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Sixth Edition, 1915
By Dr. John Thomas (first edition written 1861)



Chapter 3


6. I am about to vomit thee out of my Mouth




What was to be done with a generation of such apostates from the faith and hope of the gospel? Were the gifts of the Spirit to be continued with them, by which they had been as in the mouth of the Spirit speaking to the world for the conversion of sinners; and for the building themselves up in the knowledge of the Son of the Deity? Should the light of the Spirit still burn in the lampstand, and be regarded with indifference or as useless, to so rich and prosperous a community of christians, as they esteemed themselves? The sun may shine, but the blind do not see him; no anointing spirit which taught them all things (1 John ii. 27) was in their lampstand, but they were so deluded by traditions that they could not discern it. Even as it is now. The Bible which teacheth all things necessary for wisdom and salvation is in all "the churches," and read from all the pulpits; but so perverted is the public mind by clerical theology, that when the truth is read, the people cannot discern its import. The Angel of the ecclesia of Laodiceans was emphatically "the wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked one." They were in spirit, as was Balaam, who strove to prophesy against Israel for the wages of unrighteousness which he loved. They had been baptized or immersed "into the Name of the Holy Spirit," and had received the gifts of the Spirit; but the first generation of the Angel-Presbytery had diminished; and men speaking perverse things to draw disciples after themselves had got in among them as "successors," and by their teaching had created a lukewarmness towards the things of the name and faith of the Anointed Jesus. They had therefore become as the incompatible ingesta of an irritable and nauseated stomach. This was their relation to the Spirit in whom they were for the time. If they had been cold they would have been refreshing; for "as the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger (or angel) to them that send him; for he refresheth the soul of his masters" (Prov. xxv. 13). "Would, saith the Spirit, that thou wert cold!" for then, as it was a harvest time, the Father and the Son would have been refreshed in beholding their faithfulness. But they were not cold, in other words, they were not a faithful angel-presbytery. Neither were they hot. They had no zeal for the truth, therefore they did not speak it forth. "They needed nothing," they said; they were rich, and had made their fortune. They were transformed into a hierarchy of clergymen, and had become more potent in Laodicea than the priests of the idol temples which were closed for the want of worshippers. They were looked up to by the wealth and fashion of the city as the ambassadors of the Deity, and the inspired mediators between heaven and earth; and were respected and honored by the plaudits and largesses of the rich, in whom, as we have seen, Laodicea did greatly abound. The rich ministered to them abundantly in temporals, so that they had "need of nothing:" and in return they ministered to them "smooth things" after the fashion of the ministrations of the intensely pious, respectable, sleek, and downy "ministers of grace," who now abound on every side, even of

The things that mount the rostrum with a skip,

And then skip down again; pronounce a text;

Cry hem! and reading what they never wrote,

Just thirty minutes, huddle up their work,

And with a well-bred whisper close the scene." -- Cowper.

They said "they had need of nothing." Much is implied in these words when uttered by an eldership contemporary with an apostle. When "the gospel of the kingdom" first visited Laodicea in the first half, or middle, of the first century, its population was divided between the Jews and Pagans. The latter had become like the Papists of France and Italy in our time, worshippers from habit of the objects they despised; while the Jews were more zealous for mere human tradition than the righteousness of the law. Here, then, was a great work to be performed, -- the turning of these Jews and pagans from the Satan to the Deity, as manifested in the Anointed Jesus. So long as a minority remained to be converted, there was work to be done, and the party appointed to do it could not say "they had need of nothing," while their work remained unfinished. That work was never accomplished; for when it had progressed to a certain point, the christian body in Laodicea became "lukewarm;" they ceased to be "hot;" their meditation upon the word ceasing, the fire also ceased to burn; and they no longer spoke with their tongue the glorious and wonderful works of the Deity (Ps. xxxix. 3). They had vanquished the temples and the synagogues in the argument; they had reduced them to silence, and had no longer in Laodicea an open enemy to contend with; the pressure from without was removed, and taking the lead in Laodicean society, as the clergy do now, with traditions to suit all comers, they were infected with the spirit of the world which hearkened to them, because of the compact which had been established by their unfaithfulness. By way of illustration, ask the divines who officiate in the odor of sanctity in the fashionable pulpits of New York City, London, and so forth, well paid, and pampered with all the luxuries of life, honored by a delighted world, arrayed, if not in purple, in the glossiest black, and fine linen, and splendidly lodged in elegantly furnished abodes -- ask such if there is any thing they need? They believe they are the elect; the successors of the apostles, and "the ambassadors of Jesus Christ;" they say they are christians, and ministers of righteousness, and that their rich and prosperous flocks are "the Church of God," the very kingdom of heaven itself -- what, then, can they possibly need? Do they desire a large attendance of the ill-clad poor in their gorgeous and pillared temples? Is it for the great unwashed, the bone and sinew of society, they have caused to be erected their "houses of God," tricked off with carpetry and plush? It is notorious, that "immortal souls" in the rough and sordid exterior of poverty, are not wanted in the fashionable "churches," the clerical synagogue of the Satan. Having, therefore, all they desire, the language of their condition is, "I am rich, and abound in wealth, and have need of nothing." They are perfectly satisfied with what exists, and are unwilling that it should be disturbed. They are surrounded by society in festering rottenness, and in profound ignorance of the prophets and apostles; but they do nothing beyond the pale of their own little respectabilities. True, a society may send hirelings to visit the dens of poverty, but they are needy adventurers, not the well-to-do pastors of fashionable and wealthy flocks, who get a home-missionary berth for a piece of bread. Such is the system originating in and worked out by Sin's Flesh, which was the same in the first century that it is in the nineteenth. Hence, when professors of christianity in these two centuries say, "we are rich, and abound in wealth, and have need of nothing," it is because the same temporal and spiritual condition is characteristic of each.

This wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked one of Laodicea, is regarded as being symbolically in the mouth of the Spirit. This must be admitted, or it will be altogether inconceivable how she could be "vomited out" of his mouth. As we have said, the Star-Angel Presbytery had been "immersed into the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" upon the belief of the gospel of the kingdom, which entitled them to be addressed in the same language as their brethren in Thessalonica, whom Paul describes as "IN the Deity the Father, and IN the Lord Jesus Anointed" (1 Thess. i. 1). To be "in the Lord Jesus Anointed" was the same as being "in the Son, and the Holy Spirit," for it required the Son and the Holy Spirit to constitute the Lord Jesus Anointed. The Laodicean Angel was therefore in the Lord Jesus Anointed, or in the Spirit; and there was no way in which they could be expelled, ejected, or vomited forth, but by the mouth of the Spirit. Now, if one man in his indignation say to another, "I vomit, or spue, you out of my mouth," the saying imports, that he henceforth repudiates all association with him with extreme loathing. The Spirit did not say that he had done this, or there would have been no scope for counsel, discipline, and admonition. A community pretending to be christian, but in fact repudiated by the Spirit, has no communion with the Christ, is the subject of no discipline, and receives no admonition, or fatherly instruction. "Whom the Lord loves he chastens," and where there is no chastening, as in the case of "the Names and Denominations" of "christendom," professors are bastards, and not sons (Heb. xii. 5-8). The Spirit said, "I am about to vomit thee out of my mouth, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot." There is, however, no evidence that the gifts of the Spirit were withdrawn, and the light of the presbyterial lampstand extinguished, in the generation contemporary with the publication of the Apocalypse. It is possible that discipline and admonition operating upon some of them may have resulted in a change, and a renewed manifestation of zeal, to which they were exhorted by the Spirit; for if he had no people among them capable of being saved, the exhortation would have been entirely useless, "be zealous, therefore," said he, "and change."




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