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Where Is God’s Church Today?
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Jesus said, “I will build My Church…” There is a single organization that teaches the entire truth of the Bible, and is called to live by “every word of God.” Do you know how to find it? Christ said it would:

  • Teach “all things” He commanded
  • Have called out members set apart by truth
  • Be a “little flock”

Do you know David C. Pack?

Surviving “Perilous Times”

by David C. Pack

Civilization has entered the “last days”—II Timothy 3:1. The context through chapter 4, verse 4, reveals that “perilous times” have come upon both the world and the Church. There are now many kinds of deception and “sleight of men” (Eph. 4:14) being foisted on unsuspecting and gullible brethren. This volume addresses some of the worst of those deceptions, and assists in helping you survive them all!

Introduction

As a result of the apostasy in the Worldwide Church of God (WCG), approximately 75 percent of the membership fell away from the entire truth of God. The remaining 25 percent, who fled and survived, scattered into many disagreeing organizations, forming at different intervals during the falling away. The fact that so many of the members completely departed from the hundreds of true doctrines, taught to the Church during Herbert W. Armstrong’s 52-year ministry, is a great testimony to the tremendous power of deception. That the 25 percent could not agree sufficiently to be able to assemble together—in one organization—reinforces the fact that additional deception, confusion and division afflicts these “survivors.”

This is not a book with six chapters, covering a single subject, but rather it is a reference book containing six related articles. Each in some way pertains either to wrong teachings now circulating in the splinters or to dangerous spiritual trends and conditions, and to false leaders whose methods of deceit are afflicting God’s people with outrageous false thinking. By now, if you read the rest of the Splinter Explanation Packet, you should be able to recognize that the kinds of dangerous pitfalls swallowing God’s people are many.

As a result, as circumstances dictate, later editions of this volume may be amended to include additional articles, explaining future problems and false teachings that have not yet surfaced among the splinters. This has already happened several times. Therefore, the title Surviving “Perilous Times” overarches six topics, presented in the form of separate articles.

No one article reflects the overall purpose or goal of the book. Each is intended to address a different, crucial issue that has remained unanswered, unaddressed or unexplained—or explained incorrectly—within the splinters resulting from the break-up of the WCG.

The first is an article initially published in late 2000, now listing nearly 200 false doctrines within the splinters, demonstrating how the pervasive “spirit of error” is now quietly fighting for dominance in these organizations, just as the New Testament warned it could (I John 4:6). As a result, false teaching is spreading—again, exactly as the New Testament warned—like cancer and leaven! What is occurring today in the splinters parallels and has actually far surpassed the liberal period of the mid-1970s in the WCG, when the Church was so obviously recognized then to be terribly off track!

The second article explains the real story behind why false leaders in the Worldwide Church of God allowed women, in November 1988, to begin wearing makeup once again. The great majority of women in the splinters have followed their lead and now use cosmetics. What happened here? How?—why?—did so many women buy into such an obviously wrong practice—one that Mr. Armstrong thundered would only be reversed “over my [his] dead body”? This story has been largely untold, with simplistic answers and clichés having been offered to distort the truth about this return to false understanding.

The third article addresses the current popular belief that the wedding supper with Christ will take place in heaven. While this idea is silly, it has become widespread enough that it had to be examined in a systematic and thorough way.

The fourth article, very extensive, was originally produced in August 2012. It addressed the new teaching by the Living Church of God (LCG) that the “falling away” of II Thessalonians 2:3 is a coming worldwide rebellion led by the man of sin. Roderick Meredith and LCG now teach that this apostasy was not fulfilled in the WCG in the late 1980s and early 90s. This event is no longer seen to apply to God’s Church beginning a generation ago, but rather is a future “rebellion/revolt” against God. You will see what the Protestants teach about II Thessalonians 2:3, along with exactly what Mr. Armstrong taught and what the Bible teaches. This is a much more important article than meets the eye.

The fifth article—“Dining Out on the Sabbath—What Does the Bible Teach?”—represents another major false teaching that has become widespread in the splinters. Many have now come to believe that it is a sin to eat out at a restaurant on the Sabbath—that this is God’s great “test” today. The severity of this problem is similar to the wrong ideas surrounding the wedding supper issue. If you have not already heard of this thinking, sooner or later you will.

The sixth article, “How Does God Reveal Truth to His Church?”, explains the overall process by which God used Mr. Armstrong to bring truth to His Church in the twentieth century. As with so many other truths, many brethren are now blurring, or even reversing, their understanding of two crucial doctrinal advancements that Mr. Armstrong made in 1974: (1) circumstances that correctly permit divorce and remarriage as it applies to the Church, and (2) changing Pentecost observance from Monday to Sunday.

Now, incredibly, many hundreds who once understood the plain truth of these necessary changes have now convinced themselves that it was Mr. Armstrong who departed from “divinely revealed truth”—generally seeking to use against him his own statements made prior to the change. This thinking attempts to insert Mr. Armstrong as the true author of the apostasy, which is then deemed to have begun in 1974, having merely accelerated in the 1990s until it engulfed the whole Church.

Strangely, these people often find a way to assert that they are “supporting” Mr. Armstrong and “standing up for the truth”—while they are doing neither. (Our booklet Understanding Divorce and Remarriage and article “How to Count Pentecost” more specifically address these subjects. Any who are troubled by foolish contrary ideas, now circulating throughout the splinters, should take time to study them carefully.)

The book concludes with an “Epilogue,” which presents a special insight into the prevailing thinking of the Laodicean age. Prepared by a team of ministers, including me, it takes a careful below-the-surface look at ways that the thinking of brethren and ministers has been altered in the change of eras.

Two of the articles—Two and Six—had other primary writers than myself, although I was very involved. There were also perhaps six or seven additional men in each case assisting in research.

Article One – Endless False Doctrines How Most Are Still Being Fooled! False teachings—old and new—continue to fool most brethren in ALL the splinters. How many are you aware of? How many is your group teaching? Have you accepted or practiced them, either consciously or unconsciously? If so, which and how many are they? What will you do about them? Will you WAKE UP?

This section includes a comprehensive list of the false teachings existing, to one degree or another, within the splinters. Some are actively taught—others passively tolerated. Some are taught in one or a few groups—others in many or most groups.

Keep in mind that this is a “mixed” list of doctrines, comprised of ideas that have been spawned within the splinters and of others that first appeared in the WCG, but were carried as baggage, knowingly or not, into the splinters! There Came a Falling Away lists 280 doctrinal changes that all sprang from the apostates. But every one of the teachings on this list now exist in the splinters.

Understand! This is not a complete list of all current false teachings. I have had to combine and/or omit some, because we cannot keep up with the explosion of new doctrines and ideas now appearing everywhere. Assembling a complete list would be impossible—particularly for one person. Even if possible, it would only represent a snapshot in time, quickly outdated by newer heresies appearing almost daily within ALL the groups.

Paul likens heresy to leaven and cancer. Leaven always spreads until it fills its host, and cancer always spreads until it kills its host. This said, most are probably aware that it is no longer possible to track the rapidly increasing number of organizations and groups, let alone the false ideas they are crafting. Therefore, the list here is not exhaustive. Of course, some false doctrines are so absurd, it is unnecessary to include them. For example, one minister teaches that Job was not self-righteous. I have not included such things for obvious reasons. Another group ordains women. This alone disqualifies it as even marginally Christian. Including these kinds of changes would dignify them—and the groups that teach them—wasting time, and unnecessarily extending the book.

A Critical Quote

The following is an excerpt from There Came a Falling Away. As that book developed through its many editions, I was forced to address the question of which changes to document and which to exclude. I settled on a number of 280. This statement has application, once again, for this new list.

I have avoided assigning an order of importance to this list. Here is why:

“By the time I wrote the appendix to the Seventh Edition of this book (June 1995), the list of doctrinal changes included had reached 280. There were over 25 other false doctrines that I decided to omit because everything in life has a limit. Although other changes have been made in the years since, I had to ask: What would be gained by making more editions—at great time and expense—to a book already proving overwhelmingly that an apostasy had occurred? At what point is enough, enough? Sufficient evidence had been presented to readers to convince even the most ardent ‘doubting Thomas’—if one had even a slightly open mind.

“However, various critics arose who generally agreed with the book. Many people had different ideas of what it should contain, how long or short it should be, which might be the best quotes to prove this or that point, etc. Eventually, decisions had to be made about what to include, and someone had to make them.

“The ‘buck stops here,’ with me.

“Some have suggested that certain changes included are picky or trivial. I disagree. But, if this were true, the problem would have been identifying of which it was true. Removing them or categorizing them as ‘less significant changes’ is fraught with problems. In effect, I would be assigning God’s truth a value, and would receive two-sided criticism. On the one hand, some might say, ‘I think such-and-such change should have been included among the more trivial changes.’ On the other hand, others might say, ‘How could you put change such-and-so among the smaller, more trivial ones? It’s big.’ Experience has shown that no two people agree on what is ‘picky’ or what is ‘big.’ You are left to decide which are smaller and which are bigger.

“The WCG defended ‘small’ changes in the following way: ‘When we find that we’ve been wrong, regardless of how small the point may be…we have an obligation before God to change it’ (Personal from Joseph W. Tkach, WN, June 24, 1991).

“Therefore, if an idea was considered important enough to teach in the first place, and considered important enough to change later, I felt it was important enough to acknowledge here. Also, the WCG said that it felt dutybound to change any doctrine it felt was wrong ‘no matter how significant or insignificant it might seem to be’ (J.W. Tkach, WN, Nov. 17, 1992). Should I be less thorough in detailing and preserving God’s truth than they were in removing it?

“I have also noticed that those who feel certain changes are minor or insignificant, invariably agree with some of the changes and/or want to make their own changes!”

How to Approach the List

It is helpful, and necessary, to include some other points before continuing:

First, this list should not be used as a “billy club” on specific groups or individuals. Many scriptures explain why this is unchristian. Of course, you can refer people to the list for discussion—but this is much different from using it as a weapon. Christians are for the truth, not against people. I do, however, expect to be personally attacked by some for trying to help God’s people with this list.

Second, if you excuse or explain away changes here, you miss the whole point and do yourself a grave disservice! While focusing on the number or severity of errors taught by other organizations may make you feel better, it will not help you personally. You must carefully sift through the material, examining yourself and the organization that you are in. The reason there are so many false doctrines in the splinters is that leaders and their followers routinely explain them away. If you do this, only you will be hurt. Strive to read each point, asking, “What is my group teaching?” Also strive not to congratulate yourself, saying, “My group is not teaching that!”

Third, if you become, or are already, convicted that Mr. Armstrong taught the full truth, you will quickly recognize you are in a group that has compromised and/or watered it down, probably severely. You may want to ask your leaders why they are teaching so many different doctrines. After they excuse or explain them away, be persistent. There Came a Falling Away lists 43 basic ways the apostates did this. It may shock you to see how many of these methods your ministers and your leaders employ. Expect clouding of the issue, intimidation, attacks on your character—or mine—and accusations of rebellion. Expect psychological tricks and terms in unsatisfactory “explanations.” For example, the apostates told those who were resistant to their changes that they were “unwilling to grow,” and thousands fell for it. You will almost certainly hear this again.

Fourth, some will ask why I have not taken time to “counter” all of the following heresies with extensive explanations. This would be both impossible and endless! It would tie up my ministry and our staff for the rest of our lives! Experience has also shown that most people who have truly bought into numerous heresies will not give them up—even when proven wrong. With the devil then having tied up my time, I would have been unable to rewrite God’s truths, and God could not call more people in this age into His full truth and way of life. (And we do not apologize for stating that we alone teach and publish it!)

Let me illustrate how long it could take to counter even a single false doctrine. One very popular “teacher of prophecy” declares, “There is no coming captivity for the modern nations of Israel.” By his own admission, this is “massively different than Mr. Armstrong.” He believes “Israel has been in captivity for 2,700 years.” Reasonable people—those who know even a little of prophecy—understand how ridiculous and dangerous this idea is. But this giant heresy is taught in a complex, convoluted manner—to the end that it deceives many more people foolish enough to entertain it in the first place. It would take many hours to prepare a sermon or article thoroughly debunking it. Even then, I would probably have wasted time, because few recover once they are captured by the “excitement” of this kind of extreme “new growth and understanding.” I can only tell people to reread The United States and Britain in Prophecy for proof Mr. Armstrong gave of the fallacy of this thinking. You may also wish to read our book America and Britain in Prophecy.

Fifth, I long ago realized that the living Christ was fully capable of guiding His apostle to establish truth in His Church. This statement alone brings out the latent resentment, hatred and venom existing in the splinters toward Mr. Armstrong. After proving God’s doctrines, he often told us to prove them from our Bibles. However, so many today seem to believe that they should “grow beyond Mr. Armstrong’s limited understanding,” and this feeling spawns and drives many false teachings within the splinters.

Those who go back to the mid-70s remember many doctrines being watered down. A quick examination of the most “doctrinally sound” groups reveals that they are much more compromised, liberal and watered down today than was the Church during the infamous “liberal years” of the mid-‘70s! At that time, Mr. Armstrong roared for over three and a half years as God used him to put the Church “back on track” (mid-1978 through 1981). Recall that this process required him to disfellowship many ministers.

With many ministers and splinters having departed further from the truth now, no honest person can doubt that Mr. Armstrong would disfellowship them today, wholesale, as he did before. Merely permitting or endorsing the use of makeup (by deceitfully claiming that Mr. Armstrong approved it in “moderation”), would bring disfellowshipment by him. This is another reason so many in the splinters resent—and even quietly despise—Mr. Armstrong!

Sixth, individual groups are not directly named in this list. The teachings are only generally grouped, according to the splinters accepting or spreading them. I do not apologize for the fact that people will be able to discern which groups are silhouetted—profiled—within this list. While I did not take the extra time to name them, I certainly have not spent time shuffling the list to protect organizations from identification. The perceptive reader will recognize his organization!

Seventh, in one area of the list, many verses are cited as “proof” of much “new prophetic understanding” by one group leader. While this section is long, it could have been much longer. Again, everything has a limit. Take time to look up at least some of these verses to better appreciate how terribly mangled is the thinking of anyone claiming such “new understanding.” The leader of the Philadelphia Church of God is guiding the changes reflected in this portion of the list.

Eighth, there are perhaps three overarching questions that apply to most of the beliefs on this list. One or more of these next questions serves as an automatic lead-in to each item. They are summarized in the following way: (1) Is your organization teaching or tolerating…? (2) Have the leaders in your organization taught or accepted…? (3) Have you accepted or tolerated…?

Recognize that a few teachings are identified as “policy” changes. But consider that nearly all policy has its roots in both doctrine (I Tim. 4:16) and tradition (II Thes. 2:15; 3:6), which are both to be held fast (Rev. 3:11). Some few points will require commentary and author’s notes, and references are found in bracketed italics.

Pay particular attention to the first four errors. They are all-encompassing in effect, and the introduction of the first two has had a devastating impact on true doctrine as a whole. Their acceptance opened the door to the rest of the list! As you read, recognize that only one Church neither accepts nor tolerates any of these ideas!:

  1. The government of God has been discarded. God’s government has disappeared from the Church. The apostates “scattered (shattered)” it.
  2. Christ no longer works in one unified, organized Church. His Church—the same as the Body of Christ—now consists of many “fellowships” or “communities of believers.” [Utterly contrary to I Corinthians 1:10, 13 and 12:1-31, Ephesians 4:2-16, John 15 and Matthew 12:25-30, this theory asserts, in effect, that Christ and His Body are NOW divided.]
  3. All correct doctrine (truth) does not come through apostles—i.e., God can use non-apostles to reveal new doctrine (truth) to His Church!
  4. Mr. Armstrong was not the Elijah who “restored all things” to the Church. Former teaching has given way to two popular notions: (a) The two witnesses will be Elijah and a second Moses, or (b) the commission of the Elijah may have been fulfilled by Christ. [Author’s Note: While the Church’s former understanding is included here as a matter of historical record, this has been supplanted by the crystal-clear, irrefutable truth that Mr. Armstrong actually fulfilled a GREATER prophetic role—that of the end-time Moses, to be followed later by another who would be the final Elijah (Mal. 4:4-6). My sermon series “First a MOSES, Now ELIJAH—130 Proofs!” brings a massive—and conclusive—body of evidence on this subject.]
  5. Mr. Armstrong finished the commission of preaching the gospel to the world and the special “Ezekiel Warning” to the modern nations of Israel. The fulfillment of Matthew 24:14 and 28:19-20 basically ended January 16, 1986, at Mr. Armstrong’s death.
  6. The Work is now personal—getting ready for Christ’s Return and the Wedding Supper. Since supporting a work no longer applies, the Christian should give tithes and offerings to “worthy causes” and assist with “disasters and relief efforts,” generally trying to help mankind.
  7. Church traditions may be changed at will (see II Thes. 2:15; 3:6).
  8. The gospel is now best defined as “the gospel of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and forgiveness and the kingdom of God.” Some believe there is also a separate “gospel of peace.”
  9. Church government is not hierarchical, with God working through one chosen leader.
  10. Top ministers may be selected by voting (after announcing their “candidacy”).
  11. As a result of this practice, headquarters is now more correctly called “home office” in one splinter, in effect, because no one wants to think of it as headquarters and the field ministry directs and selects leaders.
  12. People no longer need a ministry to direct, lead and oversee them.
  13. Ministerial ranks have been eliminated in one major group and altered in others.
  14. Also, many local Church elders, leading independent groups, believe they are full ministers even though hundreds of ordination certificates, signed by Mr. Armstrong, state full ministers begin at Preaching Elder.
  15. There are not seven, separate, chronological New Testament Church eras.
  16. Therefore, there is no single, literal Place of Safety.
  17. Philadelphians will only gather into one group at the time of flight.
  18. The Passover service deletes reference to healing from physical sins by Christ’s stripes.
  19. There is no such thing as physical sin. All sin is spiritual.
  20. The Old Testament Passover was on the 15th of Nisan not the 14th. Some are told they can quietly keep the 15th, as long as they keep quiet about it.
  21. This means abandonment of the Night to be Much Observed, the 15th.
  22. Mr. Armstrong’s first (or pre-1974) divorce and remarriage position was correct. Some assert that, by changing it, he began the apostasy.
  23. Third tithe has been replaced by government public assistance programs. Also, several well-known pastors explain that third tithe is intended for use in local communities, not just in the Church. They instruct people to look around their neighborhood for existing needs, and distribute third tithe accordingly.
  24. There is no future captivity for the nations of modern Israel, because they have been in captivity for 2,700 years. [This man asserts, “Mr. Armstrong suffered from tunnel vision” and “viewed prophecy through the eyes of what Nazi Germany did to the Jews—one tribe—and generally applied it to the last resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire.” In other words, Mr. Armstrong unnecessarily warned hundreds of millions of an imaginary event! This idea devastates whole vast areas of prophetic understanding. Also, Laodicea need not worry about a captivity that will not come. Few things could please the devil more than seducing people from this proper understanding. MYSTERY OF THE AGES, U.S. & B.C. and other booklets are gutted in meaning by this and many other related teachings. This heresy continues by stating that Israel will ally with the Beast and the original captivity is still in effect (i.e., Israel is still in captivity). This idea, if true, virtually turns Mr. Armstrong into a false prophet—or God’s ability to lead him was so bad, He could not dissuade him from such a colossal error.]
  25. This minister also asserts that the “blessings and cursings” of Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26 no longer apply. [This idea claims that they were voided by God’s divorce of ancient Israel in preparation to marry New Testament Israel. Numerous other wrong ideas flow from this. This man speaks of Isaiah 10 as though Assyria is actually just “spiritual Babylon.” Huge problems are attendant with this. The “seven times” (or 2,520 years) that passed over Israel, and ended in 1800-1803, now have completely different meaning in light of the above teaching…and on and on. It is no wonder this man states that his teachings are “massively different than Mr. Armstrong’s.”]
  26. Sunset is defined by three schools of thought. One retired pastor teaches that the Sabbath begins when “three stars of the second magnitude appear on Friday evening.”
  27. Many now challenge Mr. Armstrong’s understanding of the Hebrew calendar. Some keep the Holy Days without postponements—thus on the wrong days. They assume the Sacred Calendar was re-established (not merely re-calculated) by Hillel after Christ’s death. Then, the logic is that those who “established” it were no longer keepers of the “oracles” (Rom. 3:1)—since they rejected Christ—meaning that they could not have had authority over the calendar. An example is that some people now keep Pentecost on Sivan 6.
  28. The spring and fall feasts often have no “meat [preached] in due season.”
  29. One leader claims to be the “Lawgiver” of Genesis 49:10.
  30. God’s names must be spoken in Hebrew (the “sacred names” idea).
  31. It is correct to say we are now “born from above” (or “born again”).
  32. Mr. Armstrong’s “interpretation” of the nature of God is open to question. (One leader has asserted that God may be a trinity with a small “t.”)
  33. Slight deviation from the Church’s teaching is not heresy. [One old-time evangelist, now claiming the title of one of the Church’s “watchmen,” states, “Clearly, slight deviation from the Church’s traditional understanding should not be considered heresy—especially on matters that cannot be proven with 100 percent certainty.” His letter refers to “minor changes” and “minor areas.” Assuming God allows such changes—and He does not—who is authorized to decide what is major and minor? Certainly, God never does this. This idea may be the worst heresy in the splinters. It is a colossal change, in size and impact on Church unity. It is what keeps “Pandora’s Box” open, repeatedly splitting groups, with devastating results.]
  34. The Key of David is government, not Israel’s identity in prophecy.
  35. The Church is not our mother.
  36. Varying degrees of birthday-keeping is up to each individual.
  37. Interracial marriage may be unwise, but it is neither wrong nor sin.
  38. Baptized people may date and marry the unbaptized.
  39. Wearing makeup is permissible because it is merely an “administrative matter,” and “Mr. Armstrong went back and forth on it.”
  40. Sabbath dress has become lax. [See II Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6.]
  41. It may be said that there are five resurrections, with three “major” ones.
  42. People may occasionally skip Sabbath attendance (or the “assembling of themselves together”) for any number of reasons.
  43. Unleavened Bread need not be eaten on each of the seven days of UB.
  44. Most brethren now tithe on net instead of gross income.
  45. “Brethren” can sue other brethren. [Ignores I Corinthians 6:1-8.]
  46. The Marriage Supper occurs in heaven.
  47. The Wedding Supper starts on Pentecost (and lasts until Trumpets).
  48. God’s Church has many “branches.” [John 15:1-5 shows it is each member who is a branch.]
  49. Women may teach scripture.
  50. Men may wear earrings. [See II Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6.]
  51. Long hair on men and short hair on women, including ministers’ wives, are not addressed, deemed unimportant.
  52. An open-door policy governs Church attendance.
  53. The unbaptized may attend Passover and participate in the footwashing.
  54. Peter was not sole leader of the New Testament Church.
  55. God may not be sanctifying children of split marriages as we thought. [See I Corinthians 7:14.]
  56. Wives of ministers may obtain full-time jobs. [This means they cannot remain 50 percent of their husband’s ministry, as Mr. Armstrong always taught.]
  57. Christ is the “end of the law” (Rom. 10:4) does not mean “aim or goal.”
  58. New moons may or should be kept in the New Testament era.
  59. Doctrinal dissenters may be kept in the Church and rogue ministers tolerated. [Only those unwilling to compromise are disfellowshipped, with those carrying it out proclaiming that it is for “other reasons.”]
  60. Preferably, seek doctors’ advice before anointing (tacitly or openly done).
  61. Conversely, it is anti-faith to ever seek the counsel of doctors.
  62. Voting in local, state or national elections is a personal decision.
  63. Some tithes may be given to the local congregation instead of to Headquarters—for building programs or other local matters.
  64. Jury duty is not wrong, because Christians make the best judges.
  65. Members may carry guns (one minister kept a loaded revolver under his car seat and another in his trunk, and even carried a Deputy Sheriff’s badge) and the Church should not tell “member” policemen not to carry guns.
  66. Insurance is wrong.
  67. Abortion is not always murder.
  68. One must no longer leave worldly clubs and organizations before baptism.
  69. MYSTERY OF THE AGES is about half, or maybe three-quarters, correct.
  70. Christ was not and could not be tempted by sin. [Same as apostates taught.]
  71. Earth is 6,000 years old, and dinosaurs co-existed with Adam.
  72. Regulating hunting is unbiblical.
  73. The Beast may be a computer and not a person.
  74. Sermonettes are often Protestant.
  75. College accreditation was good. [Mr. Armstrong taught otherwise.]
  76. Mrs. Armstrong was a prophetess and much of what Philadelphia learned came through her dreams and visions.
  77. More prophets and prophetesses will have dreams and visions, and may soon appear in various groups (some ministers already claim to have this ability).
  78. Sorcerers will soon begin to persecute Philadelphians.
  79. Mr. Armstrong may not have been an apostle.
  80. The Passover is a celebration. [Just as taught in the apostate WCG.]
  81. “Apostasia” (II Thes. 2:3) does not mean a “defection from truth.”
  82. The Church did not begin in A.D. 31.
  83. There were not 3,000 baptized on Pentecost in A.D. 31.
  84. Christ’s Spirit is different from the Holy Spirit.
  85. To leave the Laodicean condition, we must return to the Ephesian Era, not Philadelphia.
  86. There are true Christians in false churches—even those not keeping the Sabbath.
  87. Love is more crucial than doctrine. Just reaching out, being kind and having genuine love will unite God’s people. [Many groups as much as espouse this, with some saying it outright.]
  88. Periodic attendance with other organizations helps promote unity.
  89. Protestant “do-gooding” should be practiced in local communities.
  90. One leader considers his book to be the “little book” of Revelation 10, and that it fulfills Revelation 3:20—Christ knocking on Laodiceans’ doors. [Many prophetic ideas that follow (through #170) depict a doctrinal tragedy—a prophetic “holocaust”—of epic proportions, playing out in one group. I list many changes taught there, partly because all need to be warned of how far from God’s Way thousands can wander—in the name of “new revelation,” “new truth” or “growth in understanding”—once they cease holding fast to exactly what God taught through Mr. Armstrong. I hope I have properly represented these complicated, nearly impossible-to-understand teachings.]
  91. Revealed prophecy: “The [group name] has kept all the revealed knowledge God gave to Mr. Armstrong. All of the Laodicean groups have rejected at least part of the revelation. Therefore God has given them no new revelation since Mr. Armstrong died! But the [group name] has been flooded with new revelation. We are the only group that is eating from the tree of life…” (quote from leader)
  92. The Seven Thunders (Rev. 10:3) are the seven chapters of (leader’s) book.
  93. Malachi is (leader’s) message to the Laodiceans and Philadelphians.
  94. “The little book and our message is to measure the Church to prove that they are Laodiceans…” (ibid.)
  95. “Through [leader’s book] God has opened up shocking new truths concerning His end-time Church from the books of Daniel, Amos, Micah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi and Revelation…Many of the prophecies…previously believed to apply to worldly religions, actually describe events…within the Laodicean era…” (ibid.)
  96. Backing and supporting this message…(of leader, through his book) is one’s ticket to the Place of Safety (p. 146 of his book).
  97. Revelation 11:1-2: Everyone that has God’s Spirit and is not a member of this group—is “outside” God’s temple—is in the “outer court” of the temple.
  98. “Where is God’s temple today? It is the [group name]! Where is God’s temple treasure today? It is within the [group name]!” (ibid.)
  99. Incredibly, all those who have God’s Spirit within the many groups, including immediate family members, are disfellowshipped and cannot be contacted by those in the “inner court.” [This is actually derived from a horribly butchered rendering of what Mr. Armstrong instructed the Church in the 1970s.]
  100. The reward, “To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me on My throne” (Rev. 3:21) is not for Laodiceans, but rather Philadelphians. Laodiceans enter the kingdom, but are not in God’s Temple or at Headquarters with Philadelphians.
  101. “The [group name] is our ‘nail in his holy place’ in this end time…We are reviving God’s only Work. No other group on this planet is doing God’s Work…” and “The [group name] typifies Ezra’s work in this end time. Ezra 3:3the altar, or the work of the [group name] ministry, is established on the right foundation…” (ibid.)
  102. And yet, this leader declares that the primary purpose of the Church—its “work”—is now to “expose Satan and his evil.” [In a similar butchering of the Church’s most fundamental commission, this has replaced preaching or announcing the kingdom of God to the world and warning the nations of modern Israel.]
  103. The great multitude of Revelation 7:9, 13-14 consists of previously unconverted people who repented as a result of the Tribulation and came out of it, having survived it without suffering.
  104. The phrase “the sacrifice…taken away” (Dan. 8:11; 12:11) is interpreted: sacrifice means the church, and taken away means taken to the Place of Safety.
  105. “Pestilence” (Matthew 24 and other places) means racial unrest and riots. Leader also falsely predicted that the O.J. Simpson trial would produce a guilty verdict and bring race riots.
  106. Jews have been notorious troublemakers throughout history everywhere they went, bringing misfortunes like the Holocaust on themselves.
  107. “Prophesy again” in Revelation 10:11 means “after the Church rebelled, God commanded His very elect to ‘prophesy again’ (Rev. 10:11)” to the Church (ibid.).
  108. The “very elect” of Matthew 24:24 cannot be deceived.
  109. 19-year time cycles were merely Mr. Armstrong’s passing interest. Dismiss them.
  110. Virtually all O.T. prophets’ messages are to Philadelphia about Laodicea.
  111. Daniel 12:1—“The people taken to a place of safety are found written in the book of remembrance (Mal. 3:16)…” (ibid.)
  112. Malachi 1:2-3 shows Esau (Edom) and Jacob (Israel) are coded words: Esau is WCG Laodiceans who lose salvation. Jacob is all other Laodiceans.
  113. Malachi 2:4-6 is a prophecy of Mr. Armstrong.
  114. Malachi 2:14-16 is a prophecy about Laodicean ministers’ treachery to “the wife of your youth.” The “wife” is the Church God built through Mr. Armstrong.
  115. Malachi 3:8-9 refers to Laodiceans robbing “the whole world” by not supporting (group name) in delivering God’s message. The phrase “smite the earth with a curse” (4:6) only refers to a curse on the Laodiceans, not the earth.
  116. The “end-time Joshua” of Zechariah 3:1-9 and the “man of sin” of II Thessalonians 2:3 both refer to the WCG leader—first the father, then, when he died, his son. [Imagine one who is supposedly a true prophet of God having become so confused about the identity of the MAN OF SIN—the final false prophet—at the end of the age.]
  117. Daniel 8 refers to same WCG leader who “will be an end-time Antiochus. His goal will be to crush the faith of spiritual Israel—God’s Church” (ibid.).
  118. There are two abominations of desolation. The first is Antiochus Epiphanes. The second is WCG leadership. “There is also an end-time abomination of desolation, as prophesied here in Daniel 8 and Matthew 24 and Luke 21…You know that there is an abomination of desolation going on even now! Daniel 8 is discussing transgression, truth being cast to the ground—a satanic host practicing and prospering at destroying the daily—all from within the sanctuary, God’s own Church, inside the Church, a man is acting like God, magnifying himself even to the prince of the host, casting truth to the ground” (ibid.).
  119. The 2,300 days (evenings and mornings) or 1,150 days (Dan. 8:12-14) is the daily sacrifice taken away on January 16, 1986 for 1,150 days until (leader’s book) was written, on March 11, 1989. Then God began to “cleanse the sanctuary.” Several quotes follow: “Using January 16, 1986, as our beginning point makes Saturday, March 11, 1989, the end of the 1,150 days. As most of our readers know, I was fired from the Worldwide Church of God on December 7, 1989, for upholding what Mr. Armstrong taught. That was nearly nine months after the 1,150 days ended…And I had been working on the manuscript for nearly nine months! Though I do not remember the exact date God began revealing [book name] to me, it is safe to say that it was on or around March 11, 1989, God began to cleanse the sanctuary. True, it began with just me…Verse 12 says an army was given to Satan ‘against the daily.’ By him the ‘daily’ was taken away…Today the temple is the Church—so, again, the ‘daily’ in prophecy refers to the sacrifice, or Work, of the Church.” The daily sacrifice taken away, of Daniel 12:11, will be when the work of the (group name) will end. “The continual is not a physical sacrifice—it is a mind-stirring vision! This DAILY refers to a spiritual Work of God DURING ALL OF MAN’S HISTORY…” (quotes from leader). [This is a phenomenal mangling of an end-time prophecy—Daniel 12:11-12—that all true Christians should watch for.]
  120. Ezekiel 9:1-11 is about the spiritual slaughter of God’s Church by an angel: “…The worst slaughter physically is in the Tribulation. But the spiritual slaughter begins in God’s sanctuary—His Church” (ibid.).
  121. The 144,000 are the Laodiceans that will die in the Great Tribulation.
  122. (Leader’s name) says Isaiah 3:16 refers to the Laodicean Churches. [Mr. Armstrong understood it refers to the women of modern Israel.]
  123. Related to this, this leader believes and teaches that the WCG—now a completely spiritually-dead Protestant/Evangelical church with virtually no truth—is still Laodicean, and in the category of the splinters.
  124. Isaiah 22:15-19 is a prophecy of the end-time WCG leader who succeeded “Eliakim”—a code name for Mr. Armstrong.
  125. Isaiah 28:9-14 and 40:9 are prophecies about Laodiceans and national Israel to whom (group leader) “…must deliver the good news to God’s own Laodicean Church and to all Israel.” He continues, “These verses are directed primarily to God’s own people.”
  126. Isaiah 58:1—“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet…” refers to (group name) warning the Laodiceans.
  127. Isaiah 66:3—“Today, that means God’s Laodicean Church is eating unclean spiritual food and going their own way…” (ibid.)
  128. “The Holy Roman Empire…is the abomination of desolation” (ibid.).
  129. Matthew 24:15-18—The flight referred to here is “spiritual” since God’s people will have already been taken to the Place of Safety.
  130. Matthew 24:40 refers to “two…leaders in God’s Church.” Verse 41 refers to “two separate Churches, but both of [whom] are God’s Churches” (ibid.).
  131. Isaiah 1:7 refers to “your cities are burned with fire—caused by the blacks’ rioting like the L.A. riots in May 1992…There is deep racial division and hatred in America” and the Ezekiel 5:12 reference to “A third part of you shall die with pestilence…can be defined as a plague of violence or burning or of violence and rioting” (ibid.).
  132. Jeremiah 1:7-8, 11-15 refers to (group’s) message and task in end time.
  133. Jeremiah 3:6-12: “…this means spiritual Israel, the Church.”
  134. Jeremiah 11:9-21, 13:1-10 is God’s end-time Church turning from God.
  135. Jeremiah 15:6, 9 is explained as “…this is referring to a woman—God’s Church—and the seven eras…” (ibid.)
  136. Jeremiah 2:21-28, 17:1-18, 18:11-18 and 24:1-10 are prophecies on God’s end-time Church.
  137. Jeremiah 44:10-19 is God’s end-time Church rejecting His government.
  138. Lamentations 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 refers to “…the Laodicean Church era punished by God in the Great Tribulation…” (ibid.)
  139. In Ezekiel 11:4, “Therefore prophesy against them, prophesy, O son of man…” refers to the fact that “God commands the [group] to ‘prophesy against’ this Laodicean heresy!…” and 13:11 refers to “a stormy wind…This has to be the work of God’s [group] Church today!” (ibid.)
  140. Ezekiel 16:8-18 is a prophecy of ancient Israel, but is more a prophecy of the Laodicean Church. “This is referring mainly to an end-time wife who rebels and must go into captivity” (ibid.).
  141. Ezekiel 33:33 is “A final warning message immediately before the holocaust! That message is delivered by the [group] after HWA’s death” (ibid. 1992).
  142. Ezekiel 44:15-16 is explained as “This is a prophecy of what the [group name] is doing today in the midst of great disloyalty to God” (ibid.).
  143. II Kings 21:1-3, 9, 16 is explained as “God likens his example to what happened in His end-time Church…This is a shocking prophecy!” (ibid.)
  144. Ezra 9:8 is a prophecy of a Philadelphian remnant.
  145. Jude 14 means ten thousand Philadelphians will be in the Place of Safety. [This illustrates the same utter butchery of prophetic understanding we have seen in his previous statements. Jude 14 is a plain statement from Enoch that all of the saints who return with Christ total “ten thousands”(plural). Read it.]
  146. Hosea 1:1-3 is explained as “Hosea is discussing God’s own Church...in this end-time!” and 1:4-9 is a prophecy of the end-time Church. “…They were God’s people in the Philadelphia era…” (ibid.)
  147. Hosea 3:1-5 means “God’s end-time Church committed adultery and whoredoms” (ibid.).
  148. Hosea 5:9 means “not only a prophecy of Britain’s downfall, it is a prophecy that God’s Work would continue…Today these servants are in the [group]” (ibid.).
  149. Joel 1:8 means “God is addressing His Church spiritually…” and 1:9-16 is a prophecy about the Laodicean Church.
  150. Joel 2:23-26 means “…God is still addressing His Church…a remnant of which will not be cut off…[group] receives God’s spiritual rain…” (ibid.) and verse 28 “refers only to all of the Laodiceans in the Tribulation before the Day of the Lord” and verse 29 means “…these people begin to serve God in the Great Tribulation…” (ibid.)
  151. Amos 1:1 is explained as “…discussing God’s spiritual family…The book of Amos is mainly focusing on God’s Church!” (ibid.)
  152. “‘Prophesy not’ of Amos 2:11-12, refers to the WCG’s leadership and God’s own people…of the end time…ministers God raised up and they are divided” (ibid.).
  153. Amos 3:1 is “primarily discussing God’s spiritual family” (ibid.).
  154. Amos 3:3 means “The controversy over a watering down of God’s truth causes a Church split and verses 7-8 “But God continues to reveal to the [group]…which was given God’s ‘secret’” (ibid.).
  155. Amos 7:8 means “This [group] Work is God’s final warning to the Laodicean Church…” (ibid.)
  156. Micah 1:13-16; 2:1-8 is a prophecy of God’s end-time Church—Laodicea and Philadelphia—and 1:15 refers to Philadelphia at the Place of Safety.
  157. In Micah 2:12-13, “the breaker” and “their king” is the group’s leader.
  158. Micah 3:1-3 means that apostate Church members have been “spiritually…skinned and had the flesh ripped from their bones” (ibid.).
  159. Micah 3:9 means Laodicean leaders “pervert all equity” but 4:8 refers to (leader’s name).
  160. Micah 6:1 explains that (group) is to fight and contend with Laodiceans for God’s truth.
  161. The same man states that “We are so very close to the opening of the final seventh seal. When you read this, that seal may have already been opened with God’s two end-time witnesses already doing their work—just prior to the return of Jesus Christ.” [You figure out what he is trying to say.]
  162. One of the large splinters claims that “Philadelphians” must receive a “second” spirit, described as “Christ in us.” This ignores Paul’s warning in II Corinthians 11:4 about “another Jesus” and “another spirit.” [Receiving this spirit supposedly achieves a higher level of conversion. This idea is particularly dangerous, since it directly invites an alien spirit—demons—into the mind.]
  163. Ezekiel 34 (in conjunction with Jeremiah 23 and Zechariah 11) is used to refer to the Church and not the lost sheep of the house of Israel. This idea continues by stating that the phrase “there is no shepherd” means that you do not need to follow God’s government or any ordained ministry, because the entire ministry can no longer be trusted.
  164. The largest splinter now believes that Christians are “born from above.” While they have not yet used the term “born again,” they speak of conversion as a type of “new birth” or “rebirth.”
  165. Correspondingly [exactly like the Protestants], this splinter has gone on to describe conversion as primarily a specific event culminating with baptism, rather than primarily a process continuing throughout a Christian’s life. [This subtly moves brethren toward the concept that conversion is a “born again” religious experience.]
  166. Healing does not always involve forgiveness of sin. Notice what the largest splinter teaches: “We can not conclude from scripture that all illness results from sin…With this understanding from scripture, we conclude that healing is not always the result of the forgiveness of sin…It should also be noted that if all healing is the forgiveness of sin, then one should be made physically whole at the moment of baptism or else we have to conclude the baptism to be invalid.” [The last statement is particularly ludicrous, because it denies that there are obvious, permanent physical effects from sin. These can result from either physical or spiritual sins committed by previous generations, sins committed in one’s earlier life or committed after baptism. The latter are also not automatically removed because one already is baptized.]
  167. Holy Day offerings are to be given three times (derived from “three seasons”) a year, not seven.

List May Expand!

As more false teachings appear, we may continue to periodically amend this list, and we have already done this several times!

Truly, the Laodicean condition is “lukewarm…wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:16-17). You must recognize how awful this condition is if you are to “hold fast” and keep “your crown” (vs. 11).

Finally, now that you have read the list, I repeat: Only one Church neither accepts nor tolerates any of these—or any other—false ideas!

Article Two – Makeup: What Happened in the Church! Many have asked about the story of Mr. Armstrong’s decision to disallow makeup in the Church. This was one of the first doctrines (November 1988) the WCG apostates changed. Lacking the facts—the real story—most of the splinters have unwittingly believed these false leaders instead of Mr. Armstrong. This article reveals what really happened in 1974, 1981 and 1988, now forgotten in the splinters.

This article was once the APPENDIX to our booklet The Truth Hidden Behind Makeup. While it is not directly part of that doctrinal teaching, that booklet originally seemed incomplete without this additional material. This is because some have attempted to rewrite Church history, even claiming what you will read here never happened.

Here are the facts—the truth—of what did happen in God’s Church.

1974, 1981 and 1988

In 1955, Mr. Armstrong wrote an article “Why the Church Ruled on Makeup” in The Good News magazine. This established the Church’s official doctrine on the subject and led to an extensive booklet, in 1964, Truth About Makeup. (Our booklet represents what his taught.) The teaching of the Worldwide Church of God did not change from 1955 until 1974.

In 1974, a controversy arose over a minor misunderstanding of a quote from Clarke’s Commentary, referencing Isaiah 3:16. Mr. Armstrong was presented with the evidence of this error. He acknowledged it, and wrote a brief note correcting it as he was boarding a plane for a trip overseas.

This is how he described what occurred: While he was gone, others added to what he wrote and formally changed the Church’s doctrine on makeup—essentially without his knowledge, but under his signature. He was away from Headquarters most of the time (traveling around the world), and the rest of the time he lived in Tucson, Arizona. This, coupled with his diminished eyesight, caused this deception to escape his attention until November 1981.

When he saw what had happened, Mr. Armstrong roared to life and reversed the annulling of the Church’s long-standing and correct teaching on makeup. Apologizing, he did this on November 16, 1981, in an extensive article titled, “How subtly Satan used MAKEUP to start the Church off the track.” It appeared in The Worldwide News, the WCG’s member newspaper. (He simultaneously addressed makeup in numerous sermons and Bible studies, which are excerpted in the inset.)

Mr. Armstrong did not equivocate in his article. He explained what happened in 1974, apologized to the Church for his part in it, and forcefully corrected the last major doctrinal element of liberalism—that of the use of cosmetics—that had remained unaddressed in the Church from the mid-1970s.

Some now claim that Mr. Armstrong never actually reversed the change of late October 1974. You will see that he did. They do this because either the passing of time has dulled their memory of major events, or they need to be dishonest with history to suit a larger agenda, including a personal refusal to remove makeup.

Enter the Apostates

Mr. Armstrong died on January 16, 1986, four years and two months after correcting the Church’s error on use of makeup. Subsequently, false leaders were able to seize total control over the Worldwide Church of God and lead it into full-blown apostasy—eventually throwing out virtually every doctrine of the Bible, thus completely departing from the true God. True to the long pattern of Church history, most in the Church willingly, even eagerly, followed them away from God, copying—instead of learning from—the pattern of ancient Israel!

Exactly seven years later, in November 1988, the apostates, copying the liberals of 1974, again reversed the Church’s teaching on makeup. When this happened, having learned nothing from the past, most women in the Church were seduced as easily as they had been in 1974. Like Eve, they entered the trap of beauty and vanity and returned to the practice of painting their faces.

Here is part of how the new WCG leader deceived the Church:

“[Mr. Armstrong] relaxed that position in 1974, and reversed that relaxation in 1981. This helps us see that the answer does not rest on clearly defined biblical instruction.”

“But the Bible…certainly does not label cosmetics as sin. It is not the thing—cosmetics—that is sin, but the kind of use to which the thing may be put.”

“When a woman is focusing on her sexuality [Author’s note: He referenced Jezebel and other whores as proof of his premise] in an effort to attract a lover, she is likely to use makeup in an effort to enhance her appearance. (In our society this may also be true of men, though makeup for men is not yet commonplace.)”

“The point is that we strive to see that any use of cosmetics fits within the biblical principles we have outlined.”

“Now I know that a few may find great fault with me for this decision. That is one of the burdens I have to carry in the job God has placed upon my shoulders. But I do not believe that God would have us continue to place this unnecessary stumbling block (and that is what it is to many new converts) before His people.”

“Personal from Joseph W. Tkach,” WN, Nov. 14, 1988

The psychology and reasoning in this article were wonderfully smooth and seductive—and most effective. The only thing lacking was the final soothing reassurance to women about returning to use of makeup that “thou shalt not surely die!”

There is no excuse for any to claim ignorance of what the Bible, the Church and Mr. Armstrong always taught. I include myself, because, like Mr. Armstrong, I also fell into the trap and had to admit it later.

It is silly to assert that Mr. Armstrong never corrected the Church’s error in 1981. If this is true, why did the apostates reverse his decision in 1988? Certainly no thinking person would believe that they reversed a position that did not exist! This assertion is either born of fantasy or outright dishonesty, hoping for mass amnesia among the membership.

During the early 1990s, as the apostasy developed and worsened, certain leaders left the WCG and formed various splinters—each adhering to its own combination of truths taught by Mr. Armstrong, mixed with seductive doctrinal lies taught to them by the apostates. Forgetting the message of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, every group selected its own mixture of truth and lies.

As with other doctrines, the question arose among the splinters regarding what to do about makeup. Ignoring the facts—what really happened—most conveniently decided that Mr. Armstrong “went back and forth on it,” or “kept changing his mind on it,” or “never really reversed 1974, anyway.” This allowed women to resume using makeup without guilt. That so many were willing to quickly return to the pattern of the world and harlotry made it more comfortable for others to follow suit.

Splinters Appease Women

Over 95 percent of the women who were in the WCG now seem completely unconcerned that they follow a doctrine taught to them by false leaders who are agents of Satan! Of course, the leaders of the splinters were only too happy to accommodate the desire of women, and participated in the apostates’ seduction by telling women exactly what they wanted to hear!

In this way, the splinter leaders directly assisted the apostates—they still do, in many regards!—who originally guided the Church and those same leaders into this abominable practice!

An additional problem is that these leaders either fear their wives, who have notified them that they will not remove their makeup—or they fear the many women who will leave their organizations for the same reason, taking large amounts of tithes with them. Weakness and compromise—almost invariably a by-product of cowardice—are terrible things!

Here is why. Some of these same leaders recognize that Mr. Armstrong did, in fact, make the change, but suggest that he did it with ulterior motives. This is ludicrous and they know it!

The reality is that those who claim this have ulterior motives—and God tells you what they are, if you will believe him. They do it to either retain or obtain the tithes that they would lose if they told women to take off their makeup. II Peter 2:2-3 is your proof!

There is no doubt that some women sincerely believe the leaders who are deceiving them about the history of this doctrine. I can only hope that they will awaken to the practice that they have returned to after reading the facts.

The Facts From Mr. Armstrong

What follows is a series of key quotes from Mr. Armstrong’s already-referenced 1981 Worldwide News article. I hope all who were once in the Worldwide Church of God, and who still care about the truth, will find and read this article in its entirety.

I have carefully excerpted portions of it, relating Mr. Armstrong’s statements in the story flow of how he wrote them. They require little additional comment. There is a space between separate quotes and all emphasis is his.

“Do you think that same wily Satan could not deceive people in God’s Church today? Of all the people on earth, we are the very ones he wants most to deceive. He has the rest of the world deceived already. And remember a deceived person does not know he is deceived—else he would not BE deceived!

What Mr. Armstrong Taught About Makeup in Sermons and Bible Studies

After Mr. Armstrong corrected the Church’s teaching on makeup in 1981, he consistently preached that he meant exactly what he said. For those who wish to believe that his Worldwide News article of November 16, 1981 did not “really” reverse the Church’s error on use of cosmetics, we have included just five subsequent sermon and Bible study quotes as additional proof of what he taught.

Read each quote carefully, and ask yourself if Mr. Armstrong was serious or did not really believe what he wrote in his 1964 booklet, or his 1981 decision. By itself, the first quote removes all doubt about where he stood. This sermon contains his once-famous statement that makeup will return to the Church “over my dead body.” I only wish that his transcribed words could carry the same thunder with which he delivered them:

“[Satan] has deceived a lot of the women in this Church. They couldn’t see anything wrong with it [makeup]. Well, ‘to him that knows to do good and does it not, to him it is sin.’ So some of our women just have not known.

“Well, I want to make it plain. And it isn’t something that I am going to study and research more. That’s already been done and this is a decision. And this is final! And it isn’t going to be watered down any further in this Church! Unless it’s over my dead body, let me tell you that.

“You know, God could have compromised. He didn’t have to sacrifice His Son. He had the power to forgive our sins without Christ’s sacrifice. You know that? But we would never have had character and we never would have become God…He could have given us eternal life and let us go our own way and we’d have been unhappy and miserable forever and ever and ever. But God so loved the world He GAVE His only begotten Son rather than compromise one ten trillionth, millionth of an inch with His Law and with sin. He just didn’t do it.”

Sermon, “What God Expects From Us,” Nov. 7, 1981

“I want to wake you up! I want to get you back on the track—on God’s track! Because we’ve been off on Satan’s track…I’m going to spend what little time I have trying to get you people back on the track…

“I myself made a mistake along the way, and I let that subject be the one that started Satan’s ball rolling to get liberalism into God’s Church. After that came a falling away in such things as divine healing, the keeping of the Sabbath and how we keep it, and any number of other very important things. We began to get liberal, we wanted to compromise these things…

“…I don’t think any woman with paint on her face is going to rise to meet Christ in the air…

“…Why do women do it? They think it makes them more pretty. Lust of the eyes—they like to see themselves in the mirror. And they think other people are going to think they are more beautiful than God made them. Vanity, pure and simple—wanting to be like the world…

“…Now this thing all has to do with an attitude. Sin is the transgression of…love toward God—exalting God instead of the person…A woman paints herself up to exalt herself. Don’t tell me she doesn’t! She does it because she wants to be like the world. She wants to go along—sheep instinct…

“…The paint on a woman’s face is going to pass away. It isn’t going to last. You’ll never get into God’s kingdom with it. No one in God’s kingdom is going to have to paint a face.

“I’ll tell you why.

“Your face is going to shine like the sun. Why dull it with a lot of paint? No, they won’t do it, no, or want to…

“But some people want to say, ‘Isn’t is alright?’—‘Isn’t it okay under this circumstance?’—‘Can’t we get away with it?’—‘How close can we go to Satan’s way? Isn’t Satan’s way better, after all, than God’s way?’

“Now painting your face is Satan’s way, brethren. No getting around it. Don’t tell me it’s God’s way. God never told anybody to do it. You think Satan’s way is better?”

“…Some say, ‘Well but, what is the husband going to think? An unconverted husband—we have to consider what he thinks. Maybe the wife should wear makeup if he wants her to.’ I can’t understand why any man would want his wife to wear makeup. But some do. I don’t understand it. I never did—I never did. I don’t see how paint on a face makes that face any more beautiful. And when I kiss, I don’t want to kiss a lot of paint or lipstick. Either one. I just don’t.”

Bible Study, “Philippians 1 and 2,” Oct. 1981

“In the 3rd chapter of Isaiah, it talks about women painting their eyes and their faces. They tried to tell me, when we had some liberals in the Church about four years ago, that some of them had researched that and the original Hebrew didn’t say what I thought it did. So, it was ‘all right for women to wear. Can’t we just fudge a little bit, and let the women wear a little makeup?’ And I actually yielded to that and I’m ashamed of it.

“I apologize before you now that I did. And I wrote…that if you would use it modestly you women could use a little bit of makeup.

“I’m sorry that I did that. I repented.

“God is not in that and God was not speaking through me when I said that. Now I correct it.”

“…It isn’t God that puts makeup on your face, women.”

Bible Study, “The Sin Question,” Nov. 26, 1981

“I’ve had some things to say about makeup lately…I’ve had some letters [that] say, ‘Well, Mr. Armstrong I want to show you a woman’s point of view on this.’ You know my reply to that?

“I am interested not in a woman’s point of view. I’m interested in God’s point of view. Now if a woman’s point of view is different from God’s point of view, THE WOMAN HAD BETTER CHANGE HER POINT OF VIEW! Do you agree with me or don’t you? Or do you think the woman’s point of view is better? Or the man’s point of view? Or the child’s point of view? Oh no, I want God’s point of view. It’s quite different.”

Bible Study, “Philippians 3,” Nov. 1981

“Women can’t see what’s wrong with painting their faces.

“Women won’t admit [that] it’s vanity that makes them do it. They won’t admit it’s because they want to be like the world and want to look like other people. They won’t admit that. [They say] ‘Oh no, I don’t want to be like the world.’ Oh yes they do, or they wouldn’t do it. She’s ashamed not to be like the other women in the world. That’s why she puts it on her…”

“…Brethren, I won’t compromise. If you want to compromise, go join one of these factions that have gone off from us, that are liberal…if you want to go Satan’s way instead of God’s way and pretend that you’ll be in the kingdom of God—pretend you are in God’s Church…”

“…Is this a little thing? Yes, but it’s a great big thing in principle. It’s a big thing in principle, and there are many of you women sitting right here that are keeping paint off your faces just because I said you have to, and your heart isn’t in it. And you better get your hearts right with God. You call me God’s apostle, you better listen to what I have to say. And you better quit kidding yourself, because time is short.”

Sermon, First Day of Unleavened Bread, April 16, 1985

This final quote shows Mr. Armstrong’s view of doctrinal compromise. Others could be included to show the same thing in different words.

Of course, some will say that the issue of wearing makeup is too small to be of consequence to God. Therefore, one final quote has been added here to confirm Mr. Armstrong’s view of compromise on those matters some wish to call “twigs.”

I am not suggesting that makeup is a small matter, because it clearly is not! Recall that Mr. Armstrong said, “Is this a little thing? Yes, but it’s a great big thing in principle.” You must decide if you agree with Mr. Armstrong’s assessment of wearing makeup.

In the end, those who seek to ignore the correct teaching must first reduce its importance by calling it a “twig” or “non-basic” or “non-fundamental” or “not essential for salvation,” etc., before they can take the second step of dismissing it altogether.

If you hear makeup referred to as a “twig” or “inconsequential,” remember that God never called it a twig or inconsequential. Neither did Mr. Armstrong:

“Forty-three years ago, the living Christ committed to me His great commission.

“But during these 43 years, I have frequently been pressured to compromise—‘just a little’—with God’s truth.

“[God] entrusted me with this precious truth.

“But honestly, now, what do you think?

“Wouldn’t it be all right to compromise, ‘just a little,’ on some ‘unimportant minor point’? Especially on some ostensibly unimportant point where we appear ‘crazy’ to the world.

“Nevertheless, if we begin to compromise with God’s truth, even in smallest, slightest manner, we have allowed Satan to get a foot into the door of the Church, and soon he will push open the door (he is stronger than we) and take over the whole Church.

“A little leaven leavens the whole lump!…I have been charged with the commission of keeping God’s word. Keeping it inviolate—no compromise! I have never compromised with God’s truth—regardless of the cost or the circumstances. I never shall!

“Satan is the chief of terrorists. He hates God’s holy, sacred Word.

“I will change whenever proved wrong. I will accept new truth as often as proved to be new truth to me or to the Church.

“But I will not compromise with the truth! I never have!

“I won’t compromise—not even ‘just a little.’”

“Personal,” GN, Dec. 1976

“Yet Satan did get to our wives today! They certainly had no evil motives, even as mother Eve had none. Had they not repented and accepted Christ, and come into the Church? There were no evil motives or intentions. They, too, saw ‘no harm in it.’ They, themselves, would ‘look good’ to the world. Makeup on the face would be ‘pleasant to the eyes.’

“And it was intellectual to follow intellectual liberals in the ministry (no longer) who reasoned that this little detail and that little point could be interpreted to see ‘no harm in it’—and after all, if we don’t see any harm in it, isn’t it all right to do what the world does?”

“How cleverly, without our suspecting it, did Satan influence leading ministers to derail the Church in many ways!

“Some of us have weakened. Some of us have been caught off guard. I am human like all of you, and I was caught off guard and without at the time realizing it, allowed this liberalism to creep stealthily into God’s flock! I now repent of that and the living Christ leads me to do what He inspires me to do to correct it and get this holy Body of Christ back completely on the track. For we have not been fully back on the track even yet!”

“But the Church in the 1950s, still growing in knowledge as well as in numbers, ruled on makeup based on specific scriptural ‘do’s and don’ts’—as we then interpreted them. Actually we came to the same right ruling. A very few women argued a bit, but I remember specifically of none who rebelled and left the Church. As near as I could observe our women were happy to leave their faces as the Master Designer made them.”

“In early fall of 1974, my son caught me on the run as I was leaving for Tokyo and Manila, where I held a big campaign. It was a time when certain ‘scholars’ among our leaders were engaged in ‘doctrinal research.’ I had not realized until later that most of them were actually researching to try to prove Church teachings were in error, rather than to discover truth. I admit now and repent of the fact that, not realizing the real motive, I approved this doctrinal research team.

“My son said this team had found we had the wrong meaning on four such detailed specific scriptures, and the use of makeup was OK.

“Those who know me best know I have a single track mind. That is, I can concentrate deeply on one subject at a time, but when my mind is on one subject, I often do not really ‘get’ something said to me.”

“Satan masterminded this in such manner that it all appeared under my signature, as if I fully approved all that followed my signature—when in fact I never saw it until the day before yesterday. It was subtly handled and kept from me.

“I did not, and never would have approved of what Mr. [name] without my knowledge published under my signature.”

“But by this maneuver of Satan, the people of God’s Church started off the track.”

“I say ‘started off.’ For watering down of God’s truth on healing, the Sabbath, many more vital doctrines followed in its wake.

“But, as Satan maneuvered to start all humanity off the track in the garden of Eden, so in these latter days, he maneuvered to use the women of God’s Church to start the end-time Church off the track. And the whole Church was deceived! [Author’s note: It was, in fact, the changing of makeup, in 1988, which was one of the earliest changes that started the Church back off the track the second time!]

“At the time my son came to me with the report that the Adam Clarke commentary was in error on Isaiah 3:16, my mind was primarily on other things, and I made a hasty decision without fully weighing the matter. I have come to realize this. I have deeply repented of it. I now correct it before the entire Church.

“Brethren, let’s get one thing straight at this point. Jesus Christ chose and has been using a human instrument to lead you. Will you blame Jesus Christ for that? He is infallible. He makes no mistakes. But who among you could He choose as His instrument to lead you who is already supernaturally divine and unable to make mistakes?…He has used me, in spite of a few mistakes, in bringing all you into His Body, the Church. He revealed His truth to me and through me to you! And now He is using me in correcting a mistake…”

“Jesus Christ through me has been getting us all back on the track, ready for His return to earth as the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords. The Church, as His Bride to be spiritually married to Him, is to rise to meet Him in the air as He descends. Women of the Church, do you think Jesus Christ will say to me, ‘Send a proclamation to all women in the Church to prepare for My coming. Tell them to go to their dressing tables, pluck out their eyebrows, paint in new ones higher on their foreheads, and use cosmetics to make up their faces to meet Me in the air’?

No, dear people, I don’t think He will have me make such a proclamation. But rather: Wash the dirt off your faces! Clean up your faces!

Now Jesus Christ, through His chosen apostle, is going to rule on this question once and for all!”

“Now apply God’s Law to makeup. Why do women use makeup? To please and glorify God? No. God is Master Designer as well as Creator. The world seems to think God did not design women’s faces properly, and they try to do a better job of making up their faces than God did. Does makeup please God? His Spirit says to me, it is displeasing to Him! (And, like the apostle Paul, I think I have the ‘mind of Christ.’) To exalt God? No, rather to exalt self, which debases God.”

This is how Mr. Armstrong concluded his article:

“Women do not use makeup to please God today—for I can tell you on His authority it is not pleasing to him!

“Satan used human reason and makeup and women to start the ball of liberalism away from God and toward sin to rolling in the Church beginning October, 1974.

“Finally, I repeat, sin, spiritually, is self-centeredness, self-exaltation, desire to be beautiful, vanity, coveting, desire to get and take, to exalt the self, jealousy and envy, competition, oft-resulting violence and war, resentment and rebellion against authority. These are the principles of spiritual sin. Christ is getting us back on the track!”

Amazing Human Nature

Human nature is amazing, and sometimes even a little humorous to observe—if it were not so tragic. Referring to Mr. Armstrong’s statement that makeup would only return to the Church “over my dead body,” I have had two different women tell me, “Since Mr. Armstrong is now dead, I can wear makeup.” Incredible! Truly, as Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things.”

Such human reasoning certainly does prove that if a woman is determined to wear cosmetics, she will find a way to sell the idea to herself.

However, no person who truly wants to please and obey God can doubt the facts of this article. They CAN reject, ignore or twist those facts to suit their own purpose, but they cannot deny them.

Be prepared for persecution if you have the courage to take off your makeup. It will take even more courage to tell others, or for leaders to teach their organizations (Dan. 11:32-35). This is because few issues seem to bring out the hate and murderous slander in people more than does telling them that the use of cosmetics is a sin. I have more than once seen and felt the wrath of women confronted with this decision.

In addition, just the thought of our original booklet’s arrival several years ago brought an attack from one man. He was so angry at what he thought it might contain that he did not even wait to read it. Incredibly, he found a way to label as “Laodicean” (lukewarm and lacking zeal) those who have the courage and zeal that he and the leaders of his splinter lack. God help him and others like him, because Proverbs 18:13 applies.

What Will You Do?

But what will you do? When Christ told some who “believed on Him” (John 8:30) truth that they did not want to hear, they got angry and sought to kill Him. Christ responded, “But now you seek to kill Me, a Man that has told you the truth” (vs. 40). Will you attack either Mr. Armstrong or me because this article and our book have told you the truth? If you do, you will only hurt yourself, now and eternally. It is your crown that is now at stake, not mine. Very carefully think through your reaction.

Will you dismiss, forget, ignore or twist the plain proofs that you have read here?

Will you allow dishonest, deceitful ministers to seduce you into continuing the habit of painting your face and the attitude of pride and vanity that accompanies it?

Will you permit your pastor, like Satan, or your human nature, from Satan, to deceive you into believing that you owe it to yourself to be more beautiful than God made you?

Will you fulfill the similar proverbs of George Santayana and George Hegel—that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” and “We learn from history that we do not learn from history”?—or will you be a rare exception, no matter what your friends, relatives and associates think?

The Church has reached the Laodicean age. The reason this is the dominant attitude at the end is that most start with the assumption that Laodicea is “somebody else—somewhere else.”

Are you certain it does not include you?

Are you certain that using makeup is not one of the tests of whether it does, since the dominant number now ignore what all once practiced in regard to this teaching?

Are you certain you want to follow leaders Mr. Armstrong would obviously disfellowship?

Are you certain there is safety in numbers?

Are you so certain that God’s great end-time servant was wrong that you will not “hold fast” (Rev. 3:11) what you once believed?

Will you follow the ways of this world, the mistakes of ancient Israel, the methods of Egyptian prostitutes, the lead of the apostates and the splinter “leaders” who taught you to return to wearing makeup?

would you stake your crown on your decision?

Article Three – The Wedding Supper Is NOT in Heaven! Roderick Meredith, with other leaders in the Living Church of God (LCG), has now come to believe the long-rejected idea that the “marriage of the Lamb” and the “wedding supper” will be in heaven. Started in 1981, this theory has grown and become more widely accepted among many in the splinters since the mid-1990s. LCG leaders have now pushed it upon their membership. But the Bible does NOT teach that the wedding supper is in heaven! In fact, this idea is IMPOSSIBLE. Here is the proof.

After reading this article, you will never again believe the marriage to Christ and the wedding supper are in heaven. You will also wonder how anyone could believe they will be—never mind that “evangelists” could have fallen for it. But these are the same “evangelists” who got sucked into the Protestant view of the “falling away” of II Thessalonians 2:3 being a future worldwide rebellion against God led by the man of sin, as will be seen in Article Four. They are the same “evangelists” who also copied and now subscribe to the popular evangelical Protestant belief in a seven-year agreement, beginning with a three-and-a-half-year covenant/treaty signed between the Beast and the modern Mid-east nation of Israel—incredibly, these “evangelists” can no longer discern in Daniel 9:27 the difference between Jesus Christ and the anti-christ.

They are the same “evangelists” who have also slipped into the widely accepted Protestant position taught to them by the Tkaches (not Mr. Armstrong or the Bible) that the Body of Christ, headed by an undivided Jesus Christ, is today made up of many disagreeing “branch” organizations—and that it is no longer one unified organization. They are the same “evangelists” who have forced their “Jesus” into their gospel.

But then again, they are the same “evangelists” who have largely rejected Mr. Armstrong’s authority, along with MANY of the “less attractive” doctrines he taught and proved straight from the Bible.

Coming Wedding Supper

The Bible foretells the “marriage of the Lamb,” followed by “the wedding supper,” after the saints in the First Resurrection are born into the kingdom of God as Spirit members of the God Family. That these plainly prophesied events occur, and right after the First Resurrection, is not subject to debate, since the Bible explicitly mentions them. What is debated among people of wrong thinking has come to be their exact time and location.

Herbert W. Armstrong spent little if any time emphasizing when and where the wedding supper would take place because God’s Word does not make these questions important. (It is plain, however, when and where it will be.) He clearly understood that what is most important for God’s people is to live in a way that will ensure our presence at this event—yielding to God and building His holy, righteous character, and holding to all of His truths. Neglecting to live God’s Way and letting His truth slip away eliminates any need for concern about details of a marriage and supper ONE WILL NOT ATTEND! Again, THAT IS IMPORTANT. But knowing every detail of its location or exact timing is less important. Whether you reject the facts—the truth of God’s Word on this subject as you see it—also becomes important.

Grasp this! Getting caught up in any false doctrine, including absurd theories on the marriage/wedding supper, directly affects whether you will be there! You need not be deceived. Careful study of the Bible completely eliminates heaven as a possibility of the wedding supper location.

Birth of a Theory

The idea for a heavenly wedding supper was born around Pentecost 1981, and began with a pastor, Harold Smith, then in East St. Louis, Illinois (now in Washington state). This man leads a prophecy-oriented tape ministry. I personally told Ministerial Services at Headquarters (and Mr. Armstrong was made aware) that he had preached this theory without permission.

As an historical aside, I became involved in this matter in Buffalo, New York, in about 1982 when one of this man’s “disciples” preached this idea there while on vacation in Buffalo visiting his parents. I called Ministerial Services and was assured that the author of the idea would be reprimanded, and the visiting minister sent a written apology that I read from the pulpit. Note that Harold Smith is the same man who first preached Dr. Herman Hoeh’s private belief that the final Elijah would be one of the Two Witnesses. It is not surprising that Rod Meredith and Dick Ames have leapt deeper into Harold Smith’s arms on the matter of the wedding supper.

False Doctrine Develops

Like so many other false ideas lying dormant in minds that had been told to put them away, with Mr. Armstrong now gone, the wedding-supper-in-heaven concept began growing in momentum shortly after his death. Although the apostate leaders were not the first to introduce the idea, they did not restrain its return, but subtly capitalized on it to help condition WCG members to accept “going to heaven” theology. It meshed perfectly with their doctrinal agenda.

The pattern of the apostates, with the spirit of the devil guiding them, was, throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, to use this kind of subtlety for importing bigger carefully crafted Protestant doctrines into the WCG. Their ideas were introduced in staged increments—until most brethren bought into their concepts and allowed themselves to be led back completely into this world’s false Christianity.

After the apostates presented the full-blown theology of “people going to heaven when they die,” there was no more use for this transitional doctrine of “the wedding supper being in heaven” in the WCG, but the issue continued looming larger for some who remembered the excitement generated when it first appeared.

The idea resurfaced in the splinters around 1995-96, again from Harold Smith, who at that time became a Global Church of God (GCG) minister. Global’s leader, Rod Meredith, tried hard to rein him in before the group split in late 1998, but failed. The heresy spread. Ever greater numbers began to sign on to this false concept beyond the 1990s.

More recently, in mid-2012, the Living Church of God, Meredith’s corporate continuation of Global, has now adopted this idea as an official teaching. Incredibly, Rod Meredith has now collapsed into the very heresy of which he once sought to rid Global. That other LCG ministers are said to have “vetted it” is its own sad statement about how far they have fallen with their leaders. May some of them wake up before it is too late.

I sat in the GCG Council of Elder meetings—every one of them—where this (with other related Smith ideas) was discussed and rejected. Rod Meredith (and the whole Council) once stood firmly against it, well aware that it was wrong—and long understood to be so. Yet today an article by Richard F. Ames titled “The Saints Will Stand Before God’s Throne in Heaven,” in the Sept-Oct 2012 Living Church News, presents this doctrine, repackaged with several supposed “proofs.”

A Proper Focus

Before this speculation took hold, emphasis had rightly been on qualifying to be part of the First Resurrection. Mr. Armstrong wisely avoided much speculation on what the saints would be doing immediately after being changed to spirit.

Proponents of these errors actually believe that God’s Word is not explicit on where the saints go immediately after the First Resurrection. It is true that a very tiny bit of time elapses between the First Resurrection and “the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Rev. 16:14-16; Zech. 14:1-2), when Christ and His saints vanquish the armies gathered to oppose His Return. These are just two of MANY SPECIFIC EVENTS that occur in rapid-fire fashion in the climactic 24-hour period known as “that great day” (Rev. 16:14). You will soon learn more of the truly fascinating details of this.

However, every detail of the immediate duties of these newly born Spirit beings is not revealed. The Bible simply does not contain every element of “who, what, where, when, why and how” that the new members of God’s Family carry out when they arrive into that Family! The apostle Paul recorded, “Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (I Cor. 13:12).

But the Bible does say more about the first day of our salvation than most have realized. Again, you will see this.

Let’s understand a little more. There are certain things—some are details—that God has chosen not to reveal: “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut. 29:29). We are held accountable to act on knowledge and understanding God has revealed to us. To excessively speculate about what He has not revealed is an exercise in futility—a waste of time!

Many among God’s people of the seventh era have become confused on a host of prophetic events, as well as the sequence in which they fall. The speed, sequence, timing and magnitude of oncoming prophetic events are being/have been lost to thousands. Many just cannot any longer recall—keep straight—within prophecy what happens when, as well as where and to whom—and why. The wedding-supper-in-heaven theory is but the tip of the “prophecy confusion iceberg.” But it has played its own role in causing people to become even more prophetically disoriented—while focusing them on “gnats” when they are surrounded by a herd of prophetic “camels” they can no longer see clearly. While falsely claiming to be following the admonition to “grow in grace, and…knowledge” (II Pet. 3:18), as was done with the new LCG “falling away” heresy, the seducers leading LCG have their members kneeling in the sand, bent over, examining a prophetic “gnat”—fictional at that—when an on-rushing stampede of prophetic “camels” is about to TRAMPLE AND CRUSH THEM TO DEATH!

This article clears up confusion and exposes the many false teachings surrounding the subject.

Convoluted Thinking and Teaching

Keep in mind that the reasoning employed by these deceivers is terribly convoluted. In order to uphold their position, they must twist, spin and butcher numerous prophetic details and other passages. In a sense, the reader will find they build a house of cards that folds under scrutiny. Countering their errors requires us to first present their faulty ideas, before proceeding to debunk them using plain scriptures.

As you read, keep Isaiah 28:9-13 in mind. This passage admonishes that the truth of any scripture is usually revealed by other scriptures, because the Bible is written “precept upon precept…line upon line…here a little, and there a little,” so that those whose minds are not opened to understanding will stumble in their quest for solutions. Those who are “weaned,” or spiritually mature (I Cor. 3:1-2), are to seek the truth by following this passage, allowing the Bible to interpret itself.

Because the maze of individual false teachings that constitute this overall heresy is so complex, a lengthy and detailed rebuttal has to follow. Believe me, I would rather not put in the work of writing nearly 14,000 words. But to help God’s people it is worth it. This means first covering the subject as it developed over 30 years ago to see how it “grew legs”—and to understand all that LCG seemed to not know about (but could have) when they fell into their conclusion. What LCG asserts today forms the last section of the article, largely useless without the foundation of the first sections. To be fully inoculated against the theory, the reader must take the time to read the whole article!

Dick Ames’ article did not attempt a lengthy, sophisticated approach to LCG’s heresy. Rather he threw out a few shallow thoughts, and jumped to the end-game—declaring almost by simple assertion, “The wedding supper is in heaven.” To really take apart and reject the falseness of this idea requires a more thorough approach, one that helps the reader see from every perspective how truly wrong is the idea. It also makes clear why more is at stake in getting this teaching right than first meets the eye. There is a duty to bring this thorough approach.

Finally, again understand. This article covers a difficult subject—one made much more difficult than it ever needed to be because of the many convolutions of thought invented to propel it. If the first half of the article seems difficult to understand, be encouraged, recognizing we are trying to simplify something made unnecessarily complex. Be patient with the manner in which the topic is addressed. The fog lifts most in the article’s second half.

One Direct Reference—Two Parables

The wedding supper, which follows the marriage of Christ to His Church, only appears in Revelation 19: “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he said unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said unto me, These are the true sayings of God” (vs. 7-9).

This passage constitutes the one—the onlydirect reference to this glorious upcoming event!

Let’s now review passages related to the wedding supper, and how these scriptures are interpreted by some in the splinters. The wedding supper appears in two parables. While God’s Church has always understood that the purpose of parables is not to make a doctrine more clear, but rather to hide the meaning from those not called at this time (Matt. 13:10-17), there is some meaning in these parables.

Consider Luke 14:16-24. This parable speaks of a great supper, and seems obviously to reference the wedding supper. It is hard to see Luke 14 in any other context. The focus there is that, because many failed to comprehend the tremendous honor offered them, the invitees dismissed the invitation to this awesome occasion. They fell into excuse-making for declining to attend. The master of the house was justifiably angry, and sought substitute guests to fill the empty seats. Those originally invited were banned from ever being involved. There is powerful meaning today for those who think it “no big deal” to slip into this, that or the other false doctrine or doctrines, and still hope to attend.

Do not miss the point. Do any think that even one true Christian would overtly state to God, “I do not want to come to Your wedding supper. I do not want to marry Jesus Christ”? Of course not! It is other things that seduce them—subtly confuse them—into declining what they thought they had continued to accept. GET THIS! As with Deuteronomy 30:19—where God sets “life and death” and “blessing and cursing” before His people—everyone thinks they are choosing life. No one thinks they are choosing death. It is how people live and what they believe that ultimately “chooses” LIFE—or “chooses” DEATH!

Luke 14 primarily pictures the Christian calling. The wedding supper almost certainly merges into its meaning, since being called and chosen eventually leads to that event. The parable has special meaning to those called in this present age—the firstfruits. Sadly, most fail to recognize the parable’s profound meaning, and the seriousness of their calling.

The Second Parable

Luke 14 is often considered a summary of Christ’s more extensive parable in Matthew 22:1-14. This parable certainly does not state, or even remotely imply, that the wedding supper occurs in heaven. The main emphasis is that many people are called to be in God’s kingdom, but few in the end respond to their calling. Few will commit to developing righteous, godly character (symbolized by wedding garments), thus few are deemed worthy by God to join the supper.

As in Luke 14, many guests took their invitation lightly, making excuses for their absence. But Matthew 22 includes another element—guests who conspire to kill some of the king’s servants. This is a sobering thought: some initially called (invited as guests) could resort to murdering the king’s (God’s) faithful (true) servants! Hate (ful attack) is also murder.

After alternate guests were called to replace those who declined, yet another element is introduced: One replacement guest lacked a “wedding garment,” and had to be cast out. If this parable references a wedding in heaven, no human being could “crash it.” Only those who had qualified and become spirit could ascend to be present. Those who misinterpret the parable in this way miss the point.

Some try to explain the presence of the man without a wedding garment by saying he must have been a demon—one with access to heaven (Job 1:6; I Kgs. 22:20-23). Were this true, God would be calling a wicked spirit “friend.” And, you will learn later that, by this point, Satan and his demons will have already been bound, anyway.

Also, Revelation 12:7-13 shows that Satan and his demons will have been “cast out into the earth” at a point some years before the Church is even taken to a Place of Safety—well before Christ’s Return. Demons are not allowed back into heaven after this event: “neither was there place found [for them] any more in heaven” (vs. 8).

Predictably, when hemmed in with logic and scripture, the proponents of the wedding-in-heaven theory retreat to additional theorizing. In this case, they like to respond, “This is a parable. It can’t parallel what will take place in every respect.” They must say this because otherwise the parable disproves their position.

Certain spiritual principles of the Christian calling, which lead to being part of the First Resurrection and this great feast, are evident in the parable. Appreciating our calling and never making light of it, as well as supporting (rather than attacking or opposing) God’s servants and representatives, is crucial. Intense preparation and having a “clean wedding garment” is also crucial. Qualifying involves making oneself “ready” (Matt. 24:44; Luke 12:40)—worthy of that honor.

These are the lessons to take from these parables. They do not show the marriage or wedding supper to be in heaven.

At the Seventh Trumpet

To fully appreciate the context of the wedding supper, let’s ask: “When will the First Resurrection take place?” First notice I Corinthians 15: “Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (vs. 51-52). Our change to incorruptible spirit occurs at the last trumpet. This is basic.

Now I Thessalonians 4: “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (vs. 15-17).

Both passages plainly show the resurrection occurs at the last trump, at Christ’s Return. This is impossible to miss.

Matthew 24 reveals more: “Then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (vs. 30-31). Here, Christ appears in the clouds and sends His angels to “gather” the elect—both the saints in the grave and those surviving at the Place of Safety. This again ties the resurrection to the last trump.

The Trumpets Summarized

To establish when the seventh trumpet sounds, we need an overview to appreciate the order of events.

In Revelation 6, the first four seals (often called the “four horsemen of the apocalypse”) are introduced, followed by the fifth seal (the Great Tribulation and martyrdom of the final era of God’s people) and the sixth seal (the heavenly signs, accompanied by a great earthquake).

The seventh seal appears in Revelation 8: “When He [Christ] had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets” (vs. 1-2).

The seventh and final seal consists of the seven trumpets or trumpet plagues. The first six of the trumpets are discussed in chapters 8 and 9, summarized here as Mr. Armstrong and the Church have always understood them:

  1. A third part of trees and vegetation is burned up
  2. A third part of the sea becomes blood
  3. A third part of the rivers and freshwater becomes poisoned
  4. A third part of the light from the sun, moon and stars is diminished
  5. The First woe: Revived Roman Empire attacks former Communist bloc of Russia and China
  6. The Second woe: Former Communist bloc nations and others counterattack the revived Roman Empire

The seventh trumpet occurs next. This is first mentioned in Revelation 11:15: “The seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.”

Remember I Thessalonians 4:16: “The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God.” What the angel appears to shout is recorded in Revelation 11:15.

Grasp this key point: The seventh trumpet includes the seven last plagues, collectively known as the third woe. Again, the seventh trumpet (“the last trump”) is the time of the First Resurrection.

By covering the verses preceding Revelation 11:15, we can see how these events come together.

We pick up the account of the Two Witnesses in verses 11-14: “And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up here. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe comes quickly.”

(A leading proponent of the wedding supper in heaven asserts that the archangel’s voice in I Thessalonians 4:16 is the instruction, “Come up here” [Rev. 11:12]. This is absurd, as these words are obviously directed “unto them”—the two witnesses just raised back to physical life. This is not spoken to all nations, nor even just to all the saints.)

Note that the Two Witnesses are resurrected before the seventh trumpet sounds (announcing the First Resurrection). Theirs is a physical resurrection: “…the spirit [Greek: pneuma, which can also be translated “breath”] of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet” (Rev. 11:11). The “spirit of life” is equivalent to the “breath of life,” spoken of in Genesis 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul [Hebrew nephesh or ‘breathing creature’].” This is not new, but rather something the Church has always known.

Their resurrection contrasts to this one: “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (I Cor. 15:52-53).

After the voice directs the Two Witnesses to “come up here,” Revelation 11:12 shows that “they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.” Just as Enoch and Elijah were taken away to another location for protection, the Two Witnesses must be taken away in the same fashion so they will not be killed again. They likely briefly join the living saints awaiting the First Resurrection soon to follow. Otherwise, the Bible does not specify where they go. But the time between their physical return to life and the seventh trumpet appears to be very short. Verse 14 announces that “the third woe [which is the seventh trumpet] comes quickly.”

Thus, the First Resurrection at the seventh trumpet occurs after the Two Witnesses’ resurrection.

The Seven Last Plagues or Vials of Wrath

Recall that the seventh trumpet begins the seven last plagues. Now we examine these. Revelation 15 introduces seven angels in heaven preparing to pour out the seven last plagues upon Earth. Chapter 16 continues the sequence of events: “I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth” (vs. 1). Here is a summary of the seven last plagues:

  1. Grievous sores upon those who have the Mark of the Beast and worship its/his image (vs. 2)
  2. The seas become blood (vs. 3)
  3. The rivers and fresh waters become blood (vs. 4)
  4. Heat from the sun scorches the earth (vs. 8)
  5. Plague of darkness over the Beast power (vs. 10)
  6. Armies gather at Megiddo to battle against Christ (vs. 12-16)
  7. Final plague, great earthquake and hail—completes wrath of God: “It is done” (vs. 17)

All of the last plagues are catastrophic upheavals, as the full wrath of God is poured out. Revelation 14:10: “…the wrath of God…is poured out without mixture” (Greek: undiluted). Moffatt translates Revelation 15:1 this way: “the last plagues…complete the wrath of God.”

Notice distinct difference in these plagues from the trumpet plagues, which primarily reflect God’s measured wrath occurring in thirds—one-third portions. The seven last plagues are God’s full measure of wrath on those continuing in rebellion.

The sixth of the last plagues shows the armies gathering for battle, but the battle itself is not mentioned here. Special attention to the sixth plague is brought by examining Revelation 16:12-16. Armies of the kings of the east cross the dried-up Euphrates in verse 12. (This is an entirely different event, at a different time, than is recorded earlier in Rev. 9:13-16.)

The passage continues by describing demonic powers summoning the kings from all nations to mobilize their armies and modern military weaponry against the arrival of Christ and His armies, to prepare for the Battle of that Great Day of God Almighty. Verse 15 is an inset, Christ’s general warning for God’s people to be prepared and urgently watching for His Return. Verse 16 shows the location where the armies gather, in the Jezreel Valley near the hill of Megiddo. (This battle is falsely called the Battle of Armageddon. To correctly understand it, you may read my article “What Is Armageddon?”)

Take note. Those teaching that the wedding supper is in heaven assert that the seventh and final last plague occurs before the Battle of That Great Day of God Almighty. Since Revelation 16 does not specifically mention the battle, they turn to other passages describing it to prove the battle takes place after the seven last plagues. (We will review some of these passages later.)

Some may wonder why the battle is not explicitly mentioned in Revelation 16. One reason is that the topic of this passage describing the seven last plagues (or vials of wrath) is confined to summarizing each plague. To explain the battle in detail would require a disproportionate amount of space, thus the battle is covered in detail in later scriptures.

To presume the battle would follow the seventh and final last plague is utterly illogical. Consider what takes place during it: “The seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great” (vs. 17-21).

After such a colossal earthquake, which will cause the cities worldwide to collapse and islands and mountains to disappear, the conglomeration of armies would hardly be able to pick up their equipment, much less fight a battle! If this were not enough, a great hail, with hailstones weighing as much as 120 pounds each, would not help matters either. Perhaps some of the heavily armored tanks and half-tracks might withstand the hailstones, but the remainder of the army would not fare so well. Rocket launchers, missile launchers, laser weapons and other modern high-tech equipment could not weather a barrage of massive hailstones and still be operative. This final burst of God’s wrath is so decisive that it is ludicrous to think that a fighting force could withstand such an onslaught and still be able to join ranks and fight a battle. In fact, the voices that come out of heaven as this final plague begins sum up the matter with the words, “IT IS DONE.” The last vestiges of man’s resistance to God are squashed with this plague. This also ends the Day of the Lord.

It is impossible that a battle could immediately follow this plague!

More basic logic: If the seven vials represent God’s fullness—completion—of wrath against all human resistance, why would a final battle that truly is the culmination of God’s wrath take place after the seven last plagues? In other words, after these seven events, such a battle would be unnecessary. More foundation has now been laid.

When Does Christ Stand on the Mount of Olives?

Let’s continue building the backdrop of events surrounding Christ’s Return. As mentioned, in chapter 16 of Revelation, we read of the mobilization of the armies to fight Christ, but a description of the actual warfare is not included there. Zechariah 14:1-5 provides more detail of the battle and helps clarify the order in which these events occur.

Verse 1 mentions the Day of the Lord coming, which is the context of the time we are discussing. Then in verse 2, we read of the gathering of the armies of all nations near Jerusalem for battle, just as we read in Rev. 16:12-14. Verse 2 also shows Jerusalem under attack by these armies. In verse 3, we read of the Lord (the Eternal, who is Christ) going forth and fighting against these armies “as in the day of battle.” And in verse 3 the battle is in progress. Verse 4 shows that Christ’s feet stand in that day on the Mount of Olives. In the same one-day timeframe, therefore, the earthquake takes place.

In summary, Zechariah 14 reveals that the Battle of That Great Day of God Almighty has been concluded by the completion of the seventh plague.

How Some Twist the Sequence of Zechariah 14:1-5

In Zechariah 14:3, we read, “Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle.” Some take the phrase “as when He fought in the day of battle” and apply it specifically to Joshua’s long day in Joshua 10:12-14. The miracles that occurred during that 48-hour day were incredible. Here is verse 14: “There was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel.” The reason the revisionists refer to Joshua’s long day is that large hailstones fell at that time and are also prophesied to fall during the seventh last plague. By asserting a parallel with Zechariah 14:3, the seventh last plague is then made to sound as if it had already occurred before Christ engaged those gathered to resist His Return.

This is an attempt to make a connection between two entirely separate events that have no bearing whatsoever on one another! The sequence of the battle in Joshua simply does not parallel the events of the seventh trumpet. Though hailstones fell before the battle during Joshua’s long day, this does not mean the hailstones of the seventh last plague must occur before the Battle of That Great Day of God Almighty.

This reinterpretation of Zechariah 14:3 requires fancy theological footwork and irrational leaps in logic to change the basic chronology of events.

Verse 4 shows that Jesus Christ shall stand on the Mount of Olives on the same day of the battle. The Mount will split in two during the great earthquake, which occurs after His arrival. Noted above, this earthquake is the greatest in all history.

Another vital point to show Christ will stand on the Mount of Olives close to the time of the seventh of the last plagues is found in Revelation 14:9-10: “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels [who return with Christ—Matthew 25:31], and in the presence of the Lamb [also including the saints].”

This shows that not only are these individuals to be consumed by fire, but anyone bearing the Mark of the Beast shall drink of God’s wrath “in the presence of the Lamb.” Christ will indeed be present on Earth as the final plague fulfills the wrath of God—HE WILL NOT BE IN HEAVEN, OR AT THE WEDDING SUPPER! If He did not stand on the Mount of Olives until after the seventh plague was fulfilled, then the verses above would be inaccurate.

When all relevant verses are assembled, comparison with Joshua’s long day is exposed as a smokescreen to alter the correct sequence of events. Accept the plain meaning of Scripture to avoid being deceived by subtle maneuvering.

Are the Saints Present in Heaven During a Daniel 7 “Coronation Ceremony”?

The details of Daniel 7 are often misunderstood as representing the saints appearing before the Father in heaven to receive positions of authority alongside Christ. Let’s more closely examine what this chapter truly reveals regarding the saints receiving their reward.

Wedding-supper-in-heaven theorists correctly observe that Christ comes to the Father’s throne to receive dominion over Earth. However, mirroring Protestant theology, they then conclude that the saints must also come to heaven to receive their reward in what they term “The Coronation Ceremony.”

The next verses explicitly show that Christ was brought directly into the presence of the Father to receive His dominion. Christ’s coronation is in Daniel 7:13-14: “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man [Christ] came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days [the Father], and they brought Him [Christ] near before Him [the Father]. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”

The word “came” in verse 13, where Christ comes to the Ancient of Days (the Father), derives from the Chaldee term metah and implies “being found present.” It also means “to come” or “to reach.”

Verses 21-22 show that “the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints.” In this case, the word “came” derived from the Chaldee term athah. Here, it means “to arrive” or “to bring.” The context of verses 21-22 shows that the Ancient of Days (in this case, Jesus Christ) “arrived,” in the sense of intervening from heaven on behalf of the saints who were being prevailed against, or subdued, by the symbolic horn.

Since the “horn,” representing the papacy, was prevailing against the saints (collectively all of them over a 2,000-year period) until the Ancient of Days “arrived” to give judgment to them, they were obviously on Earth—the saints could not possibly be subject to the horn’s oppression if they were IN HEAVEN!

To conclude that the saints receive dominion from the Father in the same manner as does Christ requires another extreme leap in logic. This series of verses does not remotely imply that the saints were ever brought before the Father’s presence, before or after they are given dominion (their reward). The misguided “teachers” of the wedding supper theories believe that “The Coronation Ceremony” is then immediately followed by the wedding supper in heaven. False.

The truth of when and where the saints receive their reward comes clear in another of Christ’s parables, beginning in Luke 19:11: “And as they heard these things, He added and spoke a parable, because He was near to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.”

Then, in verse 12, Jesus began explaining His own role: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.” This verse parallels His appearing before the Father to receive His dominion—a coronation that precedes Christ’s Return to Earth.

Next, before Jesus left them, He gave His servants assignments: “He called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come” (vs. 13).

In verse 15, Christ returns: “And it came to pass, that when he was RETURNED, having received [past tense] the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.” The sequence of events here is IMPOSSIBLE TO MISUNDERSTAND! Honesty is the only thing necessary to see the truth.

Verses 16-17 describe Christ rewarding His servants according to their works: “Then came the first, saying, Lord, your pound has gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, you good servant: because you have been faithful in a very little, have you authority over ten cities.” This parable plainly shows Christ brings each man’s reward with Him at His Return.

IT DOES NOT OCCUR IN HEAVEN! Just read Revelation 22:12: “Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”

Another verse confirms this: “Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him: behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him” (Isa. 40:10). The whole Church once knew this spoke of Christ, Who returns to appoint rulership according to how much His servants have applied themselves and grown—and, it should be added, avoided all forms of heresy!

Referring to related scriptures often clarifies uncertainty with a particular verse. Those who neglect to do this, and instead choose reckless speculation, become entwined in confusion.

The Triumphant Return of Christ

Christ’s Second Coming, the most critical point in all history, is too important to cover in Revelation 16 as a mere sub-point of the seven last plagues. Thus, John was inspired to record a separate, detailed description.

Revelation 19:11-16 describes the triumphal entry of Christ: “I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He does judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns [being brought to the saints]; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

Before continuing, recognize that Scripture does not document every aspect of what happens to the saints immediately after the First Resurrection. However, it is obvious they meet Christ in the air (I Thes. 4:17), and since they will at that point be God Beings, they will certainly have the ability to go anywhere in the universe, including the third heaven. Also, Scripture reveals that all aspects of the Seventh Trumpet—all of the seven last plagues—occur in one day. More detail on this comes later. But since there is the mistaken belief that nine days elapse between the First Resurrection and when Christ sets His feet on the Mount of Olives, some conclude that the resurrected saints go to the third heaven immediately and to the wedding supper. (The saints could—in theory—go to the third heaven after being changed, or anywhere else, if that were God’s Plan, because they will be able to travel anywhere in the universe instantaneously. But the wedding supper occurring at this time is not possible, as we will continue to prove.)

Those who teach that the wedding supper is in heaven believe that it occurs during the seven last plagues. Revelation 15:8 is used to support this thinking. They claim that the statement “no man was able to enter the temple, till the seven plagues…were fulfilled,” means that the coronation, the marriage and the wedding supper are taking place during this time.

This makes no sense for several reasons.

First, the scripture simply does not state the saints and Christ, and the Father, are closeted in the temple during this time. This is just not there. Would the Bible be silent on such a GIANT EVENT if they were? Of course not!

Second, we already read Revelation 14:10, which explains that the wrath of God is “poured out…in the presence of the Lamb.” This could not be true if Christ is in the heavenly temple.

Third, we saw the Battle of That Great Day of God Almighty takes place during the conclusion of these plagues. How could Christ and the saints be in the temple, while at the same time fighting those who oppose His Return?

Fourth, could anyone honestly believe this wonderful, joyous celebration takes place at the very time God is completing—fulfilling—“without mixture”—His wrath upon rebellious humanity? Reread this question.

Now consider the most urgent issue pressing upon Christ and the saints between the resurrection and the battle, which, again, occurs in the same day.

In Jude 14, it reveals the saints constitute part of the armies (with the angels, Matthew 24:31) returning with Christ: “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints.” Psalms 149:5-9 speaks of the warfare the saints help carry out: “Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand; to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written: this honor have all His saints.”

Since the saints are to some degree to take part in this great climactic battle (Rev. 17:14 shows them to be present during war with the Beast and False Prophet), some preparation may be necessary before joining such an event. Being changed to a Spirit being will be a quantum leap in understanding and capability, but a degree of preparation might still be required for this duty. Malachi 4:2 shows Spirit beings are capable of growing and learning—obviously true of the Father and Christ.

Christ and His saints have to be concerned with Satan using this great battle as an opportunity to bring about as much destruction on Earth as possible. Measures must be taken to restrain them, as the enemy is subdued. God “destroys them which destroy the earth” (Rev. 11:18).

The upcoming battle would take precedence over the marriage and wedding supper, which would naturally occur after the final victory is secured. Even dispensing of rewards to individual saints might be delayed until after the battle. Nowhere in the Bible do we find a celebration occurs in advance of achieving victory. THIS WOULD MAKE NO SENSE!

Think about the implications of the wedding supper occurring while Satan is still influencing humanity and ravaging the earth. Similar to the fourth point above, ask: Would Christ and His saints be in heaven celebrating while Satan is still wreaking havoc on Earth?

The Marriage of the Lamb: Within the Context of Revelation 19

Let’s continue examining false “logic.” We saw Revelation 15:8 is used to assert that the saints and Christ are cloistered away in the temple. Yet they ignore chapter 16, which describes the seven last plagues. The humanly revised sequence of events jumps to the beginning of Revelation 19. Again, some twist the timing, teaching that the wedding and the following supper take place before the battle described in the second half of the chapter.

The theorists observe that Revelation 19:7-9 references the marriage and wedding supper before the account of Christ’s Return and the final battle, in verses 11 to 21. First verse 6: “I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigns.”

At the time of this praise in heaven, Christ is already reigning on Earth. The term used for “reign” (or “reigns”) is the Greek basileuo, which means to rule as a sovereign or king. An imperfect verb tense (denoting something impending in the course of time) is not implied. When the angelic beings praise Christ, he is already reigning!

This “voice of many waters” continues in verses 7-9: “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he said unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said unto me, These are the true sayings of God.”

Let’s analyze “for the marriage of the Lamb is come…” Does this mean the marriage ceremony is already in process at that time—or, does it mean that it is an impending certainty yet to occur?

Here, the Greek verb for “come” can, and often does, apply to the imperfect tense, which can denote a continuous event or something that will happen in the future.

The intended meaning of the word “come (or comes)” is revealed by comparing it with Rev. 11:14: “The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe comes quickly.” “Comes” is identical to the word “come” found in Rev. 19:7. In both cases the Greek term is erchomai, and pictures an impending event—one that has not yet occurred! At the time this is voiced in heaven, the marriage has almost arrived, but is not yet in process.

Having already established that, at this point, God (Christ) was already reigning (vs. 6) and that the marriage was an event to take place in the immediate future (vs. 7), it is not possible that the marriage of the Lamb and the following wedding supper could have preceded the beginning of Christ’s reign on the earth!

Even though the exact hour of the wedding supper is not explicitly disclosed, when it does occur, Christ will already be reigning on Earth.

Does Christ Return at Pentecost?

An inset: Many proponents of the wedding supper in heaven theory believe Christ returns on Pentecost, not Trumpets or at any other time. (Understand that LCG does not appear to yet go this far. But what we are about to cover is all part of the foundation they chose to stand on without understanding how faulty was every brick within it.)

Since Revelation is not specific as to what happens to the saints as soon as they are resurrected, these advocates assert that this is made clear in Leviticus 23—claiming this is “the key” to understanding the subject. It is not.

The fact that the firstfruits in God’s Plan were symbolized by the two wave loaves and presented to God at the time of Pentecost leads promoters of the doctrine to conclude that the time of the firstfruit harvest, and hence the First Resurrection, occurs on Pentecost.

Let’s read in Leviticus 23:9-11 about the wave sheaf offering: “The Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When you come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: and he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.”

Verse 17 commands the offering of the two wave loaves of bread, made with leavening. These represent the firstfruits in God’s Plan of salvation. One loaf is correctly understood to represent the Old Testament patriarchs, servants and prophets who constitute the Old Testament Church. The second represents the New Testament Church. Both loaves were baked with leavening, symbolizing that all God’s servants were not free of sin, although they were seeking to overcome it.

The word “wave” relating to the wave sheaf offering comes from the Hebrew term nuwph, meaning “to vibrate up and down” or “rock to and fro.” This term can also mean “to lift up, to move, sift, strike or wave.” Promoters of the theory stress that the term “wave” means to “lift up” and dismiss the other possible definitions. The Strong’s definition clearly supports that “wave” simply means “wave.” The theorists tie the idea of the wave loaves being “elevated” with their assumption that the saints are elevated to God’s throne at the resurrection. The creative suppositions drawn from the wave sheaf ceremony are based on translations of terms that are, at best, ambiguous.

I should have warned that some of the thinking we would encounter was awfully silly.

Advocates of these new theories do not emphasize the Law of God being given at Sinai at Pentecost, or the Holy Spirit being given on this day for the New Testament Church. Rather, they stress their idea that the harvest of the firstfruits—which they equate with the First Resurrection—together with the marriage to Christ and the wedding supper (in heaven), must all occur on Pentecost. This represents an entirely new twist to the meaning of the Holy Days—one NEVER taught in God’s Church when it was on track under Mr. Armstrong and during the Philadelphian age. Not only do they reinterpret the timing of prophetic fulfillments, they also relegate all these events to the wrong day!

To reach their conclusions, revisionists dismiss many other aspects of prophecy—as they do with the meaning of other Holy Days.

Holy Days and the Day of the Lord

The Day of the Lord begins at the first trumpet, possibly or even likely to occur on the Feast of Trumpets. Forgetting the duration of the Day of the Lord, they teach that it ends about eight months later, at Pentecost.

God’s Church has long understood that the Day of the Lord lasts for one full year, using the day-for-a-year principle of Ezekiel 4:6 and Numbers 14:34. Also notice: “For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the YEAR of recompenses for the controversy of Zion” (Isa. 34:8—see also 61:2; 63:4).

It has also long been understood that, unlike the spring Holy Days (including Pentecost), the fall Holy Days represent prophetic events that are yet to occur. The Feast of Trumpets is a celebration of triumph in the future event that it pictures—the Return of Jesus Christ at the sound of the seventh trumpet, probably coinciding with the First Resurrection.

Since the fall Holy Days represent future events, it is logical that the Feast of Trumpets would be directly related to the sounding of the trumpets and the fulfillment of the trumpet plagues. Since the Day of the Lord was understood to last one full year, naturally, not all seven of the trumpet plagues would occur on the Feast of Trumpets. However, it is understood that the first and the seventh trumpet perhaps will likely occur on that Holy Day—one year apart.

If the Day of the Lord begins at the sounding of the First Trumpet on the Feast of Trumpets, it would finalize at that time as well—that is, the Seventh Trumpet would sound on the Feast of Trumpets precisely one year later.

To promote their heretical ideas, those who advocate a Pentecost date for the wedding supper, in effect, strip the Feast of Trumpets of its intended meaning, reducing it to a “Feast of Plagues,” thus removing the pivotal element of the Return of Christ.

Now ask: If the advocates of the wedding supper theory are in error on so many peripheral issues, on what basis could one hope that they are remotely correct on their central idea?

“That Great Day”

The Living Church of God’s newer version of the wedding supper heresy asserts that nine days elapse between the sounding of the seventh trumpet and when Christ returns to fight “the Battle of That Great Day of God Almighty.” They propose that the seven last plagues occur in this period, after which Christ arrives to fight gathered armies “on or just prior to the Day of Atonement”—after the wedding supper had taken place away from an Earth still deceived by Satan and under destruction by God.

This idea fails the test of Scripture! Let’s now examine in more detail how all seven LAST plagues occur on the very same day that Christ returns. Let’s start with the Old Testament, looking for a key phrase:

In that day, says the LORD, will I assemble her that halts, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; and I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even forever” (Mic. 4:6-7).

“The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day …And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day” (Isa. 2:11, 17).

Jeremiah 25:29-33, 46:10 and 50:29-32 all reference the same day as do Micah and Isaiah. This is the day to focus on in this context. It is described in Revelation 16:14: “For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world [think of verses we just read] to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” Note the phrase “THAT Great Day.” (While this is the only place God names this battle, the same day is mentioned throughout the Bible, but usually with the phrase “in that day” or “in the day.” These all identify this final climatic LITERAL DAY, and ALL that it represents!

The Bible reveals that 21 EVENTS occur on this SINGLE DAY—“in that day.” Events we have been discussing are not stretched over nine days, as LCG asserts (or four months from Pentecost to Trumpets). Now comes the most fascinating part of this article! Here are 21 EVENTS that ALL occur on that great day, some almost simultaneously. Again, they all happen on ONE DAY! May God help you understand this awesome truth, and how these events relate to YOU. Exact order is not always clear, but close:

  1. Jesus Christ leaves heaven with His army—the saints are not with him, as they are not resurrected yet (Rev. 19:11-14)
  2. Angels gather the dead saints to where the living ones are, at the Place of Safety (Matt. 24:30-31)
  3. The seventh trumpet sounds (Rev. 11:15-19)
  4. Heaven and God’s Temple are exposed, accompanied by an earthquake and great hail (Rev. 11:19)
  5. The dead saints are resurrected and the living saints changed to spirit, meeting Christ in the air (Jude 14-15; I Thes. 4:14-17; I Cor. 15:51-52)
  6. Babylon receives special plagues (Rev. 18:8-24)
  7. Famine (of food and commerce) culminates in Babylon (vs. 8, 9, 11, 15, 18-19)
  8. The Battle of That Great Day of God Almighty is fought (Rev. 16:14; Zech. 14:1-3, 12-13; Rev. 19:19; Isa. 42:13; Joel 3)
  9. Persecuted local Jews in Jerusalem join in the battle (Zech. 14:14). Most simply never notice this.
  10. Birds eat the flesh of the dead (“supper of the Great God” – Rev. 19:17-18; Zeph. 1:7-18)
  11. The Beast and False Prophet are executed in the presence of the saints (Rev. 17:14; 19:19-20; Dan. 7:8-11)
  12. One year of wrath ends (Job 14:13)
  13. Christ’s feet stand on the Mount of Olives in that day (Zech. 14:3-4; Micah 1:3-4; Rev. 1:7; Matt. 24:30 – not one, two or nine days later! Also, recall that Christ ascended from this same place – Acts 1:11-12)
  14. The Mount of Olives splits (Zech. 14:4)
  15. Jewish inhabitants flee to the mountains through this new valley (vs. 5)
  16. The healing river appears (vs. 8)
  17. The devil is bound (Rev. 20:1-3)
  18. The saints’ 1000 years begins (Zech. 14:9; Rev. 20:4)
  19. The saints receive their reward (Rev. 11:17-18; 20:4)—it is difficult to pinpoint exactly when reward is given in relation to other events, but this does occur at some point on this day, perhaps at the marriage and supper
  20. Christ marries the Church (Rev. 19:7-8)
  21. The marriage supper (Rev. 19:9 – Again, would the marriage supper precede the battle, with the saints enjoying a joyous occasion while armies gather? Supper is typically eaten at or near the end of a biblical day (sunset-to-sunset)—especially in the land of Israel, where sunset times do not vary nearly as much as in places further from the equator.)

This list holds several implications related to the wedding supper. Here are three:

  • The armies leaving heaven are angels, not saints, since the saints are not yet resurrected at that point. Angels also wear clean, white linen (Rev. 15:6; also see Ezek. 9, 10).
  • All events occur in one 24-hour period, which does not allow Christ to come for His people, make an immediate U-turn, and then have a multi-day wedding feast while plagues unfold on Earth below!
  • A wedding supper cannot be squeezed between the saints being given eternal life at the last trump and Christ’s feet landing on the Mount of Olives—again, in the same day!

We might ask, why would the seven last plagues be so brief, all fitting within one day, when previous plagues could last as long as five months? The reason: the cumulative effect of these disasters would erase plant, animal and human life from Earth if they continued. Remember, this is the FULL MEASURE of God’s wrath—but He limits the duration of these severe plagues to preserve the lives of the perhaps 10 percent of humanity that survives into the Millennium. These plagues serve a crucial purpose in bringing satanic, unyielding and unrepentant human holdouts to their end, to be resurrected later during a very different time period 1,000 years after.

(For much more detail of all that occurs after the seventh trumpet, serious readers will want to listen to my sermon “Revelation—Part Two: That Great Day.” It will astonish you.)

From all indications, survivors of “that great day” will gather to keep the Feast of Tabernacles soon to follow, as seen in Zechariah 14:16. The remnant of humanity would still be numb from the Day of the Lord and the trauma of wars, earthquakes and other disasters. The logistics of arranging the Feast would ordinarily be impossible, but now in the hands of Christ and the saints, it can quickly become a reality. Remember, this Feast was originally held in dwellings made of tree boughs. A feast on the heels of such traumatic times might necessitate similar temporary dwellings.

Notice how Christ tenderly deals with these weary survivors at this time: “Comfort you, comfort you My people, says your God…He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young…He gives power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isa. 40:1, 11, 29-31).

The point is that the marriage and wedding supper will occur very soon after Christ’s Return—but not before He subdues human rebellion and puts in order certain issues in the list above, as modern revisionists would have us believe.

The Time of the Marriage Covenant with Ancient Israel

Another brief inset. Some claim the wedding supper will occur on Pentecost based on the assumption that Christ married ancient Israel on Pentecost. This needs clarification. Some points are helpful to consider regarding the original marriage covenant between Christ and ancient Israel, which did take place about the time of Pentecost around 1443 B.C.

Three days before the Law was given at Mount Sinai, this account took place: “Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; you have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto Myself. Now therefore, if you will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine: and you shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak unto the children of Israel. And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord has spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord” (Exod. 19:3-8).

Three days later, God thundered the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai—the basis of the covenant Israel was to keep. However, it was not until one or more days after the Law was given on Pentecost that the covenant was confirmed. This is plainly shown by the account in Exodus 24:3-8: “And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord has said will we do. And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning, and built an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the Lord. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord has said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord has made with you concerning all these words.”

The confirmation of the Old Covenant occurred after Pentecost—not on that day. Therefore, this cannot be used to prove the wedding will be (or start) on Pentecost.

Wearing “White Linen”

Certain others, now including the Living Church of God’s leaders, proclaim that the armies of Revelation 19:14 are saints returning from the wedding supper. Since the armies are arrayed in “fine linen, white and clean,” the assumption is that these white garments are their wedding garments. They are not.

These deceivers fail to realize that angels also wear clean white linen, as alluded to earlier in the chapter. Revelation 15:6 shows that the angels who pour out the last seven plagues are wearing pure white linen. The angel who appeared to Daniel in Daniel 10:5 wore linen, as well. In Ezekiel, the angel who set a mark upon the forehead of those who sighed and cried also wore this same linen attire (9:2, 3, 11; 10:2, 6, 7). The 24 elders at the Throne of God in heaven are also clothed in white raiment (Rev. 4:4). Even the garment worn by God the Father (Ancient of Days) is defined as “white as snow” (Dan. 7:9). It should be clear that white linen attire is not exclusive to the wedding feast.

Recall from the explanation of “that great day” that it is impossible for the saints to be part of this army as it leaves heaven since they have not yet been resurrected. It may appear the event of verse 14 occurs after the resurrection—if one reads Revelation in the order it was written. But the book is not written in exact sequence. (MANY examples could be cited. Think of them yourself.) Reading it in that manner leads to a host of errors. The wedding supper heresy is but one.

Assuming the saints had just come from the wedding supper, would the armies, the saints included, casually approach the battle still attired in wedding clothes? Of course not! To use this as proof of their having somehow already been to a wedding feast implies they would be dressed differently the rest of the time. The Bible does not state, or even imply, that this fine linen is only worn at the wedding feast.

Here is the significance of fine white linen: “…the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints” (Rev. 19:8). Revelation 3:4-5 states this in relation to the meaning of white raiment: “You have a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment…” In these verses, the white garments represent being undefiled, being worthy and having overcome.

Don’t forget what so many have: The Bible always interprets itself—for those who are willing to allow it.

The Setting

Proponents insist that the wedding supper must be in heaven because the most inspiring and immaculate surroundings are found there. But they forget the miracle God performed at Mount Sinai, recorded in Exodus 24:9-11: “Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: and they saw the God of Israel: and there was under His feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel He laid not His hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.”

Here we see that the marriage and wedding supper could occur on the sea of glass (see Rev. 4:6) without having to be in heaven. The glory of God’s surroundings can, to a degree, be brought to Earth when necessary. The glorified Christ (with legions of angels) will be here and will be fully capable of providing what is necessary at the time of His marriage.

The Living Church of God’s “Stand Before God’s Throne” article adds to the false theory, teaching that the reference to “before the throne” in Revelation 14:3, 5 indicates the saints are in heaven partaking of the wedding supper. Verse 3 does describe the 144,000 standing before the “throne,” “four beasts” and “elders.” Where careless readers go wrong is assuming that these verses are sequential in the story flow of Revelation—after the seventh trumpet mentioned in 11:15 and before Christ comes from heaven in 19:14. Some read this as indication of time sequence, and as a result conclude that this scene must happen at that moment in the unfolding of events. But remember that Revelation is not written in precise time sequence—it includes a number of “inset” passages and chapters, and Chapter 14 is one of them!

Since the resurrected saints will not be constrained to Earth for the 1,100 years that precede the Father setting up His throne here, they will have free access to heaven all during that time and forever after. The scene of the 144,000 standing before the throne in heaven, though, can only happen sometime after all the events occur on “that great day,” when the saints are born of the Spirit—and after the wedding supper has already occurred on Earth. Also—get this!—the 144,000 are described as singing before God’s throne. Nothing else is said other than the description of who they are.

LCG also teaches that the Father will “officiate the wedding,” and since He will not come to Earth until the new heavens and new earth are established, this must then mean that the wedding and following supper will be in heaven. On the surface this seems plausible. The problem? SCRIPTURE NOWHERE INDICATES OR EVEN SUGGESTS THE FATHER OFFICIATES THE WEDDING. Rather, men with no scriptural authority to bring doctrine—“evangelists”—promote this idea, attempting to add entirely unproven, unscriptural “credence” to their false “heavenly supper” idea.

False doctrines are often spawned when men try to force Scripture to state something it does not. As an atheist once correctly observed, “No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means.” Men start with a preconceived idea, and then go in pursuit of scriptures to support it, rather than simply allowing the Bible to both speak and interpret itself (the greatest rule of Bible study).

The Bible is silent on who officiates the wedding, if anyone?!—as such, so should be God’s Church! To invent an idea, and then force it into heaven to prove a preconceived assertion, is deceit—pure, unadulterated DECEIT!

“Straw Man Argument”

The same article states this: “Since heaven is not the reward of the saved, must we assume that the resurrected saints—born into the Family of God as His full children—will be ‘barred’ from any access to God’s throne in heaven?...we can see clearly that—just as Christ has access to the Father instantaneously at all times—the saints will be with the Lamb, even before the Father’s throne…If we are one in the Father and in Christ, we will certainly have immediate access to our Father in heaven.”

Referenced earlier, this is a classic “straw man argument.” By setting up a straw man—a fictional and silly line of reasoning that can be discounted—then knocking it down, the author believes he can use this hollow victory as supposed proof of some particular point.

Think. LCG says in effect: “If you do not accept the wedding supper as being in heaven, you must also believe the saints will have no access to the Father until His throne is established on Earth.” How silly—how false—how CUNNING!

As full members of the God Family, of course the saints will have access to the Father! Consider that many angels—on a lesser plane than God Beings—are present in God’s throne, and even Satan has had access (see Job chapters 1 and 2). Would God exclude his own Family? Of course not! And it has nothing to do with whether the wedding supper is on Earth! Recall Revelation 3:12, which describes the reward of Philadelphians: “Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out…” Will the Philadelphians be part of the Temple, but somehow have no access to the God who dwells there? Of course not!

That the saints will have free access to the third heaven in no way automatically leads to the conclusion that the wedding supper must be held there. Crafty deceivers always tip their “hand” (Eph. 4:14) if you watch them closely enough. But you must watch.

Does “One” Mean “Always in the Same Place”?

Elsewhere, LCG’s article presents another truly bizarre argument. Let’s see it: “Notice also that Jesus’ prayer to the Father reveals that Christ’s disciples will be one with Him and the Father! ‘I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me’ (John 17:20-23). If we are one in the Father and in Christ, we will certainly have immediate access to our Father in heaven.”

The leaps in logic here are just profound. God’s people were correctly taught for many years that “one” here means that the Father and Son are unified in mind, purpose and actions. But does this mean that to be “one,” you must be in the same location? Consider that when Jesus said to His Father in this prayer, “We are one”—He was on earth, and had not been with the Father for over three decades! This thinking is only a few shades away from the trinitarian argument that “one” means wrapped together in a three-in-one godhead. Finally, remember that this argument only comes into play if a person believes that without a wedding supper in heaven no saint can ever go there.

This passage in fact makes clear that God’s people are to be “one”—unified—here and now. Jesus’ real point is that the people of God are to be one spiritually (I Cor. 1:10), and in the same place, believing the same things and doing the same Work, under the same government of God, led by the one Jesus Christ—all in one organization. To believe otherwise is to reduce Christ’s prayer to a short-sighted exercise in futility, the very thing that most in the splinters do today when they teach the monstrous lie that the Body of Christ is today scattered into many groups. These same leaders are the ones actually empowering and fueling the scattering. Matthew 12:30 tells you what Christ thinks of them, and verses 31-32 tells you why many of these men (no one can know or judge how many) are headed for the lake of fire!

All those with God’s Spirit will eventually have to leave these men and return to God’s ONE Church, or lose His Spirit. Read John 10:3-5. Jesus said His sheep will not follow the voice of strangers when He “calls” their “name” and leads them to safety, away from these thieves and robbers. Romans 8:9, and particularly verse 14, make perfectly clear that God’s Spirit—the Spirit of Christ in them (vs. 9)—will lead them away from the thieving, murderous destroyers (John 10:10) they are following when their name is called.

What About Luke 12:36?

Finally, for the record, we should briefly consider Luke 12:36, which could be misused to justify the idea that the wedding supper precedes Christ’s Return. It reads: “And you yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he comes and knocks, they may open unto him immediately.”

This parable cannot be a reference to the wedding supper, as it would not make sense. Here is why: Verse 36 states that the “lord” returns from a wedding and then his servants receive him—after he returns. Understand. If this were speaking of Christ returning from the wedding supper, why tell His people to “open unto Him immediately” after having already married His bride (these very men and women)? This is entirely illogical! For Jesus to marry the Church, and then tell them to be ready for Him, simply does not make sense. Once the First Resurrection and wedding supper are finished, there is no need to watch for Christ’s Return and be ready to “open unto Him immediately.” The sequence of events in such a scenario simply does not work.

This parable has nothing to do with where and when the saints will partake of the wedding supper. It is simply making the crucial point that when Christ comes for His people, they need to be ready to receive Him immediately. Verses 37 through 40 make this clear. Jesus is telling His “flock” (vs. 32) to remain vigilant and “watch” for His coming—and all that implies—and thus making themselves ready to take part in the wedding supper.

God’s people have long struggled to harmonize various accounts and parables that describe (1) Jesus Christ being “revealed,” (2) His Second Coming, (3) His people being gathered around the world (“taken”) to a place of protection and then (4) later rising to meet Him, among other end-time events. All of this is covered in my eight-part sermon series “The 1,335 Days of the Son of Man.” You are “warned.” If you start the series, you will find yourself unable to stop until completion. But it will give you a complete foundation on which to place correct understanding of the marriage supper.

The Right Focus

The Bible declares, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Tim. 4:3-4). Paul was speaking of our time.

Those who have been seduced by false doctrines—fables!—regarding the wedding supper have lost sight of this warning: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (II Cor. 11:3).

The established pattern of faulty reasoning, misguided speculation and butchering of plain scriptures provides ample evidence of the “spirit of error” (I John 4:6) leading LCG.

Careful Bible study shows that today’s wedding supper in heaven idea is easily refuted. You have seen this.

Convoluted, confused, murky doctrine built on shallow, poorly conceived ideas does not come from Jesus Christ! Whether examining the wedding supper or any other prophecy (or any doctrine), we must make every effort to focus on the things that God’s Word clearly states, rather than speculating about events where His Word is not explicit.

My extensive books “Anoint Your Eyes” – Christ’s Warning to His People and The True Church – One Organization, or Many? explain in detail what is at stake for Christians in this age who lose sight of true doctrine. And for those who want to hear the truth of God presented with clarity, truth and authority, watch The World to Come program, now airing on nationwide (and eventually international) television.

Article Four – Is the “Falling Away” (II Thes. 2:3) a Future Worldwide Rebellion Led by the Man of Sin? Roderick Meredith and the Living Church of God now teach that the “falling away” of II Thessalonians 2:3 was not fulfilled in the Worldwide Church of God in the late 1980s and early 90s. Rather this event is a future “rebellion/revolt/apostasy” against God led by the man of sin (same verse) and involving the whole world. Is this correct? What did Mr. Armstrong teach? What do the Protestants teach? Did Rod Meredith always believe this? What does the Bible reveal? This article is a MUST READ!

Former members of the Worldwide Church of God have long believed that, after Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong’s death, the WCG underwent the prophesied “falling away” described in II Thessalonians 2:3—“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed.” The wholesale changes made under the false WCG leadership after Mr. Armstrong’s death caused many thousands to leave God, His government and His doctrines—the TRUTH!—either by staying put or joining Protestant churches. At the same time, many others joined a variety of doctrinally disagreeing groups, holding to differing amounts of truth, or simply went home. It was obvious and known to those with God’s Spirit that the discarding of true doctrines by the WCG was the apostasy to occur before Christ’s Return. You will see absolute proof this knowledge was once known to Roderick Meredith—and all the ministers following him.

Rod Meredith now claims the apostasy is a future event involving THE WORLD, not a past and present one involving GOD’S PEOPLE. He is rewriting history. What is the truth about the prophesied “falling away,” and why is understanding its timing so important? What have other LCG leaders said in support? What sources were used to ascertain this supposed “new truth”? Mr. Armstrong’s name is being used to propel this idea as something not new. What did he teach regarding “falling away”? Is God’s Word clear on this verse, and what can be learned from history?

This article brings answers! Prepare to be shocked at the even greater—and more dangerous—level of deception coming from the leadership of LCG. What will be presented are the plain facts about II Thessalonians 2:3—as well as the evident spirit so obviously guiding this change.

Setting the Stage

First comes a brief overview of LCG’s teaching. (We will later examine the explanation—and tactics—that Rod Meredith and others use to sell their new thinking.) Then we will examine what Mr. Armstrong taught. Finally, we will see what ALL of God’s people commonly understood about whether what occurred in the WCG fulfilled II Thessalonians 2:3. This includes what all members in the Global Church of God under Rod Meredith believed. It also includes quotes from Rod Meredith. I taught more about the falling away while in GCG than anyone else—by far. We will also see what I taught there (written and spoken)—and what Rod Meredith agreed with, and the entire ministry understood—for almost six years!

Here is a sample of what Rod Meredith now teaches. It is from the March-April 2012 edition of The Living Church News, and comes from an article titled “Is It Wrong to GROW in Knowledge?” (bold emphasis his):

“Even now, brethren, our Council of Elders is discussing a few ‘technical’ points that Mr. Armstrong could not have humanly anticipated, considering that he died in 1986, before certain prophecies had begun to be fulfilled…”

“Brethren, we do need to be careful about ‘new understandings.’ Consider some popular ideas among God’s people regarding the ‘Great Apostasy’ of 2 Thessalonians 2:1–10. Mr. Armstrong understood that this rebellion involved the whole world. Indeed, the Greek word apostasia is more accurately translated into English as ‘rebellion’ rather than ‘apostasy,’ and Mr. Armstrong rightly understood that it connotes an uprising far broader than the consequences of doctrinal heresy within God’s little flock, involving a man of sin whose very visible and physical demonstrations of power will affect the whole world…”

“Yes, what happened in Worldwide may certainly have been a ‘type’ of the final apostasy. But it was not the major one described in 2 Thessalonians 2–3.”

First, Rod Meredith is so obviously inconsistent right out of the gate. He describes what “Mr. Armstrong could not have humanly anticipated…before certain prophecies had begun to be fulfilled…”, but then later says, “Mr. Armstrong understood that this rebellion involved the whole world.” And no correct definition of apostasia includes the word “rebellion.” You will see this.

Referring to what Mr. Armstrong in fact DID teach (the apostasy involves the Church) through use of the authorless term “popular idea” is EXACTLY what Mr. Armstrong’s successors did when they wanted to discredit his teaching without invoking his name. They knew this tactic was crucial to reducing natural resistance they would automatically arouse against their deceit. Clever seducers never forget this. (We will later examine closely a whole series of tactics employed by Rod Meredith just as did Mr. Armstrong’s successors.) Again, Rod Meredith does then go on to use Mr. Armstrong’s name (and supposed belief and teaching) to falsely claim that he always understood the primary “falling away” involved the world, with the Church a mere “type” of the real event. The entire quote is patently FALSE, an utter LIE—a complete FICTION—that can be easily disproven! You will also see this. In the meantime, a small seed must be planted for the reader to think about as we proceed. The world cannot fall away from what it never had. Neither can any individual. One must know the truth to fall away from it. Not one member or minister has ever described anyone falling away from anything other than God’s Way and truth. This seed will grow into a giant sequoia before this article is over.

The following article was published in LCG’s Tomorrow’s World July-August 2012 edition, written by Doug Winnail (LCG’s Church Administration Director) and titled “The Great Rebellion Against God”:

“Bible prophecy lists numerous signs that will precede Jesus Christ’s second coming, but the Apostle Paul specifically notes two major events that will occur just before Christ returns. He writes, ‘that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition’ (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Paul tells us that the appearance of this ‘man of sin’ on the world stage will be accompanied by ‘signs, and lying wonders’ performed by a false religious leader using Satan’s power (2 Thessalonians 2:9). This display of supernatural demonic power will deceive millions into following this Satan-inspired individual and the system he is promoting…”

“…Together, the political leader and the miracle-working false prophet will lead the world into a Satan-inspired system that will be totally contrary to the laws of God. This will be the ultimate fulfillment of the ‘falling away’ or ‘great apostasy’ against God that the Apostle Paul described in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Bible prophecies reveal this is coming in the years just ahead!”

This quote certainly does describe some events that will happen. Its error, and this is one of the big problems with this false teaching, is that it links the man of sin deceiving the world with the falling away that occurs among God’s people before this happens. The man of sin certainly does deceive the masses worldwide, but at least quickly notice at this point how the falling away (1) “comes first” and (2) is not called a “great” falling away. It is merely called a “falling away.” Within the Church it was certainly a big event, to say the least—and perhaps we could say a “great event.” But God through the apostle Paul does not use “great” to describe it. This word is simply added to make the scope of the supposed modern apostasy (falling away) appear larger on the world scene—as a “major event” and “great apostasy,” as Winnail calls it.

Open your Bible and read the way the verse begins. It should deeply sober you. It opens, “Let no man deceive you by any means…” Here is the reason: A falling away cannot come unless deceivers come to bring it. Hence, the overarching introductory warning about this. Here is the point: Paul is writing to BRETHREN, not the WORLD. It is brethren who could be fooled by deceivers—using “any means”—and thereby get sucked INTO the falling away when it would come. A paraphrase might be, “Look out for deceivers, brethren, because there is a falling away coming at the end of the age and you could get caught in it.”

We will also include a statement from Rod Meredith’s puppet used to attack others, Bob Thiel, to show how he initially quickly fell into line with the new error/thinking. But his words are better held for later.

What Mr. Armstrong Taught

So then, we should at least ask: Was the idea that “the-falling-away-is-an-all-nations-rebellion” understood and taught by Mr. Armstrong, as Meredith and LCG leaders claim? You will see that whenever Mr. Armstrong referenced II Thessalonians 2:3 he never—NEVER!—talked about a coming, future world apostasy/rebellion/revolt. I repeat: NEVER! Incidentally, Rod Meredith loves to repeat that he “talked with Mr. Armstrong for thousands of hours” through the years. While this is patently false—think it through—EVERYONE near Mr. Armstrong knows Rod Meredith was almost completely kept away from Mr. Armstrong for the last many years of his life. I was not kept away, and periodically spoke with and visited Mr. Armstrong until the summer before he died. And I talked with him about prophecy at length over the last 15 years of his life possibly more than anyone, and certainly more than Rod Meredith—and Mr. Armstrong never once suggested or even speculated that the “falling away” was in any way applicable to the world before the end came.

But let’s allow you to see this for yourself. Mr. Armstrong’s first quote (of six) shows how he defined “apostasy” and “falling away.” He is speaking about the first century departure “from God’s basic original TRUTH.” His position near the end of his life was clear, in fact, impossible to misunderstand. The second quote simply underscores the first—that “apostasy” and “turning away” (falling away) is something one does against the truth (italics mine, all other emphasis his):

“The apostasy and falling away from God’s basic original TRUTH started about A.D. 54, near the time Paul wrote of the Galatians turning to a counterfeit gospel (Gal. 1:6-7). That spirit of iniquity, contrary to God’s Law, was already working when Paul wrote to the Thessalonians (II Thess. 2:7).

“The Church continued, often meeting secretly ‘underground,’ often fleeing, many being tortured and martyred. By 1926 when I first came among that fledgling Church, it was spiritually dead (Rev. 3:1). They still clung to the truth of the Sabbath, the Law of God and the true name. But much original truth had been lost, though it was all recorded in the Scriptures. But, even late in the first century, Jude pleaded for God’s people to ‘earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints’ (Jude 3).”

Co-Worker Letter, Herbert W. Armstrong, March 19, 1981

“God Almighty has called YOU, with me, to the most important mission on earth in these final perilous days! 1900 years ago Jesus Christ came to earth with a Message from GOD to man. He taught that Message to His Disciples, whom He ordained Apostles. For two 19-year time-cycles they were allowed to proclaim that vital Gospel Message to the world of that day. But apostacy set in. Men turned AWAY from the TRUTH and unto FABLES (II Tim 4:l-4). After 69 A.D., the true Gospel Jesus brought was never again proclaimed in any organized manner to the world.

“Instead, Gentiles came into the Church, bringing with them their PAGAN beliefs and customs. They began to call their PAGAN religion ‘Christianity.’ They continued to accept and go by the NAME of Christ. They continued to preach a gospel of their own ABOUT Christ. But HIS VITAL MESSAGE they snuffed out! All this, Jesus and the New Testament writers foretold!”

Co-Worker Letter, February 13, 1959

Next comes a powerful 1949 quote in which Mr. Armstrong is writing in some detail entirely about the first century apostasy. Later in the article you will see how Doug Winnail carefully excerpts the parts in bold and underlined to make Mr. Armstrong appear to be talking about a future event when you will see that he was talking entirely about the past—first century events of almost 2,000 years ago! (This was the same tactic—selective ellipsing from context to defeat true meaning—LCG used to “prove” Mr. Armstrong believed Christ’s role as Savior is part of the gospel of the kingdom of God.) What Winnail does is simply a DASTARDLY LIE. If you doubt this, or think my language too strong, keep reading. You will gain extraordinary insight into the minds of deceivers at work, and learn why it is so easy to deceive the unwitting and unsuspecting—those who let others easily guide their thinking without checking the facts.

Mr. Armstrong opens his letter speaking about World War II. Think of all that Doug Winnail could/should have quoted as you read. Perhaps he also did not want his readers to see how Mr. Armstrong defined the true gospel:

“Why did God let us win? Why did He give us this present armistice? For one purpose only, my dear co-workers—and it’s time we began to realize it—to allow time for the very work He has called YOU and ME to DO! To allow time for the last solemn WARNING MESSAGE to be thundered to our English-speaking peoples! To allow time to proclaim to all the world the TRUE GOSPEL which Christ Himself brought from God—the NEWS OF THE SOON COMING OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD TO RULE THE WORLD TOMORROW!

“I know it’s difficult for your mind to really grasp the overwhelming meaning of that. Hasn’t the Gospel been preached in all the world, one will ask? EMPHATICALLY NO! Not the TRUE Gospel of Jesus Christ! Not since early apostolic days! Astonishing—yes, BUT TRUE! The only true Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Gospel CHRIST PREACHED—the Message God sent to this world by Him—and that Message is the NEWS of WORLD RULE by GOD HIMSELF—the Message of the overthrow of all the governments of this world—all its nations and empires—and by the supernatural power of God ALL NATIONS to be ruled over by the soon-coming KINGDOM OF GOD!

“But Christ foretold a turning away from His Message. He said MANY FALSE TEACHERS would rise and mislead nearly all. Paul wrote that this ‘mystery of iniquity’—the old Chaldean ‘mysteries’ or pagan-idol-worship of Babylon—was already working in his day. He prophesied there would be a GREAT FALLING AWAY from Christ’s true Message. He was inspired to write that the popular churches would turn away from the TRUTH and believe FABLES. John, in Revelation, was inspired to foretell that ALL NATIONS would be deceived. And so today the churches preach their OWN ‘gospel’ about the PERSON of Christ—they continually talk ABOUT Him—but they deny, and fight against HIS MESSAGE of the GOVERNMENT OF GOD in our lives now, and over the whole WORLD TOMORROW! The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a message ABOUT Christ—it is a Message OF Jesus Christ—the Message God sent by Him—the Message He brought from God and which He proclaimed 1900 years ago!

“AND THAT MESSAGE HAS NOT BEEN PREACHED TO ALL THE WORLD TODAY!

“But now, after 1800 years, THAT SAME MESSAGE once again is going out in great power to the United States—and already to portions of Canada and Mexico.”

Friend and Co-Worker Letter, Nov. 11, 1949

Mr. Armstrong occasionally cited II Thessalonians 2:3 to illustrate what happened to first century Christians turning away from Christ and the apostles’ original gospel message. Think. The first century apostasy in the Church would be an obvious type of the II Thessalonians 2:3 final apostasy in the Church—see the parallel—because it involved God’s true servants defecting from the truth and joining false churches. The end-time apostasy in the Church simply cannot fit as a type of a bigger one in the world! The parallel fails.

Now another quote from Mr. Armstrong that makes stronger his knowledge of what “falling away” always means in the Bible. He references II Thessalonians 2:3—but omits any connection to the man of sin because he knew there was none. You will see he did clearly understand the danger of “many deceivers” and their connection to a falling away before the end. Note this. Mr. Armstrong puts II Thessalonians 2:3 in the context of warning about these “MANY DECEIVERS” coming “today” and that “making your calling and election SURE!” is vital. And note it is all in a “true brethren” (last two words) context. Read carefully:

“But LOOK AT THE FRUITS! The work of the original apostles BORE THE TRUE FRUITS!

“The Worldwide Church of God has always produced the GOOD fruits—ABUNDANT fruits.

“It is the ONLY Work in 1850 years that has proclaimed the true Gospel of Christ—the Gospel OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD to the world—now GOING TO THE ENTIRE WORLD!

“Prophecy says the END will not come until, also, there is a ‘falling away’ first! [Author’s Note: An obvious reference to II Thessalonians 2:3.]

“Jesus’ parable (Luke 19:11-24) is for OUR TIME, now! It pertains to Christ going to heaven to receive the Kingdom officially and then returning.

“You are each admonished to ‘make your calling and election SURE!’

“Today, as in the time of the first apostles, MANY DECEIVERS are gone out into the world. They will ACCUSE God’s Church and His Work. It is Satan the devil who is the accuser of the true brethren (Rev. 12:10).”

Letter to all Ministers Worldwide, Herbert W. Armstrong, February 22, 1974

The next quote does mention both the falling away and the man of sin—but, even though this is from one of Mr. Armstrong’s earliest (1960) and most important booklets, he makes no mention of any connection between these two events. This is because he saw no connection, and neither did any other minister for over 50 years after, including Rod Meredith. Think of this quote as speaking most loudly for what it does NOT say:

“First, note Revelation 17. Here is pictured a woman. In II Corinthians 11:2, Ephesians 5:22-27 and elsewhere, we learn that ‘woman’ is a symbol for church. This woman is a fallen woman—an apostate church—pictured as ruling over many nations (Rev. 17:1, 15).

“In verse 3, this false church is pictured sitting on a beast ‘having seven heads and ten horns.’ A woman riding a horse guides, controls, the horse. It does her bidding.

“Notice, verse 18, she is ‘that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.’ Notice, verse 2, the inhabitants of the earth have been deceived by this counterfeit Christianity. Also, Rev. 18:3, she has deceived all nations.

“Next, notice II Thessalonians 2:3-4. The day of Christ—and the coming of Christ—shall not come, until there be a falling away, and a ‘man of sin’ be revealed. He exalts himself above all that is called God. As God, he sits in a temple claimed to be the temple of God, showing himself to deceive people into accepting him as God. God is our Holy Father. This final man, in a religious office, will claim the same title. This wicked man is to be destroyed at, and by, Christ’s coming (verse 8).”

Who or What Is the PROPHETIC BEAST?, Herbert W. Armstrong, 1960

Mr. Armstrong’s description of the man of sin in his thorough booklet continues for many more paragraphs. He makes no mention whatsoever of any “worldwide rebellion/revolt” away from God connected to this coming figure. This would have been an impossibility in his thinking. You may wish to read at least this section of Mr. Armstrong’s booklet.

Of course Mr. Armstrong witnessed time and again during his life individuals “fall away.” He knew this meant they had departed “from the truth”:

“Rather astonishing, isn’t it, that people who have heard God’s TRUTH preached for many years – people who at first accepted it in the love of God, professed it, started out practicing it – should, through the years, fall away from the truth…[and] begin to embrace false doctrines and errors…

“What is God’s sentence upon them? Listen!

“‘It is IMPOSSIBLE for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted of the good Word of God…if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh’ (Heb. 6:4-6). ‘Let it be a warning to ALL, and let all FEAR, and TREMBLE before the all-powerful WORD OF GOD!’”

Herbert W. Armstrong, “Why Local Churches?”, GN, March 1957

For obvious reasons, Mr. Armstrong never envisioned a full-scale apostasy in the WCG—no one did. But this does not mean he would have accepted II Thessalonians 2:3 as anything other than Christians departing from God’s truth. And nothing in the above quotes indicates Mr. Armstrong saw the “falling away” as a planet-wide rebellion, or as something initiated by the man of sin.

What I and Others Taught in the Global Church of God

At the outset of my Global Church of God years, I produced an early stapled nine-page list of WCG heresies titled, “What Are the Changes?” I was the only pastor in the world who had been fired at that point, and I needed the list to keep up with the nonstop 18-hour days of talking to people that went on for three months until others came to help. Sending it could save much time. This early list came to have 154 false teachings by early May of 1993 (two months after I was fired). I made it available to any who asked, and it eventually circulated to thousands around the world. Note the only understood and accepted definition of falling away that I included. Rod Meredith fully authorized its distribution.

This excerpt is from the Introduction to the first list (Summer 1993):

“This is a comprehensive list of most all the doctrinal changes of the Worldwide Church of God. While some of these changes are smaller and less significant, others are huge and have a devastating impact on belief. Many changes involve numerous re-explanations of individual scriptures that could have been listed separately making this list, quite literally, almost unending. A more comprehensive approach was attempted at the risk of being called picky because it demonstrates that heresy is a cancer that eventually leavens everything it touches. If people were being killed instead of truth surely we would call this a holocaust.

“…It is probably inevitable that this list will fall into the hands of people who will set out to attack and discredit it. I claim it to be neither complete nor perfect. The list grows almost daily anyway. Clever word-gimmickry can probably successfully explain away some few of these changes. Will you let that obscure the massive scope of this great apostasy as you study this list? Or will you prove all things, hold fast that which is good and only follow teachers of truth?

II Thes. 2:3 says a falling away (Greek – apostasia – ‘a defection from truth’) will precede Christ’s Return and verse 13 shows that receiving salvation is attached to ‘belief of the truth.’

I Tim. 6:3-5 makes it clear what one must do in such historic and prophetic circumstances as these we now face. 2000 years of church history shows people of truth and courage have always been willing to take this biblical step.”

This list was the forerunner of my book Except There Come a Falling Away—the exact phrase used in II Thessalonians 2:3—released soon after as a long looseleaf book under this title. It is well known that this eventually circulated to many thousands throughout the splinters. Of course, Rod Meredith and Doug Winnail have the book.

As time progressed, the book grew progressively longer and eventually carried the more correct title—There Came a Falling Away. This is because we all knew the apostasy had largely become complete, and a title in the past tense better reflected what Paul had to put in the future tense. See this. Everybody understood this title change. (Of course, the splinters still continue adding wrong doctrines of every stripe and color.)

Realize the first 10 editions of the book were all produced while I was in GCG. It is currently 425 pages and The Restored Church of God has sent out many thousands of copies.

“30 Reasons” Sermon Series

The early list/book answered what the changes were, but did not tell people WHAT TO DO about them. I came to realize the need to prepare a series of three special sermons giving the answer. It would complement the book. Each sermon had a slightly different title—“30 Reasons to Follow the Truth,” “Another 30 Reasons to Follow the Truth” and “30 Final Reasons to Follow the Truth.” A total of 90 documented scriptural points and principles were presented.

Here is an excerpt from right out of the gate—Part 1, point 2 (May 15, 1993). It is explaining II Thessalonians 2:3, and represents further proof of what all of God’s people at that time believed about this passage. It also brings further proof of what Rod Meredith permitted be taught throughout the entire existence of GCG. Here are my spoken words (obviously italics are added):

“…Let’s understand what the falling away is all about here in II Thessalonians 2:3. ‘Let no man deceive you by any means (the context is right before the Return of Christ, that’s the context, and that’s important): for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition…’ Now very simply, this has been explained before, but I’ll say it again, the Greek word is apostasia and it means ‘a defection from truth,’ not people leaving a corporate church [Author’s Note: The WCG at that time]. As a matter of fact, when you really understand it, it’s the ones who don’t leave who defect from truth, and the context shows us that.”

Recall the seed that would turn into a giant sequoia. The tree is now well out of the ground. The reader should begin by now to understand the world could not now, later or ever defect from truth it never had. The world has been cut off from God—and thus His truth—for 6,000 years. It can no more leave the truth than a person can leave a house he was never in.

It has been estimated that as many as 10,000 to 15,000 people heard those tapes and left the WCG to join a splinter. Some of the top officials in GCG acknowledged that perhaps 5,000 of these initially attended Global. Probably many more than this number hold various editions of There Came a Falling Away. Rod Meredith in fact thanked me several times for producing the book and tapes. GCG headquarters distributed the three “30 Reasons” tapes. However, even though Rod Meredith authorized the book, he preferred that I distribute it. He gave permission because he so obviously knew what had happened in the WCG fulfilled II Thessalonians 2:3. The book’s distribution in GCG continued for almost six years.

As a small aside, the word “apostates” was routinely used among the Global Church of God ministry to refer to the WCG leaders who had brought the apostasy. My brother-in-law, Carl McNair, always spoke of “the apostates” to describe them. This term is also found all throughout my book. Even the early stapled handout included it. Apostates of course means those leading an apostasy.

Again, Doug Winnail received, but also agreed with, my book. In fact, many of you reading this probably have an early version. Perhaps you will want to review it. Others can find it on our website.

These facts of history are indisputable, and they scream of what happened. The book’s final version contained 280 documented changes. I repeat, thousands of people, many in LCG, surely still have it.

Let’s ask: Has Rod Meredith FORGOTTEN the book and sermons—which he authorized? There are two possibilities: (1) He HAS completely forgotten what he once believed. But when presented with this article by his advisors he will realize the magnitude of his error and deeply APOLOGIZE to his entire church—or (2) he will LIE about facts you now possess. The same with Doug Winnail. But there are still many more facts that he/they must deny beyond what you have read.

It is not too early to state that Rod Meredith never understood the scope of the apostasy, and thus his ongoing role within it. He never understood all that was at stake in God’s great prophesied TRIAL for His people in the end-time.

What Rod Meredith Said in 1997

On June 14, 1997, the Associated Press produced an article covering the apostasy in the Worldwide Church of God. It was picked up by the Akron Beacon Journal. At that time, I was still a member of GCG, and Akron of course was my pastorate. The article was titled “Back in the Fold” and was slanted against Mr. Armstrong and the WCG. However, it reveals what Rod Meredith told the media at the time about what he saw as the falling away, and what was our common view during those years. Contrary to Meredith’s assertions, it also reveals that many in the world DID take note of how big was the event in “the Church founded by Armstrong.” Here is an excerpt (italics mine to show how the WCG apostasy was viewed):

“…Some 150,000 other church members expected that when Jesus returned to Earth—and that was any day now—they would be among the select few taken to ‘the place of safety,’ then transformed into godlike beings ushering in the Kingdom of Christ.

“If that is where the story ended, the Worldwide Church of God would qualify as a uniquely American religious success story, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who carved out an original theology and thrived by never deviating from it.

“Instead, after Armstrong’s death began one of the most remarkable transformations in American religious history: The church formally declared its founder had been fundamentally wrong all along and that the historic creeds of Christianity were the new gospel. [Author’s Note: You will soon see that the subject of the apostasy has a place in “the historic creeds of Christianity.”]

“This spring, the Worldwide Church of God—once reviled as a cult in conservative Christian circles—was welcomed into the National Association of Evangelicals, a staggering turnaround for a group that once viewed the Catholic Church as the Whore of Babylon decried in Revelation and Protestant churches as the whore’s harlot daughters.

How great a change is this? You can’t compare it to the Mormons’ decision to give up polygamy to assimilate with American culture. Instead, it would be more like the Mormons suddenly becoming Baptists.

The fallout from admitting its members have no faster route to eternal life than other Christians has devastated the church. Annual income has dropped from $200 million to $50 million, and membership plunged almost in half.

“Three major breakaway denominations have formed, and the number of informal splinter groups could run into the thousands…”

“The people who reject the changes…consider themselves still the true church.

“‘I’m literally basing my life on that, my eternal life on it,’ says Rod Meredith, who left the Worldwide Church of God to lead the new Global Church of God…”

“…Joseph Tkach Sr. took over, and Armstrong’s teachings began to slowly unravel in the eyes of the church leaders, who were now free to read outside theological sources [Author’s Note: This will take on greater meaning later.] and to follow Armstrong’s own oft-repeated dictum: ‘Don’t believe me. Read the Bible.’

“There, they came to agree with traditional Christian interpretations of salvation by faith, and to view other Christians with newborn respect. One by one, they discarded Armstrong’s rules for Christian living, and his portraits began to disappear from church buildings…”

“In the eyes of Meredith, what Worldwide has done is consistent with biblical passages in 2 Thessalonians warning of a great falling away, a great apostasy as the end time nears—even in the church.”

What Rod Meredith Was Still NOT Saying as Late as 2005!

Like Mr. Armstrong’s earlier quotes, the following excerpt from Rod Meredith is telling more for what it did NOT include about the falling away being in the world and connected to the man of sin. Speaking of Pope Benedict XVI’s appointment, he writes,

“The inspired revelation from our Creator warned us very clearly about this some two thousand years ago. The Apostle Paul was inspired to write about the events immediately preceding Jesus Christ’s Second Coming. Paul stated, ‘Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God’ (II Thess. 2:3-4).

“Dear brethren, the time is coming very soon when this man will appear. He will allow himself to be exalted far above any normal human. People will actually begin to worship him as the above verses indicate…”

Brethren and Co-Worker Letter, August 22, 2005

So then, it is clear by now that Rod Meredith has plainly NOT always believed his new teaching, as he now claims. Thus, neither did Mr. Armstrong. If you still doubt the former, you soon won’t. You already saw Mr. Armstrong NEVER agreed with Meredith’s idea. You will learn soon, however, who it is that does agree with him.

But first, we examine how LCG’s designated attack/spinmaster has responded to the new teaching.

Bob Thiel Initially Reinforces New Belief

Bob Thiel, a widely read LCG “blogger” referenced earlier, has of course publicly weighed in on the new teaching, and seemed to initially support it, having reposted (adding his own article) LCG’s entire May 3, 2012 “News and Prophecy” report, under “Rise of Atheism”:

Rise of Atheism: In the United States, atheism is growing faster than any religious group. Nearly 20% of Americans now avoid ‘organized religion in favor of a non-defined skepticism about faith.’ Many are leaving organized religion as American society becomes more secular. These church dropouts are turned off by the increasingly political nature of organized religion and by ‘Old Testament condemnations of homosexuals, premarital sex, contraception and abortion. The Catholic Church’s sex scandals also prompted millions to equate religion with moralistic hypocrisy.’ The once ‘Christian nation’ of America is not just turning away from mainstream Christianity, but from organized religion as a whole (Yahoo News, April 13, 2012). As society moves further away from the ‘laws of God,’ the love of many—for God’s moral way of life—is growing cold (Matthew 24:12). However, religion is the tool for positively influencing the morality of society. Noted historians Will and Ariel Durant have observed, ‘There is no significant example in history of a society successfully maintaining moral life without the aid of religion’ (Lessons of History, p. 51). While many believe that this moving away from outdated moral instructions in the Bible is a sign of progress, ancient Bible prophecies reveal that prior to the return of Jesus Christ there will be a great ‘falling away’ from the standards of biblical Christianity (2 Thessalonians 2:3). As we approach the end of this age, this trend will continue to increase.

Updated Section as of September 12, 2012

Upon reading this article, Bob Thiel carefully edited the LCG quote above on his blog. This was done shortly after it was posted, apparently within days. The portion he deleted—more than half the original LCG news item!—is now shown above in bold, underlined font. This part was ellipsed out because Thiel now declares that he did not agree with Rod Meredith. Think. He originally further emphasized and featured the segment we have shown by separately REPEATING it in another place on his blog! Understand! He actually repeated FOR SPECIAL EMPHASIS what he now pointedly disavows having ever believed! Of course, he altered his blog in both locations, to remove all trace of what, to any thinking reader, was agreement with LCG’s false doctrine.

After this very quiet alteration, Thiel went on to accuse us of misrepresenting him. Here is the irony. He falsely accuses us when we reported the truth. Why reject LCG deceit by employing your own deceit? When we learned Thiel disagrees with LCG’s leadership, we amended our article as quickly as possible with the Author’s Note you are reading. In the end, why did Thiel not just admit he first agreed with something that he now rejects? Why not just declare a change of position? All kinds of people have fallen into all kinds of false thinking at the end of the age and had to admit they were wrong.

Here is why Thiel disavowed his previous position and hid the facts. He saw the same thing we have seen since our posting—WIDESPREAD DISAGREEMENT IN LCG WITH ROD MEREDITH’S FALSE TEACHING ABOUT THE FALLING AWAY! He probably got the same avalanche of emails from LCG members that we did. He wanted to be in agreement with the large number in LCG who know this doctrine is WRONG! (Since this new subhead was included, Thiel has now also denied what he announced in several posts about receiving emails over this subject. Perhaps he will now seek to “scrub” this record as well. He wrote us with more denials of what he has publicly proven about emails our article elicited for him.)

How many wrote him? Enough to make him (1) flip-flop, (2) alter his posts to hide his first position, (3) attack us for reporting the truth—and (4) go public against LCG’s leadership.

Not surprisingly, Meredith weighed in on Bob Thiel, seeking to distance LCG from “their man,” but of course choosing something other than Thiel’s “falling away” position to do this. A recent weekly Bulletin stated that Thiel is not an official LCG spokesman, and that he “has written a number of things” (postings and books) with which LCG’s leaders do not agree. Let’s summarize: LCG allows a lay member to write ridiculous, divisive, heretical nonsense, but remain a member. Why? Because he can periodically be “useful.” Thiel’s books are speculative, heretical nonsense about prophecy by a man working presumptuously without God’s calling, completely out of his depth. We ask again: Why would LCG permit this? Why would they look away as a lay member takes to himself such AUTHORITY—and for years? The answer: Because its leaders produce so much ridiculous, divisive, heretical nonsense themselves—on prophecy and numerous other doctrines! On what basis would they stop such a man when they have lost track of so much prophetic truth themselves?

MAKE YOURSELF ADDRESS THESE QUESTIONS!

In addition to the “falling away” controversy, the reader has already seen the equally great disagreement that has now arisen in LCG over the idea of the WEDDING SUPPER supposedly being in heaven. We saw this is another BIG heresy suddenly newly taught by LCG.

Now back to the subject of Thiel’s post of LCG’s news item. LCG’s commentary is shot-full of false thinking. For one, the man of sin will almost certainly through his miracles lead many atheists to a belief that GOD EXISTS! The man of sin will REVERSE the very trend LCG endorses. They have it exactly backwards—but they ARE in agreement with worldly theologians. One more error: the “love growing cold” in Matthew 24:12 is agape in the Greek. This can ONLY reference those with God’s Spirit who have the fruit of His love. Galatians 5:22-23 and Romans 5:5, among many other verses, prove this. Read these two verses recognizing that “love” in each comes from agape (not philia or eros, which are brotherly love and romantic love, respectively). Certainly the world is growing colder. Who can doubt this? But it is not losing a love of God it never had. Think. LCG’s statement in fact supports the understanding that the apostasy affects the Church, NOT the world. It affects the place where people have the Holy Spirit—have love and can lose it. This theology is stunningly ignorant—clueless to what even Ambassador College freshmen were taught and knew.

Like me during my GCG years, Thiel could not have posted, and for so long, his next public statement unless it was LCG’s official position for 14 years (and Rod Meredith’s for this and much longer). Thiel also becomes an additional proof that Rod Meredith (and LCG) until recently believed the Church’s long-held position. Originally posted in 2006, but actually updated in 2012, Thiel wrote the following in his article “The Philadelphia Church era,” interestingly, under the subhead “The Command to Persevere” (italics mine). It shows what he says he still believes:

“Herbert W. Armstrong died in 1986.

“Since his death, there has been a major falling away from the truth. Although this took many by surprise, Herbert W. Armstrong once publicly proclaimed in a sermon to the WCG membership that, ‘I don’t think 50% of you get it...it may only be 10% of you’ (paraphrase). Hence, he understood this.

“Why?

“Well among other reasons, the Bible prophesied it:

“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first (2 Thessalonians 2:3).

The Bible warned that there would be a falling away and Jesus stated that it was the Philadelphians who:

“... kept My command to persevere...(Revelation 3:10).

“Jesus told the Philadelphians to:

“Hold fast what you have...(Revelation 3:11).

“How were the Philadelphians to persevere and what were they to hold fast to?

“The obvious answer is that they were to persevere with the Philadelphia work—the work of fulfilling Matthew 24:14. They were also to persevere and hold fast to the doctrines that the Philadelphia portion of the church had.”

LCG has clearly changed—and you will soon see that what they fell into is a popular belief in the churches of a world that could not possibly understand the true meaning of II Thessalonians 2:3. Since you can understand, the question becomes: Will you see this deception for what it is? I can only wonder how many LCG ministers will stand up and actively reject Rod Meredith’s falsehood upon reading my article. (The same with the previous one on the “wedding supper is in heaven”—but also so many other false LCG ideas.) I know some will disagree—but how many will actively do so? That can’t yet be known. Incidentally, the reader should not doubt that LCG’s ministers have read this article. What it stirs will force some to investigate.

And too many have already been leaving LCG to join God’s Church for them to ignore all that is written here!

What Does the Bible Reveal?

We must now at least pose another question: Could LCG’s new teaching be correct, scripturally? Was Mr. Armstrong possibly wrong about what “falling away” always means? And, again, since you will soon learn Meredith agrees with the churches of the world, did—could—the world get right what Mr. Armstrong got wrong?

The Greek words in II Thessalonians 2:3 and other related passages bring instruction—and clarity. As you read, you will see that each scripture speaking about falling away involves God’s people departing from His truth and way—it is never about the world, in any regard. We start with the plainest verses.

First, recall the Greek word translated “falling away” in II Thessalonians 2:3 is apostasia. The correct definition of this word is “defection from truth (properly the state), (‘apostasy’), falling away, forsake” (Strong’s Concordance). This refers to (can only refer to) God’s people—true Christians, not those in the world—leaving HIS TRUTH. (Interestingly, Acts 21:21 is the only other place apostasia is found in the New Testament, and it speaks of those “forsaking Moses.”) In summary, one cannot lose money he never had. One cannot fall (away) from a ledge he was never on.

The second verse is Hebrews 6:4-6: “It is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”

The Greek for “shall fall away” is similar to apostasia, but not precisely the same. It is parapiptō, and, not quite as strong as apostasia, it still means “to fall aside, that is, (figuratively) to apostatize: fall away” (Strong’s Concordance). Thayer’s defines it as “to fall beside a person or thing, to slip aside, to deviate from the right path, turn aside, wander, to error, to fall away (from the true faith): from worship of Jehovah.” Also, it is obvious in the context that Paul is writing (to the Hebrews) about those who once had the truth but “turned aside” from it—and fell away.

II Peter 2:15 describes those who “have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray.” The Greek word translated “forsaken” is yet another word—kataleipō. It means “to leave down, that is, behind; by implication to abandon, have remaining: forsake, leave, reserve” (Strong’s Concordance). The passage picks up with, “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire” (vs. 20-22).

So then, falling away here is tied to “forsaking the right way”—after having “known the way of righteousness.”

All of the above passages are warnings to those in the true Church! Again, God’s Word is written to His people (you should know all the verses proving this)—and no one else, including the world at large. These verses have nothing whatsoever—WHATSOEVER!—to do with some kind of an “American apostasy”—or “whole world apostasy.” People cannot defect from what they never knew. Again, this is literally IMPOSSIBLE TO MISUNDERSTAND. I also repeat from earlier: You cannot leave a house you never entered. You cannot exit a car you were never in.

Let’s pause at this point to ask: In light of these plain verses, how could God expect His servants reading His Word to believe that the falling away of II Thessalonians 2:3 means the world and not the Church—particularly when He uses the strongest possible word there of the three we have reviewed?—the one involving truth (true doctrines) the world has never understood. On what basis could He possibly expect us to believe this—to reach and believe Meredith’s conclusion? The answer? There is none.

But more verses further prove this point.

Further Into the Greek

Apostasia is the feminine version of apostasion (G647 in Strong’s). This word means “something separative, that is, (specifically) divorce.” Strong’s says this word is “neuter of a (presumed) adjective from a derivative of G868.”

G868 is the Greek word aphistemi, and means “to remove…(actively) instigate to revolt…to desist, desert, etc.: depart, draw (fall) away, refrain, withdraw self.” Every instance of this word where it is used makes stronger all points throughout the last subhead:

I Timothy 4:1: “Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron…”

Hebrews 3:12: “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.”

Luke 8:13: “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.”

If God intended to mean “rebellion” or “revolt” in II Thessalonians 2:3, He could have used aphistemi. But He also had other Greek words from which He might have chosen. Just one is anupotaktos. It means, “unsubdued…insubordinate (in fact or temper): disobedient, that is not put under, unruly.” But God did not choose this word, or any related word. He chose apostasia—meaning “defection from truth”!

Recall that II Thessalonians 2:3 begins, “Let no man deceive you by any means…” How tragic that people cannot even apply the very beginning of the verse to what the verse itself is talking about! “LET NO MAN DECEIVE YOU—BY ANY MEANS”! Will you heed God’s warning through Paul? Or will you permit yourself to be deceived about enormously important events already fulfilled?—and smugly believe the danger of the end-time apostasy has nothing to do with YOU, but instead involves “just the world”?

Of course, we have long realized the Bible does reveal a coming, final now almost complete worldwide breakdown of character. Paul warned, “In the last days perilous [or dangerous] times shall come…” (II Tim. 3:1). Here is what he describes: “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (vs. 2-4).

This time has certainly arrived!—and is worsening toward a pinnacle! Just look around. People’s conduct is changing. More authority figures are sounding the alarm that human nature is running wild—and conditions are exploding out of control! However, none of this has anything to do with a mass “rebellion/revolt” from God or His truth that started in Eden.

The notes from Ambassador College, the Epistles of Paul class, are still in my Bible today (rebound several times) in the margin of II Thessalonians 2:3. I wrote as we were taught, “Probably dual today of Jude and I, II and III John being the first time.” Thousands of Ambassador students would have learned much the same. The first century apostasy was a type of what happened 20 years ago—the apostasy of 20 years ago was NOT a type of an event in Satan’s world.

So then, if this new idea did NOT come from Mr. Armstrong, or the Bible, where DID it come from? What is—who is—the source?

Copying the Protestants

The following modern, Protestant Bible translations and commentaries closely mirror LCG’s new “understanding.” Recall LCG’s use of the words “rebellion” and “revolt.” Make yourself realize—come to grips with—how these sources become one more proof of how LCG is so obviously led by a DIFFERENT SPIRIT (all italics mine):

II Thes. 2:3—That day cannot come before the final rebellion against God…”

The New English Bible

II Thes. 2:3—Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for [that day will not come] until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.”

New International Version

II Thes. 2:3—For that cannot take place until the great revolt occurs…”

The New Testament: A Translation in the Language of the People

More modern and paraphrased translations (many more) refer to the apostasy as a “revolt” or “rebellion.” These three are a tiny snapshot. We could ask: If the great apostasy is a future event about a world moving into rebellion, what would they now be rebelling against? The world long ago—6,000 years ago—rebelled against God. Is Rod Meredith suggesting the masses are now—in some sense?—any sense?—“obeying God,” but will turn from Him and rebel? Ridiculous!

The Bible plainly teaches, “Satan…deceives the whole world” (Rev. 12:9) and “the whole world lies in wickedness” (I John 5:19), as well as “your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear” (Isa. 59:2). To summarize, the world is today cut off from God, completely deceived and wholly wicked. Rod Meredith’s logic collapses upon the simplest analysis.

Consider this obvious fact: A world that is going to FOLLOW the man of sin could never be a source of correct understanding ABOUT him. But LCG took in more indoctrination from the world…

Now notice how three Protestant commentaries link the apostasy to the man of sin. The first source reads as little more than a shot in the dark. This is because, again, the world without God’s Spirit cannot understand His Word. Read carefully (again, italics is mine):

II Thes. 2:3—And that man of sin be revealed. He shall be revealed then in connection with the apostasy…The son of perdition. This expression occurs once elsewhere, and is there applied to Judas, an apostate (Joh 17:12). Here it evidently has a similar application. Some power, once Christian, falls away and becomes opposed to Christ.”

People’s New Testament Commentary

II Thes. 2:3—The apostle foretells that before the coming of the Lord, there will be a throne set up completely contrary to Christ’s glory, in which that wicked man will sit, and transfer all things that appertain to God to himself: and many will fall away from God to him.”

Geneva Study Bible

II Thes. 2:1-4…A reason why they should not expect the coming of Christ, as at hand, is given. There would be a general falling away first, such as would occasion the rise of antichrist, that man of sin.”

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

An inset is needed about the SOURCE of LCG’s new teaching—modern translations and worldly commentaries written by deceived theologians. Let’s learn—or for some remember!—what Mr. Armstrong taught and warned about the dangers of ever using Bible commentaries in establishing doctrine (italics mine):

“In this in-depth study of the Bible, I had the use of all the biblical helps—concordances, Greek-English and Hebrew-English lexicons, commentaries, Bible dictionaries and religious encyclopedias. The latter three of these, I found, were the works of scholarly but carnal minds. In historical facts and matters of a material and physical nature, they give help in research, but in God’s revelation of spiritual knowledge I found them of little help.”

Herbert W. Armstrong, Mystery of the Ages, p. 23

The entire WCG ministry under Mr. Armstrong knew this—that we should never go to worldly theologians for doctrinal understanding. They also knew that he thundered to all of us to avoid such Satan-influenced sources. He said this most in the late 1970s and early 1980s when liberals had begun changing doctrines in his absence, and when he had been away visiting world leaders 300 days a year. (In a stunning aside, LCG has now begun to send its ministers to worldly “Christian Universities” to pursue theology-related degrees. This is to further the group’s bid for academic accreditation—a pursuit that Mr. Armstrong strongly indicted and banned from God’s Church! Entering the world’s/devil’s theological seminaries is the very thing that led the Worldwide Church of God into apostasy. So obviously, the same spirit is leading both churches.)

While a deceived Rod Meredith now links the appearance of the man of sin (the False Prophet) to the apostasy, these events are simply not connected in any way. Think. Had he heeded Mr. Armstrong’s instruction, he could have saved himself and his church from being duped. The apostle Paul is stating that two major events will take place before Christ’s Return: the falling away comes first—and then the man of sin appears. Duration of time between them is not addressed! Since the apostasy is behind us, II Thessalonians 2:3 reveals one of the next events to watch for is the man of sin’s appearance. And since nearly 25 years have now passed since the apostasy, the arrival of the man of sin is much closer than most realize! Think just a little: If Paul explains the falling away comes “FIRST”—“except there come a falling away FIRST”—how can the man of sin arrive second and lead the world into what happens first?

Impossible! But so are all of the devil’s doctrines.

Recognize the hidden danger in Meredith’s teaching. He now has LCG waiting for a future event that does not involve God’s people instead of looking backwards toward an event they lived through—and that is STILL ALL AROUND THEM. He is setting up LCG members to be caught off guard when the man of sin appears because they will have been looking for the wrong event to happen first. The falling away has ALREADY HAPPENED. The last two paragraphs underscore the need for every Bible student to “rightly divide the word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15).

Consider. Like Evangelicals awaiting a fictional rapture, all who accept Meredith’s explanation of the future apostasy—all of LCG!—are being set up to enter the Tribulation. LCG members are literally being conditioned to patiently wait until the Tribulation falls on them like a “snare” (Luke 21:35). They have been set up to not look for signs of apostasy in their own lives NOW. And they have also been set up for what will be the indescribable SHOCK, ANGER and DISAPPOINTMENT springing from betrayal by trusted leaders.

Consider further. They are being told that the Tribulation will only begin after a great “falling away” occurs in the world. The result? The Tribulation will blindside thousands of people with the force of a 100-car runaway freight train! Roderick Meredith has made them oblivious to what is coming—and many can probably not be convinced otherwise.

This is exactly what the devil wants: God’s people looking AHEAD to something that won’t apply to them, rather than to something all around them NOW!

Understand. It is Satan who would seek to minimize the devastation that occurred in the WCG. A doctrine that makes light of the very real damage caused in the WCG apostasy would NOT be inspired by Christ, the Head of God’s Church.

Modern Protestant Movement

Finally, here is what one outspoken Protestant leader in the United States said about a large new movement/crusade recently announced that was started by world-famous Protestant evangelist Billy Graham. Named, “My Hope with Billy Graham,” it has been referred to as his “Final call” to America to turn to God. Anne Gimenez is describing Billy Graham’s effort:

“Anne Gimenez, the national chairperson of America for Jesus – The Awakening, says similar revivals have occurred in the past in America and Europe during other times of declining morality and spiritual darkness.

“‘I think Billy Graham’s idea is genius,’ says Gimenez, whose organization expects hundreds of thousands of people to gather at Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pa., Sept. 28 and 29 to pray for another Great Awakening in the United States…‘We’ve been waiting for an idea that would spark America into revival and perhaps this is it.

“‘America and the world seem to be in a state of growing apostasy and unbelief. Atheism and agnosticism is growing by leaps and bounds. [Author’s Note: Remember LCG’s/Thiel’s posting similarly about growing atheism.] In history, when there is great darkness engulfing the world, there is also the opportunity for a great light to come—the gospel light. And so at this time when we seem to be spiraling downward into spiritual darkness, it is the ideal and opportune time for a great spiritual awakening.’”

“Billy Graham: ‘Final Call’ for America to Repent,” World Net Daily, August 7, 2012

Are you grasping the SOURCE of Rod Meredith’s teaching—the alien spirit (Eph. 2:2; II Cor. 11:4; I John 4:6) so obviously leading him and his subordinates? Recognize why the devil wants you to believe the apostasy does not involve YOU—why he wants your focus away from false doctrine that can affect YOU—why he wants you to think that there is no threat to YOU, that there is no danger the apostasy could take YOU out of the kingdom of God.

Make your mind think about—and truly comprehend!—all that is at stake for YOU!

How the Deception Is Sold

We are now ready to examine HOW Rod Meredith and other LCG leaders are spinning II Thessalonians 2:3—HOW they get away with what they are doing—HOW they disarm and lower the resistance of their followers—HOW they get people to BUY deceit. The tactics mirror many of the 43 points (I described them as “psychological tricks”) on a list of how Mr. Armstrong’s successors sold hundreds of false doctrines to scores of thousands of unwitting WCG members. This list, created in 1993, can be found in Section I, pages 39-41 of There Came a Falling Away. The reader would do well at this point to think about Romans 16:18 as we proceed: “For they…by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”

“Author’s notes” appear at certain points, usually to reference tactics used (from my “psychological tricks” list) by number and underlining. As you read, you will see firsthand the “wiles” (Eph. 6:11) and “devices” (II Cor. 2:11) of the devil’s spirit at work. Now more from Meredith’s article quoted at the outset, which began with this (bold emphasis is his):

“Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong set all of us a fine example, as many of you older brethren remember. He always tried to move forward, to grow and to improve. Many, many times he told us, in meetings and in sermons, that we should ‘grow’—not only individually, but as a Church. [Author’s Note: Tactic #34—Mr. Armstrong would have agreed with and made these changes. Tactic #35—Mr. Armstrong changed doctrine often and we must follow his example. The apostates opened new doctrines in this fashion time and again.] God Himself indicates that true Christians should grow. For the very last words of Scripture that the Apostle Peter wrote were exhortations that we should ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen’ (2 Peter 3:18). [Author’s Note: Tactic #9—We must grow in grace and knowledge or, translated, ‘change is growth.’ Tactic #8—Mature Christians will see it. Who would say he does not want to grow? Who would say he does not want more knowledge? So seductive.]

“Sadly, some ‘Armstrong worshipers’ become upset if God’s Church shows even the slightest signs of ‘growth.’ [Author’s Note: Tactic #41—Anyone who resists these changes is only interested in glorifying the memory of a man.] There are a few misguided people who, when they see others growing, accuse them—or the entire Church—of departing from the guidance of God’s Apostle, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong. [Author’s Note: Always be sure to denigrate those who hold fast.] Yet even these misguided critics, whether or not they even realize it, are ‘changing’ what Mr. Armstrong taught in order to hold on to their imaginary idea of what he would or would not have done had he been in our present circumstances.

“Frankly, brethren, as one who knew Mr. Armstrong extremely well for 36 years, I know that Mr. Armstrong would be absolutely horrified to find that people are using his name—26 years after his death—to stifle our opportunity to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Savior!

“I tell you, brethren, before God the Father and Jesus Christ, that Mr. Armstrong himself would want us to ‘grow’ as long as we are careful never to depart from any basic biblical Truth! And, as any honest observer can understand, we in the Living Church of God have never contemplated changing the Sabbath, the Holy Days, the Ten Commandments, the Holy Spirit as the impersonal power of God (not a person)—or anything else that is fundamental to the Truth of God! [Author’s Note: Tactic #5—This is not a big change or the trunk of the tree.]

“We do ‘honor’ Mr. Armstrong—as we should—but we do not ‘worship’ him in the sense of putting what we think were his ideas ahead of God’s word or God Himself! That would be idolatry! Mr. Armstrong himself would not want this. [Author’s Note: The point becomes that if one does not “honor” Mr. Armstrong as Meredith does, then he worships Mr. Armstrong and is an idolater. This is all an utter lie to build his point and intimidate the reader. Joe Tkach’s subordinates did it often.]

“Brethren, Mr. Armstrong—again, as many of you older brethren remember—did change regarding our practice of women wearing makeup (he let the Church go back and forth on this three times!) [Author’s Note: Another utter lie!], on the way to count Pentecost, on the administration of how we deal with divorce and remarriage, and on many other points. In fact, I remember going to him in a respectful yet firm way about an error he made in explaining 1 Corinthians 10:27–29. [Author’s Note: This merits a new tactic for the list, used often by Meredith regarding Mr. Armstrong. #44—We must guide poor Mr. Armstrong out of errors.] Some of you older brethren will recall that Mr. Armstrong carried over many ideas from the Sardis Church in his early ministry. That was natural. He was sincere in doing so. Yet, as he changed on some of these ideas, he told us older evangelists a number of times, ‘Fellows, I had to come to the Truth of some of these things one doctrine at a time. It took me a while to get it all sorted out…’”

“Mr. Armstrong himself never claimed to be infallible! Yet, since we understand that he was used as an apostle of Jesus Christ, some few seem to get the idea into their heads that he could never, ever, be wrong on anything. But, ask yourself, was the Apostle Peter—the obvious leading Apostle of his time—‘infallible’? If so, why did the Apostle Paul strongly correct him, as we read in Galatians 2:11–16? And why, dear brethren, did God inspire this correction to be included in Scripture so that all of us would come to understand that neither Peter, nor Paul nor Mr. Armstrong were infallible?” [Author’s Note: This paragraph is deceit at a SPECTACULAR level. Popes don’t even any longer claim to be infallible. What is the point of invoking such a term when all know it could never apply here—that no one ever thought Mr. Armstrong infallible? Paul correcting Peter about his CONDUCT has nothing to do with correcting Peter’s teaching on DOCTRINE. Read Galatians 2:11-16 for yourself, and recognize the red herring/deceit for what it is. The next two paragraphs, including the final one, are repeated from the beginning of the article.]

“Even now, brethren, our Council of Elders is discussing a few ‘technical’ points that Mr. Armstrong could not have humanly anticipated, considering that he died in 1986, before certain prophecies had begun to be fulfilled [Author’s Note: Tactic #33—A thorough investigation has been made. I commented earlier on the next paragraph]…”

“Brethren, we do need to be careful about ‘new understandings.’ Consider some popular ideas among God’s people regarding the ‘Great Apostasy’ of 2 Thessalonians 2:1–10. Mr. Armstrong understood that this rebellion involved the whole world. Indeed, the Greek word apostasia is more accurately translated into English as ‘rebellion’ rather than ‘apostasy,’ and Mr. Armstrong rightly understood that it connotes an uprising far broader than the consequences of doctrinal heresy within God’s little flock, involving a man of sin whose very visible and physical demonstrations of power will affect the whole world… [Author’s Note: Similar to #36—Mr. Armstrong once believed the doctrine this way. Of course, you saw Mr. Armstrong NEVER believed this way, secretly or publicly.]”

“However, with the total apostasy of the Worldwide Church of God, some few ministers have tried to say that this entire prophecy was fulfilled when the Tkaches came into leadership of the Worldwide Church of God and took it into ‘mainstream’ Protestantism. [Author’s Note: I am one of them, along with a few other faithful ministers. But only PCG ministers believe what he next ties this to…] They claim that Mr. Tkach was the ‘great man of sin’ sitting in the house of God, showing himself that he was God (vs. 4). Then—when Mr. Tkach died—they transferred this to Joseph Tkach, Jr. So, now, is ‘Junior’ the great man of sin?

“Think!

“The entire ‘falling away’ of several thousand people in that apostasy—and it was an apostasy—was nevertheless not even noticed by about six billion human beings. When the biblically prophesied event occurs, it will deceive billions of people all over this earth…” [Author’s Note: Who cares if the world did not notice or comprehend the apostasy?—although we saw that it did notice to more than a little degree. Again, the Bible was written to God’s people, not the world. THIS is who God is working with. And, not knowing what God’s truth IS, how could the world grasp what happened in a Church they have long believed to be a cult filled with error? Ponder this.]

“Other scriptures tying directly in with this, such as Revelation 13:11–18, clearly indicate that, when the final ‘man of sin’ arises, he will deceive hundreds of millions—or even probably billions—of human beings! He will be granted power to literally bring fire down from heaven (vs. 13). ‘He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or in their foreheads’ (vs. 16). As all of you should know by now, nothing even remotely like this happened during the small, typical ‘apostasy’ caused by the Tkaches taking Worldwide into ‘mainstream Christianity.’

“Yes, what happened in Worldwide may certainly have been a ‘type’ of the final apostasy. But it was not the major one described in 2 Thessalonians 2–3. It is exciting and stirring to realize how massive the coming apostasy is going to be!”

“Is It Wrong to GROW in Knowledge?”, The Living Church News, March-April 2012

The last paragraph almost takes one’s breath. Does the reader feel “excited” and “stirred” by Meredith’s deceit—or shocked, repulsed and sobered? Think of the title question in the article. Who would disagree with it on its face? No one! All salesmen know the importance of getting your customer saying, “Yes”—“I want to grow in knowledge.”

Now the conclusion of Rod Meredith’s article:

“Brethren, we should not ‘shrink’ from growth in understanding. Mr. Armstrong would be glad to have us learn. He always was excited and enthusiastic when some new biblical Truth could be explained in a proper way. So I hope all of us can learn to have this same kind of positive attitude and approach to any new understandings we are able to come to within the Living Church of God. Remember, God’s Word indicates that He will not reveal some of these technical things about prophecy until the very end of the age (Daniel 12:4).

“Sadly, Mr. Armstrong was not allowed to continue until the very end. But, we are—so far. So, if I am able to explain to him in the resurrection how we continued ‘growing’ in grace and in knowledge, I know that he will chuckle and tell me, ‘Of course, Rod, that is exactly what I would have done if I were there at that time. [Author’s Note: Tactic #34 again—Mr. Armstrong would have agreed with and made these changes himself. A more effective deceiver would have known to just implement Tactic #13—Say nothing and just change it.] Good work! I am glad that we both made it here into the Kingdom of God.’ [Author’s Note: I so well remember Joe Tkach Jr. invoking Mr. Armstrong’s name—I was already gone from the WCG when it happened—saying, ‘Brethren, I know that Mr. Armstrong is rejoicing in heaven right now that the Church has come to so much new understanding!’ This is just a cheap but effective way to induce agreement.]

“Dear brethren, we certainly should ‘follow’ Mr. Armstrong as he followed Christ! That is what he told us to do! That is what the Apostle Paul was inspired to tell us to do regarding himself or any apostle: ‘Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ’ (1 Corinthians 11:1). [Author’s Note: But Rod Meredith is an evangelist, not an apostle.] Let us continue to grow in grace and in knowledge and know that we will be blessed if we do this—as long as we do not depart from fundamental truth [Author’s Note: Who decides what is fundamental? Try to find this term in the Bible. It is not there, but rather is an invented idea to get people to accept changes that Meredith (and others) deem less than fundamental. Fundamental doctrines become anything a deceiver needs them to be, and less than fundamental ones become anything a deceiver needs them to be.] and as long as we ‘prove all things’ from the Bible in an honest and sincere way. God will greatly bless us if we do this—and if we are positive and loyal to Christ as He leads His Church in these very things! [Author’s Note: The last two sentences of Meredith’s article make a point I can finally agree with. If you DO ‘prove all things,’ you will reject what he is teaching, along with the devilish wiles and devices used to bring it.]”

How cunning, smooth and deceptive! The list of tactics in There Came a Falling Away concluded with this warning: “These gimmicks, ploys and psychological tricks are all still used, and even more effectively, throughout the splinters.” Remember, Rod Meredith has had this book since 1993.

Make yourself take a serious look at whether you will buy into this man’s new understanding of II Thessalonians 2:3. And, to understand God’s real intent in II Peter 3:18, read my extensive article “The True Meaning of ‘Grow in Grace and Knowledge.’” Peter’s instruction has NOTHING to do with changing doctrine. Rod Meredith once knew this!

Finally, Rod Meredith further confirmed his new teaching in LCG’s May 10, 2012 LCG Weekly Update:

“Please follow through by doing all you can to build, to strengthen and inspire our brethren around the world…Please help them think through these ‘upgrades’ in our understanding of the Wedding Supper [Author’s Note: We already saw in Article Three that Meredith’s new teaching on this subject is also false.], of the timeline of final events and also the great apostasy. [Author’s Note: If Mr. Armstrong always believed that the great apostasy involves the world and the man of sin, how can it be an “upgrade” and a “change”? Can the reader possibly miss such inconsistency? Be thankful for it. Deceivers are rarely this open in revealing their identity.] This is a vital challenge for all of you, and I hope that you can be alert to anyone’s misunderstanding and help them—or help your local elder to work with them to come to understanding on these basic issues and help them realize that these changes are, in fact, simply ‘updates’ of our understanding… [Author’s Note: Tactic #12—Be patient with the weaker brethren who can’t see it yet (which appeals to people’s nobler motives to accept the change).] We have always indicated—at least Mr. Armstrong, and I [Author’s Note: Meredith has himself and Mr. Armstrong the only two who saw this, and thus sort of invokes Tactic #40—Mr. Armstrong always secretly believed this change.]—that the apostasy would be much broader than just the falling away of a few people in the Worldwide Church. [Author’s Note: Of course you now know Rod Meredith has not remotely ‘always indicated’ such a position.] As I indicated at the conference, over 99% of the world never even heard about the Worldwide Church and certainly nothing about that falling away. So the really huge apostasy is still ahead of us—as we have explained—and will affect billions of human beings before it is all over!”

Ask: Why must the world as a whole recognize the apostasy fulfilled in the Church? Does God need validation from Satan’s theologians—or large numbers of news journalists?!—that His prophecies have been fulfilled? We saw nothing indicates the falling away involves billions.

The very false doctrine that is the subject of this article takes its place as an additional tool for Meredith to get people to accept more new false doctrine. If apostasy does not involve or threaten His followers, but rather only the world, a great impediment against accepting more changes has been quietly stripped from people’s mental conditioning. A crucial barrier has been breached and torn down. Think how easy it now becomes for Meredith to get away with more false teaching. Watching the seductive smoothness of his tactics and deceit at work above also makes it easier to see how he has gotten away with so many wrong teachings already. Hopefully you will not fulfill Isaiah 30:10 and Jeremiah 5:30-31.

Doug Winnail Reinforces Rod Meredith

A great question arises from what you have read, but we are not quite ready for it. This next longer subhead completes the setup for this question. LCG’s ministers have begun reinforcing the new position. The following article, again, written by Doug Winnail, titled “The Great Rebellion Against God” was published in LCG’s Tomorrow’s World July-August 2012 edition. This is LCG’s flagship magazine—and it is largely written to the world. LCG and Winnail are in essence telling the world what its theologians are already saying. Why do this then? Also, the article shows this change is both a big statement in and by LCG, that it is not some minor “technical point,” as Rod Meredith portrayed it. Think yet again. If the teaching below represents what God’s Church has long believed, why the big ROLL OUT now? The Tkaches craved agreement and acceptance from the world. For LCG to trumpet to the world what it already believes could only spring from the same motive. Surely you see through the deceit.

A couple sections of Winnail’s article are repeated from earlier:

“Bible prophecy lists numerous signs that will precede Jesus Christ’s second coming, but the Apostle Paul specifically notes two major events that will occur just before Christ returns. He writes, ‘that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition’ (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Paul tells us that the appearance of this ‘man of sin’ on the world stage will be accompanied by ‘signs, and lying wonders’ performed by a false religious leader using Satan’s power (2 Thessalonians 2:9). This display of supernatural demonic power will deceive millions into following this Satan-inspired individual and the system he is promoting.

“Meanwhile, the Western nations are rapidly abandoning any former pretense of nominal Christianity. ‘Mainline’ churches that for centuries upheld ‘traditional biblical values’ now champion same-sex marriage, practicing homosexual clergymen (and clergywomen), and open denial of the inspiration of Scripture…”

“…The Bible also records that specific ‘signs’ will precede Jesus’ return: increasing violence and wars, frequent floods, droughts and famines, disease epidemics, earthquakes and other natural disasters (see Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21). However, a major sign will be widespread religious deception promoted by false religious leaders who perform ‘great signs and wonders’ (Matthew 24:3–5, 11, 24). The Scriptures state that the return of Jesus Christ will surprise the world because people will not be watching for the warning signs that will indicate that His return is near (Matthew 24:36–41; 25:1–13; 1 Thessalonians 5:1–6)…” [Author’s Note: As a side point, Matthew 24:36-41 is instruction to God’s Church, not the world. This passage is a warning and description about events that will take place IN THE CHURCH. The interested reader will want to listen to my thorough sermon series titled “The 1,335 Days of the Son of Man.”]

“…The organization led by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong for more than 50 years underwent a terrible crisis in the early 1990s, as his successors abandoned long-held doctrines of God’s Church and tried to bring the organization into ‘mainstream Christianity.’ Scores of thousands left…”

“So, could that have been the ‘falling away’ prophesied by Scripture? No less an authority than Mr. Armstrong himself would disagree with that assertion. [Author’s Note: This is patently FALSE—an absolutely shocking LIE—as is each of the several short sentences that follow.] On many occasions, Mr. Armstrong plainly taught that the ‘falling away’ mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 would be an event affecting the vast mass of human beings around the world. He wrote in a co-worker letter, ‘Christ foretold a turning away from His message… [Paul] prophesied there would be a Great Falling Away from Christ’s true message…the popular churches would turn away from the Truth and believe fables’ (November 11, 1949). [Author’s Note: Recall Winnail’s dishonest excerpting of these last quotes that were explained earlier. The bold underlining is mine so the reader can recall the snippets Winnail took completely out of context. The bold further below is Winnail’s.] Later, in a 1982 radio broadcast, he asked, ‘Has that falling away happened? That doesn’t mean a few people, it doesn’t mean a few radicals or fanatics. The whole world was to be deceived!’ [Author’s Note: Remember, the whole world has already been deceived. Recall Revelation 12:9. Who knows the context of what Mr. Armstrong was speaking of? Winnail gives no source other than a year—1982. You have already learned Mr. Armstrong’s teaching—and have been shown how in this quote Doug Winnail deliberately misrepresented Mr. Armstrong—carefully lied—in order to use Mr. Armstrong’s authority to drive home his point. It actually makes perfect sense if Mr. Armstrong were again speaking of the first century.]

“Was the ‘whole world’ deceived when Mr. Armstrong’s successors split their church? Though this was a traumatic event, it affected only a relatively small number of people, and the church’s leaders displayed no powerful miracles to gain the loyalty of followers. There is no scriptural way to identify the prophesied ‘man of sin’ with either of the men who succeeded Mr. Armstrong as the head of that organization. [Author’s Note: True. We agree!]

“Notice that the phrase translated as ‘falling away’ in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 in the NKJV comes from the Greek word apostasia. Although English-speakers may be inclined to translate this word as ‘apostasy,’ and ‘falling away’ has become a commonly accepted phrasing, these are actually not the best translations. Consider how several other translations render this word: ‘the great revolt’ (Williams), ‘the rebellion’ (Moffatt), or ‘the final rebellion against God’ (NEB). [Author’s Note: You have seen that all of these translations are wrong!] No credible translation gives any indication that this massive global event could in fact involve just a few thousand members of one organization. [Author’s Note: He just quoted translations that are NOT entirely credible and denigrated many that ARE.] Rather, it involves an outright worldwide rebellion, of unprecedented proportion, against any semblance of belief in the God of the Bible. Here is how the Expositor’s Bible Commentary describes this momentous event: ‘Conditions will be ripe for people, especially those who call themselves Christian…to turn their backs on God…This worldwide anti-God movement will be so universal as to earn for itself a special designation: ‘the apostasy’…the presence of such an apostasy and counterfeit god will not escape international observation’ (volume 11, pp. 320–323). [Author’s Note: Recall Mr. Armstrong’s warning about using worldly commentaries.]…”

“This trend will continue. Within the lifetimes of most of you reading this article, two Satan-inspired individuals—a miracle-working religious figure and a charismatic European political leader—will appear on the world stage and lead the masses of humanity in rebellion against the true God. Finally, near the very end of this age, this blasphemous religious figure will declare himself to be God, commanding the allegiance of billions who will join him in a final rebellion against the returning Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:4).

“You need to be alert and watch for these significant end-time events so you can avoid being deceived when the prophecies come alive! [Author’s Note: An astonishing conclusion. Readers were in fact just set up to BE deceived!]”

In late 2011, Doug Winnail also gave a sermon titled “Lessons From America’s Apostasy.” It was played in all LCG congregations in mid-July 2012 and discussed how America was built on Christian principles, but is now rejecting God. Although we have always understood America is disobeying God, this very subtle sermon prepares and conditions LCG members to look for a future apostasy in America and the world. (The nations of modern Israel are in big trouble for widespread and growing national sins. Read my full book America and Britain in Prophecy to understand the big picture—and the truth.)

A Greater Question

Now comes an inset about the great question referenced earlier: Can Rod Meredith—or anyone other than an apostle—bring “new doctrine” or “new understanding”? What did Mr. Armstrong teach about how truth enters the Church? Evangelists (and all lower offices) are never authorized to do this! Of course Rod Meredith will say that he is merely repeating what Mr. Armstrong said, but you now know better. In fact, he has said this came from Mr. Armstrong from one side of his mouth, and from the other that it is a “technical upgrade” and “change.”

Mr. Armstrong knew all of God’s people were to speak the truth—and in the same way. Here is what he wrote:

“Church teachings were being changed. The most resultful booklet of all, The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy, was attacked…the same with a number of other basic and important booklets written by Christ’s apostle.”

How does God’s Church receive its doctrines, beliefs and teachings? Direct from God, through the channels of Jesus Christ as Head of the Church, and from Him through the apostles! Never by any others! Never by a group of ministers appointing themselves as a Doctrinal Committee! So it was in the first century.

“How did the Worldwide Church of God receive its doctrines, beliefs and teachings? Exclusively through Christ’s apostle! …But every doctrine, belief and teaching in the Worldwide Church of God has come from christ THROUGH his chosen apostle!”

“What Is a Liberal?”, WN, Feb. 19, 1979

“There was no such doctrinal committee in the first century Headquarters Church at Jerusalem. All teaching came from Christ through the apostles—and a few times Christ communicated to apostles via the prophets (of which there are none in God’s Church today since the Bible for our time is complete). God’s Church today, as in the first century, receives its teachings from the living Christ, through an apostle, just as in a.d. 31.”

Mystery of the Ages, p. 350

“But HOW? How does Jesus Christ put his doctrines into His Church? How did He in A.D. 31? How in A.D. 1933?”

“God says we in His Church must all believe and speak the same thing—we must be agreed on what is truth and right and good as opposed to what is evil and sin.”

“Only by His chosen apostles.”

“Our teaching and doctrines must come from god! Through christ! And through His apostle!”

“God has always, in dealing with humans, worked through one man at a time—one who believed God! Some in ancient Israel challenged this one-man leadership. Some, likewise, have challenged it today!

“First, Moses’ own brother and sister challenged his one-man leadership…‘And the anger of the Eternal was kindled against them’ [Num. 12:9].”

“Yet, though our members and ministers all know this, some are not afraid to speak contemptuously, in hostility, or defamingly against Christ’s apostle today! They need not fear ME! For I will not turn on them or strike them.

Why, then, do they not fear God? It must be one of two things. Either they do not really comprehend this teaching…or they do not believe that God has chosen me as His apostle and human leader today.”

“The church is GOD’S Church. The head of the Church, under god, is Jesus Christ. Under Christ, on the human level, is His chosen apostle, through whom He has raised up and built this spiritual TEMPLE to which the reigning christ shall soon come in glory (Eph. 2:20-21).”

“All doctrines in the Church as it began, A.D. 31, were put in by the apostles. All doctrines in the present Philadelphia era were put into the Church by Jesus Christ through His chosen apostle.”

“And Now Christ Sets Church Back on Track Doctrinally!”, WN, Feb. 19, 1979

Many more quotes could have been added that say the same thing.

“Another Spirit”

A once oft-quoted passage in II Corinthians 11:3-4 explains and connects the world’s false “Jesus” to “another gospel” about their “Jesus,” and all of this, in turn, is connected to “another spirit.” This passage has everything to do with why changes have come from LCG’s top leadership. The apostle John labels this alien spirit the “spirit of error” (I John 4:6). This is the same spirit guiding all the churches of the world! Understand the extreme gravity here, and how it connects to this article. This different, but real, “another spirit” introduces—and is importing into LCG—Protestant ideas and doctrines. Remember, the true Christ’s sheep know the true Christ’s voice, and can distinguish it from a stranger’s voice (John 10:3-5).

I repeat: The Protestant world is led by the “spirit of disobedience” that is identified in Ephesians 2:2—and sent from the “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4)! The alien spirit that John and Paul spoke of is what quickly destroyed the WCG. This same spirit is slowly destroying the splinters.

This spirit of error will only grow stronger and more pervasive wherever it has been permitted to enter. Mr. Armstrong strongly warned against letting the devil in even “a little bit,” as he put it, because, as he also said, he would “push open the door since he is stronger than we.” This has happened and is happening in LCG, but also in all the other splinters.

The facts behind the source of LCG’s new understanding—Protestant translations and commentaries—become powerful evidence of the different spirit—“another spirit” or the “spirit of error”—that has entered and gripped the top LCG leadership. It also explains why so many in this group report that “Something is wrong here,” without being able to identify what it is. Without knowing why, and with the Spirit of God—the “Comforter”—receding, many find themselves increasingly uncomfortable in LCG. Grasp this fact: This discomfort is because a counterfeit “comforter” has entered LCG and is spreading, while the Spirit of God is diminishing!

“Obeying the Truth”

Even those who are newly converted understand that Christians obey God. They know that they must obey the Ten Commandments and others of His laws. Now understand a vital point that almost no one considers—and it has everything to do with obedience. Most of God’s ministers have been derelict in teaching this closely related Bible principle.

In numerous verses God specifically commands His true followers to also “obey the truth.” Most generally think of God’s many truths as things to be believed—or understood—not as things that must be obeyed. Has this not generally been your thinking? In fact, how often have you heard Bible doctrines described in this context?

Here is what the apostle Peter wrote, and it introduces how obedience to truth is tied to conversion. Read carefully: “Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren…” (I Pet. 1:22). The Greek word for obey carries the additional meaning of “attentive hearkening [listening],” “compliance” and “submission.” This is strong.

Further, obedience to points of truth is seen in this passage to be inseparable from three things: (1) the purity of one’s conversion, (2) the role of God’s Spirit—the “Spirit of truth” (John 14:17; 15:26)—actively assisting in obedience to true doctrine and (3) how one genuinely loves the brethren. The last point becomes very difficult (in fact, impossible) when most of one’s brethren are scattered throughout competing, disagreeing organizations where he can never see or know them. This verse cannot be read any other way.

But the subject grows much more serious.

Next notice what the apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians: “O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ has been evidently set forth…?” (3:1). The Galatians had grown foolish, allowing themselves to be tricked—“bewitched”—into believing something other than the truth. (In their case, they had lost sight of the true gospel and fallen under a curse—chapter 1, verses 6-9.)

Two chapters later Paul summarized what happened: “You did run well; who did hinder you [Greek: “beat back”] that you should not obey the truth?” (5:7). This latter verse describes the problem with the splinters today. Now think. Scores of thousands of God’s people once understood exactly what was the truth that Jesus taught His Church. For decades they “ran well.” But today, having themselves grown foolish, they have also been “bewitched” and “beaten back”—now having become disobedient in BELIEF.

This sets up a final passage that puts the gravity of the matter into its fullest context—that of how GOD sees disobedience to truth!

Paul wrote the Romans about some who were “contentious,” who wanted to argue about established truth: “Unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, [comes] indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that does evil” (2:8-9).

God views those who will not hold to the truth—will not obey it—as obeying unrighteousness! Even beginning Bible students know that, “ALL unrighteousness is sin” (I John 5:17).

How many of God’s people even remember this?

Disbelief of truth is now seen to be SIN! We could ask: How much worse is the sin of rejecting truths that stand among the greatest in all of God’s Word? The close of Romans 2:8-9 brings this subject into perspective. It speaks of God’s “indignation” and “wrath”—and of the “tribulation” and “anguish” He has prepared for those (“every soul”) who commit what He calls the “evil” of disobeying truth.

May this powerful spiritual reality guide your thinking! May you OBEY GOD on all points of truth (Acts 5:29, 32)!

What Will You Do?

It is time to summarize. Rod Meredith and LCG’s “future all-nations apostasy” belief is fundamentally wrong in two ways: (1) the apostasy is NOT a future event tied to the man of sin, and (2) it will not strike the world, but rather involves God’s Church. When understood, Rod Meredith and other LCG leaders are both “deceiving and being deceived” (II Tim. 3:13). If you are diligent and patient, eventually people expose themselves for what they really are. This includes false teachers.

This has happened.

Like those who deny the Holocaust, it is much easier to ignore history decades into people’s rearview mirror. Similarly, it is easier to claim the apostasy lies ahead when it is over 20 years behind us—and still occurring. I urge the reader to remember what it was like. Go back in your mind to that time period—the late 1980s and early 90s. Could someone have convinced you then that, “This is not the apostasy! It is still coming. Prepare for it!”?

Sadly, history has shown that most will not care about or act on the facts and truth contained in this article. They will allow themselves to accept giant lies as small “doctrinal updates”—“upgrades”—from those who seek to play down the changes. This will of course include the usual attacks on my character. In fact, Rod Meredith has been systematically lying about me for years, and our brochure Do You Know “David Pack”? – My Life and Ministry—Rumors and Lies vs. Facts and Truth explains the truth.

To learn more about what happened in the WCG, and the process of apostasy still underway throughout the various splinter and sliver groups, again, read “Anoint Your Eyes” – Christ’s Warning to His People, The True Church – One Organization, or Many?, along with my books The Work of God – Its Final Chapter! and The Government of God – Understanding Offices and Duties. You should also listen to my sermon, “The ‘Synagogue of Satan’ Identified—and Marked!” The reader may also wish to read my two-volume biography describing my years in the Global Church of God, as well as the details of my many years’ association with Rod Meredith (and of course much more).

This article has brought proof—absolute proof—that the “falling away” has already occurred—is still underway—and will not strike the world later!

A powerful irony: Rod Meredith’s very teaching regarding the falling away is its own “defection from truth” in favor of the world’s position on a matter we saw the world could not possibly understand. Thus, the world has an excuse. Rod Meredith and those who copy and follow this false teaching have none. (This includes so many of his other wrong teachings.)

The Living Church of God is very much part of the long foretold falling away. And it is in fact experiencing its own slow-motion falling away and return to the world. Many heresies have entered it. The question now looms: What will you DO with this knowledge, and how long are you willing to stay in an organization that so deceitfully changes and twists the plain truths of the Bible? Think hard a final time. Can a man so confused and ignorant of such profoundly important understanding—having now seized a central teaching from a world guided by the devil—be God’s servant? And when there are so many other false doctrines that he teaches—and false narratives about the past that he promulgates?

The facts thunder—of COURSE NOT! But you must decide for yourself.

Article Five – Dining Out on the Sabbath What Does the Bible Teach? Does God forbid Christians to dine in restaurants on the Sabbath? Is this a worldly tradition carried over from Sunday worshippers? Is it “conducting business”? Does it cause others to profane the Sabbath by “laboring on our behalf”? Must Christians abstain from “indulging” in pleasure on God’s Sabbath? What does God’s Word teach? Here are the scriptural facts—the truth made plain!

During the last few years, a controversy has been brewing among brethren in the various post-WCG splinter groups: whether or not Christians may dine in restaurants on the Sabbath. Some critics claim that this is “a Sabbath test,” and imply that those who fail it are Laodicean—or worse.

Is this claim true?

The debate regarding Christians eating out on the Sabbath is a recent phenomenon. One article promoting this idea—“Should Christians Frequent Restaurants on the Sabbath?”—was written during or after 1995, and was circulated among certain splinters. To prove his point, the author wrote, “I understand that Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong even began to eat out on the Sabbath, he said due to his continual traveling [sic]. An old saying comes to mind, ‘As goes the leadership, so goes the church!’”

This implies that Mr. Armstrong never ate in restaurants on the Sabbath during his early years, that he later compromised, and personally started the Church down the wrong path.

The author, after discussing a Holy Day during which a potluck meal was served, states, “I’m told that such was the norm during the 50s, 60s, and early 70s. Obedient Church members never went out to a restaurant for a meal on a Holy Day or on the Sabbath.”

(It is possible that there may have been a few brethren whose conscience would not permit them [Rom. 14:22-23] to eat at a restaurant on the Sabbath, but such cases were extremely rare.)

Notice that the author did not cite a specific source for his information, but merely stated, “I’m told.” Is his statement true? Is it based on solid evidence—on concrete facts?

Researching the Early Years

In examining Mr. Armstrong’s member/co-worker letters and literature, dating back to 1947, nothing was found in writing as to whether Christians should avoid eating at restaurants on the Sabbath—either for or against—yet, in practice, he regularly ate in restaurants on Sabbaths. We will also momentarily see anecdotal information about the Church’s beliefs. Though restaurants were mentioned quite often in Mr. Armstrong’s personals, articles and letters, they were virtually always in reference to his dining with various dignitaries such as the Mayor of Jerusalem, the President of Hebrew University and others—occasionally on the Sabbath.

Although we cannot find where Mr. Armstrong had written on the subject of dining out on the Sabbath, he addressed the subject in a Bible Study given on Friday evening, October 23, 1981, “The Sabbath Question.” His comments are definitive:

“Now if you go out to a restaurant on the Sabbath, that restaurant’s going to be there and the food’s going to be prepared whether you go or not, and the other people are going to be working anyway. They don’t keep the Sabbath—they pay no attention to that...God gives us a kind of a principle here, and I think that we can see how to apply it to a given circumstance.”

Shortly after the above comment, Mr. Armstrong acknowledged not having focused in detail on that subject prior to being questioned at the time of that particular Bible Study: “Now I had never thought until this evening when the question was brought up to me about whether it was wrong to go to a restaurant to eat. And I know when I travel I have to do it or go without, and so I do. [Note that God did not require Mr. Armstrong to go hungry on the Sabbath due to the fact he was often traveling and away from home.] On the other hand, those who eat at home should do all the preparing they can—like baking, and things that take time. For example you could prepare a salad, a cold salad, on Friday, put it into the refrigerator…that’ll keep it fresh.”

Regarding the proper use of the preparation day, Mr. Armstrong touched upon this subject earlier in the same Bible study: “Well, preparation of food so far as possible ought to be made on Friday—that is the preparation day. And a little bit of cooking, a little preparation of food is allowable on the Sabbath, but remember it’s a day that is holy to God. It’s not for our work. It shouldn’t be work like regular daily work for the housewife or anyone who does the cooking. It should be cut down to an absolute minimum.”

To summarize the gist of this Bible study, Mr. Armstrong stressed the avoidance of making the Sabbath a “straight-laced yoke of bondage,” while not going to the opposite extreme of a liberal, “we can do as we please” approach. He stressed the Sabbath was made for man and intended to be a delight instead of a burden. Proper balance within God’s Law is to be sought.

In effect, the above understanding was the Church’s previous teaching—established doctrine and policy—arrived at through what was obviously at least a de facto administrative judgment prior to the time Mr. Armstrong articulated this matter in 1981. This is important because the Bible commands that God’s people even hold to traditions established in the Church: “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” (II Thes. 2:15; also 3:6). Notice that traditions were binding based merely on “word” without having ever been in writing (“epistle”). Recognizing that God permits dining out on the Sabbath was certainly more than a mere tradition. It was well understood by scores of thousands that eating in a restaurant on the Sabbath was not wrong!

For example, when discussing special events at Spokesman’s Club, the Pastor General’s Report stated, “Such occasions are often held at a banquet room in a restaurant where the Club members and their wives or dates simply sit down to a served meal and fellowship until the end of the Sabbath” (Sept. 3, 1982). Of course, such a policy would have been approved by Mr. Armstrong.

Additionally, there are individuals at the Headquarters of The Restored Church of God who knew and closely worked with Mr. Armstrong—one of them going back as far as the mid-1960s. They confirmed that Mr. Armstrong never communicated, in any way, that God’s people should avoid dining in restaurants on the Sabbath.

The attempt to associate this controversial issue with the early years of the Philadelphian Era was an obvious effort to portray a doctrine born exclusively in Laodicea as having deeper, older roots. Such attempts become transparent upon objectively investigating the past.

In order to promote their theories, advocates of this new movement must discredit Mr. Armstrong and portray him as having compromised on this issue, as did the writer of the article cited earlier. As a result, he is presented as having fallen short on their “yardstick” for measuring righteousness. Not wanting to overtly denigrate Mr. Armstrong, authors of the book to be addressed later, A Sabbath Test, have been more subtle, suggesting that Mr. Armstrong simply never “grew” to understand Sabbath observance as they did. In the identical spirit and thinking of the apostates before them, these have also introduced error under the guise of “outgrowing” Mr. Armstrong.

Regarding the new groups forbidding Christians to eat in restaurants on the Sabbath, we have to carefully consider the spirit motivating them. The wise always discern where “another spirit” has entered (II Cor. 11:4)—in this case, the same old spirit that guided the world and the apostates who were taught by its theologians.

Thus, such single-issue groups have emerged bearing their main message: “Thou shalt not eat in restaurants on the Sabbath.” What was Mr. Armstrong’s response when certain individuals proceeded to judge others for eating in restaurants on the Sabbath? The Bible Study mentioned above made his position quite clear: “Well, I understand some others are condemning one couple for doing that [dining out on the Sabbath]. Now I say that you can’t sit in judgment, and I don’t condemn them.”

Breaching the Four Walls of Defense

To prepare the reader for all that will follow, we must first create an overview—a backdrop—to properly approach this new teaching before looking thoroughly into it. This involves several elements, and some of these have been added to this new, expanded edition of the article because the advocates of Sabbath bondage have misrepresented the truth we explained.

Think for a moment! God does not take violating the Sabbath command lightly. Properly observing the seventh day points one to the true God, the Creator.

The two great national sins—the “twin sins”—for which Israel went into captivity were idolatry and Sabbath-breaking. Breaking the Sabbath always leads one away from the true God and into idolatry. Having judged Israel to be guilty of breaking the Sabbath and committing idolatry, God allowed her to be defeated, overcome and taken captive by her enemies.

Grasp this! Judgment is now only on the house of God—spiritual Israel (I Pet. 4:17). With so much at stake for His people, would God leave us in the dark, unable to figure out whether eating at a restaurant on the Sabbath breaks the Fourth Commandment? Would He have left Mr. Armstrong (whom Christ used as the end-time Moses – Mal. 4:4) in the dark about this? If this was the “test” to come on the Church in these last days, as some self-appointed experts claim, would the Bible not be clear and definitive about it?

Of course it would! And those who clearly understand Mr. Armstrong’s role, as both an apostle and Moses, who laid the Philadelphian era’s doctrinal foundation (“law”), know that he correctly taught the Church how to keep the Sabbath, and do not fall victim to the multitude of heresies that this last era brings.

On the other hand, those who dismiss Mr. Armstrong’s end-time role are most susceptible to stumble over such human opinions peculiar to the Laodicean age. In doing so, they breach the four scriptural walls of defense that protect the body of truths that were given to the true Church:

1. No one may alter the established doctrinal foundation (Mal. 4:4).

2. Truth is only revealed through apostles (Eph. 2:20; Acts 2:42).

3. Philadelphians “hold fast” to what has been established (Rev. 3:10-11).

4. Those who constitute the body of unified believers are to “continue in the things that they have learned and have been assured of, knowing of whom they have learned them” (II Tim. 3:14). They are to take heed and continue in the truth, which will lead to salvation (I Tim. 4:16 and other verses).

These four walls protect the one true Church, which is unified and uncompromising in its embracement of true doctrine. The identifying factors of the Church are defined exclusively by the Bible—not by prevailing opinion. The common bond of loving the truth is what distinguishes this one Body, as it continues unified and dedicated to sound doctrine (I Cor. 1:10; Phil. 1:27; Eph. 4:1).

In today’s Laodicean age, whenever you hear statements such as “Mr. Armstrong was wrong” or “he compromised on this or that,” take these as sure signs that false teachers are about to spew heresy upon you.

A book was published some time ago, arguing that Christians must not eat in restaurants on the Sabbath. Titled A Sabbath Test, the authors devoted 136 pages to disputing virtually all objections that they anticipated might be raised. Yet, the authors were mindful not to mention Mr. Armstrong by name, only referencing him indirectly. This was done in a carefully crafted attempt to reprimand him for holding to traditions and past teachings, as opposed to “progressing” to their “enlightened” point of view.

The book, A Sabbath Test, was clearly an expansion of the existing article cited earlier, “Should Christians Frequent Restaurants on the Sabbath?” The book offered no credit to the 14-page article as a forerunner in this school of thought, although both publications were equivalent in substance—using a loose interpretation of “substance.” It appears that the writers of the book sensed that a movement was beginning in the splinters without a spearhead. Hence, it appears that these followers aspired to the lucrative position of quasi-leaders of this trend, by virtue of offering a much bigger publication expounding their idea. Since they so obviously desire to lead this movement, one must ask, are they “teaching things they ought not for filthy lucre’s sake” (Tit. 1:11), and thus “making merchandise of” (II Pet. 2:3) unsuspecting brethren?

The only significant difference between the former article and the book patterned after it was that the authors of the book were most careful to not directly attack Mr. Armstrong. They were well aware that, from the public relations standpoint, bashing Mr. Armstrong was not expedient. However, as we will see later in this article, they consider him to have compromised, labeling him as having accepted the “mark of the beast” (by their own definition) by his dining out in restaurants on the Sabbath, which he practiced at least throughout the final years of his life. Again, these authors, however, are careful not to explicitly accuse Mr. Armstrong.

This towering question arises from the outset: Would Christ allow His apostle to be wrong on such a crucial point and then to be set straight or corrected, after the fact, by self-appointed “leaders” (actually lay members) arriving in the age of Laodicea? Such a prospect would be laughable, were its effects not so serious. Yet, significant numbers of weak or relatively new brethren across the landscape of God’s people seem to have bought in.

It appears that the leaders of this thinking have extended mercy “to whom they would show mercy,” in this case Mr. Armstrong, because they know this makes their doctrines more palatable to independent-minded potential converts, many of whom view him favorably and who are the ones most likely to send contributions. Yet, the facts are that they have leveled character assassination (John 8:44) at any who dare bring their doctrines to the light of the Bible, as would Mr. Armstrong.

What the Church Taught in 1988

In October 1988, the Personal Correspondence Department (PCD) of the Worldwide Church of God responded to questions about dining out on the Sabbath. The PCD letter reads as follows (emphasis ours):

“Thank you for your question concerning whether it is proper to eat in a restaurant on the Sabbath.

“The Church has long taught that it is not wrong to eat out on the weekly Sabbath occasionally or on the annual Holy Days, depending upon one’s circumstances and preferences.

“Those waiters, waitresses, chefs, and the like, who may serve in a restaurant, are not our ‘servants’ in the way described in the Fourth Commandment. They are the employees of the owner of the restaurant. They would be working regardless of whether or not we ate there. God does not hold us responsible for their working on the Sabbath just because we use their services—unless we were the only ones who ever ate in that restaurant on the Sabbath. Obviously, we make up a very small portion of the customers served in restaurants on the Sabbath or Holy Days.

“Further, eating out occasionally on the Sabbath can enhance spiritual fellowship with brethren and allow family members more time to be with one another.

“Some may still feel that eating out is not included in those things a Christian may do on the Sabbath and Holy Days. No person should violate his own conscience in this matter, nor should he judge someone else on this subject. It is a matter of personal conviction. However, whatsoever is not of faith is sin. See Romans 14:22-23. Therefore, be fully persuaded in your own mind according to your own faith in Christ Jesus.”

Critics have attacked this letter, dissecting every phrase of every sentence and disputing each point. They especially dispute the phrase “eating out occasionally on the Sabbath,” insisting that if it is wrong to dine in a restaurant on the Sabbath in any event, then it is wrong under all circumstances. They go to great lengths to argue that restaurant employees work at the behest of customers; therefore, the very presence of Church members adds to the employees’ workload, and involves conducting business on the Sabbath.

Again, are these arguments valid? Are they founded on what the Bible teaches—or do they derive from human reasoning? (See Jeremiah 17:9 and Proverbs 14:12.)

Why This Article Was Needed

The WCG form letter was somewhat weak and certainly incomplete. It was written after Mr. Armstrong’s death, when the apostates were in control. The letter seemed to be somewhat dismissive, although their reference to Romans 14:22-23 was tactfully stated. Within a decade from the time of their letter, the apostates had completely abandoned the keeping of the Sabbath and the rest is history.

We cited this letter because it was the only rebuttal in existence, however weak, with respect to the movement forbidding dining out on the Sabbath. During that time and later, true defenders of the faith became few and far between. This issue had not yet reared