The Lost Century (2023)
By Gerald Flurry • September 1, 2023
The “lost century” of God’s one true Church lasted from a.d. 70 to 170. The Church faced heated persecution. Secular historical accounts of the Church during this time are nonexistent.
The lost century coincided with the fall of Jerusalem in a.d. 70, so it was the greatest Church crisis ever up to that point. God’s loyal people fled to Pella in a.d. 69 and received protection from Him there. They had lost so much of their secular and spiritual history because it was destroyed—just like today, with 95 percent of God’s Church turning away.
Many of God’s own people turned against Him during the lost century. They lacked faith and love. Around a.d. 90, the Apostle John wrote the Gospel of John, the book of Revelation and his three epistles, addressing these serious Church problems in the epistles. John’s epistles focus more on the lost century than any other book.
“John was different from the other Gospel writers—and all of the biblical writers, for that matter—in a number of ways,” I write in John’s Gospel—The Love of God. “He is the only one who wrote about the Word. John provided an overview and showed us how God views everything! John gives us a perspective from the Word—from God Himself!”
John wrote about a vision we all must have to overcome the devil and rule from David’s throne with Jesus Christ over the Earth and later the universe forever. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life” (1 John 1:1).
Go back to the beginning! The ever-living Word of life came to Earth and lived with His disciples. These men were in awe of their opportunity to touch and converse with the Son of God! God is offering us real life forever, something vastly superior to our current chemical existence.
“I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. … Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father” (1 John 2:13-14, 24).
The Father and the Son existed from the beginning as God and the Word. We must be able to see from the beginning. John repeatedly urges us to keep our mind on the beginning. This vision enables us to conquer Satan! (1 John 3:8-11).
God became the Father and the Word became the Son when God conceived the Word in the womb of the virgin Mary. Father, Son, family! God is inviting human beings to become spirit-born sons in His Family!
The Family of God is also the Kingdom of God. The firstfruits called out of the world and converted today to support God’s Work will be Christ’s Bride, the beginning of the God Family, ruling members of the Kingdom of God. Christ is now bringing many sons to glory (Hebrews 2).
John is the only New Testament writer to identify Jesus Christ as the Word. He was around longer and taught more by Christ than any of the other apostles, all of whom were martyred. In his epistles, he describes the Word, from the Greek logos, meaning Spokesman of the Godhead.
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). Christ is our Advocate, not when we are righteous, but when we sin. He appeals to God the Father on our behalf so we can repent and overcome our sins. Our High Priest lives to facilitate our relationship with the Father (Hebrews 7:25). He is the Head of God’s one true Church. He is there to help us enter the Family of God. He died for that purpose. This is a vision of breathtaking splendor!
In fiery trials like the lost century, God gives us all the help we need. The Church crisis in this end time eclipses the destruction of the lost century!
“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). The death of our Savior paid for the sins of the world!
“He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (verse 6). The word ought means we are bound by duty and indebted to walk as Christ walked. We have an opportunity to live in Christ and like Christ. He was perfect just like His Father. Our goal is to become perfect just like them (Matthew 5:48).
“I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake” (1 John 2:12). John didn’t call the brethren “my little children” any longer since they had turned against God, but he was reminding them of their identity as potential future sons of God in the very God Family! God had offered them everything! What a responsibility God gives to those who will just yield themselves to Him.
Prepare for trials and tests because they are coming. Our Advocate takes care of His Church, feeding us spiritually and giving us life.
“Little children, it is the last time. [or ‘last hour’; Revised Standard Version]: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time” (verse 18). An antichrist seized control of God’s Church in this end time after the death of Herbert W. Armstrong in 1986. Ninety-five percent of the brethren have fallen away from God. They have lost their own history. They are spiritually lukewarm, yet half of them aren’t even that—they will die forever! We possess dangerous knowledge. God is offering us the universe, and woe unto us if we reject Him.
In this last hour, many antichrists fight against Christ. How shameful and unnecessary! John tells us how to stand strong during this time and live the most beautiful and exciting life imaginable. Even our trials are more precious than gold because they help us grow in God’s character and prepare for our future.
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us” (verse 19). People within God’s own Church rebelled against Him in this end time. This is serious business. We must overcome the devil as Christ did.
“Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (1 John 3:21-22). We must repent of our sins and seek help from our Advocate to receive forgiveness so we may be strong in godly faith and confidence. We must obey God’s law. When we are weak, He makes us strong!
To flourish in our spiritual lives, marriages and families, we need John’s “from the beginning” vision. Remember how God and the Word became Father and Son, opening up their Family to mankind so we can become God beings!
We ought to love one another (verse 11), love this world, and even love our enemies! This takes vision. Think like God, and your whole life will be revolutionized!Read More