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How do you refute this?

July 9 2006 at 7:42 PM
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RalphVa  (no login)

Our preacher mentioned Rev. 3:18 this morning. I've been searching to try to find out why John says "shameful nakedness". The Greek for where shameful came from doesn't seem to mean anything else. The Greek for nakedness in this case refers to the nakedness of the human body, not sexual relations like in Lev. 18.

So, how does one refute this?

One particularly insightful reference that I found was this one below, that makes it pretty literal. I find his explantion of the white clothing to be togas to replace the Laodiceans' black clothing, but if they're clothed how can they be shamefully naked?

From http://www.acns.com/~mm9n/Kingdom/7churches/ch91.htm

Rev 3:18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
The city was also noted for the black cloth manufactured there from black wool produced in the valley. The wool was glossy black and of a soft texture almost like silk and famous throughout the whole region,. Black garments were almost universally worn by the Laodiceans and it symbolized their social status. They also wore gold ornaments. Christ advised the Christians of the city to buy of Him, "gold refined in the fire, .... and white clothes to wear". The people of Laodicea were familiar with the white toga worn by Roman citizens and officials. Only the Roman citizens were privileged to wear this white garment and it was a high honor. It was symbol of victory and authority. They were the rulers. In the Bible white represents purity and righteousness. Jesus asks the Laodecians to wear the imputed righteousness of Jesus so that they become victors and rulers of the earth. Come and be part of the King who is coming to judge.
We have elsewhere referred to the School of Medicine and Aesculapius. There were over two hundred Temples of Karu dedicated to Aesculapius, the Greek god of medicine. In this temple they made the famous Phygian eye salve, called collyrium. Jesus the Great Physician, prescribes to this the spiritually blind Laodiceans to buy eye salve from Him that they might have spiritual vision instead of the eye salve from the heather gods.


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(no login)

In context,,,

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July 9 2006, 8:31 PM 

Taken in context, it would appear that Rev. 3:18 is a revelation of the church's spiritual state, not necessarily a statement of their physical condition. I agree that it is disconcerting that nakedness (shameful) is used in a negative context in this passage. It could be that they had turned to using nakedness in a shameful way. Perhaps it is in reference to a way of life or practice specific to that time and location. It still amazes me how much the meaning of scriptures change when we understand and apply it to how things were back then.

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(Login bornnude)

More thoughts on "Shameful Nakedness"

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July 10 2006, 6:14 AM 

While I think you are right, it is referring to spiritual nakedness, much of the Bible does not seem to condemn nakedness other than in relationship to social status or wealth. Prisoners were often stripped prior to marching them off, partly to shame them, not because of the nudity (necessarily) but because of their status.

If you are poor, you can not afford as many clothes as others so you are (more often?) naked. The shame does not seem to be God induced in these passages but the self esteem of the subject of the passage.

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Boyd Allen
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Yet they are cothed, how do we answer that?

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July 10 2006, 4:05 AM 

Since they were dressed in the finest clothing around, they were not naked, therefore the "shameful nakedness" does not apply to natural nudity. Again, it refers to their spiritual state.

We can be shamefully naked when put in a position of nudity where shame is intended. Any society where clothing seems to be a standard, where being naked is a symbol of shame, will find nudity shameful. After all, they find people wearing poor clothing shameful, even when fully dressed in the best they have. If it is not up to the standard of the "trend setters" then its shameful.

God is using this idea to point out that no matter how righteous we feel we are, we are still far below God's standard and we are by comparison, "spiritually and shamefully naked".

Naked does not always mean lack of clothing. Nor does being without clothing mean they are shamefully naked. If the person is wearing the clothing that is acceptable to the society, or their nude state is standard for their position, then they are not considered as shamefully naked, even if their "parts" are showing.

There are some societies that honor their warriors and leaders by allowing them to go naked in public. It was a sign of honor, not shame.

Being shamefully naked may very well mean the clothing they are wearing is not the right one for the occasion and are inadequately clothed to a standard that is expected. They wore rich clothing, far above the standard of society, yet God mocks them by saying they are still "shamefully" naked, not just "naked".

God can accept the fact that one can be spiritually naked, after all, we all are. But to be shamefully naked when we think we are spiritually clothed, then God finds that more disturbing. God can always spiritually (or physically) clothe us, but when we say we are just fine, why, look at our fine clothing, God steps in and points out our spiritual lack.


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(no login)

Revelations 3:18

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July 10 2006, 12:48 PM 

Bear with me while I try to give you my two cents on this passage. I will say that I'm not sure I can top Boyd's explanation, though.

First of all we're told the following by God. "Rev 3:18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. " Now, if we look at some different definitions for "nakedness" I think it begins to make since in the spiritual sense and and we can begin to disregard the literal sense, because I really read this like a parable.

The definitions I would use are "unarmed and defenseless" and "without or unaccompanied by a particular quality or thing." The people had THEIR gold, but they didn't have GOD's gold. They were "without" that gold that is greater than any gold found on earth. To become a follower of Christ one must pocess HIS gold, however we wish to define HIS gold -- perhaps HIS grace and salvation? The "armor" of God is a white garment -- the pure, "sinless" sign of true grace and forgiveness is our shield. Remember in our baptisms we are clothed in white. The people of Jesus's time were baptized and then a white garment was put on them. The white clothes are "the usual covering or protection" of God. Well, they symbolize that. If you are not robed in the white clothes, then you are shamefully naked -- spiritually -- because you don't have the "usual covering." The salve refers to Christ in my estimation. HE is the spiritual salve. If we go back to the Gospels we're told that HE said to the pharisees and leaders of the synogogue that their eyes were open yet they could not see. And remember that HE healed the blind man who then accepted HIM and believed. If we put the salve on our eyes then we are healed and can see. If we accept Christ and take HIM into our hearts and confess that HE is Lord, then we are given the vision and see the kingdom of God.

As you pointed out, the people were dressed in black, they were in eccense "dirty, dark, sinful." (Black being that kind of symbol.) To "put on Christ" is to change the clothes and put on white clothes -- pure, sinless, blameless. That's what we do in our hearts when we accept HIM. The black dirt is replaced by cleaness and is swept away. As long as we are not "clothed" in our hearts and in our faith in HIM, we are shamefully naked to HIM because we are not HIS. Once we accept HIM as Lord and Savior we are given the figurative armor of white clothes -- clean, fresh and forgiven.

Just my thoughts. "Translating" Revelations is, of course, the most difficult thing to do and can really put a kink in our thinking. It's the literal translations that seem to really be the most problem. Thinking outside the box and getting at the heart of the true meaning is a must.


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(no login)

Some thinking o' my own.

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July 10 2006, 6:16 PM 

Some other ways to look at this is what's being condemned is some sort of shameful nakedness or sin that they were doing. It's not saying that nakedness is shameful all the time. It (or the referred to sinful nature, or whatever) was shameful for whatever reason at the time.

Saw a commentary on women "wearing modest apparel", that it's like telling women to be silent. Paul's statement about their being silent was for whatever occasion he was talking about. He wasn't saying to be silent all the time. Therefore, he wasn't saying for them to always wear modest apparel (actually most say he was talking about clothing worn to worship; and, actually, the modesty he's talking about seems to refer to not showing their wealth, not length of hem or droop to bust line, etc.)

This Rev. 3:18 seems to be another good scripture that preachers can occasionally quote out of context to make people think that nudity is shameful.


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