The Church Of Laodiceans Exist Today
By Rick Gedeon
Just think about the church of Laodicea for a moment. This church or group of Christians are branded by traditional Christian scholars as those who profess Christ but are basically spiritually lazy, and are indifferent to the faith, and truly I am sure that there are, or have been members of the church of God that have or have had this attitude now and in the past. There are times that I myself wax and wane when it comes to walking in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ, but thanks be to God that he has imputed the same righteousness to us when we accept Him as our Savior through faith followed by repentance, and works that God "declared beforehand that we should walk in them." I am a die hard walleye fisherman, and come spring and fall it’s hard to keep my mind on the things I should be doing. Boy I love to put on those waders and wade the points and old roadbeds in Mosquito Lake in N.E. Ohio and hammer those walleyes as they come in to feed just off those points in the evenings. I must admit that I have an obsessive personality and when the time for fishing kicks in, man I find it hard to keep myself focused on God, prayer, and writing the articles as quick as I should. And when I find myself waning, the old sins of the flesh start to press on my mind, and on my flesh, and thank God it causes me to get back on track and seek the Lord as he said we should always be doing in Luke chapter 9and verse 24:
“For whoever desires to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”
Now I want to go on and finish the forth and final part of this series on the church of Laodicea, and that is to examine the letter from Jesus Christ to this church that they were committing some kind of spiritual error that was causing them to be “lukewarm” in their walk with Him, and this writer has boldly identified this church as the church of God that Herbert W. Armstrong raised up that became known as the Worldwide Church of God, and now consist of the many smaller splintered groups that came out of it once it collapsed into heretical traditional Christianity, and exist to this day. You can also include the Messianic Jews in this group, who again, have half their faith in the letter of the Law, the shadow of Christ, and the reality of the Law-Jesus Christ, who Christ himself again had to sit down with his followers and open their eyes as to who He was starting with the law of Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets. Again, this group of Christians do know their God because of the abundance of their knowledge of Christ through the shadow of the Law, and will not fall away as traditional Christianity is presently doing, and will continue to do until what is left of it will be destroyed by the command of the beast to the 10 nation kingdom he will reside over as noted in Revelation chaprer 17 and verses 15 through 18. The Laodicean groups of the church of God, and they are part of the church of God, will have to go through martyrdom and come to Christ, completely understanding at that point that He is the reality of the shadow of the law, and the one who completely justifies you and gives the gift of His same righteousness as their brothers in the church of Philadelphia. Let’s review again the amazing prophecy of these two churches and the fate of the physical House of Israel, where two thirds of them will be killed directly by the 200,000,000 million man army of the beast in the great tribulation mentioned in Revelation chapter 9 and verses13 through19. Let’s read this prophecy in Ezekiel chapter 5 and verses 1 through 4:
“And you, son of man, take a sharp sword, take it as a barber’s razor, and pass it over your head and your beard; then take balances to weigh and divide the hair. “You shall burn with fire one-third in the midst of the city when the days of the siege are finished;…
Now just about everyone knows that when your burned to death it is usually quite quick and this is the prophecy of the one third of the House of Israel appearing to be killed almost instantly, and it says by fire; possibly by a nuclear strike? Now let’s continue on in verse 2:
“… then you shall take one-third and strike around it with the sword,…"
Hear it is revealed that another one third of the house of Israel will be killed with the sword of the invading armies of the beast. So now you are looking at two thirds of the house of Israel killed by the beast and his armies in Revelation chapter 9. And the remaining survivors will go into captivity, some to the farthest ends of the earth as Moses predicted they would in Deuteronomy chapter 30. Now let's continue on:
“… and one third you shall scatter in the wind: I will draw out a sword after
It is stating here that the last third will be hunted down and taken into captivity as Moses again mentions in Deuteronomy chapter 30. And the end result at the end of verse 4:
"... for from there a fire(trial) will go out into all the house of Israel."
Now I want you to pay close attention to the prophecy in verse 3:
“You shall also take a small number of them and bind them in the edge of your garment.”
Notice that Ezekiel was commanded to take a small number of his hair from the hair that made up or represented the House of Israel and bind it in his garment, in other words: protect this small number of people from the destruction and captivity of the House of Israel; again reminding you primarily involving the U.S. and Britain, identified as Jacob’s trouble in Jeremiah chapter 30 and verses 5 through 7. Let’s continue on now with verse 4:
“Then take some of them and throw them into the midst of the fire and burn them in the fire;…”
Notice now that Ezekiel was to take some of the small number of hairs in his garment and throw them into the fire God commanded him to make at the beginning of this prophecy, and they to were to be burned, implying that they would be killed. These two small bundles of hair represent:
I: The church of Philadelphia to be protected ON THE EARTH AT THE TIME OF THE START OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION UP UNTIL THE BATTLE OF JEHOSHAPHAT WHEN CHRIST RETURNS TO FIGHT THE BEAST AND HIS ARMIES; MORE POPULARLY KNOWN AS THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON.
Notice this in Rev. 3:10:
“Because you (Philadelphia) have kept my word to persevere, I (Jesus) will keep you from the hour of trial (great tribulation) which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”
And again in Revelation 12 and verse 14 it testifies of this churches protection on the earth during the great tribulation and not by the deceiving doctrine of the Rapture into heaven as many traditional Christians believe today:
“But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time, times and half a time FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE SERPENT.”
Later in verse 16 it clearly shows that the church of Philadelphia will be protected on the earth when Satan tries to destroy her:
“BUT THE EARTH HELPED THE WOMAN…”
II: The bundle that is thrown into the fire for the spiritual defect of being lukewarm from Ezekiel’s garment is the church of Laodicea, again the church Herbert Armstrong began in the early 1930’s.
Notice what this group of people have to do in Revelation 3 and verse 18 to correct the spiritual error of having half their faith in the shadow of the law and half their faith in the reality of the law for salvation:
“I council you (LAODICEA) TO BUY FROM ME (JESUS) GOLD REFINED IN THE FIRE…”
The church of Laodicea will go through the time when all religious organizations (women of Dan. 11:37) under the authority of the beast will be persecuted, killed and in the case of Laodicea, martyred after repenting of their spiritual error of not having complete faith in Christ as you will see when we examine the letter from Jesus to this church.
Laodicea: The “Lukewarm” Church
Now let’s examine the letter from Jesus to the Church of Laodicea which has been greatly misunderstood by traditional Christianity and the church that is identified by the name Laodicea. Remember there are two major thoughts on what the seven churches represent. Traditional Christianity tends to think of the seven churches as the body of Christ existing as one body up to this day and age with some demonstrating various weaknesses and strengths, and with the church of Laodicea being branded as spiritually lazy and indifferent to the work of God. They point out that there are churches out there at this present time that are spiritually dead and not on fire for Christ and his gospel message of eternal life in heaven through belief and eternal torment in hellfire for unbelief. This writers belief derived from the Worldwide Church of God that these seven churches are seven eras or groups of Christians existing up to this present time (as a witness). Now Herbert W. Armstrong, who thought he was the founder of the church of Philadelphia said this church of Laodicea would be weak in it’s attitude to the law of God, the Sabbath and the Holy Days of the Old Testament, the shadow of Christ’s saving acts of salvation for mankind at the end of the age during the great tribulation. Now think about this for a moment. Do you really think a group of Christians that have witnessed such great calamities such as the six trumpet plagues including witnessing a third of mankind killed be spiritually lazy at that time? I would think not!! I think it would be just the opposite. I would think they would be on fire for Christ in such times of great calamities taking place on the earth. Thus the traditional Christian world and the church Herbert Armstrong founded, the very church we are discussing now HAVE BEEN SUCKERED INTO NOT KNOWING WHAT JESUS REALLY MEANT WHEN HE SAID THAT IT WAS LUKEWARM. The term lukewarm is figurative language Jesus used, as He used most of the time when He was on the earth as noted in Isaiah chapter 28 and verse 11:
“...for with stammering lips and another tongue will He (Jesus) speak to this people.”
Now let’s examine the letter to the church of Ladicea, then later refer back to the letter of Paul to the Colossians to see why this letter was to be read by the Laodicean church also. Lets start in Revelation chapter 3 and verses 14 and 15:
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the faithful, THE TRUE WITNESS, the beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, THAT YOU ARE NEITHER COLD NOR HOT, I COULD WISH YOU WERE COLD OR HOT."
Now in verse 15, one of the biggest blunders of interpretation of scripture has been made since the writing of the book of Revelation. This scripture, again does not imply that this group of Christians is spiritually lukewarm or lazy in their walk with Christ. In fact Christ points out that their attitude is that of being rich and wealthy in Him. When one is spiritually lazy, he usually realizes it. As a witness, it is talking about a group of Christians who have half their faith in the Old Covenant Law of Moses for salvation that reveals the reality of it-Jesus Christ and half their salvation in the reality of that written code-Jesus Christ, and these churches exist today in the splinter groups of the Worldwide Church of God that Herbert W. Armstrong founded. They believe in the following Old Covenant commands as binding for salvation:
I: The keeping of the seventh day Sabbath as the true Christian day of worship verses the keeping of Sunday in which they also claim is the mark of the beast.
II: The keeping of the Ten Commandments, the core of the Old Covenant as noted in Exodus chapter 34 and verse 28.
III: The keeping of the seven annual yearly Sabbaths in the letter at there appointed times.
III: The keeping of the Old Covenant 10% tithing system in in which included up to three 10% tithes every third year.
IV: The belief in the keeping the doctrine of clean and unclean meats found in Leviticus chapter 11 and verses 1-47.
In the Worldwide Church of God we were commanded to keep these doctrines, and if they were broken, you were then dis-fellowshipped, and if you did not repent you were considered to have denied the faith and committed the unpardonable sin and in danger of the second death, in which you would be burned up in the lake of fire. On the other hand, we did not have anything to do with the heathen doctrines of traditional Christianity absorbed over time through the Babylonian Mystery Religion of Revelation chapter 17 and verses 1 through 5. And still on the other side we were neither cold because we believed that:
I: Jesus was the actual Savior of the world.
II: Were commanded to love one another as Jesus commanded His disciples in John chapters 13 and 15 and the book of 1 John.
III: We kept ourselves unspotted from the world, including again, the corruption of traditional Christianity by absorbing pagan doctrines and entangling ourselves with the corrupt politics of the world.
IV: Were commanded to walk in the fruits of the Spirit and put to death the works of the flesh as noted in Galatians chapter 5.
Therefore again, we were neither cold for Christ because of the above points. Obviously, as the apostle Paul said that if one walked according to the flesh he would not inherit the kingdom of God, and if he or she did not have the Spirit, he or she did not belong to Christ as noted in Romans Chapter 8, and this was cause for disfellowship as Paul commanded the Corinthians to do to in 1Corinthians Chapter 5 to the man who was having an affair with his fathers wife. The above points had to do with the spiritual and not the physical as we were commanded concerning the Old Covenent commands that were bound on us for salvation. Thus again, the Laodiceans were neither hot because they bound certain aspects of the Old Covenant which was done away by the reality of that Old Covenant shadow, Jesus Christ; therefore because they are between the shadow and the reality, they are branded by Christ as lukewarm. On top of this Christ tells this church that He wishes they would choose one side or the other. This church appears to be quite a grief to Christ because of it’s unique dilemma of worshipping Him in the letter of the Law and the spirit or reality of that Law.
Now to continue let’s read verse 16:
“So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth.”
Now at this present time these splinter churches of the old WWCOG are basically at peace in the world. They do not involve themselves with the politics of this world, nor mix their beliefs with the pagan doctrines of traditional Christianity, so it appears Christ is saying that he has been protecting them from harm by the figurative language of hiding them in His mouth. But what happens that fulfills the prophecy of Ezekiel chapter 5? Christ spews or vomits them out of his mouth and leaves them exposed to persecution and fiery trials in the great tribulation. Part of the tiny bundle of hair that was bound and protected in Ezekiel’s garment is now cast into the fire, or as fire represents in many instances in the bible-trials and tribulations that leads to spiritual purification.
Key Scripture That Identifies The Church Of Laodicea
The next verse to me identifies the modern day church of Laodicea in two ways:
I: They are extremely rich in the knowledge of God and Christ through the understanding of what the shadow of the Law of Moses pointed to in who God and Christ are and what God and Christ are going to do for all mankind. For instance, they know that God is an expanding family with Christ being the firstborn of many brethren as Paul stated in Romans 8:29. They know that God is going to save the world one step at a time, and understand that other than belief in God and Christ traditional Christianity is phonier than a three dollar bill steeped in paganism. They basically know the oracles or the mysteries of God!
II: Because they have great riches in the knowledge of the Bible, it has caused many to be puffed up in that knowledge, and again to the point that they bind the letter of it for salvation along with faith in Christ, the reality of that letter(old Covenant) and has blinded them to the fact that Christ is the fulfiller of all these Old Covenant oracles (Matt. 5:17-19) and we as His followers are simply to have complete faith in Him, await for Him to fulfill all things, walk in love though his Spirit fulfilling the Law in Romans 13:8, and keep ourselves unspotted from the world. Also, by keeping many of the Old Covenant laws, Laodicea is a task oriented church to obtain righteousness much like the Israelites were when they were under the law of Moses.
Now let’s read this scripture in Revelation 3 and verse 17 about their pride in the knowledge they posses in the letter and the spirit of the Law:
“Because you say, ‘I am rich and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’…
As I said, this church puts half their faith in the letter of the law so much so to the point that many times they put this knowledge above the binding of salvation in Christ alone. Take for instance the seventh day Sabbath. Their faith in keeping it as binding for salvation and their exultation of it has caused them to put it on a higher level than Christ himself (and I was once guilty of this), where as this site teaches that the Sabbath was a physical rest that represented the reality of a greater spiritual rest in Jesus Christ for the eons. Thus also they have the same approach to the annual yearly Holy Days they keep that outline the shadow of the reality of Christ’s step by step plan to save all mankind. So because of this attitude of Laodicea exulting the Law above Jesus, who is the reality of that law, Jesus goes on to condemn them for this attitude as we read further in verse 17:
“… and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked"
Jesus is condemning them at times(as a witness) for putting the letter of the Law which is the shadow of Him above that reality, and that it has blinded them to the fact of the truth of the gospel Paul preached from Jesus that a man is justified by faith in Christ alone and that not of the works of the Law, making their works such as keeping the physical Sabbath as well as other tasks utterly useless! As I said, when I was in the church it was more task oriented. Let’s read about this in the letter to the Colossians that was also commanded to be read to the Laodiceans where Paul corrected both of them for falling back into the "basic principles of the world" in Colosssians chapter 2 and verses 20 through 23:
“Therefore if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations- "DO NOT TOUCH, DO NOT TASTE (FORMERLY UNCLEAN MEAT), DO NOT HANDLE,” which all concern things which perish with the using-according to the commandments and doctrines of men? THESE THINGS INDEED HAVE AN APPEARANCE OF WISDOM IN SELF-IMPOSED RELIGION, FALSE HUMILITY, AND NEGLECT OF THE BODY, BUT ARE OF NO VALUE AGAINST THE INDULGENCE OF THE FLESH."
Let’s also read the famous scripture that the WWCOG and it’s splinter groups use today that they justify that the physical Sabbath and the Holy Days are still binding, but through the theme of Paul to the Colossians that Christ has the pre-eminence over all things and is the fulfiller of all things. Let’s read the controversial Colossians chapter 2 and verses 16 through 17:
“Therefore let no one judge you in food or in drink (people outside the church), or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths…"
Now read what Paul says next about these things contained in the law of Moses:
"...WHICH ARE A SHADOW OF THINGS TO COME,…"
One more time, the Old Covanent Law was a shadow of what Christ came to accomplish at His first appearing and what He will do when He comes again the second time. Read this scripture in Heb. 10:1:
“For the law, HAVING A SHADOW OF THE GOOD THINGS TO COME, and NOT THE VERY IMAGE OF THESE THINGS, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year make those who approach perfect.”
Now Laodicea knows and believes the truth of Christ as the Savior of the world, but the other things of the Law that they bind for salvation as said cannot assist in making them perfect, thus these Old Covenant works of keeping the Sabbath and Holy Days, paying tithes and upstaining from eating unclean meat are nothing but dead task oriented works that have “no value against the indulgence of the flesh” as Paul testified.
Now to Revelation 3:18:
“I council you TO BY FROM ME GOLD REFINED IN THE FIRE, THAT YOU MAY BE CLOTHED, THAT THE SHAME OF YOUR NAKEDNESS MAY NOT BE REVEALED, AND ANOINT YOUR EYES WITH EYE SALVE, THAT YOU MAY SEE."
Notice the first part of this verse Christ is telling them to buy from Him gold refined in the fire, in other words to come to Him with complete faith in Him, the reality, and forsake the shadow which they have made as their clothing for righteousness, and realize that He is the justifier of all men apart from the works of the Law that they practice at this time. As said before, one of the doctrines of these splinter churches is that the physical Sabbath is the mark that sets them apart as God’s true church and that Sunday worship is the mark of the beast that will be enforced to be kept during his reign, and that anybody who refuses this command to rest on Sunday will not be able to buy or sell (Rev. 12:16-17), but as a witness here this will not be the case. Remember in Daniel chapter 11 and verse 37 it says the beast will have no desire for women, or in other words any religious organization, nor the God of his fathers, nor any god(Buda, Allah...ect). So when this man declares himself as a God, he will demand direct worship and he will outlaw all religious organizations, especially what is left of Christianity and abolish anything that has to do with it including the Sabbath and Sunday worship, and this is when the splintered churches of God will come to see that Jesus is the reality of the Old Covenant Sabbath rest of age abidding life and the fulfiller of the whole Law, and will repent, but it will, unfortunately be through fire, or martyrdom as we will soon see. The great harlot(Catholic church) will be destroyed also as again noted in Revelation 17 chapter and verses15 through18. It will simply come down to what the angel told Daniel in chapters 8 and verses 11 through 12, and chapter 9 and verse 27 was the foreshadowing at the end of the age of the outlawing in belief in the reality of the shadow of the daily sacrifices: Jesus Christ. The two daily sacrifices that were commanded in the law of Moses were the shadow of Christ our sacrifice for sins that were offered continually to represent the continual coverage of our sins. Bible scholars believe that a third temple will be rebuilt and that literal animal sacrifices will be taken away by this beast, when in reality it will be belief in Christ, again the reality of the daily sacrifice that will be taken away or outlawed. BIBLE SCHOLARS AGAIN HAVE BEEN SUCKERED INTO SOMETHING THAT WILL NOT TAKE PLACE AS THEY SEE IT, THAT IS WHY THOSE ON THE EARTH AT THAT TIME WILL NOT HAVE A CLUE TO WHAT IS GOING ON, INCLUDING THE CHURCH OF LAODICEA UNTIL THEY SEE ALL CHRISTIANITY, FROM TRADITIONAL TO THEIR FAITH BEING WIPED OUT. AGAIN IT WILL COME DOWN TO SIMPLE BELIEF OR DENIAL AS NOTED IN REVELATION CHAPTER 3 AND VERSE 8 AND IN JOHN CHAPTER 6 AND VERSE 67 THROUGH 69 WHEN MOST OF CHRIST‘S DISCIPLES FELL AWAY:
Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”
Now notice Peter’s response in verses 68 and 69:
Then Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. “ALSO WE HAVE COME TO BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD.”
Now notice what Jesus says to Laodicea in Revelation 3: and verse19:
“As many AS I LOVE, I REBUKE AND CHASTEN. Therefore be zealous and repent.”
Jesus words to this group of believers is that He said that He loves them and to repent of their faith in the Old Covenant as a requiremnt for salvation(as a witness). There will be no end time official day of worship. The Babylonian Mystery Religion (traditional Christianity) that this group claims will be in power and force people to work on the seventh day will be done away. They will realize this spiritual error and then turn to their brothers faith, the church of Philadelphia, and embrace the faith once delivered to the saints; that of justification through Christ alone and that He is the fulfiller of the entire Law, but it will come at a price: through(spiritual) fire, through martyrdom as noted in Revelation 3:21:
“To him who overcomes I will grant with Me to sit on My throne, AS I OVERCAME and sat down with My Father on His throne.”
How did Jesus ultimately overcome this world? He gave His life up. He was martyred for the testimony of His Father’s faith. Many believe that Stephen was the first martyr of the way, but it was actually Jesus Christ who was the first martyr, and notice what He says again to Laodicea that they will overcome as He overcame, giving their lives for the one they will come to know that justifies them alone.
If you want to know who the splinter groups of the WWCOG (Laodicea) you can go here at http://www.exitsupportnetwork.com/artcls/offshoot.htm and read the list of the major churches of Laodicea, but in all there is thought to be over 200 splinter groups in existence today.