June 12, 2013
In the series of these last few posts, we have focused upon the subject of righteous judgment. It was stated that we are judged by what we see
Until God revealed in 1974 that Pentecost was to be observed on a Sunday, God’s people were judged by what God had revealed to them before that additional truth about Pentecost was given. The timing for when this portion of truth was revealed was totally in God’s control. Therefore, up to that change in 1974, God’s people were to assemble on a Monday, and they were judged by their response and obedience to what they knew to that moment in time.
This example teaches us much about how and why God works with us as He does (much of which we have already covered). This also teaches a great deal about how God’s government works in our lives through the leadership He has established to be upon His apostles and prophets. God has chosen to construct His Church through this exact structure. It is by this way that He is creating Elohim in all who will receive God’s government and God’s way of revealing truth to them through these offices He has established: “And (we) are (being) built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone, In whom all the building is fitly framed together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord” (Eph. 2:20-21).
Candidly, there is no other structure whereby God leads and directs His Church. That is why what has happened in the 600 plus splinter groups that have formed out of the Apostasy and scattering of the Church after 1994 is so absurd. Only one can be God’s Church through whom He works. By definition and teaching, anything else could not be God’s structure of government, as it would oppose God’s order of unity and singleness of teaching and belief among His people. There cannot be any who are “on their own,” who are not led by an apostle; for that is simply how God works in His Church: “Now you are the Body of Christ, and members in particular. God has set (word used for order and position in government) some in the Church: first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers…” (1 Cor. 12:27-28).
So the identity of God’s Church and where He is working is a most basic truth. This has so much to do with the first great truth that is attributed to being reestablished (restored) in God’s Church through Herbert W. Armstrong
Greatest Proof of God’s True Church:
During the Feast of Tabernacles in 2005, God mightily separated His Church from all other scattered groups who formed due to the Apostasy. God did this through the 21st Truth that is attributed as being revealed to the Church of God - Preparing for the Kingdom of God through me. No other scattered group believes this truth!
The 21st Truth states, “God the Father is Yahweh Elohim and He alone has eternally existed. The teaching that Jesus Christ had always existed is a holdover from the teaching of traditional Christianity of the Trinity. There is only one Almighty God who has eternal existence” (“The 57 Truths of God”).
The purpose for covering this truth in this post is to illuminate more fully that it is this truth above all others revealed after the Apostasy that proves where God’s true Church is and through whom God is working as His apostle to this end-time. It is this truth that fully established the identity of God’s Church! No other group or organization from the Apostasy believes or teaches this great truth. It was after God restored this most powerful truth yet, to His Church, that He began to inspire the writing of the book 2008
The identity and greatest proof of God’s true Church through the end-time and up to Christ’s return can only be received by those to whom God gives it. Once God has revealed such a “present truth,” then each to whom it was revealed is judged individually by their own judgment of where God is working and their judgment of this specific truth. For those who have left and have been removed from the fellowship in God’s true Church, their judgment rests on this truth alone. Anyone who truly judges righteously must judge whether they believe this 21st Truth (42nd overall). If a person believes this truth and separates themselves from God’s Church (PKG), then they multiply the judgment against themselves because they know no one else believes or teaches this truth. Only God’s true Church does!
Do you grasp the magnitude and importance of this great truth being taught and believed by only one scattered group of people?
It now needs to be pointed out that there is also another reason of great importance to this truth being revealed when it was. Toward the end of Sardis, only three great truths remained when Herbert W. Armstrong was called to restore truth to the Church during Philadelphia. Satan and the demonic realm had the world so deceived and confused by this time that the Church was nearly dead, but God began to raise up a new era through Mr. Armstrong. Truth that Satan had worked so hard to destroy was being restored and revived within the era of Philadelphia.
One of the greatest blows that Satan ever dealt to the truth was when he began to deceive the world about God Himself. This was done in 325 AD through the Nicene Council and the establishment of the doctrine of the Trinity. It wasn’t until that Feast of 2005 that this false doctrine was finally fully removed from having any influence upon God’s Church
The restoration of this great truth (21st Truth) removed Satan’s last and greatest deception. This lie was having a strong influence upon distorting the truth to God’s Church about God’s eternal majesty and the profound importance of Christ’s beginning in human life as our Passover. The timing of this revelation of truth is so important to events that followed, as this freed God’s Church to accelerated spiritual growth, insight, and highly empowered faith. This played a great role in thrusting God’s Church into a most unique time of God’s final witness.
It has often been told to God’s people that they should go back often and review all the truths God has given us. Indeed, the greatest and most profound for God’s Church in this end-time is that 21st Truth. God’s truths are our power and strength. It is the truth that sets us free. It is by the word of truth that we are begotten. It is by the word of truth that we grow, AND it is by this one great truth that God’s people should have the greatest boldness, faith, confidence, and strength of where God’s true Church is today
God’s Preparation Complete:
Once God had fully reestablished His Church by Pentecost of 1998, He began preparing it for the final witness He would establish for the “cause” or “controversy” of Zion.
Most of the truth that God began to give the Church had to do with the Apostasy and the first three Seals of Revelation that had been opened. These truths were new to the Church, as they had to do with prophecy that had just been fulfilled in this end-time. However, the first great truth that was “restored” since being given many centuries earlier is one that was lost shortly after it had been revealed to the apostle, John. There was no scattered group who understood or taught this truth, and although there is one that has since attempted to address it, it is still far away from grasping it. This truth that was “restored” is the 14th Truth (35th overall).
This truth states, “We understand that Jesus Christ is ‘continually coming’ in the flesh of those who are in the Church of God” (“The 57 Truths of God”). This of course has to do with John 14 and other similar verses in 1 John 4 and 2 John that the scattered Churches misapply to a past or future literal coming of Jesus Christ to this earth. This is the first great truth that was restored in the Church of God - PKG that powerfully separated it from all others. To this point in time, it was the most important truth revealed to PKG that testified and identified where God was working and through whom.
We have already covered what God revealed seven truths later in the 21st Truth (42nd overall), which was the greatest proof of all of the true identity of His Church. This was later followed by another truth, the 50th Truth, which tried and tested God’s Church in a very great way as to each person’s faithfulness to follow where God leads. It was this truth that launched God’s Church into the time of God’s final 3 1/2 years of witness to this world, about this world. This was also preparing the Church for the year (God’s prophetic day for the Church) that would follow that 3 1/2 years of God’s own witness that He would establish in the righteous avenging of His Church over the “cause” of Zion.
In addition to all the awesome truths God gave His people, He began to call large numbers into His Church through 2007 and 2008. More would be called, but by the time God’s final witness would begin, the Church had been prepared for an awesomely unique experience of God’s creative power to bring “transformation” to its greatest pinnacle yet.
God molded and fashioned events, as well as their timing, so that the Church would be made to stand through 4 1/2 years of one of the most extraordinary periods ever experienced by God’s people.
After healing a man on the Sabbath day and being condemned by the Jews for doing it at that time, Jesus gave them a simple reply: “My Father has been working until now and I have been working” (Jn. 5:17). During that time, God and Christ were working to establish a “witness” of Jesus being the Passover and Messiah of all mankind. That witness was recorded in scripture for the sake of the Church that would follow, for God’s great work is about the creation of Elohim. After 2,000 years and seven different eras of God’s Church, the Church had now been prepared for another important time of witness.
God and Christ worked with a remnant of the Church following the Apostasy to prepare it for an important battle in time. Though we still do not understand the full meaning of the dates and timing of all that followed that period of 4 1/2 years, God is continuing to reveal more to us, as He always has. God’s Church seeks to judge by the present truth to any moment in time, and if all will do so righteously, they will then live accordingly
The Church had no real concept of the great falling away (Apostasy) that would come upon it before December of 1994. Once it did come, however, the Church (brethren and ministry) was to judge righteously what had happened. There were basic issues at hand that had to be addressed. Were we God’s Church? If we were God’s Church, then how could it be experiencing what it did after December 17, 1994? This led many to see more deeply than ever that the organization (WCG) was not the Church, but that the Church was the spiritual Body of Christ. This had not fully sunk into everyone in the Church even though Herbert W. Armstrong made the point several times before he died in 1986.
So what had happened to the spiritual Body of Christ? The answer should have been clear, but it wasn’t because of the “spiritual condition” of the Church being lukewarm and so spiritually weak. As God blessed some to be awakened from that spiritual sluggishness and sleep, answers began to be made manifest (revealed) and obvious. God’s Church had been scattered; spiritual famine was growing and widespread. An apostasy had occurred; the identity of the man of sin who was the son of perdition for the end-time had been made manifest. However, most of the scattered Body could neither humble themselves enough to acknowledge the Apostasy nor admit their true spiritual state, for to do so would be to acknowledge they were Laodicean. Such people would not judge “righteous judgment” concerning the identity of God’s Church, the present truth, or the actual conditions and events that had occurred. Yet God taught people in His remnant Church how to judge such matters righteously so that they could have much more truth revealed to them.
Now is a time that this kind of judgment is required of God’s people again, just as it was when God allowed and gave way for the Apostasy to be manifested in His own Church. We are to be judging through what God has given His Church to experience, through the present truth, and through the actual events and conditions that have already occurred. If we know this is God’s Church, then we can continue in righteous judgment. If one does not know this and is not deeply convicted of such truth, then they will judge from their “own beliefs” and views as “they see it” (just as how it happened after the Apostasy). That is why basic understanding that should be gleaned from the 35th, 42nd, and 50th Truth are so important to the identity of God’s true Church and with who it is through whom God is working in the continuing process of the creation of Elohim. It is also important to know that the 49th Truth (about the Seven Thunders being revealed) will yet drive that point home to God’s Church that was scattered after the Apostasy.
God Establishes the Truth & Reveals Error:
As it has previously been covered in this series of posts, the Church was tried and tested in God’s present truth throughout 2008. God was establishing those things that would be needed so that the Church could experience what He had been preparing it to fulfill through the 4 1/2 years that ended May 19th of 2013. Daniel’s 1335 days about the 144,000 being sealed was revealed. Christ returning on Pentecost rather than Trumpets was established. In the midst of all this, God had already revealed who His two end-time witnesses were and that 2008 would be the beginning of His final witness. We just didn’t know what it all meant, but we did judge according to the present truth as God had molded and fashioned this within us.
This refinement in judgment and understanding of how we are judged in the present truth had not been given to Herbert W. Armstrong; however, God did use Mr. Armstrong’s experience to establish that understanding and revelation for us in this end-time. Upon addressing the significance of 19-year time cycles in God’s work and the commission God had given him and the Church, Mr. Armstrong addressed some very important points. He explained how he was not a prophet. He also explained some matters concerning the booklet entitled, 1975 in Prophecy.
It would be good at this juncture to quote some of what Mr. Armstrong wrote in his “Personal” in “Tomorrows World” magazine of February 1972 (the “Personal” is available on the Church site under Mr. Armstrong’s publications). There are several excerpts that will be in quotes in this section of the post, and I will also make some added comments along the way.
“Let me ask you this question. Do you know of any large, established, well-recognized professing Christian denomination which has publicly confessed it had been wrong in what it had been teaching, and which they corrected the error, and turned to the truth?”
In Mr. Armstrong’s day, this could only be asked of the difference between God’s Church and all those of traditional Christianity. Today, however, it should be asked of all who were scattered after the Apostasy, but it is not. Yet every truth revealed in the Church of God - PKG since the 21st Truth revealed through Mr. Armstrong has revealed error in the Church.
The 22nd Truth revealed that we did have an apostasy. To deny this was to deny God’s Church. We were beginning to admit the error of failing to acknowledge what God had prophesied would happen in His Church in the end-time. This then led to the acknowledgement of many other truths related to the Apostasy and God’s Church that were to become manifest during the prophesied end-time. These all in turn revealed error we needed to correct.
The 33rd Truth was the first that revealed error that had existed before the Apostasy. That truth was about the reality that there was no literal physical place of safety. We now accepted the clear truth of scripture that “Petra” was always about God being our place of safety, just as He is likened to our high tower, defense, shield, fortress, etc., as in Psalms 18. Indeed, God is our rock, our Petra.
After the era of Philadelphia and on into the end-time after the Apostasy, we did not focus or expound upon the “errors” when God revealed new truth to us. Instead, we simply focused on the revelation of truth as a matter of positive change and greater spiritual growth that God was giving. In reality, we were also actually acknowledging error. We were addressing change and new truth in this manner largely due to a continuing growth in spiritual maturity within God’s Church and of being led to see that God is in charge of what we are able to see at any moment in time. The revelation of truth is in His control just as it is of when He gives us more truth, and when He gives us more we indeed have less error because He is leading us more and more into the light and farther and farther from the darkness. Seeing truth is not a result of our own ability nor of intellect, but fully of God. Over the past year, God has helped to begin expressing this process as a matter of the “present truth” since He is the one who progressively reveals His truth to His people. We simply have to make the choice to accept and follow it or not.
Let’s continue now with excerpts from that “Personal” of Mr. Armstrong: “But are they all perfect and correct in what they teach? If so why do not any two agree in all points of doctrine? The reason is simply that they do teach errors which they are afraid to confess, for fear they would lose members.”
“Thus they have educated the people to suppose that if any leader, any church, and work of God can be found to have been in error in any point, they cannot be trusted. To confess and correct error is to be branded a false prophet!”
Today this kind of scrutiny is even greater upon God’s Church because God has given me to declare that I am both His prophet and His apostle to His Church in this end-time. As a prophet, God has given me a great deal to declare about what will happen in the Thunders and Trumpets of Revelation that lead up to the coming of Jesus Christ. As an apostle, I have worked with what God has revealed up to any moment in time and have taught His Church accordingly within those parameters of judgment.
At the beginning of the 1335 days, there was anticipation of great “physical” tribulation beginning that would come upon the world. Thunders increased and the stage was fully set for the financial collapse of the United States and the world economy, but God’s time for that has not yet come. The Church had been wrong about the basic period of 3 1/2 years being about physical destruction. That will still come, but within a different time frame than what we have previously believed.
May 27, 2012, was not the date of Christ’s return and neither was May 19, 2013. Those dates are prophetically important and great events did occur within those periods of time, but they were not Christ’s literal return. That is obvious. So as we did after the Apostasy, we seek to judge what we have experienced by the present truth, and as we do, God will reveal more, just as He has done before, for He uses this process in a powerful way to more deeply convict us of truth He reveals when He chooses to do so.
We know who we are
So yes, we too have had error. I have had error. But God is leading us into greater truth and spiritual maturity. God has not only allowed error to exist in His Church through time, but He has also designed and planned it so. Such a statement likely would baffle and bewilder most who are not in our fellowship, but the lesson of Pentecost 1974 should cause righteous reflection and honesty about God’s power to lead His own Church.
We will continue again with the “Personal” excerpts from Mr. Armstrong’s writing: “You may ask, do I, then, feel that we in this Work are full of errors, misleading the people. Most emphatically no! We have not had to correct error many times. But each time we have corrected error, we have had one fewer error left. If we knew of any error still remaining, now, we would change it! If and when we find one in the future, we shall correct it! The one who follows that principle is the most free from error!”
This was indeed what was done later in 1974 with the revelation that Pentecost was to be observed on a Sunday and not a Monday.
“So confessing such an error is one of the surest proofs to identify the people through whom the living Christ is working
God Prepared Us:
Through all the experiences and revelation of truth God had given His remnant Church and the inspiration for two important books to be written, the small core of this remnant group had now been prepared by God to enter its final preparation for what was to follow. The years of 2007 and most of 2008 were the years for this final preparation through trying and testing, as well as giving rapid growth. This history has been covered in this series of posts.
We finally arrived at a date that we thought we fully understood concerning a “final countdown” to Christ’s return. It was the Feast of Trumpets of September 30, 2008. Indeed, the countdown of 1335 days did begin then, but we did not grasp where it was leading. Even though I wrote the book 2008 - God’s Final Witness, I did not grasp the magnitude or importance of that witness.
In the beginning, because of our belief about 3 1/2 years of tribulation, there were “expectations” that were very much ingrained in our thinking that would be changed about what was to happen in the world and when. As we moved farther and farther into that 3 1/2 year period and it was evident that the 2nd Trumpet had not yet occurred, God began to reveal that the experience of this period of time was focused upon a “witness” and not about end-time tribulation. That understanding has continued to grow even until now.
God had prepared us for the experience of this period of time. What was it all about? What was it that we had been prepared to experience?
We have used this period of 3 1/2 years rather loosely to sometimes include the period of the 1335 days and the 1290 days. Much is simply a matter of semantics as long as we grasp the context, but the reality is that these days are fully tied together. The literal period of 3 1/2 years that started when the two witnesses began to fulfill a large part of their roll was preceded by these two periods of time. These two important events would thrust the Church into a new and important era to God’s planning and purpose being fulfilled before all the Trumpets should be manifest and His Son’s return to establish God’s Kingdom to rule this world.
[In the next post we will continue with what God has revealed about this period of time and the importance of the 1335 days of Daniel.]