Laodicea's Meandering River
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Laodicea's Meandering River (Revelation 3.14-16)

"And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: 'These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler [or "origin" or "beginning"] of God's creation: 'I know your deeds; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm - neither cold nor hot - I am about to spit you out of my mouth.'" (Revelation 3.14-16)✞

Archippus

Meandering riverBeyond the Gates of Phrygia lay a broad valley which linked together Lydia, Phrygia and Caria. Laodicea's meandering river called appropriately the River Maeander entered that valley by a narrow precipitous gorge through which no road could pass. The road, therefore, detoured through the Lycus valley and in that valley stood Laodicea. Of all the seven Churches of Revelation, Laodicea is most condemned. There seems to be no redeeming feature in it.✞

Bishop Archippus Reprimanded

Icon of ArchippusArchippus whose icon is shown at left was believed to be the first Bishop of the Church in Laodicea. Although he may have been one of the seventy two disciples also known in the Eastern Christian tradition as the Seventy Apostles appointed by Jesus. Luke 10.1-2a reads in part, "After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.'" Some manuscripts read "seventy" instead of "seventy-two" also in verse 17. Archippus was reprimanded in "The Apostolic Constitutions 8.46". It says that Archippus should have been careful to fulfill the ministry which he had been given.

Fulfil Your Ministry

Archippus and PaulWhen Paul was writing in Colossians 4.17 to the neighboring Church of Colossae, he said sternly, "Tell Archippus: 'See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.'" It would seem that Archippus was somehow failing in his duty. That was thirty years before the Revelation was written, but it may be that the rot had already set in at the Church of Laodicea.

"Laodicea's Meandering River"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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