I believe there are seven separate subdivisions within in the Gentile Church Age and that Jesus identifies each era by a certain church type. Jesus has messages to each of them in the seven letters to the seven churches in Revelation Chapters 2 and 3. I also believe the letters had meanings to seven historical literal churches to whom the letters were given and the prophecy also gives instruction to all in Christianity.
But for the purpose of this post I will reflect on the prophetic applications where this Bible prophecy in Revelation is of Jesus dealing with the church types that identify with Him throughout the Church Age on earth. One might even call the letters Book of Acts 2. Seven letters that speak about the Church through time by Jesus before the prophetic message even happened. (The instruction in sequence to the seven churches is how I believe it did play out in history.)
The seven churches in Revelation are Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. I give a full explanations of these churches in Chapters 2 and 3 of my Revelation commentary. In short, the seven churches and church ages are:
- Ephesus – The apostolic church
- Smyrna – The persecuted church
- Pergamos – The church goes into harlotry with the world
- Thyatria – The reign of the Papacy in this harlotry
- Sardis – Protestantism separates from Rome into denominations but nearly dies as it questions the infallibility of the Bible and becomes occupied by many living in almost dead religion and ritual
- Philadelphia – The missionary orientated church preaches the good news to the world and looks for the Lord’s soon coming
- Laodicea – The rich lukewarm apathetic churches of modern times living like life on earth today is their main hope and thus living in false security.
I firmly believe that the church type that represents most Christianity today is Laodicea. It is true that Thyatria, Sardis and Philadelphia still represent many Christians on earth today but we saw them peak and many in these churches are rapidly moving toward the Laodicean example.
For example, many Catholics (identified with Thyatria) have abandoned the teachings of Catholicism for doing what is right in their own eyes. For many the religion is nothing more than a ritual, tradition or a way to appease their own sin guilt. They largely pick and choose which Catholic doctrines they will follow and reject whatever does not suit there fancy.
A Second example, is the liberal mainstream old protestant denominations (Sardis). These churches are declining in members and dying because they just go through rituals and usually teach some social gospel. Many members that were going to these churches were joining the Bible churches but now they most often they are joining with the Laodicean seeker and prosperity mega churches.
The next example is the Philadelphia missionary Bible churches. They are still alive and well, but I think its best days have now peaked. Most here are now focusing on the soon return of Jesus Christ and for good reason. Jesus implied they would in his letter to them in Revelation.
Laodicea is the real church age that we live in today and it is the last church age before Jesus returns. I wrote an article on the Laodicean age a couple of years ago and it still applies. Although I think Laodicea is the church era of today I do not think that the whole Church will be identified with it, but there is a rapid influx from the other three latter day church types into an obvious Laodicean Christianity. They are largely the seeker friendly and the emergent churches that are conforming to the world, watering down doctrine and introducing deceptions in order to attract large numbers of questionable believers.
Since many people love twelve steps to almost everything these days. I will give a twelve step program into apathetic Laodicea. The hope is that you take heed and do not travel down that stairway because Jesus barfs up this latter day lukewarm church.
12 steps that will bring Christians to Laodicea
- Choosing to reject fellowship with a local body of Bible believers
- Become too lazy and undisciplined to read the Bible on your own on a regular basis
- Not taking regular time to get alone to communicate with God (rote prayer does not count)
- Choosing to attend a church where the gospel of salvation is not taught and there is no equipping or maturing of the saints
- Believing that emotional trips or obsessions over disputed doctrines brings about Christian maturity (even Bible prophecy)
- Doing nothing for nobody – not giving offerings for the work of Christ on earth
- Believing those who claim that God must give you riches on earth if you follow their teachings
- Believing that you can have a better relationship with God through certain mystical techniques
- Choosing not to learn from more mature Christians
- Allowing evil to reign on earth because you think you should be doing nothing to protect others
- Never talking about or displaying your Christian beliefs to others
- Expecting any interfaith 12 step program to actually bring you to spiritual maturity
Don Koenig founded www.thepropheticyears.com website in 1999 after almost thirty years of independent study on the Bible and learning from many astute teachers within Christendom. Don created his website to write about Bible prophecy, biblical discernment and his Christian worldviews. Don wrote a free Revelation commentary ebook in 2004 named "The Revelation of Jesus Christ Through The Ages". The World and Church and Bible Prophecy section of this website was started in 2007.