When I last wrote, I was talking about reading Revelation and how I’m such an expert now. Not really. It’s still fairly difficult to understand. As I was writing it, my daughter suddenly appeared with all her swim gear, ready to go. I had completely forgotten that she had practice that day — which is weird because she has practice five days a week.
I stopped writing, published the post, and off to swim practice we went. I still have a little more on my mind about the subject so I’m back to get a few more thoughts out, complete with bad paragraph/thought transitions and probably another abrupt ending.
You know that verse that says something like you are neither hot nor cold so I will spit you out of my mouth? I had always understood (or was taught) that hot = on fire for God; cold = nothing to do with Him. I never understood why He wouldn’t want to get rid of the cold ones. Like, it’s ok to hate You? Want nothing to do with You? Why are the lukewarm more offensive? What’s up with that? At least the lukewarm give You some kind of acknowledgment.
After all these years, I learned this verse has not much at all to do with being on fire for God or not. Context is so very key in understanding Bible stuff.
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Revelation 3:15-16
God was talking to the church at Laodicea, which according to the commentary I read was near Hierapolis and Colossae. Hierapolis had hot springs. The water there had lots of minerals which they thought gave it healing properties. Colossae had cold, pure water streams. Nothing better than cold water when you’re thirsty.
…which reminds me of my freshman college roommate. One night when she was sleeping, she suddenly sat straight up in her bed and yelled out “Refreshing!” and then laid back down, out cold. Hahahaha! Good times.
Anyway… by the time these waters reached Laodicea, they were likely quite tepid and fairly nasty tasting because of all the minerals and whatnot. Not healing, not refreshing, not thirst-quenching — ergo, the need to spit the water out. What a word picture that the Laodiceans would have understood quite well. Us? Not so much. The point? Use your deeds to heal and refresh, don’t be useless.
Another thing that interested me is the mark of the beast is supposed to go on the “right hand or the forehead.” (Revelation 13:16) This reminds me of the verses early on in the Bible: “This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that the law of the Lord is to be on your lips.” (Exodus 13:9) And, “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.” (Deuteronomy 11:18)
I’m thinking the mark of the beast, in part, is something that replaces the word of God in our lives. It probably is also an actual chip, or whatever technology yet to be created, we will use to buy and sell. But again, it is satan’s attempt to step into God’s place in our lives, as if he’s saying, “You don’t need God. I will take care of you.” He always uses an imitation of the real. Know the real, not the fake.
I found it ironic that towards the end where it says, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…” (Revelation 21:4), I bawled like a baby. I can’t help myself. I feel the feels quite unexpectedly these days — I can only assume because it’s been a rough couple of years. Even so, despite the pain and nuisance, I’ve still got a bit of life left to live, that I want to live. But man, I look so very forward to that day when our tears are wiped away and there will be no more reason to cry.