Who in the world is the angel of Laodicea?
By Dave Havir
BIG SANDY, Texas--In this article I want to ask two related questions. They are:
At first glance you might not see the connection between the two questions. But, before you finish reading this article, you will understand.
Let's begin by priming the pump. Consider some well-known traits of the congregation at Laodicea. Laodiceans were described as rich, increased with goods and having no need of anything (Revelation 3:17).
Those who believe the theory that God's government is on earth often reflect those characteristics. Let's face it. When you are part of God's government on earth, you have an inside track to God. Why would you need help from anyone else?
The Philadelphia angel
At this time let's acknowledge that Herbert Armstrong viewed himself as the angel of Philadelphia.
On page 290 of Mystery of the Ages Mr. Armstrong wrote that the word angel in Revelation 3:7
"may also apply to the human messenger or agent God has raised up to this era of his Church."
On pages 290-291 Mr. Armstrong referred to himself as the messenger (angel) of the supposed Philadelphia era when he wrote:
"The human leader to be raised up somewhat shortly prior to Christ's Second Coming was to prepare the way--prepare the Church--for Christ's coming, and restore the truth that had been lost through the preceding eras of the Church."
Where is it?
Next let's address the question "Where is God's government on earth?"
The Roman Catholic Church believes that God's government on earth resides in Vatican City and that the pope is God's representative on earth.
In the later years of Mr. Armstrong's ministry he adopted a similar approach concerning church government and himself.
On page 256 in his book Mystery of the Ages Mr. Armstrong wrote:
"The Church, as initially called in this life, is not yet capable of ruling the earth--of sitting with Christ in the throne where God originally placed Lucifer--of administering the government of God.
Mr. Armstrong taught that the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) was God's government on earth.
Think about that.
He was not saying that the WCG had the right form of government.
He was not saying that the WCG had the best form of government.
He said that the WCG was God's government on earth.
Before we proceed with that thought, let's also remember that Mr. Armstrong viewed himself as an apostle.
In the section after the subhead "Part of the Lay Member," he wrote on page 267:
"The author, Christ's apostle, can say emphatically that the apostles, evangelists, pastors and elders could not carry on the work of God without the loyal backing and continual encouragement of the lay members."
Then he proceeded to place (whether deliberately or inadvertently) clergymen into the role of Jesus Christ.
"Neither can the individual lay member develop and build within him God's holy, righteous and perfect character without the operations of the apostle, evangelists, pastors and elders."
According to Mr. Armstrong's theory, a believer cannot grow in God's righteousness without the men in the ranks of church government.
That's how much importance Mr. Armstrong placed on the role of God's government on earth.
Someone may ask: Don't you believe that Mr. Armstrong was the end-time apostle?
My response: Although I believe Herbert Armstrong was a highly successful televangelist in the 20th century, no, I do not consider that he was on the same level as Peter, John, James or Paul.
Someone could ask: Don't you know that understanding the role of Mr. Armstrong is the key to salvation?
My response: Herbert Armstrong was not crucified for me, and I was not baptized into the name ofHerbert Armstrong (1 Corinthians 1:13).
Why did you leave?
For those of you who believed the WCG was God's government on earth but left anyway, why did you leave?
Some people say: I left because I disagreed with the doctrinal changes.
I am curious. Even though you had doctrinal differences with the WCG, how could you leave God's government on earth?
Did you see doctrinal changes as a sufficient reason to leave God's government on earth?
I repeat: How could you leave God's government on earth?
I can see four reasons you could cite to leave the WCG, which claimed to be God's government on earth.
Who is the next angel?
Considering the theory that God's government on earth moved somewhere, let's look at the other question that I posed at the beginning of this article: Who is the angel of Laodicea?
Many people claim to be Mr. Armstrong's successor.
Many people claim to be the new location of God's government on earth.
Since Mr. Armstrong viewed himself as the angel (messenger) of the supposed Philadelphia era of the church, those who vie for the baton (or mantle) of Mr. Armstrong are vying to be the angel (messenger) of the supposed Laodicean era of the church.
Those who believe Mr. Armstrong's theories about Philadelphia and Laodicea have some prominent possibilities to consider.
Did God lead them to organize this way? Or did God allow men to organize themselves this way?
Someone could ask: Which man listed earlier in this article do you think is the angel of Laodicea?
My response: None of them, and I don't desire for any of them to wear that albatross.
I already told you that I do not believe that the Radio/Worldwide Church of God was ever God's government on earth. Likewise, I am not looking for any man to be the angel (messenger) of Laodicea.
It is the people who overemphasize Mr. Armstrong who generally have the theory about the angel of Laodicea.
Unfortunately, many of these followers are the ones who generally fulfill 1 Corinthians 3:1-5.
If you believe that the government of God moved from the Radio/Worldwide Church of God when Mr. Armstrong died, you have many options in trying to find where it went.
According to Mr. Armstrong's theories: When you find the government of God on earth, you have probably found the angel (messenger) of Laodicea.
© The Journal: News of the Churches of God