Why The Laodiceans Received Lukewarm Water (Revelation 3:15-18) -- By: Stanley E. Porter
TynBul 38:1 (1987) p. 141
Why The Laodiceans Received Lukewarm Water
Dedicated To The Memory Of Colin Hemer In Appreciation Of His Scholarship And Friendship
15 οἶδα σου τὰ ἔργα ὅτι οὔτε ψυχρὸς εἶ οὔτε ζεστός ὄφελον ψυχρὸς ἦς ἢ ζεστός 16 οὕτως ὅτι χλιαρὸς εἶ καὶ οὔτε ζεστὸς οὔτε ψυχρός μέλλω σε ἐμέσαι ἐκ τοῦ στόματός μου. 17 ὅτι λέγεις ὅτε πλούσιός εἰμι καὶ πεπλούτηκα καὶ ούδὲν χρείαν ἔχω, καὶ οὐκ οἶδας ὅτι σὺ εἶ ὁ ταλαίπωρος καὶ ἐλεεινὸς καὶ πτωχὸς καὶ τυφλὸς καὶ γυμνός, 18 συμβουλεύω σοι ἀγοράσαι παρ’ ἐμοῦּχρυσίον πεπυρωμένον ἐκ πυρὸς ἵνα πλουτήσῃς, καὶ ἱμάτια λευκὰ ἵνα περιβάλῃ καὶ μὴ φανερωθῇ ἡ αἰσχύνη τῆς γυμνότητός σου, καὶ κολλι(ο)ύριον ἐγχρῖσαι τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς σου ἵνα βλέπῃς.
In his recent monograph, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in their Local Setting,1 Dr C. J. Hemer has put New Testament scholarship in his debt, especially with regard to intricate matters of historical geography. His discussion of Revelation 3:15–162 follows the argument of M. J. S. Rudwick and E. M. B. Green’s ‘The Laodicean Lukewarmness’,3 though Hemer adds important supplementary details in reassessing the evidence. Rudwick and Green, contrary to most scholarly opinion, conclude that references to ‘cold’, ‘hot’, and ‘lukewarm’ should be applied not to persons alone, but also to the city’s water-supply that was actually of a lukewarm temperature, this being suggestive of the spiritual condition of its Christian church. Hemer endorses this argument,4 and argues further that because of the growth of the city the Laodiceans were required to bring in water via an aqueduct, even though the water thus made available was generally unsatisfactory because of its lukewarm temperature. ...
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