By Prof. Pinchas Shir and Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

The book of Revelation contains seven letters intended for the seven assemblies of Christ-followers in the Roman province of Lydia. Some of the recipients were Jews, but most were not. To the seventh assembly, in the city of Laodicea he says, “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” (Rev 3:20).

Some Christians, while addressing a seeker, say: “Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart. Open it for him and he will come into your heart.” However, the people of this assembly already knew God. They were, however, believers whose lifestyle did not allow for true fellowship with the Jewish Messiah and other (probably Jewish) followers of Jesus.

Jews did not eat when they visited the houses of their Gentile acquaintances, because Gentiles partook of the types of foods forbidden by Torah.  Because they generally did not avoid purchasing foods already offered to Roman deities in the market. Jews had no problem eating in their own homes with Gentiles, where the commitment to purity required by Torah was guaranteed.  This should not be confused with the issue that Paul confronted Peter about in Antioch.

The issue that Paul had with Peter (recounted by Paul in Galatians 2) had to with breaking fellowship with Gentiles who now worshiped Israel’s God in Christ, but did not go through conversion to Judaism. When Paul challenging Peter, said to him that he “lived as a gentile”, he did not refer to Peter’s allegedly non-Jewish lifestyle, but that Peter “lived” (i.e. was made alive) in Christ in exactly the same Gentiles were made alive in Christ – by grace through faith, and not because of obedience to the Torah (Eph.2:1-22). Peter’s apostolic commissioning to primarily minister to Jews, renders our modern de-Judaized interpretation (of “you live as a Gentile”) nothing short of absurd. This was very much in line with what Peter witnessed himself when a group of Gentile God-fearers became recipients of the Holy Spirit of Israel’s God, without first becoming fully committed to the entire Torah as Jews! (Acts 10)

Jesus’ rebuke to the church at Laodicea is harsh, yet offers incredible hope. Laodicean Christ-followers must abandon their pagan ways or face judgment. But if they bring themselves into compliance with the letter of the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15) which reminded Gentile believers of the Torah requirements for sojourners with Israel, the Judean Messiah Jesus would visit their homes personally in order to have an intimate fellowship around the table together with them. There was no greater privilege for Jew or Gentile alike! There are even more hidden treasures just waiting for you to unearth when you begin to read the scriptures from a Jewish perspective.



  1. Did Jesus really say repent? (Rev 3:19) In my mind repentance (faith) is a continual process. We do not need to take the sacrifice over and over and over again. I think the word metanoeo is associated with entombed, the key, and works (our resurrection from the dead). Jesus is the Amen (we are in agreement), the faithful (evidenced in our lives), and the true witness (revealed). I gotta understand metanoeo to move on :)
  2. Quote from Rev 3.20 , this is I take it after Yeshua has passed away on the cross and the message is from the spiritual revelation? ie Rev 1.1 "and he sent and signified it by his Angel unto his servant John". Then I have to say that I think your interpretation is missing a vital point, your last paragragh in particular seems to be refering to the mundane rather than the enlightened. Also your divergence to another point entirely that " should not be confused with the issue Paul confronted Peter about at Antioch" has confused the issue.
  3. Sorry Dr. Eli but I found this lesson to be totally off base. To begin with Rev.3:20 has nothing to do with food or with fellowship between gentile & Jewish believers. The Laodicean church was aware of the concept of G-D and of Jesus but their church was guilty of an intellectual understanding only while following the precepts of men and they were being warned about that. The Laodicean church was a shadow of today's church. Jesus offers the church today the same thing he offered Laodicea, open the door to Jesus or be judged.
  4. Ouch! This one hit a raw nerve in some. I'm not going to criticize, only add something. In the deuterocanonical book of Judith the heroine of the story dines in the tent of a pagan general. However she had her handmaiden prepare and serve her food which was brought from her home. So Jews could eat in the dwellings of Gentiles, but the principle is the same as you describe: no unclean foods. Then she kills him; which has nothing to do with food either, but like your segue into the incident with Shaul and Kefa seemed germain.
  5. Is Lydia in Acts 16:14 part of Laodicea (a place of prayer outside the gate)? She is a worshiper of God. The Lord strengthened her to follow Paul's instructions to be baptized. Why was she baptized???? She invited Paul into her house. Paul must have judged her a believer because he went to her house (place of prayer). In this context inviting someone into your house has to do with worship, so to sit with Jesus on his throne means worship. How do we open the door? Greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the...
  6. The second sentence in para.3 makes no sense whatsoever. Why would an observant Jew have no scruples about buying food already offered to a pagan god? Especially since this "food" may have been meat that was not slaughtered halachically, but instead strangled or even tortured before killing? The entire article seems weirdly mixed up. How can you be so sure that the recipients of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost were not fully committed to obeying Jewish commandments? While not born Jews, they seem to have accepted laws of Jewish life or they would not have been there.
    • Johanna, this (I think) was an editors mistake. You absolutely correct. Read it again, I think know it makes perfect sense (paragraph 3).
    • What makes anyone think that the commandments of God are Jewish? Is God the creator of all a Jew? Romans 3:29-31: "Is He the God of the Jews only? Is he not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: 30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

      Now look! If we're saved by faith, why serve the law? Because the law is holy, the commandment holy, just and good. We don't "uphold it" or "establish" it to get saved, we do so because we are saved, and we know that it is just, Holy, and good. Consider this principle: We are not saved by works either, but being saved, don't we do good works? Same principle. Doing good works after we believe unto salvation is not being a Judahizer or Legalizer (These terms are of catholic origin and mean nothing to confident Christians. We're not trying to get saved twice. We have letters from the early churches showing that they were still writing the law of God on their heart, so as not to sin against God according to Jeremiah 21, well into the 2nd century in the post Apostolic age. That's right, long after Paul. Anybody who wants to see? Just ask.

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  7. The Jerusalem Council said that Gentile believers should avoid pollutions of idols, refrain from fornication and sacrifices offered to the pagan deities every one else worshipped and sacrificed to. Considerably less than the yoke the Law imposed on the rest of the Jewish population and one it could not bear.
    • Actually, yes, but not exactly! :-) Take a look at this Acts 15 text: 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. Not here meat and strangled animals (both are kashrut prohibitions). My sense is that these 4 things are not the ONLY THINGS Gentiles are to keep (what about 10 commandments????!!!!!), instead of this these four prohibitions (notice all these Christ-following Jews did not

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    • StewartinOz , if we are to take the Bible seriously, we must believe that it gives us a consistent message from our Creator. Given that as foundation, where do you ever find "the law" characterized as a yoke and a burden? It is never done so in all of scripture.

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  8. Am I to understand from this article that after my acceptance of Jesus as my Saviour and receiving the Holy Spirit, I do not begin practicing Jewish laws and customs that I am not truly saved? Your articles imply that only those who become Jews after salvation are truly not saved. I sincerely hope that is not your intention.
    • Dear Dan, I think you misread the ideas in the article. Neither Jesus, nor Paul, nor Peter expected non-Jews to become Jews through their salvation. There is one non-negotiable matter of faith practice though... interacting with idols and eating idol-sacrificed food is considered idolatry by most people in the 1st century. And that is unacceptable for any worshiper of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob both for Jews and Gentiles. That was the sin if Laodiceans.
  9. Love this, especially the last paragraph. However, many Christians still ague that it is not a sin for them to eat meat/food offered to idols based on the words of Paul in 1 cor 8 4 v 11. Could you please say something about this passage?
    • Corinthians is a special context, Israel. Can't explain what I would like in a paragraph. What can I say to the sensible thinkers is this... If people are so "strong" that they cannot limit themselves in what they eat... Some strength. I choose to limit myself, to deny my urges, to be weak, knowing that my strength is in God and food is not the issue, but our attitude of striving to please God in all we do. That is love. I will join Paul in his example in 1 Cor 8:13 and choose the safe alternative.

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