There are seven Churches described in chapters two and three of the Revelation. In addition to their historic meaning, these seven seem to represent eras of the Church Age. The last two churches, Philadelphia and Laodicea, appear to represent two different churches at the end of the Church Age. And are they different.
As most of us know, Philadelphia means brotherly love, and is an apt name for the church of which the Lord Jesus spoke so well. The Lord Jesus, in His dictation of the letter to the church at Philadelphia, only had positive things to say about this church. He made a wonderful promise to that church. The Lord told them that He would keep them from the hour of trial that was coming upon the whole earth. This “hour of trial” is what is frequently referred to as the Tribulation. What a promise!
The Lord also said that He had placed an open door before the Philadelphia church. I suspect that this door is the same one the Apostle John saw standing open in Heaven in the first verse of chapter four of the Revelation.
This is in stark comparison to the church of Laodicea. Laodicea is thought to be named after Laodice, the wife of Seleucid Antiochus II. According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, in Greek the root of the name is laos (Strong’s #2992) which means “people,” and dike (Strong’s #1349), meaning “decision or judgment.” (The people's judgment.) The Lord Jesus had only negative statements about this church.
Of course, the church of Laodicea is famously remembered because the Lord said they were so distasteful that He would vomit them out. This is also the church where Jesus stood, outside, knocking on the door, asking to be let in!
The church at Philadelphia had an open door standing before them, but the Lord Jesus was standing outside the door of the Laodicean church. What a comparison!
The Word of God is inerrant, it is perfect. We must pay close attention to the Word. Every word is important. You will notice that Scripture speaks of the church at Philadelphia and the church of Laodicea. This is based on the Greek Textus Receptus. The Lord spoke of His church at Philadelphia. When He spoke of Laodicea, He spoke of the church of Laodicea. It was the church of the people, the church of the people’s judgment and decision.
The Laodicean church operated not on the principles of the Lord, but on their own principles.
Just as the Revelation prophesied, there is a type of church today that follows its own judgment of what is right or wrong. This church models itself after the world, in philosophy and attitude. The Lord Jesus was, and is, reaching out to this church, hoping it will turn to Him and be His church again. May they turn to Him and praise His name.