Revelation 3:16

you are lukewarm
The church was no longer a light shining in the darkness. It appears to have been at peace with its enemies: the synagogue of Satan:

Antiochus settled a community of two thousand Jews in Laodicea after expelling them from Babylon. By 62 BC the governor of the city became alarmed at the amount of currency the Jews were exporting to pay the temple tax and so placed an embargo on currency (exchange control is nothing new!), and consequently seized one hundred and twenty pounds weight [Hemer gives the figure of twenty pounds, p. 182.] of gold as contraband in Laodicea and Apameia. This gold was worth about 15,000 days’ wages in those days, and as the temple tax was the equivalent of two days’ wages, this means there were at least 7,500 Jewish men (besides women and children) in these cities. When John wrote this letter more than a century later, given the prosperity of the city, the Jewish population was probably considerably higher. The significance of this probability is that, while Christians elsewhere in Asia were persecuted by the Jews (e.g., Rev. Rev. 2:9+; Rev. 3:9+), there is no mention of persecution in this city with so large a Jewish population. This silence speaks volumes, for the Christian church in Laodicea was so complacent and self-sufficient in its wealth that it had ceased to be effective for Christ; so much so that its traditional persecutor, the Jews, considered it benign.1

See Worldly Churches.

vomit you out
An equivalent threat to that given to the Ephesian angel of removing his lampstand (Rev. Rev. 2:5+). “Recent travellers with difficulty discovered one or two Christians in the poor village of Iski-hissar, which stands on the site which Laodicea occupied of old.”2 When conditions become so bad that repentance and return are not forthcoming, God turns men loose to their own destruction and loss (Jer. Jer. 15:1-4; Zec. Zec. 11:9; Rom. Rom. 1:20-28).


1 Monty S. Mills, Revelations: An Exegetical Study of the Revelation to John (Dallas, TX: 3E Ministries, 1987), Rev. 3:14.

2 Richard Chenevix Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1861), 191.