The open door to preaching the gospel to the world as a witness was wide open for Herbert W. Armstrong, but it is not wide open today. Yet it is still open to a small degree. Using the open door analogy, if it was wide open for Mr. Armstrong, it is only open about a foot today. We still live in a free and prosperous country and the Church of God is still able to purchase television air time and print and distribute magazines and booklets. Several Church of God fellowships still preach the gospel, some more effectively than others, and new people are still coming into the Church of God from those efforts. But none of those efforts are bearing fruit to the degree that Mr. Armstrong’s efforts bore fruit.
I think there is evidence to suggest that the Philadelphia era of the Church of God lasted during most or all of the ministry of Mr. Armstrong since he began a work independent of the Church of God Seventh Day in 1934, and that is the reason for the open door during his time. Today, we are in the Laodicean era, and Laodicea is not promised an open door. The majority of members of the whole Church of God are not in the Philadelphian condition.
Yet that door is still open a little, and I think it is open for the sake of those few who are in the spiritual condition described in the message to Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-12).
Mr. Armstrong taught church eras, and I believe that teaching is correct. But he also taught that the condition of each era is not universal in the Church but rather describes the predominant characteristic of that era. So the predominant characteristic of our era is Laodicean, which Christ characterizes as lukewarmness and spiritual blindness (Revelation 3:14-21). But that does not mean that every member of the Church of God today is lukewarm and spiritually blind. You can have a few Philadelphian members in the Laodicean era just as we had some lukewarm members during the Philadelphian era.
I think there still must be some Philadelphians who will finish preaching the gospel to the world as a witness and give the Ezekiel warning to Israel and then be protected in a place of safety during the tribulation. But they are not and will not be the majority during this era.
Perhaps the few Philadelphians today attend several fellowships. Perhaps no fellowship has a majority of its members in the Philadelphian condition, but some may have more than others.
And there is still time, in my opinion, for anyone who is lukewarm to yet repent and be zealous and be counted worthy to escape the things that are coming (Luke 21:34-36, Revelation 3:19-20).
Although the door to preaching the gospel to the world is open only a little for several Church of God fellowships, I believe the time will come before the tribulation when God will open the door wide for some group or groups in the Church. I think God will yet one more time shake things up in the Church of God, and out of this will emerge at least one fellowship that will have the zeal to please God, and for any such group God will open the door wide once more. Just as God has shaken things up in the past to create circumstances to separate those who were strongly committed to the truth from those who were not, so I think God will create circumstances to separate out those who have zeal from those who are lukewarm, and will gather those who have zeal into a group or several groups who cooperate with each other in brotherhood, and that group or collection of groups will finish the work of getting the warning out as a witness before the tribulation begins.
We are still in a time of trying and testing in the Church of God. In the future, there will be a time of separating.