Many sincerely believe that because Mr. Armstrong was an Apostle and because he was sent as the Elijah to come to restore all things, that everything that he said was correct and that we are, as people who are in a Philadelphian mindset, required to hold fast to those statements. And I agree! Mr. Armstrong was indeed an Apostle and the Elijah and he did restore all things (doctrinal truths) to God’s church during the Philadelphian Era of that church. Consider the following scriptures:
(Tit 1:9) Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers
(Act 5:29) Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
Mr. Armstrong always told us not to follow him but to read it for ourselves in the pages of the bible and then follow him if what he said agreed with the word of God. We have all heard that many many times.
We have also heard him say frequently that he was NOT a PROPHET. Meaning the things he said that were prophetic in nature were not to be taken as PROPHETIC statements from God Almighty. Can we agree so far? Lets look at the word of God for some more clarity on this issue. What does God say on this issue;
1Co 13:8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
1Co 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
1Co 13:10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
1Co 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
1Co 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Brethren there are no scriptures in the bible that tell us WHEN the Laodicean church will begin. Mr. Armstrong did not see the Apostasy that happened after his death, he did not see the scattering of the people of God nor the testing that they have all had to undergo. It was a logical progression of thought that the Philadelphian era whom God had promised to protect would be taken to that place of safety and then the Laodicean Era would begin.
It did not occur to him that just as he told us so many times, there were people in Philadelphia who had that Laodicean mindset , just so there would be people in Laodicea with that Philadelphian mindset still ingrained in them and holding fast to what they had been given.
He was seeing through a “glass darkly” but now we are “face to face” with the realities.
Christ’s work in Philadelphia was to open a door for the church to walk through. Which Mr. Armstrong did. He saw his calling as the Elijah. He understood his mission to take the Gospel of the Kingdom to the world as a witness. And he did in a magnificent way because of the doors which Christ had opened for him.
Mr. Armstrong’s work and the work of the Philadelphian Era of the church of God were intricately tied together. He was an Apostle sent from God for this mission, he was the promised Elijah to restore all things and to prepare a people for Christ, which is what restoring all those doctrines did.
But he said himself, that he had finished the work that God had given him to do. He said himself that there was to be no one else following him to do that work. No Elisha to follow Elijah in the work. Yet people ignore that completely. The Philadelphian ERA was identified in the word as the era of God’s church that walked through those doors that Christ opened. Those doors were opened for one man, the founder and leader of the Philadelphian Church of God, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong. When he died, when he stated that he had finished the work that God had given him to do, when he said that no one else was going to follow him and do or continue that work, the Philadelphia era ceased to exist as the active era of God’s church.
In all cases the only way that we have been able to determine what era of God’s church was active at any given time in history was to observe via the historical data left for us, what the churches were doing and how that compared to how Revelation 2 and 3 described them.
We can certainly see Philadelphia hard at work fulfilling those prophecies that related to it’s mission and the work that Christ was doing for them.
Before we go on to see Laodicea and what history has to say about that, I want to quote one more scripture and give you a spin on that scripture that perhaps we have never seen.
(Mat 24:14) And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
We all understand Mr. Armstrong’s mission to preach the Gospel to all the world for a witness. But there is heated debate about the last part of that verse. “And then shall the end come” Many people do not want to believe that Mr. Armstrong was the end-time Elijah because to their minds the “END HAS NOT COME YET” and in point of fact it has been 27 years since Mr. Armstrong died and the end has not yet come, or has it? Consider the meaning of the Greek word for “end”;
1a) termination, the limit at which a thing ceases to be (always of the end of some act or state, but not of the end of a period of time)
1b) the end
1b1) the last in any succession or series
1c) that by which a thing is finished, its close, issue
1d) the end to which all things relate, the aim, purpose
That is an interesting definition. Could Christ be saying(prophetically speaking) that When The Witness work is finished that the end of that (age, series, purpose or dare I say ERA of God’s Church would be done(the end of that era of taking the Gospel to the world as a witness) and the next era with its own works would then begin. 1a) termination, the limit at which a thing ceases to be (always of the end of some act or state, but not of the end of a period of time)
Notice that the definition of that word “END” does not mean the end of a period of time as in the age of mankind but rather (that by which a thing is finished, it’s close) in other words the end of the Philadelphian Era and the beginning of the Laodicean ERA of God’s Church.
Doesn’t that make more sense, because surely the end of the age of man has not yet come. I mean look at what the next 19 verses are talking about. They are outlining many of the events that are going to occur during the last age of God’s Church, the Laodicean ERA. And then comes verse 34;
Mat 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Isn’t it obvious in context that what is being stated is that the ERA during which the Gospel of the Kingdom was preached to the world for a witness is ended. The end came right after Mr. Armstrong died after he had “finished” the work that God had given him, AND the Philadelphian Era of God’s Church, to do. The next generation following the close is Laodicea, they have approximately one generation to do the works that are outlined in Revelation 3.
Something else that really should be considered here is that we are told to hold fast to those doctrines that were “given to us” A prophetic statement even made by Apostles could not be considered “restored” as even they say that these statements will become clearer the closer you get to their fulfillment. How can you “restore” something that has never been finalized to begin with.
Mr. Armstrong gave us the keys to prophecy so that as we got closer to the actual event we could see in advance what was going to happen. But he was not a prophet and could not see far enough ahead to give us the full prophecy he only prophesied in part now that we are closer to the end that part is done away as Paul said. Now that which we can see more perfectly takes its place. We are not under any obligation to hold to a prophetic statement by Mr. Armstrong that is not supported directly by the word. If as it approaches it can be seen more perfectly.
Some have said that the Laodicean Church is described by the fact that they are in the Great Tribulation. I have to disagree with that assessment based on the word of God itself. Lets read that verses describing Laodicea.
Rev 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
Rev 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Rev 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Rev 3:17 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:
Rev 3:18 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.
Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Rev 3:20 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.
Rev 3:21 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.
If you have a Lukewarm attitude as Laodicea is described as having THEN you will be spewed out of God’s mouth into the Great Tribulation. But notice that God is giving them a chance to repent before that happens or else why ask them to repent in any case? By real repentance they can find the eye-salve they need to learn what they are and to get back to that Philadelphian mind set that God requires to be accounted worthy of escaping satan’s wrath.
Laodicea is known by its lukewarm attitude not it’s punishment. All of the eras were typified by their works(not their punishment): Laodicea was Lukewarm that is what typifies Laodicea. Many of them end up in the Great Tribulation because as God warned He spewed them out of His mouth(His protection if you will) into the Great Tribulation as a punishment for not waking up and repenting of their condition in time. Now they will truly have to buy Gold tried in the fire(repentance in the fiery trials of Jacob’s Trouble).
How can they be lukewarm in the middle of the Great Tribulation, when would they have had the time to repent and change so that God could have spared them. When would they have had the time to establish works at all much less lukewarm works in the middle of the Great Tribulation.
There are some other scriptures that have been used to try and “time stamp” when the Laodicean era would begin. Lets look at them now;
Rev 12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
Rev 12:14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
Rev 12:15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
Rev 12:16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
Rev 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
In the context of these verses what is being said?
- satan is angry
- he persecutes the church
- part of the church is taken to a place of safety
- a remnant is left
- satan tries to destroy those given protection and fails
- satan then makes war with the remnant of God’s church.
We know that those who are protected are those in God’s Church no matter what era who have that Philadelphian mindset of holding fast and watching and being ready. These have been accounted worthy. The remnant that is left are those who have kept that laodicean attitude of lukewarmness. God has in effect spewed them out of His protection and into the Great Tribulation the time of Satan wrath.
Here we have a “remnant of a church” not a full blown church with works. The heart and core of this church has just been ripped out of it by the gathering of God’s people at the 1335. This is not a church just beginning this is a church which has failed to repent and see what is wrong. Many will be now waking up and Matthew 25(the ten virgins) indicates that 50% of this remnant will still make it into God’s Kingdom as Firstfruits. But they will have to endure martyrdom, ultimately, to make it. This does not say when Laodicea begins, rather it shows the results of failing to repent not the beginning of a new ERA but one that has failed. It only shows their ultimate fate not their beginnings.
Christ does indeed gather His people Himself at the 1335. All of his people from ANY of the ERA’s of God’s church that have been deemed worthy to escape will be gathered from the various groups of God’s people and be taken to the place of safety. Would God not offer the same means of escape to those of Laodicea who have taken on or maintained the mindset of Philadelphia who is promised safety from what is coming. Remember it is the attitude of the individual that counts. Also remember that Mr. Armstrong told us how many of us in Philadelphia had developed a Laodicean mindset and were in danger because of it.
Just so any in Laodicea who maintain or are able to develop a Philadelphian mindset can be deemed worthy of escape.
Then look at the history of the church since Mr. Armstrong’s death.
In Revelation 3:14 it says unto the angel of the church of the Laodicean(s) plural form. The Greek indicates the message is going out to the inhabitants of Laodicea, individuals if you will. The message to the angel of Philadelphia was not sent to the inhabitants of Philadelphia rather to the angel of the church of Philadelphia a city or single entity if you will.
Look at the condition of the church today. The church, the body of Christ, is scattered all over the place in hundred of different groups. In Philadelphia Christ opened a door that the whole church as a single entity walked through in support of Mr. Armstrong. But in Laodicea He must work with individuals;
Rev 3:20 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.
Also consider that all of us today owe our beliefs to the works of Herbert W. Armstrong working with Christ he gave us all these doctrines and keys of understanding that no other church has, Wouldn’t you consider that we as a church group any of our groups could be considered rich and increased with goods (spiritual understanding) in a way that perfectly fits the works of Laodicea?
Consider how so many of our people seem to be drifting toward the world in their beliefs and even actions. They are not in fact holding fast but are drifting not even aware of the danger of their attitudes. Wouldn’t that seem to you to be equated with being asleep. Another symptom of Laodicea.
They cannot even see where they are in Prophecy, hence this article. We are not in Kansas anymore brethren. Laodicea is here in all it’s infamy. Truly they are blind to the work that Christ is doing now they cannot see their condition or where we are in prophecy and they will indeed be spewed out of God’s mouth(protection) into the Great Tribulation.
May God give you the grace to see the truth in this article, that we are indeed in Laodicea and that it will act in someway as the eye-salve that you need to see and repent while there is still time.