There is much discussion of just what is a Church ERA. Some think it is just a mindset. Others believe it only refers to some groupings of church congregations at the very beginnings of the New Testament church, While others find it to be a sequence of time periods following each other and describing the attitudes and works of the church of God at that period. What is the reality?
These church ERA’s were defined in the book of Revelation 1:20-3:22. Revelation 1:20 describes what they are;
Rev 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
The term ERA has been applied to these seven churches of the book of Revelation by Mr. Armstrong, even though the word is not found in the bible. It is merely an English language descriptive word.
But when I speak to people, they often seem to think that we are in a different ERA of the Church if we have a mindset, that was predominate in that particular Church ERA. They seem to believe that there are people alive today that are in one ERA or another just because of the way they think. That is, are they Laodicean in Attitude? Lackadaisical or lukewarm? Do they have the Philadelphian mindset of brotherly love?
I remember Mr. Armstrong stating back in what we all referred to at the time, the Philadelphian ERA, that many had a Laodicean mindset even in that ERA of the church and they needed to repent of it.
Do these qualities or attitudes of mind determine what ERA the church is operating under now? Or to what ERA of the Church do YOU belong?
Well lets look a bit at the meaning of the word ERA. Dictionary.com gives the following definition;
A period marked by distinctive character, events, etc. Example: The use of steam for power marked the beginning of an era.
Indeed, an ERA of time that is described by a prevailing attitude could be applied to an ERA of Time or a period that reflects the work and overall mood of the church during that work or time phase.
Notice also that in Rev 1:20 it seems to be describing seven distinct churches each working in their following time. In Rev 2-3 we see those churches each with a particular work identified by Christ. A specific work for each of the seven churches or church ERAs again reinforces the concept of a particular phase of time or work phase of each church ERA.
So while there are indeed attitudes of mind associated with some of these church ERAs, it is incidental to the ERA itself, it identifies the ERA, but it is not only found in a particular ERA. These attitudes of mind are found at times in all the work phases of the Church.
Remember how Mr. Armstrong taught us that many of us in the Philadelphian ERA had a Laodicean attitude of mind that was dangerous for us to have. Notice the fact that we had that attitude did not put us into the Laodicean ERA as it had not begun yet. They only identified a person who was described negatively by Christ.
So consider well brethren. We are in the Laodicean ERA of the church of God. And no matter how good an attitude you have it does not stop the things to occur in this ERA from happening. Holding onto the fact that you are Philadelphia in the Laodicean ERA is like an Ostrich who thinks it can hide from danger by burying its head in the sand. Seems like he thinks if he can’t see the threat then it must not be there.
This kind of thinking allows us to have a lukewarm attitude toward end time prophecies. If we realized just how close we were to the Great Tribulation, maybe we would start acting with a bit more urgency, repenting a bit more zealously, preparing ourselves for what is coming.
The word tells us to PRAY that we might be accounted worthy to escape what is coming;
Luk 21:34 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. [Do you see how a lukewarm attitude at the wrong time can lead you to be taken unaware.
Luk 21:35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
Luk 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. [See we are to be watching (aware) of the time we live in. How can we pray this prayer if we are not.]
Even so, many today are teaching that we are still in Philadelphia. Or think that because they have a “Philadelphian mindset” whatever that is that they can still be in Philadelphia and somehow automatically escape what is coming. Brethren it doesn’t work that way. It never did.
You need to understand that the mindset you talk about is necessary if you are to be accounted, “worthy to escape”. But if you do not even know what ERA you are in or what an ERA consists of then, you are not going to be watching. And there won’t be enough urgency, dare we say zealousness, about your daily repentance and the way you live your life even, to be saved out of what is coming.
(Luk 12:45) But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;
(Luk 12:46) The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
This is EYE-SALVE that Christ said we needed to correct ourselves in this Laodicean ERA of His Church. Think about it, Pray about it. It can mean a huge difference in what happens to you in the short time ahead of us. Christ says that the work He is doing in this ERA is not to open a huge door of opportunity for the church, that was already done. He says the work He has to do in this ERA of His church is to knock on the door of each of His people(Rev. 3:20) that they might open to him and repent zealously(Rev. 3:19). Don’t wait until it is too late.