The People of The Opinion
Matt S AMTM September 2019 (opinion piece).
Recently I have been hearing more about the Church of Laodicea, both from the scriptural perspective of the book of Revelation, and from historical and archaeological information on the city of Laodicea. I was both amused and curious to learn that Laodicea can be defined as meaning “lukewarm” or “indifferent” in reference to religious belief. To look more closely at the root Greek words reveals an even more interesting meaning. The first part of Laodicea is “Laos”in Greek, and means “a people“, the second part “dike”means “a judicial hearing, judicial decision, esp. sentence of condemnation“. Thus we get the common meaning of Laodicea as “the people of the decision” or “the people of the opinion”, or “self opinionated critical people”.
Why is this amusing?
Well, we are living in this last Church age, the age of the Laodicean Church and if you read Jesus description of the Laodicean Church in the book of Revelation, it’s not that flash. Jesus speaks of the Church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-19. This is a very accurate picture of the Church today. In terms of types, Laodicea foreshadowed the Church of this day.
The history of Laodicea and of the Laodicean Church.
To look back at the historical Church of Laodicea, they were often wealthy merchants, as the city of Laodicea was situated on some of the most important trade routes in the area. Laodicea was the center of the textile and banking industries. Laodicea had some interesting history that could well present as a type for the Church of Laodicea mentioned in Revelation 3. At the time that the apostle John received his prophetic vision that went on to become the book of Revelation; there was an interesting situation with the new emperor of Rome. Domitian was the name of the new Roman emperor, and he was the first emperor to declare himself a god whilst still alive. Domitian also made it compulsory that he be worshiped by everyone. This was not a problem for most religions and sects as they just added Domitian to their array of gods and goddesses. However, for Jews and Christians this was not going to happen.
It seemed that Domitian gave the Jews a pass with this requirement to worship him as long as they paid a tax in lieu of worship. Initially Christians under Domitian’s reign were lumped in with the Jews as they were seen as a sect of Judaism and were initially mostly Jews. As numbers of Christians increased during the rule of Domitian (the majority of these Christians now gentiles), Domitian began his persecution of Christians as they refused to worship him. Domitian imposed stringent rules upon the Christians of that era, even down to what they could “buy and sell”. Is this sounding like a familiar anti-character in the book of Daniel and Revelation? Many of the wealthy Christians of Laodicea were known to have compromised their faith in order to maintain their wealth.
Laodicea was destroyed by an earthquake in 60 AD and Rome refused to fund any of its rebuilding. To indicate the kind of wealth it boasted, the citizens of Laodicea rebuilt the city from their own pockets. Laodicea managed to survive a further 500 years (ish) before being destroyed by another earthquake. This time Laodicea was abandoned.
The Laodiceans had an unusual problem with their drinking water; the water carried by the aqueducts to the city of Laodicea, was from hot springs in the nearby city of Hierapolis, and cold water from the nearby city of Colossae. When combined these waters were considered “Lukewarm”. Interestingly, a lukewarm drink is considered an unpleasant thing and people will spit out lukewarm or tepid drinks, and this corresponds with what Jesus says in Revelation 3:15-16. Jesus says;
15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.
The Laodicean Church of Revelation 3
In reading what Jesus said about the “Lukewarm” state of the Church Jesus was very clear about what he would do to lukewarmness! He would spit those who are lukewarm out of his mouth; some texts use the word “vomit” instead of “spit”. Whatever the case it paints a picture of Jesus forcefully ejecting/rejecting those who are lukewarm.
In reading this part of Revelation 3 about the Laodicean Church, there will be a description of the attributes of the Laodicean Church and this will allow you to see how it compares with the Christendom today.
Scriptural attributes of the Laodicean Church.
- Lukewarmness – being indifferent, lacking passion, uncaring, mediocre and feigning neutrality, wishy-washy, half hearted.
- Could Christians today, be described being indifferent and half hearted?
- In their own minds Laodiceans considered themselves, rich, wealthy and having no lack.
- More than being rich or wealthy could Christians today be described as having no lack, if you were to compare with past generations in terms of access to housing, well paid jobs, education, energy, medicine, health services, and technology?
- Jesus considers the Laodiceans wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.
- Why is it that the Laodiceans lack insight into what Jesus considers true wealth, happiness, satisfaction, good discernment and judgement?
Jesus does not consider the Laodiceans a hopeless cause and has offered a way out of their poor spiritual state. Jesus advises the Laodiceans of what they need to do to restore themselves to an acceptable condition. This is the advice Jesus has given;
- Buy gold refined by fire from Jesus in order to become wealthy.
- Is Jesus a bullion dealer or is something else meant here? How is the wealth of heaven obtained? Why do we have to pay for it and why is the gold refined in fire? It seems to me that there might be something else that Jesus means here!
- Get some white robes in order to cover the shame of our nakedness!
- What’s the thing about nakedness? Why do we have to get a white robe, what is the white about? What is the shame that will be revealed if we don’t get a white robe? I’m thinking Jesus might be getting at something else here also!
- Jesus said get some eye salve so that we might see?
- What’s wrong with our vision that we would need eye salve? Why is it that we just can’t see the problem?
At the end of His word to the Laodicean Church, Jesus said that He reprimands and disciplines those that he loves. Sometimes, if we are going through a rough patch in life, it may well be that Jesus is correcting us in Love. Jesus also says to the Laodicean Church that they need to be zealous and repent. It is clear that the Laodicean Church is “Lukewarm”; therefore the Laodicean Church needs to become passionate and repent.
If we are to think a little more carefully about what Jesus has said in his word to the Laodicean Church there are some really important things that need to be addressed.
The Laodicean Church of Today
I believe that we are now living in the time of the Laodicean Church. Everything that I read in Revelation 3 about the Laodicean Church appears to be an accurate description of the Church as it stands today. Many parts of the Christian Church have undergone big changes, even in the last 30 years. This Laodicean Church described in Revelation 3 is in a very sorry state, it is the only Church described by Jesus as having no positive attributes. This is a clearly a serious situation.
- The Church today (Christendom) is “Lukewarm”, many Christians in the Western world have walked away from their faith in the last 30 years. Many Christians do not want to acknowledge their faith or talk about it (I have been very guilty of that). Christians don’t want to offend non-Christians by sharing their faith as it might upset someone. Many of the Church going Christians have settled for a seeker friendly, low or no gospel kind of church. They have settled for unbiblical beliefs, new age ideas or complete heresy and are unprepared to challenge it. Sin is a major problem for Christians as there is no preaching on sin and repentance.
- Many many Christians, especially those in the developed nations are wealthier than ever before, with advances in technology and medicine, and the abundance of cheap material possessions. Yet despite this very recent wealth & health, we have forgotten our history. Many Christians forget that even our grandparents or great grandparents were living in conditions that were greatly inferior to the conditions we live in today. They were “preppers” because that was what they did in order to survive. Christians today have money and jobs and access to health care and education but are still unsatisfied as are their counterparts in the world. I often struggle to see the difference between the Church and the world today! Many Churches are involved with yoga and social justice and meditation and nice words being the order of the day. What heavenly wealth does a Christian have today; do Christians even know what heavenly wealth is?
- Christians seem to be so totally blind to their predicament, with an emphasis away from the Biblical gospel, no talk of sin or repentance or the need to lay self at the foot of the cross. The New Age says that this is the age of enlightenment, with us at the centre of this, claiming that we are god. This belief is now becoming central to many churches, adopting little gods’ theology or the divine “Christ consciousness” that is inside each one of us. These things are espoused by Eastern religion and Gnostic mysticism, or echoed through Satan’s original lie to Eve that “we shall be as gods”. Christians today are focused on self as never before. Sin does not seem to bother Christians anymore; there is no healthy fear or reverence for God and His holiness, or His warnings of judgement and wrath for those that choose not turn from their sin and accept the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for us.
In a time that boasts more resources than ever before, with knowledge abounding with advances in technology in a way not seen, Christians have become more lost, ignorant, worldly, insightless and sinful than ever before. We are truly living in the time of the Church of Laodicea.
Another thing that has become apparent to me as a hallmark of Laodicea is the very meaning of the word Laodicea. I have previously mentioned in the article that the meaning of Laodicea is (put very bluntly) “Self Opinionated Critical People“.
It disturbs me (and I have to watch myself here also) that we seem to like the sound of our own voices. The internet and comment sections and blog pages seem to have given us licence to comment in any way, shape or form without regard for what we say. I’m not speaking of malicious internet trolls who have a screw loose or of Chinese, Russian, Iranian, Israeli, American or New Zealand government paid disinformation agents. I’m speaking of Christians who seem to think their opinion is correct and will not hesitate to correct other Christians without another thought. If this is you, be aware that God already knew you were coming! There will be many folks who will not like this message as they believe they are entitled to express their opinion. However, they need to understand the meaning of the word “opinion”.
I believe we should be able to have and express opinions, however, we should understand the difference between an opinion and factual truth. A personal opinion is an idea that is (mostly) formed by the way we see things. It is our best guess at how things seem to be, based on what we see or hear. An opinion may be formed in part by fact or truth and it may be wholly correct, however, it may also be wholly or partly wrong. Many Christians have forgotten the need to hold opinions lightly and be corrected or validated in the face of factual truth. For Christians there is the word of God, which we should hold above all else as the inerrant truth. However, Christians seem to be buying into Satan’s many lies that pervert the one thing that we should rely on above all else, the word of God. With many paraphrased translations (the Message translation, the Passion Translation) of the Bible being used as the literal word of God, many serious errors have come in to deceive people, and carry them away from the truth. The worst thing is when Christians choose not to read their Bible or believe a weird and satanic idea such as the Mandela effect.
The next time you are considering voicing your opinion on a video comment section, think carefully as to what you are saying, and why you are saying it. You may have a genuine and truthful reason to rebuke or correct someone but, are you doing it in a reasonable and loving way that seeks to improve the lot of the individual you are communicating with? If not remember that if you are a Christian, you will all be held accountable for your words (and that includes me). Remember that God knew in advance that we would be the “Self Opinionated Church”, yes that is correct, the “Self Opinionated Church. The “Self Opinionated Church” has got itself into major problems with God, by rejecting his Son, by rejecting His Word, by walking back into the world and surrendering themselves to Satan and his lies. The “Self Opinionated Church” listens to its own wisdom and makes its own ways, it is has removed itself far from God.
There is hope however. Jesus gives instruction in Revelation 3 to the Laodicean Church. This is clear advice to make amends.
I believe the Laodicean Church will go one of two ways as we are now seeing the clear distinction today. Laodicean Christians will either see the error of their ways by taking their eyes from earthly treasure, and buying (paying a price for) the pure treasure of heaven that comes later. They will choose to turn from their sin as Jesus instructs them to; they will don the white and pure garment of repentance cleansed with the blood of Jesus. They will choose to hear God’s word and walk in obedience to the instruction of the Holy Spirit; they will receive correction and teaching so they may bear good fruit and inherit a place in Heaven with God. Laodicean Christians will apply eye salve to lose their spiritual blindness and open their eyes to the truth. Laodicean Christians will accept that they need to be disciplined by God. They will understand this is a good thing as this means that God loves them and cares for them. Through this process Laodicean Christians will gain a “passion” for Jesus and will shed their “lukewarmness” forever.
If the Laodicean Christian chooses not to listen to the advice of Jesus, they will end up in the Apostate church or back in the world, midrashically speaking in types and shadows, they will end up in Babylon or Egypt. The Laodicean Church is quickly developing into the Apostate church, the church that preaches another Jesus, which has another spirit, where good is evil and evil is good. We are living in the age of the Laodicean Church, this Church is destitute, but Jesus tells the Laodiceans that there is a way to change their situation.
For those that have ears to hear!!
You have a choice; the choice is clear, please make the right one.