The Seven Churches of the Book of Revelation
During the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation, Jesus dictates seven letters to the Apostle John, addressed to each of the seven churches of Asia Minor at the time. Hindsight being 20/20, theologians have looked back through history and discovered that the character of each of those churches corresponded to the main characteristics of the Christian church during various definable periods of its history.
- Ephesus: 33-100 (the Apostolic Age)
- Smyrna: 100-312 (the Persecuted Church)
- Pergamum: 312-590 (the Faithful Church)
- Thyatira: 590-1517 (the Worldly Church)
- Sardis: 1517-1750 (the Dead Church)
- Philadelphia: 1750-1925 (the Missionary Church)
- Laodicea: 1925-Tribulation (the Apostate Church)
Jesus addressed the following letter to the Christian church of the last days:
"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 spue thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with 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 raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. (Revelation 3:14-19)
The Apostle Paul was writing to the Laodicean Church when he warned,
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come."
Since God is referencing Israel (76.4% Jews) when He addresses the Jews of the last days, it seems equally reasonable that He is primarily referencing America (78.5% Christian) when He is addressing the caricature of Christianity that is the overall Laodicean Church. And for the first time in America’s short history, it is perilous to be a Christian in America. Particularly when one compares Paul’s description of Laodicean society to, oh ... I dunno . . . . the headlines??
"For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof." (2nd Timothy 3:1-5)
The point is this. For many unbelievers, you may be the only example of the character of Christianity they ever encounter. What they are expecting of you is the caricature of Christianity that they have come to know and consciously reject.