4. I WILL VOMIT YOU OUT OF MY MOUTH

In the last article on Laodicea, we have seen that this last church of Revelation—the one living just before the Second Advent of Jesus Christ—doesn’t live up to the special revelation it has been given, nor to the general revelation, which we saw in the previous article, is given to those who, without having the law, live the law, and are a law unto themselves. Laodicea is not cold nor hot—it is neither a bearer of good news sent from Jesus Himself, nor does it respond to the calling of God’s Holy Spirit, which calls on all peoples. O how Jesus so wishes that it was at least one of the two!

I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

Revelation 3: 15-16

Since Laodicea is neither cold not hot but lukewarm, Jesus’ reaction is to spit, spew it out—vomit it out of His mouth. 

We almost don’t need to go to the Bible in order to understand why someone would vomit. It is usually caused by some kind of contamination in the body that triggers the desire to vomit. Vomiting is our body’s defense mechanism to protect itself when some mild or severe contaminant has affected the body. Would we get even more insight if we did go to the Bible? Certainly! Therefore, there we shall go.

The passage that stood out to us in this search for the meaning of vomiting is Leviticus 18. This entire chapter is a list of sexual sins that God wants the children of Israel to abstain from. The chapter starts with this preamble:

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God. According to the doings of the land of Egypt, where you dwelt, you shall not do; and according to the doings of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you, you shall not do; nor shall you walk in their ordinances. You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.

Leviticus 18: 1-5

God clearly states that the children of Israel were not to act according to “the land of Egypt,” where they had come from, nor according to “the land of Canaan,” where they were going to—where God was taking them to posses the land. We can assume then, that everything that follows this preamble was being practiced by the Egyptians and the Canaanites. This long and detailed list of prohibited sexual acts begins with verse six and ends with verse twenty-three. They range from incest to adultery, from homosexuality to bestiality, and there is even a warning to not pass one’s descendents—one’s own children—through the fire (passing through the fire really means child sacrifice).

What is the reason God gives as to why His people should not get involved in all these things? The reason is so that the land would not vomit them out! It appears that the land itself is affected by their behavior and its gut reaction is to vomit them out!

‘Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitantsYou shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you (for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled), lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you. For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people.

Leviticus 18: 24-29

God emphatically tells the children of Israel to not defile themselves with the things that the Egyptians and the Canaanites had defiled themselves as listed in this chapter, because by defiling themselves they end up defiling the land and eventually the land will vomit them out. The question then is: what exactly does “defile” mean?

The Hebrew word for “defile” used here is:

ṭâmê’

A primitive root; to be foul, especially in a ceremonial or moral sense (contaminated): – defile (self), pollute (self), be (make, make self, pronounce) unclean, utterly.

Strong

The Word Study develops the meaning of the word “defile” a little further:

ṭām’āh: A verb meaning to be unclean, to desecrate, to defile, to make impure. The main idea of the action was that of contaminating or corrupting, especially in the sight of God. The Levitical Law often spoke in terms of sexual, religious, or ceremonial uncleanness. Any object or individual who was not clean could not be acceptable to the Holy God of Israel. Examples of actions that caused a state of impurity would include eating forbidden food (Hos 9:4); worshiping idols (Psa 106:39; Hos 5:3); committing adultery or engaging in sexual relations outside of marriage (Gen 34:5; Num 5:13; Ezk 18:6); touching unclean objects or individuals (Lev 5:3; Lev 18:24; Lev 19:31); and any action that violated the sacredness of the Lord (Jer 32:34). It was the duty of the priesthood to discern matters of impurity (Lev 13:3; Hag 2:13) and to see that the strict rituals of purification were followed.

Word Study

We now see that to defile means to be unclean, poluted, impure, contaminated, corrupted. Why does God have this seeming obsession  with purity and cleanliness? Do these things have meaning only in the physical world? Is God a clean freak? Or is He trying to call our attention to something that is of supreme importance and of deep spiritual significance regarding His own character? Did Jesus bring any clarity to this issue? We find the answer in 1 John 1: 5, as John wrote:

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

1 John 1: 5

The essence of Jesus’ message—”this is THE message”—as related by John, is that there is no uncleanliness, polution, impurity, contamination or corruption in God.

According to Leviticus 18, the land, it would seem, is impartial—symbolically. It will vomit up anyone who becomes defiled, and God tells the children of Israel that it would be no different with them. What does God recommend they do in order to prevent this terrible disaster?

‘Therefore you shall keep My ordinance, so that you do not commit any of these abominable customs which were committed before you, and that you do not defile yourselves by them: I am the Lord your God.’ ”

Leviticus 18: 30

Take a look at the next passage from the Book of Isaiah, which describes in a similar manner the consequences of becoming defiled:

Behold, the Lord makes the earth empty and makes it waste,
Distorts its surface
And scatters abroad its inhabitants.
And it shall be:
As with the people, so with the priest;
As with the servant, so with his master;
As with the maid, so with her mistress;
As with the buyer, so with the seller;
As with the lender, so with the borrower;
As with the creditor, so with the debtor.
The land shall be entirely emptied and utterly plundered,
For the Lord has spoken this word.

The earth mourns and fades away,
The world languishes and fades away;
The haughty people of the earth languish.
The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants,
Because they have transgressed the laws,
Changed the ordinance,
Broken the everlasting covenant.
Therefore the curse has devoured the earth,
And those who dwell in it are desolate.
Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned,
And few men are left.

Isaiah 24: 1-6

As we look at these verses, it would appear that the earth itself becomes “defiled under its inhabitants” who transgress God’s “laws,” who change the “ordinance,” and who break “the everlasting covenant.”

Isaiah adds a new meaning by saying “therefore the curse has devoured the earth, and those who dwell in it are desolate.” What is the curse? Does this not take us back to the Garden of Eden, where God informed Adam that by eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil he had brought a curse upon the earth? Don’t we then see that this curse has a direct connection to the Tree that the Serpent peddled to Eve?

At this point, the reader may ask: does this relate to Jesus’ vomiting Laodicea out of His mouth? Aren’t we taking this a bit too far? The answer to the first question is, yes, and to the second is, no. We are not taking this too far. We can definitely glean a spiritual application out of Leviticus 18. After all, doesn’t the Bible itself do that? Isn’t spiritual corruption compared to sexual corruption even in the book of Revelation itself? Take a look:

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”

So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written:

MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT,
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS
OF THE EARTH.

I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.

Revelation 17: 1-6

Babylon is the “mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth.” These abominations are not only theological falsehoods, but also literal sexual issues, as seen in Leviticus 18. We know that Babylon will suffer the same fate as that of Egypt and Canaan because it too has become defiled  and “transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” Therefore the land will also vomit it out. Because of Babylon’s infidelity to the only true God, “the curse” is devouring the earth right before our eyes, “and those who dwell in it are desolate.” Why are they desolate? Desolate because God is gradually departing from it as He is gradually rejected, just as Jesus, when He was rejected by Jerusalem said:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ 

Matthew 23: 39.

If Laodicea is about to be vomited out of Jesus mouth, then Laodicea is a  daughter of Babylon, who is “the mother of harlots.” This seventh angel of the churches, ie. the seventh messenger of good news, has defiled herself with the abominations, falsehoods and deceptions of Babylon. Lukewarm Laodicea is mixed, unclean, poluted, impure, contaminated, corrupted. It has “transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” While Jesus, our Heavenly High Priest, is cleansing, purifying the Sanctuary, Laodicea is backsliding and moving away from Jesus’ cleasing work.

The poison that permeates Laodicea is so toxic in Jesus’ stomach that it causes Him to vomit. This is very serious imagery. The Psalmist describes their poison as the “poison of asps”—serpents:

Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men;
Preserve me from violent men,
Who plan evil things in their hearts;
They continually gather together for war.
They sharpen their tongues like a serpent;
The poison of asps is under their lips.

Psalm 140: 1-3

Now Paul quotes this Psalm in Romans chapter 3, when he describes the condition of the entire human race, that “there is none righteous, no, not one:”

As it is written:

“There is none righteous, no, not one;

There is none who understands;

There is none who seeks after God.

They have all turned aside;

They have together become unprofitable;

There is none who does good, no, not one.”

“Their throat is an open tomb;

With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;

“The poison of asps is under their lips”;

“Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”

“Their feet are swift to shed blood;

Destruction and misery are in their ways;

And the way of peace they have not known.”

“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Romans 3: 10-18

We may well ask the question then: If all human beings are like this, as described above, then why would Jesus find fault with Laodicea? 

We believe Jesus finds fault with Laodicea for two main reasons, and the first has to do with vomiting, again!

First, as the last of the seven churches, laodicea has received the most light of all the churches. This is so, not only because it is the last church and therefore it has a vast amount of cumulative knowledge at its fingertips, but because, as mentioned earlier, Laodicea has received special revelation.  Laodicea was once enlightened, it once knew the difference between God and Baal, it once knew Jesus and was once saved by His grace, but now it has returned to its former lost condition under the curse of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil—a corrupted tree, because of its mixture of good and evil. It has returned to the worship of Baal, it has returned to its own vomit—the teachings of the serpent! Take a look:

As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.

Proverbs 26: 11

The second reason Jesus finds fault with this church is that not only has it returned to its own vomit, but it is leading its flock to return to its own vomit as well! Laodicea, you were an annointed messenger and teacher of good news, but now you have become a Pied Piper!

We entreat the reader to read the entire second chapter of 2 Peter. In there, Peter addresses destructive doctrines, describes the doom and the depravity of false teachers, and ends with these words, regarding their deceptions:

For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”

2 Peter 2: 18-22

Laodicea speaks great swelling words of emptiness, it beguiles its hearers through what their carnal nature is itching to hear. The Laodicean teachers promise liberty but cannot deliver it because they themselves are slaves to the principles of corruption—the corruption, the mixture of light and darkness, the duality of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They knew Jesus’ message that God was only light and that in Him there was no darkness at all, but they have gone back to believing and teaching a dualistic God of love and violence. 

Laodicea has not only defiled the land, it has defiled God’s name. Its own special teacher is no longer the Jesus of the Tree of Life, but Satan, of the defiled Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Therefore, Jesus will vomit Laodicea out of His mouth unless it repents. It will no longer be His mouthpiece, His chosen and annointed messenger unless it has a metanoia experience, as we shall soon see. And there is no partiality with God.