Rev. 3:15-16

'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot. 16'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. NASB

Have these verses ever troubled you? Does it seem to say that Jesus would whether have us lost (cold) than have us lukewarm? Does hot mean sold out for Jesus and cold mean sold out for the devil? Have you heard these verses used in that context?

What about

John 3:16

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." NASB

God does not want anyone to perish. Do we honestly believe it is God's character to want anyone to be lost?

So what is Rev. 3:15-16 saying? If we take a look at the culture and the geography of Laodicea, we will see that God does not contradict Himself.

Laodicea was ten miles west of Colosse and six miles south of Hierapolis. Laodicea did not have a natural water supply. Colosse was known for its very cold, refreshing water.

Hierapolis had hot springs. Because Laodicea was South of Hierapolis, the hot spring water was piped from Hierapolis to Laodicea. By the time the water got to Laodicea it was lukewarm and much sediment in it. The water was not good for drinking (cold water of Colosse) or for bathing (hot water of Hierapolis).

So the next time you read or share Rev. 3:15-16, look at it this way:

"Were you hot (for bathing) or cold (for drinking), you would be useful; but as it is, I feel toward you the way you feel toward your lukewarm, poor quality water supply you make me sick."


Copyright @ 2001 Richard D. Dover. All rights reserved.
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Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations used are from the New American Standard Version (NAS).