Friday, October 30, 2009

Falling Away Into Laodicea

                                                                                                                                        Source: claimthevictory.org

It happened a few years ago. There was this nagging thought that just would not go away! Day and night it would ask--are we the modern day Pharisees? I prayed and I searched to see why this thought was so persistent and in the process I learned a few things. This led to another question. It asked-- are we living in Laodicea? This is what my post is about today. In fact, I would love to do a post on each of the end time churches according to Revelations...however, one step at a time.


First I want to clarify the word apostasy. It has two different meanings: “a defection from the truth,” or “a departing.”

Over the years, Christianity has had many departures from sound doctrine. However, the apostle Paul speaks about an apostasy which will be the climax of all prior apostasy's, and will be worldwide in scope. This apostasy is also referred to in scripture as the “Great Falling Away.”

Second, the meaning of the word Laodicea is “people ruling,” or “judgment of the people.”
This implies that instead of God ruling, the people are ruling...plain and simple. They are doing what they believe (or judge) to be best without necessarily much regard for God’s ways or standards.

Have you noticed that when God says something, it is true in many ways? You can read a scripture and get a direct meaning, only to learn that there’s so much more there that you didn’t realize at first. I love that about the Word of God. It’s truly a living, vibrant Word. This is true about Revelations 3:14-19 (which I will just touch on...so much meat here) which is listed at the end of this post. To show you what I mean, we have to look at historic Laodicea.

Historic Laodicea

Laodicea was a prosperous commercial center and a large financial center. They were known for their textiles and a world renowned school of medicine which had developed ear and eye ointments. Writers of the ancient world speak openly of their envy of Laodicean wealth. Record after record confirms their status in the ancient world.

(As a point of interest, the physicians of the school of medicine worshipped Asklepios, the god of healing. Apparently this idol had the form of a serpent on a pole, a symbol still used in the medical profession today.)

Laodicea's one weakness was their water supply, which had to be piped in. Cold water came from Colossae, but by the time it traveled the ten miles from the springs, it was lukewarm. About six miles away in Hierapolis were hot springs, but that water was lukewarm when it reached Laodicea as well.
Cold water stimulates and refreshes. Hot water is useful for health (teas, herbs, broths, etc.) and as a solvent which cleans just about anything. Lukewarm water is really good for nothing. It makes one vomit. Metaphorically what does this say about lukewarm Christians?

Here are some synonyms for the word “Lukewarm.”

Lacking enthusiasm or conviction; tepid; mild; half-hearted; hesitant ; subdued; uncommitted; unresponsive; indifferent; languid; phlegmatic; apathetic; nonchalant, and the list continues.
The Laodiceans, though they had the ability and the resources, were complacent, self-satisfied, and indifferent to the real issues of life. Their faith had become stale and their creature comforts were of higher importance than doing the work of the Lord. Sound familiar at all? Now to answer the question that has been going around in my mind. Are we falling away into Laodicea?

Modern Day Laodicea

Laodicea does not exist on the map today. God removed the lampstand from this city. However, is the Laodicean spirit really dead, or is it still prevalent in society today? Check out 2 Timothy 3:1-5...I know, it’s overwhelming! Does this sound like modern day society? Sadly, I believe this may be so. I especially see verse 5 happening in a lot of Christendom today. Unfortunately, so do the unchurched and the unbelieving. 

Certainly in the western world, we are richer than most of the rest of the world. Are we so rich, that we are poor? When you look at 2 Timothy...do you know any people like that? Is it us? I could go on and on, but before I paint too drab a picture here, remember that though we may be surrounded by the darkness, the light shines through the darkness. We are the lights that the darkness cannot comprehend. We will shine through, even in Laodicea!

The Scriptures

Revelations3:14-19 AMP
And to the angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the trusty and faithful and true Witness, the Origin and Beginning and Author of God’s creation: I know your (record of) works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth! For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore I counsel you to purchase from Me gold refined and tested by fire, that you may be (truly) wealthy, and white clothes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nudity from being seen, and salve to put on your eyes, that you may see. Those whom I (dearly and tenderly) love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten (I discipline and instruct them). So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent (changing your mind and attitude).

2 Timothy 3:1-5 AMP
But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble (hard to deal with and hard to bear). For people will be lovers of self and (utterly) self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate (greedy) desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane. They will be without natural (human) affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good. They will be treacherous (betrayers), rash and inflated with self-conceit. They will be lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God. For although they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it (their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession). Avoid all such people (turn away from them).
Related works:

Seven Churches of Revelation:

Until Next Time,

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the rich background on Laodicea! This puts God's comments about Him spewing out the lukewarmness of the Laodiceans into marvelous perspective.

    Sadly, it is hard to see Scripture paint such an accurate picture of society--knowing that we are currently living in it and not just reading about ancient history. Though we know how this story finishes, we need to be encouraged by what the rest of God's Word says, and press on!

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  2. Wow--this was so well-written so much that I could follow and understand it. I normally am not good with Bible studies such as this--but you made it come alive!

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  3. Absolutely loved this, Carmen. I agree with both of your commenters before me. This is really good stuff. You should submit it for publication.

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