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What Church Era are We in?

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Question:  Based on current trends in the worldly organized Christian churches what church era do you feel we are "in"? And could all the church era attitudes be running together concurrently? Or does one era predominate? What attitude should we watch out for in our own individual lives to avoid the wrong church era "attitude"?  Thank you very much

Response:  "Coming Tribulation" series. Part 2 deals with, among other things, the seven churches of Revelation. It is clear to me (for reasons which are delineated there) that the fundamental interpretation of the seven churches is one of seven consecutive Church eras, marking out the trends and characteristics of each. That said, based upon the chronological schema of the Church Age set forth in part 5 of the Satanic Rebellion series, we would find ourselves in the last Church era, that of Laodicea. To my mind, the picture of a lukewarm global Christianity which assumes that it is doing great things, but in reality has a double-minded, far from zealous commitment to our Lord rings true. For many reasons (again, to be explained in the coming study), I am convinced that we are the Laodiceans (whose very name indicates by etymology popular opinion supplanting divine truth).

Your comments are well-taken, and you are not the first, of course, to speculate in these terms. I would certainly not wish to say that one could not find some of these trends in all of the eras, or that some or all of these trends might not apply to the original and actual churches mentioned. But the fact is that in Rev.1:19 John is told by our Lord to write up the visions given him as follows: 1) "what now is" [i.e., the Church Age, which was then underway under the superintendence of the apostles], and 2) "what is going to happen afterwards" [i.e., after the Church Age: the Tribulation, Second Advent, etc.].

In chapter four, there begins immediately the description of the heavenly scene and the events of the apocalypse. Between these two points, 1:19 and 4:1, we have the seven churches and only the seven churches - so that they must represent the intervening Church Age.

Application of these "churches" to what we know about the history of the Church reinforces this view: Ephesus the era of transition (from apostolic to local church rule); Smyrna the era of persecution (by ten waves of Roman attack); Pergamum the era of accommodation (with pagan society); Thyatira the era of compromise (with the growing non-biblical leadership within the church visible); Sardis the era of corruption (the dominance of dead organizational supremacy); Philadelphia the era of reformation (the departure of true believers from the old organizational structure); and Laodicea the era of degeneration (where the arrogance of our opinion over God's is dominant).

Once one "lines up" these eras according to the descriptions given by our Lord, a remarkable dove-tailing of historical data with His analysis occurs.

Incidentally, one of the most astounding events of the first half of the Tribulation is an event I have termed "the Great Apostasy", the predicted mass, overt falling away from the faith by the majority of erstwhile Christians (cf. 2Thes.2:3; 1Tim.4:1; cf. Dan.8:12-13; Matt.24:10-13). The context of Laodicea, an era of rich but blind and arrogant half-hearted Christianity, certainly makes the falling away of so many under the pressures of the Tribulation a more understandable scenario.

As to your final question, it is also clear from what Jesus tells the Laodiceans (namely, us), that being lukewarm is the worst possible thing. To be well-satisfied with our lives to the point of paying Him lip-service only is absolutely the wrong place to be - better, in His opinion, to be completely uninterested than to merely profess an interest in Him, but really to have one's heart elsewhere.  

Hope this helps with your question.

Yours in Christ,

Bob Luginbill


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