Eye Salve

Laodicea Revisited Page 4

Strangers and Pilgrims Part I

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Eye Salve: The Third Switch

The third thing that Jesus told the Christians of Laodicea to buy from Him in Revelation 3:18 was eye salve. They had to "anoint" their "eyes with eye salve" so that they could see. In order to understand what He meant by this, we must define two key Greek words. The first is the word for "anoint". It is well known that there are several Greek words in the New Testament that are translated "love" and each means something different. In the same way, there are several Greek words translated "anoint", each of which also means something different. To understand this passage we must know which word is used here. It happens to be egkrisai , transliterated "egkrisai" and it actually means "rub in". Jesus was telling them that they had to rub something into their eyes.

Then we must understand the Greek word for "eye salve". It is the word kollourion, transliterated "kollourion" which is the name of a then - popular type of eye salve that was made in Laodicea around the time that the Book of Revelation was written. The interesting thing about this eye salve is that it came in lumps shaped like small loaves of bread. In fact, the name is a diminutive form of the Greek word for a loaf of bread. So Jesus can be understood to be telling us to rub something into our eyes that is in some way related to bread. Now what could that thing be?

We get a clue to what this thing is from II Chronicles 7:14, in the words, "...seek My face..". Many Christians have mistaken this phrase for another reinforcement of the admonition to pray. But that is not what it means. In the Old Testament, to "seek someone's face" meant to work at getting to know that person well. So how, aside from prayer, do we work at getting to know God well? By working at getting to know the Bible! In Solomon's day, this would have meant studying and meditating on the Law of Moses. That's what the writer of Psalm 1 was telling us to do. For us, it means working at getting to know the entire Bible. The "eye salve" Jesus was talking about is the Bread of Life, the Word of God! It is only by "rubbing the Scriptures into our eyes", which means filling our minds with the Word,   - and that as opposed to anything we don't need to fill our minds with - that we can heal our spiritual blindness.

The Third Switch, then, is really filling our minds with the Word of God, and, again,  that to the exclusion of anything else we don't need to allow into our minds. We must read it, study it, memorize it, and meditate on it. You must make a daily discipline of reading the Bible, and that as opposed to "inspirational literature". Of course, there is much Christian literature  that will edify you if you read it. But it must not become a substitute for the Word itself. Furthermore, some of that "inspirational literature" may contain serious errors. And the more recently it was written, and the more likely this is. See II Timothy 4:3 & 4. You should read at least two or three chapters of the Bible a day, and more if you feel so led. The more the better.

Also avoid using devotional booklets. The people who edit these books often don't have the theological background to discern what is and is not sound doctrine, and serious though subtle evil (the most dangerous kind) can slip into the best of these books. The worst of them may be out-and-out heretical. This is particularly true of devotional booklets put out by the Unity School of Christianity, which happens to be a pseudo-Christian New Age cult, but there are many Christians who unwittingly use them. It is also true of devotional material put out in connection with Alcoholics Anonymous. These booklets teach New Age philosophy disguised with Christian terminology. The definitions they give those Christian terms are not Biblical. Avoiding this material is an important part of not "touching the unclean thing".

Then, you must study the Bible. This involves really digging in the the Word to find out what it really means. Outline books and chapters. Define words and terms. Go to the Greek and Hebrew for the definitions. Use a Concordance to see how they are used in other passages. Consider when a statement was made, who it was said to, where, why and by whom. Look up names of places and people, as well as terms unique to the Bible, in a Bible Dictionary. Read what Commentaries say about the passage your are studying. Learn Bible History, and the History of the Bible (not the same subjects). Learn Church History. Learn the History of Christian thought. You must go below the surface, so to speak, to find the full and/or correct meaning of many passages. Watch for implied meanings as well as straightforward meanings. (Some of the implied meanings are more important than the straightforward meanings.) Keep organized notebooks filled with the things you find, and review them often.

Memorize the Bible. You may not think you are good at memorizing the Bible but if you work at it, you will get better. During the Tribulation, there may be no Bibles. Or owning one may be very dangerous. Then, the only Bible you may have will be the one in your head. The only way anyone can take that away from you is to take your head. (That may actually  happen to some Christians -see Revelation 6:9-11 & 20:4 - but if it does you will be with the Lord and you won't need a Bible anymore.) Besides, when you memorize the Bible, you are fulfilling Psalm 119:11. Every Christian should do this.

Meditate on Scripture. That means to think about it and how to apply it to your life. Of course, you really need to do the study and memorization as a foundation for this. That is what the blessed man in Psalm 1 did. Look at the promises made to him. Keep a journal of insights you get that way, too. If you really get your head into the Word, they will apply to you. Maybe even during the Tribulation! See also Zephaniah 2:3.

Oh, and one other thing: Believe It!!!

 

Believing the Bible

Not really believing the Bible is a big problem with modern Laodicean Christians. Within the Charismatic movement, for example, many Christians have the belief that in addition to the Word they need prophets to tell them what God's "rhema", i.e., spoken Word, is. Catholics, of course, put the dogma of the Church on the same level of authority as the Bible. Jehovah's Witness, Moonies and Mormons do essentially the same thing. All of these groups may not realize it, but they are committing the dangerous error of adding to the Word. Do you know what God promises to people who do that? See Revelation 22:18.

This is not to say that a Christian never needs a direct word from the Lord. This writer can testify from personal experience that sometimes one does. The trouble is, if you do, you may not know it. but God does. He will give you such a word, if you need it, without your having to make a deliberate act of seeking it. Again, He has done this for this writer. What you need to do is to stay close to Him so He has no problem getting the message through.

Coupled with adding to the Word is the idea that the Bible isn't necessarily accurate about various behavioral problems such as alcoholism and mental illness; problems such as are dealt with by 12-Step groups and psychotherapists. By refusing to accept and act on what the Bible says about such things, Christians are taking away from the Word. Again, look at what Revelation 22:19 says that God will take away from the people who do that. Actually, most people who do the one are also doing the other. So guess what awaits them? Many such Christians expect to be evacuated in a Pre-Trib Rapture, or they don't expect a Great Tribulation at all. The truth is, if they are doing these things, they are absolutely in for a terrible surprise.

Some Christians have been accused of being "narrow minded" when they insist that problems like alcoholism,  drug addiction, and homosexuality, etc., are basically sin, and other Christians have made the mistake of agreeing with the accusation. However, when a Christian accepts the humanistic idea that these problems are diseases, or, in the case of homosexuality, something the person was born with,  he is robbing the victim - perhaps even himself - of the real solution to the problem. For example, the Bible says that no drunkard will enter the kingdom of Heaven. God wouldn't make that exclusion if alcoholism was just a disease.

You must remember that Jesus said "...narrow the gate and difficult is the way that leads to life" (Matthew 7:15). You must  understand that the narrowness must start with your thinking. If you are called "narrow minded" because you insist on believing the Bible to mean what it says, say "Amen!" This is where some of the cost of the "eye salve" will occur. Christians who take a hard line on really believing the Bible will sometimes find themselves being persecuted even by other Christians. But you have to do it to be ready.

Many Christians believe that a person who has "mental" or "emotional" problems has to go to a psychiatrist or psychotherapist. But if such professionals are not Christian, going to one of them is to "walk in the counsel of the ungodly". See Psalm 1. Christians may not realize it, but the secular world of psychiatry and psychotherapy is blatantly hostile to Christianity. Christians have been put in mental hospitals to "cure" them of being Christian in the United States.  Other Christians, having been put in mental hospitals, have been persecuted there for their Faith. This writer knows real cases in point of both types. And you thought that that only happened in the former Soviet Union!

The same problem now exists with homosexuality. Many Christians now accept the idea that homosexuality is just a matter of "sexual preference", and is therefore not really sin. They try to twist the Scriptures to justify this. They further agree with the idea that some people are born homosexual. Now, the Bible does suggest that a weakness toward a particular sin may be inherited, but that does not make it any less a sin. The Bible says that homosexual acts are capital offences. Homosexuals should not be tolerated in society, let alone the Church. No practicing homosexual is going to Heaven. See Deuteronomy 23:17; would you allow a practicing prostitute to be part of your Church? Tolerating practicing homosexuals is no better.

Praise God, it is possible for a homosexual to be saved and to be delivered from his or her homosexuality. This writer has known a number of them. But this does not justify Christian tolerance for homosexuals. Yet some entire congregations are embracing homosexuals, and accepting their homosexuality as normal. This is one of the most extreme forms of the Laodicean condition. A Christian who is involved in such a church probably doesn't have a prayer of being ready. If your church does that, get away from it quick!

If you want to be ready for the Tribulation, you must make up your mind to really believe and obey the Bible.

"Sola Scriptura"

One of the most basic theological principles of true Christianity is "sola scriptura", the belief that our faith and doctrine must be based on the Word of God alone. And that as opposed to any teaching that, directly or indirectly, adds to it or takes away from it. And of course, as opposed to any teaching that opposes it. We must base our beliefs on the Word, the whole Word, and nothing but the Word. Most Christians accept the doctrine of the Trinity, "una substantia, tres personae", without question. This doctrine is nowhere directly stated in the Bible, but it is nevertheless acceptable because it is derived from many Scripture references. Otherwise, it would be just another "tradition of men". See Matthew 15:1-9. Some of the same people who believe in the Trinity, directly or tacitly, oppose "sola scriptura". Yet there is actually far more Biblical support for the doctrine of "sola scriptura" than there is for the doctrine of the Trinity.

A full, exhaustive exposition of all the Bible says relative to this point would take a least a large book. This entire Web site - as big as it is - wouldn't do it all. But take these few references for starters:

  • Psalm 119:89; "Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in Heaven."

  • Psalm 138:2; "For You have magnified Your word above all Your name" or, (alternate reading) "above all Your word and Your name". Either way, the reference at least sets the word of God above all else except God Himself.

  • Isaiah 8:20; "To the law and to the testimony! If they speak not according to this word, it is because their is no light in them." Isaiah says that any teaching not based on and in accordance with Scripture is devoid of truth.

And finally, the words of Jesus:

  • John 10:35; "....and the Scriptures cannot be broken".

  • Matthew 24:35; "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away."

And that's hardly even an introduction to the Bible references that support "sola scriptura".

The bottom line is, you must rub all of the "eye salve" you can get into your eyes. But if you don't really believe and obey the Word, you will still be in trouble. Unbelief is a sin that you must repent of. You must consciously decide to give to the Word the Divine Authority that is has for it to do you any good. And you must, above all, obey it!

See also, "Why Should You Believe The Bible?

The Principles discussed above are basic disciplines of the Christian life that we must put into practice or we will not be ready for the Tribulation. But they are the foundation. There are also Principles of overt obedience that all Christians must put into practice or they won't be ready even though they are doing the things discussed above. These Principles are discussed in the second section of "Strangers and Pilgrims on the Earth":

The Mandates of Matthew 25

beginning with the next page,

Three Powerful Parables

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Contact Author, William D. Brehm