A response to A Short Course in Revelation Part 2
by Osmer Harris
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I stated in my post:
“The first three chapters cover Jesus addressing the churches.
These places were real, but also symbolic of the church today. Words of encouragement and warning were given to all but one. The Laodicean church, the last church, was destroyed because they did not respond to the warnings that were conveyed through John’s pen.
What does that mean to us today? Take heed, God is not joking.
Sadly I think the candle has been blown out.
A prophetic word: We are the Laodicean church.
You responded with:
“Laodicea means, ‘the rule of the people’, or ‘user friendly’.... *where is Christ Jesus?
(Rev 3:20) Outside, at the door and knocks!
In retrospect I wish I had not included the statement that the Laodicean church was destroyed. I honestly think I confused it with another church which commentators had clearly said was leveled. I despise speakers that make statements they cannot back up, and as yet, I cannot clearly back this up. Is it untrue what I said. I think not, but it’s spiritual ties to the modern-day church, and the way they act, should be a good indicator of where the church is headed; destruction.
Initially God lays out a proclamation to a church that was in existence. Physically that church is gone. Would there be a remnant to proclaim the hope and life of Christ to us if they had repented? We do not know. What we do know is that the churches were also spiritual analogies, not so different from the descriptions of the beast. They are clearly significant, and if we can allow for that, then the concept of Jesus standing outside the door and knocking is still relevant also.
Allow me to look at what you said:
“Laodicea means, ‘the rule of the people’.”
That statement, as a stand alone can go two ways. In the legal system it implies a consensus of your peers and not a dictatorial rule. We are told to only consider a thing if there are at least two witnesses, and then the issue is brought before the rule of the people, and the people who make that ruling are to execute the judgment. Bloodshed is such a gruesome act and only the heartless would be inclined to show no mercy. There is a point to this, and it is that God needed us to realize that it is his mercy that takes precedent over all other decisions.
The alternative take on this statement might imply that regardless of what God says we think we know better. This is how I understand this statement, and all you have to do is look around you; what do you see and hear, we think we know better.
‘where is Christ Jesus? (Rev 3:20) Outside, at the door and knocks!
A couple of things strike me about this.
First: To throw an exclamation point at the end demonstrates how closed you are to understanding. Regardless of your statements to me about desiring to understand, your attitude says completely different. To me, you might as well have slapped me in the face like an angry father, as he yells, your opinion does not matter.
Second: You referenced Revelation 3:20. So let’s ponder that a moment.
Revelation 3:20 NIV Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
There is a context and it needs to be considered. You made this reference because of two things: I used the word destroyed, and I stated that I think the candle has been blown out.
To be honest; I do not know where John MacArthur got his information indicating that the Laodicean church was destroyed by an earthquake. History has done a decent job of recording to much of things like this. Does an earthquake imply God’s judgment against a people? Maybe, but then where is the mercy. God has always been fairly straight forward by laying out an incredible plan to man, and then stating that regardless of what you do I will carry out my end of this. If destruction is included for not following the rules, then destruction must come. To do otherwise would make God a liar and that does not work.
Revelation 3:20 ESV Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
In terms of context.
1. He is talking to the church. We can make a huge assumption and call it a believing body. But if what MacArthur says is true then we cannot be sure what they believed. Jesus is God. That has been a difficult thing to wrap my head around at times, especially when the focus is upon the virgin birth. God became man, and Jesus is his name, and yet Jesus always was, beside the Father, creating with his words, and so has the Holy Spirit. The Laodicean church apparently did not believe this, and it impacted everything they thought about God. If they were so twisted why did God pour out his life and love upon them? It only demonstrates his mercy.
2. This passage is one that is used in trying to harvest the lost. An odd way of putting it when Jesus paid for all us when he bought us out of bondage. If a person is caught in bondage then it can only by their own choice to respond to the enticements of deception. Revelation 3:19 states: Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. If he is talking to the church that he gave his life for, then he is talking to family that he desires to come in line. Therefore his standing outside the door is an act of respect for the free will of the family members, and the want to receive them back in when they repent. Jesus said it, “I reprove and discipline,” so there has to be something that happens if they do not.
According to the Bible Knowledge Commentary:
"The wealthy city of Laodicea was located on the road to Colosse about 40 miles southeast of Philadelphia. About 35 years before this letter was written, Laodicea was destroyed by an earthquake, but it had the wealth and ability to rebuild. Its main industry was wool cloth. There is no record that Paul ever visited this city, but he was concerned about it (Col_2:1-2; Col_4:16)."
John MacArthur states,
"Although these seven churches were actual, historical churches in Asia Minor, they represent the types of churches that perennially exist throughout the church age. What Christ says to these churches is relevant in all times."
In your challenge you mentioned that the Laodicean church meant, "the rule of the people."
The mere selfishness of that statement alone could be a primary reason for judgment against them MacArthur expounds upon something more.
"Beginning of the creation. This corrects a heresy, apparently present in Laodicea as in Colosse, that Christ was a created being (cf. Col_1:15-20). Instead, He is the "Beginning" (lit. "beginner, originator, initiator") of creation (cf. Joh_1:3; Joh_3:14) and the "firstborn of creation"; that is, the most preeminent, supreme person ever born (Col_1:15). As a man, He had a beginning, but as God, He was the beginning. Sadly, this heresy concerning the person of Christ had produced an unregenerate church in Laodicea."
I am not a big fan of John MacArthur and here is why. As I sat in a home-group/bible study, I was accosted weekly by a very adamant lady who apparently worshiped Pastor John. She would not say, but the bible says, it was always, "John MacArthur says!" I was already aware of the Pastor from radio, and I was aware of what he teaches especially on the topic of the Holy Spirit. I strongly disagree with him, but I am an advocate of intelligence, and Pastor John does give us that.
In the quotation above there is a very disheartening statement, and if this what these people believed then it makes all the more sense. The idea that Christ was a created being is the epitome of blasphemy in my mind. Jesus berated the Pharisees because they attributed his works to the devil. To say that Jesus is a created being is to deny that God's attributions in his son are not true either.
Even worse, when you consider that this is representative of this present church age, we are in trouble. Jonathon Cahn, in his book The Harbinger, declares this very thing. Although Jonathon Cahn holds out the hope that God will withdraw his hand against this nation I do not see that happening. I do not see "believers" responding to this plea to be a watchman upon the wall and blow the trumpet. Any that heard my trumpet blowing have treated me with scorn. I am sure that the common attitude is God has been coming for the last two thousand plus years, don't go getting so excited, beside that your scaring me.
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