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5th day, 11th month, 5765
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by Rav. David Pollina
The seven assemblies of Revelation 2-3 were actual groups of believers meeting at the time the apostle John was given the Revelation. On the pashat (plain) meaning level, these comments are seen as being addressed to these assemblies. Yet, many have seen parallels between the individual problems mentioned and specific 'eras' of history, with Ephesus being the first, and Laodicea the last.
Are we "living in Laodicea" as the song goes? If so, what can we learn from the admonitions to them and apply to our lives today and leave Laodicea?
There is a striking parallel between the condition of the Laodicean assembly, and what Y'shua told us about the end times:
Revelation 3:15-16 (NET)
Matthew 24:12 (NET)
In Hebraic idiom to 'grow cold' means to become lukewarm, neither hot or cold - to loose the fire of first love. Now wait a minute, THAT was the same problem in the first assembly, Ephesus:
Revelation 2:4-5a (NET)
It appears that there is a root problem shared by both these assemblies - loosing the fire of love. But the interesting thing is that Y'shua never identifies this problem based on the 'heart condition', rather, He points to the ACTIONS!
Now which is the cause, and which is the effect? The answer might shock you - the cause is the actions, the effect is the diminishing love!
Here, the English translations are precisely correct in the grammar of both the Aramaic and Greek texts. Y'shua says that love will grow cold BECAUSE of 'lawlessness'. This is not speaking of men's laws, but of Yahweh's - the Torah. The Aramaic word here is EOLA - "iniquity", transgressing Divine commands. In the Greek it is ANOMIA - "the condition without Divine Law".
To further make this connection, He tells the Ephesians how to cure the problem - return to DOING. The same advice is given to the Laodiceans, through three idioms - "refined gold", "white clothing", and "eye salve", each of which has an extensive history in Tanakh meaning doing the Mitzvot (commands) of Torah.
Very often today, one hears that we must return to "the first century assembly", to the way the apostles lived and worshiped. But the wisdom that is so often missed is this cause and effect relationship. Believers today do not need to 'love more', they need to DO more, and then the love will be a natural by-product of the doing!
Starting on the path back to the first century requires a shift away from 'modern' thought patterns, as illustrated by this bit of Tushiyah. The apostles lived Torah. Their love grew as a result of their obedience. If you want to have a deeper love for the Messiah, follow the example of His apostles and take His advice - from the level of love you have, obey His Torah, DO His Mitzvot. If you do, your love for Him WILL once again become passionate, and you will leave Laodicea.
May Yahweh bless you and protect you,
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