Revelation 3:14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation: 15 “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19 I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. 20 Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. 21 To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”
There is so much to discuss in this passage, but I’ll keep my comments to the two things that most get my attention this morning. First, notice that the letter is not written to the church but to “the angel of the church”. What does this mean? Is the recipient an angelic being or a human? The book of Revelation is full of symbolism so it’s not easy to tell. After studying a number of my bible resources, and reading the text itself, I’m inclined to think the “angel” is actually a human leader of the church rather than a supernatural being. I could be wrong, but it just makes way more sense if the recipient is human.
Second is found in v.21 “To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne…”. What does it mean to “conquer”? One would normally think of a military victory of some kind, or perhaps a political victory. But then the rest of the verse says “just as I myself conquered”. How did Jesus conquer? Did he secure a military or political victory? Nope, though that’s what many of his contemporaries wanted. Instead Jesus conquered sin and death by dying on a cross and being raised by God the Father. It was a victory which looked to human eyes like a humiliating defeat. What does this have to do with Revelation?
Revelation was a message for Christians in the seven churches in existence at the time – many of which suffered persecution. I believe to “conquer” like Jesus meant to keep the faith in the face of danger, even to the point of death. Then will come the resurrection of the dead upon Jesus’ return. This is in line with a Kingdom of God in which the first are last, power is made perfect in weakness, life begins with death, victory looks like defeat, and so on.
This morning I’m wondering what it means for me to “conquer” in the spirit of Revelation. Lord Jesus show me the way. Amen.