“Please turn to the Book of Laodicea”

November 27, 2015


What? You don’t have a Book of Laodicea?
Of course you do!

Have you not read the same book by another name called Colossians?

Recently I had studied the book of Colossians and felt as though I had exhausted my feeble attempt to find every little golden nugget. I then moved on but a question kept coming to mind.

Why would Paul not write separate letters, one to the Colossians and the other to the Laodiceans? If Paul expected his wish for his letter to be read in both Colossae and also in Laodicea then “their location must have been in very close proximity of one another.

While few really capture the idea that the Apostle Paul was not addressing just one church but two, you will find this to be a wonderful study and will also explain some seemingly obscure words or phrases in other books.

Even though Paul had never visited Colosse or Laodicea, there were men around Paul who were actual ministers and members of the Church of Colosse. Epaphras was a minister to the Colossians and Paul had also sent Thchicus to them as well and Onesimus was member of the Colosse.

Now back to the close proximity of the two churches.
In Western Turkey, About 100 miles from Ephesus was the Lycus river, it ran a diagonal course SE to NW and connected with other rivers. This was important for ships and trading.

There were actually three cities and a “river ran through them”. Hierapolis and 6-miles away across the Lycus river valley was the city of Laodicea and just a few miles south of Laodicea lie the city of Colosse. 

So Laodicea and Colosse were only two miles away from each other.

These three cities at one time had all played major roles in the area however by the time of Paul, Colossae had become less significant.

However, the Church was experiencing a great maturity. While Colossae’s counterparts were not. It seems when one is in need, the Lord becomes their provision and not by their own hand.

The entire region was well watered and fields were fertile and the area was known for the heard of sheep throughout the land, especially the “black wool” that seemed to be so prevalent.

This is not etched in stone, but from all I read, it would make sense that the Colossians were shepherds of flocks and not highly involved in the more progressive business practices of Laodicea.

However in Laodicea, since wool was so available, the manufacture of garments became a thriving business and being on the water made it easy to transport. There was even a medical school. It began as finding the right type of plants to create a powder for ear problems but later they found a compound that became an “eye salve”.

Hierapolis was known as the “holy city” by the Romans because of their hot springs and therapeutic baths. Although the citizens of Hierapolis had built aqueducts to transport the water, the minerals were so heavy that the Romans developed cleaning stations in order to remove the minerals.

While Colossae had fresh cold water for drinking and bathing.

The one thing Laodicea did Not have was fresh cold water
so an aqueduct was also built between Colossae and Laodicea.

However, by the time the cold water arrived in Laodicea, it was only “luke warm”.

So we see that Hierapolis had “hot water” springs

And Colossae had “cold water”

However, Laodicea had only Luke warm.

We read the Words of Jesus in Rev 3:14-18 as He address the Church of Laodicea.

14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.  Rev 3:14-16

Jesus was speaking to the Laodiceans in a language they understood!

They had a daily experience with taking a drink of what was cold and refreshing to their neighbors but to them, it was only slightly better than being thirsty. When we come to Jesus, we no longer thirst for righteousness!

The story continues:

17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: Rev 3”17

Laodicea had overwhelmed her neighbors of Hierapolis and Colossae because of her abilities for trade, manufacturing, banking and even the sciences.

She had excelled with her population and all forms of civility and commerce but she had become reliant upon her own strength.

18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.  Rev 3”18

Here Jesus makes a statement that could easily be passed over.

18a. First He is saying, “buy of me gold tried in the fire”.

To the Laodiceans, this might seem awkward to buy gold, for that was most likely a daily occurrence. But we know that Jesus was speaking to them to offer their lives to Him that He might try them and perfect them in the fire.

18b. The next sentence, that you may be rich and be clothed in “white garments” (Not the black garments that came from the black wool they became had famous)
By the “white raiment” their “black wool” of shame of greed and self- sufficiency would be covered.

18c. Finally Jesus speaks to them saying, “
“and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. Rev 3:18

Do you remember the medical school that was located in Laodicea? They had developed an “eye salve”.

So we see all these small seemingly insignificant words or phrases as beautiful hidden nuggets of golden words within frames of silver.

This book while addressing both Colossae and Laodicea seems to be more directed at Colossae because of Gnosticism, the belief system, which denies the Deity of Jesus.

And that is why Paul is explaining in great detail about the Sonship of Jesus, the creation having been made by Him and His humanity.

The thread of Paul’s teaching against Gnosticism runs through this book.

Lastly, Philip the evangelist we read about who ministered the Eunuch in Acts 8 and was translated at one point moved to Hierapolis with his daughters. He was later beaten badly, placed in jail and died from his wounds.

So the next time someone request of you to go to the Book of Laodiceans, You can say, “I know that book!”

Blessings to you and your house,

Steve Grable


PS, Monday November 16th, a dear friend, father and mentor passed away. Many of you have heard me speak of or write about John, a blind man 87-years old and his sweet wife Miss Marie. We three had made many long trips from Pastor John Kilpatrick in Mobile AL where we hatched our plan to travel to Israel for 5-weeks and found divine appointments all along the way. We had been together for 29-years.

John was once blind but NOW he sees!
Bless you Oh Lord, for your ways are above our ways.