Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen—the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s new creation:” Revelation 3:14 NLT
The word for angel in this scripture is "angelos" meaning "angel" or "messenger". Each church had an angel (messenger). In Revelation 1 we read about the seven golden lamp stands (Rev. 1:12), that Jesus stood in the middle of, and that He had seven stars in His right hand (Rev. 1:16). The seven golden lamp stands represented the seven churches. The seven stars represented the angels (messengers) of the seven churches. The last church, of the seven, to be addressed was Laodicea. This city was established by Antiochus II in the third century B.C. The name was given for his wife. Laodicea was about 45 miles southeast of Philadelphia and about 100 miles inland, east from Ephesus. The city of Hierapolis lie due north about six miles. Colossae lie about ten miles east, and a bit south. Colossae, Laodicea, and Hierapolis were sister cities. They shared very common traits, such as doctrinal positions. Laodicea was located in the Lycus River Valley, a heavily traveled route from north to south, south to north, east to west, and west to east. This made the city desirable to business entrepreneurs. There was a lot of money to be made there. The only problem was their water supply. The local streams, the Lycus and Maeander rivers, were contaminated and not fit for consumption. In dry times, the streams would dry up. However, the ingenuity of the men of the city led to the development of miles of underground aqueduct that brought water from hot springs outside the city. The water was collected in a central tower and distributed to the city through a series of pipes radiating from the tower. The hot springs, themselves had high levels of calcium carbonate that, eventually, almost choked the aqueducts. By the time the water reached the destination, it was lukewarm, dirty, and impure. This was indicative of the spiritual condition of the city. We'll come back to that another day. Laodicea was a banking powerhouse. The city was so well off that when it was completely flattened by an earthquake in A.D. 60, it refused assistance from Rome to help rebuild it, stating that it was able do so on its own. The water supply, the banking industry, the medical technology, and the wool industry, all four, contributed to this city's condition. Many Jewish people resided in this city. Likely, a large synagogue was there. A Christian church had been established in Laodicea as a result of the Ephesus revival in Acts 19. There was one major problem, however. Their spiritual condition. Jesus has something to say to them and we will look at this more precisely tomorrow.
Rev. Curtis Norris