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PHILADELPHIANS DO NOT LET ANY MAN TAKE THEIR CROWN
Due to Splits in God’s Church
One of the more difficult problems members have faced since Mr. Armstrong passed away is the splits in the Church. They were forced into making a decision about whether to stay with the Worldwide Church of God, or join one of the Churches that had split off from the WCG. Each and every one, including ministers was forced to make that choice. The author had to make that choice himself.
Presently a large number of members still continue to fellowship with the WCG, even though its current leadership has changed almost every doctrine that was restored through Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong. Among the churches that have split off from the WCG there are five relatively large ones: The United Church of God (UCG), Church of God, a Worldwide Association (COGWA) which split off from the UCG, the Living Church of God (LCG), the Philadelphia Church of God (PCG) and the Restored Church of God (RCG). Then there are many smaller groups following a pastor or two and may number only a little above one or two hundred members or well below a hundred members.
Some may have made their choice based on where their friends went. Others followed their favorite pastor. Others may have done their own analysis and joined one of the Churches based on their own criteria. Still others chose to continue fellowshipping with the WCG despite all the changes. Some of them, particularly the tares gladly accepted the changes. Many others were unable to decide and chose to stop attending Church altogether. Some of them may still be sitting on the fence, waiting for God to show them the way, even 28 years after Mr. Armstrong’s death, while others simply became disillusioned, gave up all their beliefs and went out into the world. They joined mainstream Christianity’s Churches or stopped attending Church altogether.
The author, being a lay member went through the gut-wrenching decision-making process himself, with plenty of pleading with God to take care of the leadership problem at the WCG or guide him to make the right decision. If you are still undecided, or are not sure about your decision, you may find his experiences useful in helping you make a decision.
Mr. Armstrong passed away on January 16, 1986. Around March-April of 2001 the author stopped attending services with WCG altogether and had completely come out of it. He has wondered why it took him 15 long years to come out of the WCG. Here are the reasons:
1) He felt he did not have the necessary background to conduct thorough research into Church doctrines on his own like ministers could and was afraid of making errors in interpretation of the scriptures which could lead to making the wrong decision. So even for a life and death question such as “Should I leave the Church that God put me in because it has strayed from the path, or should I wait for God to intervene and correct the Church?” he did not try to diligently find the answers on his own. Later he decided to put his hand to the plough and start conducting his own research and realized how easy it was with various Bible research helps such as concordances, dictionaries and commentaries freely available on the Internet. Lesson learnt was that there is no substitute for conducting one’s own Bible research. That decision cannot be left to a minister, evangelist or even the Pastor General of the Church. And it is quite easy with all the helps available on the Internet.
2) The second important reason why it took him so long to leave the WCG was that we all believe that Jesus Christ is the true head of the Church. He is always in charge and is capable of protecting His Church from Satan’s attacks. The author believed that if anything went wrong with the Church, Jesus Christ would set it right in His own way and in His own time. Our past experiences had borne this out. In Mr. Armstrong’s time dissidents on two or three occasions (in the early and late 1970s) tried to divide and destroy the Church. In 1979 the State of California put the Church in receivership. But Jesus Christ protected the Church under Mr. Armstrong’s able leadership and it weathered all the storms. So he felt that he had to do nothing, have faith, simply stay put in the WCG and God would take care of everything. So he stayed despite all the disturbing changes.
3) Third reason why the author remained with WCG was that Joseph W. Tkach Sr. had been appointed head of the Church by Mr. Armstrong himself. Surely he thought Jesus Christ had personally chosen him carefully to be the head of the Church. There was no reason for him to suspect Tkach Sr of having any malicious hidden agenda against the Church. He did not even dream that he could be Satan’s agent who had infiltrated the Church. The author believed that if Jesus Christ found fault with his leadership, He would take care of it by correcting him, or even removing him as head of the Church. Only later did he learn that the appointment of Satan’s agent as head of the Church fulfilled an important prophecy in order to try the faith of Church members and their ability to see through deception with prayer to God for help.
4) The fourth important reason he was deceived for so long was that the Tkaches and their helpers did a masterful job of deceiving lay members in the Church. The deception was so well executed that many members woke up late to what had really happened. All the Church doctrines and practices had been dismantled brick by brick, and till April 2,000, many lay members still did not believe that the changes had genuinely taken place.
After discussions with other UCG members and analyzing the situation for many years, the author has discovered how the Tkaches (Tkach Sr and Tkach Jr) carried out their hidden agenda to dismantle all the doctrines and practices of the Church and destroy its work of preaching the gospel (the good news of the soon coming Kingdom of God) to the whole world as a witness (Matthew 24:14). The author was deceived for so long because he did not know the full facts about what was really going on in different WCG congregations around the United States and Canada, with the ministry, and at different levels of the Church. The full facts were kept carefully hidden from large numbers of lay members. Only recently have we learnt that Satan and the demons micromanage the whole process, and their agents obey them without question. That is why they are able to carry out their diabolical schemes in great secrecy, before their victims realize what is happening. Satan is a master of surprises. That is also the reason the German nation is always able to spring surprises on their enemies in times of war.
In the Church’s case, the Tkaches started the process of changing the doctrines of the Church by first slightly compromising with judgments made by Mr. Armstrong on some aspects of Christian conduct. Then they started tampering with some explanations that Mr. Armstrong had provided for some doctrines without changing the doctrines. It was explained as new revelation or understanding the Church had been given by God.
Then they stopped offering the booklets Mr. Armstrong had authored to the public stating that there were errors in them, hence they were obsolete and needed to be updated. Then in early 1988, in just two years after Mr. Armstrong’s death, the most important book Mr. Armstrong had authored, Mystery of the Ages was discontinued. They said that the book contained some errors.
While all these changes were being made, some Church members who realized early what was happening and where this might lead to started accusing the Tkaches of making changes to the Church’s doctrines. The Tkaches simply denied that these were changes with words such as “Changes? What changes? There are no changes.”
The Church was still keeping the Sabbath and God’s seven annual holy days. So lay members like the author continued to give Tkach Sr the benefit of doubt thinking that if there was something wrong with the leadership of Joseph Tkach Sr, Jesus Christ would take care of it,. He was not unduly alarmed. He also believed that the pastor general of the Church had the authority to change doctrines as long as the changes were based on the Bible. Only later did he learn that only an apostle can establish doctrine and Tkach sr was not appointed an apostle though he had repeatedly requested Mr. Armstrong to add that title to his appointment. Mr. Armstrong had refused by saying God had not showed him that he should appoint him as an apostle. At that time the author had also not understood the deep meaning of the scripture that the Elijah to come would “restore all things.” If all things have been restored by him then they should not be changed. In addition, he had not had the depth of experience till that time to understand how diabolically cunning Satan and the demons are to use scriptures to deceive and to justify changes to true doctrines or beliefs. This is the kind of satanic craftiness that was at work in the hands of the Tkaches.
By December 1994, all the important teachings of the Church had been done away with. These included teachings on clean and unclean meats, tithing, observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, observance of the biblical holy days and keeping God’s law. On December 17, 1994, Joseph Tkach Sr. gave a landmark sermon in which he openly acknowledged that the changes introduced were new Church doctrine, leaving no doubt in the minds of members that the changes were real. Most of the time before this, the Tkaches and those with them had been denying before the congregations that there were any changes. But after changing all the doctrines, they told everyone that the changes were new doctrine. Some ministers and members left WCG in 1990 and formed the Philadelphia Church of God (PCG). Another large group left in 1993 and formed the Global Church of God, out of which the present Living Church of God (LCG) emerged. Then finally, as a result of the sermon given by Joseph Tkach Sr., a very large group of ministers and members left the WCG in early 1995 to form the United Church of God (UCG).
By 1995, the changes were very disturbing to the author because they involved changing the Church’s fundamental beliefs that had answered all his questions about life to his entire satisfaction in his original research. But he still remained a loyal member of the WCG, because we could still practice our religion exactly the way we had done it when Mr. Armstrong was the head of the Church. His congregation still met and worshipped on the Sabbath and kept all the holy days. Sermons were still preached on the meaning of the holy days which picture God’s plan of salvation for mankind. In his Church members were told that they could still continue practicing and living the way Mr. Armstrong taught, because they were important traditions. But all these doctrines and practices were no longer mandatory.
The author continued to practice everything taught by Mr. Armstrong without any hindrance. During all this time he was totally unaware that ministers of the Church had been forced to resign or were disfellowshipped for not accepting the changes. They still remained loyal to what Mr. Armstrong taught. WCG leadership deceived lay members by telling them that the leaders of the groups that had separated were “disgruntled dissidents” who left because of personal ambitions. They wanted to be leaders of their own organizations. They said a few had inherited money and wanted to form their own Church. Mr. Gerald R. Flurry, pastor general of the Philadelphia Church of God was one of those named. These were bold faced lies. But lay members had no reason to believe they were lies.
The Tkaches strategy was to tell different levels of the Church different things. They were forcing ministers to accept, practice and teach all the changed doctrines. But lay members could practice whatever they liked: either practice the way taught by Mr. Armstrong, or live by the new doctrines. The hoped benefit of this strategy was to force ministers to teach the new way so that more and more lay members would eventually accept the changes.
Over the years it was getting more and more difficult to sit at church services each week, because the messages no longer contained strong spiritual food. Then on April 22, 2000, the pastor of the author’s congregation preached a sermon that proverbially ‘broke the camel’s back.’ It was an outrageous sermon. He said that the congregation might be in a quandary and has a challenge in believing all the things written about Jesus Christ in the gospels, because we are more than 1,900 years removed from the events. A person who doubts whether Jesus was a real person, should not even call himself a Christian. This sermon finally convinced him that there indeed had been a hidden agenda to lead the Church astray. Before this he was reluctant to believe that there was a hidden agenda. He had no reason to believe that the Tkaches could be Germans masquerading around as Americans of Russian descent. He decided that he had to explore other avenues than continue attending the WCG.
Now he faced the question: “Which one of the different organization that had split off from the WCG should he start attending. He first started attending holy day services with the UCG. It was refreshing to hear the meaning of the holy days explained again in depth. But he continued attending regular weekly services with the WCG. He still thought that God had put him in the WCG and it was His Church and He would correct it in His own time. But he was finding the situation becoming hopeless in the WCG day by day. So he started attending regular Sabbath services with the UCG in the morning, but attended WCG in the afternoon. However, the situation in the WCG got only worse and he gave up attending the WCG altogether. He also attended a few weeks with the Living Church of God. Then he attended a few months with the Philadelphia Church of God. He found that the UCG, the LCG and the PCG all adhered to almost everything that Mr. Armstrong taught. After about a year and a half of this trial and error he finally settled down in the UCG around October 2001.
Lessons Learned from Church Splits
Since leaving the WCG, the author has shared his experiences with other lay members in the WCG, the LCG, the PCG and the UCG. He has read and reread the writings of Mr. Gerald R. Flurry, the pastor general of the PCG and a book published by his son Stephen Flurry about the split of the PCG from the WCG. He has also gained a much better understanding of Bible prophecy related to the Church. From this research and his experiences he has learnt some valuable lessons which can help members of God’s Church avoid deception in the future and provide guidance in making decisions. These include:
a) Doctrines Settled
God prophesied and in fulfillment of that prophecy sent an Elijah-like prophet and an apostle to restore doctrines to His Church. No pastor general of God’s Church (like the Tkaches) or any other leader has the authority to change them. This is the greatest safeguard God has provided to members of His Church in the end time to spot attempts at deception.
A word of caution is needed though. The fact that doctrines cannot be changed does not mean nothing can ever be changed in administering the Church. Members need to understand the difference between changes in doctrines and changes in administrative decision based on different circumstances. Doctrines are beliefs based on what is revealed in the Bible and do not change because of circumstances. For example, who or what God is, God’s purpose for man, God’s plan of salvation for mankind, the three resurrections, the tithing law, keeping the Sabbath day holy and the seven annual holy days, who Satan is, the purpose of Jesus’ sacrifice, water baptism, God’s food laws are all doctrines that do not change due to man’s circumstances. These are doctrines that cannot be changed. But here are some examples that may require judgments based on circumstances. Different countries have different tax rates. Mr. Armstrong had to make judgments regarding payment of tithes. For example, in some countries, the tax rates on the rich were as high as above 90%. It would be impossible for such a person to pay the first, second and third tithes on the gross income, because he would not be able to pay even his taxes and would be put in prison. Clearly tithing is a doctrine that cannot be changed. But different tax laws in different countries would necessitate making judgments about how the tithing laws would be administered.
In a similar way, third tithe is a doctrine, but it has to be administered differently in different countries. In countries like the USA and other European countries with high level of welfare programs, governments already tax citizens to provide services and programs for the poor which should be covered by the third tithe. In such situations, a full third tithe should not be required. But if such a judgment is made, some may interpret it as the Church getting off track and leave the Church. They will cause the “restoration of all doctrines” in the Church to become a stumbling block for them.
Other issues that require similar judgments may include keeping the 2nd tithe by ministers in the Church. These are not changes in doctrines, but changes in judgments based on different circumstances. Judgments different from those made by Mr. Armstrong may be required due to different circumstances.
The Bible does record an example of such changes. In the Church conference mentioned in Acts 15, in verse 29 the apostles wrote to the Gentile churches that they should “abstain from meats offered to idols.” But in 1 Corinthians 10:25 Paul made a slightly different judgment stating: “25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience' sake…” Paul said that the Christian did not need to make inquiries whether the meat had been sacrificed to idols or not before buying it.
Those Church members who interpret such changes as changes in doctrines and use that as a reason for leaving the Church will find that they have jumped off the ship that was taking them to their destination: the Kingdom of God. Please don’t allow yourselves to stumble at this stumbling block though Satan and the demons will do their utmost to use it to cause some to stumble.
How then does one decide if the changes made by the leader are acceptable or not? First, if these are changes to basic doctrines that God restored through Mr. Armstrong, then the leader is leading the Church astray. Second, if the leader is allowing messages about compromises with the doctrines to be preached, even though members may be allowed to practice the old way, then he is allowing Satan to enter in and is leading the Church astray. Thirdly, if different judgments about certain issues need to be made based on circumstances, these must be very few and far in between. With these safeguards, members of the Church should be able to avoid any issue or change becoming a stumbling block.
b) Do we stay in the parent Church if it has gone astray?
As mentioned earlier, one of the reasons the author stayed so long in the WCG was that he believed God had put him in His Church; He was the head of it and would take care of everything as it went astray. That belief was difficult to shake because God had protected His Church from Satan’s attacks in the past through dissidents when Mr. Armstrong was in-charge. Many lay members relied on that precedent.
Where they made the mistake, and probably many still in the WCG still do, was that in addition to experiences during our own times, God has had the Church’s experiences written down in the scriptures. The author should have conducted research from the Bible to find the answer. He did not conduct his own research, but found the answers from the writings of Mr. Gerald R. Flurry, pastor general of the PCG.
Here then is what the author discovered about making these decisions. In the early Church, leaders from within the Church were arising and taking over the Churches and disfellowshipping members who remained loyal to what the apostles taught. John records one such example in his third epistle, 3 John 9-10: “9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. 10 Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church.”
Here Diotrephes had taken over at least one Church area and had started to put genuine members out of the Church. John’s response was not to let the members try to fellowship with the Churches Satan’s agents had taken over, but to separate from them. In our modern case, the Tkaches and their fellows have taken over our former Church organization, the Worldwide Church of God. Following John’s example, it is right and a duty in God’s sight to separate from those who are no longer obeying Him and following His way of life. Hence a true Christian should separate himself from the organization that is no longer obeying God.
Then there is the prophecy about the seven Churches in Revelation. John explains in John 1:20 that the seven Churches are represented by seven lampstands or candlesticks. Verse 13 states: “13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.” This means that Jesus Christ is in the midst of all eras of His Church. God also says in Revelation 2:5 about the Ephesus era of the Church: “…repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place--unless you repent."
God here said that if the Church does not repent, He removes the lampstand from that Church, meaning Jesus Christ removes Himself from the midst of that Church. So if the WCG has gone astray and has not repented, Jesus Christ is no longer in the midst of that Church. This means that genuine members who still follow and seek to follow God need to come out of the original Church in the midst of which Jesus Christ no longer dwells.
Thus when the Church is going astray, it is the duty of the loyal members to separate themselves from the organization and set up a Church wholly dedicated to following and serving God by doing His work of preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God and keeping all the truths restored through Mr. Armstrong.
c) Partial failure of genuine ministers to warn members
The way ministers in God’s Church conducted themselves led to some genuine members being left out of the loop about the warning that the Tkaches and their fellows were leading the Church astray, and showing from the Bible what the right course of action for members should be.
One major reason they did not talk to all members was job safety. They already knew how the Tkaches dealt with Mr. Gerald Flurry. When Mr. Flurry came to the conclusion that the Church was turning Laodicean, he shared his ideas only with three local elders and deacons in his congregations. The Tkaches were informed within a day and it led to Mr. Flurry and his assistant John Amos being summoned to headquarters and fired. So genuine ministers knew that they would be fired immediately if they spoke to many members against what the Tkaches were doing, because many were loyal to the Tkaches and their fellows.
The author can only imagine how the process would have worked in different congregations. Some ministers felt that it was probably too risky to discuss the matter with any member and say anything against the Tkaches. So they simply kept quiet. Some did not want to compromise with God’s way. So they had no choice but to leave the WCG. They left quietly. Some of them were close to retirement and simply retired. Others went on to other professions. Some genuine ministers who did not accept the changes, decided to stay with the WCG nevertheless to keep their jobs, leaving much of the preaching to those of their junior ministers or local elders more enthusiastic about the changes. But on occasion they had to teach the changes sometimes. Most are probably still with the WCG.
A few genuine ministers who were not tares may actually have compromised with the changes, accepted them and begun teaching them. These ministers should still be in the WCG. Hundreds who argued against the changes and refused to accept and teach them were summarily dismissed.
Ministers had personal friendships with other fellow ministers as well as lay members. They must have been holding discussions about the changes among themselves. Then lay members may also have been asking questions about the changes from their ministers. Thus there must have been communications at many levels in the WCG about the changes being foisted. All these discussions were taking place under the ever present threat of being fired for ministers and being disfellowshipped from the WCG for lay members. Just the threat of being disfellowshipped is a very traumatic experience for members of God’s Church because it indicates an inability to be ruled. And that could lead to loss of eternal life because God will not have anyone in His kingdom who He cannot rule. The author is speaking from experience in this regard. He was temporarily disfellowshipped three times from the Church.
Because of this ever present danger of being fired or disfellowshipped, ministers and lay members were reluctant to discuss the issues openly and deeply with everyone. They discussed matters only with those they could trust completely. As a result many people were left out of the loop, the author being one of them.
This caution on the part of the ministers and lay members to not share their thoughts on the changes with every one was probably a wise choice. Despite all these cautions, Satan has been able to still plant many tares in the ministry and lay membership in the Churches that have separated from the WCG. They still fellowship with us.
The result of all this caution and being left out of the loop has been that many were left to sort out the issues themselves. And many were unable to do so. They were disappointed with the splits, probably lost their faith in God and came to believe that all that Mr. Armstrong taught about the return of Jesus Christ to earth and the setting up of God’s kingdom and their being rulers in it was unreal. To them it seemed that Jesus Christ was not in charge of their Church. So they gave up their faith and stopped attending Church altogether. Some of them felt they could join any Church and did so, since all that seems to matter was being good to fellow man. That has been the biggest tragedy resulting from many members being left out of the loop.
Question then is: Could the Church as a whole have done a better job, and looked out for all other members? The author believes the answer is yes. The way we could have done a much better job is by taking action after genuine ministers and members had split off from the WCG. They should have pursued the members still attending WCG and those who stopped attending Church altogether.
After various Churches such as the PCG, the LCG and the UCG had been organized, and while he was still attending the WCG, the author was sounded out a few times. But nobody invited him to discuss the issues in depth, and most important, to explain from the Bible why it was the right thing to do and a duty to leave the WCG and fellowship with a Church that had come out of it. Showing from the scriptures that leaving the WCG was what God expected of us would have convinced him more than anything else.
Among all the Churches that came out of the WCG, only one made a serious attempt to reach out to most lay members: the PCG. But because of its limited membership it was unable to reach out to all members. The PCG sent out Mr. Flurry’s book, Malachi’s Message that explained the biblical reasons why we should leave the WCG, to as many WCG members as it could. But it did not reach all former WCG members.The author was sent a copy of Malachi’s Message and a couple of other booklets on the major prophets in late 1996 and early 1997. But at that time he was still favorably disposed towards the WCG. Though most of the changes had taken place, in his congregation members were still told that the changes were not mandatory and we had important traditions such as the Sabbath, and the holy days that we should and could keep if we wanted to. And we did keep them all at that time.
There were other very important reasons why he did not respond to Malachi’s Message at that time. The infiltrator ministers in the WCG had done a masterly job of making the author unfavorably disposed towards Mr. Gerald Flurry with lies. When Mr. Flurry started the PCG, we were told that he had inherited some money and now wanted to run the show. So he had started his own organization to satisfy his lust for power. Later the author learnt that was a complete fabrication. We were told that the right thing for him to do would be to build his own membership from the world rather than to pry away members from the WCG. At that time the author had no idea from Bible prophecy that the main purpose of Mr. Flurry’s ministry was to get the Church back on track. So the main purpose of his ministry was to reach WCG members and ministers and not the world. He had to urge the members and ministers to leave the WCG.
At the time when the author was still favorably disposed towards the WCG, Mr. Flurry’s message in Malachi’s Message was too strong to accept for it was very very critical of the WCG leadership and the ministry. He saw it as a mere attempt to build his own membership as charged by the WCG leadership, and not to lead the Church to repentance. After reading Mr. Flurry’s booklets he literally threw them in the trash bin. He felt that the warning given by WCG ministers to not read dissident literature had been correct. But the message was backed up by the scriptures and shook him. He retrieved the booklets from the trash bin and kept them in case he ever needed to read them later. And he did read the retrieved copies again later.
This experience has taught the author how incredible the power of Satan and the demons to deceive is. He was reached with the right message, but through lies he had been unfavorably predisposed towards the message and the messenger Mr. Flurry. So he rejected the message initially. This should convince us the absolutely critical need to rely upon God to see through Satan’s deceptions. We know that Satan and the demons are no match for God. So we should not be trembling at Satan’s ability to deceive. We should live our lives with confidence in the belief that if we ask God in sincere prayer to help us sort out such issues, God will without fail guide us and provide us the answers. And God may have had a purpose in allowing the author to be deceived for 15 long years and remain in the WCG. He has allowed him to become acquainted with many of Satan’s tactics in deceiving us. However, he still remains aware that Satan and the demons can spring stunning surprises on us. So we always need to be on guard and watch, and remain close to God and continually seek His help to sort through things when our faith is tried. It has been an important experience for the Church to fulfill the watchman’s role (Ezekiel 3, 33).
We are facing very powerful enemies in Satan, the demons and their human agents. But the powers with us are infinitely greater. And we need to always keep in mind the safeguards God has given us.
The first safeguard is that God has not allowed His top leaders in the Church that He has appointed by prophecy to go astray. The Church will have two genuine leaders close to the Great Tribulation who will be prophets, and are called His two witnesses in Revelation 11. They will begin their three and a half year long witness a few months before the Tribulation begins. The Church will be able to look to them for guidance.
The second safeguard is that the true doctrines have already been restored to the Church through Mr. Armstrong. If we find some leaders or ministers preaching the forsaking of them, we should be able to recognize them as deceivers. But here we must understand the critical difference between doctrines and judgments made on Christian living issues. Doctrines do not need to be changed, but changes in administrative judgments may become necessary due to changed living conditions and circumstances.
The third safeguard is that from prophecy we know that deception and another falling away just before and during the Great Tribulation is coming due to the miracles worked by the false prophet, the pope of the Roman Church. So we should always be on guard against it. Forewarned is forearmed.
The fourth safeguard is that from Bible prophecy, we know the precise sequence of key end time events. We should always keep up to date with our understanding of prophecy. In this regard one should have a clear understanding of the sequence of end time events as pictured by the 1260, 1290 and 1335 days mentioned in Daniel 12. For Israel (that is America, British Commonwealth nations and the Jewish state of Israel) and the world these days mean that after the Abomination of Desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet is set up (probably an idol or altar on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem), Jewish sacrifices stopped and the pope offers some sort of sacrifice of his own, the so-called “Holy Roman Empire” headed by Germany and the pope declares war on the American/British/Jewish (ABJ) alliance. The ABJ Alliance is defeated within 30 days and the 1,260 days of the Great Tribulation begins. When the Tribulation ends at the intervention of Jesus Christ, we come to the end of 1290 days. Then within 45 days all the ABJ slaves will be found and rescued, bringing us to the end of 1335 days.
For God’s Church, these days begin with the signal to flee from the world and be gathered in one place. The Philadelphians in the Church will have 45 days to gather at one place from around the world, probably in Jerusalem. When the Holy Roman Empire begins its attack on the ABJ alliance, the Church will have 30 days to flee to the place of safety, bringing us to the end of 75 days. Then the Church will be in the place of safety for 1260 days for a total of 1335 days.
In hindsight the author feels that loyal ministers and leaders should have made attempts to contact members to warn them of the dangerous path that the Tkaches were leading the Church to. But there is also the possibility that many ministers had not sorted out all the issues themselves. The author hopes that we have learnt from this experience and sorted out all such issues for future guidance when the Church is faced with similar issues. This book is an attempt to document this perspective of Church history for everyone to learn from.
d) Lessons from the Sardis era of God’s Church
As already mentioned, the seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3 are a prophecy about the history of God’s Church from its inception in 31 A.D. in seven successive eras till the return of Jesus Christ. The seven Churches mentioned are not historical accounts of the seven Churches. The book of Revelation is a prophecy about the future and not a book of past history. The last two eras are pictured passing through the end time Tribulation. That at the time of John was prophecy for the future and not past history. Prophecies about the Philadelphia era starting with and ending with Mr. Armstrong's ministry, and his passing away before the return of Jesus Christ indicates another era would follow. This indicates that these seven Churches are history of the Church foretold in seven successive eras.
Some very important lessons can be learned from the Sardis era that just preceded the Philadelphia era which was founded by the preaching of Mr. Armstrong. The author has researched the history of that Church in some detail, particularly from the time Mr. Armstrong started fellowshipping with them, and after he separated from them and founded the Philadelphia era of God’s Church. Remnants of that Church still exist. They are mainly the descendants of tares in that era of the Church and not genuine members. A very few still could be genuine members. Jesus Christ’s message to that Church in Revelation 3:1-6 is very instructive.
As with all eras of God’s Church, the Sardis era was also heavily infiltrated by Satan’s agents at all levels. Many were in leadership positions. Infiltration into an era of God’s Church starts early to try and destroy it in its infancy. But a dedicated leader is able to build the era. Later after a generation or so as God’s Church grows, and the children of the original converts begin to take their religion for granted and are not fervent, Satan’s agents gain strength, sow discord by questioning the correctness of some beliefs or doctrines.
History of the Sardis era of God’s Church shows that for centuries the children continued in their parents’ faith. But falling away from that Church began with the change of name from the Church of God to Seventh day Baptists in Britain and later in America the Sabbath keeping churches adopted the same name. However, few small Sabbath keeping congregations rejected this change and eventually organized themselves into a general conference and adopted the name Church of God (Seventh Day). In so doing they adopted the governance structure of a General Conference that prevailed in the Protestant churches of their day and still prevails today. The next 70 year history of that Church proved that is not God’s governance structure.
Their governance structure is mentioned briefly in Volume 1 of Mr. Armstrong’s autobiography (copy can be obtained free of charge from the Philadelphia Church of God at www.pcog.org). Mr. Armstrong states on p.411: “The concept of church government seemed to be that lay members should be in the offices of authority. Ministers were to be employed, and under orders from the lay members. This is essentially the concept of what we call democracy: government from the bottom up. Those being governed dictate who shall be their rulers and how their rulers shall rule them.”The Church was organized as a General Conference whose leaders were elected. Tithes were paid into the General Conference which were used to pay ministers and meet the expenses for evangelistic efforts and to support the publishing of the Church’s magazine, Bible study program and other programs of instruction for children. But some regions that did not like how the leaders at the General Conference were running the Church had organized themselves into State Conferences and kept their tithes and offerings locally for their own evangelistic efforts.
Mr. Armstrong mentions this when he participated in the business meeting as a guest for the purpose of organizing the Oregon State Conference. He mentions on p. 414: “These brethren realized that the Stanberry [headquarters] church was not getting the Gospel to the world with power. In this area the church was virtually impotent. The Oregon brethren were anxious to “get the work going.”
This obviously reduced the funds at the disposal of the central General Conference and diluted its efforts at evangelization in order to make more converts. The state conferences essentially governed themselves, even having the authority to appoint their own ministers, but still continued to be loosely affiliated with the headquarters General Conference. In effect, however, different state conferences constituted splits from the headquarters Church. But they could tap headquarters for ministers if needed by agreeing to pay the minister’s salary.
The Church did not have strong central authority with one man in charge. Because the headquarters leaders of the General Conference were elected there was a great deal of politicking involved. This made the task of the infiltrators easier to cause divisions within the Church. Their age-old tactics have been to cause divisions by constantly arguing against some Church doctrine or another or established practices. They always want to keep the pot roiling. If one issue is settled, they will soon raise other issues to debate and use to try to divide the Church. They want to force the Church to accept doctrines contrary to the truth of the scriptures. Their ultimate goal is always to take over the leadership of the Church and then force the Church to adopt false doctrines, force the ministers to preach those doctrines and the members to live by them. Thus the Church would cease to be God’s Church as it would no longer be obeying Him. It would in effect be taken over by Satan, and those members who accept the changes in effect would reject Christ and lose their only chance for eternal life. To remain faithful to God and endure to the end, members must remain loyal to the truth and would have to come out of the original Church and form a different organization.
Jesus’s description of the Sardis era of God’s Church is given in Revelation 3:1-6: “1 "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, 'These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: "I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. 3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. 4 You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
Jesus’s description of the Sardis era aptly fits what was going on in God’s Church before the Philadelphia era was founded by the preaching of Mr. Armstrong. The Church was more dead than alive in terms of doing God’s work of preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God. Even the truth in terms of the true doctrines was ready to die and the Church was admonished to repent and strengthen them. Those who did not do so would be caught unawares as by a thief in the night and would lose their chance to be written in the Book of Life and receive eternal life. Jesus Christ catching the members as a thief in the night may also refer to some genuine members still existing at the return of Jesus Christ.
The author has read a history of the Sardis era of the Church after the Philadelphia era had already been in existence for nearly 4 decades. There was constant infighting and arguing over one doctrine or another and attempts by infiltrators to take over the Church through the election process. Finally they succeeded in doing so. Few members who still wanted to retain the true doctrines and not compromise with the changes had to ultimately form smaller organizations. In some cases, presumably just single families kept the true faith to the end by themselves, not having or knowing a Church congregation to fellowship with. All others that they worshipped with had departed from the faith. These older members died in the faith, but children of most apparently drifted into the world. Only a tiny few have remained faithful still. These are the ones Jesus Christ commends in Revelation 3:4: “4 You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.” They never compromised with the truth and lived by it to the end of their lives, even if all others around them had compromised. They continued in the truth by themselves as individuals or only in their own family. There are still congregations as well as a central organization that claim to be continuation of that Church. But the author believes it consists almost entirely of descendants of the infiltrators who had taken over the Church.
When the author still fellowshipped with the WCG around 1998, attempts were being made by its pastor general Joseph Tkach Jr and others to possibly combine with the Church of God (Seventh Day) congregations. As usual, the leader of that Church said that they agreed with all the doctrines of the WCG but not this one or that one. That left no doubt in his mind that the present Church of God (Seventh Day) is made almost entirely of descendants of infiltrators in the Church.
So the first lesson from the Sardis era is that in the end time God wants an individual to remain loyal to the truth that he or she has received, no matter what the circumstances and no matter if all others in just his or her congregation or the entire Church have drifted away or gone astray. And in our times, that truth has been entirely restored by God through Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong. An individual must remain loyal to that truth even if he has to keep it alone, or only with his own family even if he is put out of the Church like Diotrephes in the time of the apostle John was doing and as in our time the Tkaches have done.
The second lesson to be learnt from the Sardis era and the Philadelphia era is that the Church in which governance structure is such that one man clearly is not in charge cannot do God’s work effectively and that does not please Jesus Christ and God the Father. Mr. Armstrong had to tackle this issue for most of his life; in the beginning when he had to deal with the ministers of the Sardis era of God’s Church and then with the infiltrators in the Philadelphia era. He reached the conclusion that God’s method of governance is one man clearly in charge with total authority.
Church history in various eras of the Church shows that God’s work always revived through the efforts of one man and thrived when he was solely in charge, but it flagged when one man was not clearly in charge. Various eras of the Church were raised by the preaching of one man God appointed to build that era. These examples include Polycarp in the 2nd century, Constantine of Mananali of the 7th century, Peter de Bruys of the 11th century, Peter Waldo in the 13th century, and finally Mr. Armstrong in our time. For details, one may refer to the booklet titled “Where is the True Church: and Its Incredible History” by David C. Pack, available free of charge from the Restored Church of God at www.rcg.org.
God the Father has actually dealt with that issue once before and has indicated how He will deal with it in the near future. In the beginning all government was centered at God’s throne in heaven where God the Father was in charge. Then government outside of heaven was first established on earth. When God sent a pioneering party of angels to establish that government, He put one being clearly in charge: Lucifer the archangel who later became Satan the devil because of his rebellion. Among the one third of the former angels with him, we don’t even know the name of any one of them. So there is no doubt that Satan is clearly solely and totally in charge of his government on earth.
Next time God’s government is established on earth, the same pattern will be repeated. When Jesus Christ returns to establish God’s government on earth, He will clearly be solely in charge of that government with total authority, and all others in authority under Him appointed by Him. Government in God’s Church should mirror the pattern of governance God Himself establishes.
God’s pattern for governing the universe seems to be to prepare a leader for government, and then send him in charge of a pioneering party to govern a planet. As others are trained under that leader, they can then be sent as sole leaders with others under their rule to colonize other planets. This pattern will continue for eternity with everyone ultimately having the potential of becoming sole leader over a planet or territory. That is the pattern of governance God seems to have set in motion.
The fact that this pattern of governance is the most effective is also borne out from examples in the world. No successful corporation is run by a committee, but has one Chief Executive Officer in charge.
A third lesson to be learnt from the Philadelphian and Laodicean eras is about the evils of one man rule. The Philadelphia era ended with the death of Mr. Armstrong. God’s Church did not go astray during the time of Mr. Armstrong. But the man he appointed to lead the Church, Joseph W. Tkach Sr, led the Church astray. Because of what he and his associates did, more than 80% of those who fellowshipped with us no longer adhere to what Mr. Armstrong taught and have likely lost their chance for eternal life unless they repent. This clearly shows how one man skillfully and diabolically led by Satan with a dedicated band of helpers equally skillfully led by Satan and the demons can lead many astray.
The question for us to consider is: What kind of leader in Church history has proved to be safest to follow for members of God’s Church? In the history of Israel and God’s Church, two kinds of leaders have proved to be safe to follow: Those God directly appointed as prophets, and those appointed as apostles. God ensures that they do not go astray.
In the history of Israel, God has never allowed His prophets to go astray. None of the prophets who recorded their prophecies in the Bible ever went astray. They were willing to give up their lives rather than retract the words God charged them to deliver. There are two examples of prophets who got killed. One is the dramatic example of the “man of God” mentioned in 1 Kings 13 who came from Judah and prophesied against the altar king Jeroboam had set up in Bethel for pagan worship. His instructions from God as stated in verse 9 were: “9 For so was it charged me by the word of the Lord, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that you came.” But the man of God listened to a prophet in Israel and violated those instructions from God and was killed by a lion.
The man of God did not go astray. He faithfully delivered his message. But he violated direct instructions given to him by God. That example may have served as a warning to all prophets since then. As a result since then no one who held the office of a prophet of God ever went astray or violated God’s instructions.
Then there is the example of Urijah the prophet mentioned in Jeremiah 26 who was killed by Jehoiakim the king. This Urijah prophesied according to all the words of Jeremiah the prophet. This is an indication that Urijah was not sent by God. He probably was just a man who repeated the prophecies given by Jeremiah the prophet to get glory for himself.
So history of Israel shows that God has not allowed His genuine prophets to go astray. It was safest to follow prophets like Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and the others.
But there are always problems at critical national crises when people or rulers must immediately act on the words of a prophet. The reason is that inevitably false prophets also make their appearance speaking contrary to the true prophet sent by God. And if the true prophet is prophesying catastrophe for the nation, the false prophets invariably prophesy of divine deliverance from the crisis. One example is the confrontation between God’s prophet Micaiah the son of Imla and the false prophet Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah in 2 Chronicles 18. In this situation all of Ahab’s prophets told Ahab to go to war against the Syrians and prosper, but Micaiah told him that he would die in that battle. The false prophet was very bold as verse 10 says: “10 Now Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah had made horns of iron for himself; and he said, "Thus says the Lord: 'With these you shall gore the Syrians until they are destroyed.'” And verse 23 says: “23 Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near and struck Micaiah on the cheek, and said, "Which way did the spirit from the Lord go from me to speak to you?" Micaiah’s answer to that in verse 24 was, "Indeed you shall see on that day when you go into an inner chamber to hide!" King Ahab disregarded the words of Micaiah and went to war and died as a result.
The second example is given in Jeremiah 28. Jeremiah had been prophesying for many years that the Kingdom of Judah would be destroyed by king Nebuchadnezzar and the Jews carried as captive slaves to Babylon. To demonstrate that, at God’s instructions Jeremiah made a yoke of wood and put it around his neck. But Hananiah the prophet began to prophesy that the Lord will break off the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar within two years and to dramatize it verse 10 states, “10 Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke from off the prophet Jeremiah's neck, and brake it.” But then God told Jeremiah that He had not sent Hananiah.
Jeremiah confronted Hananiah and verses 15-18 (NKJV) record, “15 Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, "Hear now, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you, but you make this people trust in a lie. 16 Therefore thus says the Lord: 'Behold, I will cast you from the face of the earth. This year you shall die, because you have taught rebellion against the Lord.' " 17 So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month.”
How then can we distinguish between a true prophet of God and false prophets? God’s answer is provided in Deuteronomy 18 on how to recognize false prophets:
Deuteronomy 18:21-22 (NKJV): “21 And if you say in your heart, 'How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?' 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.”
God’s answer on how to recognize a true prophet is given in Ezekiel 32:33 (NKJV): “33 And when this comes to pass--surely it will come--then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”So the way to distinguish a false prophet from a true prophet of God is that what the true prophet prophesies comes to pass whereas what the false prophet prophesies does not come to pass.
In practical terms one has to wait to see the words of a prophet being fulfilled. So the problem of distinguishing the false from the true prophet before the catastrophic events take place still remains.
God establishes the credibility of a true prophet by bringing the words of the true prophet to pass or performing some miracles at the words of His true prophet, whereas the false prophets had performed no miracle of any kind.
Micaiah’s credibility was finally established after the outcome of the war with Syria. But for Ahab and Jehoshaphat it was difficult to choose whether to trust Micaiah or Chenaanah. Jeremiah had been prophesying of a catastrophe for Judah for a long time. People did not know whether to believe Jeremiah or Hananiah. But when Hananiah died, Jeremiah’s credibility was established. However later events show that even after the downfall of Judah, the leaders did not trust Jeremiah’s words from God and accused him of lying to them when they were bent on going to Egypt, but Jeremiah had told them not to do so.
Sometimes however, Satan has also performed miracles in confrontations with God’s prophets. In Moses’ time, the priests of Egypt Jannes and Jambres (2 Timothy 3:8) withstood Moses and Aaron with their own miracles till Moses’ miracles continued and superseded the miracles from Jannes and Jambres.
Though none of the false prophets in the Old Testament have been recorded as performing miracles when confronting God’s true prophets, the story is going to be drastically different in our end of the end time. A great false prophet (the pope of the Roman Church) will rise and perform incredible miracles through the power of Satan to deceive most of the world (Revelation 13:11-15) to try to counter the credibility of God’s prophets (Revelation 11:3-12). In addition, many other miracle working false prophets and even some claiming to be the returned Christ will arise to deceive many (Matthew 24:11, 24). This is all prophesied and will come to pass.
How then does one distinguish God’s true prophets from these false prophets in our time despite both sides working miracles? The answer is God’s true prophets have a true understanding of prophecy and have been proclaiming it to the world for nearly 97 years now, beginning with the call of Mr. Armstrong. The popes are not into prophecy. That could change when the great false prophet comes on the scene. But even now there are many many false prophets who are interpreting Bible prophecies. Who does one believe?
The answer again is to watch closely the prophecies given by the prophets. The prophecies given by the true prophets will come to pass exactly as prophesied. And when the confrontation between the Beast (the German dictator heading the “Holy Roman Empire”) and the great false prophet and God’s two witnesses who are also prophets (Revelation 11:3-12) takes place, both sides will be working miracles. But the prophecies given by God’s prophets will come true whereas those given by false prophets will fail.
Even though the prophecies given by God’s prophets will come true, while people are living through them, the vast majority will still not pay heed. Ezekiel the prophet describes in Ezekiel 32:33 (NKJV): “32 Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them. 33 And when this comes to pass--surely it will come--then they will know that a prophet has been among them."
But the good news is that perhaps many millions will eventually pay heed when they see all the prophesied events coming true during the first two years of the Great Tribulation, when God’s two witnesses are confronting the Beast and the false prophet. This is prophesied in Revelation 7:9-17.
The history of God’s Church through its various eras shows that God has never allowed leaders chosen and appointed directly by Him to build an era or fulfill prophecy to go astray. Jesus Christ chose the twelve apostles. None of them went astray. Paul the apostle appointed by Jesus Christ did not go astray. Then various eras of the Church were raised by the preaching of men God appointed to build that era. These examples include Constantine of Mananali of the 7th century A.D., Peter de Bruys of the 11th century, Peter Waldo in the 13th century and Mr. Armstrong. None of these great leaders whom God had directly appointed in the history of God’s Church ever went astray.
As already described, proofs that Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong was a prophet of God have already been provided. No one understood prophecy better than him. All those following in his footsteps use the framework of prophecy that he described and prophecies have been coming true. He also led an incredibly miraculous life in God’s service. Incredible miracles have been described in his autobiography and those who assisted him in God’s work witnessed many of them with him. So there is no doubt that he was a leader appointed by God and He did not let him go astray.
Thus the conclusion is that God prevents the leaders He directly appoints in His Church, and those He appoints as prophets from ever going astray. The Church is much safer when one man appointed by God is in charge who has been well tried and tested by Him, can be relied upon to be faithful to Him, and by his fruits has proved that he is led by God.
In this regard, the author must now simply state the office he has been appointed to by God. The fact that he has been appointed to the office of a prophet was not revealed to him first, but to others from whom he learnt about it more than a decade later.
The office he has been appointed to was described by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15-19 (NKJV): “15 The Lord your God will raise up unto you a Prophet from the midst of you, of your brethren, like unto me; unto him you shall hearken ; 16 According to all that you desired of the Lord your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. 17 And the Lord said unto me, they have well spoken that which they have spoken. 18 I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto you, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.”
The office of the prophet described by Moses was certainly fulfilled by Jesus Christ Himself as described by Peter in Acts 3:19-23 and by Stephen in Acts 7:37. What we did not realize was that just as the role of Elijah was fulfilled by three prophets, there would be a triple fulfillment of the role of Moses as well. The role of Elijah was fulfilled by the original Elijah, then John the Baptist and then by Mr. Armstrong. The role of Moses was fulfilled by the original Moses, and then Jesus Christ Himself, and finally now there has been its third fulfillment.
Here then are the special events that parallel the life of Moses that prove that the author has been appointed to the role of the prophet mentioned by Moses.
1. Moses’ life was miraculously preserved. The author’s life too has been miraculously preserved over the past more than 50 years. Attempts have been continuously made on his life since the age of ten. By now perhaps hundreds if not thousands of attempts have been made in almost every possible way, including attempts at poisoning, beating to death, burying alive, inflicting him with HIV and shooting to death. But God has continued to miraculously preserve him all these decades.
2. God made Moses’ face to shine among the Israelites. God has made the author’s face to shine about a dozen or so times in public places to indicate the role of the prophet he was being called upon to fulfill.
3. As God used ancient prophets as an example to the Israelites to dramatically demonstrate certain key elements of prophecies such as Isaiah going barefoot and naked (Isaiah 20:2-4), God has used the author to demonstrate the true diabolically deceiving and lying nature of Satan and the demons by allowing his thoughts and what they palm off as his thoughts to be broadcast 24 hours a day. This is an event unique in the history of mankind. That is proof that he holds the office of a prophet.
What Satan broadcasts as the author’s thoughts are sometimes his thoughts but many times they are what Satan and the demons inject into his mind. These thoughts are diabolically designed to make the objects of the thoughts hate him with their whole being. Invariably these are thoughts designed to be the most damaging to the author and make people want to destroy him. Sometimes when the author knows that a horribly damaging thought is about to be injected into his mind, he is able to block it out. But Satan or the demon broadcasts such thought anyway as his thoughts to destroy normal good relations of the object of the thoughts with the author. Such damaging thoughts can part virtually the very best of friends if one is not aware that these are Satan’s thoughts and not the individual’s own. God has allowed Satan and the demons to do so to illustrate to human beings how Satan and the demons are the source of much of our thoughts which lead us to follow ways that are contrary to God’s ways. All the filth and evil that Satan and the demons broadcast as the author’s thoughts are slander and lies which indicate who the real source of such evil is. Many people act on such thoughts that pop into their minds and hurt themselves and others by their actions. Many act on such thought and commit evil.
The only way for us to discern whether the thoughts injected into our minds are our own injected by Satan is to know God’s law and ways from the Bible. If the thoughts are contrary to God’s ways, we can be certain that Satan or a demon is the author of them. God has allowed this experience as a warning to the world that dealing with Satan will part the very best of friends and allies. It will lead to destruction. We will see that happen in the very near future when allies will part and war with each other to virtually destroy themselves.
All the unusual experiences of prophets of God are designed to teach humanity some lessons or issue warnings. If the author was so evil in his thoughts as Satan and the demons try to project him to be by broadcasting his supposed thoughts, it would serve no purpose for humanity. The author himself would suffer because no one would want to associate with him. But it would not benefit humanity at large. But if these thoughts demonstrate the true diabolically evil nature of Satan and the demons because they are broadcasting lies to divide human beings and turn friends into enemies, then humanity is being warned not to deal with Satan and the demons. That indeed is the warning God is giving to humanity through this experience. But humanity will not pay heed as prophesied events will soon prove. Therefore, Satan and the demons broadcasting the author’s thoughts is a prophetic warning to the world.
The author is issuing God’s warning to the world. But by broadcasting lies as his thoughts, Satan and the demons try to destroy his credibility so that people will not pay heed to his warning. Satan and the demons want humanity to annihilate itself. So they don’t want the world to believe what the author is saying about the way individuals can come out alive through the Great Tribulation. Billions will not pay heed to the warning. But Revelation 7 assures us tens of millions will and save themselves.
4. God has used the author for another unique event in the history of mankind. Every week God’s angels broadcast his weekly prophetic messages to every human being in his or her own language currently delivered at 9.00 a.m. USA Eastern Standard Time. That is also proof that he holds the office of a prophet.
5. James 5:10 tells us: “Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.” God here points out the marks of a prophet. They suffer affliction and have to endure it patiently for a long time. Mr. Armstrong often pointed to his 28 years of enduring poverty. He certainly fulfilled this identifying mark of a prophet. The author too has endured poverty for nearly the entire 40 years of his working life. So as there were certain parallels between the lives of the ancient Moses and Elijah, such as fasting for 40 days and 40 nights, there have been parallels between the lives of those fulfilling their roles in our time.
6. Mr. Armstrong battled forces outside and inside the Church and endured suffering and poverty to build and protect God’s Church. The author has battled forces of German masqueraders inside and outside and those allied with them for the protection of Israelite nations of America and British Commonwealth nations for all his life since the age of ten when they began making attempts on his life, first in India and then in the USA.
Being a member of the small Sikh religious minority in India, but which contributed disproportionately to the British Indian Army which battled the Germans in both world wars, he was targeted by German allies in India. They began making attempts on his life because he showed much academic promise. Then in about a year of coming to the USA in 1981 he had diagnosed that the real cause of the economic problems of the USA and British Commonwealth nations at that time was the “so called free-trade” in which every one was free to export their goods and services to the USA while barring access to American and British goods and services as much as possible. That was an immediate threat to the party and fun the hostile nation within our nations, consisting of Americans of German descent and their allies, was having within our nations, and making it possible for the Germans and their global allies to loot American and British wealth. The hostile nation was able to get him kicked out of his Ph.D. program in Marketing so that he was left without the means to get a secure teaching job. Then they prevented him from getting a decent job all his life in the USA. They destroyed all his attempts at succeeding in self-employment. His business ideas have been stolen and others have become billionaires using those ideas while he has lived most of his life in poverty, having to depend on the kindness of family and friends quite often to sustain him. So he has suffered for more than 33 years for the sake of our Israelite peoples while in the USA and more than 50 years in total.
As Mr. Armstrong suffered much of his life for the “Church”, the author has suffered most his life for the sake of our “State” meaning America and British Commonwealth nations.
7. There have been other parallels between the lives of the ancient Elijah and Moses and those fulfilling their roles in our time. Elijah restored the worship of the true God in ancient Israel and protected the nation from the worshippers of Baal wiping out all knowledge and worship of the true God. The end-time Elijah restored the worship of the true God in His true Church by restoring all the true doctrines, and the knowledge of the true gospel of the Kingdom of God. He prevented the ‘Synagogue of Satan” from watering down the doctrines all his life.
God used Moses to deliver ancient Israel from economic and physical slavery in Egypt. God has used the author to deliver modern Israel (America and British Commonwealth nations) from a form of economic slavery and also a form of physical slavery from being forced with threats to life or other harm to do things against their will and interests. Here is how God used him to accomplish this:
a) His constant preaching, teaching and battling so-called free trade single-handedly for 14 years finally focused the attention of the U.S. Federal government to look into the merits of what he was saying. It led to the discovery of the hostile nation within our nation and discovery of the conspiracy to destroy our Israelite nations from within. His preaching against free trade and the U.S. auto industry for not competing effectively had earlier forced the hostile nation to slow down its decline as too fast a decline could have led to the discovery of its existence within our borders. But when the hostile nation was discovered, corrective action was taken based on the solutions proposed in the author’s model of economic development and international trade. It saved our nations from economic collapse at that time.
b) Discovery of the hostile nation within our nations also led to the discovery of how this hostile nation had taken over all the leading positions in most sectors of the economy, government and academia. Our people of true Israelite descent had been relegated to lower positions of serving those in higher positions occupied by people from the hostile nation. This was a form of economic slavery. And then our Israelite people could be threatened to do things against their will and interests, making them de facto slaves. The discovery of the hostile nation freed us from this economic slavery. It also led to our economic recovery at that time.
c) Discovery of the hostile nation also led to the discovery of its activities and how it was engaged in murdering and destroying true Israelites. It led to the discovery of medical murders, population control through abortion, the solving of the mystery of so many missing children and adults, denial of justice to Israelites because the hostile nation had infiltrated law enforcement and the judicial system. All these types of clandestine murders in the future were halted.
d) When the author realized that it was so easy to murder people by poisoning them by giving wrong prescriptions or in restaurants, he saw a potential disaster for our nations. So he prayed to God to intervene and save Israelite nations from this potential catastrophe. After his prayer, apparently the hostile nation sent out a call to murder as many Israelites as possible by poisoning them or by other means. The main targets were IT professionals, scientists, serving and retired top military officers, statesmen, business and political leaders. The order also went out for spouses who had married Israelite spouses to murder them and their own children. These orders were carried out. But God answered the author’s prayers and intervened to prevent these attempts from succeeding. This intervention probably saved tens of millions of lives in America alone, and probably additional millions in British Commonwealth nations.
If God had not heard these prayers, the U.S. economy could possibly have been destroyed with the murder of most IT professionals. It would also have led to an immediate attack on our nations and certain defeat in war and national slavery.
8. There have also been other parallels between what God used Moses to accomplish, and what the author’s contributions have been. Moses was used by God to reveal His strong nation building commandments, statutes and judgments to Israel. The author’s major contributions have also been in areas that contribute to nation building. These have included a model of economic development and beneficial international trade that is now generally accepted by all nations, and significant contributions to natural healing, preventing sickness and maintaining general good health. Contributions in both areas have had a very high impact on the prosperity and general well-being of our nations.
9. The mark of a prophet is prophesying future events or understanding and giving a correct interpretation of prophecy. Besides Jesus Christ no man has understood prophecy better than Mr. Armstrong. Daniel the prophet and John the apostle who wrote prophecies did not understand them because they were sealed till the time of the end. But when the end time came, understanding of prophecies was given to Mr. Armstrong. He explained what the various beasts in the books of Daniel and Revelation meant. After Mr. Armstrong, an understanding of the sequence of end time events has been revealed to the author. A key element of the sequence of end-time events was revealed to him by an angel in 1998 during the Feast of Tabernacles in Vail Colorado. Since then the author has written his detailed booklet titled “World in Bible Prophecy.” He did not consult any one or rely on others’ writings to do so. His main commission in the end time is stated in Revelation 10:11, “…"You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings." He has written his booklets on prophecy in fulfillment of that commission.
10. Mr. Armstrong used to complain about not being able to get sufficient sleep. He also talked about contact with demons. Perhaps he realized that demons were buffeting him to keep him humble just as the apostle Paul had been buffeted by a messenger of Satan (2 Corinthians 12:7). Peter may also have had a similar experience. That seems to be implied by Jesus’ statement in Luke 22:31: “…Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.” The author too battled a demonic messenger of Satan intensely for about 19 years. He still buffets him, but he is no longer physically troubled as he was before. It may simply be the mark of a prophet or leading apostle of God in the case of Mr. Armstrong.
11. Moses and Elijah communicated with the Lord. In our time prophets have not had the privilege of communicating with God face to face. But angels have communicated many messages to the author. That perhaps is also unique in our time within God’s Church. He has not seen any of the angels, but they have communicated with him unambiguously. We know the most treacherous time for God’s true Church still lies ahead. Perhaps God will use angels to convey lifesaving messages to His Church during these times. He also has had the privilege of seeing Jesus Christ in a dream in which He was angry with him and corrected him before he could make a drastically wrong decision. Perhaps not unlike the way the Lord was angry with Moses on a couple of occasions.
12. And finally just as God revealed to the world that the author had been called to fulfill the role of a prophet, it was revealed to the world that he had been given the status of a king. The author does not know exactly how this was revealed to people, but his guess is that they perhaps saw him crowned as a king in a dream, or in a vision.
Perhaps the prophecy in Micah 2:13 applies here. It states: “The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them.” The breaker and the king mentioned here could be two different individuals. The author believes the prophecy about the ‘breaker’ applies to Mr. Gerald R. Flurry, pastor general of the Philadelphia Church of God who was the first one forced to break away from the Worldwide Church of God to set up another Church of God organization.
WHY ONE-MAN RULE IS IMPORTANT FOR OUR TIME
Treacherous times lie just ahead. These are not the times God’s Church should navigate through, divided into many different organizations. There is a great reason why God speaks through only one man in critical times. And there is no doubt that the time of the events leading to and through the Great Tribulation is going to be the most critical time in the history of mankind. At such a time, it is safest for God’s Church and God’s people Israel to look to one man for answers from God. Can you imagine members of God’s Church having to rely on the words of 4 or 5 leaders to make decisions about their safety during these treacherous times?
We have already demonstrated through our different organizations that differences can develop even among God’s own people despite everything having been restored by God sending a special prophet and apostle to do so. And we have also demonstrated differences in understanding of prophecy. Such differences so close to the Great Tribulation can prove fatal, if members were to look to 4 or 5 different leaders for answers from God. In these critical times God wants His people to be sure through whom He will give His commands. That is why the author believes He will have only one man in charge of His Church.
SATAN’S ATTEMPTS TO DESTROY THE AUTHOR’S CREDIBILITY
It should be a given that Satan would try to attack the credibility of persons delivering God’s message. Satan’s agents tried to undermine Mr. Armstrong’s authority by setting up their own ‘Systematic Theology Project’ behind his back to reevaluate all Church doctrines when Mr. Armstrong was spending most of his time traveling preaching the gospel to world leaders. Since Mr. Armstrong’s passing away, the synagogue of Satan that took over the Church repudiated all the doctrines God restored through Mr. Armstrong. They justify their discarding all that Mr. Armstrong taught by attacking his ‘lack of training.’
From the Grace Communion International (GCI) (this is what the Worldwide Church of God now calls itself) website under “Our History”, this is their justification for rejecting all of Mr. Armstrong’s teachings: “Armstrong felt that he had to choose between Bible and tradition, and he chose the Bible. However, he had no seminary training, nor any disciplined study of church history, biblical interpretation, or the original languages of Scripture.”
These are bold faced lies. If the truth needed restoring, Mr. Armstrong would not have learnt it from a seminary because they are the source of current lack of truth in mainstream Christianity. GCI is now recycling what the seminaries of mainstream churches teach. By rejecting the correct name for God’s Church, which is Church of God, GCI is no longer God’s true Church.
Mr. Armstrong conducted thorough biblical research to support the Church’s beliefs. A Bible scholar does not have to know the original languages to conduct research. Many fine dictionaries of the original languages and commentaries are available to aid research. Besides, Mr. Armstrong encouraged all members to prove the doctrines themselves from their own bibles rather than blindly believe what he said. And we did prove the doctrines ourselves from our own bibles.
Satan has tried very hard to attack the author’s credibility and will continue to do so as long as he continues to deliver God’s messages. His agents attack his intelligence despite having a very good academic record, and having made numerous contributions to business and economic development at the very highest levels. They accuse him of copying what others teach. But the simple fact is that he like all others who deliver God’s message have to teach what was restored by God through Mr. Armstrong. But after Mr. Armstrong passed away the author has been given an understanding of prophecy that no one else has. His primary commission in this end of the end time is to preach about prophecy as mentioned earlier. He consulted no one in writing his booklets on prophecy. No one else has written anything comparable about prophecy. So accusations of Satan’s agents that the author does not preach anything original stand exposed as a canard.
Finally, Satan now has a great tool available to assassinate the author’s character. Since he has been broadcasting his thoughts for the past more than 13 years, he can palm off any lies as the author’s thoughts thus painting him as a pervert, a dim wit, someone utterly lacking in confidence, not sure of himself, malevolent, envious of everyone, or anything else he can come up with.
God’s testimony about Satan is that he is the father of lies (John 8:44) and one who deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9). A liar to be effective must mix his lies with truth. If he were to lie all the time, it would be easy to discern the truth because it would be contrary to whatever he says. He has told the truth many times in whatever he palms off as the author thoughts. But because of his inherent nature as a liar and a deceiver, he would certainly palm of many half-truths, distortions of the truth and outright lies as the author’s thoughts. This is a mechanism Satan has used to cast doubts about the inspiration behind the author’s messages. People wonder whether the author is doing God’s work and genuinely holds the office attributed to him.
Another reason for this doubt is that Satan and the demons began to broadcast the author’s messages in the very beginning on December 2, 2006 till July 14, 2007 when he had completed all his messages once in fulfillment of the prophecy in Revelation 10:11. Then they stopped broadcasting his messages and God’s angels then started broadcasting them. But the source of this information is Satan through the Germans. Since Satan is a liar, then it’s possible that they could still be broadcasting his messages but lying about it by saying that they are not broadcasting them but that God’s angels are doing so. If so, then it can be argued that the author’s messages are not God inspired but Satan inspired and are possibly being used by Satan to deceive God’s Church and mankind.
That is why the author has provided details of all that God has worked through him over the past more than 50 years to counter this logic. Satan’s agents still continue to make attempts on his life. Only God could have protected him. Perhaps tens of millions of Israelite lives have been saved at his prayers. Only God could have worked that intervention. Satan’s aim is to destroy the nations of physical Israel as well as God’s Church which is spiritual Israel. Only God and His people are interested in intervening on behalf of both. No one can dispute that all the author’s actions have been designed to benefit physical and spiritual Israel. He hopes that no one will be deceived by the twisted logic that his messages are not in fulfillment of the warning to be issued according to the prophecy in Revelation 10:11.There are many German masqueraders in American and within God’s Church. Their actions have all been designed to hurt physical and spiritual Israel as much as possible. That is the nature of Satan’s agents. None of Satan agents will work to benefits physical or spiritual Israel. In contrast all of the author’s actions have been designed to benefit physical and spiritual Israel. That should prove to everyone that his messages are God inspired and not Satan inspired.
In conclusion, the history of the Sardis, Philadelphia and the Laodicean era which started after Mr. Armstrong’s death shows the evils as well as the advantages of one man rule. An evil man can destroy much good as the Tkaches have proved. The advantages of one man rule show that it is safest to follow one man whom God has chosen, and no true prophet of God has ever gone astray. They have always faithfully delivered God’s messages which can be relied upon.
Which Church of God group to Join?
Because of splits in God’s Church since Mr. Armstrong passed away, between 70-80% of the former attendees no longer follow what Mr. Armstrong taught. But God requires that each and every member to receive the gift of eternal life must remain loyal to the truth God restored to His Church through Mr. Armstrong. And an additional requirement is to remain attached to the ‘vine’ to receive ongoing spiritual nourishment from Jesus Christ. This means attending the true Church of God.
Since genuine members of God’s Church who adhere to everything God restored through Mr. Armstrong now attend different Church organizations, which one should a new, prospective or even existing members who need to decide, should attend?
One thing is clear! Continuing to fellowship in the former WCG (now GCI) congregations means one is being fed garbage and not spiritual nourishment. The author reads literature published by the larger of the Churches that came out of the WCG. Based on his understanding of what these Churches believe, he recommends joining any of the 4 larger groups: the United (UCG), Philadelphia (PCG), Living (LCG) or the Restored (RCG) Church of God. He believes they adhere to everything in terms of doctrines that God restored through Mr. Armstrong
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