Today: [Revelation 3:] Are We the Laodicean Church. Chapter three concludes the messages of Jesus to the seven churches. These churches very well could represent seven church epochs from Paul’s day to our day. Is the church of today the Laodicean age? If so what does that mean for us personally?
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[Rev 3:1-22 KJV] 1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. 3 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. 4 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. 5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. 6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. 7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; 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. 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. 10 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. 11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, [which is] new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and [I will write upon him] my new name. 13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. 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; 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 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: 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. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 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. 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. 22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
The messages to the seven churches continue and conclude in chapter three of Revelation. They are portrayed as being relayed by Jesus Himself through John to the seven “angels” or prelates of seven churches scattered throughout Asia. Those churches are Ephesus, Pergamos, Laodicea, Sardis, Thyatira, Philadelphia, and Smyrna. The messages, in brief, are as follows:
Ephesus: the church that lost its first love (Rev. 2:4).
Smyrna: the church that would suffer persecution.
Pergamos: the church that needed to repent.
Thyatira: the church that had a false prophetess.
Sardis: the church that was alive and yet was dead.
Philadelphia: the church that had endured.
Laodicea: the church that had grown lukewarm.
Consensus exists among many recognized teachers and prophets that the seven churches not only represent themselves but the church through history from ancient times to the present day.
The Ephesian church represents the early church from AD 53 to 312 AD, and its messenger was the apostle Paul.
The Smyrna church appears in history from 53 to 312, and its messenger was Ireaneus.
The Pergamos church was from 312 to 606, and its angelos was St. Martin.
The Thyatira church age lasted the longest from 606 to 1520. It is the church that God gave space to repent – nine long centuries.
The Sardis church was from 1520 to 1750, and its angel messenger was Martin Luther.
The Philadelphia church was from 1750 to 1906, and its messenger was John Wesley.
Lastly the Laodicean church in Wm. Branham’s view began in 1906 and lasted to the present day. There is speculation that it ended in the last 1970s placing our generation in a “gap time” between the church age and the millennium. When you understand the impact of Branham of Christianity as we know it, the suggestion can be made convincingly that Wm. Branham was the angel messenger to the Laodicean church.
The Sardis church is one that lived and yet was dead. When the Reformation ignited under Martin Luther, there was a great revival. Men understood that justification by faith was a personal matter and not subject to the bureaucracy of the church. The Reformation church failed however to detach matters of the spirit from the control of the institutional church. Thus Jesus commands that they remember what they had received and heard in the beginning from her servant Martin Luther lest He comes upon her like a thief in the night.
What might the thief in the night be? There came a day when the inaugural season of the Reformation was co-opted by the fire and zeal of John Wesley and men like George Whitfield. Whitfield was the father of the First Great Awakening and solidified the suggestion from Luther’s life that established religious institutes could fall into disarray and be rejected by a subsequent move of God. The First Great Awakening then can be construed to be Jesus as a thief taking the candlestick of the Reformation away from the Lutheran church and bestowing it on the Methodist church of Wesley and Whitfield’s leadership.
The Philadelphia church represents the church brought about by the preaching of Wesley and the church that birthed the Great Awakening under Whitfield. This was the church that was given an open door to the world in the interests of spreading the gospel. During these years the Philadelphian spirit of brotherly love went out from the church to the world as missionaries on a scale never before seen went throughout the nations with the message of Jesus Christ. During this time the Moravians, based on a small struggling refugee camp in Germany came together with just a handful of people and sent out more missionaries in 10 years than all of Christianity had commissioned to go out from the time of Paul to their present day.
For us, we see the Philadelphian church as the church age that fulfilled its mission and its destiny before God. It is not rebuked or reproved by Jesus in any way. For this reason, it is in our interest to look with much focus on Wesley, Whitfield and the Great Awakening that shapes our culture profoundly even to the present day. It should be our heart cry to see this same zeal and missional spirit be birthed in our generation.
The last church mentioned is the Laodicean church. It is very telling that this church is described as the “church OF the Laodiceans.” All the other churches, six in all are referred to as the church IN such-and-such an area. It is as though God is disowning this church. He is saying the other churches were His church, but the Laodicean church was THEIR church, not God’s. This is very sobering.
The Laodicean church is the church of the industrial revolution. During the years from 1906 till the present day democracy took hold in the western world as an unshakable institution. Personal choice, individualism and modern ideas of liberty subverted our culture resulting in the scandalous immorality of the 1920s that gave rise to gangland America, organized crime resulting in the Great Depression. When the nation suffered it cried out to God and the Latter Rain revival, and the 50s Healing Revivals were poured out led in the beginning by Wm. Branham and accompanied with signs, miracles, and wonders that only the record of scripture could compare to. Men like Oral Roberts, Jack Coe, Kenneth Hagin, Demos Shakarian, Smith Wigglesworth, John Lake, Amy Semple-McPherson, Kathryn Kuhlman and others came on the scene with unimpeachable miracles and profound influence upon millions of people.
For all of this from the 50s onward the church as a whole rejected these influences compelling their people to draw away from the great campaigns of these mighty men and women of God and to remain safely ensconced in lifeless denominational life with very little fire or zeal for the higher purposes of God beyond their own personal agenda.
What of Branham’s suggestion that the Laodicean age would end in the 1970’s. It was during these final years of this time frame that prayer was taken from our schools. Abortion became the law of the land. The church lost all credibility and influence in the public square. Freedom of religion came to be defined as freedom FROM religion codified by courts that were packed with judges appointed by the very political party in America that claims to be the champion and advocate of Christian values. For all its hype the church and Christianity as a whole in our day is comatose and on life support but for a very few examples representing perhaps only a scant percentage of Christianity or the public as a whole.
Does this mean that God is not working? Has Jesus spewed out of his mouth this corrupt, politicized monstrosity that Christian culture represents? If He has what does that mean for us as believers? We are counseled in our day to buy gold tried in the fire and white raiment – an understanding of true righteousness that our shame in the heavens might be lifted. We are to anoint our eyes with eyesalve that we might see. The medical preparation of eyesalve at this time was to cleanse a parasite infection. The parasite is a demonic blindness, a veil of unbelief that is descending upon pastoral culture and the Christians led by them to conclude that they are practically perfect in every way, and if God is doing anything in the earth it will originate with no one else than they themselves in total control of their people, their coffers and their public image.
If the church of Laodicea exists in our day and is spewed out that does not mean that Jesus is through with His people. God spoke to me decades ago and asked: “is there any difference in character or tone between the church as you know it and the Judaism of the first century that crucified Christ?” My answer was “Lord I can’t see any difference.” The Father then spoke something to me that resonates with this message to the Laodiceans:
I am coming to restore My people to My purposes, but I am not coming to restore the Christian religious system.
This is precisely what happened to Judaism in the first century. They thought they were too big to fail and that God would never set them aside. They were wrong. God raised up Christianity to come out of the ranks of Judaism as a veil of unbelief fell on the Jews that blinds them even to this day. The same could happen in our day. God could and may very well plan to bring a movement out of Christianity that will be as far removed from Christianity as we know it as the early followers of Christ were from the Judaism of our day.
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