The Age of Laodicea
The letters to the churches have led to some debate. Are they just letters with no other meaning apart from their face value, or are they the different states that any church can fall into if the relationship with Jesus falls away? Could it be the ages of the churches through time, or some combination of all three? Revelation 3:14 is where you will find the letter. At that time, the city of Laodicea was a wealthy trading and medical city. Ideal for the vision of riches and the problems of riches. The name Laodicea means “people’s rights,” and has there ever been a time when people’s rights have been an issue? It is sometimes translated as “the people judged”. The industrial revolution is well under way when the Age starts. Worldwide trade is making many rich, and that is reflected in the church, with the congregations also becoming wealthy. This Age of widespread wealth started in the 1800s. We see that 1844 is an essential date, but it is more accurate to say the Age of Laodicea starts in the 1840s.
It was also renowned for the Council of Laodicea, which changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday to avoid prosecution.
Why is it the age of the church and not something else? In Revelation 4, John sees a door to heaven open, and what is said is, “After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this. What will take place after this, giving it a time component? After what? It must be the letters, for that is what proceeds before it. If it is after, then the proceeding must be a timeline, which makes the letters a prediction of the future of the church. Not that these are mutually exclusive. But we will look at the timeline. Laodicea is the last letter and will run through the second advent of Christ. When did it start? There is a famous picture of Jesus standing at a door and knocking. The door has a handle only on the inside. This was painted in 1851. It is called The Light of the World. By Holman Hunt. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock is written under it. Rev 3.20 Another clue to this age starting in the mid-1800s is Daniel 8–14. Daniels talks about 2300 days, which, when converted to a day, is a year. 2300 years from when the temple started to be rebuilt. That takes us up to 1844. There were movements to claim that Jesus would return. It was felt that if the arrival of the messiah had a seventy-week prediction and that proved to be accurate, then the 2300 days would be accurate as well. The movement was called Millerism, but it was also called Adventism. It caused a great deal of embarrassment when it proved to be wrong. Why was their interpretation wrong? Let us look a little closer at Millerism and what was believed at the time.
William Miller was a lay preacher and student of the Word. He saw that the seventy-week prophecy was exactly right, and there was another period in Daniel 8. He worked out a timeline based on some dates. So the only start date he could come up with was the one that started the seventy-week period. When he calculated it out, the date was 1844. He started to preach this and started a magazine called Signs of the Times. This spread around the world. However, it proved to be wrong. There were many reasons given for why it did not occur. The scripture read, “And the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled underfoot?” 14 And he said to me, “For 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.” They took it to be an instant event, but it was the start of a process. The end of the age in Revelation and Matthew is a series of events. So, not the Second coming, but the beginning of the events that would result in the second coming.
There were numerous other events that took place in 1844. The Bahá'í faith The history of the Bahá'i faith goes back to 1844, when a young Iranian man who called himself the Báb said that God would soon send a messenger who was to be the latest prophet. Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon faith, was murdered. But more impotently, Bingham Young, the real driving force behind the religion, took over. The rise of false religions is covered more in The White Rider, which will be in the next instalment. Furthermore, the YMCA started.
Even though The Origin of the Species was published in 1857, it was written before that date. On January 11, 1844, Darwin mentioned his theorising to the botanist Joseph Hooker, writing with melodramatic humour, “It is like confessing a murder”. Hooker replied, “There may, in my opinion, have been a series of productions on different spots and also a gradual change of species. I shall be delighted to hear how you think that this change may have taken place, as no presently conceived opinions satisfy me on the subject.”
By July, Darwin had expanded his “sketch” into a 230-page “Essay”, to be expanded with his research results if he died prematurely. In November 1844, the anonymous author published the sensational bestseller The Natural History of Creation.
Karl Marx was a writer for various radical magazines and an activist. In 1844, he met with another activist named Friedrich Engels. Engels had just spent two years in England and had written The Condition of the Working Class in England. This greatly influenced Marx. They worked together, and then Marx worked alone. By the end of the year, he had written in great detail all the major components of what we today call the Communist Manifesto. People's rights, the name of Laodicea. Interestingly, the main funder of Karl Marx was also the main funder of Charles Darwin. The Rothschild's.
The first electronic transmission was sent in Morse code. The beginning of electronic communication and the age of computing. What is needed for the mark of the beast? The first message was “What has God wrought”. Truly profound statement.
Pope Pius XII
Pope Pius XII became the new Pope, taking over from Gregory XV1. This did not happen in 1844, but in 1846. Understanding what happened here is important to understanding the age of Laodicea and the next chapter, The White Rider. I will remind you that Laodicea means “people’s rights”. Pope Pius was the first of the so-called liberal popes. Pope Gregory, being an orthodox pope, believed in the divine hand on the pope and that he had ultimate authority. Under Pope Pius, new rights were given to various groups and committees. Gregory's authoritarian power was based on the model given by God and his authority. Now, groups of men were given the right to make judgements on what God really meant. This is where the role of the White Rider takes over until, finally, today we have a non-Christian Pope (Jesuit).
The three most profound events that affect our modern time all came about in the same year, 1844. The year that the Age of Laodicea began. Within two years, the last of the four had occurred.
It was the end of the ages that Daniel covered and the start of Revelations. Except for Daniel 7, Revelations takes up the end of the age. The first thing that happens in Revelations is the arrival of the White Rider in Rev. 6.
Let’s look at the white horseman. This is what I write about in the next chapter, and it will be controversial.