Laodicea- The church in Laodicea (3:14–22) was closely related to its sister churches at Colossae and Hierapolis. Its spiritual condition was lukewarm—neither hot nor cold. Six miles north of the city were the thermal springs (not drinkable) at Hierapolis, whose white calcareous cliffs were visible in the distance. To obtain drinking water, the Romans built an aqueduct that ran five miles south to an abundant spring (now in Denizli). The cool spring water would become lukewarm as it passed through the aqueducts into the city. The city was strategically located for trade and commerce, and became a leading banking center. It had accepted aid from Rome following earlier earthquakes. However, after the earthquake in 60 that devastated many Asian cities, only Laodicea refused to accept Roman financial assistance because she was so wealthy. This attitude of material self-satisfaction, “I am rich,” had seemingly entered the church also. The church’s spiritual blindness was ironic because a famous salve for treating eye disease was produced by the medical school there. The exhortation to buy white garments to cover their shameful nakedness is another example of irony. For the believers were living in a city where the Romans had established textile factories to manufacture clothing from the famous black wool of the region. Laodicea was a “throne city” because a citizen Zeno became king of Cilicia in 39 b.c. and of Pontus in 36. His family continued to rule in some measure in Anatolia over the next century. The Zenoid family figures prominently on the Laodicea’s coinage. Again the victors are promised that they will sit with Jesus on his heavenly throne. Today Laodicea houses remains of a stadium, a water tower (next to the stadium), a gymnasium and baths complex (east of the stadium), an odeon (further away from the stadium to the north), a nymphaeum, a few unidentified buildings (probably civic buildings), a large Hellenistic theater, a small Roman theater and some fragmentary remnants of the defense walls. Comprehensive excavations have not yet been done. The water carried to Laodicea came from a hot spring, so that it was lukewarm by the time it reached the city. Evidently this was known by John for in Revelation he accuses the people of Laodicea of being only lukewarm Christians.
Laodicea, One of the Seven Churches of Revelation (Revelation 3:14-22) (14) "Write this letter to the leader of the church in Laodicea: "This message is from the one who stands firm, the faithful and true Witness (of all that is or was or evermore shall be), the primeval source of God’s creation: (15) "I know you well—you are neither hot nor cold; I wish you were one or the other! (16) But since you are merely lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth! (17) "You say, "I’m rich, with everything I want; I don’t need a thing!" And you don’t realize that spiritually you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. (18) "My advice to you is to buy pure gold from me, gold purified by fire—only then will you truly be rich. And to purchase from me white garments, clean and pure, so you won’t be naked and ashamed; and to get medicine from me to heal your eyes and to give you back your sight. (19) I continually discipline and punish everyone I love; so I must punish you, unless you turn from your indifference and become enthusiastic about the things of God. (20) "Look! I have been standing at the door and I am constantly knocking. If anyone hears me calling him and opens the door, I will come in and fellowship with him and he with me. (21) I will let every one who conquers sit beside me on my throne, just as I took my place with my Father on his throne when I had conquered. (22) Let those who can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.