In the beginning of the book of Revelation, in chapters 2 and 3, there are letters addressed to seven ancient churches in Asia Minor – modern Turkey. Now most modern churches ignore prophecy altogether, the others obsess about it so much that they can’t understand it – they’re rather like people who study elephants under a microscope. To understand the Bible, you can’t spend your life examining a few dozen chapters under a microscope; you need to back up and see the whole thing.
The Bible is a package, and prophecy is a relatively small part of that package; but an inspired, holy, useful part nonetheless, which like all of the Bible is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”(2 Timothy 3:16). Note that even here, it comes back to being “profitable… for instruction in righteousness”.
Most people don’t use prophecy for that; they study it because it excites them; because it is a mystery they cannot solve; because it makes them feel like they are better than other people, because they know “secrets” that the average person doesn’t know. But if you use prophecy for “instruction in righteousness”, there is a great deal you can get out of it. These seven letters are a perfect example of that.
Most people know that God’s church has changed a lot since the first century; not in doctrine, for the true church of God are those who keep the doctrines exactly the same as Jesus and the apostles; but the… mood, has changed. In Acts we see a fire in the early church, a zeal for God from the first century that really hasn’t been seen since.
God hasn’t changed, for He says “I change not”(Malachi 3:6), and that He is “the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever”(Hebrews 13:8). But the people change; the culture changes. These things affect the overall attitude of the church; is it sluggish? Proud? Judgmental, persecuted? And God left detailed prophecies of these “moods” of the church for us to read and understand. And He explained why they happen, and what that means to us.
We admittedly are told very little about the interworkings of angels and men, angels and governments, angels and devils, but we do know a few facts that tell us a great deal…. From the first day of Daniel’s fast, an angel was dispatched but it took three weeks for it to arrive. (I have to assume that had God been in a great hurry He could have sped the process up some, but that isn’t the point…) Gabriel explained his tardiness by saying….
Daniel 10:13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
The prince of Persia is rendered in the Young’s Literal Translation as the “head of the kingdom of Persia”. Other translations render it “Chief of Persia”. So here we see that the prince of Persia – clearly an angelic being, and also clearly one on the other side of the rebellion, (quite possibly Satan himself, since Gabriel being one of the top angels would only have been stopped by someone of equal strength) – was the angelic ruler of Persia. An angel (albeit apparently a fallen one) who guided the thoughts and intents of the country as a whole.
But we see in the end of that verse that there were also other “kings” who, since Satan is the leader of the rebellion and “Chief of Persia”, must be lieutenants of his who perhaps administer smaller portions of the kingdom. This will be borne out later.
To give a bit of historical perspective, this was around 534 B.C., Babylon had just fallen to the Medo-Persian empire which was to rule for the next few hundred years. Then it was to be defeated by the Greeks. But this was more than just prophecy, God knowing what was to happen – Gabriel claims to have taken an active part in making this happen.
Daniel 11:1 Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him.
So Gabriel was and no doubt still is actively involved in guiding and directing the actions and the overall “feel” of a society. Presumably Gabriel, as an top angel, has his own lieutenants who help him to do this.
Daniel 10:20 Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.
And so here we see that when Gabriel leaves, another angel, this unnamed prince of Greece would come back. It doesn’t say why, but it does irrefutably show that the empires of the world are each governed or guided by an angel.
These angels, be they Gabriel, Michael, or one of the other millions of angels, because they all have individual attitudes and free moral agency of their own, differ in their own personal spiritual outlook. And Gabriel will no doubt make a slightly different choice in some situations than Michael would – even if they are overall in agreement in principle, just as you and I would.
These angels of course, even Satan, must report to God periodically (see Job 1-2). And each of them have underlings to help them govern the area they control. Perhaps these are divided by states with underlings under them to govern individual cities. Some of this has to be left to speculation for the time being. But the reason I say all of this is to bring us back to Revelation, now that we have an idea of how the world is governed behind the scenes.
Based on what we just read, we can infer that there was, at the time of the Apostle John, an angelic prince ruling Greece. Another would have been ruling Asia Minor. He, through some number of echelon levels, maintained control over the individual cities by lower-ranking angels. And God chose seven of these cities – Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea – as templates. Patterns which He was to use as prophetic outlines for the next 2,000 years. And so He sent messages to the angels that ruled over the towns where these churches were, prefaced by the statement “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;” (Revelation 1:19).
All the things said in this part of Revelation were meant literally for those angels governing those towns at that time. Each of the cities underwent some literal, physical fulfillment of prophecy – for example, Ephesus was a great trading city; but God said to it, “I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Revelation 2:5). And their candlestick was literally moved, according to Wikipedia “Ephesus”:
“The importance of the city as a commercial center declined as the harbor was slowly silted up by the river … despite repeated dredging during the city’s history. (Today, the harbor is 5 kilometers [3 miles] inland). The loss of its harbor caused Ephesus to lose its access to the Aegean Sea, which was important for trade. People started leaving the lowland of the city for the surrounding hills. The ruins of the temples were used as building blocks for new homes. Marble sculptures were ground to powder to make lime for plaster.”
This happened gradually over several hundred years around the 6th century. So the city was abandoned and sacked by its own inhabitants, because a river moved the harbor 3 miles from town. Accident or prophecy?
To quote another example, the literal city of Laodicea was so rich that when an earthquake destroyed the city in A.D. 60 they proudly refused imperial assistance (the Roman version of the American FEMA), and rebuilt the city themselves. They even minted their own currency – rare in those days.
They were famous for making eye salve and black wool. And the city was located at a triangle formed by two rivers joining together. A few miles away up these rivers were the cities of Colossae and Hieropolis. Hieropolis was famous for its medicinal hot springs, rich in calcium. Colossae, on the other hand, had a source of cool pure water. Laodicea, however, had no native source of water. All their money couldn’t buy that. They were perched high on a cliff overlooking the rivers, and bringing the water in from the river was very apparently quite difficult. So they built an aquaduct to carry the water about 5 miles from Heiropolis.
Naturally, by the time it arrived that hot spring water had cooled and was merely… lukewarm. Also, due to its high mineral content and tepid temperature, it tasted lousy. Now with those historical facts in mind, Revelation 3:14-21 was a direct slap in the face to everything the Laodiceans held dear.
To paraphrase, He said the gold they minted was worthless. They needed to buy gold from HIM. He said their black wool was sleazy, they needed to buy white robes from HIM. He said their world-famous eye salve could not help them see the things that MATTERED. And basically, that He felt about them the same way they felt about that water – nauseated.
The hot mineral water from Heiropolis was pleasant and beneficial; it had healing properties. The cool water from Colossae tasted good and was healthy to drink. What Laodicea had was an unholy compromise of the two, and good for neither purpose. And for all their proud accomplishments, that’s what they were to God.
The other explanation of the “hot and cold” phrase, less literal but more accurate, is the more traditional one; Laodicea had no zeal. They were unwilling to reject God, but unwilling to serve Him either. God would rather they had been righteous, or unrighteous; but to be unrighteous while PRETENDING to be righteous, even BELIEVING you are serving God while disobeying Him, is repugnant in His eyes. He can tolerate a rebellious sinner sinning; He loves a righteous man obeying. But mix the two and you have hypocrisy, which He hates passionately; add pride to that and you have a combination He hates above all else.
So all this is just to show that these letters did literally apply to the literal churches in the time of John; but the letters were also to show “the things which shall be hereafter”. Prophecies of the things which were to come later on. For God was, for a then-undisclosed reason, to put the angels in charge of those towns in charge of guiding the whole world. Those towns had attitudes that He, for the proper execution of his plan, needed to see reflected in the attitudes of the world at large over larger periods of time. They would help Him create the beings who would one day join His family, albeit helping indirectly by creating negative situations His children would have to overcome and be stronger for them.
Don’t misunderstand; Satan is still the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4); but to guide God’s manipulation of world events and to keep him in his place, these angels were given dominion. But dominion over a limited span of time. Exactly what that span of time is has not been known until now. People have tried many times, but the explanations never quite made sense; never quite meshed with the prophecies they were based upon. After this article is finished, you will be the judge of whether or not this one does.
Before I start to quote Revelation, we must know what to look for. If this principle is correct, then every few hundred years or so, there was a turning point, a “changing of the angelic guard” so to speak, and a great sweeping change would be reflected in the prevailing attitude of the world, and in the church. Because the first thing a new boss does is to correct and change everything he thought the old boss did wrong. So to find out when each era started, all we must have is a basic knowledge of history, both church history and world history, and look for major changes in attitude that lasted for generations.
So as a general (and hypothetical) outline, let us begin at the first century church. Any student of history knows that the first century church that was raised up by the apostles largely fell away into deception by the close of the first century; when it did so, the zeal and fervor that was so marked in the early church died.
We know very little about history from the death of John until around A.D. 180 when we find a church that has radically changed from what the apostles believed for the most part; any church historian will tell you that we find a different church when the curtain of history raises after that century. So somewhere in there – let us say the death of John at roughly A.D. 100 for lack of a more clear turning point – the Ephesus angel turned over the reins to the Smyrna angel.
The next few centuries were very difficult ones for the church. Horrendous tortures and persecutions were the norm for Christians. It was an era characterized by poverty in the church of God, and one of the darkest chapters of world history. This remained unchanged until the toleration of Christians began by decree of Constantine in A.D. 311 (all dates from here on out are A.D.)
With this decree it was decided that if we couldn’t beat Christians, we should join them. And so outright persecution was largely replaced with deception; the bringing in of pagan festivals (Easter, Saturnalia/Christmas, etc.), the passover being moved to the 15th instead of the 14th, the Sabbath being changed to Sunday, etc. This was a markedly different attitude in the world than the previous era, and shows the difference in the character of the Pergamos angel over the Smyrnan one.
Christians in this era had to deal not so much with a physical assault on their faith as a spiritual one. Deception replaced the sword as the weapon of choice by the enemy. And this continued unchecked even after the fall of Rome in 476. Although its power was broken then, the attitude of deception remained the same until the imperial restoration of Justinian a century later in 554, when the church of Rome was combined with the state in a way that it never was before. Now the whore of Revelation was riding the beast, instead if being the beast herself. And this date really began the dark ages.
The suppression of knowledge in the dark ages persisted for nearly a thousand years. The church of God spent this time hiding out in the Alps, largely beyond the grasp of the church of Rome, but not quite beyond her influence. They were forced to memorize the Bible to prevent it being lost, and largely were concerned with just staying alive and maintaining the status quo. Towards the beginning of this time period, the Paulicians held to a measure of true doctrine and rejected the doctrines of the Catholics, starting around 660 and gradually tapering off over a period of about 200 years.
Towards the end of this period, in the latter part of the 12th century, Peter Waldo and later the Waldensians began to make a stir and cause something of a revival, which partially set the stage for the Protestant Reformation a century or two later.
But still, through all this time, little changed. This, then, would be the time of the Thyatiran angel’s guidance, who held the reins until 1453 when the Turks overran Constantinople, forcing the monks who guarded the knowledge of the ancient libraries of the East to flee to the West.
This “new” centuries-forgotten information began to filter into Europe through Vienna and into the minds of men like Christopher Columbus who first heard that the world was round through them, Martin Luther who began to question the Catholic Church’s authority and the others who followed his suit. The printing press was invented at the same time, and knowledge began to be available to the public on a previously impossible scale. The Protestant Reformation truly began then, and this was all the work of the Sardis angel.
But for all the incredible distance they came, the reformation failed because of one thing; one thing allowed the Catholics to out-debate the Protestants and retain their authority. In fact, it still does to this day. And that thing is the Sabbath. As men began to tout “Sola Scriptura!” (the Bible alone), and began to read what it said, not what the Pope said it said, they discovered that we were not saved by works, but by grace. They discovered that the Primacy of Peter doctrine was inherently flawed. And they accepted these truths and fought and died over them. But almost all of them refused to accept the Sabbath. The Sabbath was “discovered” and kept by some – who took it to men like John Calvin and Martin Luther, as history records. But they rejected it.
When later the Catholic priests publicly debated the Reformationists, they had only to demand of Calvin and the others why it was that they observed Sunday, if they believed in Sola Scriptura? For based on Sola Scriptura, Saturday is the Sabbath. The Catholics knew this, and informed the Protestants in front of the audience that the only authority they had for keeping Sunday came through the Catholic Church, and by keeping Sunday they tacitly acknowledged that authority; which effectively showed them up for the hypocrites that they unfortunately were. This was the hallmark of the Sardis era, as you will soon see described in Revelation. This event effectively stopped the Protestant movement in its tracks towards the end of the sixteenth century.
At which point, fortunately for the western world, the Philadelphia angel to took over. Of the 7 angels who were rebuked in Revelation, Philadelphia received the least criticism. And that was because the Philadelphian era was the greatest time for human liberty and freedom and prosperity, without sacrificing love and righteousness, since the world began. Philadelphia means, as you probably already know, “brotherly love”. And this era began with the printing of the King James Bible in 1611.
This age showed a marked difference in attitude; we no longer had to battle the Catholics; we had a new world to go to and colonize. The south seas, the Americas, the east Indies, the world opened up in a way that it never had before. The power of the Catholic Church could not be maintained and crumbled before the strength of the new free world. And with the printing of the King James Bible, the best Bible version ever written could be afforded by the common man, and read in his own language. And it was over the next few hundred years translated into every major language on earth and the way of truth and happiness was opened up to mankind like never before or since.
God opened a door for His message to be taught to the world, and no man could shut it. This attitude of righteousness, an attitude that read the Bible for what it said, an attitude that believed that the Ten Commandments WERE the true way to happiness prevailed upon the earth for over three centuries. Until the 1920’s.
I won’t go into great detail on this here, because I have explained in great detail the change in attitude that took place in the 1920’s in my article titled “God Prophesied STUPIDITY!” But in the 1920’s, things changed.
In 1927 Heisenberg published his uncertainty principle. This in essence says that you can know an electron’s location, or you can know its speed – but you can never know both at the same time. In other words, the more you try to nail something down, the less well you can know what it is. It relegated physics to the realm of a mystery and did away with the concept of Newtonian physics, which stated that by fully knowing the state of the universe at a given moment, it would be possible to predict its state at any given point in the future, because it ALL BEHAVED ACCORDING TO LAW.
Heisenberg’s new theory stated that, as Einstein sarcastically put it, God played dice with the universe. Although in reality, this new universe model that science has built on the “uncertainty” foundation has, as Carl Sagan famously said “no beginning or end in time, and nothing for a Creator to do”.
I dwell on this because during the whole decade of the 1920’s and the early 1930’s, a change struck the world. A change in every field of thought, every branch of science. Religions stopped touting the law and softened their messages. The economic system became fuzzy and incomprehensible. Money stopped being money, it became first paper, and now computer digits. Farming became mechanized and chemically fertilized. The human body ceased being treated under the dogma “you are what you eat” and became “let’s kill the symptom and maybe the body will get better. If that doesn’t work we’ll cut out what hurts”. There is a lot more, but like I said, read the other article. For now, suffice it to say that this marked the beginning of this era, for that is what it was; a signpost of a change in thought. A place where the universe became unknowable and uncertain, where everything became vague and where the attitude of “how dare you judge me!” began.
And since then it has been a steady down-hill spiral of complacency that removes us farther and farther from personal responsibility and each year the zeal and passion is obviously less and less in our youth and in our nation. The world has become apathetic. The only thing it truly cares about is that you leave it the freedom to sin in peace! The world is rich and increased with goods, and it doesn’t need one single thing from you or God Himself!
So we are in the Laodicean era today, have been for 80 years, and will continue to be until Christ returns. That is the hypothesis. The background of history. Now let’s read Revelation. I will edit it heavily for the sake of space, so you may want to read chapters 2 and 3 before beginning.
Ephesus: Revelation 2:1-7 … I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: … Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; … But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
Parts of that could be direct quotes out of Jude and the other late first-century writers.
Jude 1:3 Beloved, … it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
The first century church did great works early on, and worked hard to spread the gospel; that’s what the book of Acts is about, primarily. Then they were persecuted which taught them patience, and then they were deceived by false gospels and were forced to “try” them. But in spite of all that, the church fell away, and left that first love and became stale. The doctrine of the Nicolaitans is essentially the primacy of Peter, the concept of authoritarian church rule which didn’t really plague the first century church. Ephesus then ran from 31-100. I won’t try to peg down exact dates unless they are obvious. For now, the principle is enough.
Smyrna: 2:9-11 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
The church of Satan was the false church at Rome, probably started by Simon Magus, (the guy from Acts 8 – a long and completely separate story), which claimed to be spiritual Jews but actually… weren’t. This church tortured and killed many of the true Christians, culminating in a 10-year reign of terror begun by Diocletian where thousands of Christians were horribly martyred. This era ended with the toleration of Christians by edict of Constantine in 311. Smyrna therefore is from 100-311.
Pergamos: 2:13-16 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
In Pergamos began a new age of deception instead of persecution. Persecution still existed, as witnessed by the remark about Antipas, but it was not nearly as widespread as before. History bears this out. Rome, Satan’s seat, dominated the entire world at the time. God’s primary complaints against this church is that they had fallen for some of the deception of the fledgling Catholic Church, the idols, the fornication with other gods (and literal fornication as well), and things like that.
Also, the church was surrounded by the early beginnings of the Catholic Church whose primary doctrine is the primacy of Peter – the idea that God tells Christ, Christ tells Peter (whose office the Pope claimed), and Peter tells the rest of us everything we need to know. And some of the church was starting to buy into this idea. This era persisted until finally the church was forced to flee to the mountains, which happened gradually but was essentially completed by the time of the restoration of Justinian in 554. Pergamos then is from 311-554.
Thyatira: 2:19-23 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
A lot is said about Thyatira, which is fair since it covers the most chronological time of any of the eras by far. Firstly, the primary reason for choosing the date 554 instead of 476 (the date of the fall of Rome) is the difference in the terminology God uses for the Catholics. Until the restoration by Justinian, Rome was known as the beast itself; Satan’s seat. But when Justinian restored the Holy Roman Empire by plucking up the first three “horns” of the Beast at the behest of the Pope, the Beast was “resurrected” – but no longer in Rome; from now on the church at Rome would ride the Beast!
Rome’s gender changed, so to speak, to now be Jezebel, the whore of Revelation 18 who will be cast into Great Tribulation, along with her children/daughters (the churches of Protestant Christianity). Because this gender changes between Pergamos and Thyatira the date can only be when Rome stopped being the Beast and became the Whore. As proof that they are essentially the same entity, you can see that both taught the same things; teaching the church to commit fornication, and eat things offered to idols.
Note also that the latter works were more than the first works; this reflects the fact that towards the end of the Thyatiran era, the Waldensians and the other fragments of the church of God did a great deal to pave the way for the coming reformation, ultimately restoring more truth than the Paulicians did.
Revelation 2:24-25 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.
And finally, this era marked a long, slow survival of the church of God; it did very little growing or changing, but was wholly consumed with staying alive. Because of this, God said He would give them no other burden than what they already had. Their greatest threat was the constant power of the Catholic Church, and some of them were overcome by the deception, which was God’s main complaint about them. Thyatira lasted from 554-1453.
Sardis: Revelation 3:1-4 I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
These men that came out of Catholicism and began the Protestant Reformation did a great deal, and many suffered and died for what they believed in; but for all that, they had a name that they were alive – but they refused to accept the Sabbath and the Holy Days. Which meant that bottom line, they were dead. Because they just would not make their works perfect before God.
Despite the prevailing attitude, there were a few people even in the Protestant Reformation who held to the Sabbath, men like Carlstadt, Glaidt, and Fischer. These men and others like them did not compromise on the Sabbath and held to what they knew to be true. Only they out of all those reformers will walk with God in white.
(Those men are used only as examples; we have no way of knowing whether they will be there or not; but we do know that they held to those things as well as we can see through 500 years of history). And as I said earlier, this era fizzled because of the refusal of almost all of the reformers to accept a few doctrines and so their works were not perfect. This era lasted from 1453-1611.
Philadelphia: Revelation 3:8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
And with the King James Bible in 1611 God opened a door that no man could shut. The Catholic Church could no longer stem the tide of knowledge that opened up to the world, and no man – not even the Pope – could keep the missionaries from going to every corner of the globe and preaching God. Never before had a great door been opened up like this for the preaching of the gospel. The missionaries and the churches over the next few hundred years were never as perfect as they could be – they only had a little strength – but they sincerely believed what they believed in, and were zealous enough to tell the whole world. God respected that. And used it.
Revelation 3:9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
And those of the church of Satan – Satan’s seat – Jezebel – i.e. Rome – during this period had to humble themselves before Britain and later the United States and all of Northwestern Europe and grovel before their feet, and to know that God loved the children of Israel who inherited His promises in those countries. That was a very hard pill for Rome to swallow, and she never will accept it fully.
Revelation 3:10-11 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
And here God promises to protect Philadelphia from the hour that comes to try all the Earth; many have incorrectly interpreted this to mean the Great Tribulation in the last few years of this age spoken of in Matthew 24:21, but that’s not it at all. This isn’t the great TRIBULATION, this is an hour of TEMPTATION! There is a big difference, even though both start with a “T”!
A tribulation is a time of persecution and punishment! A TEMPTATION is a time of good times when you are TEMPTED to sin because you don’t need God! A time when you are offered other ALTERNATIVES to doing what God said! A time of rampant deception! PHILADELPHIA DIDN’T HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS! The deception in this world was relatively minimal, up until the 1920’s, and specifically 1927.
But in 1925 the Scopes trial brought evolution in schools to the forefront of public thought, in 1927 the uncertainty principle was first published, and all the other things from my article “God Prophesied STUPIDITY!” began to happen. Farming, economics, health, education, science, religion – everything changed drastically. Compare any field of study in 1910 and 1940 and they are unrecognizably different. After the 1920’s, “then was such deception as never was since the world began…”. This of course continues to our day. And so Philadelphia is from 1611-1927.
Laodicea: Revelation 3:15-21 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”
Laodicea’s eyes need anointed with eye salve because THEY ARE DECIEVED! They were not kept from the hour of temptation, but were fully thrown into it! In this day where we can believe anyone we choose to believe, where evolution has done away with the need for God, where every preacher on every corner tells us the law is done away and we need do NOTHING to gain God’s favor, when we have more wealth than any nation has ever possessed since the dawn of time, we need NOTHING from God! Never before has Satan been standing on more street corners offering us more ways to justify rebellion from God than today!
But God promised that He would along with a deception send a way of escape – if we wanted it! (1 Corinthians 10:13) And so at the dawn of the Laodicean era in 1927, God called a man named Herbert Armstrong. Herbert Armstrong scraped more truth into one pile than any other man since the Apostle John. He effected a change in attitude towards God in the church and even in the world that was unprecedented since the days of the Apostles. He WAS this way of escape that God offered the world.
Of course, that fact didn’t escape him. Herbert Armstrong had his flaws as we all do and his flaws, like pretty much everyone in the world today were Laodicean flaws – pride and lukewarmness. But let me make something clear; if you are a Laodicean, you will not be in the first resurrection! If you are a Sardisian, YOU WILL NOT BE IN THE FIRST RESURRECTION! God told ALL OF Laodicea to REPENT or else their nakedness would appear; if you need to REPENT of your pride and lukewarmness, you are not on the road to the Kingdom of God!
Your contact with God comes from God Himself. It isn’t filtered through the Laodicean or any other angel. You have direct 2-way access to the throne room of God. If you are in the TRUE church of God, the SPIRITUAL body of Christ, you are NOT a Laodicean! You are NOT proud, you are NOT arrogant, and you are NOT miserable and poor and wretched and blind and naked! You are a member of the Church of God. Period. This was true of those in the literal city of Laodicea as well as us to day who are a world that is under the DOMINION of the Laodicean angel; we, if we are actually converted, are in the church of God that exists in a place and time where the Laodicean attitude holds sway, but we are NOT Laodicean IF we are converted!
However. When we sin (and sooner or later we all slip up) the attitude that is revealed – the attitude that holds sway and is most actively tempting uswill be the attitude of Laodicea. So our goal is to OVERCOME (Revelation 3:21) this attitude of Laodicea. To come OUT of the unclean church and be righteous. That said, no physical group of people called a church has ever been composed of 100% converted people. In fact, 10% is usually a very high estimate. And so the prevailing attitude of what WE SEE and call the church will in this time always be Laodicea.
Laodicea initially started out as a good church – we can see that in Colossians 4:12-16. And, like the church AT Laodicea, the church era of Laodicea started out good! When Herbert Armstrong began this era the power of God was in the church, and the church made a big impact on the world over the next 60 years. But whenever the righteousness fell away from the church, the attitude that was revealed was one that loved “stuff”. An attitude that was rich and increased with goods.
And as the fallout from that great church still lingers in scattered groups of bickering Sabbath-keepers to this day. And in those dregs, we see the fully revealed and polished attitude of Laodicea – untarnished by righteousness, and brimming with lukewarmness and dead, lifeless seat-warmers. Such people are Laodicean; they are not however, in the true church of God.