In chapters two and three of the book of Revelation, John recorded seven unique letters to seven Churches in Asia Minor.

….What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea (Revelation 1:11).

The seven letters, prophetic to John, give us a picture of the seven stages of Church history right up until the rapture of the Church. The final letter, addressed to the Laodiceans, clearly pictures the closing stage of Church history, and there is little argument that this description parallels the days in which we are living. A clear characteristic of the Laodiceans was that they were materially rich but spiritually poor, as well as lukewarm in their faith.

 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth (Revelation 3.15-16).

The etymology of the word “Laodicea” itself reflects the meaning, “the rule of the people,” and is an apt description of today’s Church in which we see the rule of a democracy rather than the wisdom of holy men who are mature in the Biblical faith. The Lord Jesus Christ has been left outside of the door of the Laodicean Church (Revelation 3:20), and man continues to follow a “program” or “form” of religion.  Laodicea is the age when “the people rule”.  The focus is on man and emotion, and in this stage of the Church Age the Word of God is no longer central. The Laodiceans based their security on their material wealth and boasted in it; doubtlessly arrogant in their great worldly possessions.

Laodicea says she has need of nothing (Revelation 3.17).  This is manifest in the lack of a prayer meeting in the busy schedule of the weekly activities of the average Church of today.   Prayer is the expression of felt need and dependence upon God.  Where there is no realized need, but self-satisfaction instead, there is little or no real prayer. Even amongst true regenerated Christians today the prayer meetings are poorly attended.  (A Prophetic History of Christendom, R.K.Campbell  p. 106).

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Prophetically, the Laodecian Church is the last Church on earth before the coming Tribulation Period. How sad today that many in the Laodecian Church are never warned by their pastors about the approaching storm of destruction that is soon to come upon the whole earth (Matthew 24.21). The Church at Smryna (Revelation 2.8-17) was spiritually rich in their material poverty, but the Laodecians  were “spiritually” poor in their worldly riches.  Their economic wealth had blinded them to their dire spiritual needs.  The Lord reveals their true condition: “…wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.”  Despite the poor condition of the Laodicean Church,  the final verses of the letter to this Church reveal the truth  of a great remnant and witness that our sovereign God has placed all over this planet even in these dark days. How we ought to thank God for the few remnant Churches still standing strong on the truths of the Bible, the Word of God.  Though not numerically strong brothers and sisters in the faith are found everywhere on earth.  This is the ministry and witness of God’s true Church.

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. 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. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches (Revelation 3:20).

For more on the Seven Churches in the book of Revelation, download MA Butler’s book

The Big Picture of Church History

The Big Picture of Church History


Updated August 2017

The study of the seven letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation is not only a message to seven historical churches that existed in Asia Minor at the time of the Apostle John. But this booklet will also show that these churches were a picture of the way in which the church will develop in this age of grace.The study will take you from the Apostolic Church of John’s day, and concludes with the Apostate Church.

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