Last week we looked into some preliminary remarks to the letters found in the book of Revelation. Today, we want to focus on the church in Laodicea (3:14-22) and see what the Lord of the church has to say to her and to us. However, we will only briefly look at verse 14 today and then move on to the rest of the passages in the upcoming weeks.
We see that the apostle is to write to the “angel of the church”. There are two possible interpretations (on which we do not need to be dogmatic about): The first sees the reference is being made to human representative or messengers (like e.g. elders; – this however is unlikely in view of the usage of “angel” throughout the epistle); the second interpretation sees the reference being made to angelic beings who represent the church and/or being identified with it. This, as we said, is not overly crucial for our purpose this morning.
In verse 14 Christ’s character is described. This is done on light of (Rev 1:5). He is the “Amen” and “faithful and true witness”. Here the passage in Isa 65:15-16 builds the background for the current pericope. In the Isaiah passage there is the promise of a new creation and God and His people are portrayed as witnesses to the new creation (Isa 43:10-12). The context of Isaiah talks about God’s people as witnesses to God’s acts of redemption – exodus (43:12–13, 16–19) – and the coming restoration from exile. Isaiah 43:18–19 refers to another restoration – i.e., a new creation. If we then take such as a background to the passage under consideration we see Christ as being portrayed as the “The faithful and true witness” which further explains the “Amen” – Christ is the true Israel – “the true and faithful witness”!
The phrase that Christ is “the beginning of God’s creation” has also to be seen in light of Rev 1:5 and the Isaiah passages. Creation does not refer to the initial act of the Trinity but to the new creation (see esp. Isa 65:17 where God speaks of a new creation; cf. Col 1:15b with Col 1:18b and 2 Cor 5:17). Christ is the inaugurator of the new creation – we are being formed in his image (cf. Rom 8:29).
From here we will start to look into the weakness of the church in Laodicea (vv. 15-16), the problem she is facing (v.17), what Christ’s counsel for the church is (v. 18), his love for the church (v. 19), his desire for intimate fellowship (v. 20), and the challenges to overcome and to listen (vv. 21-22).
So if you are interested in this particular letter to the church on Laodicea, we invite you to check out the posts coming up in the following weeks.
God bless you!