(Revelation 3:18-19) “I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. (19) ‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent.”
(1 John 2:27): “And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”
It’s critical to keep in mind that Laodicea, who Jesus speaks to, is a “church,” a congregation of believers in Jesus Christ. As I discussed last time, Laodicea means “righteous people,” referring to their self-perceived righteousness. These “christians” believe in their heart they are “rich” by believing in Christ, have “abundance” by their good works, and have “need of nothing” because they are saved and on their way to heaven. However, Jesus exposes their true condition as deplorable, pitiful, and bankrupt. Keep in the forefront of your mind that Jesus is speaking of their spiritual condition. It’s a grave and common mistake, especially with Jesus’ words, to read scripture in a “natural” sense all the time. He said he spoke in parables and his words were “spirit” and “life.” He also reminds Laodicea that his harsh rebuke and discipline is a sign of love, and he encourages them to zealously repent, which literally means to zealously reconsider their belief systems and to begin to perceive on a deeper level.
Jesus first counsel is to get “gold refined by fire.” This refers to gold that has undergone intense fire, which melts the gold and allows the impurities within it to be seen and removed. Once Laodicea has this refined gold, Jesus says they will truly be “rich.” The gold Jesus speaks of is simply that which is precious and leads to increasing wealth in the kingdom of God. In scripture, gold is compared with wisdom, but wisdom is said to be far superior and God alone knows where it is hidden. Wisdom and understanding are the “gold” of God’s kingdom.
When you are taught by Jesus Himself, through the Holy Spirit (see 1 John 2:27 above), you can access this gold (wisdom) and become rich in the sight of God. God doesn’t regard much of what men do, including religious men. The gold Jesus counsels Laodicea to buy is imperishable and has been purified not with physical fire, but with the fire of God’s judgment which consumes and separates every spiritual impurity. If this comes to our life, it can be painful and a cause for “fear and trembling,” but it’s also a cause for great rejoicing, because it means God receives us as His children. (Hebrews 12): “6 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.” 8 …But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.” And as Jesus reminded Laodicea: “those whom I love, I reprove and discipline…”
When we undergo this fire, that which is not from God is consumed or separated from the truly precious “gold” of all which was from Him. I believe this primarily takes place within our heart, which is the core of our thoughts and beliefs. In 1 Timothy 1:5, Paul says the goal of his teaching is “love from a pure heart…” What “pure heart” means is one’s core of thought and belief (mind) which is untainted by the traditions, teachings, religious ideas of men and is therefore “purely” of God. It isn’t having no desire for sinful things – that would be better called a “clean” heart. I believe many well-established religious ways of thinking and their resulting “good” works will be burned up in this fire, because they were not based on God’s mind, but the minds of men. We can only access God’s mind by Spirit-to-spirit revelation of truth and wisdom.
The second thing Jesus says to buy is “white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed…” The purpose of a garment is to be a covering. What needs covered? The natural realm mirrors the spiritual realm. In the natural, the shamefulness of our naked flesh is covered by our clothing. In the spiritual, the shame of our “flesh” is also covered by spiritual “garments.” Flesh in this case speaks of the focus on and obedience of SELF. When self is the focus and is served, self is god and king. Self/flesh is permanently opposed to God and must be crucified. (Romans 8): 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so… 13 … for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die…” (Galatians 5): 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh…” 24 Now those who are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
I believe the “white garments” here represent the righteousness and purity of Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus became radiantly white when he was transfigured. Angels who appeared to men were brilliantly white. The “overcomers” (of self) in Revelation 3:4-5 are said to be clothed in white. Once the pride of self in its good or its knowledge (see: the Pharisees) is humbled and the flesh is crucified, then one can receive the white garment of Jesus Christ himself. God recognizes nothing else, as everything good that is of man is, according to scripture “wood, hay and stubble,” “filthy rags,” and worthless.
Finally, Jesus counsels Laodicea to buy “eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.” Our natural eyes give us sight and perception of the physical realm. We also have “eyes,” or faculties of perception, into the invisible realms of soul and spirit. Paul spoke of the “eyes of your heart” in Ephesians 1:18, which he prayed would be “enlightened” by the Spirit of God. In Matthew 6:22-23, Jesus spoke of the singular “eye” (referring to one’s perception of the spiritual realm) which gives light within, which can be “clear” or “bad.” Jesus says this “eye” should be “single” (KJV). The word “single” is the Greek word haplous. It literally means “without folds or braids,” in the sense of whole, single, uncomplicated, simple. I think Jesus is saying that one’s spiritual eyesight/perception needs to be without any mixture of darkness caused by the traditions and teachings of selfish, fearful men, which causes confusion. Jesus then warns that if the “light” (truth and understanding) we claim to have is actually darkness (error and confusion), then this is the most extreme darkness there is. This is why saying one has “need of nothing” is so dangerous.
The “eye salve” Jesus counsels them to buy and to “anoint” their eyes with is the Greek word kollourion. It actually comes from a base word meaning “glue,” and refers to a thick glue-like paste that would be applied to eyes to soothe them. “Anoint” is the word egchrio, has some interesting possible meanings, but likely just means to “rub in” with the idea of “receiving.” Priests were “anointed” with oil as a symbol of their intended function before God. I think a literal translation of Jesus admonition here is to buy “eye-glue to rub in your eyes, that you may see.” The idea is our natural, carnal eyes (human perception, often based on fear, tradition or confusion) being covered or glued shut, with the presence of the Holy Spirit covering them. Again, 1 John 2:27, which I quoted at the beginning, says: “you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie…” To perceive spiritually based on the “sight” of this anointing, which John spoke of, requires first that “eye-salve” be applied to glue shut or negate one’s natural, carnal perceptions. If this is not done, then the carnal, religious perception will remain the “light” within, which Jesus calls the most extreme darkness. God forbid.
So, Jesus says to Laodicea, the self-righteous and spiritually satisfied and complacent, that if they want to have anything of spiritual value, they need three things: 1). Wisdom which is set on fire and requires a process of burning and separating impurities, 2). the righteousness of Christ himself which requires true humility and self-abasement, and 3). spiritual perception which requires the “gluing shut” of one’s carnal eyes. My counsel for us all is to take Christ’s counsel earnestly, and to desperately cry out for wisdom, true righteousness, and clear sight. Let us be still before God to learn of and be equipped by Him. God bless you.