Chapter 3: Laodicean Era
We often talk about a Laodicean attitude. The truth is, many people are confused about what this is.
The Philadelphia era’s example and its works (led by Mr. Armstrong) set a standard for us to follow until Christ returns. We’ll see this demonstrated more and more as we continue. Major prophecies in Malachi 4, Zechariah 3 and 4, 2 Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 3 all discuss this Philadelphia standard.
The wcg strayed from the Philadelphia standard in the 1970s. Mr. Armstrong publicly repented of his part and changed. Today, the wcg is repeating what was done in the 1970s—moving away from the Philadelphia standard (Malachi 2:14; 2 Thessalonians 2:15; Revelation 3:7-20). While Mr. Armstrong lived, the works of the wcg were a strong standard. After he died, that standard began to be compromised.
In the Pastor General’s Report of January 3, 1989, Mr. Tkach made a strange statement, contrary to what Mr. Armstrong always taught: “It is simply not biblical to say that the best spiritual state is the state of being Philadelphian, and that we should all strive to be Philadelphian above others.”
Why not? With a Philadelphian attitude a person will be taken to the place of safety (Revelation 3:10; 12:14) and given rule in God’s headquarters temple forever (Revelation 3:12). The Philadelphia and Smyrna eras are the only Church eras God doesn’t criticize directly.
Why would Mr. Tkach even make such a statement? It is just another attempt to move the Church away from Mr. Armstrong and the Philadelphia standard. It is another example of being “treacherous to the wife of your youth”!
The Laodiceans don’t want to follow the Philadelphia standard. That is precisely what a Laodicean is! A person revolting against the Philadelphia understanding. That is because THEY want to be the standard! They are too often setting their own standard. A Laodicean is nothing more than a person who strives to get the focus off the Philadelphia attitude. That is what makes a person Laodicean. And that is precisely and specifically what Revelation 3:14-20 are all about.
Mr. Tkach stated at the 1989 Feast of Tabernacles, “A Philadelphian spirit is one excited about the work … and filled with energy. The Laodicean is the opposite—no drive and no energy.”
Sounds good. But is it biblical? God says a person can “have a zeal … but not according to knowledge” (Romans 10:2). A Laodicean may have an abundance of zeal. Even Satan is filled with energy and drive! That doesn’t make Satan or a Laodicean righteous.
The Laodiceans “have need of nothing” (Revelation 3:17). This means they have a horrible self-righteousness problem. They have deep spiritual problems but don’t see them. That’s because they are self-righteous. They think self is right. This is a lot more than lacking “drive and energy.” A self-righteous person often has more “drive and energy” than others. But it can be very deceptive—witness Job.
Which one of us can measure up to the deeds of Job? Yet Job had to suffer horribly before he could see his problem of self-righteousness. People like Elihu couldn’t convince him of his sins. It took God personally to do it. And so it is with the Laodiceans. When they find themselves in the worst suffering ever on this planet, they will know God has made a judgment against them (verses 16-20). Christ is knocking at their door now through this message.
The Philadelphians who let no man take their crown become pillars (verse 12). In verses 11 and 12 it reads this way: “[H]old that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out ….” The last specific warning to the Philadelphians is followed by a mention of the last specific reward they will receive. The two are connected because the reward is given if they don’t allow a man to take their reward.
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (verse 13). This is the last general warning to the Philadelphians.
Do you hear what the Spirit is saying?
‘I Know Your Works’
Here is another quote from Dr. Herman Hoeh’s 1982 sermon on Church eras: “The last stage of the Church is Laodicea, and logically in history we should expect that an outgrowth and ultimately a separate candlestick, a separate government, is the outcome of this” (emphasis mine throughout).
If we look at the history of Church eras, Dr. Hoeh says, we should expect a “separate government” for the Laodicean Church. Yet if the Laodiceans are in control, it is the Philadelphians who must start a new organization, or pull away and continue the “old” organization, by reestablishing the Philadelphia standard.
God’s people today, just like those from the Ephesus era and other eras, must leave the Laodicean Church or suffer with the Laodiceans in the Tribulation!
Do the Laodiceans have works as a Church era? If the Laodicean Church begins when the Tribulation begins, as the Church has believed in the past, the very elect couldn’t deliver this message to the people. Under the prevailing conditions, it would be impossible. The Laodicean Church must have era “works” before the Tribulation begins.
“And unto the angel [aggelos: ‘messenger’] of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot” (Revelation 3:14-15).
If you look at every other era, each one had works as a group. God says to each era, “I know thy works” (Revelation 2:2, 9, 13, 19; 3:1, 8, 15). Each era had time to produce works as a collective body.
By saying, “I know thy works,” God is addressing the collective body—the era. Could the Laodiceans as a group have “works” in the Tribulation? The Laodiceans will be in the worst captivity ever known to man. What kind of works could they perform as a collective body during the Tribulation? None. Therefore the works must be prior to the Tribulation—the time period we are in now.
‘Rich and Increased With Goods’
“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 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” (Revelation 3:16-17). “Rich, and increased with goods” in the Greek literally means they “have become enriched” or “are rich and have gotten riches.” Don’t the Laodiceans say they are rich and increased with goods (physically) because they are?
The word “goods” has an interesting meaning. The first definition in Thayer’s Lexicon is “to be rich, to have abundance,” meaning “outward possessions.” This means physical wealth! Remember, these are carnal-minded people with their minds naturally on physical things. They are spiritually “blind.”
There is strong indication that the Laodicean era has abundant “outward possessions.” The income of the wcg was about $200 million a year before Mr. Armstrong died. There is property valued in the multiple millions of dollars. Certainly, the present administration of the wcg inherited great wealth when Mr. Armstrong died.
“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing …” (verse 17). Don’t they “have need of nothing” because they are “rich, and increased” with physical goods? Is that why the ministers who have real concerns about the direction of the wcg are not heard? Don’t the wcg leaders think they can always rely on their physical wealth, and therefore they don’t have to be concerned about dissenting voices?
As you continue to read, you will see that end-time prophecies answer all of these questions.
The Laodicean Church may be growing in membership until Christ returns, but does that always mean it is doing God’s will? No! We can’t use that criterion to judge. Other churches have millions of members and are not God’s churches. Actually, the Work of God could be declining in numbers and still do a wonderful job for God. So we have to look deeper than a growing membership.
God’s Church has doctrinal beliefs which are easily proved from the Bible. A watered-down version of the truth is more appealing to people in the world and thus could swell the wcg membership ranks. (However, at the present time, membership is declining.)
Anciently, the city of Laodicea was distinguished for its riches. As a people, they prided themselves on their wealth. The city was destroyed by an earthquake in a.d. 62 and rebuilt by its wealthy citizens.
Laodicea had frequent earthquakes. A large part of the city was demolished, destroying many of its inhabitants. The place was finally abandoned and now lies in ruins. It is a deserted place, called by the Turks “Eski-hissor,” or “Old Castle.” This is a powerfully prophetic picture of the Laodiceans. A huge “earthquake” (the Great Tribulation) will strike them. Many of the members are going to lose their salvation. Matthew 25:1-10 indicate 50 percent. Their church and its Laodicean works are going to end in ruins—just like the ancient city.
God commands them to be zealous (from the Greek word zeo, “to boil”) and repent. They have lost their heat and zeal.
Historian Edward Gibbon wrote, “Among the Greek colonies and the churches of Asia, Philadelphia is still erect—a column in a scene of ruins ….” God has given us an exalted standard. The Philadelphia spirit will never be destroyed. The Philadelphians are to be pillars in God’s temple forever.
The Philadelphia era under Mr. Armstrong was a strong Church era. You would expect a peaceful transition of power and a smooth transfer of the “goods” to the Laodiceans. This is how Laodicea becomes “rich, and increased with goods” and has “need of nothing.” Then, if we look at Malachi, Zechariah 3 and 4, and 2 Thessalonians 2, we see a great falling away. The Laodiceans “fall away” from the truth, and many Philadelphians are cast out or leave.
Sharing God’s Throne
I was puzzled by a Bible verse for years. But now the understanding is clear to me. Here is the verse: “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” (Revelation 3:21). Why is this awesome reward mentioned after the Laodicean section of Revelation 3? The saints mentioned in this verse are going to share Christ’s own throne, if they overcome “as” Christ did (which the Laodiceans fail to do). Read Revelation 4, which gives a description of this glorious throne. This reward is not offered to the Laodiceans. Then why did God include it immediately after the Laodicean story?
“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out …” (Revelation 3:12). This is the reward of the Philadelphians. They also escape the Great Tribulation (verses 10-11). The fate of the Laodiceans is to go into the Tribulation. “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. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (verses 18-19). The Laodiceans will NOT be in God’s future headquarters temple, where God’s throne is. God does not promise them that reward anywhere in the Bible.
So who receives the reward mentioned in verse 21? “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” (verse 20). It says “if any man,” or any individual, hears the knock and responds, he or she will be led out of the Laodicean Church. Salvation is not a group affair. Each one of us has the individual responsibility to respond—or not respond! Following Christ is an individual matter. Being in a church can be meaningless without this understanding. Christ is knocking on your spiritual door. How will you respond to Christ? The one who responds positively receives the awesome reward of verse 21! That means he or she remains a Philadelphian—by leaving the Laodicean Church.
Both verses 12 and 21 of Revelation 3 are Philadelphian rewards. But those who hear the “knock” must come out of the Laodicean Church to receive the reward of verse 21.
When the words “pillar,” “temple” (verse 12) or “throne” (verse 21) are used, they apply to the Philadelphian reward.
God is knocking—to a great extent through Malachi’s Message. We must overcome as Christ overcame (verse 21). That means we must have the faith of Christ in us (Galatians 2:20). If we have that kind of faith, then we will follow God out of the “lukewarm” church. It is the only way to receive the reward of Revelation 3:21.
There is no way verse 21 can apply to the Laodiceans.
Those who hear the “knock” know how to follow Christ—our true Leader. These saints don’t follow a man, or men. That is why they hear the “knock” of Christ. Hearing that “knock” and opening the door also saves them from the Tribulation.
These verses alone imply that there must be a split in God’s Church. In these two eras of Revelation 3, there are three phases discussed (verses 12, 18-19, 21). First, there was the Philadelphia Church in the Philadelphian era (Herbert Armstrong was the leader). Second, there is the Laodicean Church in the Laodicean era (which began when Herbert Armstrong died). And third, there is the Philadelphia Church that comes out of the Laodicean Church—during the Laodicean era.
These verses tell us that the Philadelphia Church remains alive and well in the Laodicean era, and the Philadelphians ensure that by hearing Christ’s knock. They respond by coming out of the lukewarm church.
The Philadelphians walk by faith—that’s why they hear the knock. They hear what the Spirit says (verse 22).
The Meaning of ‘Sealed’
“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his” (2 Timothy 2:19). We become begotten sons of God at baptism. God “seals” us. He won’t withdraw His calling. We “are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). We are sealed at baptism for that day. However, the seal can be “broken” or left in doubt—by our actions. It’s not guaranteed—yet. We are “sealed with that holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13). There is “promise” (not certainty) when our calling is sealed. God’s part of the sealing is secure, but the final outcome is not known until we are born sons—not just begotten sons. We are sealed at baptism, and if we use the Spirit properly, we are as good as saved because that is how God views it (John 6:47, “hath eternal life”; also see Romans 4:17, last part).
The New Bible Dictionary says “sealing” is an “eternal guarantee.” God looks upon our salvation as completed. This dictionary gives it three meanings—ownership, authenticity and security. As far as God is concerned, these three words apply to the sealing at baptism. However, we are not totally secure until we are born sons of God. The sealing is not absolutely certain until that time. Then God owns us, it is authentic and we are secure in eternal glory. That is the ultimate sealing—when the covenant is kept by both parties.
Who Are the 144,000?
Revelation 6:9-16 discuss the martyrdom of the saints and the heavenly signs. The martyrdom of the saints occurs during the Great Tribulation. The heavenly signs happen immediately after the Tribulation (Matthew 24:29) and just before the great and terrible Day of the Lord (Joel 2:31; Revelation 6:12-17). Also, just after the Tribulation and before the Day of the Lord, the 144,000 are permanently sealed (Revelation 7:1-4).
The Tribulation ends after 2½ years (Hosea 6:1-2). The “Day of the Lord” lasts one year (Isaiah 34:8; 61:2; 63:4; see also Ezekiel 4:6 and Numbers 14:34, a day for a year in prophecy fulfilled). This makes a total of 3½ years. The Philadelphians are in a place of safety for 3½ years.
Both the Tribulation and Day of the Lord are included in that 3½-year period the Bible calls “time, and times, and half a time” (Revelation 12:14; Daniel 12:7).
Again, let me repeat the precise time frame: The 144,000 are permanently sealed immediately after the Tribulation and immediately before the Day of the Lord.
Mr. Armstrong’s booklets The Key to the Book of Revelation and The Book of Revelation Unveiled at Last! (now out of print) explain this 3½-year period in great detail.
Here is what the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course taught about the 144,000: “Who will comprise the 144,000? Revelation 7:4. Note the word ‘Israel.’ Comment: They will be some of the modern-day descendants of ancient Israel who will have heeded God’s warnings while in captivity” (Lesson 8, 1966).
Even though it doesn’t mention the Laodiceans here, it plainly states that the 144,000 go into captivity. That agrees with what the pcg teaches today.
The 144,000 could be only one of three possible groups: the great multitude, the Philadelphians or the Laodiceans.
The great multitude of Revelation 7:9, 13-14 includes all those who repent as a result of the Tribulation—people who were previously unconverted. “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (verse 14). The great multitude consists of people who were never in the Church prior to the Tribulation. They are innumerable, probably far more than 144,000. First, they come out of the Tribulation, and second, they wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. They become converted and accept the blood of Christ to pay for their sins.
“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:5). This happened to the great multitude. Christ “washed us”—past tense—“from our sins in his own blood.” When? All New Testament converts, including those to be called and converted in the seven eras (Revelation 2 and 3)—whom John is addressing—have been or shall be washed from their sins by the blood of the Lamb at conversion. That is why there is no mention of this happening to the Laodiceans or the Philadelphians. They have already been converted before the Tribulation. But the great multitude repents only after the Tribulation arrives—they are not included in the seven Church eras. This multitude of people had undoubtedly heard God’s message before the Tribulation, but didn’t repent. Then, when they experience the Tribulation which was prophesied to them before it occurred, they will repent.
The great multitude “came out” of the Great Tribulation. The Philadelphians did not come out of the Tribulation because they were never in it. They were in a place of safety. The Laodiceans did not come out of the Tribulation because every indication is that they all died in the Tribulation (Revelation 6:9-11; 12:11-12). These martyrs and the 144,000 are both in the Tribulation because they are the same group.
There are clearly three separate and distinct groups.
The Philadelphians will be in a place of safety for 3½ years (Revelation 12:14). So it isn’t logical that they would be sealed after 2½ years in the place of safety. They too were sealed at baptism, but they didn’t break their seal as the Laodiceans did by rebelling against God. Therefore, the Philadelphians couldn’t be the 144,000.
However, it is very logical that the Laodiceans are sealed after spending 2½ years in the Tribulation. Here’s why. We know the Laodiceans are going into the Tribulation (Revelation 3:14-19). Revelation 12 discusses the Philadelphians going to a place of safety (verses 13-14), and the Laodiceans going into the Tribulation (verse 17). It says that one group “loved not their lives unto the death” (verse 11). That could not be the Philadelphians, because they are in the place of safety. They do not have to die to prove their faithfulness to God. The great multitude is being protected from the Day of the Lord (Revelation 7:14). That leaves only the Laodiceans. God tells us they are going into the Tribulation. The Laodiceans will die and be officially and permanently sealed after the 2½-year Tribulation. Therefore we can see that 144,000 of God’s people receive their salvation through the Tribulation experience—and death.
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Malachi 4:5). Now here is a very important point. Note it carefully. After 2½ years of the Tribulation, and just prior to the beginning of the Day of the Lord, all of the 144,000 will have been sealed by God’s Holy Spirit at the time of their death (Revelation 7:3-4).
Why doesn’t it say the Elijah type (Mr. Armstrong) comes before the Great Tribulation—instead of “the great and dreadful day of the Lord”? Because there is still much that is left unfinished about the Elijah work. All of the Laodicean churches reject Mr. Armstrong as being the end-time Elijah! When we reach “the great and dreadful day of the Lord,” all rebellion from God’s Church against the Elijah work is removed. At that point, all firstfruits support what Christ has restored through Mr. Armstrong, or they are dead spiritually! Even though Mr. Armstrong died before “the great and dreadful day of the Lord,” there are many who still don’t support what Christ restored through him. Today many of God’s own people reject what “Elijah” taught. In the future, they must be willing to die for what Christ taught through Mr. Armstrong if they are to be in God’s Kingdom. When that day arrives, all Church members who still rebel against God’s government will be cut off forever!
It says by strong implication that many of the Laodiceans repent of their rebellion toward the Elijah-type (Mr. Armstrong) work. All of the Laodiceans presently reject the government God taught through Mr. Armstrong! (For more information, request our free booklet God’s Family Government.) They have a serious government problem. They will be in the Tribulation for that very reason!
Though the Laodiceans probably die at different times in the Tribulation, the cut-off point is immediately before the Day of the Lord. Then the sealing is complete and official. That is the precise point when God will know absolutely which Laodiceans are to be saved and which Laodiceans are to be lost forever. The Philadelphians will have already proved themselves. God will then know who will be in the firstfruits harvest from the Laodicean Church.
Those who are loyal to Christ and what He taught through Mr. Armstrong are called Philadelphians. Those who are not loyal to these teachings are called Laodiceans. The Laodiceans must admit that they have rebelled against what God taught through Mr. Armstrong and repent—and then die to prove their conviction to God!
If we look closely at Revelation 7:3-4, and relate it to Malachi 4:5-6, we can begin to see what happens to fill the prophetic gap—between the death of “Elijah” and “the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” God demonstrated for many years through Christ and Mr. Armstrong how His government works. Then He removed Mr. Armstrong to see if we would individually follow Christ’s government without that spiritually strong, physical leader. It was a carefully planned test for God’s people.
If you want to read the story in detail, then read the book of Malachi (also 2 Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 3:14-20). It tells you what happened after Mr. Armstrong died. Revelation 7:3-4 tell exactly when the Laodicean Church ends.
Again, the Bible indicates that during the Tribulation all the Laodiceans who will enter God’s Kingdom must die for God (Revelation 6:9-11; 12:11-12). These martyrs of Revelation 6:9-11 include the Laodiceans. You should read every word. This is why the Laodiceans are sealed just after the Tribulation and before the Day of the Lord. Their sealing has been in doubt until the Tribulation. The Laodiceans have to prove themselves by dying for God. Then they are permanently sealed. According to Thayer’s Lexicon, one of the definitions of this word “sealed” is to “place beyond doubt”! At the time of their death is when their commitment to God is finally known and “placed beyond doubt.” At this point, there is a question mark hanging over the heads of the Laodiceans!
The sealing at this time could apply ONLY to the Laodiceans.
Only in the book of Revelation do we find Bible prophecies placed in order of time sequence. This is very important to understand.
Notice that Revelation 12 is about the Great Tribulation (see verses 11-14, 17). Revelation 13 is also about the Great Tribulation (verses 7, 17). God’s people who go into the Tribulation must reject the mark of the beast to qualify for God’s Kingdom. These people are martyred because they reject the mark of the beast (Revelation 6:9, 11; 13:15, 17). Then we move into chapter 14.
“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion [Zion], and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb” (verses 1-4). These are the same people who rejected the mark of the beast. They die for God, then God reveals their future job with Christ in the World Tomorrow. These Laodiceans repent and make it into the Kingdom. However, the 144,000 Laodiceans will not be in God’s temple, or at headquarters, forever, as the Philadelphians will be (Revelation 3:12). The Laodiceans will assist Christ for all eternity. God included these verses in Revelation 14 to be an encouragement to the Laodiceans who will read them during their trials in the Tribulation.
Revelation 14 discusses the end of the Tribulation and Day of the Lord, when Babylon falls (verse 8). Those who worship the beast receive God’s wrath.
“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them” (verses 12-13). Here we have saints who have the very faith of Christ. They demonstrated that faith by dying for God.
There are two groups discussed in Revelation 14. Those who reject the mark of the beast (“martyrs,” or the 144,000) and those who accept the mark of the beast. The context reveals who the 144,000 are and the time sequence in which they died. The 144,000 are the martyrs who reject the mark of the beast. They are “blessed” by dying for their faith in Christ. God also reveals their future job (verses 1-4).
The Laodiceans are people whom many of us know and love. The Laodicean tragedy is not a fantasy—it is a horrifying reality! If this isn’t enough to make each one of us deeply examine ourselves, then surely that attitude IS Laodicean.
God has given His Church so much spiritual knowledge. He says we are being judged by what we do with all that knowledge (Romans 2:13; James 4:17). So God holds back the Day of the Lord until all the Laodiceans are permanently sealed.
The great multitude repented and “came out” of the Tribulation (Revelation 7:14). The Bible doesn’t say this about the Laodiceans. That is because the Laodiceans die IN the Tribulation and consequently are SEALED. Then they are assured of being in God’s Kingdom, but they won’t receive a Philadelphian reward.
Study the chronology of Revelation 6 and 7. It clearly reveals that the 144,000 are the Laodiceans. Revelation 6 discusses the Tribulation and the martyrdom of the saints (or the Laodiceans). Then, in Revelation 7, God marks the time when many Laodicean firstfruits are officially martyred and sealed in the Tribulation for admittance into the Kingdom—and many others are lost forever.
Some may wonder about the following verse: “And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads” (Revelation 9:4). Who are the people with the seal? They are the Philadelphians, the great multitude and those people who repent as the Day of the Lord intensifies.
God doesn’t promise physical protection to everyone He seals. God promises to protect the Philadelphians from the Tribulation (Revelation 12:14), and He promises to protect the innumerable multitude from the Day of the Lord (Revelation 9:4). All of God’s saints are protected, unless they break their seal by rebelling.
This is another sign that the Laodiceans broke their seal given at baptism. They are not protected during the Tribulation. They are spewed out of God’s mouth (Revelation 3:14-16). Our faith can fail us. Covenants and seals can be broken by men. But God’s Word cannot be broken. This is the character we must build to become members of God’s Family.
Paul marveled that the Galatians so quickly turned to “another gospel” (Galatians 1:6). Today, the Laodiceans have committed the same sin. God even indicates this in Revelation 14:1. The 144,000 reject the mark of the beast, and then it appears they learn their first and most important lesson. The Father’s name is THEN written in their foreheads (verse 1). Their cardinal sin revolves around that issue. Here is why.
God’s first criticism of the Laodiceans in the book of Malachi concerns the sin of not honoring the Father. In Malachi 1:6 the Father asks, through the Spokesman, “[I]f then I be a father, where is mine honor? …” This is where the Laodiceans began to get off track. They started preaching another gospel. Remember, the book of Malachi is primarily for the end time. The true gospel is the good news of the coming Kingdom, or Family, of God. God’s government is administered by the Family of God. Mr. Armstrong taught that in the wcg for many years.
That doctrine was changed after Mr. Armstrong died. Now the wcg teaches that “Christ is the central figure of the gospel.” That is tragically unbiblical!
Gospel means “good news.” It is the “good news” of the coming Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God is the Family of God. And who is the Head of the Family? Christ? Of course not! The Father is the Head of the Family. God the Father is the central figure of the gospel!
No man can come to Christ “except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). The Father begets His own children. Not even Christ can do that! So we can see why the Father asks, “Where is mine honor?” This is the heart of the gospel! The Father is the central figure, but the wcg has relegated Him to a lower status. The wcg has moved away from God’s true gospel and now preaches “another gospel.”
When the Great Tribulation comes, everyone will know who is Laodicean and who is Philadelphian. The Laodiceans will be in the Tribulation. The Philadelphians will be in a place of safety. Then there will be no more “scholarly” reasoning around God’s plain truth!
The bad news is many of God’s people are not going to a place of safety. Even worse, many won’t be in God’s glorious Kingdom!
The gospel, or “good news,” reveals that God is about to intervene directly in this world’s affairs so He can rule and usher in the wonderful World Tomorrow.