You have reached the portion of our website explaining the apostasy of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG). Start here if you do NOT have a WCG background.
- “Anoint Your Eyes” – Christ’s Warning to His People
- The True Church – One Organization, or Many?
- The Government of God – Understanding Offices and Duties
- The Work of God – Its Final Chapter!
- Why The Restored Church of God? – Should You Join?
- I Will Send Elijah to Restore All Things
- Should Accusers Be Answered?
- Is “That Prophet” Alive Today? – The Rise of False Prophets
- There Came a Falling Away
- Surviving “Perilous Times”
Founder and Pastor General of The Restored Church of God, Editor-in-Chief of The Real Truth magazine, and voice of The World to Come program, David C. Pack has reached many millions around the globe with the most powerful truths of the Bible—unknown to almost all. He has authored 80 books and booklets, personally established over 50 congregations, and appeared as a guest on The History Channel. Mr. Pack attended Ambassador College in Pasadena, California, entered the Worldwide Church of God ministry in 1971, and was personally trained by its founder, Herbert W. Armstrong.Learn more
Time Is Running Out!
All of the prophecies of the two previous chapters form a dramatic parallel to events involving God’s people. This extraordinary parallel becomes a kind of inset chapter that is inseparable from all you have learned so far.
Assembling certain scriptures introduces a strange false picture before God’s people that must be understood. This picture is presented by carefully sequencing a series of key verses.
Do not permit the message contained to escape you!
Misreading Events—and Time
One of the most critical warnings that Christ directed to His disciples at the end of the age was that many would have slipped into the belief that more time remained than God had planned. He summarized this attitude as “My Lord delays His coming” (Matt. 24:3, 48). Christ knew that circumstances, in both the world and the post-apostasy “church,” would mesmerize many into assuming they could enjoy their lives a little longer before “things blow up.”
When calamity strikes without warning, many will be shocked, thinking, “I thought we had more time.”
A review of Jeremiah and Ezekiel reveals that this thinking reflects how people would perceive the speed and seriousness of end-time events between nations. They would not be able to recognize prophecy playing out before them. Follow closely, because some of the most critical understanding in the book comes now.
Recognize that both the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel long ago foretold a future strange interval in world events when, just before the end, political and religious leaders, among others, in the nations of Israel would offer public reassurance to the masses who would be concerned about what they were observing. Jeremiah wrote this about the efforts of leaders in latter-day Israel: “They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace” (6:14). For emphasis, God inspired Jeremiah to repeat this passage verbatim in chapter 8, verse 11.
Here is how Ezekiel describes the fruitless efforts of leaders who apply patchwork solutions to huge, impossible problems looming over the world: “Because, even because they [the leaders] have seduced My people [both Israel and sleepy brethren], saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered mortar” (13:10).
Understand the terms being used here—grasp God’s meaning. “Untempered mortar” allows bricks to come loose under pressure where “walls” were thought to be stronger than they were. These ineffective “solutions” (the untempered political mortar used by world leaders) will involve military, political and probably religious solutions—and will almost surely include the spreading of the counterfeit “Jesus” and his band-aid, social-improvement “gospel.”
Because the One who became Christ inspired both Old Testament and New, it is not surprising that the problem of misreading events at the end would become a theme referenced by numerous Bible writers. In fact, Jesus Himself spoke more than once of how His Return would arrive without notice, as would a “thief” (Matt. 24:43; Luke 12:39) entering your home late at night when you would be asleep. Peter was also inspired to speak of Christ’s coming “as a thief in the night” (II Pet. 3:10).
Thieves do not telephone in advance of their coming. They “break and enter” homes or businesses without notice. Truly, the Tribulation and Day of the Lord will suddenly “break” into world peace and “enter” the course of every nation on earth!
God inspired the apostle Paul to record a more detailed picture of our time, and it is in his first letter to the Thessalonians: “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I write unto you” (5:1). First, pause and reread the verse. Can you say that this is true of yourself? Are you aware of where events and trends are today in God’s final prophesied biblical timeline? The evidence is that many brethren have needed someone to “write unto [them]” about these prophecies.
This is happening now!
The I Thessalonians 5 summary of timing in the last days continues with this sobering affirmation of the above passages: “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord [with and including the preceding Tribulation] so comes as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (vs. 2-3).
The painful labor of childbirth—“travail upon a woman”—begins suddenly, without notice, at the moment the mother’s “water breaks.” This can also happen prematurely. Similarly, a pregnant world, filled with problems and ready for “delivery,” will fall into a false security—a misperceived feeling of “peace and safety”—just before its “water breaks.” This will at some point, for geopolitical reasons we cannot yet clearly see, become the prevailing international mood. This attitude will overtake and capture the thinking of entire great Israelite nations, and probably soon.
The terrible, sickening result?—“and they shall not escape”!
Brethren Should Know Better
Let’s finish examining I Thessalonians 5. Notice verse 4 that follows: “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” So tragically today, most brethren are in darkness, having fallen into the deep blindness that Christ foretold would strike the final era of His Church (Rev. 3:17).
Paul reminded the brethren of who they were and the responsibility they had: “You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (vs. 5-6). Darkness covers the truth of events for most. But God’s people are to be different from their neighbors. They must literally “see the light” of world events.
Yet, so many today cannot see the clock on the wall! Asleep, they are not watching and not sobered by ominous developing events. The result? This time will overtake thousands as a thief!
So many in the splinters are living as though the age will go on forever—but it will not! And remember, Paul wrote—in essence warned!—that the short Work would also be cut short. When understood, even this makes its own instructive statement. Consider. Why would God describe His Work this way if observers would think it was ending at just the right time? Reality screams that the majority will be fooled, most of these having been unwilling to comprehend—and others who knew but were unwilling to acknowledge—where God’s Work was.
So recognize—embed in your mind!—that there is a very powerful caution intrinsic within Romans 9:28! An already short Work will be further cut short.
Soon, the final Beast of Revelation, ridden by the whore of chapter 17, will explode onto the world scene. No one will be expecting this truly “thief in the night” event. Their sudden joint appearance will signal without warning that another “night” related event has come—the end of God’s Work. The Beast’s arrival and surrounding events were foretold this way: “As a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth” (Luke 21:35). The message is that this time will pierce world “tranquility” without advance notice, except again for those diligently “watching” (vs. 36).
In the near future, the great “mama” whore will instruct her harlot “girls” to stop squabbling and disagreeing, to submit and to “return home NOW!” False, but very real, miracles will reinforce her command, and these wayward protesting “daughters” will come! Only a few years remain before the false prophet gives his “woman church” the chilling instruction to “saddle up” the Beast for its final ride into awesome, frightening prophecies that will leave all nations of earth in shocked amazement (Rev. 13:3-4, 8, 13-14; 17:2, 8)—and the nations of Israel in captivity, their lands destroyed.
Remember duality. It will be this religious/political/economic/military system that takes a defeated Israel into the “bitterness,” “rigor” and “affliction” of hard labor under the Beast’s brutal slavemasters, exactly as came upon ancient Israel under Pharaoh (Ex. 1:13-14; 2:23; 3:7). The similarities are striking to the point of stunning!
Most of God’s People Also Taken
Here is what so few seem any longer to remember: The Beast’s ride will also take the Great Whore directly into the lives of those of God’s people who thought there was more time—who did not take seriously either holding to the truth or continuing the Work of God. When this happens, all of the brethren who had fallen into compromise and the kinds of Protestant “harlot” thinking described in this book (and others written to the splinters) will be desperately sorry—and even more desperately wishing they could have another chance to make the right decision.
But it will be too late!—much, much too late!
It has been my over 35-year experience in Christ’s ministry that most of God’s people simply will not listen to what God says. They cannot seem to make themselves take seriously His commands, instructions and warnings. Will you listen to Him through His servant, Mr. Armstrong? This quote returns from the introduction:
“The world has sunk into a complacent, indifferent slumber…The world is too busy enjoying this new-found prosperity, basking in the comfortable sunshine of luxury, to be much concerned about the on-coming nuclear World War III that WILL, unless prevented by Almighty God, simply erase human life from this planet!
“Soft words and pretty speeches do not arouse people out of this pleasant dream. It takes a jolt!” (“Personal,” PT, Sept. 1965).
This was written over 40 years ago—in the mid-1960s. In regard to “prosperity and luxury,” when conditions are compared to the enjoyment of life’s good things that have arrived for a much greater percentage (as well as having achieved a much greater degree) of people today, the 1960s seem almost prehistoric. Thus, most will still not be aroused or moved by strong words.
You could be an exception.
Whether you can yet understand or accept this, The Restored Church of God has been commissioned by Christ to restart, reconstruct and complete the “short work” of Romans 9:27-28 in all of its elements. WE are the ones who will—and do—avoid “soft words and pretty speeches.” It is WE who must always be willing to speak like a TRUMPET—and bring a JOLT to all who might hear! If possible, I would also use an earthquake to awaken more readers.
Still, some will only hear “a lovely song.” But not all!
For God’s Work to be completed, realize that there must be a surviving group of zealous Philadelphia faithful (Rev. 3:11). Because there is work to be done—much work!—there must be a single, focused, unified organization composed of brethren who are willing—no matter how unpopular and no matter what the personal cost—to also warn their fellow brethren in Laodicea to anoint their eyes.
Notice that the context of Romans 9:27-28 ties God’s final Work directly to the remnant of Israel. This construction and context is God’s doing, not a product of mental gymnastics with the passages, by me or anyone else. The sandwiched wording is no accident. Make yourself acknowledge that Paul fits the “short work” reference squarely into Isaiah’s chapter 10 “remnant” prophecy. There is simply no other way to read the passage.
Spiritual Israel Also Warned
The Church’s responsibility to warn the scattered brethren of spiritual Israel is inseparable from that of the special warning to the nations of physical Israel. So it must at least be mentioned in this volume what is at stake for those with God’s Spirit who will not heed His warning. This means rejecting all that has been written here, and includes being unwilling to do their part in supporting His Work while there is still time to participate.
After all, both Israels enter enslavement together. They have the same time limit on their decision!
Recall that the nations of Israel, once in captivity, will no longer be permitted to worship as they choose. False gods will be forced upon them. This will include the Mark of the Beast. The final, or third, two hundred million will have no choice in accepting this Mark.
Understand. The same Work of God must proclaim to spiritual Israel how individuals can avoid the horrendous trial in store for their carnal-minded Israelite counterparts. The same false gods await both. Of course, the stakes are much, much higher for God’s Spirit-led people today. Once they enter the Tribulation, they cannot survive physically—they have no hope of living through this time to escape with the Israelite remnant.
Mr. Armstrong Warned
Mr. Armstrong described the Roman system during the dark ages, explaining why the Beast’s mark is Sunday-keeping. Here is what he wrote near the end of his booklet about the Beast, under the subhead “Why Saints Were Martyred”:
“It was for obeying God’s Fourth Commandment—keeping the Sabbath—that millions were put to death. The local Council of Laodicea, about A.D. 363, passed this decree: ‘Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, resting rather on Sunday. But, if any be found to be Judaizing, let them be declared anathema from Christ.’
“The church caused them to be killed. When the church branded one ‘anathema’ (a heretic), the state police of the Empire began torturing him. Unless he recanted, he was tortured until he died!
“Laws became so strict no man could hold a job, or engage in business, unless he worked on Saturday and rested on Sunday. And the world will be so geared that it will be almost impossible for one to ‘buy or sell’ except he receive this mark of the beast!” (Who or What is the Prophetic Beast?, p. 40).
Tragically, too weak to persevere, one-half of Laodicea—the foolish virgins of Matthew 25:1-12—will not survive the Tribulation spiritually, but will sell out during this time of terrible, intense persecution by accepting the Beast’s mark to save their lives. But their decision pays only short-term dividends because these will die in the Day of the Lord. The other half of God’s unprotected people will enter eternal life—the wise virgins—but must be martyred in order to receive salvation. At the last minute this half will awaken in captivity, admitting and repenting of their wretched state.
The result? Imprisonment, torture and death.
Mr. Armstrong introduced his very descriptive “Beast” booklet with a potent statement. Notice how he references preachers in the world’s churches who will not discuss prophecies, particularly those they know to be almost upon us. Ask yourself if this describes the organization you attend:
“For it is those of this very present generation who shall be worshiping this beast or his image, or shall have received his mark, that will suffer the unspeakable torture of the seven last plagues!
“Ignorance will not excuse! ‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge,’ says the Eternal, in Hosea 4:6. And the illustration of Ezekiel’s watchman shows that those who are unaware, because they are not warned, will suffer just the same (Ezek. 33:6; 3:18). God expects the spiritual leader of His people to be His ‘watchman’ (Ezek. 33:7) and to warn the people. [Author’s note: It is this final single sentence that carries supreme importance to whoever is the leader of God’s people today. It explains why the books to the splinters and a great many others to Israel.]
“The time is at hand! The plagues of God’s wrath will soon be poured out, unmixed and undiluted—full strength—upon a heedless, God-defying world, and a careless, lukewarm, indifferent Christianity!”
“Every sign tells us these things will happen, plunging the world into the most frantic, frenzied state of anguish ever known…Those who suffer the wrath of Almighty God are described as those who worship the beast, or his image, or have his mark.”
“These prophecies are real. They are imminent. Because these and other prophecies have never been understood until now, even churches, the theologians, evangelists have been ignoring prophecies in general and these imminent prophecies in particular. Too many are trying to speculate in their imaginations. But God says, ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts’ (Isa. 55:8).
“We can’t work this out in our minds. We are face to face with a stern reality, not an imaginary fairy tale! There is only one way to learn the truth. That is to study carefully, cautiously, prayerfully, with an open mind yielded to and guided by the Holy Spirit, all the testimony of all the scriptures that bear on this question” (Ibid., pp. 2-3).
These are very strong words! And you have seen that this book diligently applies the formula in the final paragraph. Also, do not miss the reference to Laodicea, depicted as “careless, lukewarm, indifferent Christianity!” (Remember, orthodox Christianity is not lukewarm, but rather is ice-cold.) Is their fate what you want? I can only hope that Mr. Armstrong’s most graphic and powerful description stuns thousands reading it after so many years without review.
Since God’s final Work is foretold to be short, and even to be cut shorter, yet we have seen it will reach many, many millions, can you connect these facts to why this book has emphasized over and over not just the sheer size that this Work must attain, but why this must happen QUICKLY?
This introduces a crucial but overlooked element of that Plan.
“Evil Men and Seducers” Fulfill God’s Purpose
Another central part of God’s final test for His people in the “perilous last days” must be addressed (II Tim. 3:1). Let’s permit God’s Word to present and explain it, because it has not been properly understood. This is another part of the chapter that will not be pleasant.
First, carefully read: “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (vs. 13). This is a most sobering passage. It should be obvious that it does not invoke a “pretty” discussion. God inspired Paul to warn YOU that instead of things getting better after the apostasy, with faithful leaders resuming authority, leadership over most of God’s people instead grows continually worse. Do not add to or subtract from the verse. Accept what is written. It is not “evil men will grow worse and worse until the apostasy, after which everything gets better.”
This scripture says exactly what it means!
Some will wonder—and this is natural—why God would permit ever-worsening leaders to continue over most of His end-time flock. The questions take this form: Why were all false leaders—all “evil men and seducers”—not left behind in the apostasy? What possible purpose can be served by their remaining presence? Why did God not return faithful leaders to all His people?
It is crucial you understand this ongoing test. If not, you will have no rest—and will continue to lose your way as events play out.
Recall again that other books to the splinters have explained God’s “two-step” process during the apostasy. First, remember that all those with the Holy Spirit were forced to flee the Worldwide Church of God to survive. Second, all who desire both the unabridged truth and to do God’s true Work must take the more difficult second step of leaving behind all forms of compromise found in the splinters as they return to the one true Church and Body of Christ under God’s government. While this description of the process is brief, it suffices for the point here.
Let’s comprehend what is at work. It was relatively easy to leave the WCG with hundreds or thousands at one’s side. (While not the case with everyone, this scenario was true of most.) When seen in its full light, this was very little test at all compared to the next one—the second step!—being unwilling to compromise anything once taught and proven, and to locate the organization that does not. Special, awesome understanding was restored to Philadelphia (Matt. 17:11). God had to be sure that His people loved EVERYTHING they had once understood to be the “hid treasure” of which Christ spoke. This meant that a very rigorous test had to be devised by God.
Only this would separate the truly serious from the mere interested!
Return to II Timothy 3. The very next verse in the context tells you how to resist the evil leaders of today: “But continue you in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing of whom you have learned them” (vs. 14).
This is a plain statement about doctrines and traditions taught in the past. It also tells you—think carefully about the context here!—in what way God sees these men as evil. Verse 14 is the solution to the “evil men” problem. These do not teach “the things which you have learned and have been assured of.”
I did not write this passage, and neither did you or any other man. God did. These verses are juxtaposed in context as they are because that is exactly what God intended. Get this straight before continuing!
Why does God give such a strong admonition if He is not serious about what God’s people face? Now think again. The leaders whom Paul describes are “evil men,” plain and simple! Establish in your mind that it is GOD, not Paul or I, who calls those who are now prowling—stalking!—through the splinters today “EVIL MEN.”
This is God’s term presented to you. Will you receive it?
The word that God chose to describe these false leaders—“evil”—is poneros. Its unusually descriptive meaning should hit with the force and shock of a lightning bolt. Here it is: “Hurtful, calamitous, culpable, derelict, degenerate, vicious, malicious, wicked, grievous, of the devil.”
Could God have chosen a stronger, more potent word? If so, what would it be? (And yet you will learn that there is another crucial element of God’s description of them to be examined later.)
These wolves are not circling outside the big organizations—the worst ones are leading them! The same is true of the slivers. Led by a different spirit, these men have brought a different Jesus who comes as part of a different gospel and with many other different doctrines—and a very different work, falsely labeled the Work of God!
Again, why are these men permitted to exist? God foresaw that there had to be impediments that His people would have to be willing to overcome in their pursuit of His doctrines and His Work! Such men provide plenty of impediment—plenty of test. But let’s see more.
Hindering the Work
We can add another frame of reference about these men before continuing. Near the end of his second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul wrote about “wicked men.” Notice: “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word [or work] of the Lord may have free course [Grk: run or speed on]…and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith” (3:1-2).
This is an extraordinary passage. It contains more than meets the eye. The word translated “wicked” here is also poneros. But this time, those it is used to describe were able to hinder the Work being carried out by Paul. How serious was this? These servants of Satan were so harassing God’s servant, and therefore His Work, that Paul had to ask the brethren to pray for his deliverance.
Think! Men so evil that God must supernaturally intervene and deliver His Church, His Work and His chosen leader at that time. Because there is nothing new under the sun, it is the same today. I ask God’s people to do the same for me as I, and God’s Church and Work today, are harassed by men more evil and cunning than most could imagine.
But more remains to be understood.
Also Coming “One by One”
Realize that wrong beliefs have not been the only problem in the lives of many today. Wrong conduct—compromising how Christians are to live—is at least an equal problem. Today, thousands of lives have come to be in almost complete spiritual disarray—doctrines and conduct are both being compromised. As Mr. Armstrong stated, many have become “careless, lukewarm, indifferent.” And few are hearing sermons about this, certainly not strong ones.
(“Anoint Your Eyes” – Christ’s Warning to His People explains this spiritual breakdown in most brethren’s lives in much greater detail. Also, Should Accusers Be Answered? – Do You Believe Obvious Lies? and The Government of God – Understanding Offices and Duties cover other parts of it.)
Christ is today knocking on individual doors and gathering all those of His flock willing to receive and listen to Him. Similar to Israel later, the Church is now—before the time of Jacob’s trouble—also being gathered “one by one.” Christ, the Great Shepherd, is the ultimate “hunter” and “fisher” seeking out His people no matter the group or organization in which they reside.
But time is waning.
Christ’s goal: One after another among God’s Spirit-led Israel being willing to break off all compromise now—in doctrine and conduct—and to come out of captivity within the splinters. Today, many of God’s people are being held in very real spiritual captivity. This is because false leaders have been able to effectively confuse and spiritually bind thousands through means of relentless—virtually non-stop!—deceit and outright lies against God’s Truth, Church, Work and Plan today. This includes endless falsehoods about me. Those who visit our Headquarters are eyewitnesses otherwise.
A Different Captivity
Paul wrote about how some who, when shown the truth of their actions, will not repent. This throws them into “the snare of the devil,” meaning they have been “taken captive by him [to do] his will” (II Tim. 2:26). (This is the passage just before the opening chapter 3 warning that “in the last days perilous times shall come.” Recall that verse 1 sets the stage and introduces the worsening “evil men and seducers” of verse 13.) Understand. At some point in their course, various senior ministers simply gave over to the unbridled pursuit of power over God’s people, a power not assigned to them by God. In their lust for the preeminence of high office and influence over as many of God’s people as they could garner for themselves, they ignored all the “caution signals” and ran every “stop sign” and “red light” in the road before them.
Captured, they now do Satan’s will—while continuing to appear as “angels of light” (II Cor. 11:13-15)!
Remember—and never permit yourself to forget!—that the devil is also doing a “work.” Paul recorded that his spirit “works in the children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2). See this! In one sense, Satan is no different from God. His “work” also involves a master plan: Thwart God’s Master Plan by having every true Christian fail the test!
The plain picture here is that certain leaders today have literally been taken captive by Satan the devil. These are not my words, but rather what your Bible tells you—if you are listening. In turn, this means that God’s people are then, in effect, captives of those who are themselves Satan’s captives—the splinter leaders!
Grasp what I am saying—understand precisely how this applies, because these are not difficult dots to connect. God’s people in the splinters are in slavery to lies! This involves deception about God’s doctrines—of course, some doctrines involve behavior—as well as about Christ’s Church, Work and Government. Do not diminish the incredible importance of what is happening, and that this form of enslavement also includes its own false god—“another Jesus.” You have seen that this Jesus has a different “father” (John 8:44), with other doctrines and priorities!
But the captivity of God’s people is different—it is not forced, as with Israel—it has been enslavement BY CHOICE!
Carefully Prepared in Advance
Let’s return to what is seen to be the second wave of “worse and worse” false leaders—again, God’s words, not mine. I repeat: These provide much of the final great test upon God’s now scattered people. Let’s learn still more.
Some of the men leading the splinters have been carefully prepared for their role in God’s test over a long period. As with Pharaoh, to aid His purpose, God Himself may have played a role in hardening some of the hearts of Satan’s agents at work today. Judas, the Beast and the False Prophet, among others, are examples of where God has chosen a person for evil within His great overall purpose. However, in the end, whether some leaders today were sown into the field by Satan early on (Matt. 13:25) or prepared by God for their current role is irrelevant. Whether these men were once faithful, or ministerial tares from the beginning, the net effect is the same. They are “grievous wolves” having arisen “speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts. 20:29-30).
But how did these men get to the positions of authority that they hold? It is no accident. Under close examination, these leaders are seen to carry an unusual ability, one that the average leader or minister simply does not have.
How They “Get Away With It”
Paul’s foretelling of “evil men” at work among God’s people in the last days carries a second crucial element of warning not yet addressed. Do not miss what is really additional instruction to those who are paying careful attention! Modern false leaders are also described as “seducers.” This means their techniques are clever, cunning, hypnotic—seductive! God’s Church is described as a woman (Rev. 12), and these men fulfill the slippery “way of a man with a maid” (Prov. 30:19) with their persuasive power. The arguments and human reasoning they present when changing doctrine or dismissing plain teachings of Mr. Armstrong are usually—at least on the surface—plausible and reasonable. Their “theology” and occasional references to their view of the “history” of any specific doctrine under review, particularly when describing “what Mr. Armstrong thought or believed,” often “seem right” (Prov. 14:12; 16:25) to the casual reader who is unwilling to “prosecute” their thinking.
The meaning of the Greek word translated as “seducers” primarily references imposters, and the New King James Version uses this. But this word also carries the much stronger, explicit and more sinister connotation of a “wizard” able to “cast a spell” on listeners. Obviously, God has chosen a very powerful word here! He expects His servants to take note that He has.
Everyone is familiar with the growing number of popular televangelists and religious personalities of today. The ones with the highest profile within “Christianity” are invariably those who are the smoothest in style, tone, emphasis, body language and word choice. These men come off as sincere and believable. The result is that vast thousands often sit in stadiums mesmerized by these religious “actors.” In fact, some of these men could win an Academy Award if they were actors. Yet, many of them could not begin to compete with, or “carry the water” of, the even better actors at work with audiences in the splinters.
I ask: With all the warnings in God’s Word about false leaders, why do so many among God’s people seem perfectly content to accept without question what they are hearing? Yes, why?
Do not miscalculate regarding what is occurring around you! These men are extremely good at what they do, having had years, even decades, to hone their lethal craft. Many of them are virtually “wizards with words” who seemingly can “cast a spell” on their unthinking members. In fact, the incredible deceit of some of these men almost defies description. I have heard their sermons and read their articles, and found myself thinking that Diotrephes himself could learn from some of them (III John 9-10).
Upping the Ante
Another problem enters here. Certain ones of these leaders so hate parts of God’s truth and Work, and the light that I am shining on their false teachings and leadership, they are now willing to openly predict that God will put me to death, but only after great “sorrow, bitterness and suffering,” as at least three separate leaders have declared. This is because of the principles and facts covered in books such as these that expose them.
Satan’s purpose is to frighten people away from God’s Work!
These declarations represent a shocking development, something not seen before in the splinters and slivers. But they are a trend I foresaw in early 2000 that had to come. With the above kind of awful prediction, confusion and deception has descended to a new and different level. When some can compare my actions in upholding the truth to those of Mr. Armstrong’s apostate successor—and this is occurring—a new threshold has been reached! To declare me to be like this man, asserting “both appointed themselves apostles,” is to miss a towering difference: I seek to return God’s people TO the truth, the other man and his cohorts sought to take them FROM the truth!
Most remarkable is that the great majority of the thousands hearing such men seem to believe them. So many have become completely incapable of discerning even the most basic “good and evil” (Heb. 5:13-14).
Pass the Test!
You must see that some of today’s leaders are able to spin events and present confusing disinformation and outright lies faster than snowflakes hit in a blizzard and bullets leave a machine gun. You must be able to discern these men. This can only be done by measuring their teachings (and sometimes their conduct!) against the doctrines you were taught, not by the eloquence of their venomous attacks on RCG, me or the Work of God. Only those who deeply love all of God’s Way will be able to cut through the wonderfully cunning and murderous deceit from these enemies of God, and survive.
Desperate people say and do desperate things. When leaders feel that their empire, their following, their legacy and their source of financial support is being threatened—that it could begin to implode and crumble without action—they lash out. This can come with a fury that would make the devil blush!
But the wise will carefully weigh their words—and take action themselves (Dan. 12:10; Matt. 24:15). They will discern and reject murderous liars. In the end, you will either give heed to the voice of truth or to the voice of deceit. Do not permit yourself to see your decision as more or less than this. You have been shown the difference and by now should see it clearly.
Brethren, you must pass the test—GOD’S TEST!—of these satanic leaders in the overlooked second step you now face. II Timothy 3:14 told you how to do this!
The Courageous Few
Grasp that it will only be by the departure from spiritual captivity of enough courageous brethren now that will ensure the existence of a surviving Israelite remnant who will be liberated from their prophesied horrible captivity later. These are willing to now cut through the avalanche of seductive deceit burying almost all today so that they can come and put their shoulder to the wheel in God’s Work.
This means many more must yet come spiritually weeping and loathing themselves, and supplicating and seeking God, while He is still accepting some prior to the Tribulation. This will involve deep repentance, as these anoint their eyes with more of God’s Spirit, thus obeying John 14:26.
It has been said that the “road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Indecision must not be permitted to trump good intentions, and pave the road to the Tribulation. Those who will come must neither dawdle nor procrastinate in an age foretold to suddenly snare an unsuspecting world.
Do not dilly-dally!
Re-accepting the Same Commission
Nothing you have read throughout the book has been new truth. Instead it is just more forgotten truth for thousands who should have resisted amnesia by remaining filled with God’s Spirit. But for many others, like their Israelite counterparts born or becoming adults after Mr. Armstrong’s time, they have never heard explained—made plain!—exactly what is at stake for either today’s descendants of Israel or the lukewarm dominant element now among God’s people. Thousands entered the Church and heard a generation of pastors who never preached, or carefully preached, these things. Therefore, I have tried to speak as bluntly as possible. I have tried to use a “jolt” to awaken all who will heed.
We must pause for a related question: Who else is even talking about all that you have seen presented? Who else preaches these subjects, giving many—or any!—whole sermons on them? You have seen enormous, towering prophecies open up, and seen that they are found all through the Old Testament prophets. (There are many more passages than those I have quoted.) You have also seen that the fulfillment of these prophecies is imminent, and that they will affect all nations—the entire world! Why then does no one speak with authority about them—and, most importantly, their direct connection to the final Work of God at the end of the age?
The time is soon coming when all of God’s people, the Church of the New Testament and Israel of the Old, will have to remember where they heard these truths explained—where God’s Church and government—and the true Jesus Christ!—was at work all along. They will have to acknowledge who it was who explained to them what was at stake in the years just ahead.
Will you have to remember then—or will you heed now?
Regaining a Sense of Urgency
People of the modern age take pride in not showing emotion as past generations once did. There has become a conscious effort in society by people to suppress natural human feelings. The emphasis is now more on being “laid back,” “cool,” “hanging out” or “chilling out.” Gone is an emphasis on being deeply passionate about a matter. And almost gone are statements such as “he has fire in the belly” or “he is on fire” or, as was often reported in the past, “he is on fire for the Work!”
Now ask: How did you feel after reading about the prophecies of the previous chapters? Did you experience an overwhelming feeling of excitement? Did the picture described give you goosebumps?—chills? Did it leave you deeply sobered? But are you also inspired by God’s Master Plan? Most important, does this knowledge make you want to participate?—to DO something?
I am trying as hard as humanly possible to rekindle the fire of urgency once felt by God’s people. I am trying to stir you up!—lift you!—to see a grander horizon, one connected to why you were called into the Church, and to why you were born!
Let’s allow Mr. Armstrong to describe this urgency by revisiting an earlier quote from him about the famine of the Word:
“…brethren and co-workers, the prophesied Great Tribulation (nuclear World War III) will start soon after the European unification. That means OUR WORK OF SPREADING THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD WILL BE FINISHED! We have not now much more time. Soon shall come a FAMINE of hearing the Word of the Lord (Amos 8:11).
“God says, work while it is day, for the night is coming when no man can work—in the Work of God!
“Nothing else is important in our lives, now, but this all-important Work of God” (Co-Worker Letter, Nov. 22, 1982).
Hear the message. Feel the passion. Catch God’s vision. Return to your first love. Regain the sense of urgency lost by society and the majority of brethren who have been so badly affected by society’s environmental “sea change” in approach to inspiration, zeal and feelings of excitement. Ask God to help you rekindle what has been lost. Meditate on the knowledge you have received. Use the forgotten tool of fasting, and do so more than once, if necessary. And be willing to restudy this book with all referenced sermons.
You can once again thrill to exciting news of God’s Work!
Open Door, Then Slammed Shut
We know some will seek to hinder God’s Work—this has already happened. But nothing will be able to stop the final message going out until the open door God has given His Work is shut, and the famine of the Word slams into the nations of Israel. This will come because the task—the God-ordained duty—has been completed. God’s Work will be finished! The time will have come when no one else will listen and further warning becomes a waste of time. When this happens, God can no longer be found, having “withdrawn Himself from” Israel and “returned to His place.”
Next? Absolutely devastating national punishment must begin for hundreds of millions!
Similar to Israel, God calls Laodiceans the “remnant of her [the true Woman Church’s] seed” (Rev. 12:17). This term describes the brethren remaining after the juncture at which Philadelphia has escaped to safety (vs. 16).
You do not want to be in this remnant, because it has no survivors! And it will have been indecision and procrastination that sweeps most of God’s people into the “fire” of Revelation 3:18!
When this point comes, most brethren will have permitted—in fact, caused!—themselves to be out of time, sealing their fate. So tragic—and so unnecessary!
Next? The very worst kind of trial and chastisement must begin for tens of thousands!
One More Great Prophecy!
All of this should have real meaning to you, and at this point you should at least be intrigued, if not already fascinated, excited and inspired by rediscovered knowledge. However, there is one more forgotten, but supremely important, prophecy that only now comes into view. It powerfully amplifies all that you have seen.
We are finally ready to ask: What is the connection between the “short work” and the “little book” of Revelation 10? This question leads to the next chapter—and another subject that no one understands or talks about as did Mr. Armstrong…