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Located in the Lycus Valley in SW  Phygia
Two important trade routes met here
  Hierapolis was 6 miles to the  north across the Lycus River  (mentioned in Col. 4:13)
Colossae was ten miles away
Laodicea was the wealthiest city in  Phrygia.
Fertile ground of the valley was good  grazing for sheep.
They had bred the sheep to produce a   soft, glossy black wool that   made them famous and was  demanded by the world.
The city was destroyed by an   earthquake in 60 AD but unlike the other cities   rebuilt itself with out the financial aid of Rome.

Laodicea had a famous medical school that was founded  because of the temple of Men Carou   (later, Asklepios) located 13 miles NW.
Two famous medical teachers were Zeuxis and Alexander  Philalethes who even appear on their coins.  

They followed the medical theory of Herophilos (330-250  BC) who believed that compound diseases   required compound medicines.  This led him to   begin a system of mixing a strange combination   of things to create a cure.  


Two of the most famous and successful where:
1) an ear ointment from spice nard
2) eye-salve made from "Phrygian powder" mixed with oil.

Major weakness was that they had to pipe in their water.
Six mile long aqueduct brought water from the south.
The water came from hot springs and was cooled on the way.
Or the water came from a cooler source and was turned lukewarm on the way.

Wine was popular

The Laodicean baths were popular

The church probably began while Paul was in Ephesus for 3 years.
It may have been started by Epaphras (Col. 4:12).
Paul wrote them a letter that has been lost (Col. 4:16)
Laodicea is mentioned five times in the letter of Colossians (2:1; 4:13; 4:15;, 4:16-twice)
The church in Laodicea was meeting in Nympha's house in 52-54 AD

3:14 "the Amen"
"Amen" means the acknowledgment of what is valid and binding in the OT and Judaism

To use "Amen" as a personal name is to say that this person is in complete conformity with reality.

“Amen” is a word for the human response to the divine action.
"Amen" is the perfect human response to God's truth and reality.

  "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are 'Yes' in Christ. And so through   him the 'Amen' is spoken by us to the glory of God."      2 Corinthinas 1:20

Isaiah 65:16 where it says "the God of Amen"

3:14 "the faithful and true witness" in contrast with "unfaithful and misled witness of   Laodicea"

3:14 "ruler ("arche") of God's creation" sounds like Colossians 1:15.  The Laodiceans had access to   and had heard Paul's words when they exchanged letters back around 62 AD
"After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that   you in turn read the letter from Laodicea."  Colossians 4:16

3:15 "I know your deeds" (also said in 2:2; 2:19; 3:1; 3:8)

3:15 "you are neither cold nor hot."
The city of Laodicea had tremendous wealth but yet they had terrible water and a poor supply system


Six miles north in the city of Hierapolis were famous hot springs.  The water flowed towards Laodicea  and spilled over a mile long cliff that dropped the hot water 300 feet down onto the level of   Laodicea.  By the time the water reached Laodicea it was luke warm and filled with minerals  from the calcium carbonate that covered the cliff with a white encrustation.


Cold water would have come into Laodicea from Colosse, 10 miles south.
Hot water would have come into Laodicea from Hierapolis, 7 miiles north.

This water that arrived in Laodicea would have been: 
1)  Unlike the hot springs water of Hierapolis, Laodicea's water was lukewarm and useless for the   medical practice.
2)  Unlike the cold water from Colosse, the water that arrived in Laodicea was lukewarm, slimy, salty  and useless to drink

The western concept of being "hot" and on fire for God or "cold" spiritually was not a concept

  that the Laodicean's would have understood.
Jesus reference to "hot", "lukewarm" and "cold" are not references to three levels of spirituality such   as "excited about God", "indifferent towards God" and "rejection of God".

Instead they refer to the church's purpose being represented in an analogy with water.  
The correct concept is that the Laodicean's were useless just like the lukewarm water.  

They were complacent and self-satisfied.
They were not concern with the real issues of faith: maturity and service.
They were out of touch with reality of the "Amen"

Water is used for healing and refreshing, but to do this the water must be hot or cold.  


The Laodicean church was worthless because though it was a church it was not spiritually healing   the broken nor was it spiritually refreshing the weary.

The issue Jesus has with this church is not their lack of enthusiasm or commitment, but their lack   of usefulness and fruitfulness.

An ineffective church is distasteful to Jesus.

3:16 "I am about to spit you out of my mouth"
Notice:  There is still time for he is "about to" do this.  They can still repent and change.

"Spit" is "emesai" and means "vomit, to reject with disgust."

Leviticus 18:24, 25, 28

  "Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going   to drive out before you became defiled.  Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin,   and the land vomited out its inhabitants. . . .and if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it  vomited out the nations that were before you."

Leviticus 20:22,

  "Keep all my decrees and laws and follow them, so that the land where I am bringing   you to live may not vomit you out."

3:17  This is where the reason for Jesus identifying himself as the "Amen" or the personification of   reality.  Jesus is the one who is in touch with reality while Laodicea is living in a spiritual   fantasy world.  Their definition of what is really happening is not even close to Jesus'   description.

The Laodiceans had established themselves in three areas:
1)  Financial wealth and banking
2)  An extensive textile industry
3)  A Medical school and Drug company that had developed a popular eye salve.

3:17  "You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' This was the evaluation of the church of themselves

3:17  "But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind,   and naked."

This was the evaluation of the One who was the personification of reality, the one who knew the truth,   saw the truth and spoke the truth because he is the truth.

Note that one article governs all five (wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, naked)
This is because all five speak of one and the same condition.

The real problem with Laodicea was not simply the uselessness.  

This was the symptom.
Their real problem was their ignorance of their real condition.  

They were not in touch with the "Amen."


1) Wretched
"distresses, miserable"
Wretched can be used to describe the physical life of a community when everything has been destroyed or plundered by war.  As in LXX Psalm 137:8
This group is in serious trouble.

2) Pitiful
"the word indicates one who is set forth as an object of extreme pity."
Of all the previous failures in the first six churches this group is being looked at with the most pity
Laodicea is the biggest failure of all seven and they think they are at the top.

3)  Poor
"Poor, extremely poor, poor as a beggar"
A spiritual reference to the lack of faith
Not a reference to believing faith but enduring faith in the face of trials.
They are weak and incapable of trusting and working for God.
Remember Smyrna:  "I know . . .your poverty - yet you are rich!" (2:9)

4) Blind
As a naturally blind eye is completely insensitive to natural light these people are completely insensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading and plan.

5) Naked
"nakedness was a symbol of judgment and humiliation"
The result is going to be complete lack of rewards and distinguished clothing at the reward seat of Jesus Christ.
When the rewards are being handed out this group is going to go naked.

3:18  Jesus continues the irony when he tells them to buy from him the very things they were world   famous for developing and selling.

The One who is Real (the Amen) is not impressed with Laodicea.

3:18  "I counsel you to buy from me"

"from me" is emphatic which means it is uttered with emphasis


Laodicea's gold was worthless.
As was their sleek, black wool and their "Phrygian powder" eye salve.

1) Gold is faith that has been refined and developed
  Jer. 9:7, "See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because   of the sin of my people?"

  Zec. 13:9, "This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver   and test them like gold."
2) Clothing is an opportunity to do the works that will result in rewards in his presence


3) Eye salve is to enable your spiritual eyes to be spiritually sensitive.
This warning is Jesus saying, "Open your eyes and pick up your cross."

3:18 "gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich"
This refers to spiritual wealth (faith) that has been through the refiner's fire and the worthless part   of faith has been destroyed and only the genuine side of faith remains.

3:18 "white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness"
White clothes represent righteousness.  

Revelation 4:4 "Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were  twenty-four elders.  They were dressed in white and had   crowns of gold on their heads."

6:11 "Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the   number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was   completed."
7:9 "They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands."
7:13,14 "Then one of the elders asked me, 'These in white robes - who are they, and where did they   come from ?' . . . 'These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed   their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.'"
19:14 "The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen,   white and clean."
19:8 "Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.  Fine linen stands for the righteous acts   of the saints."
Here it represents the righteous deeds.
Righteousness can be positional or temporal.  

Nakedness symbolizes judgment and humiliation (Is. 20:1-4; 2 Sam.10:4; Ezek. 16:37-39)
Fine clothes indicates honor and promotion (Joseph in Egypt; Mordecai with Xerxes)

In God's eyes the people of the Laodicean church were Spiritually naked.

3:18 "salve to put on your eyes so you can see."
They were blind to their situation.  Their false evaluation had blinded them to their true spiritual reality.

"eye salve" is "kollurioin" which comes from the word "kollura" which means a long roll of coarse   bread.  

;It was called "Phrygian powder"  and apparently was applied to the eyes as a doughy paste.

3:19 "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline."
A paraphrase of this could be, "Now my practice is that all those I love, I also correct and discipline."

Rebuke and Discipline those he loves-
This sounds like Proverbs 3:11-12
Hebrews 12:5-6
1 Corinthians 11:32


Rebuke and discipline are actions that come from love.
The result will depend on the believers response:
1)  Repentence leads to service and reward
2)  Rejection leads to being spit out and removed

In the LXX the word for love in the above verses is "agapan" .  

Here in Laodicea Jesus switches to the word "philein"


This switch shows Jesus personal affection to the church.
This judgment is in the attitude of the love of a friend.
Quite different than the judgment that is going to follow in Rev. 4-19


"love" is "phileo" and means "to have affection for"
"phileo" speaks of friendship and is not a lesser love than "agape" but is more personal.

"Earnest" is "zealous, enthusiastic"


3:20 “Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and at with him , and he with me.”


"knock" present tense indicates a continuous knocking

If anyone hears"
ean   tiV    akoush   thV   fonhV   mou"
     if    anyone   hears      the   voice     of me"


akoush,  "hears",  is aorist active subjunctive.


·          Aorist Tense means occurring action, the action is presently occurring but is not associated   with time.  There is no English equivalent.

·          Active Voice the subject produces the action of the verb

·          Subjunctive Mood is the mood of potential.
  The subjunctive is used in a third-class conditional clause which assumes the condition to   be possible."

"eating" ("deipneo") refers to the main meal of the day which in the East was the main occasion for   having intimate fellowship with close friends.

·          it was not just to quench hunger

·          it was not to go out and meet people

·          it was a time to fellowship with people you knew and loved and wanted to spend time with and share your life.

3:21 "sit with me on my throne."

Reigning with Christ is found in 2 Tim. 2:12

Revelation 1:6; 1:9; 2:26-27; 5:10; 20:4-6; 22:5

Disciples judge the twelve tribes in Luke 22:30 and Matt. 19:28


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