|Chapter 1||Paul's Letter to Laodicea|
[LAO 1.1] Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, through the Will of God, and the Grace of God and Timothy our Brother.
[LAO 1.2] The holy assembly of Laodicea and all the faithful brothers in it, and the wise in the Spirit of God: Grace be with you and the true peace from God, our Father, in the Lord Jesus Christ.
[LAO 1.3] We thank, extol, and praise God at all times, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and bear much concern for you; and we pray at all times for you to God.
[LAO 1.4] We have come into the knowledge through the Spirit of the Lord, and through our Brother Epaphras and through Nymphas, that you have been backsliding in several things.
[LAO 1.5] And that you have elected a bishop and a clergy, and that you want to make an idol out of Christ; and that you have selected a house, a day, and magnificent raiments.
[LAO 1.6] Consequently, how it was the custom to some extent among the heathens and among the Jews, when the circumcision of the flesh was still valid before God, which He ordered under father Abraham as a foretoken of the living circumcision of the Spirit through Jesus Christ within you.
[LAO 1.7] This I let you know now, so that you learn to know what kind of a battle I have to suffer for your sake; you have seen, and yet you have not seen, the flesh of my person,
[LAO 1.8] And that you are being severely admonished in your heart and that you may gather your love, wherein is contained all the wealth of the conscientious reason in order to recognize the great secret of God, the Father, in His Son, Jesus Christ,
[LAO 1.9] Where within are concealed all the treasures of wisdom and the living cognition in the Spirit.
[LAO 1.10] I caution you for this reason: That no one may entice you through reasonable and flowery speeches, and through the philosophy of the heathens.
[LAO 1.11] Even the animals call common sense their own, just as it is with the philosophy of the heathens who offer sacrifices to dead idols.
[LAO 1.12] You, however, have been redeemed through the death of the “ONE” to eternal life in God the Father. How can you, since your heart has become the dwelling for the Holy Spirit, devote it again to the spirit of the dead?
[LAO 1.13] Even though I am not with you in the flesh, I am at all times with you in the Spirit, through the might of Christ within me, and I see your belief and your works,
[LAO 1.14] And I want to earnestly caution you and show you, since so many of you, dear brothers, fell into great foolishness; their pretexts I recognize and know, and what they wish to accomplish.
[LAO 1.15] But it should be, that you follow Jesus Christ, as I handed over His Legacy to you and as you accepted it from me; and you should also live in accordance with the Gospel, which I preached to you faithfully,
[LAO 1.16] In this you should grow firm roots and be firm in your belief, as I have taught you in the Spirit of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the living Son of God, Who rules at the right hand of the Father of Eternity,
[LAO 1.17] But, as you want to be and as you wish to be now, you are adversaries of Christ and His Word.
[LAO 1.18] What do you want? Do you want to become again slaves and servants in bondage to the law, sin, and death, from everything we have been delivered from through Jesus Christ?
[LAO 1.19] Listen to me. I am telling you: Be careful, that you will not be bewitched and robbed through your world-wisdom, and through the loose teachings of those among you, who fear the Romans and the blind Jews more than they do the Lord of Glory Who delivered us, and through whom we, heaven and earth and all things were created.
[LAO 1.20] When I was among you, your world-wise asked me what the differences were between God and His Son, Christ. That is when I took the word and said:
[LAO 1.21] “Hear me brothers. God is One, and Christ is One; since there is only one God, therefore, there is only one Christ. What differences should there be between God and Christ? God is Love, and Christ is the Wisdom in God, or the Light, the Truth, the Path, and the Eternal Life.
[LAO 1.22] “In Christ dwells personified the whole fullness of the Deity, and we are perfect in Him; because He is the reason and the Head of all Glory, all Might and Power, of all the Authority of the World, and He is the Sovereign of all the Principalities on Earth.”
[LAO 1.23] As I, Paul, have spoken to you about this matter in the Spirit and in Truth, how can you be deluded by the teachings of human beings and world-statues (laws, Ed.)?.
[LAO 1.24] You have been circumcised (cleansed, Ed.) without a hand or a knife through the Holy Spirit, while you casted off your sinful life, which was a mighty root in your body's flesh; and that was a true and alive circumcision in Christ.
[LAO 1.25] You have been buried to the world in your sinful flesh with Christ through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and through Christ again newly resurrected through living belief and through the love for Him.
[LAO 1.26] What do you want once again with the old circumcision, which no longer should be practiced; this ceremony is now without value, because Christ was already here and has been resurrected and we in Him. What will you do with the Sabbath, when Christ did His work every day and still does, and through this He made every day a day of the Lord, and He did not celebrate on the Sabbath?.
[LAO 1.27] For I know you, that is why I tell you: Christ as He is, wants to be poor in the world; but you want gold. That is why you want to have a house of prayer, a feast-day, and magnificent raiment.
[LAO 1.28] You say that God, through Christ, His Son, did nowhere abolish the laws of Moses, instead at the Last Supper He confirmed them; therefore there should be a sacrificeceremony.
[LAO 1.29] I, Paul, chosen by God as a true Apostle of the Lord, filled with the Spirit of God — why is it then, that the Spirit of God never informed me about these things, even though I was, before my calling, a very keen temple servant much more so than you ever were?.
[LAO 1.30] I, however, want to tell you now how the Spirit of God awoke me: When I was on the way to Damascus in pursuance of a new Christian congregation, at first I looked – even in my blindness – that the Lord in the Spirit and in truth wanted to be worshipped and admired, however, eternal, but never in a ceremony.
[LAO 1.31] God does not call someone into His service after He blinded him. I, however, had to become blind before, so that I would lose everything that is of the world, before I could become one of His lowest servants.
[LAO 1.32] But why was I to be blind first? Because my whole being was buried in the matter of the service of the temple, and it had to be taken away from it in this manner.
[LAO 1.33] Since the Lord called upon me in my blindness without ceremony, how could I ever have made a ceremony out of the Last Supper?.
[LAO 1.34] Or, is it not so, as at all times, how the Spirit of God teaches me?. Whosoever has the light of the eyes looks at these ceremonies of the world, and is amused by them;
[LAO 1.35] But for the blind person, the whole world with its ceremonies is a matter of the past and so is the temple-service with all its magnificent raiment.
[LAO 1.36] Consequently, it is an eternal truth: The Lord did not call me to establish a new ceremony; instead, he called me for the uplifting of hearts, for which Satan forged his pitiless chains for thousands of years;
[LAO 1.37] And to preach to everyone the freedom of the Spirit, the peace of the Soul, and therewith tear apart in Christ, the Lord, the old, hard bonds of death.
[LAO 1.38] But of what benefit would my teachings be to me and to you; of what benefit would the Gospel of God be, if you voluntarily enter again into the old death?
[LAO 1.39] I, however, ask you for the sake of your eternal life: Desist from everything which the old imprisonment of Babel left as a bitter inheritance to all Jews.
[LAO 1.40] Behold: Babel, the great whore of the world. The Lord destroyed her because she gave many nations death. What will you gain, if it is your desire to raise out of Laodicea a new Babel? Therefore, desist from everything that could bring about anew the atrocity of devastation which Daniel prophesied, when he stood in a holy place.
[LAO 1.41] However, Christ brought you to life, since you were dead in your sins, and in the foreskin of your flesh; He forgave you all the sins, which you ever committed in the temple, as you did in your foreskin.
[LAO 1.42] He eradicated the bloody handwriting, which was against us all, which came into being through the world-statutes; and our names were recorded in this handwriting in the book of the world, in the book of justice, and in the book of death, by Him nailing it to the cross.
[LAO 1.43] Why do you want to tear down again the handwriting in blood that God Himself eradicated, which was nailed to the cross of justice, the cross of disgrace, the cross of malediction, and the cross of death, and exchange your new names in Christ for the old ones, which were written in blood in the book of justice?
[LAO 1.44] Oh, you blind fools of all folly. In Christ you became liberated, and now you want to become slaves again and servants of sin, justice, and death. Did you not hear, that the one who is nailed to the cross is cursed?
[LAO 1.45] Christ, however, took your shame, your disgrace, your sin, your court, and your death upon Himself, and let Himself be nailed to the cross as a damned, to obtain for all of you freedom before God so that you can walk in honor. He took all your disgrace and shame with Him to the cross.
[LAO 1.46] Oh, what was it, that bewitched you – those of you who became alive in Christ – that you now want to surrender yourself again anew to death?.
[LAO 1.47] With whom should I compare you that it should strike you as a good throw would a target? Yes, you are like a blighted courtesan, who lives in the city, but is nevertheless the daughter of a good family.
[LAO 1.48] Listen to me and understand this well. Of what benefit is it to the courtesan that she comes from a good family, when her flesh is more lecherous than the fat of a stuffed scapegoat?
[LAO 1.49] Will she not walk to and fro in her room because of her carnal desires, and then will lean with half her body out of one and then another window, and she will look with her lecherous eyes to all sides, to see if she cannot catch a glimpse of someone who has what her lecherous and lustful flesh yearns for?
[LAO 1.50] And when she catches sight of him, she will show him through the loose fire of her eyes, what she yearns for, and she will sin with him ten times more through her desire, than a whore in her bed of shame with her paramour.
[LAO 1.51] Oh look, you Laodiceans, there you have a picture of yourselves. Do you know however, what the sincere and willing bridegroom of such a girl would do when he passes by her house, and catches sight of her shameful lechery?
[LAO 1.52] From that moment on, he will put her out of his heart and immediately he will no longer look at her, even if she should experience the greatest want.
[LAO 1.53] That is what the Lord will do with you, because He raised a new, living temple in your heart, while you will be waiting for Him; but you scorn this temple, this holy chamber, and you run, because of mere worldly lechery to the window of justice to be wanton with the world, because of the gold, the reputation, and the lust for power, since you lust for all those things.
[LAO 1.54] But I say this to you: The Lord will withdraw Himself and will let you pass over into all kinds of harlotry, into the old justice, and into the old death, unless you turn around immediately, and totally desist from the clergy – which you yourself elected – from your temples, from your days of feast, and from your magnificent raiment; all of this is an abomination before the Lord, just like a lecherous courtesan, which is much more wicked in her heart, than ten whores of Babel.
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