Reflections on Revelation #74

Day 74

I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to apply to your eyes so that you may see.” Rev 3:18 NASB. 

Although the message to the seven churches has universal value, Jesus was certainly addressing a first-century church and its condition through His servant John. If the present condition of the ancient city of Laodicea is any indication, the church at Laodicea never accepted the counsel it received in this book. 

Laodicea today is in ruins, yet to be excavated, pictures show marble and clay lay scattered about. Remnants of public baths stick out from the ground. The site has been deserted for over 1500 years! In a real sense, the church at Laodicea was spewed out of Jesus’ mouth (Rev 3:16), it no longer exists. 

But there is a deeper sense in which Laodicea still does exist. The author of Revelation seems to associate the church with the last-day people of God, who face the final battle of earth’s history, Armageddon! You see, the counsel Jesus offers to Laodicea in our text for the day is very similar to that given to those facing Armageddon (Rev 16:15). There are four Greek words in common between the two passages: garments, shame, nakedness, and the verb for seeing. No other text in the Bible has this exact same combination of words. 

Notice Rev 16:15 (NIV): “Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.” The words for clothes and naked are fairly obvious, even in translation. The words translated “shamefully exposed” represent the two major Greek words “see” and “shame.” When God makes a call to the final generation of earth’s history, He uses the language of Laodicea! While the city of Laodicea is dead, there is something of Laodicea left at the end of time! 

So, in some sense, the message to Laodicea represents the followers of Jesus who experience the final crisis of earth’s history. The final remnant is called to accept the counsel to Laodicea and take hold of the true wealth that God offers. The message to Laodicea is, in a special sense, a message to us as well. 

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