Dear Brethren in Laodicea, do you know that prophecy positively declares that the people of God in the Laodicean church are in a critically dangerous condition and know it not? Well, Brethren, whether or not you realize it, whether or not you believe it, that precisely is the case. And if you hope to enter into eternal life, you must believe it, and that without delay. Whatever else you may believe or disbelieve, this one thing you must believe, “for it is the True Witness who speaks, and his testimony must be correct.” –Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 253.
And remember that above all people, the Laodiceans should not only be the last but the least inclined to criticize, for they themselves, says the True Witness, are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked,” without so much even as suspecting it, but instead blissfully imagining that they are “rich, and increased with goods, and” in “need of nothing.” Rev. 3:17. How, then, can they be in a position truly to know anything about others!
Think, Brethren, and rouse to life! This voice, pleading with you to awake and avert the Enemy’s pitfalls cannot possibly be the Enemy’s voice! Remember that the Lord “surprises us by revealing His power through instruments of His own choice, while He passes by the men to whom we have looked as those through whom light should come. God desires us to receive the truth upon its own merits,–because it is truth.”–Testimonies to Ministers, p. 106.
“No matter by whom light is sent, we should open our hearts to receive it with the meekness of Christ….We should all know what is being taught among us; for if it is truth, we need it.”–Gospel Workers, p. 301.
“The great danger with our people has been that of depending upon men, and making flesh their arm. Those who have not been in the habit of searching the Bible for themselves, or weighing evidence, have confidence in the leading men and accept the decisions they make; and thus many will reject the very messages God sends to His people, if these leading brethren do not accept them.”–Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 106, 107.
“He will use men for the accomplishment of His purpose whom some of the brethren would reject as unfit to engage in the work.”–The Review and Herald, Feb. 9, 1895.
In the light of these warnings, will you not take time carefully and prayerfully to ascertain whether or not God is leading in this reformatory work? He has promised to all who will do this, that He will not leave them in darkness but will guide them into all Truth. So will you not take Him at His Word, and try Him?
We plead with you to, for already “the agencies of evil are combining their forces, and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world,” says Inspiration, “and the final movements will be rapid ones….The time is coming when in their fraud and insolence men will reach a point that the Lord will not permit them to pass, and they will learn that there is a limit to the forbearance of Jehovah….Those who hold the reins of government are not able to solve the problem of moral corruption, poverty, pauperism, and increasing crime. They are struggling in vain to place business operations on a more secure basis….Soon everything that can be shaken will be shaken, that those things that can not be shaken may remain….
“It is impossible to give any idea of the experience of the people of God who shall be alive upon the earth when celestial glory and a repetition of the persecutions of the past are blended. They will walk in the light proceeding from the throne of God. By means of the angels there will be constant communication between heaven and earth.”–Testimonies, Vol. 9, pp. 11, 13, 15, 16.
In view of these solemn realities even now looming before our eyes, no longer, Brother Sister, hide yourself in the darkness. Stand in the light, lest you stumble and fall and not be found. Come, take time, and
Let Us Reason Together.
The Laodicean church, the last of the seven churches (Rev. 2, 3), being figurative of the Christian church in her last period, our time, the message on record to her is therefore the last message to the church. So, plainly, if there is any Bible subject essential for the church to study, the message to the Laodiceans certainly is.
Although satisfied with their attainments, the Laodiceans who believe and take God at His Word will not question Him concerning their condition but will, whether they see it or not, acknowledge that they are in a “sad deception,” “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind and naked.” Having honestly made this acknowledgment, they will, in consequent obedience to the True Witness’ counsel to buy of Him eyesalve which He alone can supply, anoint their eyes with it and be able to see.
Those, though, who recline in the false security of self-complacence, will pay no attention to the warning counsel, and will as a result lose everything–be spued out! Yet how few does this dread threat alarm! How few does it impel to find out where the trouble lies and how they stand! How few, indeed, does it even trouble! And O how few incline to inquire into it for fear that it may rebuke their evil course and deprive them of some sinful pleasure which they dearly cherish! Surprisingly few yet all too truly.
Then, too, there being instilled in them great fear of false prophets, and not at all awakened in them any expectation of true ones (although there can be no false where there are no true), they are now therefore almost beyond reach. And behind their careless attitude is seen the truth that “the pains of duty and the pleasures of sin are the cords with which Satan binds men in his snares” (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 53), while behind the deeply instilled fear of false prophets, is seen the false watchman’s carefulness to keep them from coming in contact with the messengers whom God has sent to them.
Our deep concern, therefore, is that there awaken an interest in you, dear Laodicean, to go to the bottom of the matter, to make sure of your salvation. So will you not be sensible and courteous enough to sit down with this lightbearer in humble, impartial, prayerful study which must repay you many, many times over what you put into it? Remember, there is a divine law that converts every honest effort into joy, a personal experience with God, and eternal life. So will you not start now to measure yourself, no longer by what you think you are or will be but by what the Lord says you are and must be? Begin your investigation with the ensuing
1. Who is Laodicea?
2. Whom does the angel represent?
3. What is meant by being wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked?
4. What is it to be “lukewarm”?
5. Why does God prefer one either cold or hot rather than lukewarm?
6. What is the eyesalve?
7. Should Laodicea fail to repent, how would her shame be uncovered?
The Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, describes the condition of each of the seven churches the last of which is the Laodicean. These churches, admittedly, portray the Christian church in seven different periods; the seventh, Laodicea, depicting her in the period just before the “harvest,” the last in which the “wheat and tares” are comingled, and the one in which she is to experience the separation of the bad from among the good (Matt. 13 :30, 47-49).
Since in her every section, the church must be true to her name (it alone being her identification), we shall therefore consider the question:
Who is Laodicea?
Laodicea may be infallibly recognized amidst the many “isms” of Christendom by the work she is doing–declaring the judgment. Indeed, this mark of identification is pointed out by the very name Laodicea, compounded of the two Greek words lao and dekei, the one meaning “people,” also “speak,” the other meaning “judgment,” the two in one meaning the people declaring judgment. The church therefore, which declares, “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come” (Rev. 14:7), is evidently the one called Laodicea. And it is almost as well known outside Seventh-day Adventist circles as within, that the Seventh-day Adventist church is endeavoring to carry the judgment message of Revelation 14:7, and is therefore unchallenged in her claim to the title, Laodicea.
Since, therefore, the Seventh-day Adventist church is the only one proclaiming the judgment, and since each of the seven messages is addressed to the angel of the respective churches, the message to Laodicea is accordingly addressed
To the Seventh-day Adventist Angel.
According to Revelation 1:20, the “candlesticks” symbolize the churches, and the “stars” the angels (leaders) who have charge over the churches. Being the attendants of the churches, the angels are thus seen to be the ministry, whose responsibility is to have the lamps trimmed, filled with oil, and burning brightly, so that the church may give light to all about her.
Accordingly, as the Laodicean angel, him to whom the condemnatory message is sent, is symbolical of the ministry in Laodicea, he should consequently be the more anxious to discover where the trouble lies, for he is, says the Lord,
Wretched, Miserable, Poor, Blind, and Naked.
With a ministry wretched, miserable, poor blind, and naked, what church (candlestick) could possibly stay lighted? And with her light thus gone out or but flickering dimly, how could she lighten the world as God has set her to do? Through the eyes of the True Witness, therefore, the tragedy of Laodicea is starkly seen–”sleeping preachers preaching to a sleeping people” (Testimonies, Vol. 2, p. 337) while a sin-benighted world plunges on hell-bent in its darkness! O what a piteous plight! And yet it is so utterly overlooked!
With both ministry and laity in such a pitiful state of darkness, it is clear to be seen that though the Laodicean church is the last in the order of the seven churches, God cannot through her lighten the world and prepare His people for the Kingdom when she is in darkness and unprepared herself. Hence the necessity of a new order, a new ministry, as predicted in Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 80, and in Zephaniah 3:11, 12.
Then it will come to pass that “only those who have withstood temptation in the strength of the Mighty One, will be permitted to act a part in proclaiming it [the Third Angel's Message] when it shall have swelled into the Loud Cry.”–The Review and Herald, No. 19, 1908.
In the light of these facts, the prophetic message to the angel of the Laodiceans must obviously be brought and proclaimed by someone other than the angel himself. But this, of course, is the very thing that neither the ministry nor the laity expect or wish to happen. For the sake of the faithful, nevertheless, it is happening.
So since God’s Word says that the ministry of the Laodicean church is wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked, and that neither they nor the laity are aware of the fact, it lends heavy emphasis to the statements: “Sleeping preachers preaching to a sleeping people!” (Testimonies, Vol. 2. p. 337); “the message of the True Witness finds the people of God in a sad deception, yet honest in that deception.”–Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 253.
Although they are in this horrible predicament, one which should make them tremble and fear, and give anything to get out of, yet they continue
Lukewarm–Neither Cold Nor Hot.
When one finds himself in a climate which is neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm, a temperature desired and sought by all, there he basks as a pauper become a prince! So it is with the Laodiceans, as represented in prophecy, though their supposed riches are nothing but a death trap!
To rescue one from such a terrible deception is a task which calls for the utmost wisdom not only because the victim is blindly inured to the perilous condition he is in, while his rescuers are endeavoring to save him from perishing, but also because he considers them as his enemies, false prophets, instead of as his friends and deliverers, messengers from God!
From the life line, the saving message which they pleadingly hold forth to him, he recoils. And consequently by his attitude against them, he shouts: Away, away, I am rich and increased with goods: I have need of nothing; I have all the truth. “I am satisfied with my position. I have set my stakes, and I will not be moved away from my position whatever may come.”–Testimonies on Sabbath-School Work, p. 65; Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 28.
In protesting that they are not wretched (not unhappy), not miserable (not troubled), not poor (not in need of truth), not blind (not benighted or illiterate), not naked (not without the righteousness of Christ), the Laodiceans are contradicting the True Witness, rejecting His counsel, and discrediting His remedy–
As only the “salve” will heal them from their deadly Laodicean malady, hence if they fail to avail themselves of the cure (by searching for truth as for hidden treasure) and to apply it (to repent), they will be spued out. O, Brother, Sister, will you not call for the “salve”? or will you continue in your wretchedness, miserableness, poverty, blindness, and nakedness, and thus compel Him to spue you out and to
Uncover Your Shame?
That your shame, Brethren, might not appear to all, God has long forborne to expose to the world the sins which you have cherished and kept under cover. Not forever, though, will He forbear. So for your soul’s sake, argue no longer that you have all the Truth; cease adding sin to sin; repent, and return to Him; He will just as gladly accept you and make a feast for you as did the father in the parable welcome back his prodigal son and make a feast for him
Be not like the Jew. But open your heart; cast out its pride, its prejudice, and its self-conceit; let these not deprive you of eternal life at such a late hour as this. If you repeat the mistake of the Jews, your shame and your loss will be as much greater than theirs as are your light and your opportunities and privileges. Yea, beyond comparison! So do not fail, we plead with you, to end your long Laodicean sickness and poverty, and no longer imagine that you are
Rich, Increased With Goods.
Never do you even so much as intimate that you have all the buildings, all the institutions, all the money, all the workers, all the converts you need! Your only boast is of having no need of more truth! This attitude, therefore, the Lord says, is the way in which you are saying, “I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” It is the source of your trouble, and the thing which He expects you to confess and to repent of.
The angel’s (the ministry’s) mistaken claim of being rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing, does not make him a liar, but rather shows him to be a victim of ignorance and delusion. But his thinking that he has and knows all the Truth, makes his condition even more perilous than a liar’s, for a liar knows that he is lying. O awake, Brother, Sister, awake! awake!” — Answerer Book No. 1, pp. 5-16