Question – What does it mean when the Bible says: you know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked? Revelation 3:17.

What does it mean when the Bible says: you know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked? Revelation 3:17. I cannot see how a person can be in such a condition as this and not know it.

Physically speaking, in order for a person to be in any one of these conditions and not know it, he would have to be asleep, anesthetized, intoxicated, or in a coma.

In the Bible when it talks about these conditions it is referring to us spiritually. It compares our spiritual condition to conditions in physical life. Physical terminology is being applied to a spiritual condition. This aptly describes the true condition of our present church. Spiritually speaking, many are asleep or blind or unconscious of the seriousness of the times in which we live. Satan has lulled us to sleep. We can hear the most stirring messages about the end of time, and then hear, “Get ready, get ready, get ready,” and then go right on with our life as usual without giving it a second thought to prepare for our last day on earth.

God’s word has described our situation in several different places in the Bible. Paul tells us, “It is high time we awake out of sleep.” Romans 13:11. If we are asleep, we are not aware of our condition. Jesus said, “If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” Matthew 15:14. And in cautioning the Israelites, He said, “Beware lest thou forget the Lord.” Deuteronomy 6:12.

There is a mental blindness that often goes unrecognized. You can be blinded spiritually by looking at so many things of the world that you can no longer see the spiritual. For instance, if you fill your time and mind with novels and fiction, TV and other media, the appreciation of the Bible or other spiritual tools is lost. The desire leans toward temporary thrills or excitement. Spiritual awareness is blinded, and the beauty of the words in the Bible are unseen.

And, as the Bible says, the blind leading the blind causes them both to fall into the ditch. People speak more of the media and other trivial topics than those of a spiritual nature. I’m sure you have seen it—a group of people laughing till there sides hurt, and you find out it is over something they saw on TV, usually of an immoral nature. These are situations where the blind are leading the blind, and unless they open their eyes they will all fall into the ditch.

Spiritually speaking, we can also be anesthetized by the cares of this life, by covetousness for the things of this world, or even just making a living and working too many hours a day, pushing out time for prayer and study. Jesus warned us when He said, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and [so] that day come upon you unawares.” Luke 21:34.

Then there are people who are intoxicated or who are in a state of drunkenness. When we pay heed to vain philosophy and so-called “science,” we are actually drunk with nonsense and can no longer comprehend the simple truths of the Bible. As to how this wonderful earth could be created in six days … you cannot reason that out. It has to come by faith. But science tries to show that that was impossible, not bearing in mind that they are contending with the creator of science. They are drunk with vain philosophy. “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Colossians 2:8.