Previous Verse Next Verse


Write this to angel of the church

at Laodicea. The AMEN,

Go to footnote number

The true and faithful witness

Go to footnote number

the ruler of creation,

Go to footnote number

says these things:


Write this to the church that is fully known and understood by God and is tempted with the attitude that says, “I already have it all.” THE ONE WHO BRINGS ASSURANCE, the true and faithful martyr, the causative force behind God’s creation says these things:



The term “amen” was used to affirm something. It also means “assurance, or certitude,” which is not that far removed from affirmation, just stronger. Here it is being communicated that Jesus is the one who can surely make happen what He says He will do. He can be trusted.


The word “witness” also means “martyr.” In Greek they are the same thing.


“The ruler of creation” can also be translated “the beginning of creation.” The idea expressed by “the beginning of” something is that of cause, or origin. The fact that He is described here as the cause or originator of creation means that He is also the ruler of all creation; He claims mastery over it by virtue of having caused it. In my opinion, to say He is the ruler of creation more clearly expressed the point that is intended.

The Possible Symbolism of Laodicea

What the city was known for: This was a successful city. It was probably the wealthiest of the seven cities mentioned by name. It was known as a banking center. It was also known for a highly desirable black wool, thus it was a hub for the textile industry. Besides that, they made and exported eye salve, and had a medical school.

It appears that the leaders of the city had been willing to compromise with their enemies in order to keep their wealth and success. This attitude of compromise had apparently crept into the church as well.

Laodicea was dependent on outside sources for water. Hierapolis was nearby, it had therapeutic, mineral-laden hot springs. Those hot springs are still active today and are still frequented by people who are seeking their healing qualities.

Click on this link to see a photo of some of the pools with people for scale:

Colossae was also within sight, but further away. Colossae had cold streams of fresh, pure water coming from the melting snow off the mountains nearby.

Click on the following link to see a photo of the tel of Colossae with the snowcapped mountains in the background:

Or this one:

So from Laodicea they could look one direction and see the steam from the therapeutic hot springs of Hierapolis, and look another direction and see the mountains from which Colossae got its cold, refreshing water.

But the water at Laodicea was not desirable for any reason. Most of their water came from 6 miles away, through an aqueduct, and was full of minerals. But it was neither refreshing nor therapeutic. And it was nasty to drink. Pipes still visible today show a thick build-up of minerals on the inside of the pipe so that the water has only a small opening to pass through. Not only was it nasty, but it was not beneficial in any way.

The spiritual condition of the believers at Laodicea was neither refreshing, nor healing. It was not beneficial to anyone.

What the city’s name meant: The meaning of the city’s name was “the just people.” As the people of the town thought of themselves as being good people, not lacking in moral character, so the believers in Jesus thought of themselves as adequate Christians, having all the spiritual vitality they needed. As long as they were good and just people, they had need of nothing more. However, this attitude disguised the fact that they lacked humility which is a key element of spirituality. The fact that they thought of themselves as not lacking anything showed that they had great spiritual need, but their pride kept them from seeing it. You will notice that Jesus has nothing good to say about this church.