The Letter to LaodiceaThe Letter to LaodiceaThe Letter to Laodicea

Second Scroll: Now The LAST ERA

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February 11, 1987



S: The SARDIS Leadership P: The PHILADELPHIA LeadershipL: The LAODICEA Leadership

1: The Ephesus-type Member

2: The Smyrna-type Member

3: The Pergamum-type Member

4: The Thyatira-type Member

5: The Sardis-type Member

6: The Philadelphia-type Member

7: The Laodicea-type Member

[Diagrams are for illustrative purposes only and are not meant to reflect actual percentages or time spans]

FROM the book THE INCREDIBLE HUMAN POTENTIAL by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, there is this passage about the messages found in Revelation chapters 2 and 3:

These seven messages DO apply to seven successive Church eras. BUT they also apply to the WHOLE CHURCH through ALL eras. In other words, the Ephesus characteristics DOMINATED in the first era, and the Laodicean will dominate in the last, but SOME of these characteristics are found in EVERY era. The messages apply to the WHOLE Church (and so I have said and written for more than fifty years) but certain characteristics predominate in the various eras. (page 155)


Please understand what God has already been telling us. It’s there “IN BLACK & WHITE.” Now the choice is up to you! You can either prove this is the truth or prove it is an error. The one thing that you cannot afford to do is to ignore the issue altogether. For that would indeed be for you a most tragic, and truly fatal, mistake.

God’s Apostle Mr. Armstrong had often spoken of himself as the Zerubbabel of Zechariah 4:9. The work that he was commissioned to do was to raise up the Philadelphian Era of God’s Church. And according to divine plan that was THE VERY SAME work that he would complete. It was Mr. Armstrong who began that sixth stage and it was he who would end it.

That part of God’s WORK known as “the Church in Philadelphia” was, therefore, to be finished when its human leader died. In THE GOOD NEWS magazine of August ’79, on page 27, Mr. Armstrong wrote:

God never yet has let one through whom He STARTED a great project turn wrong—and He has never yet let such an appointed leader of His die until his job was FINISHED!

In Mr. Herbert Armstrong’s final book MYSTERY OF THE AGES, on pages 282-292, he repeatedly refers to the change that occurs between two successive church eras as: “the baton” BEING PASSED. At no other time is this phrase used except to signal and identify the transition from an old to a NEW Church Era.

The May ’86 issue of THE GOOD NEWS, one specified as A Tribute to Herbert W. Armstrong, includes this one particular article of extremely great PROPHETIC significance. It is entitled “Passing the Baton” and in it there is this statement:

Mr. Armstrong termed his appointment of Mr. Tkach “the passing of the baton.”

His use of that specific, epochal terminology has signified that an era of Church history has passed. And thus, the God of Amos 3:7 has REVEALED His plan!!!

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Rev. 3:13 & 22)

As of one year ago, there has occurred in the Worldwide Church of God a smooth and orderly transfer of the human authority under God’s government. The citizens of the United States of America can relate to such transfers of power because we have a constitutional procedure that determines the succession to the presidency. As each new leader assumes the office, he ushers in a new era, a period which reflects the all-pervasive influence of his personal philosophy. And it is a well-known political formula that one leader EQUALS one era.

Similarly, the Church of God has entered a new era. The Armstrong/ Philadelphian one has ceased. The pivotal message of Revelation 3:14 is addressed to that new leader (“angel” or “messenger”), the human head of the Church who would follow AFTER Mr. Armstrong.

What had transpired was a gradual change in the attitude (NOT THE DOCTRINE) of the church membership. The Sixth Characteristic was, over the years, being subtly displaced by the Seventh one until it finally was superseded. “Creeping” complacency took root and clearly became the dominant, prevailing tendency of the majority of today’s church members.

The Seventh trait “Lukewarmness” now stood out as the single most noticeable feature of this second generation “corporation.” And, it had become manifest throughout the entire body “from the sole of your foot to the top of your head” (Isaiah 1:6). While some vestiges remained, the Sixth Era was all-but-over. When its founder Mr. Armstrong, the man who epitomized for so long the trait of “brotherly love,” died, the new era was then officially installed. The human government had become the Laodicea Church of God.

It is important to realize that there is a critical distinction that needs to be made between a member of the Laodicea Church and a Laodicean member. Not all members of the Seventh Era will have to depict the Seventh Characteristic—the lukewarm attitude. Yet, since the Church AS A WHOLE will exhibit this tepid condition, such members will find themselves in opposition to the prevalent Laodicean faction.

One who strives to maintain the Philadelphian attitude will have to struggle against that lukewarm-malaise which he finds in himself and in others. One who truly would live the agape way will not—CANNOT—”go along” with the Church AS IT IS. One who is practicing deeds of love must be at variance with a complacent Church. One who follows in Christ’s footsteps will need to apply the lessons found in Chapter 10 of the book of Matthew.

Only the PHILADELPHIAN-TYPE member within the Laodicean Era can thereby qualify to be kept from the hour of trial (Rev. 3:10). For, protection from the Great Tribulation can never be a wholesale proposition. Proof will be required of each individual whether or not he alone has stood this TEST of love. Everything else will be irrelevant.

Yet many, at this time, will not understand and will not really want to understand what has occurred. It is as if they have hung out the “PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB” signs on the doors of their Christian lives. Within the comfort and security of the Church, we have been sweetly ‘lullaby-ed” to sleep. Matthew 25:5 states that ALL ten virgins—the ENTIRE Church of God—”became drowsy and fell asleep.” That means US!

For, church history finds us NOW in Matthew 25. And Luke 21:36 warns that we should be WATCHING!!! Have you been watching CHURCH EVENTS? Have you been watching the CHURCH attitudes? Have you been watching YOU?

While we were all asleep, Jesus Christ took His Church into the final stage—the Seventh Era.


Have you the “oil” for your lamp?

NOTE: Prior submission of this material has been made to the Pastor General of the Worldwide Church of God.

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