Now what God saw was entirely different from what they said they saw. They said that they were rich in goods and Spiritually wealthy. They had arrived. They had need of nothing. But God saw it otherwise. He said, "You don't know this, but you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked." Now when a people are that way, especially naked and DON'T KNOW IT, there has to be something awfully wrong. Surely something must be happening. Is it not that God has blinded their eyes as He did to the Jews? Is the Gospel going back to the Jews? Is history repeating itself? I say it is.
God says this church of the Laodicean Age is "wretched". That word comes from two Greek words which mean 'endure' and 'trial.' And it has nothing to do with the trials that come to a true Christian for God describes a Christian in trial as "blessed" and his attitude one of joy whereas this description is phrased as "wretched and miserable". How strange. In this age of plenty, in this age of progress, in this age of abundance, how can there be trials? Well now, it is strange; but in this age of plenty and opportunity, when everyone has so much and there is so much more to be had, what with all the inventions to do our work and so many things to give us pleasure, SUDDENLY, we find mental illness taking such a toll as to alarm the nation. When everybody ought to be happy, with really nothing to be unhappy about, millions are taking sedatives at night, pep pills in the morning, rushing to doctors, entering institutions, and trying to drown out unknown fears by alcohol. Yes, this age boasts of its tremendous stores of worldly goods, but the people are less happy than ever. This age boasts of its spiritual attainments, but the people are less sure of themselves than ever. This age boasts of better moral values and it is more corrupt than any age since the flood. It talks about its knowledge and science, but it is fighting a losing battle in all fields, for the human mind and soul and spirit cannot comprehend or keep abreast with all the changes that have come upon the earth. In one generation we have gone all the way from the horse and buggy age to the space age, and we are proud and boastful about it; but inside is a dark void cavern that is crying out in torment, and WITHOUT A KNOWN REASON men's hearts are failing for fear and the world is so darkened that this age could well be called the age of neurotics. It boasts, but it cannot back it up. It cries peace, and there is no peace. It cries that it has a great amplitude of all things, but it keeps burning with desire like an unsatisfied fire! "There is no peace," saith my God to the wicked.
"They are miserable." That means that they are objects to be pitied. Pitied? They scorn pity. They are full of pride. They vaunt what they have. But what they have will not stand the test of time. They have built upon quicksand rather than the rock of the revelation of God's Word. Soon cometh the earthquake. Soon there will come the storms of the wrath of God in judgment. Then comes sudden destruction, and in spite of all their carnal preparation they will still be unprepared for what comes upon the earth. They are those who in spite of all their worldly efforts are actually opposing themselves and don't know it. Objects of pity are they indeed. Pity the poor people who are in this last day ecumenical move, for they call it the move of God, when it is of Satan. Pity those who do not know the curse of organization. Pity those who have so many beautiful churches, such lovely parsonages, such grandly trained choirs, such a show of wealth and such a sedate and reverent form of worship. Pity them, don't envy them. Back to the old store buildings, back to the dimly-lit rooms, back to the cellars, back to less of the world and more of God. Pity those who make their great claims, and talk about their gifts. Feel for them as objects of pity, for soon they will be objects of wrath.
"They are poor." Now of course that means Spiritually poor. The sign of this age as it closes, is bigger and better churches, with more and more people, with more and more manifestation of what is supposed to be demonstrations of the Holy Ghost. But the filled altars, the gifts of the Spirit in operation, the remarkable attendance is not the answer from God, for those who come to the altars very seldom stay to go on with God, and after the great campaigns are finished, where are all those who came down the aisles? They heard a man, they listened to an appeal, they came into the net, but they were not fish, and turtle-like they crawled back to their own waters.
Then there is all this talk about the glossalalia - it is supposed to be the evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, and people are thinking that we are in the midst of a great revival. The revival is over. America had her last chance in 1957. Now the tongues are God's sign of impending disaster, even as they were when they appeared upon the wall at Belshazzar's feast. Don't you know that many are going to come in the last day and say, "Lord, Lord, have we not done many wonderful works in Thy Name, even to the casting out of devils?" And He will say, "Depart from Me, ye that work iniquity. I never knew you." Matthew 7:22-23. Jesus said they were workers of iniquity. Yet, you get a man that can come and pray for the sick, get oil and blood appearing in the congregation, prophecy coming forth and all manner of the supernatural, and the people will gather round him, and swear that he is of the Lord, even though he is actually making a money racket of religion and living in sin. The only answer they have is the absolutely unbiblical answer of "well, he gets results, so he must be of God." How terrible. How actually poor this age is in the Spirit of God, and the poor poverty-stricken ones don't even know it.
"You are blind and naked." Now this is really desperate. How can anyone be blind and naked and not know it? Yet it says that they are blind and naked and can't perceive it. The answer is, they are spiritually blind, and spiritually naked. Do you remember when Elisha and Gehazi were surrounded by the army of the Syrians? You recall that Elisha smote them blind by the power of God. Yet their eyes were wide open and they could see where they were going. The blindness was peculiar in that they could see certain things, but other certain things such as Elisha and the servant and the camp of Israel they could not see. What this army could see did not avail for them. What they did not see brought on their captivity. Now what does this mean to us? It means exactly what it meant back there in the earthly ministry of Jesus. He tried to teach them truth, but they would not listen. John 9:40-41. "And some of the Pharisees which were with Him heard these words, and said unto Him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth." The attitude of this age is exactly what it was then. People have it all. They know it all. They cannot be taught. If a point of truth from the Word comes up and a man tries to explain his view to one with an opposing view, the listener is not at all listening that he might learn, but is listening only to refute what is being said. Now I want to ask a fair question. Can Scripture fight Scripture? Does the Bible contradict the Bible? Can there be two doctrines of truth in the Word that say the opposite or oppose the other? NO. IT CANNOT BE SO. Yet how many of God's people have their eyes open to that truth? Not even one percent, as far as I know, have learned that ALL Scripture is given by God and ALL is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, etc. If all Scripture is thusly given, then every verse will dovetail if given a chance. But how many believe in predestination unto election and reprobation unto destruction? Those who don't, will they listen? No, they will not. Yet both are in the Word, and nothing will change it. But to learn about it and reconcile the truth of those doctrines with other truths that seem to oppose, they will not take the time. But they stop their ears, and gnash with their teeth, and they lose out. At the end of this age a prophet will come, but they will be blind to all that he is doing and saying. They are so sure they are right, and in their blindness they will lose it all.
Now God says they are naked as well as blind. I cannot imagine anything as tragic as a man who is blind and naked and does not know it. There is only one answer - he is out of his mind. He is already deep in oblivion. His faculties are gone, spiritual amnesia has set in. What else can it mean? Can it mean that the Holy Spirit has taken His leave of this last day church? Can it mean that men have put God out of their minds to such an extent that it is happening even as stated in Romans 1:28. "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient." It surely appears that something like that has happened. Here is a people who say that they are of God and know God and have His Holy Spirit, and yet they are naked and blind and don't know it. They are ALREADY DECEIVED. THEY HAVE THE WRONG SPIRIT. THE ELECT CANNOT BE DECEIVED, BUT IT IS EVIDENT THAT THESE OTHERS ARE. These are they who have become blind because they refused the Word of God. These are they who have stripped themselves naked by leaving God's care and protection and sought to build their own way of salvation, their own tower of Babel by organization. Oh, how lovely and beautiful dressed they appear in their own eyes as they formed their general assembles, and their councils, etc. But now God is stripping it all away and they are naked, for these organizations have but led them into the camp of antichrist, into the field of tares, right up to their binding and burning. Objects of pity indeed they are. Yes, pity them, warn them, beseech them, and still they go their way headlong to destruction, wrathfully turning away any and all attempts to save them as brands from the burning. Miserable indeed they are, yet they know it not. Calloused and beyond hope, they glory in what is actually their shame. Defiant against the Word, yet one day they shall be judged by it and pay the price of its awful indictments. 7ch049.htm
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