Laodicea

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne. Rev. 3:21

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As the last and worst of the seven churches, the author begins the letter exalting Christ with attributions of great authority: “The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the source of God’s creation . . .” (Rev. 3:14) that give significance to the next phrase “I know your works, that you are neither hot nor cold” (Rev. 3:15). These words are an indictment of those in Laodicea’s Christian community who have grown comfortable in their earthly riches and smug in their spiritual elitism. Not realizing the precariousness of their situation, Jesus counsels the church “to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich” (the priceless cost of salvation), “white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness” (the shame of sin), and “salve to put on your eyes, so you can see” (blindness to their condition) (Rev. 3:18). The author warns the Laodicean church to repent, then consoles them, giving Christ as an example of the reward awaiting the obedient “the promise to give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne” (Rev. 3:21).

One of the things that fascinated Tiffany about the stained glass at Chartres cathedral was that it told a story and conveyed an idea. The Laodicean angel is masculine in the same way as the Pergamos angel. The placement of his cloak behind his shoulders makes the chest armor, as well as the leg armor and sabatons, the predominant articles of clothing. Large, ruby-colored chunk glass jewels embellish the cloak at the shoulder. The tunic front, decorated with a large yellow cross on a yellow-green field, terminates with ripple glass simulating fringe.
The middle layer of glass sheeting at the shirtsleeves has been embellished to mimic chain mail. Wearing a crown, representative of victory over death, the Laodicean angel holds a scepter in his left hand as a reminder that those who overcome their sins will reign with God in glory.


Theologian Emanuel Swedenborg says Laodicea represents those who “at one time deny and at another time acknowledge” the Lord as the source of all that is good and true. In the letter to Laodicea they are challenged to be diligent in keeping the Lord as their guide and not to backslide into believing that they do good or know truth from themselves. They are promised that “to those who overcome I will grant to sit with me in my throne.” This means that “they will have conjunction with the Lord in heaven.”