William Branham taught that the conditions which existed in the Church in Laodicea were a prophecy of what has been happening to the universal church since 1906 AD. Laodicea's story, however, is very sad, as Jesus is ultimately left outside of the church, knocking. Just as the Saducees and Pharisees rejected the Holy Spirit after the day of Pentecost, so many Christian organizations have rejected the Holy Spirit after the renewal of Pentecost (the experience, not the organization).
- The Ephesian Age left its first love,
- The Smyrian Age fought with Satan, and
- The Pergamian Age prostituted Christianity with paganism,
- The Thyariran Age was under the dominion of Jezebel,
- The Sardisian Age was the age of death, and few righteous,
- The Philadelphian Age was the age of recovery, and growth, and
- The Laodicean Age rejected Jesus Christ.
The Message to Laodicea
- And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 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 spew thee out of my mouth.
- Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased in goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor and blind, and naked:
- I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich, and white rainment, that thou mayest be clothed and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear: and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
- As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore and repent.
- 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 3:14-22
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten
In the message "Laodicean Church Age", William Branham rebuked the Pentecostal churches by saying:
- Pentecost was all right, but when you organized it, what did you do? You hybrid it and bred it into the Nicolaitane Catholic church. Exactly what you done. Took up her form of baptism took up her ways and actions, and the Bible said, "You are a daughter to a whore, a harlot: a daughter of harlot." Exactly right.
This rebuke was not out of spite, but out of love for the Pentecostal people. Immediately following this rebuke, William Branham relayed the story of how a harlot was forgiven of her sins by Jesus when she broke an alabaster box of perfume over his feet, washed his feet with her tears, and dried his feet with her hair. By combining this rebuke with this story, the message is clear: the Pentecostal Church is a lukewarm harlot, but restoration is possible if she breaks her traditions and the wealth of her uncleanness in open repentance before God.
Without repentance, however, there is no reconciliation with Jesus Christ, and organized religion will remain a harlot system by denying the headship of the Holy Spirit. The works of these organizations may seem good, but works and penance cannot unite souls to Christ. Repentance is the only escape.
If any man hear my voice
In this scripture, Jesus is not talking to organizations or denominations: he is talking to indivuals. Jesus has never, and never will, deal with organizations. Those people who repent, and accept the rebuke of the Lord will sit with Jesus in his throne. Those who do not repent will be spewn out of his mouth.
You have the opportunity to accept Jesus call for repentance. Your organization is not given the same opportunity. Repent, and enjoy the riches in Christ Jesus.
Gold tried in the fire
James 5:1a & 3a says "Go to now, [ye] rich men...Your gold and silver is cankered;". The gold that Jesus is offering in Revelation 3:18 is "gold tried in the fire", and is not cankered. The gold that has been tried in the fire is the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church, that has endured persecutions (not oppressed as the persecutor) for two thousand years. To learn more about how to repent and receive the Holy Spirit, click here.
Lukewarm, wretched, miserable, blind, and naked
At the end of Paul's ministry, many of his trusted associates abandoned his teachings. Paul, the angel to the Church of Ephesus, and one of the seven Spirits of God, wrote in II Timothy 4:10-14:
- For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus. The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring [with thee], and the books, [but] especially the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:
At the end of William Branham's ministry, a similar rejection took place. Many of his friends that had joined him at the start of his ministry returned to their denominations and did not heed his warnings. William Branham prophecied in 1964 that the Protestant denominations would joining themselves with each other and the Catholic church in the World Council of Churches:
- And the Bible said He'd be put out of the church in the seventh church age. He'd be put out of the church; it go completely black and go... Where does it black out? It goes into this ecclesiastical system, into this ecumenical council, World Council of Churches. She... He's put completely out, His Word. They can't agree with It; you know they can't; they can't even agree in their own little local groups. How are they going to agree in that? So they take another mark of the beast, a image unto the beast. (Sermon: Feast of the Trumpets JEFF.IN 64-0719M)
Modern Bishops of Rome
||WWI. Fought for a settled peace from 1914 vs. a total victory by one side or the other. Strong devotion to the Virgin Mary and humanitarian efforts.
||Inaugurated the Catholic Action movement. Established Vatican Radio. On exumenism, ruled that protestants could only be reconciled by denouncing all the doctrines they rejected. Vatican city receives sovereignty. Mixed response to the rise of Hitler and Mussolini.
||Used Papal infallibility to define assumption of Mary. Addressed family planning and evolution. Appointed two Jews to work in the Vatican, but did not assist the thousands who died in concentration camps. Stalled diplomated efforts to export Jews to safer countries. Non-responsive in WWII. Described by the British foreign council as the "the greatest moral coward of our age". The vatican stated that it was "unable to denounce publicly particular atrocities" and only addressed humanity in vague and general terms. Opposed communism.
||Called the second vatican council to promote ecumenism. Met with the archbishop of Canterbury. Awarded the "presidential medal of Freedom" by U.S. president Lyndon B. Johnson.
||Implemented the decrees of the second vatican council. Addressed birth control. Met with orthodox patriarch, and travelled the world.
|John Paul I
||Lasted 33 days. Known as the smiling Pope.
|John Paul II
||Instrumental in the fall of communism, expanded influence in the third world. Appealed to the youth. was morally conservative. Travelled worldwide. Supported ecumenism.
||Fights secularism, promotes ecumenism. Deals with strong allegations of paedophiles in the priesthood under his watch as Archbishop, Cardinal and Pope.