Another example would be the word “gay.” In the past the word meant one thing, but today it signifies something different. In the future it may carry an entirely different set of meanings from that which surrounds the use of the word today. The same thing occurs in the use of slang, when pejorative terms are employed in a positive manner, and positive terms are often turned about to perform tasks of negation.
The dynamics of language are such that later generations would be hard-pressed to understand common words that are put into use on a daily basis, with the users knowing full well what they mean because they are ensconced within their own culture and language setting, without delving into the history and events of today in order to determine the context of those words. If later generations were to read the work of a social commentator in the early twenty-first century and find him referring to an individual as a “Nimrod,” it would be completely untrue to the author’s intention if they took it to mean that the author was lauding the individual in question as valiant and mighty.
Most understand this implicitly, yet when it comes to the Bible and to attempts to understand the very Word of the Creator God, it seems that many, for the most part, have a blind spot in this area---so much so that many are inclined to freely cast aside all gifts and skills of reason and critical thinking in the misguided attempts at interpretations and understanding according to a thoroughly anthropocentric spirituality. In this, it seems that many actually approach the Word of the Creator God in a far less serious manner than that which is offered to other written works, with an apparent unwillingness to give the sacred Scriptures the studied attention that they deserve and demand.
Which now brings this study to the issue of “hot,” “cold,” and “lukewarm.” Though this will most likely come as a great shock, these terms are most assuredly not employed as references to spiritual condition or relative spiritual fervor and a related general manner of living. Rather, they are used as geographical indicators. Though they are not indicators of spiritual temperatures, it is quite likely that they are being employed as a means of approbation and correction, based on an awareness of certain activities.
Though readers are certainly in position to tease out spiritual truths from the whole of Revelation and from the letters to the churches in particular, an observer must have a constant awareness, as they analyze the book and the letters, that the letters of Revelation were directed to real churches in real cities at a specific time in history, all of which were facing real situations. It is in approaching the Scriptures in this way, knowing that the Scriptures are rooted within history as they provide information about the Creator and His purposes, that will then make those Scriptures so much more important and telling for a reader.