosoever will come unto him, he is praying for their sake.
And he says (read)-- "Glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." And so we find that Christ was praying as the second Adam. As the representative of all mankind, he is looking back to the time when man was in that position in the garden with God before the world system of fallen man came into being-- when man had glory with God. You see, he says, "Glorify me with the glory I had with thee before." Adam had glory; he had God's presence. God came down because that's what glory is-- the presence of God, and God came down and communed with him in the cool of the day, it says.
And now he says, And Glorify me in that exalted Paradise above. Glorify me in that presence of God above where there is no world system, where there is no devil, no ungodliness and darkness. Glorify me in that position that you intended for man to inhabit originally.
And he's praying as our representative, and we find that later on in that in verse 24, Jesus prays, "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." And so he says not only do I desire to be in that position, but my purpose for coming is to bring many sons unto glory. So not only Christ, the new Adam, will be in that position of glory again, but also all of God's sons in Christ, all of his brethren.
And it says in Hebrews 2:11 that he is not ashamed to call them his brethren. We're his brethren, and we'll be joint heirs-- we are even now joint heirs with Christ of that same position in glory. So these are some of the things involved when Jesus reveals himself as the beginning of the creation of God.
The Historical background of Laodicea-- see end of study.
Revelation 3:15 "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot."
Here Jesus describes the condition of this church. Now "cold" means "chilly" or "shaking". In other words, cold enough so you're really cold, your freezing. He says, I'd rather have you not believing in God at all, not professing Christianity at all, because your lukewarm. At least then you'd be able to see your need and repent and then you would not be projecting a compromised image of what Christianity really is. Because Christianity is a love relationship and a total surrender, and you're not showing forth what it is and people are getting a false idea. And others are being infected with the idea that you can serve Jesus and the world too because of your testimony. He says, "I would that you be hot or cold."
Now "hot" means "boiling, fervent." In other words, 100% for God; in all things putting Him first.
Revelation 3:16 "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."
"So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot."
"Lukewarm" shows they are trying to please both those who are hot and those who are cold, and so we find there is a neutrality. That there's a non-- committal attitude or a light commitment. And there's a compromised attitude that we can walk w/ God, and we can please the world too. Jesus said, "if they've hated me, they'll hate you. If they've kept my words, they'll keep yours also." But this church desires that the world would not hate them, and yet that their converts would still keep the truth. They want to have both things: converts, but no stones, James 4:5.
Now they are walking w/ God because they are His people. They are of the 7 lampstands. They are His beloved children, and He loves them. And that's why He writes to them in this way of chastening, Heb.12:5-8. They're walking w/ God but like Lot's wife, they're walking one direction but looking longingly back to the other things they want in this life. And the thing they fear, in their heart of hearts, is making a total surrender.
"I will spue thee out of my mouth." The Greek is more immediate. It says, "I am about to spue thee out of my mouth." It's quite a warning. I'm about to spue you out as if he'd already decided on a course of action, and it was going to take place unless something else intervened. Now this does imply the possibility of changing this determination if they repent. "Now I'm about to, but you still have a space, a short space." Verse 19.
"Spue" literally means "to vomit." That is, to reject with disgust. That is a hard saying.
Lev.18:28;20:22 (read)-- God's land is spewing out those doing abominations. Jesus gives the same warning to the Laodicean church. You need to repent, and you need to make a total commitment or I'll spue you out of my mouth, and you'll go into an eternal captivity.
Now Christians alive right now, today, are in the process of deciding whether they want to be cold or hot, for many are lukewarm. And we find that many, many will grow cold altogether. That's what Jesus prophesied "because iniquity shall abound in the last days, the love of many shall grow cold." (Matt.24:12; 2 Thess.2:3). We need to allow things to stir us up and to put on the spiritual heat that we can become boiling hot for God.
Revelation 3:17 "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:"
Jesus has evaluated the Laodicean church, and here, she evaluated herself. "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing;"
So there is a sharp contrast between the way she sees herself, and the way he sees her in the spirit.
Because I am rich-- Literally "Because I have become rich. And so I have need of nothing." Read Jer.17:9.
And the application to this today in the Laodicean church, in the making, is the attitude, "I'm spiritually rich. Brother, we have everything that we could possibly have. We're there, we're perfected. The Bible says Christ took away our sins. Everything is perfect between us and God. Everything is washed in the blood." All of it is true, we are perfected in a sense when we give our lives to Christ-- legally perfect-- our sins are washed in the blood. We are seated w/ Christ in heavenly places as it says in Ephesians. But, there is not a balance here. Just because you have obtained this legal position doesn't mean God has stamped the gavel on the podium in the court and said, "You're acquitted." That's just the beginning of a new life that gives you the position now, and the opportunity that gives you the peace w/ God through which you may go out of the court room and begin to live the righteousness of Christ. You begin to appropriate it into your own life and begin to make it yours; to begin to become those living epistles; to let the Word of God dwell in you richly and produce Christ within you. They're seeing one aspect of the truth-- what Jesus has done for us, but they're not seeing what is fully required of us in response.
Also another aspect of Laodicea, I know, in the last days is a false teaching on prosperity because Laodicea say, "I'm rich and I'm increased with goods and have need for nothing." There is an over emphasis on financial blessings so that people begin to think that they are O.K. and fine and they are healthy spiritually because they've been blessed financially. And they equate financial prosperity w/ the blessings of God. God does want us to be blessed financially, it's in His Word, but it's not the basics of how well we are doing spiritually in God.
And she says, "I have need of nothing." "So what's all this striving? What's this pressing in you're talking about? We've need of nothing, brother, we're perfect. Don't you see; we're there; we've arrived. We're born- again; we're God's elect, and God says nothing can touch the apple of my eye. Brother, God's blessed this country. What are you talking about? Christians going up to the altar calls; what's that? Christians repenting, we're already forgiven?"
It's an over balance. It's a false view. It's a deception that is so intense because it involves such truths, you see, therefore we have no needs to strive, press in, and forsake sin; we don't need to come out from among them and be separate. We're already separate. We're a holy nation, they say; He's done the work and therefore they would say in effect, "Trust God, you're already as righteous as you'll ever be."
Now legally we're as ready as we'll ever be. Our sins can never be more forgiven than totally forgiven. And we stand totally forgiven, and we can rejoice in that. And we can claim that position, and we can say yes, before God, "I have nothing to atone for. I am perfectly righteous by the blood of Christ." And yet there is a balance. You are legally righteous, but I hope that we don't think that we're already as righteous as we'll ever be in our walk and in our life; otherwise, who is the perfected bride? It doesn't exist right now. There's not a spotless bride at this time. And yet God is producing in us that spotless bride if we'll have the attitude we need to follow on and allow Him to bring us there. So we find there is a balance. And in Eph.4:11-13 we read some of the other side of the truth, (read). There is a perfecting of the saints that has to take place for the work of the ministry. Now the saints are the ones being perfected for the work of the ministry. "Till" shows we haven't yet arrived.
The reason for the imbalance is a shortness of vision. It's a lack of realization of what the whole plan of God involves: that we may actually grow up into the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. But to the natural mind, that seems so far away and so impossible to attain that it seems that all we can do is just say, "Well, I'm legally perfect. We'll just have to settle w/ that." But they're not seeing the full power of God, because the full power of God is not being manifested among them. The power of God to produce this perfected man, this manchild of Revelation chapter 12.
Now she says, "I have become rich, that is, I have become spiritually rich through my conferences and my seminars and through my big name organizations and speakers; I have become rich because it's all by faith; we're seated in the heavenlies. We're already as rich as we'll be. What more is there to attain? Why this striving?"
Well, Paul answered this question: why this striving, in Phil.3:10-15. I'm painting a picture here, (read). "That I may know Him..." Paul didn't feel he was there. "If by any means", he shows uncertainty. Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit." These are those who realize their need and therefore they open up their hearts wide to me, and I can meet it. They are the truly rich ones. Those who recognize that they are poor. There is a place for pressing on as Paul said to do here.
The Laodicean attitude is the complete opposite of the manchild company we see in Isaiah 66:2 " For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word. " Shows that His resting place is one who is poor, who genuinely and sincerely knows he is poor in himself and does not trust himself. So He's looking for a place to rest and to dwell in and He says that He is going to look to him that is poor, to him that is of a contrite spirit, to the one who's contrite, knows he has not attained. He's mourning after the righteousness of God. He sees and understands the full plan of God to make us like Jesus. And at the same time, he sees that he falls short and he does not measure up yet to being that full resting place of God. Yet it doesn't cause him to be condemned, but it causes him to repent at his flesh and his lacks continually. And God is continually able to make him like Christ.
So we see that this church of the Laodiceans thinks she is spiritually rich because of all the wealth financially that she has and all the wealth of Christians activities, conferences, teachings, conventions, seminars, big names. All these things are interpreted as spiritual wealth. Col.3 says, "In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Christ is the one in whom these riches are. Not great programs and activities. She took blessing and prosperity as a sign of God's approval. God had indeed given the prosperity, however, the goodness of God is to lead us to repentance, not to turn us away from Him. Read Rom.2:4; James 2:6; 1 Tim.6:5.
So Jesus says, "And knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:"
They are in spiritual poverty and they don't know it. They are spiritually naked. "Naked" is a Greek word that can mean either totally naked or else just clothed in a thin undergarment. We find that this latter thing is in view here: scantily clothed. The reason he says this is because in verse 18, Jesus counsels them to buy from Him an outer garment.
Revelation 3:18 "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, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see."
"I counsel thee"
That is, "I counsel with thee." The Greek word has a prefix on it meaning "with". So I counsel with thee. It's as though he's getting together with them in love to plead w/ them a last time. I'm getting together w/ you to try to persuade you about these things you need to do. I'm coming to advise you in love w/ urgency as to what your wisest course of action should be.
"I counsel thee to buy"
That is to advise in love and urgency as to your wisest action and what it should be. To buy something is to make a contract. I give you this much money if you'll give me these goods. He's saying, in effect, to make a contract w/ me. Realize salvation is a contract, a covenant. It has 2 sides. You are saved by the blood of Jesus; however, you are to buy from me by a decision of your will, and the steps of your life that will buy the things that you need from me. Be serious about my contract and covenant. In order to buy, you must realize that 1-- you need to buy something, and 2-- you must pay the requisite price.
That's why he comes to counsel; to show them their need to plead w/ them by His Spirit. Make a contract w/ me. In the Laodicea church age, you will have to choose between the Antichrist and Me.
"Gold tried in the fire." As is true of all people of God in all times, the only way to conquer sin and overcome it is to be tried.
1 Peter 4:1, He who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin. Because when we take a stand against sin, that sin no longer has power over you, and we are brought to a new position of strength.
Tried in the fire literally is "Gold tried out of fire." It's tried out of fire; it's in the fire, melted down, the dross is skimmed away and it comes out of the fire. These are the Christians who will be tried out of the tribulation. They were in the furnace of tribulation, but they were tested and tried and purified and made decisions of surrender and are brought out.
Fire is compared to tribulation in Zech.13:9. This book tells us that at the time of Armageddon, 2/3 of the nation of Israel will perish in this great battle. God says, I will bring through the fire, through this intense time of tribulation which is called Jacob's trouble in Jeremiah 30:7. He says I'll bring them through the fire. So fire shows tribulation.
Later in Rev., we find that many of the tribulation saints follow this counsel. They hear what the Spirit is saying and heed the counsel and make a total commitment now, even though before they weren't willing. We find this in Revelation 7:9-17. It's a picture of this multitude of saints. There were many who died for Christ all over the earth. Literally-- They came out of the Great Tribulation and washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. Rev.3:10, we see the Philadelphia church was kept out of the hour.
We should want to be among the multitude who escapes the furnace of testing. We can pay the price in advance, and the Word makes it clear that there are those who escape in the Rapture. But even some of those caught up will die before the Rapture, because Rev.12:11 says that they loved not their lives unto the death. The time keys make it clear that Chapter 12 is talking about the saints before the Rapture. It is a higher commitment to make; a bride's commitment of love for God and the drawing and wooing of His Spirit now, than to have to make a black and white commitment of do or die during the tribulation. Their back is to the wall. It is for self- preservation during the tribulation because it says if we take the mark of the beast, we will go to the Lake of Fire. It's a hard commitment, but not as high as to want to please Jesus' heart w/ love.
"That thou mayest be rich." In the Greek, it is "in order that you might become rich." Laodicea said in verse 17, "I have become rich." But God says no, I want you to buy from me gold that you might become rich. There's an irony there.
They are also to buy "white raiment." So they are to buy through this testing an experiential righteousness, a lived out righteousness of Christ through a surrendering fully to God.
"That thou mayest be clothed"
That is, in order that you might throw around yourself-- "peribalo", the Greek word for clothed here. It shows a hastiness to be presentable at the wedding feast. You only have a short time, so take this garment, buy it from me, and throw it around yourself because I want you to be at the wedding feast.
Matt.22 gives an illustration that applies here. A king had a marriage for his son. Many would not come. The servants went to the highways and gathered them in. One man did not have a wedding garment on; he was cast into outer darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. Many are called but few are chosen. It shows the importance of having that white raiment, that righteousness to stand in His presence. We find these were guests coming to the wedding.
The bride was caught up, and later the others follow as the guests because in Chapter 7-- they have purchased this white raiment to hide the shame of their nakedness of their self worth.
"Anoint thine eyes with eyesalve."
Eye salve probably is referring to a type that they had in those days which was a black salve, and the purpose of it was to prevent someone from going blind if they were out in the bright sunlight, if they had to be constantly out in the burning sun this salve would cut down the glare in their eyes.
The picture here is that they're in the tribulation-- the Bible typologically compares the tribulation to a hot summer. The winter is the dark ages, the springtime of the Reformation culminates in the time when the fig tree blossoms forth which is the days that we're living in, and then the Rapture comes after the latter rain which came in the springtime in Israel. Then came a long hot summer time of tribulation.
For example, in one scripture Israel says, typologically, that the harvest is over. Jeremiah 8:20 and Hosea says after the Rapture has occurred the harvest is over. The harvest is come, the summer is over and still we are not saved. So Israel, even after the tribulation period, is still not saved because the 2nd coming is after the tribulation, and that's when the nation of Israel is saved and ushered into the Millennium. So it's this long hot summer which is in view here with the bright glaring sun-- the false sun, the sun of the antichrist, the sun of tribulation, as it were.
So he counsels them to buy this eyesalve so that their eyes won't be deceived by the glitter and the deception of the antichrist system. That they might clearly be able to see through it.
A parallel scripture is 2 Thess.2:9-11. It is speaking of the antichrist, so there's this deception that he's counseling them to buy the means to see through, so he says buy this eyesalve that thou mayest see. Literally-- that thou mayest be seeing. This is what you need to do in this time, otherwise, you'll go blind in a lukewarm condition without this eyesalve.
Revelation 3:19 "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent."
He gives His people comfort who are in this place. As many as I love. This is a tender love. It is a phileo-- as many as I tenderly affectionately love. I rebuke and I chasten.
So God shows He has a tender love for His saints, and He chastens them for their help. He's showing this because they need to know many will be tempted to think that they have been rejected and cast off and that there is no hope because they've missed the Rapture. But, He tells them no, I still love you tenderly. I'm bringing these things upon you to rebuke and to chasten you because I love you in a tender way. So this is a needed comfort to those who are left. That they might have the hope and faith in the love of God that will cause them to endure.
Also he says: "be zealous therefore, and repent."
Zealous shows an amazing truth. Zeleuo-- as defined by Thayer's is to envy to be jealous-- primarily it denotes envy and jealousy-- zeal is also an idea that's contained in it. But, mainly the root word is jealousy and therefore, in a good sense, Thayer says it means to imitate, to strive after. So he's telling them-- I want you to be jealous, and I want you to emulate somebody.
First, I want you to emulate me. I want you to have a spiritual jealousy to be like me because I am the faithful witness. I am he who was dead and is alive. I'm the one who went trough the ultimate test and therefore be jealous to follow my example.
Secondly, be jealous of those who went before you, who had come to that position where they were able to escape all those things that came to pass. Be jealous of them in a good way; emulate their surrender and faith and yieldedness and zeal and red hot desire to be like Jesus. Emulate the Raptured saints. Imitate their love for me and their honesty with my Word and be careful w/ my Word.
Third, he is telling them, in effect, to come to terms with the Spirit's call of full surrender as the ones did before the Rapture. Don't despair or think I've cast you off forever or that there's no hope, but be jealous in a good sense and begin to press in and buy that precious gold of Christ-- likeness from me.
Revelation 3:20 "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."
"Behold, I stand at the door." Literally-- Behold, I have stood at the door-- I have been standing at the door and you didn't even know it, you didn't even hear my call. But, now I want you to realize I'm standing at the door.
I have stood at the door and I am knocking.
They thought themselves rich and in need of nothing, yet all the time Christ was outside the door of their church and they thought that he was there among them. But the real Christ, the crucified Christ, the one that lived a life of full surrender was outside the door of their hearts because they hadn't moved into that position. And it's possible to have a church and a move of the Spirit, to some degree, conferences, seminars, people being healed, blessed, joy and yet to have Christ standing on the door step because you fully haven't come to terms with who he really is and what he really is all about and what he really requires. It's more than blessing or joy and hand clapping, but that it's a deep life of agape of total surrender out of love, valuing yourself as nothing and yielding all to him and being willing to suffer shame for his name. So he wants them to fully let him in now.
We use this verse commonly as a witnessing tool for salvation and it applies. It's valid to use it this way. But, Jesus, here, is telling Christians, "I am outside the door." The real Jesus wants to come into your heart. He is with you and shall be in you. Many of these tribulation saints had rejected the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, and Jesus said, I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you, and now he desires for them to open up and receive this truth and allow him to come in. Others had not fully come to terms with a total life in Jesus, and now he is bringing them to that point. He's showing them what the full Gospel really entails.
"I stand at the door and knock."
This knock is a light tender knocking. It's a polite rap. There is another word for a more forceful type of knocking. This knock, as it were, is a lover's knock. A polite soft gentle knock, and this is ironic because we're the ones who should be knocking (Luke 11:9-13).
He says knock and it shall be opened unto you. And yet he has come into the position where he has to knock, and his love is so great that he will do that if he needs to.
This passage proves that people during the tribulation can still accept Jesus if they repent, because Revelation 14:9-11 appears to say the opposite. But we know that whosoever comes to him he will in no wise cast out.
"I will sup with you."
This shows a close personal fellowship that we call communion where we share the body and blood in type of Jesus Christ. We call that koinonia-- fellowship or communion, it's a joint sharing together.
So he says let me in and we're going to have an evening meal together; we're going to share a close joint fellowship if you open your heart fully to me. A closeness w/ me such as you've never allowed yourself to experience before. Also he says open up and I'll allow you to come to the marriage supper of the Lamb. They will not be the bride; they will end up as guest at the wedding, Rev.19:9; Matt.22:10,11.
Revelation 3:21 "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."
Realize that overcoming means different things to different people and to different groups of people. That not everyone who overcomes is going to be in the same position.
For example, 1 Corinthians 15:41,42, the context is the Raptured saints both the dead in Christ and those who are still alive, and in this context Paul says, in other words, they have different levels of glory, different amounts of brightness. For one star differeth from another in glory, so also is the resurrection of the dead.
There are different positions and levels in the resurrection of the dead. It is not saying that the Laodicean saints are in this resurrection of the dead, because they had missed the Rapture. But, the principle is the same, that there are different positions in God. So it's important to realize that their overcoming doesn't necessarily put them in the same position as those who had fully yielded to that bride hood status before the Rapture, although they are in a position of reigning as it says here (Rev.20:4).
Because there are so many scriptures which talk about a spotless bride. One says-- seeing that you look for such things be diligent that you may be found in him without spot and blameless. Song of Solomon, he tells his bride thou art all fair my love there is no spot in thee. So it was the bride who had come to that place of spotlessness.
Hebrews 9:28, Without sin, meaning they had come to that spotless position in him by faith in him and by yielding to him. And others who had not yielded to that position would not be that same spotless bride. Rev.19:8, it says by her righteous acts-- Greek.
Yielding to the call of the Spirit and coming up into that place of perfection is a higher thing than even yielding fully when you are forced to in the tribulation and therefore, because of all the implications that I see in what a bride is-- a bride having been drawn and wooed and won by love, I don't see that same thing fully happening even to those who finally do yield themselves completely in the tribulation.
We don't know fully because this has never happened. There never has been a Rapture and a perfected bride. So we have no example in history to look at. Will not the judge of all the earth do right? Perfection is a process and it takes a time of yielding and opening the heart. The bride, for instance, in the Song of Solomon says-- we have a little sister and not mature, and there is some indication there that there may come a time when there's not enough time to fully enter into that place of maturity. On the other hand, God knows the heart. So we just have to say, Lord you know what you are doing.
Back to the rewards-- to overcome is not necessarily that you're in the same position of the bride as others are. But you are in a position of victory and ruling w/ him. Song of Solomon 6:13 reads after the bride is caught away, the virgins say return, oh Shulamite, return that we may look upon thee, and she says what will ye see in the Shulamite. (a little bit of sarcasm there) You rejected me before and now you want me. So they missed it, and yet now their zeal and their heart is stirred up and they say return. Now we see that what you had, really was a necessity in God; the things you had and preached on, holiness, death to self, who God is and his name and the truths of the Rapture and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. All these things we value them now, because we see what it has done for you. You're caught up into glory and we're left behind, and so their zeal is stirred up to repent.
"Will I grant to sit with me in my throne"
A position of reigning w/ Christ, a position of dominion and authority in him. So those who had been faithful unto death had moved from a position of total humility, humiliation as it were, defeat at the hands of the antichrist, although it's not defeat because God views it as overcoming, to a position of total exaltation and ruling and reigning w/ Christ.
This ruling and reigning of the tribulation saints along w/ the rest is shown in Rev.20:4. They, the saints of God in general, and then specifically the tribulation saints. So they rule w/ him in the Millennium, but the rest of the dead lived not again until the 1,000 years were finished. This is the first resurrection. So we see them reigning w/ him in his throne.
Spiritual lessons that we can learn from the Laodiceans
1. First, the admonition to us in verse 16 is not to try to please both sides. But, to be genuinely zealous and boiling in the Spirit for him whatever company you find yourself in. Don't try to be totally surrendered to both those who are in love w/ Jesus and those who are light hearted and seeking sensation. Love Him fully. Come to terms w/ who Jesus is and what He requires in your life.
Those lukewarm Laodiceans will include not only those who had never received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, but those who had received it but remained only partially surrendered to God without deep convictions in the Word of God, trying to please both the world and the zealous Christians. You see this in Matt. Chapter 25, the 10 virgins-- 5 wise and 5 foolish, then you have the cryers. All are filled w/ the Holy Spirit, but they let their lamps run out of oil, which speaks of lack of the Holy Spirit in their lives. But the cryers did not and were watching and awake to get ready to meet the bridegroom.
There is an overlap of Laodicea even in our time and those lukewarm are seeing the power of God as the latter rain begins to fall and they are having the opportunity to be filled w/ the Spirit and to see the miracles of God, and yet they remain non--committal.
The 42 month tribulation will force these lukewarm into a point of decision and therefore the gray area will all be disappeared by the time that tribulation period is over. The cold will have taken the mark of the beast. The hot will have given their lives for Jesus and overcome and be seated w/ Him.
2. Lesson #2, Because thou sayest, I am rich. So the Laodiceans will be tempted to feel rich spiritually, since so many will be joining the world church which appears to be prospering and blessed and coming into this wonderful unity. But it's all a compromise, a facade. Many will join this system where money is flowing freely and there appears to be a semblance of blessing but it's not. It appears to be rich, but in God's sight is destitute of spiritual wealth because it's without Jesus in the heart.
Also there will be and are Charismatics who are still trying to please the world and they think that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit which they have is equivalent to spiritual riches. And it is, but we need to go on from there. The B.H.S. is not the end but the means to get us there-- John 16:13.
Don't receive the Holy Spirit and then think that that is your mark of approval. Realize that its given to you to overcome and to give power to become like Jesus. Now that you have the Spirit, move into the life in the Spirit. We have to also walk in the Spirit. If we live in the Spirit, we have to walk in the Spirit. Walk indicates a progression; you're moving toward your destination-- higher places in Jesus.
3. Lesson #3, Thou knowest not that thou art naked and poor. The lesson is not to deceive yourself. If you're poor spiritually, if you're really not living an abundant life, come before God in honesty. At least start somewhere, don't deceive yourself. Start being honest and say Lord I am poor and blind and naked, I know you have more for me. Take care of me, deal w/ my life; I repent of the things that are holding me back from having true riches in you.
He's counseling them to be honest w/ Him. And He would counsel all His people that He is real and is true, and to come to terms w/ your relationship w/ Him and be honest w/ Him and talk to Him as the one who knows you fully, because He does.
4. Lesson #4 ,verse 20 emphasizes the word "I", and shows us here that it is Jesus who has to do the work in His people, who has to come in and show us himself, who is knocking and we must open up. But he is the one who will come in. He is the one who gives us a clear vision of him, and so he tells us quit trying to do it yourself, even though you know you must strive and press in. Realize that it is me you are seeking, that it is I who will come and give you the power. Who will come and win your heart by his love so that you can make the decisions that you need to make. So he tells all of his people, because these messages were written to all his saints, let me come in and share w/ you over a meal of my Word and express my heart to you and teach you who I really am. Let me come in and you be like Mary. Once I come in, don't be bustling around like Martha trying to serve me, sit at my feet as this evening meal comes and learn of me and receive that better portion which shall not be taken from you (Luke 10:38-42).
Laodicea ("Justice or rule of the laity")
Located on a plateau above the Lycus River. Grew to prominence as Roman way-station to Syria, Palestine. Political center and tax office. Distinguished in science and literature. Seat of a famous medical school. Wealthy trade center, banking town with many industries. Had race course and 3 theaters (one 450 ft. in diameter). Hiero (a citizen) willed enormous property to the people and adorned the city with costly gifts. Wealth of the people created a taste for Greek art. Had frequent earthquakes (one of the worst was in 60 A.D.); citizens rebuilt and repaired with own wealth. City now abandoned. Paul asked church at Laodicea to read epistle to the Colossians (Col. 4:16)--Colossians deals with Christ as head of church, and with false doctrines.