The book of Revelation, chapters 2 and 3 is a prophecy of the Church down through the ages. It describes the Church through its seven successive stages from its beginning, in 31 AD, all the way through to the second coming of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on the earth. Among the many Church of God corporate groups that sprang from the Worldwide Church of God after the death of Herbert W. Armstrong, those 7 stages of the Church is called “eras”. While it is acceptable to refer to them as eras, it is important to understand that an era is merely a period of time. So, the first stage of the Church was called Ephesus and while that stage of the Church existed, it was called “the Ephesus era” meaning that distinct period of time. The same is true for all 7 of these Churches.
Each one of these 7 Churches had their own works. Christ does not refer to them as one work covering the whole 7 Churches, but, each Church had it’s own work which that era of the Church did. Notice what Christ said to each of these Churches. To Ephesus, Rev.2:2 “I know thy works”. To Smyrna, Rev.2:9 “I know thy works”, to Pergamos, Rev.2:13 “I know thy works”. To Thyatira, Rev.2:19 “I know thy works”. To Sardis, Rev.3:1 “I know thy works”. To Philadelphia, Rev.3:8 “I know thy works”. To the Church of the Laodiceans, Rev.3:15 “I know thy works”.
Many of us, alive today, were born during the Philadelphian stage of the Church and we have always viewed “the work” as being the works assigned to the Philadelphia stage of God’s Church. We were taught, and rightly so, that the work was Matt. 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”. That work was so important to God that He raised up an apostle to accomplish the job. Jesus Christ then opened the doors for that apostle to do that job. Christ called a large number of people to back up and support the apostle in doing that job. Christ open all of the doors needed to get that message, as a warning, to all Israel by the printed press, radio and television and personal evangelism. Then, Christ opened the doors for that apostle to take that same message and warning personally to the gentile leaders of nations. With that, the gospel warning went into all of the world. Jesus Christ prophesied that would be done and He, Christ accomplished that job. The job was done and Christ allowed His apostle to die and the Philadelphia era ended !
Does that mean that all of the people of that era ceased to exist ? Of course not. But, the Philadelphian work was ended. Now, it was the responsibility of the individual Christian of that Philadelphian mind-set, to hold on to all of the truth that was restored during that era, to practice it and build the character of God in them to be made ready to enter that kingdom when Christ returns and sets it up right here on the earth. And, as many as may be called that will believe all of that restored truth and live by it and have that same mindset, can also be “Philadelphian” Christians. But, they will exist in the Laodicean era (period of time).
With the work of the Philadelphian era completed, the Church now entered into the work phase of the Laodicean era. Similar to the Thyatria era, which had a first works and a last works (Rev. 2:19), the Laodicean era had their works which they did but it was not the work that Christ was doing. They were doing their own works. In Rev. 3:15, Christ told them “I know ‘THY’ works, and those works were neither cold or hot.” That was because they were not doing the works that Christ wanted done. The leaders, mostly ministers coming over from the previous era, for the most part, thought that Christ had only partly accomplished the job that He had given to His apostle to do. They felt that it was now their responsibility to complete the work that Christ’s apostle, Herbert W. Armstrong, failed to finish, even though Mr. Armstrong himself stated publicly that he had finished the work that God had given him to do and that there was not going to be an “Elisha” following his Elijah work:
“And brethern, I have to say to you, no one is going to succeed me. God has called me to do a job, to do a commission. I think when God let’s me die, the thing that He has called me for will have been completed, preparing the way for the second coming of Christ, carrying the gospel of the Kingdom of God to the world for a witness to all nations. And, if I have been someone in the power and spirit of Elijah, remember, there is no prophecy that God will have an Elisha following Elijah. But the job God has called me to do IS a prophesied job.”
Herbert W. Armstrong
March 6, 1981
The ministers of these corporate Church groups are doing a work that Jesus Christ called neither cold or hot. It is not cold because it is not wrong to preach the second coming of Jesus Christ to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth. But, it was not hot because they were trying to continue a work that has been completed, that of preaching the gospel to all the world for a witness unto all nations Mat. 24:14. That has been done. Jesus Christ opened the doors to the Philadelphia era for His apostle, he carried that gospel to all nations for a warning. Once that work was done, Christ let the apostle die. He closed that door, that era ended and a new era began, the seventh era called Laodicea. He had no further use for that Church organization called the Worldwide Church of God, so He allowed the apostates to take over there and those who possessed the spirit of God and were led by that spirit had to leave or compromise the truth and lose the Holy spirit. The leaders left the corporate Worldwide Church of God and formed their own groups doing their version of the work that was done in the previous era. They are doing the wrong work ! That is why Christ said they are not”hot”.
So, just what is the work of God today ? Let’s let Jesus Christ Himself answer that question. “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 sep with him, and he with Me. To him that overcometh will I grant to set with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.” Rev 3:19 – 21. There you have it, that is the work that Christ is doing right now. That is the work of God for this time.
Jesus is knocking on each individual heart (mind) of each and every child of God, calling on each of us to open to Him, repent anew and allow Christ to come in and teach us. Christ is measuring each of us who have the Holy spirit dwelling in us and are being led by that spirit. He is not working with groups, given the work that Christ said He would be doing. He is working with the individual members to build in them the spiritual character and to strengthen in them the Holy Spirit so that they can make it through the severe trials that are just ahead for this ERA of God’s Church. We are being tried and tested as never before so that we might be accounted worthy to escape what is coming and lest we all forget we are as always securing and qualifying our positions(our crowns) in God’s Kingdom.
Given the condition that Laodicea finds itself in, Jesus Christ Himself has taken a hand to work with each of us individually in this ERA in a way not seen before to help prepare us for what is ahead.
There is a sense of Urgency built into the knock because we must change quickly to be counted worthy to escape. Notice this passage in Luk 12:35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; Luk 12:36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Luk 12:37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.
Do you see the urgency in this message given to those who are indeed the last ERA of the church, They are prepared to run, to open immediately, they are waiting and are AWAKE.
We are called to put our hands to the plow (Lk. 9:62) with Christ and tell all who can or will hear that Christ is knocking and we need to hear that knock, and He is knocking with His voice. Christ is doing the calling in the minds of all of the body of Christ so that when they hear these messages that are part of the Knock work they will respond and begin at once to seriously get ready for what is coming so soon.
So, the knock message that we proclaim is that Christ is calling to each child of God to wake up, repent of our slumber and to begin to zealously watch for when Christ will reveal himself to each individual member of the body of Christ that has been counted worthy to escape. Read Luke 17: 29-37
This is what the church should be preparing for what we need to be watching for. Not the return of Christ itself but the next event in the prophesied timeline. The time when CHRIST will regather His people(those accounted worthy to escape) to himself where they will be taken to a place of safety.
Brethren, time is short and we must begin to prepare for THE GATHERING OF HIS PEOPLE and be watching so we may be (accounted worthy) to escape those things that are to come. Repent and watch is what God is calling upon us to do. God help you to hear Christ’s knock and respond.