An Exposition Of The Letter To The Church In Laodicea -- By: Kenneth Alan Daughters

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 01:1 (Winter 1991)
Article: An Exposition Of The Letter To The Church In Laodicea
Author: Kenneth Alan Daughters


An Exposition Of The Letter To The Church In Laodicea

Kenneth Alan Daughters1

In the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, we find seven letters from Christ to seven churches in Asia Minor. In these letters we find individualized messages to each church, correcting their errors and encouraging them according to their needs. Perhaps the most well known of these is the last, the letter to the church in Laodicea. The spiritual problems that faced the Laodicean church are very similar to the problems faced by many churches in the present age. Yet interpreters have found difficulty agreeing on a proper interpretation of this important passage. The purpose of this article is to provide an exposition of the letter to the church in Laodicea, examining the interpretive problems and suggesting proper solutions. It is hoped that the result will bring edification to those who need its message most.

The City

In each of His seven letters, Christ used the local conditions of the city to describe its spiritual state. This is especially evident in Laodicea. A proper understanding of Laodicea’s geographical and commercial situation is the key to unlocking the symbolism Christ uses in describing its spiritual complacency. One must first understand the city’s strengths and weaknesses to understand the manner in which Christ voices His exhortation.

Its Location

Laodicea was located in the Lycus River Valley in southwest Phrygia at the juncture of three important trade routes. The first road led east from Ephesus and the Aegean coast following the Maeander and Lycus rivers to the Anatolian Plateau. The second road led south from the provincial capital of Pergamum to the Mediterranean Sea at Attaleia. It was on this road that five of the seven churches to which Christ wrote were located.2 The third road led southwest from Dorylaeum and northern Phrygia.3 Located at this important junction, Laodicea quickly became a great commercial and administrative center. It was the wealthiest city in Phrygia during Roman times.4

The city was located 100 miles due east of Ephesus, and 45 miles southeast of Philadelphia. Its sister cities were Hierapolis, six miles to the north across the Lycus River, and Colossae, ten miles to the east on up the Lycus glen.

Antiochus II founded the city in the middle of the third century B.C. with the purpose of commanding the gateway to Phrygia. Its location was ideally suited for this purpose. It was on the great road from the coast to the inner c...

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