By Norm Franz
First Published: June 15, 2001 | Last update: August 6, 2009
In chapters two and three of the book of Revelation, Jesus speaks to the seven churches of Asia Minor. He addresses both their accomplishments, as well as their on going rebellion. Then He commands five of the seven churches to repent or they will not share in the great rewards of the overcomers in Jesus Christ.
Prophetically speaking, Jesus is also describing the condition of the worldwide body of Christ as we enter the end of the age. He commends us for our accomplishments, but He also rebukes us for our rebellion, and commands us to repent.
The Church of Laodicea is unique in that it has no good deeds, but is a lukewarm church that ends up being spit out of God's mouth. Their lukewarmness is the result of their great love of money and their lust for riches that leads them to seek prosperity rather than God's righteousness. This church builds an artificial wealth that caused them to believe they are rich and wealthy and have need of nothing, but God says they are really wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked:
"And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: 'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked...'" (Revelation 3:14-17 NAS)
Today, the church of Laodicea is that part of the body that emphasizes financial prosperity over biblical righteousness. I'm talking about the prosperity gospel which teaches that having money is the primary sign of spirituality. If this were true, Donald Trump, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet would all be apostles.
Consequently, this has led many Christian believers to chase after every kind of money-making, get rich quick scheme imaginable. From the off-shore arbitrages that never pay off, to leveraged options trading in the currency markets, to promises of huge transfers of wealth that are continuously delayed, the prosperity church has abandoned the commandments of God for the sake of gaining a buck.
However, when these prosperity schemes fail, debt always seems to be their fallback position. That's because debt gives them the image of prosperity without them actually having to be prosperous. Moreover, the OPM (Other People's Money) syndrome, which promotes borrowing your way to prosperity, has driven the body of Messiah into the debt pit along with the most of the world. In other words, they look wealthy, but in the end they are really nothing more than debtors who are the slaves (property) of their lenders (Pr. 22:7; Rev, 18:13).
Rich Man Poor Man
In every financial crisis since the 1987 stock market crash, I have met with numerous rich men who have become poor men over night. One wealthy industrialist from Indonesia said that, before Asia's financial crisis hit in 1997, he had the wealth of seven generations, but after the crisis hit, all he had was a mountain of debt that ten generations could not pay back.
In other words, before 1997, he considered himself to be rich and wealthy and in need of nothing, but when the debt bubble collapsed, it revealed that most of his wealth was only an image build on debt that could not be paid back. Consequently, overnight he and many other believers in Asia discovered that they were rich men, who were actually poor men of the church of Laodicea.
Unfortunately, the current global financial crisis has revealed that many believers around the world, who thought they were prosperous, are actually broke. Material possessions purchased with credit, that once made them look wealthy, have been repossessed by their true owners - i.e., the lenders. As a result, they are coming to realize that they too are part of the "Rich Man" who is really a "Poor Man" church of Laodicea.
Great End Time Shaking
I believe that all the financial calamities since 1987 have been part of the great end time shaking that God is using to expose the unrighteousness of the world financial system. Consequently, today's global economic crisis is one of the great prophetic sign that we are moving rapidly toward the end of the age and the return of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah.
The financial losses are a form of discipline that is designed to wake us up and call us to repent and return to the ways of God. Therefore, Yeshua's (Jesus') message to end time church of Laodicea is the same as that of the Apostle John's day:
"Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." (Revelation 3:19-21)
In His love and mercy, God is giving those who have found themselves to part this lukewarm church another opportunity to return to His ways in the area of finance and investments. May we all hear His cry and repent.