Chapter 19





The Complacent and Self-Righteous Church Era”

1969? – To Present

And to the angel of the Church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and 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.

So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth.

Because YOU say. ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’— and do NOT know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the FIRE, that you may be RICH; and WHITE GARMENTS 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. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If ANYONE hears My voice and OPENS the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes, I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches.” ’ ”

Though the Laodicean Church Era has not been established as an entity with its own individual leader, and probably won’t be until the remaining members of the Philadelphia Era have left for the place of safety; the spirit of it can easily be witnessed within the membership of the Corporate Churches of God and in other areas!

To aid in a greater depth of understanding of what Jesus Christ said in this overview it becomes necessary to connect other Scriptural writings to this letter. This makes it much easier to identify who they are in this present time; and why they are at the point of being rejected by Jesus Christ from being in the First Resurrection—except through repentance and faithfulness while experiencing horrible deaths in the Great Tribulation.

Segmenting the Letter for Understanding

Jesus Christ addresses the members of the Laodicean Era:

Philips Translation: Laodiceans—“Complacent Church.” Bible Correspondence Course, Lesson 53: “The self-righteous Church”

And to the angel (messenger) of the Church of the Laodiceans (not Laodiceabut Laodiceans – membersnot yet an observable and identifying entity) write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning (Beginner, the Word, John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16-17) of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.

  1. Lack of real ardor in doing a Work

  2. Ministers and members are non-confrontational, laidback, in stark contrast to God’s command to— “Cry aloud, spare not; lift up your voice like a trumpet; tell My people their transgression, and the House of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1; Ezekiel 6:11).

So then, because you are lukewarm (tepid, lukewarm, laidback, Matthew 25:3), and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spew (margin: vomit) you out of My mouth (C.C. Lesson 53 - Correct translation).

Because YOU say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing (satisfied, content, with their spiritual condition)’— and do NOT know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—

I counsel you to buy from Me gold (holy righteous character) refined in the FIRE (enduring the flames of the Great Tribulation), that you may be RICH; and WHITE GARMENTS that you may be CLOTHED, that the SHAME of your nakedness (spiritual – no wedding garment, Mathew 22:8-24) may NOT be revealed; and ANOINT your eyes with eye salve that you may SEE (see yourself as you really are).

As many as I love (Greek: phileo = love dearly and tenderly), I rebuke and chasten (discipline, Hebrews 12:5-11). Therefore be zealous (eager—before it comes to be too late) and repent.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock (at mind and heart). If ANYONE hears My voice (God through His Holy Spirit and Bible – plus – through the Restored Works, in spoken word and in print, of God’s late apostle on our websites) and OPENS the door (comes to himself, repents, and gets back fully on track with all of the true teachings), I will come in to him and dine with him (John 6:27, 32-33, 35, 48, 50, 63; 4:34), and he with Me.

To him who overcomes, I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

He who has an ear, let him hear (NOW!—before it comes to be too late) what the Spirit says to the Churches.” ’ ”

The Beginning of the Developing Laodicean Spirit

Mr. Armstrong began to speak of the Laodicean spirit being among the Philadelphia era of the Church of God as early as 1969. Based on this, as well as what he later wrote and said about that era, he saw its beginning emergence and spreading growth; this sobered and frightened him to see this taking place within God’s Church.

This led him into an in-depth study of this Church Era that would in time become an entity. He was blessed by Jesus Christ with an understanding of the overall view of it, but not fully in detail; for he failed to see when this condition would fully materialize after his death.

Mr. Armstrong could be compared to Daniel who saw in vision prophetic events that would take place beyond his lifetime and asked for understanding about them. The Angel told Daniel to go his way for the words were sealed and not for him to know (Daniel 12:9).

Having not lived into these present times, Mr. Armstrong was not given the full understanding of some of the end-time prophecies including the falling away, and the scattering of the flock. He knew this would happen, but he did not know who, how, or when.

Had he known this would begin taking place right after his death, he would have never named the wolf in sheep’s clothing to replace him as the Pastor General of the Church. But prophecy had to be fulfilled (II Thessalonians 2:1-3).

However, Mr. Armstrong did understand the overview of John’s writing about the Laodicean era, and also what Christ said about it in the parable of the 10 virgins.

In his intensive study he came to see in the last two or three years of his life that five of the virgins would not make it at all; and the other five would only do so by remaining faithful to God unto death in the Great Tribulation.

Included in his study was the coupling together of the Scriptures found in Revelation 3:14-22 and Matthew 25:1-13, as well as other Scriptures.

Keeping in mind how the Laodiceans are described by those Scriptures as being complacent, tepid, listless, and sleeping, their ministers and members are in one or the other of the following areas:

  1. The Laodiceans are scattered without being associated with any Corporate Church of God

  2. Ministers and members associated with Corporate Churches of God that are off-track

  3. Conceivably, the possibility exist that one or more of the smaller or larger Corporate Churches of God are Laodicean, leadership and membership, but not yet established with a recognizable leader with a very high office—one all of the other Laodiceans can accept and become members of it.

In any case they are not yet established as an entity— meaning the fullness of membership of that Church Era with a recognized and accepted leader over them.

As Mr. Armstrong wrote they possibly will come together in that manner just before the Great Tribulation,

Rich, have become Wealthy, Need of Nothing”

A major problem with the Laodiceans is the claim of great riches of wealth. Though they may have this in monetary wealth, the primary meaning, as evident in Scripture, has to do with Spiritual wealth; and this has brought about their self-righteous and complacent state of mind; and with it, the belief they have it made.

This prompts the real description of them by Jesus Christ:

Revelation 3:17 “Because YOU SAY, ‘I am RICH, have become wealthy, and have NEED of nothing’—and do N0T know that YOU are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked?”

Consider this Scripture in view of what Jesus said about those who are naked – meaning they do not have on the essential bridal garments – as made known in the following Scriptures:

Matthew 22:1-14 And Jesus answered and spoke to them (chief priests and elders of the temple) again by parables and said: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who were invited, “See I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding” ’ But they made light of it. . . . and when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did NOT have on a wedding garment. . . . Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For MANY are called, but FEW are chosen.”

They failed to comprehend the ‘beyond price value’ of their calling during the needed years for their preparation of the wedding supper, for as Jesus said:

Matthew 22:5 “. . . But they made light of it . . .”

They permitted too many physical things to be the priority instead of focusing on this awesome calling by our Father and Jesus Christ (Luke 21:34):

Luke 14:16-24 Then He (Christ) said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servants at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ But they all with one accord began to make excuses. . . . “I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.”

They have a passive love for God and Jesus Christ that MUST be rekindled as Christ continued to say:

Luke 14:25-35 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does NOT love-less his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life, he CANNOT be My disciple. . . . so likewise, whoever of you does NOT forsake all that he has (if need be to obey God) CANNOT be My disciple. . . .”

From Whence Their Spiritual Riches

Revelation 3:17 “Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing . . .”

The Spiritual riches of the Laodiceans have come from having been taught the true teachings in Church services, Bible studies, and literature; men and women students were also taught in classes in the Ambassador Colleges, located in Pasadena, California, Big Sandy, Texas and Bricket Wood, England.

All were taught the Gospel and doctrinal teachings while members of the Philadelphia Church of God Era. Because of having these true teachings, and banking them, they believe this will be enough to ensure them of the blessing of protection from the Great Tribulation, and then acceptance by Jesus Christ at His coming.

This is almost the same parallel of the religious Jewish leaders, though blinded to Jesus Christ as the Messiah; believe they are accepted by God due to clinging to His laws (Romans 10:2-3). What took place with them during the siege against Jerusalem in 70 A. D., and during WWII, should have taught them otherwise.

The Apostle Paul reveals the fallacy of their thinking and belief (Romans 9:31-33; 11:7-8). In a similar manner, Christ through His writings makes known the fallacy of the thinking and belief of the Laodiceans.

Both areas of their beliefs are based on human reasoning, not on Holy Scripture (Proverbs 14:12. 16:25; Deuteronomy 12:8).

Recognition by Mr. Armstrong

Mr. Armstrong also recognized where the Laodiceans obtained their Spiritual riches and great wealth as can be seen in the following quote:

Just as the remnants of the Sardis era of the Church exist side by side with the Philadelphia era, SO WE WILL CONTINUE OUR WORK to the very "end time" when another group will appear – a group not accounted worthy to escape the coming tribulation. Another separate work [entity – meaning with its own leader] is yet to arise – made up of begotten individuals who are spiritually lukewarm! WOE BE TO ANY OF US IF WE TAKE PART IN SUCH A WORK! Here is a work, yet to arise BECAUSE of our preaching" (True History of the True Church, 1959).

The ELECT People of God

Because of their relationship with God, though lukewarm, and because of it, and clinging to the true teachings, the Laodiceans are identified as being of the ELECT people of God. This will be made clear in the following Scriptures.

In His Olivet Prophecy, Matthew 24, Jesus Christ forewarned of the horrific and trying times just ahead that would bring to an end all of mankind, except for the sake of God’s true people. This will also be a time when Jesus Christ said the deception will become the strongest but the ELECT would NOT be deceived by it:

Matthew 24:21-24 “For then there will be Great Tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved (alive); but for the ‘ELECT’ sake those days will be shortened . . . for false christs (the Pope, II Thessalonians 2:9) and false prophets (ministers, and so-called prophets, Revelation 2:2) will ARISE and show great signs and wonders, so as to DECEIVE, if possible even the ELECT . . .”

This Scripture makes known the ELECT will NOT be deceived by these false ministers; undoubtedly they will be from two or more of the Corporate Churches of God. No one else could come this close to deceiving the ELECT; a time when all the other members will be deceived.

Laodiceans are of the Elect People of God

The following Scripture reveals that in addition to the remnant of the Philadelphia Church of God Era being of the ELECT, the Laodiceans are also of the ELECT and neither one will be deceived by these false prophets with their miracles that will be provided by Satan the devil.

Failing in this area of deception, Satan will then seek to destroy the faithful and enduring ELECT in-route to the place of safety during this coming terrible time (Philadelphia Church of God Era, Revelation 12:13-16; 3:8. He fails again!

Then his anger will blaze with great wrath; he then turns back to where the members of the Laodicean and Sardis members will yet be in their homes. These members will then be carried away captive along with all other people in the House of Jacob; they will then be martyred in the Great Tribulation due to their not be counted worthy to be taken to the place of safety.

This will be the time of Satan’s use of the Beast to conquer the House of Joseph.

Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was ENRAGED with the woman [failure to destroy God’s true Church –], and he went to make WAR with the REST of ‘HER OFFSPRING’ (God’s true Church), who KEEP the Commandments of God and KEEP His Testimony.”

Here we find they are not only keeping the commandments of God, but they also have the testimony of Jesus Christ which means they have an understanding of end-time prophecy.

This Scripture coupled with the above Scripture, Matthew 24:24, makes very plain the Laodiceans are of the ELECT people of God.

The meaning of the Testimony of Jesus Christ is as follows:

Revelation 19:10 “. . . For the TESTIMONY of Jesus Christ is the Spirit of Prophecy.”

This Scripture coupled with others reveal the testimony of Jesus Christ is His Word that leads to an understanding of prophecy.

Another consideration: Though the following Scripture is said about the Philadelphia Era it also applies in principle to the Laodicean Era of the Church of God, but not fully due to the neglect of their relationship with God and His Work:

Revelation 3:8 “. . . You have KEPT My Word and NOT denied My Name.”

This is also part of the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Remaining Mum about Their Beliefs

The ministers and members of the Laodiceans who are attending services in the various Corporate Churches of God, that are off-track in belief and doctrine, remain quiet while continuing to hold to the teachings of God.

Though they know these Churches are off-track they go there feeling a need to attend services and for fellowship, failing to grasp the warning Scriptures of Jesus Christ they are not to do it (II John 4-11).

Our fellowship is to be with Jesus Christ, who is not there among them, and with other brethren of like mind and belief, as Christ makes possible (I John 1:1-7).

Why is the Door Closed to Them?

Since the Laodiceans are of the ELECT people of God, why are they NOT included in the promise of protection from the terrible coming time?

The answer is found within the letter to the Church of the Laodiceans—

Revelation 3:13 “. . . I KNOW YOUR WORKS that you are neither HOT or Cold . . . I am about to SPEW you out of My mouth . . .”

This Scripture makes known they still have time to repent and become active in the real Work of God within the Congregation of the Philadelphia Era of God’s Church that Jesus Christ is presently using to go through the Open Door with the Gospel and Ezekiel warning messages.

A Belief the Work was Finished when Mr. Armstrong Died

Some actually believe the Work of God has been done and we are just in a holding pattern waiting to go to the Place of Safety, and afterwards being accepted by Jesus Christ at His coming.

They fail to grasp what Jesus Christ tells us in His end-time prophetic Scriptures:

Matthew 24:45-51 “Who then is a FAITHFUL and WISE servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, TO GIVE THEM FOOD IN DUE SEASON? Blessed is that servant whom his master, WHEN HE COMES, WILL FIND SO DOING. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.”

They are failing to HEED the continuing MIDNIGHT CRY of Jesus Christ—that He is doing through human instruments, termed Works— which means the taking of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to this world, while WARNING the Churches, Israel, and the world of the terrible times that are soon to befall everyone in one way or another; and also praying for fellow-laborers before the night comes when no one can work (John 4:34-38; 9:4).

Aside from any real zealous involvement of being a part of the Work of God; they also lack real personal work in their own personal lives! Their Spiritual condition is that of complacency, contentment, being blasé, lackadaisical, and sleeping their way into the Great Tribulation where their only way of being blessed by God with salvation is to repent and then remain faithful unto terrible agonizing and painful deaths.

God’s Counsel to His People

Many Scriptures make known the way to eternal life is not the easy and broad way, but rather the difficult and narrow way, as the following Scriptures make known:

Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the Narrow Gate; for WIDE is the gate and BROAD is the way that LEADS TO DESTRUCTION, and there are MANY who go in by it. Because Narrow is the Gate and DIFFICULT is the way that LEADS to LIFE, and there are FEW who find it.”

Jesus Christ makes known that to be accepted by Him at His coming will require real diligence with perseverance in the face of difficult trials. One has to strive always with real and continuing effort to enter that Narrow Gate that leads to life.

Further, Jesus Christ tells us:

Luke 13:23-29 “. . . STRIVE TO ENTER through the Narrow Gate, FOR MANY, I say to you will SEEK TO ENTER and will NOT be able . . .”

Strive here has the meaning of struggling, agonizing as in agony, when one is in great need of shoring up his or her relationship with God and Jesus Christ. A Scriptural example is that of Jacob actually wrestling with the one we have come to know as Jesus Christ:

Genesis 32:24-30 And Jacob was left alone, and there WRESTLED a Man (Verse 30, God) with him UNTIL the breaking of day. . . . And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaketh.” And he (Jacob) said, I will NOT let you go EXCEPT YOU BLESS ME.” And He said unto him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” And He said, “Thy name shall no longer be called Jacob, but ISRAEL, for as A PRINCE hast thou POWER with God and with men, and hast PREVAILED . . . and He blessed him there . . .”

Jacob’s wrestling with the LORD God was far more than just the exercise of physical strength, for he was wrestling for the blessing of the preservation of his life and his family. He knew this only could be had from the LORD God for his brother, Esau, was coming to meet him with many armed men. He remembered well the threat made by Esau that he would kill him after the death of their father (Genesis 27:41; 32:6-11).

While he wrestled with the LORD God he cried with many tears while clinging to Him.

Hosea 12:2-4 “. . . He (Jacob) took his brother by the heel in the womb, and in HIS STRENGTH he struggled with God. Yes, he struggled with the Angel (Jesus Christ as the Angel of the LORD) AND PREVAILED; he WEPT, and SOUGHT FAVOR from Him . . .”

This illustrates how we are to wrestle in prayer, Bible studies, and fasting – sometimes with tears and crying while pleading with our God and Jesus Christ for favor from Them.

Jesus Christ makes known in yet another Scripture the continued ardor and effort that has to be made, day by day, while seeking our daily bread:

Matthew 11:12 “And from the days of John the baptizer until now the Kingdom of God suffers violence (= forces itself upon men’s attention). And the violent (Strong’s Concordance # 973, 970, 971 = a forcer, to crowd oneself into, energetic, vital activity) takes it by force (lay hold on it, as did Jacob – sheer determination of character).

Matthew 11:12 (Living Translation) “And from the time John the Baptist began preaching and baptizing until now, ARDENT multitudes have been crowding toward the Kingdom of Heaven.”

The Laodicean People of God

Please note the quotes from the following Commentaries that reveal some insight regarding the listless condition of the Laodicean people of God:

Clarke Commentary, volume 6, page 985, Revelation 3:16-17, “Epistle to the Church of Laodiceans”

“. . . In a word, they were listless and indifferent, and seemed to care little whether heathenism or Christianity prevailed. Though they felt little zeal either for the salvation of their own souls or that of others, yet they had such a general conviction of the truth and importance of Christianity that they could readily give it up. . . .”

Experimental Commentary, volume 6, pages 668-669, Revelation 3:16-17 “Laodiceans”

“The Lord addresses the angel as representing the Church. The chief minister is answerable for his flock, if he had not faithfully warned it. . . . Laodicea boasted of a deeper than common insight into Divine things [understanding true teachings and prophecy]. Not absolutely blind; else eye salve would have been of no avail . . . the purchase money consists in renouncing all self-righteousness (verse 17). . . . The most sunken churches of the seven, Sardis and Laodicea, are those in which were no opponents from without nor heresies from within [heresies did come to be accepted by the Seventh Day Church of God, Sardis, but not with Laodicea].

“. . . This wealth (arising from the of the excellence of the wools [of that time, spiritual today]) led to a self-satisfied, lukewarm state in spiritual things as verse 17 describes.”

The Ten Virgins

To fully grasp both the identity and the grave problems of the Laodicean Church Era, it becomes necessary to take a real in-depth look at the parable Jesus Christ gave of the Ten Virgins.

Matthew 25:1, 5 “Then the Kingdom of Heaven (Church of God in embryo) shall be likened to Ten Virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. . . . But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.”

The Laodicean Church, C. C. Lesson 53 - Excerpts

Notice what has happened, since 69 A.D., to the preaching of the true message of God's coming kingdom. Instead of proclaiming that message worldwide, the Church as a whole went to SLEEP! Only briefly, as during the days of Peter Waldo, the Church stirred in her slumber, but did not fully awaken to do the Work of God.

The parable in Matthew 25 EXPLAINS this long slumber. Turn to it and read through the first 13 verses. The "virgins" represent the members of God's Church through the ages. The Apostolic Age expected Christ's return momentarily (I Thess. 4:15). But when He did not immediately appear, they grew drowsy, lost their first love (Rev. 2:4) and went to sleep on the job.

For nearly 1900 years God's Church continued to slumber and sleep. Then in 1934, a voice on the radio began to proclaim that the intervention of Christ in the affairs of this world is near (Matt. 25: 6). The Philadelphia Era of the Church of God began to zealously DO Christ's Work! (Verse 7.)

1. But at the end of the Work of "Philadelphia," will many lack a sufficient supply of "oil" (the Holy Spirit)? Matt. 25:8.

2. Are the five unprepared "virgins" told to go and figuratively BUY a supply of the Holy Spirit? Matt. 25:9. Does Revelation 3:17-18 show that the typical Laodicean also belongs in this category?

COMMENT: These members of God's Church can still be born of God if they do as Christ instructs. But they will have to PROVE their spiritual dedication to God by overcoming in the midst of the Great Tribulation -- very likely through martyrdom! . . .”

An In-Depth Study of the Ten Virgins

With this as background, let us consider the remaining Scriptures that describe the Ten Virgins as revealed in Scripture while coupling them with the writings of God’s late apostle, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong:

Matthew 25:6 “And at the MIDNIGHT HOUR A CRY WAS HEARD (beginning in 1934 to 1986, Radio Broadcasts, Telecasts, in Print): ‘Behold the Bridegroom is coming; go out to meet Him!’

Matthew 25:7-9 “Then all those Virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are extinguished (Greek:‘Our lamps are extinguished, are put out, and quenched.’). But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell (God our Father and Jesus Christ through His true ministry), and buy for yourselves.’

Cruden’s Concordance, “Lamp— In Bible times a small cup-like vessel, usually of earthenware, containing oil in which a cotton wick floated. It gave a very faint light . . .”

Matthew 25:10 “And while they (five foolish virgins) went to buy (too late- true ministers are already gone to the Place of Safety – Famine of the Word, Amos 8:11-12!), the Bridegroom came (three and one/half years later), and those who were ready [Five wise Virgins had made themselves ready through enduring the G. T. – together with the Faithful members of the Philadelphia Era] went in with Him to the wedding; and the door was shut.”

The Five Wise Virgins are those of the Laodicean Church Era.

Who are the Five Foolish Virgins?

When considering the above Scripture, the identification of The Five Foolish Virgins becomes very clear based on Scripture and Church history.

Recent History: Their identity is made known by the many thousands of men and women that were once considered to be members, baptized, and actively involved with the Work of God, until the death of Mr. Armstrong.

They were baptized, but did not receive God’s Holy Spirit even though hands had been laid on them for the receiving of it. God our Father chose to use them without impregnating them with His Holy Spirit to enable His work to go forth to a sick and dying world.

The Foolish Virgins had the lamps but had NO OIL in them (Matthew 7:21-29).

After Mr. Armstrong’s death many thousands of members, along with hundreds of ministers, walked away with the apostate Pastor General from the true teachings they had formerly embraced as being right and true.

During their years with the Church of God they loyally and faithfully tithed all three tithes, sought physical healing for their health problems; they also observed the Sabbath and all of the Holy Days, even at the cost of sometimes losing their employment.

This did not go unnoticed by Jesus Christ and not without His physical blessings. Even though they had never been called and chosen to be among the Firstfruits to be harvested at Christ’s coming, because of their involvement in the Church of God and being active in the Work, they were graced with many blessings in their lives all of the years they were considered to be true members of God’s true Church.

To Summarize the Foregoing

In view of the foregoing, the Five Foolish Virgins can be no other than the many thousands who were once considered to be loyal and faithful members, but proved they had NO OIL in their lamps when they walked away with the Pied Piper back into the darkness of Satan’s evil world.

The Definition of Laodicea

According to Strong's Greek Concordance, Laodicea is a combination of two words, laos which it defines as "people" and dike, which is defined by Strong's as "right", "judgment", "punish", and "vengeance".

Smith's Bible Dictionary— defines Laodicea to mean "justice of the people". Might the term Laodicean convey that the predominant characteristic of this Church is that people rule, people judge, or, in fact that the people change the Church’s direction?”

They changed from zealous works while in the Philadelphia Church Era to that of passive works and therefore came to be of the Laodicean Era.

The Grave Danger of Remaining Laodiceans

Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong wrote the following regarding the Laodicean era of the Church of God:

"Warning to the Church" - 1 July 1978

“Well, greetings everybody. I have called a special day of prayer and fasting today because God's Church is IN FATAL DANGER! And I can't say that loud enough to hammer it home to you. We don't realize, my brethren, the way we've been drifting. We have been doing just what you heard in the sermonette-doing our own thing. We have been getting lukewarm.” “Well, the bad news is that we have been going that way; and we are going into the Laodicean condition of sleeping and slumbering like you read in the 25th chapter of Matthew. And while the Bridegroom-Christ-tarried before He came, they all slumbered and slept; and that's the condition we are getting into”

“Laodicea is the DOMINANT condition in the FINAL Church-drowsy, and asleep, and lukewarm. And Christ is going to spew them out of His mouth. Matthew 25 would indicate half of them, and I sometimes wonder if there are half of us that (way).” “Well, now then, I have said that the Laodicean condition will dominate at the tail end. But I have said that all of those conditions – all the way from Ephesus up to Laodicea, all seven-are present at all the time in the Church; but that now, in the Philadelphian Era, we have the Laodicean condition. That's what I am talking about today. It's here. But we are not Laodicea.”

(He was right because at that time it was still Philadelphia, but he was warning where it was headed. And the Laodicean condition is now dominant!)


“. . . the final generation of the Church shall be LUKEWARM – not less emotional, but more 'liberal,' more secular and less spiritual – less strictly biblical –"

"Speaking of the present 'Philadelphia' era, it says...because we have kept God's Word faithfully, not liberalizing nor watering down, God will keep us from the 'hour of temptation, which shall come upon all them that dwell on the earth' to try and test them” (Personal from Herbert W. Armstrong. Plain Truth, August 1980).

“But, the BAD NEWS, as it appears today, my dear brethren, is that we, undoubtedly of the Philadelphian era...are in serious danger of BECOMING also the Laodicean era. I am personally much concerned about that. If YOU are NOT concerned, then indeed we are in mortal DANGER. (Personal from Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong Good News, August 1979).

“It is the Church of Laodicea who had no vital part in the work of God today even though they live today and are part of the generation which will see Christ return [only by repenting and being faithful will come up in the first resurrection and see His return] (What is the Laodicean Church? Good News, August 1959, p.12).

The Laodicean Church Era

God our Father and Jesus Christ have great caring love (phileo, tender and caring love) and concern for the Five Wise Virgins for this is the ONLY day of Salvation for them. And to fail is to end up as ashes under the soles of the feet of the righteous who will have faithfully endured unto the end (Malachi 4:1, 3).

Unless God chooses to yet call some of the Foolish Five Virgins to be in the First Resurrection, they will perish in the Great Tribulation.

However they are also deeply loved by God. They will be resurrected back to human life in the Great Resurrection (Revelation 20:5).They will then be given their opportunity to come to be members of God’s divine Family.

Please know—though many were called (to enable a work to be done under the direction of Mr. Armstrong while he lived), but only the FEW have been chosen to be clothed with wedding garments in the First Resurrection (Matthew 22:14; II Corinthians 5:1-11).

For those who may find fault with God because of His use of the Five Foolish Virgins, and not have called them to be among the Firstfruits, need to consider the writings of the Apostle Paul:

Romans 9:6-29 “. . . What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whoever I will have compassion. So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. . . . therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom His wills He hardens. . . .

But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this? . . .”

The Elect Five Wise Virgins

An Overview in Closing this Present Writing

Jesus Christ has pointed out the problems in His letter to the Laodiceans that are in great need to repent before it comes to be too late.

He pleads with each one to respond to his knock and OPEN THE DOOR that is now closed off to their hearts and minds and invite Him back into their lives before they came to be Laodicean while members of the Philadelphia Church Era (Revelation 3:20).

Tragically these members have deceived themselves via human reason into believing the understanding they have of the truth, and because of their clinging to it, is sufficient to be accepted by Jesus Christ in disregard of the needed work in their lives and active involvement in the Work of God!

They are going to be grievously disappointed with many tears to realize what they now have is not enough; they will then have to endure the Great Tribulation in order to be accepted by Jesus Christ when He returns.

Too many members have forgotten that each of us has to work out our own salvation with FEAR AND TREMBLING! Philippians 2:12.

An Ear for Listening

When we consider what God tells us at the end of the letter to Laodicea, as well as saying the same words by Christ at the end of all the other letters, all of us would do well to heed what He said, if, we value our hope of eternal life with God

Revelation 3:22 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches."

To be continued—

Your servant and friend,

Don Billingsley

"Entire contents copyrighted.  The Church of God.  All Rights Reserved.  The copyright subsisting in material quoted in this publication and trademarks appearing in this publication belong to the respective owners thereof and no claim of ownership therein is made.


Brought to you by the Church of God Faithful Flock