LOST TRUTHS OF LAODICEA

I'm not aware of anyone compiling a list of the truths that were lost in the Laodicean era under Herbert Armstrong, so I've made such a list here.

1) At the time when Herbert W Armstrong first came into contact with the Church of God, they believed that they had long been in the Laodicean era. However, he wouldn't accept this truth and instead proclaimed it to be the Philadelphia era. 

 

As a consequence of this, the ability of many of God's people to distinguish which of the Church era messages in Revelation is specifically directed to them, was severely hampered. Since HWA's death, subsequent leaders of the Churches have continued to deny that the Laodicean message applies to them, employing a variety of narratives. The catastrophic consequence for many of the brethren is that they are not taking to heart the severe rebuke God gives this final era.

However, as God says, there must be heresies among us to prove us (I Cor 11:19).

2) The Church of God in the Philadelphia era knew that one man government in a Church was one of the major tenets of what was then commonly referred to as "Popery". Herbert Armstrong himself knew this early on in his ministry, but then amazingly had a 180 degree change of mind. He would often say "government is everything". He was right about that, but unfortunately he went on to implement Old Covenant "one man" government in the New Covenant Church of God, thereby displacing the true Head of the Church, Jesus Christ.

3) The Church of God in the Philadelphia era knew that God works with, interacts with and teaches individual Christians. God doesn't have to filter His teachings through one man at the head of the Church. If a child of God asks Him a question and God wants to answer it and interact with His child through prayer and Bible study, He does just that.

4) The Church of God before Herbert Armstrong's time believed that ministers ought to live a simple and non-extravagant lifestyle. This knowledge was totally lost by Herbert Armstrong in the latter decades of his reign. Enrichment through centrally received tithes is an end time abomination, perpetrated upon the Church, that has led to greed and covetousness, where Church leaders create for themselves a personal empire. Well does Scripture prophesy: "they shall with feigned words make merchandise of you" (II Pet 2:3). In ancient Israel there were 48 Levitical cities (four in each of the twelve tribal allotments) where the servants of God lived and received the tithes locally, not centrally in Jerusalem. Churches of many persuasions have historically operated along the same lines as ancient Israel, providing for the local needs of the brethren. From the last century onward however, through technological advancement, the world began witnessing the emergence of people who became exorbitantly wealthy by preaching Christianity, and were themselves worshipped and revered. Clearly this is not what God intended. Interestingly, when HWA was a COG 7th Day minister in his early days in Oregon, he argued against tithes being received centrally at its headquarters in Stanberry, Missouri. Later, when he was in charge, he implemented the exact opposite.

5) Prior to Herbert Armstrong's time, the Church of God explained many prophecies according to the school of interpretation known as historicism. HWA however, introduced significant aspects of futurism, a Catholic school of thought which puts many prophetic fulfilments off until the very end time. For example, the seven trumpets of Revelation 8 to 11 had been correctly understood to foretell seven major events in history, from the time of Christ's first coming until His return. In that way the prophecies are an overview of history and, with the rest of the Scriptures, cover all of man's 6000 years. As HWA's legacy persists however, many COG's still teach that supposed future events will fulfil the seven trumpets, like meteors falling from the sky or "super volcanoes" erupting etc. The same futurist treatment is also given to many other prophecies, thus fulfilling Rev 3:17 where it says that the final era of the Church will to a great degree be "blind".

Please read this brief, but very enlightening, history of the origin of futurism:

https://www.gospeltruth.net/futurismandthebible.htm

6) As an example of historicism, the Philadelphia era of the Church of God understood by the "day for a year" principle that the "2300 day prophecy" of Daniel 8 refers to a period of 2300 years. They may have been wrong in determining the exact period involved (like William Miller was), but unlike the Laodicean era, they did at least realise God's consistency in prophecy, and that 2300 years, not days, are intended. This seems to have been quite common knowledge in Christian circles. Well known Bible commentator Adam Clarke, in his commentary written in the first half of the 1800's, regarding the 2300 day prophecy, predicted that something major would happen in Jerusalem in 1966 (Dan 8:14 - "then shall the sanctuary be cleansed"). He based this prediction on Alexander having taken Jerusalem in 334BC, when it actually happened in 333BC. Therefore the correct year was 1967 (2300 years later), when Jerusalem was liberated in the Six Day War from the last Gentile forces that occupied it and thereby forcibly defiled it. The Babylonians had not practised false religion in Jerusalem and neither had the Persians. It was the Greeks who started the Gentile defilement of the Temple when Alexander conquered the entire region, and, having been invited into Jerusalem by its fearful inhabitants, entered the Temple and offered sacrifice (Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 11:336). Later, the Seleucids greatly defiled the Temple. The Romans went further, defiling and destroying the Temple, and subsequently, in its place, building a pagan temple to Jupiter, and later still, the churches of false Christianity. Finally, the Muslims built a false temple that has dominated the skyline of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount for 1332 inclusive years, i.e. the Dome of the Rock. Surely this was the ultimate token of Satan's conquest of the city. It still stands today, but there are no more foreign powers enforcing this defilement. That ended in 1967, after 2300 years, as a result of the Six Day War. Of course, the Dome of the Rock's days are also numbered. See the conclusion of the page "BIBLE CHRONOLOGY" for more detail.

7) A specific example of where futurism has caused knowledge to be lost in the Laodicean era, is in the interpretation of the Olivet prophecy. The COG's today are all pretty much on the same wavelength as they "prophesy" of a worldwide "great tribulation" that is going to come, during which almost "no flesh will be saved alive", prior to Christ's second coming. These terms, found in Matt 24, were in wiser days in the past known to apply to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. The "flesh" mentioned here refers to the Jews, the people of God who rejected their Messiah, not the people of the whole world. In 1724, Sabbatarian George Carlow wrote, in reference to Matt 24:20 which states "Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath", the following: "As farther proof that the Sabbath was made holy for the spiritual good of man, Christ bids his disciples pray that their flight be not on the Sabbath day; which flight was about 40 years after Christ's death" (A Defense of the Sabbath, p7). In post Reformation times, this was the standard way of interpreting this prophecy. It is only in recent times, with our total obsession of putting off every prophecy until a future time, that our current view has been formulated. This is a classic example of the shallowness and blindness of Laodiceanism. A careful reading of the Olivet prophecy shows it to be about Jerusalem from beginning to end, not about the world at large. A comparison between Luke's and Matthew's account shows that the term "great tribulation" precedes the phrase "Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled". As the seven times, or 2520 years, of Gentile occupation of the Holy Land came to an end after WW2, the "great tribulation" can't still be in the future. 

8) In the early years of his ministry, HWA correctly taught a 7000 year plan of God including the physical resurrection, during the Millennium, of all who have ever lived. He had learned this from Church of God ministers who held this view prior to him. Later, after having been challenged on the meaning of Rev 20:5, he changed his teaching to the illogical 7100 year plan which maintains that all who have ever lived are physically resurrected after Christ's millennial rule. Alas, another truth was lost to the Laodicean era. 

9) The Church of God in the Philadelphia era had a better understanding of I Cor 14 than we mostly do today. They realised that as God works with all His children, different men may "prophesy" (speak by inspiration) in the Church congregations (or publications) and so add to the overall fund of Church knowledge. 

10) The Church of God already knew in the times of the book of Acts that circumcision was an Old Covenant symbolic rite that has no physical meaning under the New Covenant and therefore should no longer be practised physically. Herbert Armstrong strangely recommended physical circumcision to the Church, and some COG brethren still practise it today.