Revelation 3:14-22 Part 3

14) And write the message to the Church in Laodicea.  The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of God’s creation, says these things:

15) I know your works.  You are neither cold nor hot.  I would that you were cold or hot!

16) So, since you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I am about to vomit you out of My mouth.

17) Because you say ‘I am rich and wealthy and have want for nothing’; and you don’t know that you are the afflicted, and pitiable and lowly and blind and naked,

18) I counsel you to acquire gold having been refined by fire from Me in order that you might be rich, and white garments in order that you might clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness might not be disclosed, and collyrium to rub in your eyes that you might see.

19) I, I put to the proof and teach all of those who I love.  Be alive, therefore, and repent!

20) Lo!  I stand at the door and knock.  Should someone hear My sound and open the door, I will go in to him and I will sup with him and he with Me.

21) I will give to him who overcomes to sit with Me in My seat as I overcame and did sit with My Father in His seat.

22) The one having an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches.


As the water flowing out of hot springs five miles away makes people in Laodicea sick, so the works of the Laodicean Church make Jesus sick.  This is HIS Church; these are HIS covenant people.  The Lord Jesus Christ died and was resurrected for the Father’s covenantally elect people; and His authority over the heavens and the earth is represented by His Church, in the midst of which He, Himself, stands.  And here is a Church whose works nauseate Him!  How devastating these words are.

Our Lord quotes His Own words from the prophecy of Zechariah, the context of which includes His loathing of the shepherds of Israel.  They, in their riches and contentment, have exploited those of more meager means and left them poor, needy, sick, blind and deaf; and they have shut the door of the covenantal access to the Holy of Holies – God’s Glory Cloud/Throne Room/ Judgment Seat – and left the people blind, being led by blind guides!

This Church is being compared to them!  In fact, Jesus brings the full weight of that prophecy against it.  Having been influenced by wealthy judaists and their vain arguments and philosophies, the Laodicean Church had forgotten from whence it came into being.  Having been “rescued” from its poverty, its blindness, its deafness, its pitiable lowliness and nakedness – all indicative of its depravity (verse seventeen), this Church has forgotten that.  And it has, once again, descended into that condition, being content in its wealth and security as if, somehow, it deserved it.  It is not contrite and repentant; it is not poor in spirit; it is not mourning; it is not meek (i.e. in submission to its Lord); it’s not hungering and thirsting after righteousness….  And it’s not thankful and rejoicing for its having been rescued, having been received, undeservedly, into the covenant, and given all good things in the body of its Lord!  And these are its works!  These are the things that make Jesus Christ nauseated!

And He says, verse eighteen, “I counsel you to acquire gold having been refined by fire from Me in order that you might be rich....”

Once again, Jesus alludes to the Church’s immediate context of self-satisfied prosperity and security while referring them back to His Own words in the prophetic Scripture.  (And, by the way, let me remind you once again of the “hermeneutic” within which we work….  We are not to approach the Word of God from the viewpoint of those to whom the Word is written; but from the viewpoint of the One Who speaks and sends!  The enthroned Jesus Christ alludes to the local condition of this Church, but He doesn’t reason with them from the basis of that local condition.)

But our Lord refers this Church back to His Own written Word in the older Scripture.  In Zechariah (and we shouldn’t be surprised any longer), the word through the prophet who He’s already quoted in another place, He quotes again…this time from chapter thirteen (and, by the way, should there have been any doubt about Jesus quoting from the prophecy of Zechariah in chapter eleven, that should be completely erased, as He now quotes from the same prophecy, chapter thirteen, in continuation of that former prophecy).  Here it is:


7) Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, says Yahveh of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered; and I will turn my hand upon the little ones.

8) And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, says Yahveh, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.

9) And I will bring the third part into the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will put them to the proof as gold is put to the proof. They shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, ‘It is my people’; and they shall say, ‘Yahveh is my God’.


And listen carefully to the word of Yahveh through the lamenting prophet – Lamentations chapter four: (this is almost a whole chapter, so please hang in there with me, okay?  This is important!)


1) How is the gold become dim (or “dark”)! how is the most pure gold changed! The stones of the sanctuary are poured out at the head of every street.

2) The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, How are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter!

3) Even the jackals draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones: The daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness.

4) The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst: The young children ask bread, and no man breaketh it unto them.

5) They that did feed delicately are desolate in the streets: They that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills.

6) For the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the sin of Sodom, That was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands were laid upon her.

7) Her nobles were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk; They were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was as of sapphire.

8) Their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets: Their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick.

9) They that are slain with the sword are better than they that are slain with hunger; For these pine away, stricken through, for want of the fruits of the field.

10) The hands of the pitiful women have boiled their own children; They were their food in the destruction of the daughter of my people.

11) Yahveh hath accomplished his wrath, he hath poured out his fierce anger; And he hath kindled a fire in Zion, which hath devoured the foundations thereof.

12) The kings of the earth believed not, neither all the inhabitants of the world, That the adversary and the enemy would enter into the gates of Jerusalem.

13) It is because of the sins of her (false) prophets, and the iniquities of her priests, That have shed the blood of the just in the midst of her.

14) They wander as blind men in the streets, they are polluted with blood, So that men cannot touch their garments.

15) Depart ye, they cried unto them, Unclean! depart, depart, touch not! When they fled away and wandered, men said among the nations, They shall no more sojourn here.

16) The anger of Yahveh hath scattered them; he will no more regard them: They respected not the persons of the priests, they favored not the elders.

17) Our eyes do yet fail in looking for our vain help: In our watching we have watched for a nation that could not save.

18) They hunt our steps, so that we cannot go in our streets: Our end is near, our days are fulfilled; for our end is come.

19) Our pursuers were swifter than the eagles of the heavens: They chased us upon the mountains, they laid wait for us in the wilderness.

20) The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of Yahveh, was taken in their pits; Of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the nations.


In the first passage, from Zechariah chapter thirteen, God will rescue a portion of the nation meet for destruction; and He will “put them to the proof” as silver and gold in the refiner’s fire.

In the second passage, from Jeremiah the lamenting prophet, the beauty and health and wealth and glory of the nation of God’s covenant, in the land of milk and honey, is lamented in the first verse: “How is the gold become dim; how is the most pure gold changed!”

Jeremiah sees the golden nation devastated.  It was worse than Sodom; and its ruin worse than Sodom’s ruin.  At its inception it was pure gold, a new Eden, freely given by God to His covenant people.  But look how the gold has changed.

And in verse eighteen our Lord directly refers this Laodicean Church to these two passages.  The Church has somehow taken on (at least) some of the characteristics of the covenant nation now meet for destruction.  It now, in some ways, “looks like” the once bright and shining edenic paradise – but which now will suffer the “breaking” of God’s staff of “Favor”.

The once gilded and resplendent Israel is lamented in the words: “how is the gold become dim (or dark); how is the most pure gold changed”; and the Laodicean Church resembles that.

The once lustrous and radiant nation of God’s covenant, shining bright as pure gold, was now covered over with dross, for its shepherds, loathed by The Lord, had closed the door to God’s holy place.  And the Laodicean Church of Jesus Christ wasn’t dis-similar from that, for it had forgotten its own lowliness and poverty and nakedness and dependence upon its Lord in its prosperity and contentment.  In effect, it was closing the door to the covenantal holy place of the enthroned Christ of God.

And Jesus, referring the Church to the Zechariah prophecy, counsels the Church to acquire gold from Him – the gold refined by fire, having been “put to the proof”.  You see, faithfulness, obedience, holding fast to the faith of Jesus, keeping His Word, is the “works” that our Lord requires, and these works are often spoken of in terms of gold and silver and precious stones.  They are that which make the Church “rich”.

Listen to the apostle Paul as he writes to the Church in Corinth – chapter three:


11) For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12) But if any man buildeth on the foundation gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, stubble;

13) each man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire itself shall prove each man’s work of what sort it is.


You see, the Refiner’s fire “proves” the works… whether they are gold – or stubble.  In the midst of deceivers, this Church has taken on the same “look”, and the same “works” as the loathed shepherds of Israel.  It has not kept His Word; it has not held fast to His faith.

Jesus also, in verse eighteen, counsels this Church to acquire “white garments”.  He once again alludes to the local context of the textile industry and its black wool, as He contrasts the “white clothing” to be acquired from Him.  As in the prophecy of Nahum, in chapter three, the word “nakedness” is associated with disobedience – it is whoredom.  Listen to the prophet:


4) Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.

5) Behold, I am against thee, saith the LORD of hosts; and I will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will show the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame.

6) And I will cast abominable filth upon thee, and make thee vile, and will set thee as a gazingstock.


But Jesus says to the Church at Laodicea that it should buy white garments from Him, that the shame of its nakedness might be covered.  The “white garments” refers to works of righteousness, in which there is no shame and no nakedness.  Again, the Church “looks like” the abhorred three shepherds of Israel; and its “works” are not dis-similar from their works.

Once again, our Lord uses the local context as He refers to the collyrium manufactured at the Laodicean medical center.  It is an eye salve that won’t cure “blindness”, which is a Biblical term for man’s fallenness and inability.  And I refer you to that passage in Matthew chapter thirteen in which our Lord explains to His disciples why He speaks to the people in parables.  Here it is:


13) Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

14) And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

15) For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

16) But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.


Jesus counsels this Church to buy eye salve from Him to anoint its eyes that it might see.

This Church is deceived – from without and within.  Its works make Jesus sick.  It can buy gold and rubies and emeralds and diamonds and silver; it can buy nice clothes; it can buy eye salve and other medical products for its health.  But it can’t buy righteousness – except from the Lord.

Even with all these things, its works indicate that it is unaware that it is wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.  And the problem wasn’t its prosperity; its problem was its works.  It wasn’t thankful and grateful; it wasn’t holding fast to the Faith; it wasn’t anticipating the coming “day of the Lord” and His further promises; it wasn’t “keeping His Word”.  In simple terms, it wasn’t obedient to the One to Whom it belonged!

Why was Jesus nauseated?  The first answer, of course, is that this Church in some ways resembled the great harlot that would soon receive harsher treatment than did Sodom… the great harlot being God’s covenant nation and its three loathed shepherds.  And, like them, this Church had closed the door to the New Jerusalem and the New Temple – the body of Jesus Christ – to the people of Laodicea.  Like the three shepherds of Israel, it had done that by its works.  “17) Because you say ‘I am rich and wealthy and have want for nothing.’”

The second reason that Jesus was so nauseated was because of His love for His Church.  That’s the main source for the harsh and angry words.  Verse 19: “I, I put to the proof and teach all of those who I love.  Be alive, therefore, and repent!”

This Church is not to be cast off by our Lord.  As harsh as His words are, His Church is loved.  And a characteristic of the sons of God in Christ is their response to being “put to the proof”, their response to the rebuke of Jesus in His Word, their response to the deceptions of this world order, their response to Christ’s command for repentance.

Listen please to the letter sent to all Jewish Christians in the nations, sometime before Jesus’ Parousia.  Hebrews chapter twelve:


1) Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

2) looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

3) For consider him that hath endured such gainsaying of sinners against himself, that ye wax not weary, fainting in your souls.

4) Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin:

5) and ye have forgotten the exhortation which reasoneth with you as with sons, My son, regard not lightly the chastening of the Lord, Nor faint when thou art reproved of him;

6) For whom the Lord loves he chastens, And scourges every son whom he receives.

7) It is for chastening that ye endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there who his father chastens not?

8) But if ye are without chastening, whereof all have been made partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

9) Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to chasten us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

10) For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed good to them; but he for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness.

11) All chastening seems for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yields peaceable fruit unto them that have been exercised thereby, even the fruit of righteousness.

12) Wherefore lift up the hands that hang down, and the palsied knees;

13) and make straight paths for your feet, that that which is lame be not turned out of the way, but rather be healed.

14) Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man shall see the Lord:

15) looking carefully lest there be any man that falls short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby the many be defiled;

16) lest there be any fornication, or profane person, as Esau, who for one mess of meat sold his own birthright.

17) For ye know that even when he afterward desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place for a change of mind in his father, though he sought it diligently with tears.

18) For ye are not come unto a mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, and unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,

19) and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that no word more should be spoken unto them;

20) for they could not endure that which was enjoined, If even a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned;

21) and so fearful was the appearance, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:

22) but ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable hosts of angels,

23) to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

24) and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better than that of Abel.

25) See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not when they refused him that warned them on earth, much more shall not we escape who turn away from him that warns from heaven:

26) whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more will I make to tremble not the earth only, but also the heaven.

27) And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that have been made, that those things which are not shaken may remain.

28) Wherefore, receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us have grace, whereby we may offer service well-pleasing to God with reverence and awe:

29) for our God is a consuming fire.


What’s important here to the Church in Laodicea is whether it heeds the warning, and repents, and mends its ways.  As far as this Church had fallen, the Lord loves it; and He will restore it should it be faithful.  “Be alive, therefore; and repent”, He says.


20) Lo!  I stand at the door and knock.  Should someone hear My sound and open the door, I will go in to him and I will sup with him and he with Me.


Having heard all that comes before, this verse should now be as easy as it can be.  Our Lord Jesus Christ has sent a message to His Church in Laodicea.  He is The Amen – the oath of the covenant; He is the faithful and true witness of that covenant; He is the beginning of all things, and all things consist in Him.

It’s not as if He is making some feeble plea to all men to open the doors of their hearts for Him to come in.

As the Personal “oath of the covenant” and faithful and true Witness to that covenant, He sends the message to a loved Church – one that is in the covenant – and one that has closed the door of that covenant to its people by its works.

He stands knocking on that closed door.  And should the Church hear His “sound” (the knocking sound), it is the Lord of the covenant, in angry words, requiring repentance and faithfulness to His Word and to His faith.

And should this Church hear, and repent, He will come in through that opened door and dine with them.  This Church is loved; and its members are members of the covenant.  It must turn from its nauseating works and open the door to the new Holy Temple and the New Jerusalem for its members and for the people of Laodicea.  It must not resemble the hated shepherds of Israel, but its covenant members must be white stones and pillars in the new holy of holies which has wide open doors to the throne-room/judgment seat of Almighty God – Jesus Christ the Lord of heaven and earth.


21) I will give to him who overcomes to sit with Me in My seat as I overcame and did sit with My Father in His seat.


This is the promise to the overcomer.  It’s the promise of dominion with Jesus.  The one who overcomes deceptions; the one who overcomes having been put to the proof in the Refiner’s fire; the one who overcomes and “keeps His Word”, is privileged to rule with Him right now.  That’s what He requires of all in His covenant!

Christ has already overcome; and He has sat at the right of glory.  He has been given His Kingdom.  And we are kings and prophets and priests with Him and IN HIM.  He has all power in the heavens and upon the earth, and He is fully engaged, right now, in putting all His enemies under His feet, until His Kingdom becomes a great mountain filling the whole earth.

We are to sit with Him in His seat, having dominion with Him as faithful “overcomers”.  And to read the Revelation of Jesus Christ as “other” than the triumph of His Kingdom, in time and space, and in eternity, is to deny the very essence of its meaning.

The angry word from Jesus to this Church in Laodicea was because He loved it, and the Church had shut the door to all of these things.  And He summons them, lastly, with this:


22) The one having an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches.