What does Revelation 3:16 mean?
ESV: So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
NIV: So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
NASB: So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of My mouth.
CSB: So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth.
NLT: But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!
KJV: So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.
NKJV: So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.
Verse Commentary:
In this verse Jesus describes the church at Laodicea as lukewarm. It was customary for people in ancient times to drink hot or cold beverages at their feasts and in their religious sacrifices, but they never drank a lukewarm beverage. Such liquids are distasteful, and for good reason: they are more likely to harbor diseases. Today, on a hot day, people find a cold drink refreshing, and on a cold day they find a hot drink invigorating, but no one ever enjoys a lukewarm drink.

Laodicea did not have its own water source. It depended upon the nearby city of Hierapolis for its water. Hierapolis was constructed around numerous hot springs, so it enjoyed an abundant supply of hot water that it sent to Laodicea by way of an aqueduct. However, by the time the water reached Laodicea it had cooled to a lukewarm temperature. It would need to be cooled or re-heated prior to being fit for consumption. The lukewarm taste of the Laodiceans' religious life made Jesus feel so sick He felt like vomiting the church out of His mouth.

This presents a useful analogy for evangelism, as well. Those who are spiritually "hot" are engaged in their faith. Those who are "cold" have an opportunity to be influenced in a powerful way by the gospel. But those who are "lukewarm" are actually in a worse condition that those who are "cold." They know "just enough" about Jesus, so they're not resistant, but they're also somewhat calloused to His voice. From Jesus' perspective, it's actually better to be spiritually "cold," since that means you're more likely to notice the calling of God.
Verse Context:
Revelation 3:14–22 is Jesus' final and most strident message, addressed to the church at Laodicea. We learn from this assessment that the Laodicean church was lukewarm, smug, and self-satisfied. It boasted about its wealth and need of nothing. But the church deceived itself. In terms of its spiritual condition, it was wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Jesus urged the church to turn to Him, as He was positioned outside the church, inviting whoever heard His voice to open the door and welcome Him. Laodicea is the only church of seven which receives only criticism, and no positive remarks.
Chapter Summary:
These final letters symbolize Church history from AD 1500 to the Rapture, the event that transports the Church from earth to be with Jesus. Sardis had a good reputation, but it was actually spiritually dead. Philadelphia had a good opportunity to spread the gospel, and it had kept Jesus' word and had remained loyal to Him. As such, Jesus promises to reward this church's conquerors. Laodicea was proud of its wealth, but was spiritually lukewarm, a characteristic that Jesus detests. He promises to fellowship with anyone in the church who would heed His voice and welcome Him. Laodicea is the only church given no praise by Christ.
Chapter Context:
This chapter concludes the letters Jesus instructed the apostle John to write to seven churches in Asia Minor. Those messages began in chapter 2. This passage ends the section of Revelation that describes the things that are (Revelation 1:19), meaning the things which existed in John's lifetime. Chapter 1 describes what John had seen (Revelation 1:19), and chapter 4 begins John's account of what was to take place in the future (Revelation 1:19).
Book Summary:
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
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