Revelation Chapter 3
Blind and Naked but Feeling Fine!
V 1. "And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead." Sardis 1560-1790's signifies "prince or song of joy" or "that which remains". She existed in name only. The nominal church. Only a few remained who had not defiled their garments. This implies that extreme worldliness had defiled the majority with sin!
V 2. "Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God."
Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. If they would watch, they would become acquainted with their weak points, where they are most likely to be assailed by temptation. With watchfulness and prayer their weakest points can be so guarded as to become their strongest points, and they can encounter temptation without being overcome. The truth which is not being practiced, loses its power.
V 3. "Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee."
There must be deep, faithful searching of heart. The light, frivolous spirit indulged by so many professed Christians must be put away. There is an earnest warfare before all who would subdue the evil tendencies that strive for the mastery. the work of preparation is an individual work. We are not saved in groups. The purity and devotion of one will not offset the want of these qualities in another.
V 4. "Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy."
Names, reputations. Are you? Am I? Who are among this number? He says that a few have not stained their white robes of character!
V 5. "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels."
But it is not easy to overcome hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong. Self is masterful and strives for the victory. Adam fell through yielding to appetite. Men could never have overcome the power of appetite unless CHRIST had overcome in his behalf. Where Adam ended, CHRIST began with a 40 day and night fasting in the wilderness. As the convicted sinner looks at sin, it becomes to him exceeding sinful. He wonders that he did not come to CHRIST before. He sees that his faults must be overcome and that his appetites and passions must be subjected to GOD'S will, that he must be partaker of the divine nature, having overcome the corruption that is in the world through lust. Having repented of his transgression of GOD'S law, he strives earnestly to overcome sin. The fine and white raiment is the righteousness or right doing of the saints [Revelation 19:8].
V 6. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."
CHRIST calls upon us to hear His words, that we may know them! "He that has ears, let him hear." We are not to hear as did those of whom the apostles said, "The Word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it." Those who hear savingly, are those who hear in faith, and who give earnest heed to the things which they have heard, lest at any time they should let them slip.
V 7. "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;"
Philadelphia 1790-1844 AD signifies "brotherly love". Torn by endless divisions in Protestantism, the great Advent Awakening united the differing doctrines of the brethren into one hope of the Advent of CHRIST! The open door cf. Revelation 4:1, is the sanctuary Temple of the holy and the Most Holy Places [see also Revelation 11:2,18,19].
V 8. "I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it; for thou hast a little strength and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name."
Salvation is a free gift, and yet it is to be bought and sold. In the market of which divine mercy has the management, the precious pearl is represented as being bought without money and without price. In this market all may obtain the goods of heaven. The treasury of the precious jewels of truth is open to all. "Behold, I have set before thee an open door, "and no man can shut it." Voices from within and at the door say, Come. The Savoiur's voice earnestly and lovingly invites us: "I council thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich." [also verse 18].
V 9. "Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee."
Satan has a large confederacy. These members are the children of sin. They have been constantly working to cast off GOD'S divine law, and confuse the distinction between good and evil. We are being opposed by the whole synagogue of Satan! He succeeds best by working from within. They lie about the truth [2 Thess 2]. Luther had to write 95 thesis of lies, but Seventh Day Adventist were forced to print "101 Answers to objections"
V 10. "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth."
He will purify His church even as He cleansed the temple at the start and close of His earthly ministry. "Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee." [Psalms 119:11].
V 11."Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown."
We are holding fast what we have by constantly advancing. Do not become stagnant!
V 12. "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name."
Pressing forward in the Christian warfare, though at every advance we meet with opposition, as Overcomers, we are to reign with CHRIST, and we are to overcome through the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.
The name of My GOD. This continues the figure of speech introduced by the pillar, inasmuch as a name implies personality and character, the image of their Creator and re-creator will be fully restored in them. The victorious saints will be completely His own, as attested by His divine name and the name of the city.
My new name. The third name written on the symbolic pillar is the name of CHRIST Himself. [Acts 3:16; 2 Cor. 1:22]. "My new name!"
V 13. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."
V 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;"
Laodicea 1844-end signifies "the judging of the people" or "a just people". The last period of the church during a materialistic age and with the industrial Revolution replacing all Reformation and the start of general apostasy and backsliding called for the three angel's messages of Revelation 14. While the work of the judgment is going on in heaven, this door makes visible what has been for so long obscured, the ark of the testament with the 10 Commandments that will judge us [Revelation 11:18,19; James 2:10-12; Ecclesiastes 12:13,14; 1.King 8:9]. It is a door in heaven, not into heaven. Our JESUS is the only door into heaven!
V 15. "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot."
V 16."So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold not hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."
Being cold, the world would would love us and we would judge ourselves unworthy of eternal life. Being hot however, the worldling will call us fanatics or extremists! This we must suffer. Intense zeal is required and given by the latter rain to ripen the harvest!
V 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:
V 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."
BLIND and NAKED but FEELING FINE! An exposition of Revelation 3:14-21
"Unto the Angel of the Laodeceans write." V.14
The meaning of laodecea? It is comprised of two words: "Laos" = people "Dikaios"= righteous, right, lawful. Laodecea means= the righteous people, or the judged, or justified people.
According to the seventh and eighth chapters of Daniel, the judging of God's people transpires prior to the Second Advent, commencing in 1844 A.D. This is a investigative judgment. On this ground many conclude that the period involving Laodecea is from 1844 AD until the Second Advent of Christ.
Seeing that the seven churches represent the seven periods of the Christian Church, Laodecea, being the seventh would naturally represent the final period.
This means that Laodecea must be involved with what Scripture describes as "the Remnant" (Rev.12:17), the saints at the endtime. The term Laodecea also means a just, or righteous people. This could apply very accurately to the final product of Laodecea, a people ready for translation at the Second Advent of Christ.
Three titles Christ employs
"These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God." V.14
This term is borrowed from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah: "That he who blesseth himself in the earth, shall bless himself in the God of truth." Isa.65:16
The expression "God of truth" in the Hebrew is "The God of Amen". This is a title of the Messiah 2.Cor.1:20 and represents Jesus Christ as the truth John 14:6. This thought was frequently expressed by Jesus when He introduced His teachings by exclaiming, "Verily, Verily" or "truly, truly".
All the promises of God in Him (Jesus) are yea, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God by us…2.Cor.1:20. In Christ "is the source of all certainty and truth".
The Faithful and True Witness.
This is the repetition of Revelation 1:5 where Jesus is described as "the Faithful Witness". Likewise in Revelation 19:11. Jesus, at the Second Advent, is described as "faithful and true". Why are the above two terms used in addressing Laodecea? The Laodecean message is the most drastic of all the seven churches. It is so strong in reproof that the reaction could be that the charge is an exaggeration. But he who delivers the message is the Amen" and the faithful and true Witness", Christ Himself. Therefore, His message must be the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
The beginning of the creation of God
This description of Jesus is used by some to show that He was a created being, that He had a beginning. While it is true that as far as Jesus' humanity is concerned, He was begotten, numerous other Scriptures clearly declare that He had no beginning, that He was God the Son, that He came from eternity. This original Greek word for beginning is "arche". What does this word mean? It can be understood in two ways. It may be translated beginning or Beginner. Because it is in the active sense, it should be translated Beginner of creation.
How can one be sure? We must allow Scripture to interpret itself. Do other Scripture portray Christ as the Beginner of creation, or the beginning of creation? Indisputably Christ was the Beginner of creation. He was involved in the creation of all things. He is the Creator.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God……All things were made by Him (the Word) and without Him was not anything made that was made….And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us…." John 1:1,3,14.
"In these last days [God] has spoken to us by His Son……by Whom He also made the Worlds." Hebr.1:1,2.
Is there a significance in the emphasis on Christ as Creator in the introduction to this final church? It is in this final age of history that man has rejected the truth of creation and accepted the alternative concept of evolution. Therefore it is most relevant The last warning message in Revelation 14:12-17 is also announcing the judgment and emphasizing the worship of the Creator God. Judgment also includes all the Commandments of God James 2:10-12; Eccl.12:13,14; Rev.14:12.
Secondly, if Christ is Creator, then He is also divine, He is God the Son. The ability to create is the mark of Deity, which means that Christ is all-knowing.
"I know thy works" v.15
"Thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot…… because thou art lukewarm….I will spue thee out of My mouth." V.15,16.
Of all the seven churches, Laodicea's need is the most drastic - so much so that if there is no recovery from it, it will result in complete rejection by God. In what way is this lukewarm condition manifested by the Laodeceans?
"Because thou sayest I am rich and increased with goods and have the need of nothing." V.17
The Laodecean attitude is one of spiritual self-satisfaction. He may not literally say it, but within himself he feels assured of salvation. He has the truth, he is on the way to heaven. In other words, he feels that he has spiritually arrived. He believes he is acceptable to God - he feels or senses no need.
What should be the mental attitude of a healthy believer? St. Paul warns: "Let him that that thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall."
This means that we are to be aware continually that we are in spiritual danger. This leads to watchfulness, to a realisation of ones own insufficiency and inability. He will know that unless Christ is within, he has no hope of reaching the standard. He will be conscious that there is a continual battle and that battle is with self and it will not cease until death or translation. Never will he feel that he has "made it".
The problem with believers in Laodicea is that they believe that they are safe, that they have found the truth, that they are on the way to heaven and all is well. Christ declares that such an attitude denotes spiritual wretchedness, misery, poverty, blindness and nakedness.
"And knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked". V.17
This is a shocking revelation (apocalypse) and what makes it so serious is that the one who is in this condition, is totally unaware of it. No wonder the condition is described by some as "hopeless".
But the condition of Laodicea is not hopeless. Care needs to be taken here that an incorrect conclusion is not drawn. The Laodecean message has been frequently used as a weapon to attack the people of God and condemn them as apostates. This Scripture does not indicate apostasy but spiritual self-satisfaction. Apostasy among God's people in the end time is to be sought for in other Scriptures. In the stern rebuke to Laodicea, Christ holds out the cure for its spiritual disease.
"I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire that thou may 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. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten, be zealous therefore and repent." Rev.3:18,19.
These two verses cancel out completely that Laodicea is hopeless, or apostate. It is a love message. Christ has to hurt in order to help. He rebukes and calls for repentance, i.e. to turn around, to turn back and the way of repentance is to buy of Christ three particular items which will make one acceptable for heaven. These three are:
1."Gold tried in the fire". Pure gold, spiritual gold. What does Scripture describe as being tried by fire? It is the believer's faith,
"That the trial of your faith being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ". 1.Pet.1:7.
A tried or tested faith is spiritual gold. But what kind of faith? How is it recognized? It is…
"Faith that works by love." Galatians 5:6
"Faith active in love". NEB and Moffatt.
"Faith which expresses itself in love." Phillips and Knox.
"Faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love." Amplified.NT.
This is the first and most serious lack among believers in the Laodecean period. A lack of faith which expresses itself in love. It is not love alone, but faith, active faith which is stimulated by love and expresses itself in love. This is not sentimental love, but love as a principle. In essence it is renunciation of self, unselfishness or selflessness.
As St. Paul counsels: "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to do of His good pleasures." Phil.2:12,13
The second item to buy of Christ: "White raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear." V.18
It is the righteousness of Christ received by faith (Rom.8:3+4) both imputed and imparted. He died in our place and when we invite Him into our lives and heart, we have to grow up into Him and become like Him. Godliness or God-likeness is as high as the heavens.
The third need of the Laodecean is to: Annoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see."
Christ is saying that those who are lukewarm in Laodicea are spiritually blind and cannot see. They cannot discern between good and evil nor can they they distinguish clearly between right and wrong. This is extremely serious in the light of the tremendous deceptions that are to afflict the people of God in the endtime. Because of the coming conflict involving the saints, spiritual eyesalve will be an essential requirement. More than human discernment will be needed to detect sin and deception and to know what to do in the crisis.
It is significant to notice that un-like the previous five church periods, there is no hint of any opponents from without, nor of any heresies from within Laodicea. We suggest that Satan has no need to attack the church when it is in a lukewarm condition. He has no fears for such a church.
Rebuke and chasten, the word chasten means to punish or discipline with the object of reforming. The Lord must be cruel to be kind.