Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Post-Laodicean Church of Revelation 3:15

The imperfect Laodicean church, because of its lukewarm state, has already received its sentence when the Amen says "I am about to spit you out of my mouth." Rev. 3:16 (NIV) You might say that this sad spitting out has not taken effect since it speaks of "about to spit" instead of "have spit you out." Even though there is hope that the lukewarm church could potentially abandon its lukewarm condition through the spiritual gifts it is counseled to buy from the Amen, the sad reality of the Laodicean church is that it does not recognize its lukewarm state.

Note these important words, "I wish you were either one or the other [hot or cold.] Rev. 3:15 (NIV) Only in moving toward one of these two options can the Laodicean church leave its lukewarm state. Once it's fully conscious of its cold state, then perhaps the possibility of future heat can transform it, or it might also be that when once it crosses over into a cold state, it has effectively sealed its fate because it no longer makes any pretense of being even spiritually warm or, as it says of itself, "I am rich . . . and do not need a thing. Rev. 3:17 (NIV) This almost sounds like a pre-condition to becoming spiritually cold.

Since the first church, the Apostolic church, was a hot church, and since hot is the desired and positive outcome that the Amen wishes for the Laodiceans, then clearly the Laodicean church because of its steady-state lukewarm condition cannot be the last church because it would then cease to be identifiably lukewarm and would have evolved into a post-Laodicean church.

Without mentioning it by name, the words "I wish you were either one or the other [hot or cold] Rev. 3:15 (NIV,) infer the theoretical existence of a post-Laodicean church, in effect an Eighth church. Yes the number seven in the bible symbolizes completeness and you might argue that the seventh church is therefore the last one, however, the identifying characteristic of the Laodicean church is lukewarmness which does not sound like an ideal state. The wishing that this supposedly last church were either hot [desirable] or cold [undesirable but complete in its total rejection of grace] infers the return to the spiritual heat of the first church, the apostolic one. The last and ideal church would have to be like the first and ideal church. The cycle has to come full circle.

It would have been unwise to explicitly mention the Eighth church by name. Anyone identifying with it would be guilty of self-pride that he or she were part of the Eighth and ideal neo-apostolic church. By not mentioning it, it leaves the door open for its virtual existence when it finally comes into being. However, the difference being that no one who is part of the Eighth church will ever realize that he or she is, in fact, part of such an ideal and final church. Members of that church will continue thinking that they have the imperfections of the Laodicean church with its need to buy gold, white clothes and salve to put on their eyes. The silence of the name not being spelled out, or of a corresponding city being designated for this Eighth church allows it to be applied to all believers who are honest enough to realize that they are lukewarm and are in need of the Amen's saving gifts.

Identifying oneself with the lukewarm and vain Laodicean church has never seemed like much of an inspiration to me. On the other hand, wishing to be part of an unspoken and hot church, a Post-Laodicean church, sounds very attractive and worth seeking out with all the intensity that such a goal deserves.

May this Eighth church, which will remain nameless and virtual in its actual manifestation, be part of your life and mine. Or, rather, may we have the faith to seek the gold, white clothes [righteousness by faith] and eye salve that will allow us to become part of this nameless and hidden church. It is a church that hides conveniently in the description of the supposedly Seventh and final church.

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