One of the things I love about my work for the Chalcedon Foundation is that I’m always learning while I’m working. Not always learning entirely new things. More often, being shown something I really should have noticed before.
Today, editing an article by Martin Selbrede, I was reminded of the difference between “ye” and “thou,” especially in the King James Version of the Bible. “Ye” is plural–“all of you”–and “thou” is singular–“you, to whom I’m speaking.”
Which brings up Jesus’ warning to “the angel of the church in Laodicea” in Revelation Chapter 3. “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth…” (verses 15-16).
How many times have I read that passage without realizing that Our Lord was not speaking to the whole congregation of that church, but only to a specific person–the “angel” of that church? And I think we can take “angel” not literally, but as a term for a human being who was that church’s guiding spirit–a pastor, a bishop, maybe even an apostle.
Indeed, all the warnings to all seven of the churches addressed in Chapters 2 and 3 are given to the angels of those churches. That would seem to imply a serious problem with the church leadership throughout Asia Minor–not at all surprising, in the light of the various Epistles by Paul, Peter, James, and John.
Now I have to re-order my thinking about those two chapters in Revelation. Maybe because I live in an age in which so much church leadership is for the birds–if even the birds would have it–Christ’s warning suddenly becomes more relevant. More timely. To whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48) applies to everyone of high position.
Some of the angels of today’s churches are going to have to do an awful lot of fast talking, come Judgment Day.