Laodecian Church Age: Our Time
By William Marrion Branham
Now, I said that the city of Laodicea was a wealthy city. It minted gold coins with inscriptions on both sides. Gold coins characterized the age--a flourishing commerce existed because of it. Today, the two-headed gold coin is with us. We buy ourselves out and we buy ourselves in. In the church, we attempt to accomplish the same. We buy ourselves out of sin and buy ourselves into heaven--or so we say. But God does not say that.
The church owns such phenomenal wealth, that at any given time she can take over the entire world system of commerce, and indeed a leader in the World Council of Churches has openly prophesied that the church in the foreseeable future should, could, and will do just that. But their golden tower of Babel shall fall. Only the gold tried in the fire shall endure.
And that is what the church has constantly done through the ages. She has left the Word of God and taken her own creeds and dogmas; she has organized and joined herself to the world. Thus is she naked, and God is judging her lewdness. The only way she can get out of this dread situation is by obeying the Lord to come back to His Word.
Revelation 18:4,- "Come out of her My people."
II Corinthians 6:14-18- "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you. And I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
How strange. In this age of plenty, in this age of progress, in this age of abundance, how can there be trials? Well now, it is strange; but in this age of plenty and opportunity, when everyone has so much and there is so much more to be had, what with all the inventions to do our work and so many things to give us pleasure, SUDDENLY, we find mental illness taking such a toll as to alarm the nation. When everybody ought to be happy, with really nothing to be unhappy about, millions are taking sedatives at night, pep pills in the morning, rushing to doctors, entering institutions, and trying to drown out unknown fears by alcohol.
Yes, this age boasts of its tremendous stores of worldly goods, but the people are less happy than ever. This age boasts of its spiritual attainments, but the people are less sure of themselves than ever.
This age boasts of better moral values and it is more corrupt than any age since the flood. It talks about its knowledge and science, but it is fighting a losing battle in all fields, for the human mind and soul and spirit cannot comprehend or keep abreast with all the changes that have come upon the earth.
In one generation we have gone all the way from the horse and buggy age to the space age, and we are proud and boastful about it; but inside is a dark void cavern that is crying out in torment, and WITHOUT A KNOWN REASON men's hearts are failing for fear and the world is so darkened that this age could well be called the age of neurotics. It boasts, but it cannot back it up. It cries peace, and there is no peace. It cries that it has a great amplitude of all things, but it keeps burning with desire like an unsatisfied fire! "There is no peace," saith my God to the wicked.
"They are miserable." That means that they are objects to be pitied. Pitied? They scorn pity. They are full of pride. They vaunt what they have. But what they have will not stand the test of time. They have built upon quicksand rather than the rock of the revelation of God's Word. Soon cometh the earthquake. Soon there will come the storms of the wrath of God in judgment. Then comes sudden destruction, and in spite of all their carnal preparation they will still be unprepared for what comes upon the earth. They are those who in spite of all their worldly efforts are actually opposing themselves and don't know it. Objects of pity are they indeed.
Pity the poor people who are in this last day ecumenical move, for they call it the move of God, when it is of Satan. Pity those who do not know the curse of organization. Pity those who have so many beautiful churches, such lovely parsonages, such grandly trained choirs, such a show of wealth and such a sedate and reverent form of worship. Pity them, don't envy them. Back to the old store buildings, back to the dimly-lit rooms, back to the cellars, back to less of the world and more of God. Pity those who make their great claims, and talk about their gifts. Feel for them as objects of pity, for soon they will be objects of wrath.
"They are poor." Now of course that means Spiritually poor. The sign of this age as it closes, is bigger and better churches, with more and more people, with more and more manifestation of what is supposed to be demonstrations of the Holy Ghost. But the filled altars, the gifts of the Spirit in operation, the remarkable attendance is not the answer from God, for those who come to the altars very seldom stay to go on with God, and after the great campaigns are finished, where are all those who came down the aisles? They heard a man, they listened to an appeal, they came into the net, but they were not fish, and turtle-like they crawled back to their own waters.
"You are blind and naked." Now this is really desperate. How can anyone be blind and naked and not know it? Yet it says that they are blind and naked and can't perceive it. The answer is, they are spiritually blind, and spiritually naked. Do you remember when Elisha and Gehazi were surrounded by the army of the Syrians? You recall that Elisha smote them blind by the power of God. Yet their eyes were wide open and they could see where they were going. The blindness was peculiar in that they could see certain things, but other certain things such as Elisha and the servant and the camp of Israel they could not see. What this army could see did not avail for them. What they did not see brought on their captivity. Now what does this mean to us? It means exactly what it meant back there in the earthly ministry of Jesus. He tried to teach them truth, but they would not listen.
John 9:40-41. "And some of the Pharisees which were with Him heard these words, and said unto Him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth."
The attitude of this age is exactly what it was then. People have it all. They know it all. They cannot be taught. If a point of truth from the Word comes up and a man tries to explain his view to one with an opposing view, the listener is not at all listening that he might learn, but is listening only to refute what is being said. Now I want to ask a fair question. Can Scripture fight Scripture? Does the Bible contradict the Bible? Can there be two doctrines of truth in the Word that say the opposite or oppose the other? NO. IT CANNOT BE SO.
Yet how many of God's people have their eyes open to that truth? Not even one percent, as far as I know, have learned that ALL Scripture is given by God and ALL is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, etc. If all Scripture is thusly given, then every verse will dovetail if given a chance. But how many believe in predestination unto election and reprobation unto destruction? Those who don't, will they listen? No, they will not. Yet both are in the Word, and nothing will change it. But to learn about it and reconcile the truth of those doctrines with other truths that seem to oppose, they will not take the time. But they stop their ears, and gnash with their teeth, and they lose out. At the end of this age a prophet will come, but they will be blind to all that he is doing and saying. They are so sure they are right, and in their blindness they will lose it all.
Now God says they are naked as well as blind. I cannot imagine anything as tragic as a man who is blind and naked and does not know it. There is only one answer--he is out of his mind. He is already deep in oblivion. His faculties are gone, spiritual amnesia has set in. What else can it mean? Can it mean that the Holy Spirit has taken His leave of this last day church? Can it mean that men have put God out of their minds to such an extent that it is happening even as stated in Romans 1:28-"And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient."
It surely appears that something like that has happened. Here is a people who say that they are of God and know God and have His Holy Spirit, and yet they are naked and blind and don't know it. They are ALREADY DECEIVED. THEY HAVE THE WRONG SPIRIT. THE ELECT CANNOT BE DECEIVED, BUT IT IS EVIDENT THAT THESE OTHERS ARE. These are they who have become blind because they refused the Word of God. These are they who have stripped themselves naked by leaving God's care and protection and sought to build their own way of salvation, their own tower of Babel by organization.
Oh, how lovely and beautiful dressed they appear in their own eyes as they formed their general assembles, and their councils, etc. But now God is stripping it all away and they are naked, for these organizations have but led them into the camp of antichrist, into the field of tares, right up to their binding and burning. Objects of pity indeed they are. Yes, pity them, warn them, beseech them, and still they go their way headlong to destruction, wrathfully turning away any and all attempts to save them as brands from the burning. Miserable indeed they are, yet they know it not. Calloused and beyond hope, they glory in what is actually their shame. Defiant against the Word, yet one day they shall be judged by it and pay the price of its awful indictments.
Revelation 3:18-19-"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 eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent."
The counsel of God is terse. It is to the point. He directs this last day church to one hope. That hope is HIMSELF. He says, "Come to Me and buy." It is evident from this phrase "buy of Me" that the Laodicean church is not at all dealing with Jesus for the Spiritual products of the Kingdom of God. Their transactions cannot be Spiritual. They may think that they are Spiritual, but how can they be? The works in their midst are definitely not as Paul would say, "God in you willing and doing of His own good pleasure." Philippians 2:13. Thus what about all these churches, schools, hospitals, missionary ventures, etc.? God is not in them as long as they are denominational seed and spirit, and not the Seed and Spirit of God.
"Buy of Me, gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich."
Now these people had plenty of gold, but it was the wrong kind. It was that gold that bought men's lives and destroyed them. It was the gold that warped and twisted human character, for its love was the root of all evil.
merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and
fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and
all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood,
and of brass, and iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and odours, and ointments,
and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts,
and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. And the
fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things
which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find
them no more at all."
But, there is a gold of God. I Peter 1:7-"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth."
The gold of God is a Christ-like character produced in the fiery furnace of affliction. That is the right kind of gold. But what kind of gold does the church have today? It has but the worldly gold that will perish. It is rich. It is complacent. It has made affluence the major criterion of spirituality. The evidence of God's blessing and the correctness of doctrine, etc. is now based upon how many rich folks are involved in it.
"You had better come before it is too late," saith the Lord, "and buy of Me gold tried in the fire and then you will be truly rich." Are we getting it? Listen to me, "Naked (physically) we came into the world, but naked (spiritually) we will NOT leave it." Oh no, we are going to take something with us. What that something is, is ALL we can take with us, nothing less and nothing more. So we had better be real careful now to see that we take something that will make us right before God. So, then, what will we take with us? We will take our CHARACTER, brother, that is what we will take with us. Now what kind of character will you take with you? Will it be like HIS Whose character was molded by suffering in the fiery furnace of affliction, or will it be the softness of this character-less Laodicean people? It is up to each one of us, for in that day every man will bear his own burden.
There is a price to pay for those garments, and that is the price of separation.
"And anoint thine eyes with eyesalve that thou mightest see."
He does not say that you have to buy this eyesalve. Oh no. There is no price tag on the Holy Spirit. "Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law or the hearing of faith?" Galatians 3:2.
Without the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, you can never have your eyes opened to a true Spiritual revelation of the Word. A man without the Spirit is blind to God and His truth.
I Corinthians 2:9-16- "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.
But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are Spiritually discerned. But he that is Spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."