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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?

The Work of God

Its Final Chapter!

by David C. Pack

Herbert W. Armstrong announced the kingdom of God to the world and proclaimed the special warning to the modern nations of Israel for 52 years! Did he teach that his death would end this commission, believing both duties to be his own “private work”?

How did he instruct his successor? Does “the kingdom shall be preached in all the world” (Matt. 24:14) before the “end come” still apply? What of “go…and teach all nations…all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20)? What about “prophesy again” in Revelation 10:11?

What is the gospel? Is Christ part of it? Did Mr. Armstrong teach—or does the Bible—that God’s people should give to relief organizations and disaster victims? What did Jesus say? Also, what about “local” or “personal evangelism”?

Why has The Restored Church of God rewritten all the literature of the Worldwide Church of God? What was our strategic plan? What are our two operational plans?

What does prophecy say about the final Work of God?

Video Introduction
Introduction

Mr. Armstrong wrote and spoke thousands of times about The Great Commission given to God’s Church. Everyone knew his thinking was driven almost solely by a single verse—a prophecy—he referenced time and again: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matt. 24:14). Mr. Armstrong and the ministry shortened this commission to the phrases “God’s Work,” “The Work of God” or just “The Work.” Everyone knew what the terms meant. No one was in doubt.

Why would the subject of God’s Work need to be addressed? Is it really big enough to command a large book? And what is at stake in answering key questions about it in the twenty-first century?

You may find this the most interesting—and perhaps most astonishing!—book to the splinters. But this will only be true if you read it all. It will not be what you expect—or could have anticipated. It will expand your mind as almost nothing else could. In fact, if you pay really close attention you will find it a life-changing experience!

There is much—much!—more to this topic than meets the eye!

Many are unaware that the apostasy produced new positions in thinking about the Work of God. Many independents and others, usually but not always in the smaller splinters, now believe there is no longer an ongoing commission, nor any need, to either announce the kingdom of God to the world or to warn the nations of Israel. These believe that all such responsibility ceased at Mr. Armstrong’s death. Most others believe God has commissioned His Church to fulfill His purpose—to continue His Work—but have become confused as to what that is.

For instance, the Philadelphia Church of God (PCG) believes its main purpose is to “warn Laodicea.” Its offshoots then see a duty to turn and warn PCG! Most others see no need to warn the final, lukewarm era, thinking this arrogant and presumptuous. Similarly, they would give little or no emphasis to a special warning to the great nations of Israel—what Mr. Armstrong often referred to as “the Ezekiel Warning.”

“Jesus,” Growing the Church and Evangelical Protestants

Over time, the apostates slowly conditioned the Church, without most recognizing it, to think the above approach was “unloving,” and that a different emphasis—one of “helping” people and “leading them to Jesus”—should be employed. They felt this should replace what was seen as an old approach of “doomsaying,” “sundowning” or offering a “save your skin” gospel connected to warning nations.

If I told you that most who think they are doing God’s Work today now believe it primarily consists of, or at least includes, Jesus’ role is central to the gospel—the Church or individuals giving to disaster victims and relief organizations—warning, particularly whole nations, is judgmental—or the Work as we knew it is finished, you would surely believe I am speaking of today’s Worldwide Church of God. Sadly, to one degree or another, these are the splinters. Worse, most who attend them have not grasped how far their leaders have departed from the commission that over 150,000 people helped carry out as recently as the mid-1980s.

This confusion has produced yet another related school of thought, and it is equally visible in both the bigger and smaller splinters, or those I call “slivers.” These think there is a new task—to “grow the Church.”

This idea derives almost solely from Christ’s instruction in Matthew 28:19 to the apostles to “Go…and teach all nations, baptizing them…” While this part of their approach is generally correct, their thinking also carries a near complete emphasis on just being sure those “called” understand the Sabbath and certain larger doctrines. Verse 20—“Teaching them to observe all things”—is lost in their equation. This “new” position is little different from the thinking of modern fundamentalist evangelicals.

Evangelical Protestants see a duty to “spread the good news about Jesus Christ”—not the kingdom of God—without much concern over details of belief and practice. The main difference in the splinters is that the Sabbath, a few other doctrines, and possibly a little about the kingdom is attached to a message about “Christ.” You will learn that this “Christ” has actually become the substitute “another Jesus” brought by “another spirit,” exactly as Paul warned in II Corinthians 11:3-4. You will also see this spirit is systematically destroying basic understanding once held by those who supposedly escaped the apostasy.

You will learn why the growing emphasis among the splinters on assisting the world’s relief organizations in the wake of disasters, now of course becoming more frequent and worse in intensity as prophecy advances. You will learn how this represents a kind of mass amnesia. You will also learn about a related condition I describe as “Alzheimer’s in reverse,” and how this is badly complicating the recovery process for those who want to do God’s Work, but have lost sight of what it is. Then, you will come to understand the profound—and truly chilling!—spiritual implications of this stunning change now sweeping the splinters.

All of the above-described ideas and emphases are radically different from what Mr. Armstrong taught for over five decades. Tragically, most have not noticed nor cared if they did!

These astonishing changes in priorities require this volume be written in a blunt fashion. Its language is neither for the faint of heart, nor the merely curious. The topic it covers is much more important than most realize. Therefore, it begins with a powerful statement from Mr. Armstrong’s September 1965 Plain Truth “Personal” to set the tone:

“The world has sunk into a complacent, indifferent slumber…The world is too busy enjoying this new-found prosperity, basking in the comfortable sunshine of luxury, to be much concerned about the on-coming nuclear World War III that WILL, unless prevented by Almighty God, simply erase human life from this planet!

“Soft words and pretty speeches do not arouse people out of this pleasant dream. It takes a jolt!

Such straightforward statements fulfilled God’s command through Isaiah: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins” (58:1). Mr. Armstrong always did this. He never feared the opinion of people, the “critics.” Similarly, I will not spare!

Isaiah continued: “Yet they seek Me daily, and delight to know My ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of Me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God” (vs. 2). Israel’s conduct was a charade—they appeared “as” God’s people, but were not in conduct and faithfulness. They enjoyed “approaching” God, not doing what He said. This passage describes most brethren today—spiritual Israel—who think they are following God’s will in regard to His Work, but are not!

Tragically, this has become the case with so many clear points of Bible teaching that were once understood by the whole Church.

The Largest Splinters—and Their “Work”

Only a few organizations are making an attempt at the Work. Yet, none are even close to “holding fast” (Rev. 3:11) all God’s doctrines—including those at the front edge of the Work. However sincere, these are works of men, not led and directed by the living Christ who would only use those who will not compromise restored truth. These would fulfill the Great Commission under God’s government. It will become obvious God could not use those who compromise to perform His Purpose.

Only those who will return to—or who come to believeall of the truths that God taught His Church are candidates to join His final Work. Those firmly rooted in different ideas should attend one of the organizations that may still want to do some kind of “work,” but not be concerned about doctrinal precision. We bear such people no ill will, but know they will be more “content” elsewhere.

Partly because they do not see the crucial importance of doctrinal purity, all the big splinters also do not grasp the colossal importance of what is at stake in the true Work of God today. Only one or two organizations even begin to remember, let alone comprehend, that a powerful warning must reach 600 million Israelites throughout many nations and territories. And, again, no one seems to recognize another related warning must reach over 35,000 in the splinters or holding to some truths at home, with both of these to occur before the Tribulation. For this reason, this book will, at least briefly, reference the roles of “watchman” to Israel and “messenger” to Laodicea.

The destructive “spirit of error” (I John 4:6) that has entered all the groups is why so many now believe contributing to disaster funds and relief efforts is the more “loving,” “compassionate” and “Christ-like” approach to gaining “disciples.” Warnings are “too harsh.”

The apostle Paul wrote, “For [God] will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth” (Rom. 9:28). Misunderstanding crucial verses like this, many—I repeat—now believe the Work as the Church did it for decades is finished, with all responsibility completed. These people have usually also come to believe the “famine of the Word” has arrived—and that this at least generally occurred from 1986—thus ending any duty to announce God’s kingdom to all nations or to warn Israelite nations. That two decades have passed and Christ’s Return has not occurred means some think that in the world’s most awful age (now much worse than Mr. Armstrong’s time), when a message of hope with a thunderous warning is more needed than ever, God’s servants are to stand mute, spectating without comment. They are to ignore the most basic common sense, and what Mr. Armstrong taught about preaching the kingdom and warning those headed to tribulation right to the end, and bite their tongue in silence. However sincere, such misguided thinking could not be more wrong!

These people also believe that, because the Revelation 3:8 “door” temporarily closed after Mr. Armstrong’s death, this nullifies any need to even attempt to preach the gospel—especially a warning to now more decadent, degenerate, sinful and lawless Israelite nations. This thinking comes from Mr. Armstrong being quoted out of context as believing God’s Work would end with his death. Incredibly, this reasoning even suggests it is rebellion to proceed against his supposed “stated will” before he died.

We will see the opposite is true—that Mr. Armstrong never believed any such thing! In fact, as Paul foretold, a final, closing, immensely powerful “short work” remains, and God’s true Church is completing it!

Understand! All the elements of God’s truth and Work have their own attraction to those who love them (II Thes. 2:10). Those who truly love these things will run through fire barefoot over broken glass and jump deadly snakes to reach them. Nothing will stop them! Conversely, if one does not love true doctrine, nothing will change him. If one does not care about precision of belief, you cannot “sell” him on why he should. Truth, including each of its facets, carries its own attraction intrinsic to its value. The convicted seize it like a pit bull a bone!

The same is true of how people feel about the Great Commission. As this book will demonstrate, Mr. Armstrong taught that God’s people must be deeply convicted about what is a duty. But if a person never internalized this commitment early on, it is unlikely he can do so now. Such people will likely not be moved by what is written here. But those once convicted about the towering importance of the Work of God are candidates to recapture that same sense of commitment and responsibility!

The Book’s History

Much longer and much more comprehensive than earlier editions, and with a new title, this book contains nineteen chapters. An advance chapter-by-chapter summary of this particular volume is helpful.

The first chapter examines what the Bible teaches regarding what is, in reality, the doctrine of doing the Work as it is addressed throughout God’s Word. The second and third chapters detail, through lengthy quotes, what Mr. Armstrong taught about the Work of God.

The extensive fourth and fifth chapters address the changing gospel in the splinters, and how this is automatically altering understanding of the Great Commission. These chapters give emphasis to how the Living Church of God (LCG) teaches a gospel blatantly false in at least three ways.

Chapter Six explains the multiple ways that spiritual mass amnesia is afflicting thousands. Chapter Seven re-introduces and amplifies the special warning to Israel that must be issued before the age closes. Chapter Eight then looks at a whole new way of thinking about the brethren’s role in the Work, first taught by the apostates, and then absorbed into the splinters without the remembrance of where it came from. This chapter steps on toes, but this is necessary to understand not only the scope of what has happened, but how almost none recognized the process.

The ninth chapter closely examines various objections, excuses and arguments, many of which are raised by people in the smaller groups, particularly those who left PCG. Virtually all these small groups lack the resources and know-how to go forward. In addition, many have become too tired to put forth the effort. These groups are forced to invent excuses, in some cases exotic, about why Mr. Armstrong finished the Work. Also, we will learn that inaction has much to do with the insufficient training and experience in their leaders. But this chapter covers other vital points.

What follows Chapter Nine is beyond anything you could expect! You should find the book difficult to put down after this point.

Chapters Ten through Fourteen work together. And they are the point at which the book takes on an incredible dimension for which the reader has only by then been prepared.

Chapter Ten is one of the book’s most interesting. It involves a mammoth—and absolutely fascinating—prophecy referenced all through the prophets. Yet virtually no one hears or thinks about it—certainly not in any of the splinters. This is despite the fact that it has directly to do with everything remaining to be done in God’s Work. Chapter Ten leads into Chapter Eleven, which is about a more familiar but now largely forgotten prophecy in Revelation 7. The reader will again have difficulty breaking away.

Chapter Twelve brings the book to a gripping personal level!

Chapter Thirteen re-introduces another huge New Testament prophecy having to do with Romans 9:27-29 and Revelation 10. While either forgotten or terribly perverted by the one organization that still points to it, this towering prophecy carries potent meaning. Chapter Thirteen, with Ten and Eleven, describe the backbone of the remaining Work of God in this age. Chapter Fourteen brings an unexpected culmination of information. An inset, it is perhaps the book’s most important chapter!

These five chapters define the book, and must be read as a block. But remember, you are only ready for them after reading all earlier chapters!

Chapter Fifteen was once a booklet—The RCG Strategic Plan—which explained why, before expanding the Work, we had to rewrite all literature from when the Worldwide Church of God was on track. I am not just speaking of what Mr. Armstrong wrote, but also publications by others, and entirely new ones. You go “Behind the Work” in our early years, and learn the what, when and why of things we did.

Chapter Sixteen originally was included in the “Strategic Plan” booklet, which came to carry an article titled “A Personal Story – Rewriting Mr. Armstrong’s Literature.” It relates a miraculous story I decided several years ago to share with the brethren: the experience—actually the process—of what it was like to rewrite thousands of pages of books, booklets and articles in such a short period. This was the most personally inspiring miracle I have ever experienced. Our brethren appreciated it, so it is included as Chapter Sixteen.

Chapters Seventeen and Eighteen look at our two Operational Plans—for the First or Great Commission and the Second Commission, feeding the flock. (In “military speak,” Operational Plans overarch Strategic Plans, which in turn overarch Tactical Plans.) These present a comprehensive picture of support functions inside the Church and Work. They take the reader into internal goals, plans and programs, with emphasis on how The Restored Church of God is making unprecedented progress toward a surge in the Work never before seen in history, as well as explaining our plan for more pastors to serve God’s expanding flock around the world.

Chapter Nineteen is a compilation of important final points, coupled with crucial personal questions the reader has been prepared to address.

Modifications

Realize that because some chapters once stood alone, a little helpful overlap has been retained, particularly in the beginning portions.

Those reviewing the book should be aware that this version is so different, it is unrecognizable from the first edition. Changes appeared as God made clearer my role and responsibility, particularly as our fruits became apparent. No man led of God would presumptuously vault himself into an office, let alone high office—and even further, into the position of human leader under Christ of His Church. Mr. Armstrong taught, and so does the Bible, that it is exclusively the fruits that demonstrate whether God is using a man, and in what office. As with Mr. Armstrong, it took years for me to fully comprehend these matters, including what is the office into which I was placed. Certain changes reflect this.

Long as it is, appreciate that this book could have become much larger. This is because of the mass of material that could have been included as additional proof in every chapter. Mr. Armstrong had much to say—straight from the Bible—about God’s Work in the last days. Recognize also that, by its nature, the subject necessarily involves related topics: What is the gospel? What is the kingdom of God? What and where is the true Church and the Body of Christ? What is the role of Church government—the government of God—and how does one determine where Christ is leading? Is there only one organization where He is Head? To whom should one pay God’s tithes? Who is authorized to continue the Work? What about key prophecies?—and more.

“ANOINT YOUR EYES” details many topics covered in this introduction in the context of the overall test facing all Christians from now until the Tribulation. Parallel here is the need to read our book The True Church – One Organization, or Many? Mr. Armstrong taught (straight from the Bible)—and he was emphatic!—that understanding Christ’s Body directly connects you to the only place His Work is being done, and under God’s true government!

Our Splinter Packet includes another book titled THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD. It takes a thorough approach to a multi-faceted subject so few now barely even remember—and perhaps never truly understood. This is evidenced by a willingness of the majority to exchange the Bible pattern of government for a variety of unworkable, failed counterfeits. It is supremely important to recognize the offices, duties and responsibilities Christ has placed within the New Testament Church, including when the need exists for Him to “give” a particular office (Eph. 4:11). This is related to who is authorized to continue God’s Work. Of course, these things are then connected to—are actually inseparable from—where He is leading, and then on to what exactly are the central components of the remaining Work of God today. All of this is interrelated to finishing the Great Commission. This volume connects the dots within a comprehensive picture, and only “ANOINT YOUR EYES” and THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD are as important.

The Work Means WORK!

So many today no longer want to put in the effort to carry on the Great Commission. After all, the Work is work! Mr. Armstrong did not call it “the play” or “the recreation” because it involves work—sometimes much long, hard WORK! It requires a spirit of sacrifice, and involves long detailed prayers, driven by the understanding of a special purpose for which brethren were called in this age. And yet, fulfilling God’s purpose, on any point, is always deeply satisfying. This may be most true of watching and enjoying the many exciting developments continually announced in God’s Work across the world!

Many are now determined to focus solely on themselves! They will not share what was so generously shared with them by the unselfish labor of Mr. Armstrong and others. Tragically, these people completely missed the most basic teaching he emphasized for 52 years—the transcendent principle of “give” versus “get.” So, this book is written to those who are confused about what God requires, not those with closed minds.

Solomon wrote, “The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men who can render a reason” (Prov. 26:16). Some will render one “reason” after another why they are no longer obligated to: (1) Help announce the kingdom or (2) warn Israel. Never mind will they (3) assist in the message to the final era (Rev. 3:14).

Let it be known that The Restored Church of God will be found by Christ “so doing” all three crucial aspects of His Work (Matt. 24:46)—as well as diligently “feeding the flock of God” (I Pet. 5:2).

The Full Picture

How many who read will be honest with the vast array of facts from the past presented throughout? You will see they are plain, clear—and many! They leave no wiggle room to “halt between two opinions.” Will you read, remember—and re-accept!—all that has been forgotten, and return to what you and over 150,000 others once knew?

Begin to contemplate this question now.

Like other books to God’s people, important groundwork is laid in the early chapters—the book’s first half. These cover more basic subjects before building to awe-inspiring understanding that will make little sense without this “building” approach from one chapter to the next. You cannot receive the full impact or achieve full understanding of the diverse array of material covered in The Work of God – Its Final Chapter! unless you read it all. If you are unwilling to do this, close it now.

Prepare to see awesome prophecies uncovered!—do not miss the book’s many key messages—focus on the knowledge given!—capture the incredible vision presented!—stay the course!—and you will be very thankful you did!

Chapter One – What Does the Bible Teach?

Get clearly in your mind that many now sincerely believe the Work of God has been finished for this age—and that it concluded in 1986. Is this true? Or is there still an “open door” before the remainder of Philadelphia? What about the “famine of the word”? Who is permitted to continue the Work? Has the role of the individual laymember changed? Should Philadelphians now focus solely on “preparing for the Wedding Supper”? Does the Bible reference in any special way a reconstitution of God’s Work in the twenty-first century—in the period that would follow the apostasy?

The approach to any doctrine begins with God’s Word. What then does the Bible teach on these and a host of other matters and questions connected to the Work of God? The nineteen chapters that follow take a comprehensive look at all of them, and how they interrelate to what Mr. Armstrong taught.

In an astonishing reversal of understanding and conviction, a significant and growing number of brethren no longer believe that any obligation remains to carry out the Great Commission. But worse, some have even adopted the view that to continue or even attempt to continue taking the gospel to the world or to warn Israel of the coming Tribulation is actually rebellion against Mr. Armstrong’s final instructions to his successor and to the Church. Naturally, a variety of reasons have been floated to justify this thinking: Mr. Armstrong was Zerubbabel and he finished the Work—“God’s people” are too scattered, and organizations are too divided for a meaningful Work to be done—there are not enough people left to do a great Work—the Laodicean age supplants Philadelphia’s commission—only an apostle may preach the gospel to the whole world or warn nations, among others. Further, most brethren who think the Work is over believe Mr. Armstrong declared just before his death that the Church’s focus from that point forward should be exclusively on individuals preparing for the Wedding Supper with Jesus Christ.

The Bible has much more to say about doing the Work of God—and exactly what this is—than most EVER realized. You will soon believe this, as well as why Mr. Armstrong spoke about it almost unceasingly. Yet, how many pick up their Bibles and look for what is there? This constant Bible theme is why Chapter One will look at virtually every Old Testament figure used to record God’s Word. In part for dramatic effect, I have chosen to devote extra time to this foundation for all the understanding that follows. This includes some unusually long scriptural text to retain both depth and strength of context.

Keynote Statement!

The following defining statement from Mr. Armstrong forms the backdrop for reviewing what the Bible states about who can and who cannot preach the kingdom of God and warn Israel—and who and how many can spearhead the Work of God in any age. He opens by referencing the Work of the Church during his time. Beginning with this paragraph, ask yourself if you still believe what Mr. Armstrong taught. (All emphasis is his):

“And a century of time cycles after the first birth of the Church was a time that God DID USE as a time to start a rebirth of His Church, when once again just before the close of the 6,000-year duration of the ‘day of man,’ and the ushering in of the day of the lord, His Gospel of the Kingdom would be proclaimed worldwide (Matt. 24:14).

“We need to understand a principle by which God always has worked through humans. He has always worked through ONE MAN at a time. He worked through Abraham. He worked through Moses, through Joshua, through one “judge” at a time, through Samuel, through David, through Solomon. He worked through Peter and when Peter had left the Middle East, through Paul. These men had, in greater or lesser number, staff assistants under them, but God’s Work was through the one man at a time!”

“Just What Is ‘The Work’?”, GN, April 1981

What do you think of this statement? Do you feel Mr. Armstrong exaggerated—or worse, was plain wrong? Let’s ask a related question: Is it correct to state that God spread the gospel in past ages through chosen men who were not apostles? Were you under the impression that this message has only been spoken of since the beginning of Christ’s ministry and the New Testament Church, and then only by apostles? Of course, it is understood that apostles take the lead and are the primary office God uses.

What does the Bible reveal?

Acts 3:19-24 makes a comprehensive statement. In this eye-opening passage, Peter refers to Christ’s Coming (vs. 19)—“the presence of the Lord”—and that He (God) “shall send Jesus Christ” (vs. 20). Verse 21 describes the establishing of God’s kingdom under Christ as the “restitution of all things,” corroborating Mr. Armstrong’s statement! Next, Peter states that this “restitution” (again, Jesus Christ establishing God’s kingdom) is something “God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.”

This is a stunning passage! Consider it—with all its implications.

Could God have actually used prophets, not just apostles, to announce His kingdom—as well as men, we will see, who held neither office? Unless both God and Mr. Armstrong exaggerate—of course, I am being facetious—then this statement is true. But let’s examine a number of specific biblical figures.

Let’s examine whether and how each of these men, in one manner or another, preached the coming kingdom of God. And let’s see if God’s Word is plain on this matter.

The Old Testament “Preachers of Righteousness”

Enoch was Noah’s great-grandfather. Jude 14-15 declares plainly, “Enoch…the seventh from Adam prophesied…saying, Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all…” This man was a pre-Flood preacher whose “sermon notes” have been preserved in Jude for us to see. He obviously refers in this message to the same things that constitute the gospel.

For clarification, Noah in II Peter 2:4-5 is called “the eighth…preacher of righteousness.” Notice how Jude recorded Enoch was the “seventh from Adam.” This is why Noah is referred to as “the eighth.” These pre-Flood servants were apparently known as “preachers of righteousness” and, beginning with “righteous Abel,” there were five other men before Enoch who fulfilled this role. The service of these eight men (apparently only these three named were converted) spanned the entire period between Adam and the Flood, with Noah transitioning to the post-Flood world.

Further review of Enoch’s message reveals that these men taught about sin and righteousness in the very strongest terms. This means they issued a stern and powerful warning to a sinning, lawless world, which culminated in the greatest punishment to date—the Flood! A careful study of the Bible demonstrates that God always warns before punishment—captivity, destruction of Nineveh, Sodom and Gomorrah, the Flood, individual kings, etc.

While much more could be said about this sixteen-and-a-half-century period before the Flood, suffice to say that every one of these early “preachers” brought the same message. Remember, Peter stated, “since the world began.”

What I have mentioned here is not my invention. The Church and Mr. Armstrong have long understood the role of these pre-Flood “preachers,” and their commission and work was taught in exactly this way in the late 60s, when I attended Ambassador College. I still remember spending hours in my freshman year meticulously transferring all the details of this information to a blank page in my Bible. Also, the old Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course taught it the same way!

Abraham, Moses and Samuel

Next, we ask: Was the gospel of the kingdom preached in the centuries following the Flood by those who would have succeeded Noah? If so, what biblical evidence exists?

Notice what God told the patriarch Abraham: “In you shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12:3). This same promise is referenced in Galatians 3:8, but phrased a little differently there: “In you shall all nations be blessed,” stating also there that the “gospel” was “preached before…unto Abraham.”

This is fascinating knowledge! Not only did Abraham hear of the kingdom of God (from Christ, Melchizedek), but it is also preached in Genesis through Moses’ writings!

Moses was neither a “preacher of righteousness” nor an apostle. This first leader of ancient Israel was also a prophet and a judge. Have you previously thought of Moses as expounding the gospel? The Bible says that he did—to ancient Israel in the wilderness. Genesis records it, as does Numbers 24:17-19, also recorded by Moses.

Taken together, Hebrews 3:9 and 4:2 reveal that Moses preached the gospel to Israel in the wilderness. Notice: “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them [Israel]” (4:2). Acts 3 demonstrates that this practice continued through Samuel!

Note that Acts 3:24 mentioned Samuel: “And all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after.” So then even Samuel preached Christ’s Coming to bring the “restitution of all things.” Of course, this man was not an apostle, but rather also a prophet.

These are straightforward passages that cannot be glossed over. Carefully reflect on each of them. But the picture grows much larger.

David

No one doubts that David was a king—and many would know he was a prophet. This prophet/king also spoke about the kingdom of God, with seemingly few aware of this. In Psalm 67:4, David wrote, “…for You [the Lord] shall judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth,” and he also recorded, “For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and He is the governor among the nations” (Psa. 22:28).

Both of these passages are most plain, and can only refer to a time in the future when the kingdom of God is reigning over all nations. No other timeframe fits.

Isaiah

Isaiah the prophet wrote, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice…even forever” (9:6-7).

This well-known passage, read at every WCG Feast of Tabernacles site for decades, needs no explanation! It obviously references God’s coming kingdom under Christ.

Jeremiah

The prophet Jeremiah wrote this: “Behold, the days come, says the Lord, that I will raise unto David a Righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby He shall be called, the Lord our righteousness” (23:5-6, also 7-8).

The meaning of this prophecy is equally obvious!

Ezekiel

Ezekiel recorded this: “For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land” (36:24). The next ten verses describe a national rebuilding and prosperity only possible after the Return of Christ and the establishment of God’s kingdom!

Though not as direct as the other so-called “major” prophets, Ezekiel clearly reflected the central point of the gospel. Take time to read the rest of the context.

Daniel

The prophet Daniel recorded much more: “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (2:44).

Further, in Daniel 7, verse 18 adds, “But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever,” with verse 22 adding more: “Until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.”

Verse 27 of the same chapter further confirms with a third equally clear statement that Daniel preached God’s kingdom, stating, “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.”

How plain!

Hosea and Joel

The next several sections will look at a number of those often referred to as the “Minor Prophets.” These are offered to demonstrate God’s thorough emphasis given to the powerful “kingdom of God” theme throughout the Bible.

Here is what Hosea wrote: “Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days” (3:5). Also see chapter 2, verses 16 and 19. This and the next several longer passages also plainly reference the kingdom of God.

Joel, another of the so-called “minor” prophets, recorded this long prophecy about Christ’s coming millennial rule: “Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things. Be not afraid, you beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree bears her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength. Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for He has given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. And I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, My great army which I sent among you. And you shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that has dealt wondrously with you: and My people shall never be ashamed. And you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and My people shall never be ashamed” (2:21-27).

It is obvious this prophecy can only be fulfilled when the kingdom of God is established.

Amos and Obadiah

It is important that the reader not be able to miss the Bible’s constant emphasis about the coming, world-ruling supergovernment to be established over all nations, under the reigning leadership of the Family— or the Kingdom— of God. I repeat, it is worth the time taken to lay this foundation early in the book.

Now let’s look at what the prophet Amos recorded: “In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by My name, says the Lord that does this. Behold, the days come, says the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. And I will bring again the [back from] captivity [a later chapter will look closely at passages that reference this event] of My people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, says the Lord your God” (9:11-15).

One of the most inspiring passages in the entire Bible about the kingdom of God is also one of the shortest on the subject, and is also found in one of the Bible’s shortest books—Obadiah. It explains what God’s people once knew to be a part of their future as they worked with people around the world, beginning in the Millennium: “And saviors shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s” (vs. 21).

This passage references “saviors” (the newly-resurrected saints in the God Family) who “come up” at a certain point within God’s government in Jerusalem. The meaning here is unmistakable—this is at the time when “the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.” Any kingdom that is “the Lord’s” would have to be the kingdom of God.

Micah and Habakkuk

Let’s now look at what two more prophets recorded. The following familiar passage in Micah was also read for decades at WCG Feast sites (it is repeated almost verbatim in Isaiah 2:1-4):

“But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain [kingdom] of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills [small countries]; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken it. For all people will walk every one in the name of his god [the now divine saints ruling with Christ], and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever” (4:1-5).

The prophet Micah also recorded this about both Christ’s nativity and perhaps greatest future role: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, You be little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (5:2). Matthew 2:6 quotes this same verse in a parallel form that offers an even clearer meaning: “For out of you [Judah] shall come a governor, that shall rule My people Israel.”

There is no question about the topic in these two passages.

Considering the state of spiritual ignorance in the world today, Habakkuk also carries one of the most inspiring passages in the entire Bible—this one for the world and not just for the saints: “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (2:14).

Of course, the fulfillment of this passage could only be possible if one central government were ruling all nations. This verse perhaps best illustrates how the kingdom of God can be described in terms helpful in a variety of ways.

Zephaniah

The next passage, from Zephaniah, highlights what must be considered one of the inspiring portions of Scripture about the future of the twelve tribes of Israel. Shattered by the Great Tribulation and her resultant captivity around the world, Israel will soon hear these words:

“Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The Lord has taken away your judgments, He has cast out your enemy: the king of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of you: you shall not see evil any more. In that day [when Israel’s captivity ends] it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear you not: and to Zion, Let not your hands be slack. The Lord your God in the midst of you is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over you with singing. I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of you, to whom the reproach of it was a burden. Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict you: and I will save her that halts, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back [bring to an end] your captivity before your eyes, says the Lord” (3:14-20).

Again, later, in one of the book’s most inspiring chapters, you will see in a much, much grander way the events talked about in this passage. A seed has been planted here about the Work of God remaining for this age that is beyond what you can envision or even imagine.

Remember these words!

Zechariah and Malachi

Let’s conclude with two final prophets, beginning with Zechariah: “…and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with you…And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and His name one” (14:5, 8-9).

The kingdom of God arrives at the same time Christ comes with the saints. This passage highlights one of the first things God does and describes the entire earth under His authority.

Let’s conclude by examining from Malachi one final familiar passage, perhaps quoted by Mr. Armstrong as many as any other near the end of his life: “Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, whom you seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom you delight in: behold, He shall come, says the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appears? for He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness” (3:1-3).

No question this prophecy speaks of events at Christ’s Return.

All the “Minor” Prophets

With the exceptions of Jonah and Nahum (who both would have preached the gospel outside of their books, which were both directed against Assyria), it can be easily demonstrated that every one of the Minor Prophets preached the kingdom of God in one way or another.

Of course, we have seen that the phrase “gospel of the kingdom of God” is not the only way of describing this message, as Genesis 12:3, Galatians 3:8 and quotes like Habakkuk’s demonstrate. But each of these Old Testament servants preached what the New Testament describes as “the gospel.”

Taking the time to read from all these prophets should deepen your conviction about the Great Commission of which so many have at least partially lost sight.

Peter Was Correct!

The apostle Peter knew what he was talking about: “God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21). Other prophets referenced in Scripture (and apparently all others God may have used) would have announced the kingdom of God.

Another point arises from Acts 3. Recall it stated, “God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets…” The gospel is a message from God through whatever human servant He is using—prophet, patriarch, judge, preacher of righteousness, king or apostle. God always spoke the same message through whomever He used!

Now take a moment to internalize the big picture. Meditate on what you have learned from the Old Testament. God’s servants ALL do the same thing, and we will see this means Old Testament and New. They describe the coming of a world-ruling supergovernment under Jesus Christ and the resurrected, Spirit-born saints.

Yet, before going to the New Testament, we must at least briefly pause and recognize that a fundamental change occurred with the arrival of Christ’s Church, as per the kingdom of God. Notice that God’s servants emphasized in their personal teaching something else: “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presses into it” (Luke 16:16).

The responsibility to formally announce God’s kingdom to the whole world, including preaching about it, did not begin until Christ and the apostles came on the scene. Prior to their arrival, the emphasis was always on the meaning of the law and the prophets, with God’s coming government emphasized within that framework.

Christ and the Apostles

So then we arrive at the New Testament. Obviously, and this is included for the record, Jesus preached the kingdom of God throughout His ministry. No true Christian doubts this. Mark 1:14-15 states, “Now after that John [the Baptist] was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent you, and believe the gospel.”

These very first recorded New Testament words describing Jesus’ message—and ministry!—and what was the gospel!—firmly establish His personal commission—“Jesus…came preaching…the kingdom of God.”

There is not space here to demonstrate that the theme of Christ’s ministry never wavered! Other materials referenced do this.

Luke 10:1, 9 record that Jesus sent 70 men (not apostles, and not even converted) to preach the kingdom of God. In other words, He allowed at least 82 unconverted disciples—including the 12 who went on to become apostles—to preach the gospel! (It is at least worth stating that Jesus had previously made it clear these men were apostles.) Of course, the book of Acts records throughout that the then converted apostles continued preaching the kingdom of God after the Church was built.

Compared to Mr. Armstrong

Also, and of course this is obvious, Mr. Armstrong preached the kingdom of God for 52 years. And it should also be noted he probably did a greater Work in reaching people than all of God’s servants over the last 6,000 years combined! (Mr. Armstrong should at least be referenced here among the apostles. As with Christ and the twelve, this should at least be stated for the record. Peter Waldo, also an apostle, could be discussed with demonstration of the same.)

But the magnitude of what God did through Mr. Armstrong is no excuse not to continue. Why? Because some assert that anyone seeking to continue the First Commission expects to do a greater Work than Mr. Armstrong did. Of course, this is ridiculous—no Work will ever again repeat that exact pattern (but Chapter Seventeen will stun you), even if there were enough time. But that was the case before Mr. Armstrong’s ministry, and all these others before him always pressed on as they could.

Because of the terrible punishment foretold to come upon the nations descending from ancient Israel if they do not heed and repent, the final warning to these almost 600 million Israelites will be the greatest warning message in history. You will learn later that there is powerful biblical evidence of this. That warning is underway—and The Restored Church of God is issuing it!

The last paragraph and the entire chapter introduce a question about which a seed ought even this early be planted in the mind of the reader. First, an apostle is merely “one sent,” the literal meaning of the word. Now the question: Has another been sent—would another need to be sent—to finish God’s final Work, one that you will learn is to be of colossal proportion?

In summary, history demonstrates that every one of God’s leading servants, from Abel to Mr. Armstrong, preached the same message—did the same Work. Of course, as Mr. Armstrong often said, the true gospel did not go out to the whole world, from the time of the apostles until God raised him up to re-establish it in the sixth era of the Church. It is also critical to note again how Mr. Armstrong taught that, from the original apostles to the end of the age, God’s Church was in fact preaching the gospel, but in only limited scope, generally restricted to local areas because of intense persecution.

But Mr. Armstrong taught more concerning the specifics of doing and continuing the Work than most seem to recognize—or remember. Actually, he taught much, much more—and was most explicit. We will carefully examine what he said.

Hallmark Statement!

This chapter closes with another quote from Mr. Armstrong about the Work of God. I consider it among his “hallmark” overview statements, those that transcend the others cited from him, either in this book or in others to the splinters. Under the subhead “Your Part in GOD’S WORK,” this inspiring quote is how he concluded his booklet What Will You Be Doing in the Next Life?:

“In my over fifty years’ intensive, rich, active experience, since God changed my direction into His way, I have observed that the very first need of every Christian, who is to grow and develop this spiritual character, is to have his heart completely in the Work of God, which the living Christ has called His servants to do, as His instruments! Our ‘works’ are our part in God’s Work— getting His true Gospel to the whole world as a witness—preparing the way for Christ’s coming. We are merely His instruments. It is God’s Work! Those who condemn ‘works’ are condemning the Great God who is the actual Doer through us as His instruments and Co-Workers! It is not, after all, our works!

“Those who are self-centered, caring nothing for the Work of God, having not enough outgoing concern to want to help get Christ’s message out to this blinded, deceived, dying world, fall away. Those who center their whole ‘Christian’ life and activity on developing their own selves spiritually, whose hearts are not in or concerned about this great outgoing worldwide Work of God, actually directed by the living Christ, develop only inwardly, until they shrivel up spiritually and fall by the wayside! Those whose hearts, their active, constant, earnest, fervent prayers, and their tithes and offerings are in God’s Work continue to expand spiritually—they become happier—they become greatly blessed—their lives become richer and fuller—and their faces beam in smiles. They radiate! They prosper!

“The New Testament is literally filled with instruction on Christian living—leading a new, different, sparkling, joyous life—or, perhaps more correctly, allowing Jesus Christ to live such a life—God’s way in them!

“How wonderful is God’s Way!

Salvation comes—if we are willing—as God’s free gift— by grace!

But we must be changed. There is doing, not hearing only (Rom. 2:13). There is development of a new righteous character. Yet, even that is Christ IN you actually doing it! Actually, even the ‘works’ are primarily done by Him! But how wonderful that there are righteous “works” in the true Christian life—opportunity for more than salvation, priceless though that be—opportunity for higher position, rank, opportunity to serve, higher glory!”

We are now ready for the particulars—the vital specifics—of what Mr. Armstrong taught about the Church’s Great Commission…

Chapter Two – What Did Mr. Armstrong Teach?

Beginning this chapter, the next several demonstrate that many of the principles Mr. Armstrong taught are strengthened by the fact that he repeated them often, and in different ways. He understood that repetition underscores and ingrains important knowledge, and at the same time reduces misunderstanding.

The next four chapters cover a series of central questions. Each of the first five, answered in the next two chapters, are addressed by quotes from Mr. Armstrong. The sixth question, the subject of Chapters Four and Five, follows by taking another look at what is the gospel and what is the Work as he taught it—and contrasts it to big changes occurring in the splinters. Read and internalize Mr. Armstrong’s words and meaning.

1. Did Mr. Armstrong believe the Work was to be done exclusively by him and would end at his death?

It is amazing the numbers who now believe that Mr. Armstrong thought preaching the kingdom of God was to end when his life was over. Many of these find ingenious ways to put such words on his lips. Three particular statements are usually cited as confirmation—either from MYSTERY OF THE AGES, The Incredible Human Potential or the March 19, 1981 Worldwide News—by those trying to prove this is what he believed—or supposedly came to believe near the end of his life. The book must address this thinking early on.

People determined to focus only on themselves assert that Mr. Armstrong instructed his successor to concentrate exclusively on “preparing the Bride for the Wedding Supper.” Near the end of his life, Mr. Armstrong certainly did put important emphasis on this task. And let it be understood here that most people, including whole organizations, have largely ignored this vital instruction.

It is true that the splinters attempting to continue the Work do not really grasp the importance of properly feeding the flock. It is as though several of them believe that doing the “Work” is basically their only commission. Seeing this, some people react to this unbalanced emphasis and, true to human nature, taking a view that is equally unbalanced, jump to the other ditch, believing the Church’s commission to be over or of relatively minimal importance today. They seem to conclude that—at least if it continues in the manner these splinters focus on it—the flock is not going to be fed correctly nor will the bride be fully readied for her Wedding. Sadly, people in both of these opposing ditches smugly decide the other approach is wrong—and seem unwilling to recognize both forms of thinking are terribly harmful, just in different ways!

The need to accuse trumps right understanding on both sides.

An Illustration

A letter I received from a local church elder aptly demonstrates the assumption that those continuing the Work must automatically be neglecting the Church—meaning not properly feeding the flock. Notice that the writer seems incapable of understanding how I could possibly be “preparing the Church” and “getting oneself ready” if I continue to do the Work. He wrote, “You said in your reply, not doing a Work is an easy path to take, but as I see it, preparing the church, getting oneself ready is a much, much harder task than falling back into doing the Work and not moving any farther than we were in ‘86…” (emphasis mine).

The writer actually believes that presenting the good news of the kingdom of God or warning great nations facing disaster is falling backward. This alone is astonishing! He has convinced himself that abandoning the Work was “moving…farther than…‘86 [when Mr. Armstrong died].” This absurd statement elevates a complete focus on SELF as going beyond the enormous Work, ministry and purpose of what Mr. Armstrong accomplished!

Having the gall to then attribute this kind of outrageous thinking to his teacher makes it even more appalling. I marvel that Mr. Armstrong’s students could have fallen so far from the understanding that he gave them. Bear in mind that the writer was an elder for many years during Mr. Armstrong’s lifetime. It should be embarrassing to such people in their shameful pretension of following and respecting the teachings of this great servant! They apparently never understood either him or the mind of God. God help these to repent of rebellion, stubbornness, pride, selfishness, laziness and blindness before it is too late!

So, one ditch is characterized as preaching the gospel above all else, while at the same time ignoring both correct doctrine and the proper feeding of the flock. The other is best summarized as claiming to hold to all true doctrine, while rejecting one of the greatest doctrines that Mr. Armstrong taught—I repeat, taking the true gospel to the world and fulfilling the special Ezekiel Warning to the nations of Israel. Invariably, over time, these latter groups also drifted into other false doctrines, as Mr. Armstrong warned, so their claims ring hollow.

The fact that some organizations have neglected to correctly feed the flock and prepare the bride could never be a reason to ignore continuing the Work of God. Because some no longer tithe, should God’s people conclude the Sabbath is done away? Because some think believers can marry outside the Church, should others eat unclean meat?

There is no difference in the illogic.

Only One Purpose

We have seen that the only Work or business God has ever had His servants perform is either announcing His kingdom or bringing a special warning to an individual, a city or a nation. The following quotes emphatically demonstrate that Mr. Armstrong continually taught this! If some will not believe me, will they believe him? Read his own words written at the end of his life proving he believed continuing to have one’s heart in the Work was the single greatest key to keeping on track and to preparing for the Wedding Supper! ( All emphasis is his):

“I am now in my 94th year. God may grant that I continue in this very limited manner to direct the work for some time, but the occasional heart pains that I have endured have made me feel the necessity of letting our coworkers know of the condition as it is.

“Remember, this is the work of the living Creator God.

“I thank God that He has organized this present work of his so thoroughly that regardless of the outcome of my present illness, the work will continue right on to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ…Christ is the Living Head of this work, and He will continue guiding those He has chosen right up to his Second Coming, which grows daily nearer at hand.”

Letter to brethren, Dec. 23, 1985

“This is my first letter to you in 1986, and could very well be my last. It may be that the Work God has given me to do is complete, but not the Work of God’s Church, which will be faithfully doing God’s Work till Christ, the True Head of this Church, returns.

“Remember, brethren, this is not the work of Herbert W. Armstrong…or any man. It is the Work of the Living Creator, God…The greatest work lies yet ahead.”

Last Co-Worker Letter, Jan. 10, 1986

The last phrase above will take on much greater meaning in later chapters! In fact this single short reference will come to be seen as the defining description of the Church at the end.

“Brethren, if we are to continue to grow—and to grow spiritually as well as in numbers—we must remember that the purpose of the Church is, first, to go into all the world and preach Christ’s gospel. The first commission to the Church is just that. Anyone who looks on that Great commission of Christ as ‘Armstrong’s private work’ is just not a member of god’s Church. Anyone who does not have his whole heart in that work is not a member of god’s true church, and has no right whatsoever to attend or fellowship in any of its local congregations.”

“Why Local Assemblies?”, GN, March 1954

The last statement is most instructive! Mr. Armstrong felt very, very strongly about those whose heart was not in preaching the gospel. He offered no apology for stating they should not even be permitted to “attend or fellowship” with God’s people. Carefully reflect on this for its application today! The above quotes span nearly 32 years—including to the end of Mr. Armstrong’s life. Do you really believe that these statements (with the next two) reflect a diminishing of importance from what he placed throughout his ministry on continuing the Work? Absolutely not. Now continue:

“The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the message that Christ proclaimed. That message was the Good News or the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. That is the message He preached, the restoration of the Government of God by the coming Kingdom of God.

“The apostolic Church from A.D. 31 proclaimed it.

“Today we carry on God’s Work in a world multiplied vastly larger in population, a mechanized, mechanical, complex world with instrumentalities to work with that were never dreamed of in the first century.

“If anything happened to me I would expect the Church to continue right on and the local churches and the local church ministry.”

“Congress of Leading Ministers,” WN, March 6, 1981

“We CANNOT AFFORD TO BECOME LUKEWARM! We cannot afford to let our minds drift from the intense NEED for this very special mission of this particular time in world history, so shortly before Christ’s coming and HIS KINGDOM! [Author’s note: Yet, this has become so descriptive of most of God’s people today.]

“Now about the Work itself.

“Few understand just what IS the Church. There are so many churches in the world. People just take churches for granted. But more than 1,953 years ago, Jesus Christ said, ‘I will build My Church.’ Few know WHY He built it—for what PURPOSE. The purpose, primarily, was dual:

1) to proclaim to the world the Gospel Message God sent to mankind by Jesus as God’s Messenger (Mal 3:1) of the coming Kingdom of God,

2) to call and prepare a chosen people…

“I have NEVER SAID I expect to live until Christ comes.”

Co-Worker Letter, March 19, 1981

Lesson Learned

In a phone conversation with Mr. Armstrong (in about 1980 or 1981), I suggested to him that God would not permit him to die “before he finished the Work.” He made it clear to me—in no uncertain terms!—that he did not want me to “encourage” him in this way. He went on to explain that he did not want members of the Church to put their faith in the idea that he could not die before the Work ended. He fully understood that his life could come to an end, and that finishing the Great Commission transcended his presence!

I will never forget Mr. Armstrong thundering at me in this call and making reference to an evangelist whom he had just admonished about this very point. This man had been regularly traveling around the world declaring with authority that Mr. Armstrong would live until Christ returned. I am not denigrating this man, because I believed and said the same thing. Probably most did. But Mr. Armstrong did not want this false hope taking root.

For the record, history proves that at about this same time, this man did greatly alter his usual, several-hour sermon. The only proof I have of this conversation are the above quotes, and the timing of the appearance of his new, softer presentation in this regard. You may decide if I am presenting the truth of this.

Needless to say, I never repeated this mistake with Mr. Armstrong!

2. When did Mr. Armstrong teach that the Work would end?

The following statements, particularly when coupled with the previous ones, prove Mr. Armstrong absolutely understood that he could die before Christ returned. Do not forget that his last several co-worker letters were written with this reality heavy on his mind. Of course, he knew that he was gravely ill. But he also knew that a faithful Church of God would continue to do the Work of preaching the kingdom and warning Israel up to the start of the Great Tribulation. Anyone who disputes this point, after reading these next statements, is simply not honest with the facts (emphasis his):

“Brethren, this world is being destroyed for lack of knowledge of and from GOD, as we read in Hosea 4:6. Through my personal visits, and the PLAIN TRUTH magazine, on TV and radio and through other literature, we are proclaiming that knowledge in POWER and AUTHORITY. Some listen. It is God’s last witness against those who do not. BUT WE MUST DRIVE RIGHT ON UNTIL CHRIST COMES!”

Co-Worker Letter, Nov. 18, 1984

“I ask you, brethren, in Jesus’ name, to put whatever you are able into God’s Work in this crisis hour before the…Tribulation that will cut off our work just prior to the soon-coming of Christ and the World Tomorrow.”

Co-Worker Letter, Nov. 25, 1985

“Our labors in GOD’S WORK will be ended soon after the resurrection of the impending United States of Europe!”

Co-Worker Letter, Aug. 14, 1978

“Brethren, time is running out on us. When this great European power emerges, our great Work will be just about over. The day shall have arrived when ‘no man can work,’ as Jesus said (John 9:4).

“NOTHING ELSE MATTERS NOW. We must sacrifice and devote our all that is reasonably possible to GOD’S WORK in these closing days.”

Co-Worker Letter, July 16, 1982

“…brethren and co-workers, the prophesied Great Tribulation (nuclear World War III) will start soon after the European unification. That means OUR WORK OF SPREADING THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD WILL BE FINISHED! We have not now much more time. Soon shall come a FAMINE of hearing the Word of the Lord (Amos 8:11).

“God says, work while it is day, for the night is coming when no man can work—in the Work of God!

“Nothing else is important in our lives, now, but this all-important Work of God.”

Co-Worker Letter, Nov. 22, 1982

Be Careful

The last statement above, when put with the others, proves conclusively that Mr. Armstrong believed “the famine of hearing the Word” would take place during the Great Tribulation, and not before, or if so by only a little. There is no other way to view what he said. Make yourself be honest about his belief concerning the timing of the famine of the Word. (I address this in greater detail later.)

I once believed there was a possibility that the beginnings of this famine could be here now, simply because the massive scope and size of the extraordinary—and unique!—Work of the Philadelphian age was over. But this is the most that anyone can possibly acknowledge without altering and redefining what Mr. Armstrong understood would trigger the famine of the Word, and without perverting the truth about how the famine will occur.

The subject of the famine of hearing the Word (Amos 8:11) is covered as “Event 16” (sermon #21) in my extensive prophetic sequence sermon series, available on our website. If you have not heard this continuing series, you should find and listen to it. It presents the correct developing march and still future sequence of prophecies just ahead as no one else will preach them.

So I know that an absolutely immense work still lies ahead. Watch us very closely because it is well underway! And later chapters of this book prove this is no idle dream. It is based on bedrock solid Bible prophecies and understanding supporting what Mr. Armstrong wrote just before his death, as well as obvious fruits. Now notice:

“We draw daily nearer to the end of this age. Time is growing shorter daily. The Bible warns us the time is just ahead when NO MAN CAN WORK—in the Lord’s Work. We must sacrifice now as never before for this Work that we may FINISH the Work that Christ has called us to do.”

Co-Worker Letter, Oct. 23, 1980

Think! How would it be possible that the Work was to end in 1986, or at any time later, but before the end, since it was foretold by Christ to continue until “no man CAN work” (John 9:4)?

Brethren, recognize that men—the Church—still can work!

No one and no thing—governments, persecuting accusers, the Beast, the Great Tribulation—or even the economy—has yet been permitted to block or stop the Work of God. Men and organizations CAN still preach the kingdom of God and warn nations.

The question was always whether they would!—and whether you will help…

Chapter Three – Other Questions—More Clarity

There is much more to cover of what the Church previously understood about the Great Commission. The content of what Mr. Armstrong taught about the ongoing responsibility God gave His Church requires several chapters to cover. This one answers three more central questions.

3. What importance did Mr. Armstrong place on doing the Work within the scope of a Philadelphian’s conduct?

Mr. Armstrong did not mince words when connecting compromising the importance of one’s participation in the true Work of God to losing eternal life! Notice this:

“Unless we fulfill God’s special purpose for our calling now, we might never go into His Kingdom. This fact must not be taken carelessly!

“How many of us become unmindful of God’s purpose and assume we were called and put into God’s Church only to get our personal salvation and to enjoy the fellowship and social life of our local church?

“Brethren, do we not find ourselves taking for granted that the churches in what is called ‘Christianity’ are also God’s churches—that we are just another of the many denominations, the only difference being that we hold to some different doctrines?

That is simply not true! We in God’s Church are not just one of all these churches. They are of this world. They do not have, or know, or proclaim, Christ’s gospel—the message God sent to the world by Christ, as the Messenger.

“When [Christ] returns [Luke 19:11-24], He will demand of each of us to show how we have used the gift of His Holy Spirit—how much we have contributed to His Work—the purpose for which He put us in His Church now! … Those who prove disloyal or drop out of the Work—the only purpose for which you were called now—will find themselves in the position of the one described in verses 20 and 24. They will lose the very salvation they were trying to get!

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

“Why Did God Put You In His Church?”, GN, May 1974

Did you notice in the last large paragraph Mr. Armstrong’s references to “His [God’s] Work—the purpose for which He put us in His Church now!” and “the only purpose for which you were called now”?

Do you—will you—still believe this?

The next statement is especially important. It summarizes Mr. Armstrong’s view of the one true Church, God’s Work, true Christian love, unity, his view of scattered, divided brethren and the Marriage Supper. It also clarifies how these issues are all effectively overarched by continuing and finishing the Work, here linked to continuing to practice the “give” way of life.

Notice each point:

“What about the ‘loner’ Christian who says, ‘I will serve Christ in my own way’? What about the one who leaves God’s Church to have his own private relation with Christ—to get his own salvation—without giving his part of the Church’s effort to send the true gospel into ALL THE WORLD?

“Or, what about the one who follows a MAN because of that man’s personality, charisma or attractiveness, or some other group?

“Stop and THINK!

“Is Christ going to marry a number of differing groups, not in complete harmony with each other—yet all ‘professing CHRIST’?

“Jesus said, ‘He that is not with me [and since He is the Head of God’s one and only Church, He plainly meant with Him where HE is working—in God’s one Church] is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad’ (Matthew 12:30).

“Jesus Christ is going to marry THE ONE AND ONLY TRUE CHURCH – not a number of scattered groups or scattered individuals.

“God’s law and way of life may be summed up in the one word ‘LOVE’—which is outflowing—the way of ‘GIVE’—while Satan’s way is that of ‘GET.’ The one who tried to GET his salvation apart from the one Church Christ is going to marry is on the ‘GET’ way. Those loyally in the Church are GIVING of their prayers, loyalty, encouragement and support to Christ’s chosen apostle in GIVING the GOOD NEWS to the world—its ONLY HOPE.”

“7 Proofs of God’s True Church,” PT, Sept. 1979

“Give” vs. “Get”

Could any forget how often Mr. Armstrong stressed the importance of “give versus get”? He believed that brethren who neglected the Work were plain selfish. Now think how selfish it would make Mr. Armstrong if he had believed that he was the only one permitted to “give” good news to the world—particularly during the most sinful, awful and blinded age in history. Mr. Armstrong would have been teaching God’s people that after he died it would be “okay” to return to getting—to focus on “getting” oneself into the kingdom, “getting” a higher reward, even “getting” headquarters to do things the way people wish as so many now do—rather than in continuing to give the same treasure he was used to give to us—to you—and so many others!

Philadelphia is defined as the era of brotherly love. Its members care about their fellowman—in both the Church and the world. These brethren are not selfish—they are not people unwilling to share what they have. It deeply insults Mr. Armstrong’s teaching, understanding, character and memory to suggest that “Philadelphians” no longer need to give to others the hope-filled message and marvelous truth that was so freely given to them.

Let me repeat that it is a shameful embarrassment that supposed “brethren” who claim to “hold fast” all restored doctrine have abandoned perhaps the greatest doctrine that Mr. Armstrong taught. They bring a reproach on the entire life and work of this incredible leader and servant of his fellowman.

Plain Doctrine

Make no mistake—and this is also repeated—the ongoing obligation to announce God’s kingdom is doctrine! Let none kid themselves—rejecting the continuance of the true Work of God is plain heresy! Though many today have found ways to fool themselves that it is not, God is not fooled. If this applies to you, I do not mean to hurt you, but rather to exhort you—and to re-awaken your former love of doing God’s Work!

Also, what if Mr. Armstrong had viewed leaving Sardis as so many view leaving the big, doctrinally-compromising splinter groups—as an excuse to isolate themselves, not any longer assisting in the Work where Christ is leading? If he had left Sardis, but not carried out the Great Commission, simply because most at the time (those in Sardis) were unwilling to participate in it with him, then you and I would never have learned the truth. We would still be in the world. Thank God that Mr. Armstrong did not think like so many former brethren today who claim to follow his teachings, but who have become entirely selfish and inwardly focused! Hopefully, it has become clear how ridiculous and dangerous this thinking is. Those slipping into it will lose God’s Spirit.

Be alert, and do not fall for it!

“The Work of God was originally started by ONE man—Jesus Christ. But on the day of Pentecost, A.D. 31, the same Holy Spirit that had carried on God’s Work through his individual body entered into and empowered his apostles, and the entire COLLECTIVE BODY, which on and from that day constituted God’s Church.

“But, after proclaiming that gospel MESSAGE to the world of that day—after the Church had grown and multiplied in number and power, the headquarters Church at Jerusalem fled in the face of advancing Roman armies shortly before A.D. 70, became scattered, and under persecution—and because of discouragement because Christ had not yet returned in power and glory—the Church WENT TO SLEEP ON THE JOB of proclaiming Christ’s true gospel message!

“We are in a spiritual WAR—on the firing line with CHRIST as our general—firing spiritual bombs of GOD’S TRUTH—the message of Christ’s own GOSPEL—to make this whole world CONSCIOUS of the GOOD NEWS of Christ’s soon coming and his KINGDOM, to rule the happy, peaceful WORLD TOMORROW! There can be no letting down—no slacking—no quitting in this war!

“What would happen in a war if an army, by a sudden burst of effort, surged forward to win a single battle, then laid down their arms and decided to take it easy or go on furlough? They would then LOSE THE WAR! Christ said it is only he who endures to the end who shall be saved! LET US CARRY ON, more determined than ever—more dedicated and devoted to Christ’s great mission than ever! We must not win a partial battle, and then lose our war. LET US NOW PLUNGE ON HARDER THAN EVER TO FINAL VICTORY!”

Co-Worker Letter, Oct. 25, 1985

Mr. Armstrong wrote the above statement just eleven weeks before his death. He understood that the still living Jesus Christ, not himself, initiated the Work in the New Testament era, and that it was a commission (Matt. 28:19-20) to God’s leading servants throughout the entire New Testament era. All of the above statements testify that he recognized God’s Work superseded the duration of his own life. Notice that Matthew 24:14 reveals the gospel is preached until “…the end come.”

Found “So Doing”

Perhaps most important, verse 46 of Matthew 24 shows that faithful servants are found “so doing” when Christ returns. The context (established 32 verses earlier in verse 14) makes clear that, among other things, they must be found so doing the Work! And how could a commission supposedly ceasing well over twenty-five years before “the end come” fit Christ’s description of until “the end come”? It could not, and He could not expect His people to think it did. Later chapters investigate this further.

Further, Matthew 10:1, 6 and 23 add that Christ’s servants are actively going over the cities of Israel “till the Son of man be come”—or, more properly understood, when the time of flight arrives. The next statement clarifies that this understanding of Matthew 24:14 and 46 was exactly what Mr. Armstrong believed Christ meant. His view of the time remaining in the age reflected urgency, and that “faithful” and “wise stewardship” were involved.

Now notice:

“I want to hear the living and soon-coming Jesus Christ say: ‘WELL DONE, GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT!’ Don’t YOU?…We may have only one more year—we may have two years—we may have five.

“What I DO KNOW is that Jesus said, in regard to knowing or NOT knowing the time of His coming: ‘Who, then, is that faithful and wise steward, whom his Lord shall make ruler over His household…? Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when He cometh shall find SO DOING.’

“If Christ should yet cut our work short one year from now, I want Him to find me SO DOING carrying on His Work right up to the last minute!”

Letter to brethren, Jan. 21, 1971

The answer to question three in this chapter is not complete without a capstone statement. May it hit like a sledgehammer. Mr. Armstrong knew that Philadelphians would be continuing God’s true Work no matter what, while Laodiceans would grow “weary” (remember, the Work is work) and “spiritually destitute,” because they were “indifferent…lukewarm…lacking in zeal”

Again, read carefully:

“Brethren, WHO is preaching the same Gospel Jesus taught, the Gospel of the KINGDOM OF GOD, to the world? Do you know any other Church fulfilling this prophecy as to the WORK OF THE TRUE CHURCH for this very day and time?

“Of the ‘Philadelphia’ Church, Christ says, ‘I know…you have but little power.’ It is probably the WEAKEST in numerical and physical strength and power—the smallest in membership, of any of the Churches from the time of the Apostles until the Second Coming. It has but few ministers. [Author’s note: My italics. And how much more true today is this compared to the biggest splinters?]

“And THIS is the Church Christ uses as HIS INSTRUMENT in proclaiming His GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM—the GOVERNMENT of God—to the world. He sets before this Church an ‘OPEN DOOR,’ for the proclaiming of this Gospel to ALL THE WORLD. The meaning of this ‘DOOR’ is explained in II Cor. 2:12-13. Paul said: ‘I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a DOOR was opened to me of the Lord.’

“But SOME of those in the Church today will grow weary with well-doing. They will brag about being the true Church [Author’s note: This certainly describes many in the splinters today.]—thinking they are spiritually rich, when they are, in fact, almost spiritually destitute. Because they are indifferent to the real WORK OF GOD, lukewarm, lacking in zeal, Christ will spew them out of His mouth. THEY cannot be used in His work. THEY shall lose the very salvation they boast of having unless they repent! God help you never drift into the LAODICEAN church!”

“Must God’s Ministers Be Ordained By…Man?”, GN, Oct. 1962

How many today can still be moved by the powerful message in statements such as this one? Sadly, thousands did drift into Laodicea.

4. To whom did Mr. Armstrong attribute the thinking that the Work is either over or unimportant?

With the thinking in mind of who it is that seeks to end the Work, and this next point has been referenced, I occasionally receive letters from sincere but misguided people trying to convince me that I am actually rebelling against Mr. Armstrong by continuing to preach the gospel. They hope I will “comply with God” and stop the Work. Almost all of these people left PCG—the organization that has professed since December 1989 that it holds to everything Mr. Armstrong taught.

Those with even the most basic understanding recognize that this organization has almost certainly departed farther from Mr. Armstrong’s teachings than most all others. But the majority there simply cannot recognize it, having been deceived for too long. Sadly, it was initially many of PCG’s confused ex-members who have in some cases in our early years implored me to “move on” or to “grow up” or to “come to the new prophetic understanding” they think they have. Some openly flattered me and told me how I was holding fast in “every way but one.” They even thanked me for standing firm, while expressing hope that I would abandon my futile attempt at the Work. Having seen the anemic efforts of others became their excuse to do nothing. These are rarely able to be jolted back to reality.

In fact, it was these people who, more than any others, inspired the first abbreviated version of this book. Some are sincere, so I hope I can awaken a few to the danger into which they have placed themselves. A letter from a married couple demonstrates this reasoning: “Please do not be upset with us bringing up these matters. We truly don’t understand why you can be so close doctrinally to what we were taught under Mr. Armstrong...and yet still feel that you have to go to the world again.” This couple also quoted The Incredible Human Potential (pp. 116-117), attempting to prove Mr. Armstrong said only apostles can preach to the entire world.

I know this. As explained, I know that Restored will lack the time, size and resources to do the same kind of slowly developing Work that Mr. Armstrong did. But Chapters Ten through Thirteen, and even Fourteen, will explain why the final Work occurring today will almost exactly parallel what was accomplished under Mr. Armstrong. In any event, this man stepped out in faith and went forward preaching to the world. And are we not all glad he determined to take the gospel to the world long before realizing he was an apostle? It must be understood that it was only later, after powerfully preaching for many years (about 19), that Mr. Armstrong even recognized—through fruit—that he was an apostle. Few seem to know this story.

This fact is most critical to grasp. Mr. Armstrong did not wait for a sign from heaven to go forward. As Paul instructed regarding ordaining deacons—that they must do the work of even that physical office before ordination (I Tim. 3:10)—apostles would do the same! (Mr. Armstrong’s experience was exactly the same as mine. I also learned much later—after several decades in the ministry—the final office that Christ had given.)

Also recall that Matthew 10 describes Christ sending 12 unconverted men to preach the kingdom of God, and that it only became truly evident later, on Pentecost, what it had meant that they had been chosen to be apostles. And recall that Luke 10:9 stated that Jesus sent 70 more to do the same. Presumably, most or all of these never became apostles.

In Acts 8:12, Philip, a deacon, preached the kingdom of God to Samaria. Though Scripture shows that he later rose to evangelist (and history indicates possibly an apostle after that), he entered Samaria as a deacon. The Acts account does explain that he did not do this on his own authority—nor can any deacon today. Philip had authority from the apostles to baptize, because they followed up later in Samaria in laying hands on those baptized so that they could receive the Holy Spirit. But it records this was after Philip had “baptized many.” This deacon also cast out demons and performed miracles (vs. 6-7), a sign of apostolic authority standing above and behind him.

In chapter 7, consider that the deacon Stephen preached the kingdom of God so powerfully to a group of Jewish elders and scribes that it got him stoned to death on the spot. This mere deacon’s powerful preaching also included a strong warning and an indictment of those hearing it! How many deacons today are still impelled by the same zeal and conviction?

But, and this is obvious, Stephen and Philip were not freelancing outside authority and direction from the apostles. Other passages put the full picture into perspective.

Mr. Armstrong’s Successor

Consider carefully. When Mr. Armstrong appointed his successor, he was well aware that this man was not an apostle! He still instructed him to continue doing the Work because, as he explained, everything was in place to carry on. Against Mr. Armstrong’s instructions, and evidencing no fruit whatsoever, this man almost immediately took the office of apostle to himself. (He did this with the assistance of his Church Administration Director, who freely admitted to me that he crafted the announcement to the Church and ministry making the supposed “case” that appeared in The Pastor General’s Report for ministers and The Worldwide News for members.)

Some facts of history: Shortly before his death, in a series of private discussions, Mr. Armstrong repeatedly and emphatically denied his successor the office of apostle. Mr. Armstrong explained more than once that this office was not his to give!—that he simply could not do this!—that it was beyond his authority! (It is fairly well known that this man vehemently sought the office of apostle through repeated requests to Mr. Armstrong.) However, Mr. Armstrong could and did officially confer on his successor all of his other titles and responsibilities. Mr. Armstrong told this man, before numerous witnesses, that only Jesus Christ could put him into that office—and that it would be evident if and when Christ chose to do this! He explained that, if this were to occur, it would only happen because the fruits of that office would be evidenced first. Remember, apostle means literally “one sent forth”—by Jesus Christ! (Again, THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD book covers this in much greater detail.)

Most who abandon helping to finish any of even the “works” of men have fallen into a kind of “creeping prophetic junk trap,” which slowly corrupts their basic understanding of Bible prophecy. A variety of splinter leaders have been ensnared by this trend. Sadly, when people escape these groups, they often seem unable to free themselves from this trap.

The Devil’s Role

The next statements demonstrate how strongly Mr. Armstrong felt about the real origin of “the Work is over” thinking. He clearly believed and repeatedly taught that the idea of discontinuing—or altering—the Work comes from Satan—because the devil most hates any message depicting his dethronement as the “god of this world” and his subsequent 1,000-year imprisonment!

II Corinthians 4:4 proves Mr. Armstrong’s insight into Satan’s attempts to thwart God’s Work. Let’s read it: “In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

None should ever lose sight of how badly Satan would love to block, attack and hinder God’s true Work today. His goal is to confuse or defeat outright those who once understood the Great Commission. No tactic should be considered beyond his reach.

Carefully mull the almost prophetic description Mr. Armstrong offers for what is occurring throughout the splinters today. We have certainly felt such attacks here:

“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).

“MUCH of the New Testament is WARNING God’s people of these snares of Satan to hinder—to attempt to DESTROY the very Work of GOD—the very Work which is THE REASON God has called you NOW—before He undertakes to SAVE THE WHOLE WORLD!

“Remember, Jesus taught us to LOOK TO THE FRUITS BORNE!

“Are they who falsely accuse—who seek to draw a following away from God’s Church for selfish purpose—proclaiming the Kingdom of God to the nations of the world? Are they fulfilling the PURPOSE for which God has called us now?”

“Why Did God Put You In His Church?”, GN, May 1974

Much of the division now existing between so many of God’s people, and within the organizations they attend, has little to do with the WCG’s false leaders. It is coming now from wolves, tares, flatterers, spiritual murderers, false prophets, hate-mongers, slanderers, libelers, accusers, politicians, destroyers, even entire small groups, as well as the outright lawless, all of whom also left the apostasy for the splinters! You must come to see that Satan sent his most effective agents to attack, confuse and divide there—where they could do the most damage going forward. This begins with the leaders, whom I have addressed in Chapter Twelve and elsewhere in this regard. (This is thoroughly examined and proven in our book Should Accusers Be Answered?)

My ministry is a living testimony to the relentless nature of their false accusations. For instance, one of the biggest lies, coming from the modern Diotrephes leading the Living Church of God (LCG) is that The Restored Church of God is not doing the Work. Others state that we do not actually print our literature—that we are nothing more than an “online/Internet” ministry. These know we are both reaching growing millions and printing literature—and outperforming all other organizations by far.

The above book goes much more deeply into the subject than you have ever gone before. In fact, you have never read anything like it. (You may also wish to read the thorough brochure Do You Know “David Pack”? – My Life and Ministry—Rumors and Lies vs. Facts and Truth.)

Now notice:

“Jesus did not raise up His Church merely to form various local social clubs with NO PURPOSE other than to enjoy each others’ fellowship. He raised up the Church for a PURPOSE—to proclaim His GOSPEL—not merely in their own community, but AROUND THE WORLD—ALL NATIONS.

“But SATAN now influenced a great PERSECUTION against the Church to STOP the proclaiming of the KINGDOM OF GOD. He knows that Kingdom will remove him from the earth and from deceiving the world into accepting him as the god of this world.

“And THAT’S the ONE MAIN THING Satan wants to STOP! The HEAD of this Church, the living Jesus CHRIST, wants us always to keep the Great Commission FIRST in our minds—and NEVER to let other things crowd it out! For THAT’S what this is ALL ABOUT!

“Repeatedly, all through the Bible—especially in the New Testament, we are warned that our REAL ENEMY is Satan! He tries to get our minds OFF of our BIG Commission, by getting them on physical and material things that loom up as MUCH more important…until we CAN’T SEE THE REAL ISSUE.

“Then we shall, if loyal NOW to God’s Government, rule ALL NATIONS under, and with Christ, each having our part in that GOVERNMENT, and working with and under Christ as our HIGH PRIEST in then SAVING THE WHOLE WORLD, with no Satan around to attack us!”

Letter to brethren, March 18, 1974

“Satan will never let up trying to DESTROY the Work of the living God. It’s all recorded in the Bible—in prophecy. I have looked into God’s Book to see how it all comes out at the end…I find that WE (in God) WIN!”

Letter to brethren, June 25, 1985

It is fitting to conclude the answer to this question with the above exhortation. Everyone enjoys repeating the closing “win” portion of it, and I have referred to it often. The problem is that so few seem to remember the all-important context in which it was given! Also, notice this admonishment to the Church came less than seven months before Mr. Armstrong died. After having spent 52 long years battling Satan’s influence through those who attacked his every decision and action, Mr. Armstrong seemed to realize that he needed to warn all of God’s people one final time about Satan’s ongoing efforts to destroy the Work of God. His message was to be more prophetic than we could have then realized!

5. How did Mr. Armstrong view the correlation between the one true Church, doing God’s Work and paying tithes only to the organization where God is working?

Another central issue cannot be avoided. The next three statements make absolutely clear that what are God’s tithes (remember, all tithes and offerings belong to God, not the one paying them) must be sent to the Church doing the Work and preaching the full restored truth—the only organization Christ would be leading. They show the grave responsibility that individual brethren have to carefully put God’s tithes only where He is working, where the government of God is present. The next quote shows people must “come out” of unproductive “split up and divided” organizations of men.

Mr. Armstrong seemed to think that Philadelphia could become a smaller Work at the onset of the Laodicean Era because so many would have grown weary in “well-doing.” My other books directed to the splinters make plain that he placed uncompromised doctrinal truth as the only proper starting point for those remaining Philadelphian!

This must be clearly established and proven to the tithepayer before sending God’s tithes to an organization! Yet, so few give thought anymore to the fact that tithes belong to God—meaning to where He is working!

Mr. Armstrong understood even Sardis did a small, though terribly divided, “work.” So do Laodiceans. He wrote this after leaving Sardis:

“We ought to be ASHAMED of the pitiful, puny, weak, feeble work that has split up and divided brethren, reached but so very FEW with the message, with almost no real conversions! All this, while leaders desiring power to RULE send out misleading, exaggerated, deceiving statements designed to convince tithe-payers that ‘the work is progressing.’ What a mockery! What a tragedy! What a pity!

“We praise God that many of the more spiritual HAVE COME OUT!”

“Did Christ Reorganize the Church?”, GN, Feb. 1939

“Some ministers are called of God, used of God—many are not.

“The tithe is HOLY. It is THE LORD’S—for HIS WORK. It should be placed where He IS WORKING…Ask God for WISDOM!”

“Are You Being Tested on this Point?”, GN, Feb. 1939

The following longer statement summarizes these points by stating that God’s organized true Church—the same as the Body of Christ (Col. 1:18-19, Eph. 1:22-23 and 5:23, 30)—loyally stands together and finishes His Work. (This subject is thoroughly covered in my splinter book The True Church – One Organization, or Many?) Those who do not could lose salvation. They will not get what they sought for themselves because they fell into getting and stopped trying to give God’s wonderful truth to others! Now notice:

“What is the PURPOSE of the Church—its divine Commission? To proclaim this Gospel as a witness to the world. In other words, to carry on the WORK OF GOD, which Jesus, in person, started.

“After His resurrection, He gave His disciples this commission: ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature’ (Mark 16:15).

“First of all, the true Church of God is a spiritual organism. It is NOT a human organization. This spiritual organism is the ‘Body of Christ’ existing for the PURPOSE of carrying on THE WORK OF GOD.

“Is it possible that one who has joined a sect, church, or denomination NOT doing God’s Work, might be truly converted, and led by God’s Spirit in him? The answer is YES—I have known of a few. But in every case, either they came INTO the organized spiritual organism Christ is using in the real Work of God—or, when their eyes were opened to further light and truth, they rejected it and LOST the Spirit of God. And this was amply demonstrated by the fruits. [Author’s note: All with God’s Spirit or who were baptized in a splinter—any splinter—had better grasp this message.]

“Jesus said that His sheep do hear and RECOGNIZE His voice and His truth, and that they will follow Him!

“God has specially called and chosen you! And WHY? To stand loyally behind Christ’s apostle and HELP in whatever way He opens to you in spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom of God! Yes, you were specially called for a JOB to do! Not JUST to ‘get saved’—to receive eternal life in the Kingdom of God.

“Jesus pictured Himself (Luke 19) as a man going to God’s throne in heaven to be crowned and officially given God’s Kingdom. He gave each of 10 servants…a pound each. This represented giving each one at conversion one unit of the HOLY SPIRIT.

“On His return…He called each to accounting. One had increased the one unit of God’s Holy Spirit, in standing solidly back of God’s apostle in proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and helping, praying fervently and remaining loyal—in Bible study, increasing his own spiritual knowledge, 10 times what he started out with.

“…one had not grown in grace and in Christ’s knowledge nor had he contributed to GOD’S WORK by tithes, fervent praying or loyalty. HE HAD THE ONE UNIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ORIGINALLY GIVEN AS GOD’S GIFT TAKEN AWAY. HE DID NOT GET HIS SALVATION OR ETERNAL LIFE.”

“Now Christ Moves Swiftly to Make Church Ready,”
GN, June-July 1979

There are other important things Mr. Armstrong taught about God’s Work, but they are so vital to understand, and in some cases involve so many related issues in which basic understanding has been corrupted within the Laodicean splinters today, that they require their own chapters.

The most badly corrupted doctrine is where to begin…

Chapter Four – What Is the Gospel?

Referenced in the introduction, a new question has arisen in most of the splinters, particularly the larger ones: Just what is the gospel? Is the role of Jesus Christ separate from or part of the gospel? Do those claiming to fulfill the Great Commission still teach the correct gospel?—and why does one large organization now list within its mission to actively “witness for Jesus”? Is healing part of Christ’s gospel? Do the splinters still understand the Great Commission given to the Church? Is the subject of the gospel separate from who warns Israel? What did Mr. Armstrong teach?

All these questions and more require that this section be the longest in the book. In fact, the subject commands two chapters, and beyond.

It is hard to believe that confusion over the most central and fundamental doctrine and understanding in God’s Word could have arisen, but it has. Most today, having been conditioned to believe the apostates’ “gospel,” which focuses exclusively on the personage of a “Jesus,” have merged the role of what is (when correctly understood) a different Jesus with the kingdom of God, creating a new kind of hybrid “gospel.” In most cases, because this has been subtle, it has been missed by God’s people. (Of course, some have noticed but do not care.) This fogged thinking is now also developing among those who form the growing “evangelical wing” of the smaller splinters, briefly referenced at the book’s outset. But the large splinters have also moved much closer to a focus on the “messenger,” with his “message” increasingly subordinate to this new priority. Again, some of these now also actively “witness” for their “messenger.”

It is important to take significant extra time to make perfectly clear the distinction between the role of the true Jesus Christ and what is the correct gospel. Much more is at stake here than meets the eye—and most in the splinters are now being badly fooled on this very centerpiece of the entire Bible! It is critical that the reader understands how all of this is connected to where and with whom you should be found doing the Work. It is also enormously important to see how this wrong approach has permitted a kind of creeping indoctrination in, and involvement with, the popular “social gospel” and “another Jesus” of the world’s churches.

As I have decried the false gospel circulating in the splinters, the subject of the gospel has become a hotly contested, much more serious issue to those teaching various errors. This has meant my coming under direct attack for defending the Bible and Mr. Armstrong regarding this truth.

The apostle Paul declared, “I am set for the defense of the gospel” (Phil. 1:17) and he admonished all future generations of the Church to “strive together for the faith of the gospel” being “in nothing terrified by your adversaries” (vs. 27-28)!

This becomes instruction for me—and you!—and should be received as a veritable command to every true minister alive today. I, too, am set to defend what hundreds of ministers seem to no longer even understand, let alone defend!—and I do this without apology in the pages ahead. I am certainly not “terrified” of being attacked for exposing the false leaders who are in plain violation of what Mr. Armstrong taught and of all that is written here. They will not like what comes next.

Study carefully everything in these two chapters. They are of near incalculable importance to your life—and your salvation!

Only the Kingdom of God!

The New Testament is most plain about the true gospel, and prior to the apostasy all of God’s people were very clear on this. Literally, in scores of scriptures, the gospel is referenced—explicitly defined!—as “the kingdom of God,” “the kingdom,” “the kingdom of Christ and of God” or “the kingdom of [not in] heaven.” Nowhere, and in no sense, is the gospel described as involving “Jesus,” “Christ” or “Jesus Christ”—and not one of the over 10,000 people I worked with, either in the Worldwide Church of God or in the years after, over a 30-year period, asked about this or evidenced confusion about it! Nor did I ever even hear of one WCG pastor having to address this as a local problem. Never mind the idea of whether the Church should witness—profess!—Jesus to all nations.

These “kingdom” phrases are consistent with what Mr. Armstrong taught throughout his 52-year ministry. And you have noticed in his statements throughout this book so far that not once did he reference Jesus as part of the gospel—not once! Neither did he in his booklet What Is the True Gospel? I would challenge the reader to find even one book, booklet, article, letter or sermon in which Mr. Armstrong EVER even suggested—or speculated—that the Person of Jesus Christ was part of the gospel. (Also, the original correspondence course certainly never taught this.) There is good reason for this and, in fact, he both taught and stressed precisely the opposite. (Those claiming he privately believed or spoke otherwise are plain liars!) You will see this momentarily within the avalanche of proof about to be offered.

Of course, Mr. Armstrong thoroughly understood every one of Jesus’ roles as Savior, High Priest, Captain of our Salvation, Apostle and Great Shepherd, as well as all of His future titles and roles. And he knew when and where—in what context—to stress these. He was neither “obsessed with the kingdom message” (as some claim), nor ignorant of the need to stress the vital roles of the true Christ of the Bible in a Christian’s life. And those who are aware of the full picture of all that he preached witnessed this!

The majority of ministers and professing Christians of the world have tried to say “the gospel of Christ” is a gospel about Christ. So many in the splinters have forgotten they once knew otherwise. This thinking is both false and ignorant—because “of” merely connotes possession. This is basic English grammar. As the kingdom of God is God’s kingdom, so the gospel of Christ is Christ’s gospel. The message about the kingdom of God is Jesus’ gospel—and this is all most basic past understanding.

How could so many forget it? How could so many so easily be pulled back into what they repudiated when God called them?

Mr. Armstrong Makes Plain

Mr. Armstrong was absolutely emphatic on the enormous difference between the Messenger—Jesus Christ—and the Message He brought—the kingdom of God (the future, world-ruling supergovernment under the God Family).

Most brethren today simply do not understand the tremendous—the supreme!—importance of understanding and believing the correct gospel. They have forgotten what should have been impossible to forget—and this is only part of the mass amnesia connected to the many elements of the Work of God that will be discussed later. They should have remembered bedrock statements such as the one that follows.

Here is how Mr. Armstrong opened his booklet on the subject of the true gospel. The subhead within it is his:

“Why should there be such perplexity—such confusion—in every phase of life today? It should be the function of religion to point the way. Yet here, too, we find only confusion of tongues—hundreds of religious denominations and sects, in a Babylon of disagreement.

“Even in the professing Christian religion of the Western world, we find different sects and denominations preaching a variety of different Gospels! Some designate their gospel as ‘The Gospel of Jesus Christ.’ Others call their gospel ‘The Gospel of Salvation.’ Still others profess ‘The Gospel of Grace,’ some ‘The Gospel of the Kingdom.’ And many now blossom out with a modern ‘Social Gospel,’ while others call their gospel ‘The Israel Message.’

Why have they lost the only true Gospel which God sent by Jesus Christ? Why?

How Many Gospels Are There?

“Does it make any difference which Gospel we believe? Listen to the answer of the Eternal God as inspired in Paul’s letter to the Galatians, the first chapter, the 8th and 9th verses:

“‘But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.’ And it is made a double curse! For the next verse says: ‘...So say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed’!

Why, then, has the world lost sight of that Gospel? Why do people believe different gospels today?

“This is an astounding, incredible situation! It ought to shake you out of passive indifference. Your eternity is at stake! This is not a nonconsequential, unimportant matter!

“Jesus Christ said it is necessary to believe the Gospel to be saved! Yet the many—the hundreds of millions—today, do not know what that Gospel is! Again, His parting commission to His apostles, being sent out as His ministers to build His Church, was this: ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel.’ They were to preach the Gospel.

“Jesus then said: ‘He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned’ (Mark 16:16). Notice! Jesus said, He that believeth. Believeth what? Why, believeth that which they preached, of course—the Gospel! Not a gospel. Not any gospel. The Gospel! On the authority of Jesus Christ, it is necessary to believe that precise identical Gospel in order to be saved! And to believe the true Gospel, we must first come to know what it is!”

What is the TRUE GOSPEL?, pp. 3-4

Did you realize—have you remembered?—that a person, any person—this includes you!—cannot receive salvation unless he believes the one correct gospel—and this means “that precise identical Gospel”?

What could be more important? What words could Mr. Armstrong have chosen to crash louder on the ears of his listeners? Make yourself grasp and remember his warning!

What then did Mr. Armstrong teach was the correct gospel? Beginning with this quote, let’s hear it in his own words from a later portion of his booklet that appeared under the subhead “Kingdom of God to Be Preached TODAY”:

“Yes, Jesus proclaimed and taught the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. But did He command His ministers, in building His Church, to preach this same Gospel? Quickly let us notice the Scriptures.

Luke 9:1-2: ‘Then he called his twelve disciples together...and he sent them to preach the kingdom of God.’

Luke 10:1, 2, 9: ‘After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them...heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.’

“In Jesus’ prayer, so commonly called ‘The Lord’s Prayer,’ He prayed, ‘Thy Kingdom come’— then it wasn’t here yet, and it isn’t here yet, today—but He taught us to pray for it to come, for His Kingdom and that alone shall bring peace and happiness to this sin-sick, war-weary earth! ‘Thy Kingdom come—thy will, be done on earth, as it is in heaven.’ The Father’s will.

“What Gospel did the early evangelists preach, in first sending out the faith once delivered? How did the early Church carry out the commission?

“Notice Philip preaching at Samaria! Acts 8:12: ‘But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the Kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.’ Philip preached the things concerning the Kingdom of God. [Author’s note: It is absolutely clear from Mr. Armstrong’s highlighting or special emphasis, and lack of emphasis, on the words he wrote, that he did not consider “the name of Jesus Christ” to be part of the gospel. Reread this paragraph to be clear and notice the same emphasis in the next one.]

“Paul? Acts 20:25, 21: ‘I have gone preaching the kingdom of God... testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.’

“And notice the Gospel Paul preached to Gentiles, after he had turned completely away from the Jews.

Acts 28:30-31: ‘And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ.’

“And, what gospel did Jesus say should be preached today?

Matthew 24:14, speaking of the present: ‘And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness—for a witness—‘ unto all nations; and then shall the end come’!—the end of this age.”

What Is the True Gospel?, pp. 10-11

This second quote leaves no room for confusion. It holds no ambiguity—no way for the sincere and honest seeker of truth to misunderstand what the gospel includes, and excludes!

However, we cannot go on to other elements of this doctrine until all doubt is removed about what Mr. Armstrong taught consistently for 52 years. This happens momentarily.

Christ’s Role Entirely Separate

First, take serious warning! The idea that Jesus Christ is, or is part of, the gospel is entirely Protestant thinking. The second error of “witnessing” or professing Jesus is classic evangelical Protestant thinking. As mentioned in the introduction, the attempt to bring Jesus into the gospel is not only wrong, but it derives from a much greater danger—that of importing “another Jesus,” borne of “another spirit” (II Cor. 11:3-4) into the Church’s fellowship. This very passage describes the Corinthians—God’s own people!—as having fallen into belief in “another gospel” and “another Jesus.” And if Jesus is, or is part of, the gospel, why did Paul list these as two separate and distinct problems of belief within Corinth (and that these problems were both connected to a third problem—that of following “another spirit”)? Would you have thought these things remotely possible within God’s Church?

History demonstrates they are!

First, for instance, The United Church of God, terribly misunderstanding I Corinthians 15:1-4 (we will look more closely at this passage in the next chapter), and possibly a couple other passages, through careless reading, and states in its “gospel” booklet that the gospel of the kingdom includes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Though carefully worded, it describes the apostles as having gained “enhanced” understanding of Christ’s message—His “gospel”—about the kingdom. This organization’s purpose from the beginning seems to have been to include Christ’s role in helping people enter the kingdom as something that is part of the gospel. Their media philosophy statement once declared this openly. Here is what it said: “Preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God is a divine commission given to the Church…The gospel message, which includes God’s offer of the gift of salvation…”

But the role of Jesus Christ is entirely separate—distinctly different!—from the gospel of the kingdom of God.

The Living Church of God goes much, much further, and actually lists Christ’s role as the first element of the gospel. They describe the gospel this way in their public mission statement: “The Gospel of Christ is the ‘Good News’ of the forgiveness of our sins through Christ’s sacrifice, and of the soon-coming Kingdom and government of God.”

This is fiction, invented entirely from outside God’s Word—and from inside the churches of Satan’s world. This organization also declares in its mission statement that its first purpose is “To preach the true Gospel of the Kingdom of God…AND the name of Jesus Christas a witness to all nations” (emphasis mine). When understood, this “witnessing” error is inseparable from the wrong gospel. No wonder this organization has now also gone into a third “gospel” error—teaching that healing is part of the gospel. (This will also be examined in the next chapter.) Remember, Paul describes false teaching as like leaven—it spreads.

This means their gospel is wrong in three distinct and separate ways!

Why? We will learn later that an emphasis—any emphasis—on Christ within the gospel leads to the next step of “witnessing Jesus,” wherever “He” is preached. You will see that the drift into this automatic next step is not accidental. Neither is accepting the third error.

So many seem perfectly willing to be lied to about these things by their leaders. Why? How could they have forgotten all that is at stake on just the truth of the gospel? Why are they not “prosecuting” the arguments and blatant deceit of their leaders? Why are thousands in the Living Church of God (and others) not asking whether another spirit could be present and leading where they think God’s Spirit is guiding?

How could so many so quickly copy the apostates and the Protestants, and in such BIG WAYS?

Beyond ANY Reasonable Doubt!

Certain splinter leaders have made their shift to another gospel by asserting that Mr. Armstrong taught what they teach. We will see that this is a patently false claim.

First, Roderick Meredith, the man leading LCG, is a prime case in point. By “cherry-picking” a single statement that, after carefully ellipsing crucial portions, makes Mr. Armstrong appear to include Christ in the gospel, thousands can be fooled. Doing this requires that gross deceit be employed. The mass of contrary facts must be covered up, ignored and denied.

But you need to see proof of this. That comes now!

Mr. Armstrong spoke about the gospel of the kingdom of God literally hundreds of times in books, booklets, articles, co-worker letters and sermons. He considered this one of the two most vital truths re-established for the Church during his ministry—with the government of God— and said this many times, including more than once in MYSTERY OF THE AGES. But the reader needs to see this constant theme and emphasis for himself. More important, the reader must see Mr. Armstrong did not—EVER!—place Christ within the gospel. You will also notice that he never spoke of witnessing for or professing Jesus, discussed in detail in Chapter Five.

Any subheads from this point forward are Mr. Armstrong’s, as is all emphasis. My comments generally appear in parentheses as author’s notes. Any bold is mine. The early quotes establish two vital points: (1) What Mr. Armstrong said constituted “Christ’s whole gospel” and (2) Christ is never included in his or the Bible’s definition.

Do not speed read. Read everything carefully. You will see there has been no “cherry-picking” quotes. Mr. Armstrong taught that one of the greatest rules of Bible study is to always start with the clearest scriptures on a subject to establish the truth of a doctrine, and to only then look at less clear scriptures. The same should be done with his statements on a doctrine. We should start with the clearest ones, and only then move on to others. We begin with two very short paragraphs five pages apart in MYSTERY OF THE AGES, and two others:

“His gospel is the good news of the now soon-coming kingdom of God—the only hope of this world and its mixed-up mankind!”

“His gospel is the message he brought mankind from God the Father, the good news of the coming kingdom of God! That is the one thing above all Satan wants to defeat.”

pp. 51, 56

“Now what Gospel did Jesus preach? He proclaimed the Gospel of THE KINGDOM OF GOD (Mark 1:1, 14-15). Paul preached only the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to gentiles (Acts 28:30-31).”

Co-Worker Letter, January 22, 1982

“Jesus preached a definite Gospel. That and that alone is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a Gospel message about the Kingdom of God—the begotten and finally to be born family of God—a family of divine persons, begotten and finally to be born of God.”

WWN, Recent History of the Philadelphia Era,
June 24, 1985

Let’s pause to make a point. None of these quotes have said that the kingdom of God is “part of” or “most of” or the “key component of” the gospel, but rather always that it IS the gospel. Keep this understanding in mind as you continue to read. In fact, before returning to more statements from Mr. Armstrong, let him make plain himself this point (again, the bold is mine):

“In other words, not one of them knows what spiritual salvation really is, what the KINGDOM OF GOD (Christ’s whole Gospel) really is, WHY God put humanity here on earth: WHAT is our real ultimate human POTENTIAL, or HOW we shall reach it. They know not God’s PURPOSE, nor His MASTER PLAN for working it out. They do not know why we are here, where we are going, or THE WAY. Those are the BIG, MAIN branches of the tree of knowledge. They are the MISSING DIMENSION in knowledge.”

Co-Worker Letter, November 19, 1976

The Story From History

Let’s return to a longer sequence of statements, and allow Mr. Armstrong to complete the big picture. At this point, he adds more to how Satan replaced the truth and injected his counterfeit gospel:

“I realize that when ministers and evangelists of this world and its organized denominations claiming to have the ‘CHRISTIAN religion’ preach ABOUT CHRIST, urge people to accept Christ, to believe on Christ, to ‘make their decision for Christ,’ etc., that they are ‘preaching the Gospel.’ BUT THAT IS NOT THE GOSPEL! Christ is NOT the Gospel—He was the Messenger who BROUGHT the Gospel! The GOSPEL was the MESSAGE He brought from God, as the MOST IMPORTANT AND SENSATIONAL ANNOUNCEMENT ever made to mankind.”

Co-Worker Letter, July 30, 1973

“What did Jesus say? That many would come in His name, claiming to be His ministers, saying that Jesus was the Christ, and deceiving the MANY. This is what happened. They preached CHRIST, but they DENIED HIS MESSAGE—His GOSPEL! Even the ministry was deceived. The GOSPEL is the MESSAGE God sent for mankind by His Messenger who was Christ.”

“It is THE GOSPEL—Christ’s own Gospel—which points THE WAY to world peace. The Kingdom of God is the GOVERNMENT of God, which soon will replace ALL the governments of ALL nations and bring us world PEACE.”

“But what the world has been deceived into accepting as the Gospel has been preaching a Christ WITHOUT ANY LAW—a different Christ who is supposed to have done away with His Father’s Law. Those who have ‘preached CHRIST’ to the world have said ‘the Law is done away.’ The missionaries have not taught anything in these big Gentile nations about GOD’S LAW. And yet God’s Law is THE WAY that will CAUSE world PEACE!”

“And THAT MESSAGE IS THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD! It is CHRIST’S Gospel, that has NOT been proclaimed before in those nations.”

Co-Worker Letter, October 25, 1973

“The MESSAGE God sent by Christ was the GOSPEL—and that Gospel was the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. It was the Message of the Covenant, which Covenant, as I said, shall establish the KINGDOM OF GOD on earth. The KINGDOM OF GOD is the GOVERNMENT of God which shall rule all nations. But also it is the FAMILY OF GOD into which we may be BORN—the DIVINE FAMILY which becomes a SPIRIT-NATION, ruling all nations on earth—a WORLD-RULING GOVERNMENT!

“Jesus was sent to ANNOUNCE that message—not to force men to accept it, believe it, and act on it. NEVER DID JESUS PLEAD WITH A SINGLE ONE TO BE CONVERTED. He merely announced the GOOD NEWS of the Kingdom of God, and He left it to people to decide whether to believe it and whether to act on it. He did not come THEN to CONVERT the world! He did not start a ‘soul-saving’ crusade—the Protestants did! He came to ANNOUNCE the GOSPEL—the GOOD NEWS of His coming KINGDOM! [Author’s note: No witnessing for or professing Jesus, as only the true eyewitness apostles could—and needed—to do.]

“But people hated His message. Many BELIEVED on Him—realized and BELIEVED He was the Messiah. But they did not believe His message—His Gospel!”

“When the curtain lifts on that ‘LOST CENTURY’ of Church history, the Gospel of the Kingdom of God was no longer preached to the world. Jesus and His apostles had carried on a dual ministry—proclaiming the Kingdom of God and healing the sick. But after that ‘Lost Century’ neither the Gospel of God’s Kingdom nor healing was going out to the world.” [Author’s note: The gospel and healing are listed as separate subjects by Mr. Armstrong.]

“That happened. They claimed to be the ministers of Jesus Christ. They said Jesus was the Christ. They preached CHRIST (the Messenger) to the world, but NOT His message—His Gospel—the Kingdom of God. And they indeed have deceived the MANY—the MILLIONS and hundreds of millions!”

Co-Worker Letter, February 21, 1974

“The Gospel was GOING OUT! These thousands of brethren coming in were either carrying out the Gospel, or backing those who did. And WHAT GOSPEL? The Gospel GOD SENT BY JESUS—the Gospel of the Kingdom of God—which is both the FAMILY of God and the GOVERNMENT of God. (Mark 1:1, 14-15, Acts 1:3, etc., etc.) Philip went to Samaria proclaiming the KINGDOM OF GOD. (Acts 8:5, 12.) Paul proclaimed the KINGDOM OF GOD. (Acts 20:25, 28:23, 31.)”

Co-Worker Letter, March 18, 1974

“Jesus’ prophecy for NOW—our very time now—says, ‘This gospel OF THE KINGDOM shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the END [of the world] come’ (Matt. 24:14). The Church of God was founded in A.D. 31. About A.D. 53 the apostle Paul wrote to the churches in Galatia that they had already turned to ANOTHER Gospel! At that time a fierce controversy arose over whether the gospel to be preached was the gospel OF Christ, or ABOUT Christ. [Author’s note: History is repeating itself. This chapter is proof.] The Gospel OF Christ—that is, the Gospel he proclaimed, was the good news of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:1, 14-15). That Gospel (or ‘good news’ announcement) was not preached from about A.D. 53 until 1953—a century of 19-year time cycles—when God opened up the most powerful radio station on earth, Radio Luxembourg in Europe, to me.”

Co-Worker Letter, January 15, 1984

“This Work is the direct and one and only fulfillment of the prophecy of Jesus in Matthew 24:14 for this very time: ‘This Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the END [of this world] come.’ [Author’s note: Again, the Living Church of God specifically adds witnessing Jesus to Matthew 24:14.] The Gospel of the Kingdom of God is the ONLY true Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the first 20 years of the founding of the true Church in A.D. 31, a fierce controversy arose as to whether the gospel to be preached was the Gospel OF Christ or a gospel ABOUT Christ. A false church rose up, teaching a gospel of false prophets, ABOUT Christ. See II Corinthians 11:3 and verses 13-15. Also both Jude and John, writing in the 90s A.D., warned of false prophets already changing the truth of the Gospel, and warning brethren to turn back to the true faith once delivered to the saints. Also, Paul wrote the churches in Galatia, about A.D. 53, that they already had turned to ANOTHER gospel.”

“From that time on, a false gospel ABOUT Christ was preached in the name of traditional Christianity, by which (Rev. 12:9) Satan deceived the whole world.”

Co-Worker Letter, April 18, 1984

“But what is the gospel of the kingdom? It is the gospel OF JESUS CHRIST. In Mark 1:1, ‘the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ’ and in verses 14-15, it is ‘the gospel of the KINGDOM OF GOD.’”

“Traditional ‘Christianity’ has been deceived and has deceived the world with a false gospel ABOUT Christ, instead of the gospel OF Christ, which Jesus preached. He was a messenger sent from God with a message, and that message is the GOSPEL. The word gospel means ‘GOOD NEWS.’ It was an ANNOUNCEMENT about the coming kingdom of God—that we can be born into that kingdom, and that kingdom IS the divine FAMILY of God.”

Co-Worker Letter, August 23, 1984

New Testament Kingdom Passages

It is worth taking at least a little time to see from the scriptures how often Christ and the apostles talked about the kingdom of God. Here are just a few passages. Also, notice how often the message of the kingdom is accompanied by healings:

“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people” (Matt. 4:23).

“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matt. 9:35).

“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God; And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15).

“And He said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent” (Luke 4:43).

“And it came to pass afterward, that He went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with Him” (Luke 8:1).

“Then He called His twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And He sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick” (Luke 9:1-2).

“And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where” (Luke 9:6).

“And the people, when they knew it, followed Him: and He received them, and spoke unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing” (Luke 9:11).

“Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go you and preach the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:60).

“After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them…into every city and place, whither He Himself would come…heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you” (Luke 10:1, 9).

“To whom also He showed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3).

Mystery Of The Ages

So far our focus has been on Mr. Armstrong’s constant theme in co-worker letters of how the gospel was the kingdom of God. You saw that he never added anything else to what was always an unwavering description. He repeated these references because he wanted God’s people, as well as all those who were contributing to the Work (many thousands of co-workers), to never lose this focus.

Obviously, Mr. Armstrong spoke in many other places about the kingdom. The reader is certainly aware that the final, largest and defining work of his life was the book MYSTERY OF THE AGES, already cited briefly. Time and again in this book he referenced not only the gospel of the kingdom of God, but also more of the history about the raging controversy surrounding what the Bible said was the true gospel. Here are just six more quotes from the book. Read each carefully to gain the fuller picture of what Mr. Armstrong explains:

“On this point the entire world of traditional Christianity has been deceived. Here is a most important truth: Satan sitting on earth’s throne tried to kill the Christ child. He then tried to tempt and disqualify Jesus just before the Christ started his earthly ministry (Matt. 4). Satan caused the martyrdom of most of the apostles. He caused intensive persecution against the Church. He caused a violent controversy to flare up in the early months and years of the Church disputing whether the gospel to be proclaimed was the gospel OF Christ, or man’s gospel about Christ. Satan caused the latter to win out, and in less than 20 years a false and counterfeit gospel about Christ was being proclaimed by all but the persecuted few who loyally remained as the small and persecuted true original Church of God.”

pp. 129-130

“[Jesus] came also with a message from God called the gospel. The word gospel means good news. And actually, his gospel—the message sent by him from God—was the good news of the kingdom of God. And the kingdom of God, as we shall see, is to be the restoration of the government of God over the earth and the ousting of Satan from that throne.

“Prior to the begettal and birth of Jesus, God had said to his mother-to-be, Mary, by his angel: ‘And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end’ (Luke 1:31-33). His gospel was the good news of that kingdom—the kingdom of God.

“Now another vital prophecy. In Isaiah 9:6-7: ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.’ Notice the government would be on his shoulder. Jesus is going to be King over all the earth. And one of the purposes of his coming was to announce that kingdom. Jesus’ gospel was not only good news—it was an announcement or good news proclamation of the coming kingdom of God. What a tragedy that a ‘traditional Christianity’ has forsaken and lost that vital and glorious gospel message and substituted their own gospel about the person of Christ.”

“His human birth was the arrival of the ‘second Adam.’ He had come 1) to qualify, where the first Adam failed, to replace the former archangel Lucifer on the throne of the earth, ruling with the government of God. He had come 2) to announce the future establishment of the kingdom of God and teach that prophetic good news (gospel) to his chosen future apostles. He had come 3) to take on himself, as our direct Creator, the penalty for our sins by his death on the cross—that we might share in that world. And he had come 4) to be resurrected from the dead by God, making possible eternal God-life for the people of God and after his Second Coming for all who are willing, of all humanity, who have ever lived on this earth. And he had come 5) to establish God’s Church, to be trained to rule under him.”

Ibid., pp. 209-211, 215

“We read of it in Mark chapter 1: ‘The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God...Jesus came into Galilee, preaching [proclaiming, teaching] the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel’ (Mark 1:1, 14-15).

“And, from Matthew, ‘And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom’ (Matt. 4:23).

“This prophetic message (gospel) of the kingdom of God will be explained in detail in Chapter 7. It was the good news of the future establishment on earth of the government of God, restored and administered by the divine God family—the kingdom of God, to replace the present evil world of Satan.

“Jesus’ proclaiming of this amazing future news—combined with his miracles of healing, turning water into wine and others, caused great excitement. [Author’s note: Notice that miracles, obviously including healings, are separate from the gospel.] Immense crowds followed him and his disciples. He was teaching his disciples to become the future apostles, while he preached this message to the public.”

Ibid., pp. 222-223

“Satan is a great counterfeiter! He appears as ‘an angel of light’ (II Cor. 11:13-15). And he has his counterfeit churches! His ministers are deceived by him into believing they are ‘ministers of righteousness’ and of Christ (II Cor. 11:15; Matt. 24:5).

“‘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. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him...For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works’ (II Cor. 11:3-4, 13-15).

“Notice these deceived but false churches believe they are the true church, and their ministers ‘are transformed as the ministers of righteousness’—in other words, appear to be the true ministers of Jesus Christ. And indeed, many of them may be entirely sincere, being themselves deceived. Yet they have neither known nor preached Jesus’ true Gospel of the kingdom of God (Matt. 24:14). Nor do they comprehend what is written in this book about the Church of God!” [Author’s note: What a powerful message in this paragraph for those who will heed.]

Ibid., pp. 250-251

“For that training—that spiritual development of God’s character, God has given his Church a dual responsibility:

“1) ‘Go ye into all the world’ and proclaim the good news—announcement—of the coming kingdom of God.

“2) ‘Feed my sheep.’ [Author’s note: There is no third commission! The Ezekiel Warning is part of the First Commission at the end of the age.]

“But in feeding the ‘sheep,’ developing in them God’s spiritual character, God has given them their part in supporting, backing up, the great commission: ‘Go ye into all the world.’

“This first and great commission was given to the apostles. To a lesser extent evangelists were used in carrying forth the message. Other leaders—ordained ministers—were stationary, yet even the local pastor of a church may hold evangelistic services in his area—not the ‘soul-saving crusade’ type, but lectures announcing and proclaiming as a witness the coming kingdom of God (the true gospel)!

“This entire great commission—proclaiming the good news of the coming kingdom, and ‘feeding the sheep’—is a combined administration and function of the Church.”

Ibid., pp. 265-266

“It seems that today all churches have lost the gospel of Jesus Christ. They preach primarily their gospel ABOUT Jesus Christ.

“Jesus Christ came preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God. Yet few preach about the kingdom of God today, for they have lost all knowledge of what it is! But does any, except God’s true Church, proclaim the true gospel of the kingdom of God today?

“A prominent evangelist said to a worldwide radio audience that the gospel of the kingdom of God is not for us today. Some denominations proclaim a ‘gospel of grace’, some what they call a ‘gospel of salvation’; most a gospel about Christ; some a social gospel; some the ‘Science of Mind’ or ‘Religious Science.’” [Author’s note: Take note of the reference to the “social gospel” for later.]

CHRIST’S Gospel

“What is the one and only gospel of Jesus Christ? The world does not know! It has not been preached for 19 centuries, strange as that may seem. Look into your Bible. Look at it from the very beginning!

“‘The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ’ you’ll read in Mark 1:1. ‘Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel’ (Mark 1:14-15).

“It is necessary to believe that gospel to be saved! And how can you believe it, unless you know what it is? And for 1,900 years, the world did not know. That gospel was suppressed and replaced by man’s gospel about Christ.

“Jesus went everywhere preaching the good news of the kingdom of God. He taught in parables about the kingdom of God. He sent out seventy men preaching, and commanded them to preach the kingdom of God (Luke 10:9). He sent the apostles, on whom the Church of God was founded, to preach only the kingdom of God (Luke 9:1-2). After the resurrection, before ascending to heaven, Jesus taught his disciples about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).

“Isn’t it amazing that the world has lost the knowledge of what it is?

“The apostle Paul preached the kingdom of God (Acts 19:8; 20:25; 28:23, 31). And God Almighty, through Paul, pronounced a double curse on man or angel that would dare preach any other gospel! (Gal. 1:8-9.)

“Why, then, do so many dare to preach so many other gospels? The good news of the kingdom of God is something you must understand, and believe, in order to be saved! Jesus Christ said so! You had better be finding out what it is!

“That gospel—the kingdom of God—is the subject of this chapter. It follows the chapter on the mystery of the Church, because the kingdom of God follows the Church. The purpose of the Church, remember, is to prepare ‘called-out-ones’ to teach and to rule in the kingdom of God.

Ibid., pp. 294-296

Much, much more of MYSTERY OF THE AGES could have been included. You may wish to reread this book just to see Mr. Armstrong’s constant focus on the gospel of the kingdom. In fact, every one of God’s people should consider rereading this vitally important book at some point, anyway. (Be sure to get an unaltered copy.)

The Incredible Human Potential

But MYSTERY OF THE AGES and his booklet about the true gospel are not the only publications in which the gospel received special attention from Mr. Armstrong. The Incredible Human Potential included almost as much as either of these. In fact, the book’s entire first chapter could be included as one long statement here. Also consider rereading that chapter. He explains that the gospel involves a vast expanse of knowledge. I have brought just one section, under the subhead “What Christ’s Gospel Was All About,” so you can at least understand the broader nature of what he knew the subject of God’s kingdom included. Christ’s role is conspicuously absent:

“I say Christ’s gospel – the message He brought from God – was the advance good news of the establishment of the Kingdom of God.

“But just what does that include?

“And why is the Kingdom of God necessary?

“Just how does it affect and relate directly to your personal and individual life?

“Actually, Christ’s message of God’s coming Kingdom is directly concerned with world conditions as they are – with human nature – its source and origin – with world evils, suffering, unhappiness – with world peace. It’s concerned with government – with the reason present human governments fail to be the benefactors of their peoples they are supposed to be.

“His message hits directly at the very roots of individual personal happiness and at the awesome transcendent potential of each human life. It is concerned with the CAUSES of present conditions that affect every human and with the WAY that will solve all problems.

“But it is concerned with far, far more.

“It is concerned with God’s tremendous, overwhelming, overall purpose as Creator of the entire universe. It’s concerned with the entire vast universe, filled with its uncountable galaxies, nebulae, suns, stars, planets, and with God’s purpose for them. It’s concerned with all the angels – with the fact that one third of all God’s created angels turned to SIN from which there can be no redemption, and God’s great purpose and plan to prevent such a catastrophe happening to the other two thirds.

“Most of these things are never remotely considered in religious teachings in this world. God’s message is concerned with overall truth.

“What has been covered so far should be considered as merely the introduction to the entire story of Christ’s gospel message.”

pp. 18-19

Other Publications

The reader cannot possibly miss the unwavering emphasis that Mr. Armstrong gave to the gospel of the kingdom of God in virtually everything that he wrote. How interesting that in their longer, more detailed description of the gospel is nothing about the person of Jesus.

I have included a few more quotes from other publications to complete the chapter. First is one more brief statement from his gospel booklet, and the chapter closes with another:

“Now, how do we enter into that glorious kingdom? Jesus came preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and saying, Repent, and believe the gospel.

“Just two things we do—repent, and believe. We must believe the Gospel, and that means [Author’s note: The believing means, not the gospel means.] also believing on Jesus Christ, the King of the Kingdom of God, and coming King of kings over all the families of the earth. It means believing in Him as personal Saviour, as High Priest now, and as coming King.

“But to repent is to completely change the mind in respect to sin, and ‘sin is the transgression of the law’ (I John 3:4)—the Law of God by which God rules the Kingdom.

“It means a total, complete change of mind and of life. It means we repent of transgressing the rule, the will, the laws, of God. What did Jesus say to the young man who asked Him how to inherit eternal life? He said, ‘If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments’ (Mat. 19:17).”

What Is the True Gospel?, p. 10

“It’s about time that someone speaks out, in this world, and tells the world that the very Gospel of Jesus Christ was the advance announcement of this very world government— a government, not by selfishly motivated man but by the living all-powerful God.

“Jesus Christ’s message—His Gospel—was the Kingdom of God—the Government of the living God!”

Ibid., p. 12

“We are not to convert everyone in the world in this age, but to declare the Gospel. What Gospel? The good news of the Kingdom—the good news of the thousand years of restitution of all things when Christ returns to reign in power and great glory!”

Pagan Holidays—or God’s Holy Days—Which?, p. 36

“Let me explain a very important fact here. Soon after Christ’s ascension to heaven and the founding of the church in A.D. 31, a violent controversy arose, according to church history, as to whether the gospel to be proclaimed was the gospel of Christ, or a gospel about Christ. [Author’s note: The number of times that Mr. Armstrong mentions this ought to serve as a sobering warning for every one of God’s people today. Since “there is nothing new under the sun,” Satan would never give up his attempt to pervert Christ’s message. Read carefully his even more sobering next words.] The latter won out. False prophets did arise in the first century, saying Jesus was the Christ, but omitting altogether Jesus’ gospel which was the message of the coming world ruling kingdom of God to rule all nations after Christ’s Second Coming.”

Are We In the Last Days?, p. 8

“There ensued ‘the lost century’ in the history of the true Church of God. There was a well-organized conspiracy to blot out all record of Church history during that period. A hundred years later, history reveals a ‘Christianity’ utterly unlike the Church Christ founded.

“It had taken the name of Christ and applied it to the Babylonian mystery religion. It had replaced the message Jesus brought from God with a ‘gospel’ about the person of Christ—proclaiming the Messenger but suppressing the entire missing dimension from His message.

And for at least eighteen and one-half centuries the true gospel was not proclaimed publicly to the world.

Your Awesome Future – How Religion Deceives You, p. 5

Why do people not understand the very Gospel Jesus Christ taught? He taught the Kingdom of God. So did the apostles, including Paul.”

Just What Do You Mean...Conversion?, p. 8

“Today you hear preached many different gospels. Some call what they preach the gospel of salvation—some the gospel of grace. Some the gospel of going to heaven. Some preach a message ABOUT Christ—about His PERSON—but although they may CALL it the gospel of Christ, it is NOT the Gospel Christ TAUGHT and preached.

“Note it! The Gospel Jesus said it is necessary to believe is ‘the Gospel of the KINGDOM OF GOD’. A kingdom is a GOVERNMENT. So Jesus preached the Gospel—or GOOD NEWS—of the coming GOVERNMENT OF GOD being restored to the earth!

“It is VITAL that you establish, clearly once for all, WHAT Gospel Jesus brought from God—WHAT Gospel God also sent to the Gentiles. For ‘traditional Christianity’ HAS PREACHED A DIFFERENT GOSPEL. And your Bible says THE WHOLE WORLD—ALL NATIONS—have been DECEIVED!

“Have YOU? Better make SURE!

“Now I want you to notice TWO important points.

“1) The Message Jesus taught was SENT BY GOD.

“2) Jesus was powerless, OF HIMSELF. The WORK OF GOD, which He started, was carried on BY THE POWER OF GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT. It was that Spirit, IN HIS PERSONAL HUMAN BODY, which carried on GOD’S WORK.”

The Plain Truth, Personal from the Editor, April, 1968

Before concluding this chapter, we need to look at one more absolutely crucial—and definitive!—statement from Mr. Armstrong. He removes all doubt concerning whether the gospel includes the understanding about Jesus Christ’s role—about whether believing the gospel involves believing in or on Jesus. It also comes from his gospel booklet and appears under the subhead “Which Gospel Did Jesus Preach?”:

 

Comprehensive Literature: The Restored Church of God offers to the public a wide range of free books, booklets and Bible Introduction Course lessons that thoroughly explain the incredible future awaiting every human being.

“And what do we read? ‘Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.’

“Notice, Jesus said, ‘Believe THE GOSPEL!

What Gospel? The one He was proclaiming—‘the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.’

“But, one may ask, don’t we need to believe on Jesus? Of course. Other scriptures teach that. But at this particular time Jesus said we must believe Him—believe what He said—believe the Gospel of the Kingdom of God! [Author’s note: This is one of the most important paragraphs in the book. Get this! In regard to “belief on Jesus,” Mr. Armstrong bluntly explains, “OTHER SCRIPTURES (meaning, not the gospel) TEACH THAT.”]

“Some believed on Jesus, but did not believe Jesus—did not believe what He said (John 7:31; 8:30, 31, 46).”

“We hear a great deal today of the gospel of men about the person of Jesus Christ—confining the message solely to the things about Jesus. As a result, millions believe on Christ, who do not believe Christ! But Jesus’ Gospel is His message!”

“And so now, what is that Gospel?

“The English word Gospel comes from the word ‘God-spell,’ and means good news. Daily, we read the news of world happenings—mostly bad news! We live in a troubled, chaotic world. And the very best news you can hear in this day, or any other, is the good news of the

Kingdom of God.” [Author’s note: Not the “good news of the forgiveness of our sins through Christ’s sacrifice,” as the Living Church of God declares.]

What Is the True Gospel?, pp. 6-8

Understand that a vast number of additional quotes could have been included. (There will be more later.) But everything in life has a reasonable and natural limit. If you are not yet convinced the gospel is solely about the kingdom of God, you probably never will be. Such people are doomed to suffer the curse of accepting—or tolerating and at least tacitly supportinganother gospel!

Sent to Reveal the Father

The churches of the world routinely speak about Jesus Christ. How often did you hear about the Father in the church you attended before you were called? Probably never or almost never.

Remember Christ explained that His purpose was not to speak of Himself, but rather to reveal the Father to mankind for the first time. In fact, He said this: “He that speaks of himself seeks his own glory: but he that seeks His [the Father’s] glory that sent Him [Jesus], the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him” (John 7:18).

Consider what Jesus was saying. If the gospel of the kingdom of God was either an equation with the Person of Jesus Christ or He was a major component of the gospel along with the kingdom, then Christ would have had to speak of Himself almost continually, meaning as often as He preached the gospel. How many have thought of this? And how many have recognized that Christ would have had to routinely violate His own acknowledgement every time He preached the gospel?

Of course, Jesus certainly did explain His role as mankind’s Savior when He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6). Even this revelatory information given to His listeners was intended to show that He was the way to have access to the Father. Matthew 11:27 is plainer, stating, “neither knows any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” Jesus understood that He must both reveal the Father and point people to the Father. This is what He always did!

Now remember the “Lord’s prayer.” Jesus explained that it was to teach people how to pray to the Father. Sadly, most in the world ignore this and pray primarily to Christ (or Mary) and they speak almost continually of “the Lord this” and “the Lord that.” Few pray to the Father, and even fewer regularly speak of the One who is the ultimate Head of a Family into which we are called to be His sons, not Christ’s.

In John 6, Jesus also called Himself the “Bread of life” (vs. 48). Then, later in this chapter He spoke of how the Father must do the calling of anyone who comes “to the Son” (vs. 44, 65).

This is all very, very basic understanding that the entire Church once seemed to understand. Why will not the entire world of Christendom understand that the Christ who spoke the gospel everywhere He went also uttered what He did in John 7:18? Much more important, why will not the splinter leaders remember what they once knew? But the greatest question may be why so many thousands in the splinters seem so willing to believe that Christ (if He were part of the gospel) must have talked continually about Himself.

Jesus Christ did not do this, because He is not part of the gospel!

Four Keys to Deception

You have seen the plain, unmistakable teaching from Mr. Armstrong, quoting the Bible, about what is the true gospel—that it is the kingdom of God, and nothing else!

This requires mentioning again the vital principle forgotten by so many: One of the 12 rules of Bible study is to always begin with the most basic, plain scriptures, and only then go on to verses which are less clear. We have applied that principle, only this time we employed it with what Mr. Armstrong wrote about a doctrine.

Understand a most basic point: When leaders deceive, they have to employ a methodology—an often predetermined logic of deception—to the process. False teachers today must do four things ( wittingly or unwittingly), with the latter three employed when they cite Mr. Armstrong as the authority for the error—any error—that they teach:

(1) Ignore (or twist) the clear weight of scripture.

(2) In this case, ignore the mountain of crystal clear—absolutely plain—and conclusive statements from Mr. Armstrong emphatically stating, for instance, that the gospel is only about the kingdom of God.

(3) Isolate one less clear quote from him to make their point.

(4) Carefully ellipse that one statement because even it demonstrates, if shown in its entirety, that the gospel has nothing to do with Jesus Christ’s sacrifice or anything else. LCG has done this in the most egregious fashion when they offer the only quote they could find to suit their purpose, which is to alter the gospel, baldly lie to God’s people about it and continue seizing His tithes for themselves!

The subject of how splinter leaders deceive is of colossal importance to the twenty-first century people of God. Chapter Twelve will take you much deeper into why and how God has permitted their presence as one of the final great tests for His people.

More Problems

God attaches such enormous importance to believing and preaching only the true gospel of the Bible that this subject is simply too big for even one large chapter. There are other errors being taught in regard to the mixed-up counterfeit gospel believed by many thousands today…

Chapter Five – More Gospel Errors

You may have supposed that adding Jesus’ person is the only error today pertaining to the gospel. This is far from true. Chapter Five contains three more big ones.

Another Confusing Error

The first statement begins with a paragraph used in the previous chapter. It is repeated to give the setting of a larger statement that best introduces another “gospel” error—one that always must eventually accompany the mistake of placing Jesus into the gospel. (All bolding is mine):

“In other words, not one of them knows what spiritual salvation really is, what the KINGDOM OF GOD (Christ’s whole Gospel) really is, WHY God put humanity here on earth: WHAT is our real ultimate human POTENTIAL, or HOW we shall reach it. They know not God’s PURPOSE, nor His MASTER PLAN for working it out. They do not know why we are here, where we are going, or THE WAY. Those are the BIG, MAIN branches of the tree of knowledge. They are the MISSING DIMENSION in knowledge.”

“Of course I always did, from the very beginning of this WORK OF GOD, proclaim the good news of the COMING KINGDOM OF GOD.

“The original apostles proclaimed the KINGDOM OF GOD, but they also put very special emphasis on something that specially applied only to their time, right then. They were personal EYE WITNESSES to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In THEIR day, the chief opposition and persecution came from those Jewish leaders who rejected Christ as the promised Messiah. [Author’s note: In other words, if the apostles did not first establish that Christ was the Messiah, no one would even consider the message that He brought. The Bible—God’s recorded Word—now witnesses what the apostles had to personally report. Mr. Armstrong will momentarily make this point, with the last paragraph of this quote adding more.]

“DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND. The Jews as a whole did not reject Christ. Indeed, virtually all His followers—the 120 that were WITH HIM and the apostles (Acts 1:15) from which the church started—all were Jews (or proselytes). The church BEGAN as almost 100% JEWISH. The Apostle Paul always went first to the Jews, and most of his churches started out as Jewish. The persecution was not so much from the rank and file of Jewish people, as from their Jewish RULERS, who held political jobs under the Roman government—the Pharisees—and also the scribes and Sadducees.

“Nevertheless, the EARLIEST opposition and persecution the apostles faced at the BEGINNING of the church was from these officials who REJECTED Christ as the promised Messiah. The apostles were EYE WITNESSES to His life, death and RESURRECTION. They spent 40 days with Him AFTER His resurrection.” [Author’s note: Remember this paragraph.]

Co-Worker Letter, November 19, 1976

“Originally there were 12 apostles. The principal work of the 12 apostles, if you will read carefully in the book of Acts and if you will analyze their sermons, included not only the proclamation of the Kingdom of God, but they put emphasis on the big question at that time in Judea—Jesus’ messiahship.

“The Jews had been influenced by the Pharisees and Sadducees to not believe in the existence of Jesus as the Messiah. Now the Pharisees knew, as Nicodemus said in the third chapter of John, that Jesus was the Messiah. But they feared Him because they had government positions over their own people.”

“Now the common run of the people were not told that Jesus was the Messiah. And the 12 apostles—God needed 12 because they were eyewitnesses of the resurrection—put main emphasis during the first years of their ministry on the fact that they were eyewitnesses of the resurrection, proving that Jesus was the Messiah.”

“So, though the Church is a spiritual organism, it is organized not on a carnal human pattern, but on God’s spiritual pattern. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the message that Christ proclaimed. That message was the Good News or the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. That is the message He preached, the restoration of the Government of God by the coming Kingdom of God.

“The apostolic Church from A.D. 31 proclaimed it. They proclaimed that message but with special emphasis, as I said, on the resurrection of Jesus Christ of which they were eye-witnesses. It required 12, as in a 12-man jury, to make it absolutely certain and to convince the people in Judea.” [Author’s note: Also remember this most important paragraph.]

WWN, Congress Of Leading Ministers, March 6, 1981

A Stark Contrast!

This is all very clear. Now notice how LCG has perverted all that Mr. Armstrong explained by inserting the idea of witnessing Jesus today as part of the gospel. This is made more incredible by the fact that Roderick Meredith constantly describes how he knew Mr. Armstrong better than everyone else, bragging time and again of having “spent thousands of hours with him.” Of course, this is gross exaggeration, and Mr. Armstrong deliberately avoided this man almost entirely for the last 14 years of his life. But as you read, ask—what was this man hearing from Mr. Armstrong? Here is what this “presiding evangelist” wrote:

“After His resurrection, Jesus added a further dimension to the gospel message. He told the disciples that they were to be witnesses to the world that His suffering, death and resurrection were necessary for the forgiveness of sin (Luke 24:44-49). Yet even after His resurrection, Jesus continued to focus on the Kingdom of God, as did His disciples (Acts 1:3, 6). The apostolic Church understood and taught both about the coming Kingdom of God and the things concerning Jesus Christ (Acts 8:12; 28:23, 31). Sadly, the ‘mainstream Christian’ world has lost sight of the gospel of the kingdom, and has mistakenly focused only on the life and person of Jesus Christ. Many churches have missed half of the gospel message because they have followed misguided leaders who have lost the proper focus.”

Living Church News, Nov.-Dec. 2006

Does this unscriptural, half-and-half, witnessing-Jesus “gospel” sound remotely like what Mr. Armstrong taught? In fact, with the last sentence above in mind, it reduces MR. ARMSTRONG to a “misguided leader” who “lost the proper focus.” The first sentence—the premise—is utterly false. Without it, the rest of the paragraph would be true—until the last sentence. This conclusion—written with the typical cunning wording we saw so often with the apostates—is also completely false. In other words, written to appear to disagree with, and distance itself from, the Protestants, it in fact endorses them. Reread it until this is clear—and see the dangerous mixture of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” at work.

Rejecting and Retaining the Wrong Things!

Mr. Armstrong’s statements explaining the 12 apostles’ role as eye-witnesses introduces a curious confusion that grips almost the entire world of Christendom—and this now includes thousands following leaders like Roderick Meredith. It has to do with the definition of apostles and their early additional responsibility to personally witness events surrounding Christ’s last days.

Let’s understand. Virtually no theologians or ministers of the world’s churches will accept that there could be apostles after the first century. This is because they define this office solely as men who were personal eyewitnesses of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Ironically, on the other hand, they do believe there remains a responsibility beyond the apostolic age to “witness for” or to “profess” Jesus Christ, or more accurately as this is done today, to witness or profess the name of Jesus Christ everywhere. Obviously, even such misguided religionists recognize that no one can now speak as a direct eyewitness to what only the apostles saw. But they read instruction that should be seen as solely given to the original apostles, such as Acts 1:8-9, 22, 2:32, 4:33 and others, and use it as authority for their own re-invented “witnessing Jesus Christ” agenda.

So, they have it backwards on both counts. The world’s churches threw out what they should have kept—and kept, but with a twist, what they should have left behind for application 19 centuries ago!

Let’s make this more plain: There can still be apostles after the first century (God’s people certainly recognized Mr. Armstrong was one), because the office of “one sent” involves infinitely more than being an eyewitness to events immediately surrounding Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. However, while there is no further need to establish Christ’s Messiahship through eyewitness accounts (the Bible now does this), there has never been either any instruction or a command to profess—or witness—Jesus Christ! After all, what would be the point, since people must be called to Christ by the Father (John 6:44, 65). The practice of modern witnessing became a necessary invention that was the automatic next step for those who placed Jesus’ role into the gospel. If Jesus were the gospel, they had to “preach” their “gospel”—i.e. “witness” Him. (Instead, Christians are to confess Christ, but only when put to the test—I Pet. 3:15; Matt. 10:32-33; Phil. 2:11; Rom. 10:9-10.)

Can you see this? Do you see how Satan’s spirit is leading LCG, and others, straight toward the thinking of his ministers and his churches? Can you see why—how—and in what way—these Laodicean organizations are falling further into error?

The Protestants in Their Own Words

Now let’s compare Mr. Armstrong’s explanation of the true gospel and the correct view of the apostles “eye-witnessing” Jesus Christ to the “witnessing” that LCG and the Protestants practice. Notice how these denominations connect witnessing “Jesus” to their gospel. Will you be sobered at the spirit these quotes reveal is being mirrored in your organization?:

United Methodist Church:

“As United Methodists, we have an obligation to bear a faithful Christian witness to Jesus Christ, the living reality at the center of the Church’s life and witness...striving to express faithfully the witness we make in our own time.”

“What does it mean to create a culture of witness in our churches, society, and world?...The answer is contained in one Name: Jesus the Christ!”

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:

“All ELCA mission personnel are called to witness to the good news of Jesus Christ through their work.”

Presbyterian Church (USA):

“Who are we Presbyterians? As far back as 1837 the General Assembly declared that the church, by its very nature, is a missionary society whose purpose is to share the love of God in Jesus Christ in word and deed and with all the world. Witnessing to the good news of Jesus Christ throughout the world...preach the gospel, heal the sick, and educate new generations for the future.”

Episcopal Church:

“Let’s look more closely at what Jesus said. It’s true that the apostles had been witnesses of all that Jesus said and did during his earthly ministry, but what Jesus says in today’s reading is, ‘you will be my witnesses.’ Our testimony is about him, not just about what happened long ago and far away. We are to give evidence about what we ourselves have heard, seen, experienced. We can’t be witnesses unless we have met the Risen Christ—unless our lives have been transformed by him. If we could in good conscience go before a notary and sign a paper attesting of the presence of God in our lives and in the world, then, and only then, can we be his witnesses.

“This is something that we, as Christians, probably do a lot more often than we know. St. Francis of Assisi said it well: ‘Proclaim the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.’ How many persons in your own life have been witnesses, silent or otherwise, to you?...We are called to do the same, and this call is not issued just to teach us individually, but also to us as members of the Body of Christ—and, more specifically, to us as members of this congregation. We should be seriously considering how we are called, in this place and at this time, to be his witnesses.

“Probably we don’t think of ourselves in that way. Nevertheless, if the Lord Jesus calls us to be witnesses, we’d better not think of this as something optional.”

These mission statements leave no ambiguity about the intent of witnessing Jesus. But tragically, they could as easily have been written by certain splinter leaders. How long will it be before these men, like the apostates, urge their members to practice “personal evangelism”? (UCG has long condoned this, and its “gospel” is not nearly as far wrong as LCG’s.)

The larger splinters also seem to no longer preach against use of the cross—once clearly understood to be a pagan sex symbol.

Under the apostates’ influence, and the Protestants who taught those men, the supposedly at least generally faithful splinter leaders were conditioned to believe Christ’s command to the 12 apostles still applies today. Remember, Mr. Armstrong described the original apostles as having the additional responsibility, applicable only in the first century and in Judea, to prove Jesus Christ was the Messiah—to serve as a kind of “jury of 12” in this regard, as Mr. Armstrong put it—or the Jews would not believe the message He taught.

This is just not difficult to understand.

Also remember, this responsibility applied before the New Testament was written! The recorded “gospel accounts” are our witness to Jesus Christ. Actually, some of the apostles are still eyewitnesses to Jesus Christ through the pages of the Bible. No one needs to witness this anymore because the Bible does this. Mr. Armstrong recognized this—and so should YOU! Of course, the roles of Jesus Christ must still be taught and explained, just not as part of the gospel—and not with the wrong, misguided nonstop emphasis given by the Living Church of God and by what are becoming their Protestant brothers.

One Classic Illustration

This section would not be complete without at least one well-known and classic example of how careless Bible reading inserts conclusions about Christ’s suffering and resurrection that are not in the text, and how some of these get merged into the “witnessing Jesus” thinking and practice.

Many get confused when they read I Corinthians 15:1-4, thinking that Paul contradicts himself from other passages we have seen by stating that “the gospel” (vs. 1) is “how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day” (vs. 3-4). Get your Bible and simply notice that the gospel reference in verse 1 is not connected in context to Christ’s death for our sins and burial in verses 3 and 4. Careful reading reveals this! When correctly understood, rather than saying that Christ is the gospel, this passage confirms the opposite, and supports Acts 8:12, 20:21-25, 28:31 and II Corinthians 11:4!

LCG now openly cites I Corinthians 15 to prove the same thing in the exact same way the apostates did when they completely replaced the kingdom of God with Christ’s role as the gospel.

Since Jesus preached “repent and believe the gospel,” it should now be clear why He emphasized both. His role must certainly always be preached in conjunction with the kingdom of God, because one cannot enter the kingdom unless he understands and accepts that “Christ died for our sins,” and that person has repented of his sins.

It would be helpful to offer a clarification at this point regarding Paul’s reference several times in his epistles to the “gospel of salvation” or “gospel of grace.” While these are being used today to bring Christ’s role into the Christian being able to receive salvation, they are merely other ways of referring to the gift of membership in the God Family. “Salvation” means being in the Family of God. The chief meaning of “grace” is unmerited pardon. Salvation cannot be earned on merit. It is a free gift of God for those who meet the qualifiers. (The previous chapter carried an inset showing how much literature we offer that teaches the truth of salvation.)

Does the Gospel Include Healing?

Some in the world have preached a gospel of healing or one including healing. Did you notice that the Presbyterians include healing with their gospel—meaning alongside it, but not part of it?

Roderick Meredith, in his article “A ‘Missing’ Part of Christ’s Gospel,” makes another giant leap away from the truth of the gospel by asserting that healing should be part of it. (Recall that even the Presbyterians do not go this far with their gospel!) His rationale: Since Christ’s sacrifice is part of the gospel—and part of that sacrifice was Christ’s physical beating, which made possible forgiveness of physical sins—and also since Christ healed the sick—then healing must be part of the gospel.

The problem? This thinking cannot be found anywhere in Scripture! Healings and other miracles certainly did accompany the gospel message, but these were to show that Christ and the disciples bore God’s authority for preaching what they did. The Bible nowhere states that they are part of the gospel.

This drift in thinking is what always happens where Satan is able to lead an organization into even a partial focus on Jesus Christ as within the gospel. Next naturally comes “witnessing” Him. Then could come healing. After that could be “personal evangelism,” and then on to anything else into which the devil—at this point established firmly at the helm for those looking—wants to take an organization. Later in the chapter we will see the next step involves a “social” connection, tied to the gospel.

How soon before more of God’s people recognize all of this as a walk down memory lane, when it was the apostates teaching the things they are now hearing for the SECOND TIME?

Nowhere did Mr. Armstrong ever suggest, or even speculate, that healing or other miracles are included within the gospel. I was warned 40 years ago (as were all other students) of this pseudo-“gospel” by my first Bible instructor at Ambassador College—the very man who wrote the above article!

The above leader openly bemoans in his article a lack of healing in his organization, while testifying to healings in the Worldwide Church of God. Here is what this leader acknowledges about the past:

“We must remember that when Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong led the Church, thousands of people were healed of all kinds of sicknesses, ailments and maladies. I know. I talked to them. I read the letters that came pouring in during those days.”

This report is true! But how incredible that this man cannot connect the many healings of the past to Mr. Armstrong’s defense of the true gospel, to his unwillingness to compromise it by adding any other elements—Christ’s person, witnessing, healing, social improvement or anything else that does not belong—that dilute the announcement of THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

Mr. Armstrong could read the Galatians 1:6-9 curse! And he FEARED GOD! But he also understood a key biblical connection. The following, partially-repeated statement from earlier becomes Mr. Armstrong’s last one in this chapter:

“When the curtain lifts on that ‘LOST CENTURY’ of Church history, the Gospel of the Kingdom of God was no longer preached to the world. Jesus and His apostles had carried on a dual ministry—proclaiming the Kingdom of God and healing the sick. But after that ‘Lost Century’ neither the Gospel of God’s Kingdom nor healing was going out to the world.”

Co-Worker Letter, February 21, 1974

How many leaders will read this and correctly place blame for a lack of healings in a matter Mr. Armstrong well understood was a problem with a specific identifiable cause? He knew “the Gospel of God’s Kingdom” must be preached, or healing will not “go out to the world”—or, I would add, occur in the Church. Again, this is just not hard to understand.

On Christ’s authority, and in agreement with Mr. Armstrong, I tell you that the splinters—any splinter—focusing on these wrong ideas will never receive the gift of healings. And here is another great reason: The Bible lists healing as a gift given within the Body of Christ (I Cor. 12:9). LCG (with UCG and other groups) has adopted the world’s view that the true Church and Christ’s Body now consists of many organizations. Of course, this thinking is totally false! More on this momentarily.

In contrast, The Restored Church of God sees—and its brethren experience—healings (some dramatic), and on a regular basis. But then the gospel of God’s kingdom IS going out to the world from THIS CHURCH! We also still recognize Christ leads and therefore gives the gift of healing—of course, not in every case—to only one organization! (Again, read THE TRUE CHURCH for more on this topic.)

“Another Jesus”—“Another Spirit”

I repeat: The inclusion of Jesus Christ—and anything else!—within the gospel of the kingdom of God is very, very different from what Mr. Armstrong taught in his booklet, and from what you have seen in his many statements just quoted, and throughout this book. Other “gospels” are counterfeits—simply not biblical—and this was easily demonstrated as not what any of God’s servants from past ages announced. Chapter One offered only some of that proof.

First, take a moment to read Galatians 1:6-9, and the curse (stated twice) connected to bringing “another gospel.” Then pause and grasp the additional seriousness of what else doing this means—the grave danger springing from what is actually being brought into LCG, UCG and other groups with this revised “gospel.” You must understand WHY God places a curse on those who pervert the gospel—those who blur or confuse His “Genesis to Revelation” announcement about His now imminent world government under the God Family!

Next then, turn to II Corinthians 11:3-4. Again, I repeat for emphasis: This passage explains and connects the world’s different, false “another Jesus” to “another gospel” about their “Jesus,” and all of this, in turn, is connected to “another spirit” (and then also to a host of doctrines associated with this worldly “Jesus”). The apostle John labels this alien spirit the “spirit of error” (I John 4:6).

This is the SAME SPIRIT guiding the churches of professing Christianity, and it is identified and exposed in Ephesians 2:2!

Understand the extreme gravity here. Comprehend why it is VITAL to get this point straight! This very different, but very real, “another spirit” directly introduces—and is importing into the two largest splinters (and into several other groups)—the Protestant harlots’ (Rev. 17:5) whorish counterfeit definition of the “body of (their) ‘Christ.’” You must not let this escape you!

Extreme Danger!

Another critically important element ties in here, and it is directly connected to where the true Christ is leading His Work and Church. Both of these splinters (with virtually all of the other groups in agreement) teach that Christ no longer works exclusively in—is Head of—one organization—no longer leads only one unified, organized, uncompromising Church. Since the apostasy, many seem to find themselves almost forced to believe that Christ’s Church—the same as the biblical Body of Christ, as has been mentioned and as was seen in Mr. Armstrong’s statements—now supposedly consists of many “fellowships,” “communities of believers,” “branches,” and so forth.

This is totally contrary to I Corinthians 1:10, 13 and 12:1-31, Ephesians 4:2-16, John 15, Matthew 12:25-30, among numerous other passages—and to all that Mr. Armstrong taught about the Body of Christ. (Prepare for Chapter Fourteen to shock your thinking in a related, but unexpected, regard.) This substitute idea asserts, in effect, that Christ and His Body are now divided among many organizations. This is exactly what the “harlot daughter” churches (Rev. 17:5) believe and what they taught to the WCG apostates. The apostates, in turn, taught the Protestant “Jesus” and his counterfeit “body” and “gospel” to the splinter leaders before they fled the apostasy.

All elements of this are literally the doctrines of whores! Yet almost no one noticed.

Here is what the reader must recognize: The Protestant world believes in a completely different (counterfeit) “body” of a totally different (counterfeit) “Christ,” emanating from an entirely different and alien “SPIRIT”—not the Spirit of God. All of these churches are led by the “spirit of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2) shown to be sent from the “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4)!

To summarize, when the splinter leaders (while still back in the WCG) unwittingly accepted the apostates’ “harlot” teaching about the “body” of their “Jesus,” this set up the large splinters they lead to also unknowingly be thrown OUTSIDE the true Body of Christ and directly TOWARD the false, Protestant, counterfeit “body of ‘Christ.’”

Remember, Paul taught, “for by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body” and “for the body is not one member, but many” (I Cor. 12:13-14). Obviously, the early protestors were able to read this passage—and it presented them with a big problem. After Luther rejected Rome, each new protesting leader (Calvin, Wesley, Henry VIII, etc.) was forced to accept a new teaching compatible with the divided, competing and rapidly multiplying picture of denominations that the Protestant world was becoming. These men and others who followed had to reconcile the idea of one “body of Christ” with hundreds of denominations, and more appearing all the time! Think of it. Since they had rejected Rome’s position that it was the sole true church, these differing groups had no choice but to greatly broaden their definition of Christ’s Body.

Just as obviously, within this overall understanding must come the reminder that, no different from the Catholics, the Protestants are led by the spirit of the “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4). The alien spirit that John and Paul spoke of—which is the leaven (I Cor. 5:6; Gal. 5:9), cancer and gangrene (II Tim. 2:17) that Paul referenced in his epistles—is truly the counterfeit spirit through which the Protestants’ “baptisms” place their members into their re-engineered and counterfeit substitute “body of Christ.”

This is the plate from which the apostates dined! And it is the poisonous diet they served to the splinter leaders, who in turn are serving the same to their organizations—and YOU!

Grasp this thoroughly! Tapping into this spirit—SATAN’S SPIRIT—is what quickly destroyed the Worldwide Church of God. This SAME SPIRIT has entered and is now slowly seducing and destroying the splinters. Those with God’s Spirit—even those who never fully escape Laodicean thinking—must leave this environment to be saved. Do not permit this to escape your thinking.

It transcends everything that is happening in the splinters!

(To learn more about why the splinters have fallen into such error, listen to my sermon “The Synagogue of Satan Identified—and Marked!”)

PROOF Satan’s Spirit is Present

Before leaving the subject of how another (the Greek means “different”) Jesus and his gospel is being taught in the splinters, one final point—and it is really a vital proof for the reader!—must be covered. It can be demonstrated that the “Jesus” within the splinters’ “gospel” cannot possibly be the true Christ of the Bible, and it can be absolutely proven that this inclusion is tied directly to Satan’s spirit at work. Let’s see this made plain. Follow carefully what is explained! Consider how each element now referenced is tied together to present the big picture.

Some might see the splinters’ inclusion of “Jesus Christ” into the gospel of the kingdom as a mere technical error, an innocent mistake, one that should not be seen as connected to a different spirit present in the thinking of the leaders who teach this.

Therefore, the following greatest of questions emerges: Would the Spirit of God, the one emanating from the true Jesus Christ, be responsible for—in other words, would it be behind or guiding—the inclusion of the true Christ into the gospel? The obvious answer is OF COURSE NOT! And the true Jesus Christ would never permit His Church to insert Him into the gospel, thereby creating one that He and the apostles never preached. Think. THINK! This would require Him to curse His own Church. He simply could neither guide nor permit this to happen.

Get this straight before continuing.

Where “another spirit” is at work bringing “another gospel” with “Jesus” in it, THAT spirit would always bring “another Jesus” (with his other false doctrines)! So, by contrast, the god of this world does want his “Jesus” included in his gospel, and he would have no interest in the inclusion of the TRUE Christ in it. In other words, Satan wants to create two huge false teachings in one: (1) Pervert the gospel of the kingdom, and invoke the Galatians 1:6-9 curse, and at the same time (2) turn God’s people away from the true Christ of the Bible!

What could be better? From Satan’s perspective, pulling off such a doctrinal coup is “better than perfect.” But he knows that there are also two additional advantages—two more natural byproducts—of his strategy: (1) The many OTHER doctrines of his Jesus are automatically able to follow, and (2) the effectiveness of the Work as anything that could be directed by the true Christ is destroyed in this equation! And this would be true even if the pattern of correct government were present anywhere in the splinters, and it is not.

Can you now see the three elements of deception and counterfeit listed in II Corinthians 11:4 in their true light? The whole thing becomes a “package deal.”

Reread this section until it becomes plain—until it becomes crystal-clear proof of which spirit has lead the splinters away from some of the Bible’s most important truths—the gospel, the definition of the Church and Body of Christ, and then necessarily how God’s government can lead only one organization, as well as which Jesus to follow, the basic elements comprising the Work of God, and so much more.

Then—Slipping Into the “Social Gospel”

There is perhaps no greater illustration of how the spirit of error that drives the churches of the world—Satan’s churches—has entered the splinters than in the case of their growing acceptance of the popular Protestant “social gospel” on top of the already-existing emphasis of “leading people to ‘Jesus’” by “witnessing” His “name.” (Recall Mr. Armstrong’s social gospel reference.)

Let’s understand the “fingerprints” of the other Jesus.

Invariably, in the wake of a tragedy or a natural disaster, the governments, organizations, relief agencies and churches of men swing into action to help the victims in all the ways that men do in such circumstances. Some of the splinters who, again, were indoctrinated in the apostates’ thinking, which they, I repeat, derived from worldly Christian “theologians,” now usually offer assistance. For instance, this happened in the wake of devastation from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as in the aftermath of the tsunami of late 2004.

How It Works

The social gospel is best summarized in this way: The world’s churches believe they have a duty—an obligation—to improve this world, to address its problems, and to strive to fix them. Of course, this is synonymous with the idea that they are to spread “Christianity”—“Jesus”—throughout the world. This idea, in turn, derives from the belief that the kingdom of God is now on Earth. (Recall that the apostates emphasized this.) Thus, it is the task of the world’s churches to spread this “kingdom” in whatever way they can. This naturally tends to involve addressing disease, poverty, ignorance, race relations, depressed economies, “human rights” and wars, including civil wars. Of course, their efforts would next just as naturally include helping in all manner of humanitarian crises in the wake of earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, droughts, calamities and other disasters. (It is in these kinds of events that evangelical Protestants have been conditioned to see as opportunity to “witness” Jesus.)

This introduces an interesting email written in response to an article we had posted about Hurricane Katrina just after it struck the American Gulf Coast. It is a classic example of how most professing Christians see the role of churches in the wake of such calamities:

“I found your article on New Orleans very informative. However, nowhere did I see any suggestion on how to help the unfortunate people, who can not help themselves. As the rebuilding will take many months and longer, where will the children go to school, or play? Myself and many thousands of my countrymen, would only be too glad to open our home, for as long as it takes, to afford them a safe abode and a chance to continue their education. Could you be instrumental in initiating a campaign?”

This email is understandable, but it is not, and never has been, the purpose of God’s Church and His Work to in any way try to “repair” or “fix” or “improve” a world cut off from God by sin (Isa. 59:1-2; Jer. 5:25)—a world and a sinning Israel whom He is punishing. God’s people are supposed to recognize—and deeply understand from the very most basic elements of prophecy (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21)!—that what has been happening to America and other Israelitish nations is that a loving God is beginning to set up a vastly greater punishing of His disobedient (Israelite) children in the Great Tribulation, with one year of world punishment to follow.

God’s people must comprehend—and remember—this!

Like any parent chastising his child for wrongdoing, God does not want interference with the punishment of His children. More than any others, true Christians should understand this! God’s people must not fight him, meaning His long understood purpose. No matter how sincere, they must never put themselves in a position of unwittingly thwarting that purpose. What human parent, when he is disciplining his child, wants a neighbor interrupting by trying to comfort the child in the middle of the process, thus muting—directly countering, in effect—at least some of the punishment?

Regarding the world, with its affairs, difficulties and disasters, Jesus taught, “Let the dead bury their dead” (Matt. 8:22). The Church once plainly understood that this meant to let the spiritually dead bury the physically (and spiritually) dead! Further, Christ is also saying, “Do not interfere with any so-called ‘love,’ when punishment is the kind of real love necessary now” (Prov. 3:11-12; 13:24).

The Kingdom Is Not Here

Let’s understand more. Since the churches of the world generally believe the kingdom of God is present now in the Person of Christ at work in individual lives, therefore, wherever “Jesus” is spread, in other words wherever people are “led to Jesus Christ,” the kingdom has been advanced. Their strategy then is designed to be inseparable from spreading the popular “social gospel,” which includes addressing problems of every kind around the world to get a foot in the door in order to present—spread—their “Jesus” to the afflicted masses. Of course, both Catholics and Protestants (including every type of modern evangelical Protestant) have been doing this for centuries. The only difference is that the Catholics believe their church is God’s kingdom on Earth. Therefore, they put more emphasis on spreading the church!—with “Jesus” as the vehicle to get people into their church, and thus into the “kingdom.”

The Church of God does not preach a kingdom already here. It announces one yet to come. We pray, “Thy kingdom come.” The job of God’s Church is also to warn about and explain why the punishment coming upon modern Israel—and to do this in the spirit of Isaiah 58:1! Few any longer will address cause and effectlaw and sin—and explain that “love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:10), that it is “keeping the commandments” (I John 5:3). While the world wants to address the bad effects through relief organizations and helping disaster victims in order to spread—to “witness”—their “Jesus,” God’s Church is to explain the cause of the world’s evils, ills and troubles—broken spiritual laws!

In addition, recognize that God does not want what are His tithes and offerings, which are designated solely for preaching the true gospel, for warning modern Israel and for feeding Christ’s flock, to be spent directly fighting his purpose!

Sloppy Reading

If only God’s people would more carefully read—actually reread from the past—the oft-used by the world, but badly butchered and misunderstood, scriptures supposedly telling people to give to relief efforts for what these passages truly say instead of for what professing Christians of this world, led by Satan, think they mean—and what the apostates told the Church and convinced the splinter and sliver leaders that they mean! I am speaking of scriptures such as Matthew 25:31-46, about helping “brethren,” and Luke 10:25-37, about the good Samaritan. Any number of others are cited and equally misunderstood.

And so few seem to notice.

For instance, look at I John 3:17. It warns against “shutting up one’s bowels of compassion” toward the needs of others. But the whole verse reads, “But whoso has this world’s good, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in him?”

The entire passage turns on the words “brother” and “him.” If one does not understand who is his “brother” and who is not his “brother,” he has no hope of understanding how to apply this verse (and many others). One must first read Romans 8, starting with verse 9, followed by verse 14, followed, in turn, by verse 29. Then he must turn to and carefully read Hebrews 2:9-12 to remove ALL doubt about who a Christian’s “brethren” are—the exact same people who are brethren to Christ!—or he will never exit the confusing maze of bad theology long trapping the world’s ministers, and now the majority of the splinters. Put another way, if one does not know who and what a Christian is—one led by the Holy Spirit, making him a son of God (Rom. 8:9, 14)—he will not be able to identify his brethren or understand passages such as I John 3:17 or Matthew 25:31-46.

It is these kinds of verses that are so badly mangled and used to assert that Christians should aid disaster victims and support relief organizations.

The Human Perspective

Starting with the assumption that God’s teachings have been ignored or forgotten, and that one is going to merely take the human perspective, it is not difficult to understand how God’s people could so naturally fall back into thinking that they should practice giving after the pattern of the world and its churches, described earlier.

Think of this. Some in the splinters simply cannot stand the pain in their hearts at what they see in the aftermath of a tragedy, calamity or national disaster. Forgetting how the overall plan of God is to play out, the images on television of “innocent suffering” literally become too much for them. Then, like the local or national citizenry around them, going strictly by feelings or impulses that may be terribly troubling them, they feel the need to “do something,” they feel that they have to “help people” in some way so that they are “doing their part.” In short, they fall into the trap of following “a way that seems [feels] right unto a man…” (Prov. 14:12; 16:25). Instead of seeing disasters and calamities as a loving God spanking His disobedient children, and keeping their focus on all that is occurring from God’s point of view, many of God’s people now cave to the world’s approach—completely forgetting what they once believed!

A related category, this one primarily of leaders, but clearly including brethren, consists of those who are embarrassed to not be accepted by the world’s churches or even other splinters because they are not seen to be “doing their part”—or in a church that is doing its part. Surrounded by an environment of millions in the world rallying to help their own—“the dead burying the dead”—it is easy to feel guilt, even tremendous guilt, if one does not also “get involved.” This build-up of pressure to “give” or to “contribute generously” is also fueled by the nonstop reports and media coverage in today’s “24/7” news environment. Weak-kneed splinter leaders are caving to the pressure of the worldly pseudo-love that is bombarding them. Of course, “witnessing,” or even appearing to witness, “Jesus,” as do their evangelical Protestant counterparts, serves to further improve acceptance by Satan’s churches. This can even be done at an unconscious level in leaders who have unknowingly lost the zeal and urgency Mr. Armstrong taught the Church to maintain regarding God’s Work.

A similar problem occurs for the same reason. No longer firmly anchored in God’s view of what is happening, so many just permit basic human reasoning to take over—and they copy those of the world around them. Similar to getting caught up in “the spirit of Christmas,” the result is many get seduced by the ever-present pull to “help the suffering masses.”

Gone from the thinking are verses in which Christ described that the greatest way to help the needy—“the poor”—is to take the gospel of the kingdom of God (of a coming better world under the God Family) to them. Gone and forgotten are Christ stating that “the poor have the gospel preached to them” (Matt. 11:5) and His reference to “[the Father] has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor” (Luke 4:18) and “to the poor the gospel is preached” (Luke 7:22)—all of these passages replaced with the human feeling that we must “do something”—we must “show love.” Nowhere did Christ instruct the apostles to feed or clothe or build homes for the poor. They were to follow His example by giving to the poor the most important thing they could—the precious knowledge of the kingdom of God!

End All Confusion

If you are still confused, I urge you to read our booklet Which Is the True Gospel? Written for those being called now, and who are only familiar with the “Jesus is the gospel” idea, it reflects Mr. Armstrong’s booklet, but expands on usually overlooked passages. Further, I came to see the confusion over what the gospel is had become so great it was necessary to give an extensive series that could bring God’s people back to the truth of this subject of colossal importance. Titled “The Gospel—Kingdom and Christ?”, this is the strongest and clearest series you have heard—or will ever hear—on the subject of the true gospel of the Bible! There may never have been a series so thorough.

In addition, an extensive extra document about the gospel has been prepared for those in LCG. It is available on the “Understanding the WCG Apostasy & ‘Splinters’” page of our website. It carefully details the multiple errors in what that organization labels as the gospel. But certain of its key elements and quotes have been included in Chapters Four and Five here.

Both the booklet and sermons cover a great many New Testament passages further explaining and proving how the apostles preached the role of Christ only in conjunction with the kingdom of God. Both of these will make plain how they taught the role of the true Jesus Christ alongside the gospel of the kingdom—not as something part of it.

You should not be in confusion about what the Bible makes so plain. If you are uncertain when you start the booklet and series, and possibly the special document referenced, you will not be when you finish! You will also better understand the tragedy of how so many have forgotten so much. And you will see that with very salvation at stake, God would never—and could never—permit the smallest doubt to remain regarding exactly what gospel His people must believe!

But human beings naturally forget…

Chapter Six – Mass Amnesia

Everyone has experienced forgetfulness at one time or another. Any problem that results is usually minor, and most of the time there is none. However, forgetfulness can be serious, with very bad consequences, if the event, time or item forgotten was important. People can get hurt—think of appointments missed, jobs lost, car keys misplaced, purse or wallet containing all of one’s credit cards, identification and personal effects forgotten, etc.

The problem of forgetfulness can grow worse if one permanently “forgets that he forgot.” In other words, while most people eventually remember what they forgot to do…or bring…or say…, some completely lose track of these things until someone else brings them back to mind. Of course, this can be very embarrassing, depending upon what was forgotten and the problems caused.

This has been the case with God’s people regarding certain elements of the Work of God—elements that most would have once believed could not possibly be forgotten in the first place.

“Those who sigh and cry”—But Over What?

We just read about those who are overwhelmed with feelings and human reasoning about how they must do something for disaster victims and others in the world who are in need. God is aware of this natural human tendency and gives instruction for how to direct it. At this point we will return to elements of the social gospel, but in a different context.

The true Christian certainly does feel the suffering of the world in a very deep way, and actually this should be with greater depth of anguish and understanding than do his worldly counterparts. This is why God inspired Ezekiel to record, “Set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst [of the modern nations of Israel, and, to some degree, the world at large]…” (9:4).

This passage certainly does describe a real and heartfelt response that God expects from His people to what they are witnessing. I have previously mentioned that those of brotherly love truly care about their fellowman. (Of course, these brethren are also to have the love of God [agape] toward all others.)

A Christian is not to be unfeeling—far from it! However, sighing and crying over national sins is one thing. But to in any way mitigate—soften—mute—neutralize—God’s punishment because of them is entirely another, and not something that He desires—or tolerates! God knows that human solutions to man’s big problems have never worked, and that only His solutions bring real, long-term relief—and He expects His people to remember this!

A closer look at Ezekiel 9:4 offers the vitally important key for the Christian to keep in mind. Let’s more carefully examine a point in the last paragraph about exactly what it is that causes the anguish in those who receive God’s mark.

On the one hand, this verse describes those who feel compassion—who can hurt when the masses hurt—who can mourn when the masses are mourning—but…BUT…the passage—and this is plain!—describes godly people who are reacting to, and are horrified by people’s (and nations’) “ABOMINATIONS.” This means they are horrified by lawlessness—evil—wickedness—debauchery and degeneracy—SINS!—not merely by the resultant travail or plight of people and nations who have brought on themselves punishment (including natural consequences from broken laws) from a longsuffering God.

There is a difference and God’s people discern it!

Special, Detailed Sermon

All of the understanding from God’s Word on this subject requires the correct explanation of many scriptures to explain why God’s people are not called to assist man’s efforts to address his problems through human solutions, and why this blurs and diminishes the Church’s task. If you are confused about this subject or do not remember what Mr. Armstrong taught straight from the Bible about it, take the time to listen to the sermon “Do Christians Give to Relief Organizations?—What Jesus Actually Taught!” If you do, you will no longer be confused, even a little bit. The sermon examines this subject in detail and merely reteaches from God’s Word all that the Church once understood, but that the splinter leaders and most of their followers have forgotten. Together with what is written here, it explains how a hypnotic, powerful mass amnesia overtook God’s people. The sermon goes far beyond what can be addressed in this book and includes more of what Mr. Armstrong taught.

You must hear it!

The “Blessings and Cursings” Chapters

Members of the Worldwide Church of God used to hear regularly about the “blessings” and “cursings” listed throughout the long chapters of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. These were foretold to come on latter-day Israel depending on whether she obeyed or disobeyed God over the long haul. That punishment was to come after God fulfilled a prior promise to Abraham about national greatness. While many have forgotten what these chapters reveal about what is at stake for the blessed, powerful nations of the West, God has not! His plan for His people (Israel) is sure—it will not fail—and someone has to warn these nations of the consequences of their actions. Of course, Mr. Armstrong saw how this was directly tied to the Ezekiel Warning, mentioned earlier and explained in more detail later.

How often do you read and remind yourself of this extraordinary and very explicit prophecy? Ever? When was the last time you even thought for a moment about these two chapters of 46 and 68 verses, respectively? How often has your pastor preached about them? When was the last time this happened? Do you remember that intense punishment was to come in three, successive, seven-fold waves after the fulfillment of Israel’s birthright, which began in the early 1800s? Do you recall exactly why punishment would occur—what would trigger it? How many of the particulars that God foretold can you recite? Can you remember the all-encompassing and absolutely horrific and unceasing nature of the famine, disease, wild beasts, war and other plagues and curses that God will use to bring complete devastation and, ultimately, captivity to these nations?

Periodically reread these chapters for the bomb-blast reality check they deliver. If you permit, they will always bring your thinking back to ground zero within God’s plan for the nations of Israel, and then all of the nations of the world.

God’s people recognize that He knows when to show pity and when not to show pity. They remember that four chapters earlier in Ezekiel (in chapter 5)—and this establishes the all-important context of chapter 9—God had said that what He was going to do was because of “all your abominations.” He had said that He was going to “diminish” the House of Israel and that when He did “neither shall My eye spare, neither will I have any pity.” God would never permit the suffering that He saw to cause Him to pull back from what these rebellious peoples need—the intense punishment that He foretold would come millennia ago. And He will bring that punishment!

Of course, we should not take delight in what is happening to the world’s mightiest nations. But the people of God should take the position that GOD is taking, and not try to have more “love”—more “pity”!—than He has!

Spiritual Alzheimer’s, But in Reverse

I have likened the mass amnesia afflicting God’s people to a kind of spiritual Alzheimer’s. But this is a severe memory loss with a curious twist—or what I call “Alzheimer’s in reverse.” Let’s understand what has happened.

In the case of those with actual Alzheimer’s disease, people can for some few years generally recall things from the distant past—20, 30, 50 years ago—often with seemingly every detail intact. The problem is that they cannot remember things that occurred five minutes ago—or sometimes even one minute ago! (I had an uncle with Alzheimer’s and this was his condition. He could discuss childhood experiences by the hour with my father, his brother, and yet ask me identical questions minutes apart.)

In the splinters, this is occurring in reverse. Many readily retain teachings that they learned relatively recently, those picked up during and after the apostasy, but they cannot remember that they did NOT believe these things decades ago! Part of the problem is that they cannot remember WHO it was that taught them what they now believe. The result is that many fall into the idea that it must have been Mr. Armstrong. Moreover, some will staunchly—even adamantly!—defend their current doctrinal positions, thinking that they have always held them as they now do, and that “Mr. Armstrong believed these things!” and that “the Church always taught—or practiced—it this way!” Incredibly—and so tragically—they seem to have absolutely no idea—have completely lost track of—from whom they obtained their now firmly-held belief on a matter. Reverse Alzheimer’s has set in. This is exactly what has happened when God’s people believe they should give to relief organizations and disaster victims. (Of course, others have knowingly changed positions.)

But just remembering and applying John 14:26 would have solved this problem. If people had done this, they would never have permitted themselves to lack an abundance of God’s Spirit in their lives.

A Related Problem

There is another part of this problem being reflected within the splinters and slivers.

The anemic, even pitiful, public “responses” to disasters, such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Asian tsunami and “9/11,” for instance, that have become the pattern from every major splinter, have been SHAMEFUL. But they were predictable, given the splinters’ subtle shift to the social gospel of “another Jesus”! The tepid words and obvious fear of criticism and repercussion have been evident in the soft, purring tones used in what could only be called commentaries about these events. Incredibly, one leader spoke of “encouraging the nations to repent.” (Reread Isaiah 58:1. “Encourage” is not found in the text.) However, brethren of an era that needs to receive a warning themselves are neither capable of nor about to issue one!

Those who understand the horror foretold to come on national Israel should deeply desire to participate—to do their God-ordained part!—in warning these great nations before it is too late. And we must hurry—time is short! And make no mistake. God’s warning is going out NOW! The Work being done here has already mushroomed in size!—has already grown very large!—and will continue to grow much, much larger and more POWERFUL!

The result has been that more and more hundreds of brethren are recognizing where the true Christ is at work and truly empowering the effort put forth!

What Mr. Armstrong Taught

Many today may not know that Mr. Armstrong spoke often in the early years about the purpose—the commission—of the Church, and therefore whether it was to participate in and contribute to relief organizations and efforts to aid disaster victims, whether it was to be part of programs to fix or assist this world or to announce a better world to come, and whether it was a “charity,” per se.

Here are just two statements. The first one identifies exactly what the Church IS—and is NOT. (All emphasis Mr. Armstrong’s):

“I reply, first of all, the WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD is NOT a ‘charitable trust.’ It is NOT a public CHARITY! It is a CHURCH!”

“WHAT IS a CHARITY—in the public sense? Webster’s dictionary defines it: ‘Charity: an institution engaged in relief of the poor; public provision for the relief of the needy.’

“WHAT IS a CHURCH? Jesus Christ said, ‘I will build my Church.’ The CHURCH was built by JESUS CHRIST—not by the public! The first place the word ‘church’ appears in the Bible is quoted above from Matthew 16:18. In Acts 2:47, ‘The Lord added to the church daily.’ It is that Body of believers to which THE LORD adds members! The Church is the spiritual organism (NOT a secular or political or public ORGANIZATION). The CHURCH is subject to Christ—not to the political attorney general of California!”

“Jesus Christ built His CHURCH on the FOUNDATION of the apostles and prophets, JESUS CHRIST Himself being the chief corner stone (Eph. 2:20).

“What is the function, PURPOSE, great commission of the Church? Jesus said, ‘Go ye into ALL THE WORLD and preach the Gospel’ (Mark 16:15).

“The CHURCH is NOT a public CHARITY or a ‘CHARITABLE TRUST.’”

Co-Worker and Brethren Letter, July 28, 1980

It is impossible to miss the intent of Mr. Armstrong’s statement. Of course, churches in America and other western nations do generally enjoy “charity” status, thus permitting their members a tax deduction for tithes, offerings and donations. But this is different from strictly being a charity.

The next quote is one of the longest I have included in any of the splinter literature. This is because there is no way to break the context without losing some vital parts of its message. It is very comprehensive, and powerfully addresses the big picture in explaining what men and governments try to do in calamities—with churches and charitable foundations often connected to churches almost invariably the spearhead—but why they have no hope of success. Mr. Armstrong leaves no ambiguity about the responsibility of Christ’s Church—and precisely where he understood that responsibility stopped! As you read, notice how many elements of what has been explained in this section that Mr. Armstrong addresses:

“We saw native Chinese living natively as the Chinese masses have for centuries. We saw degenerated wretchedness, squalor, filth, ignorance and poverty beyond description. Words can’t fill your nostrils with the smells. We saw hundreds upon hundreds of the rickety wretched sampans—small sailboats—on which whole families live. Many have been born, lived a lifetime and then died on one of these dirty filthy sampans without ever having stepped on land. We saw dingy, dilapidated, old six- and eight-story apartment buildings, without elevators, where large families live in one or two small bare rooms—thousands of dirty, decrepit, decaying shacks.

“Leaving Hong Kong, we flew over Vietnam. But we made stops at Bangkok, Thailand (Siam); Bombay, India; and Tehran, Iran (Persia). The pitiful, poverty-stricken, diseased, starving people in these populous areas of the world beggar description. One sees people begging food, starving, dying, right in the streets. Starving mothers trying to nurse emaciated babies which have little chance of living. IT MADE US SICK AT HEART!

“What could we do to help these pitiful, miserable people?”

“Of course, in all these countries, there are the upper classes—but they are the small minority. I want to tell you that it was driven forcibly into my consciousness how most of you, here in prosperous America—as well as our readers in Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Europe—have NO CONCEPTION of how more than HALF of all the people on earth are living—in half-starved and starving squalor, filth, stench, and degenerated ignorance. Did I say living? No, not really living—eking out a miserable, degenerated, and probably disease ridden existence!

“WHAT could we do to help them?

“Authorities in Hong Kong have a program for improving conditions. The United States is sending wheat, food, clothing, and hundreds of millions of dollars in relief to India and other such countries. Yet this is hardly a drop in a bucket. It isn’t going to solve the problem of human degeneration, ignorance and misery. All the nauseating filth and degradation remains.

“But honestly—wouldn’t you like to help CHANGE all this? I WOULD!

“When you are right there—when you are SEEING it with your own eyes—yes, and smelling the stench, it becomes REAL! You are filled with mingled disgust and compassion. You want to DO something about it—but you can’t.

“And yet WE CAN! And WE WILL! But not in our own power.

“With all of man’s efforts, this problem can’t be solved…No matter what we try to do for them, in our human strength and wisdom, they are going to remain illiterate, diseased, filthy, indolent, poverty-stricken, degenerate. WE can’t change their status, NOW. But it will be changed—and SOON:

“The Almighty GOD—and He ONLY—has the solution. He has sent me and those associates who with me are Co-Workers with the living Jesus Christ to proclaim to the whole world the GOOD NEWS that the TIME is just ahead—now, just a VERY FEW years: That GOOD NEWS is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the GOOD NEWS of divine INTERVENTION, of restoring the GOVERNMENT OF GOD—of the coming again to earth of Jesus Christ, this time in all the SUPREME POWER and the GLORY of the living GOD: He is coming to RULE! He is coming to RESTORE what has been taken away—PEACE, HEALTH, HAPPINESS, UNIVERSAL PROSPERITY.

“But NOW?

“A famous evangelist was asked if there was any solution to this world’s mounting tragic ills. He answered, ‘Yes! JESUS CHRIST!’ But if one interprets that to mean by your ‘receiving Christ’ by merely professing Him as Saviour—well, that is NOT the way the world’s wars, crime, diseases, poverty and unhappiness are going to be abolished. It will take more than just your professing Christ…”

“But the Gospel OF Jesus Christ is not merely man’s preaching ABOUT Christ—about the babe in a manger—about a dead Christ hanging on a cross. The Gospel OF Christ is the dynamic Message Christ BROUGHT and TAUGHT His chosen disciples. It is the GOOD NEWS of the KINGDOM OF GOD! And the KINGDOM of God is the GOVERNMENT—the RULE by divine force and power over all the nations of the earth.

“And when I saw all that indescribable human wreckage, degeneration, filth and wretchedness—and thought of the present efforts of human governments that are making no noticeable change—I was simultaneously OVERJOYED at the realization that the living Jesus Christ IS very soon going to return in ALMIGHTY POWER and DYNAMICALLY CHANGE this world!

“HOW?…There is a CAUSE for every effect.

“This world, in ignorance of right CAUSES, travels THE WAY to war, strife, violence, sickness and disease, unhappiness, frustrations, emptiness, and death. Then it TREATS WITH THE RESULT, vainly attempting to remove the PENALTIES of inexorable physical and spiritual LAWS.

“In THE WORLD TOMORROW, first of all, blinded minds will be OPENED to a KNOWLEDGE of God’s PURPOSE in placing human life on this earth. They will be led to REPENT. They will be governed—forced to turn around, and begin pursuing THE WAY into peace, prosperity, health, and the full, abundant, enjoyable, interesting, HAPPY life.

“Secondly, by divine power, Jesus Christ will CHANGE human nature! Human nature, blinded to the true values and ways, deceived into following the ways of strife, war, jealousy, envy, greed, hatred—the ways of vanity and self-centeredness—is the root CAUSE of the world’s ills.

“In a word, the living Christ will cure the CONDITION by dealing with the CAUSE, instead of foolishly and vainly striving to prevent the natural and spiritual LAWS from inflicting their inexorable penalties.

“The very knowledge that this is coming very soon is the greatest GOOD NEWS in the world today!

“And so, in the midst of the degradation, stench and human wretchedness, I was simply OVERJOYED by the absolute ASSURANCE that this pitiful state of affairs will not last much longer—a VERY FEW years at most!

“And I was DOUBLY overjoyed at the realization that my Co-Workers and I have been DRAFTED to become Co-Workers with the living CHRIST who is the DIRECTING HEAD of the very Work of God, in which we are privileged to be His human instruments!

“This world’s tragic and supposedly unsolvable problems WILL BE solved—and SOON! Not by man—but in spite of man’s rebellion! There IS hope—hope that is a CERTAINTY! The living God IS working out HIS PURPOSE here below! There IS design—so tremendous that the actual potentiality of man is transcendentally beyond anything the natural mind can comprehend! Soon blinded minds will be opened to that REALITY!

“This very soon-coming WORLD TOMORROW is going to drastically affect YOUR life! And very happily so!

“Who are we—who proclaim the BIG NEWS of the WORLD TOMORROW on the most powerful radio program on earth, worldwide? Who are we who publish The PLAIN TRUTH, read by two and a half million all around the world? Who are we that operate the three beautiful, cultural campuses of AMBASSADOR COLLEGE in California, Texas and England—where students scintillate, radiate happiness, enjoy a foretaste of the World Tomorrow? We are a voice in the wilderness of ignorance, deception, frustrations and lost hopes, preparing the way for the coming of Christ and the Kingdom of God. We are a light in the darkness, realizing fully that men, as in Jesus’ day, still love darkness rather than the light—but proclaiming the TRUTH as a witness, none-the-less, in spite of opposition, persecution and false accusation.

“WHAT A PRIVILEGE! Yes, we are painfully aware of the pitiful conditions of so much of suffering humanity—we are heartsick and moved with sorrow and deep compassion. Yet we are PRIVILEGED to herald, in the power of the living GOD, the GOOD NEWS of the deliverance and healing of these wretched peoples, thus helping SPEED that day—helping in the only way humans may help, now. And so we REJOICE and are OVERJOYED also!

“Many times, in these Semi-Annual letters, I have answered the questions we are always being asked: WHO is back of us?—WHO sponsors us?—What denomination are we?—‘What’s the catch?’—etc., etc. There is no ‘catch.’ We are not denominational, even as Jesus Christ was not. This great worldwide Work of God is sponsored only by the LIVING GOD, who some mixed-up, deceived and ignorant people seem to think is dead. It is conducted HIS WAY. There is nothing else on earth like it—and that’s why we do have some persecutors—but we never persecute in return!

“We have been blessed with TRUTH and UNDERSTANDING that is bringing undreamed-of happiness and well-being to uncounted thousands. We want to SHARE the blessed TRUTH and all these blessings from God with as many as desire it. We rely solely on the living GOD for guidance, direction and support. We never solicit the public for financial help. We have nothing to sell. Incredible? Yes, but that’s the way it is!”

Plain Truth subscriber letter, June 2, 1966

Mr. Armstrong recognized that God’s Church offers the most important assistance!—aid!—relief!—of all, that of right knowledge and true understanding—the truth!—of why the world’s problems, troubles, evils and ills. He knew of the three passages in which Christ said that the poor of the world were to be given the gospel. (One verse is repeated from Isaiah.) He never considered for a moment that the Worldwide Church of God should involve itself in the world’s “social gospel,” which, again, essentially seeks to fix this world, in addition to bringing what we have seen is “another Jesus.” (We will revisit a little later, in this chapter and the next, more of what Mr. Armstrong taught about the social gospel.)

It Only Grows Worse

It is most critical to recognize that the 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 into the Church even “a little bit” (as he put it on one occasion), because Satan would “push open the door since he is stronger than we” (again, his words). This has been more visibly apparent in the big splinters, but all other groups are included!

I repeat yet again: The reader is strongly urged to read my book The True Church – One Organization, or Many? to get the fuller picture that no one else has explained, could any longer explain, or would be even willing to address. The proof given in this book is astonishing, and includes many detailed, crystal-clear statements from the Bible, Mr. Armstrong, the Catholics, the Protestants, the apostates—and others straight from the lips of the leaders of the splinters who happily parrot the apostates and the Protestants. You will be forced to decide whether or not you will act on what you learn! It will simply not be possible to halt between two opinions on this matter.

It is crucial to understand I am not saying that all the attendees in the splinters now no longer have God’s Spirit. Some or many do! As stated, the problem is that two different spirits—God’s and Satan’s—are now at work in these groups. (“ANOINT YOUR EYES” spends several pages covering how this process inevitably destroys unsuspecting individuals.) Where Satan’s spirit is present (as spiritual leaven or cancer)—again, beginning with the “door being thrown open”—God’s Spirit will diminish and eventually disappear, with the spirit of Satan ultimately taking over completely, both in individuals and entire organizations. Another Jesus, another gospel and another spirit are taking all of the splinters and slivers directly BACK TO THE WORLD and its empty, counterfeit doctrines and pursuit of materialism!

This has been the oft-repeated message—truly the broken record—of 2,000 years of New Testament Church history—of Church eras! And, as has been stated, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Remember, Christ’s true sheep know—can recognize—the true Christ’s voice, and can distinguish it from a strange voice spoken by a different “Christ.” Get this straight! I repeat: The Spirit of the true Christ, who taught only one gospel, would never direct the “work” of those bringing another gospel (and with many other false teachings), always derived from another spirit, which invariably introduces another Jesus, leading another counterfeit “body of Christ.” This necessarily always includes slipping into involvement within the “social gospel” of the world, tightly connected to its phony “Jesus.”

(Our Splinter Explanation Packet could have easily included a sermon titled “Another Jesus,” but it is available on our website. The listener will be absolutely stunned to find out that this other “Jesus” has been known by many names throughout history, and is over 4,000 years old—long preceding the true Jesus of the New Testament!)

Read and reread all that you have seen in this chapter and the previous two until their points become crystal clear—until it is impossible to misunderstand what is at stake regarding what the Work is and where you join yourself to continue it. Remember, the true Christ is not divided—meaning there is only one true Work of God!

Discern if you have found it!

More Mass Amnesia

We have described the hypnotic and pervasive “mass amnesia” now afflicting God’s people in regard to giving to the world’s relief organizations and aiding disaster victims. But this is not the only aspect—or large aspect—of how the Great Commission is to be carried out that many brethren have forgotten. Another case of directly related mass amnesia has overtaken God’s people on a colossal point of understanding having to do with the commission to the Church. But this second “amnesia” is best introduced by yet a third fundamental teaching connected to doing the Work that so many today seem to have also forgotten.

As you read take note. Recognize how both of these additional memory losses become more proof of how the spirit of error always spreads until it engulfs previous understanding with new thinking that eventually supplants even the remembrance of the old belief.

For decades, all members of the Worldwide Church of God understood and practiced Christ’s instruction in Matthew 10:8 to His disciples to “Freely you have received, freely give.” As a mail reader during my later student employment in Pasadena, I was instructed (and this was routine with all mail readers) that any person who tried to pay for the literature—and we were to look for certain key words or phrases in letters—was to automatically have his check returned to him. Everyone knew there were to be no exceptions—and there never were to my knowledge. Of course, again, the entire Church at least generally knew this policy and it was one of the great differences that made us unique from all the churches of the world! In fact, virtually every World Tomorrow radio and television program, and every magazine or piece of literature the Church published, made clear that no one could pay for what was offered. This policy was simply impossible to misunderstand.

Now consider. Thousands in the splinters who were once members of the WCG read and love our literature—and tell us so. Incredibly, many of these brethren write to us and ask if they can “buy” or “pay for” or “make a donation to cover the costs of” whatever items they want us to send. While they should know better, and once did, many have forgotten that we cannot do this.

Of course, it should be stated that we recognize some of these—and this is perhaps worse than forgetting—are inquiring about purchasing the material because they feel guilty asking for such wonderful free material from a smaller organization that produces much more than the bigger, wealthier organizations they attend. In other words, they know what they are doing, but do it anyway. These seem to hope that we will compromise so that they can obtain the material through purchase, thus allowing them to remain where they are, but to enjoy our literature at the same time. This is made even more astonishing because they are willing to freely pay God’s tithes and give offerings to an organization—their own—doing very little with what is, in some cases, many millions of dollars available annually to pay for printing and with scores of potential writers present to produce the material. It is possible, however, that—and we can only wonder whether—some with this thinking believe they are also paying their own church for “services rendered” (to be discussed in Chapter Nineteen in a fascinating way), so why not do the same with us? But either way, such is the forgetfulness, indifference—and blindness!—of the final age of God’s people.

Why Mr. Armstrong Sold Some Books in Bookstores

Related to this is another bigger problem—in this case, an outrage!—occurring in the splinters.

Many will remember that Mr. Armstrong sold his larger books in hardcover form in bookstores. Few remember the reason he did this—and what he would never do. Before discussing the problem, here is some history to refresh the reader, all but one statement taken from Co-Worker Letters by Mr. Armstrong and working backwards in time. The first quote is introducing his final book MYSTERY OF THE AGES:

“It is named MYSTERY OF THE AGES. Actually it might be called a synopsis of the Bible in the most plain and understandable language.

“But first, before I tell you more about it, let me say I am overjoyed to be able to send you one of the very first copies off the press, hardbound—the same beautiful copy that will be sold in bookstores all over the United States—in gratitude for your cooperation and financial support of this wonderful work of the great God.

“All baptized members will be given the book, one copy to a family, at the coming annual Feast of Tabernacles. All nonmember co-workers are being mailed your copies, but allow a few weeks for delivery, for this kind of mail goes much slower than this letter.

“We want to reach the largest audience possible with this book. I know you will feel the same way when you read it. There is a very large audience which would never request this book if offered free—who would never send their name and address to us—but would gladly buy a copy in a bookstore. By putting it in the bookstores we will reach a very great audience that we can reach in no other way. We will not sell the book ourselves, but it cannot be made available to this large audience of book buyers unless the bookstores do put a price on it.”

September 12, 1985

“Now comes getting the Gospel out in print. That includes ‘The Plain Truth’, the Correspondence Course, booklets and books. And again, I am the editor-in-chief, I do the chief writing, especially in the area of the booklets and the books that are now going on sale in the bookstores all over the United States.”

Worldwide News, Special Edition, March 6, 1981

“We cannot solicit the public for contributions—we cannot have anything to sell (with the one exception of my hardcover books in bookstores to reach a reading audience hitherto unreachable). Even so, we have given, gratis, these books to those who request them of us direct. This is a WORK OF GIVING, NOT ‘GETTING.’ This is the Work of the living GOD!”

August 27, 1980

“This year I have planned to publish five new full books, to be available in bookstores and shops all over the English-speaking world.

“The first book, which many consider the most important book since the Bible, THE INCREDIBLE HUMAN POTENTIAL, will be available in bookstores in February”

“I am close now to finishing another book, A VOICE CRIES OUT AGAINST RELIGIOUS CONFUSION. I believe it will be equally important but it will not reach the bookstores until next fall.”

“But, in the meantime, three other important books will appear in the bookstores. Coming later this spring will be the revised and enlarged book, TOMORROW—WHAT IT WILL BE LIKE. Another, a revised edition of THE UNITED STATES AND BRITAIN IN PROPHECY, and another, a greatly enlarged edition of THE SEVEN LAWS OF SUCCESS.”

December 27, 1978

“My first full length book—good quality, hard-cover—to appear in bookstores all over the English-speaking world—is in the hands of the publishers, our own Everest House, and is scheduled to be delivered to all U.S. and Canada Feast sites for the Feast. This is the book titled THE INCREDIBLE HUMAN POTENTIAL. I feel God has inspired it to be the most important book since the Holy BIBLE.

“The second full length hard-cover book is also completely written and in the hands of Everest House. It is an updated and enlarged edition of The Wonderful World TOMORROW—What It Will Be Like.

“Another new hard-cover edition of The United States and Britain in PROPHECY to go into bookstores around the world is completely written and in the hands of the publishers.

“A new, enlarged updated booklet on This IS the WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD is already turned over to the publishers. Now, I plan to combine that with the new book, which is still being written, SEVEN PROOFS of the TRUE CHURCH, making a full size book in hard-cover and put it into bookstores the world over.

“I am working on an enlarged edition of The Seven LAWS OF SUCCESS, also to go, in hard-cover book form, into bookstores around the world. The new edition will contain brief yet interest-absorbing comments on the biographies of such men as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Sir Fredrick Henry Royce who produced the Rolls-Royce, and others considered as examples of SUCCESS in the world.

“Then, also a new edition of The Missing Dimension in SEX, and possibly later a completed edition of the Autobiography.

“Millions of people constantly buy books in bookstores—and these are people we may not be able to reach in any other way. THIS OPENS TO GOD'S CHURCH AN ENTIRE NEW MEDIUM FOR PROCLAIMING CHRIST'S GOSPEL TO THE WORLD.”

September 25, 1978

“This book—full book length—will be available in virtually all bookstores in the United States and the English speaking world. It will reach an entirely new audience with God’s Message, heretofore unreachable!”

July 25, 1978

Mr. Armstrong came to see that it was not wrong to sell books for the reasons explained and under the circumstances given, and if this were done in bookstores. He made clear, however, that these books, with the same content, could also be obtained for free upon request.

A Worse Problem!

We are ready to discuss the bigger problem referenced above. The splinter leader claiming to offer “vision” to the world finally wrote one book. After over eight years of waiting for him to produce a single book or booklet about God’s truth, he has authored one at last—and sells it for $65.

First, how absolutely incredible that such an outrageous price is charged—and for a relatively small book besides! One wonders who is benefiting from what must be a gigantic profit margin. I am well acquainted with business and publishing, having written and published 80 books and booklets (plus over 30 by others of our writers), and the profit garnered on each book sold, in his case, must be very great!

Second, this point introduces what is most different about this man’s approach from what Mr. Armstrong did: No one can obtain this material for free. A simple call to this headquarters reveals this. The caller is told that “the publisher is selling it; you must contact them.” When asked why church members and others could not receive it for free, the same words were repeated.

This describes “God’s” work done for profit—pure and simple!

Third, and this is beyond incredible, is that in the book the author presents his own SOLUTION to the Mid-East problem. What? This region of the world involves a millennia-old controversy literally impossible for any but the returning Jesus Christ and the saints to resolve. Of all world problems, this one perhaps most defies any human solution. Dozens of prophecies trumpet this.

Ask: How could this man have permitted himself to fall so far in understanding? How could he have come to believe that God wants His servants offering what are at best mere stop-gap human solutions to issues long recognized as insoluble apart from God’s intervention? The answer parallels why many of the splinters now contribute to relief organizations.

Finally—and this is the most astonishing point of all—how could this “leader’s” over one thousand followers let themselves approve of what he did? The smooth cunning used to sell this to his organization must have been a wonder to behold. I cannot decide which is worse—the act itself, or the membership’s collective willingness to buy the seduction and support the act!

Here is another example of the same thing. Gerald Flurry’s son also sells a book. In this case, charging a somewhat more reasonable $14.95, the book is about his organization’s pretension of rebuilding from the “ruins” of the Worldwide Church of God.

Recognize that neither of the books these men are selling were written to present God’s truth to the world. One sells an opinion, the other sells a story. Each of these was conceived with an entirely different purpose in mind than that of teaching great Bible truths in the way Mr. Armstrong’s “bookstore” book editions did.

One hopes these “leaders” simply forgot Christ’s plain instruction to “freely give,” and forgot Mr. Armstrong’s example and explanation of to whom certain books could be sold, and why.

Copying the Apostates, Again!

Looking back, none should have been surprised when the apostates began to charge for a subscription to The Plain Truth and to their youth magazine, along with other items they chose to market for profit. After destroying the Church’s revenue base—remember, they threw out tithing—they found themselves forced to charge subscribers for the shallow junk they offered, which no longer of course presented solutions to the world’s problems. Of course, they had lost sight of “give” vs. “get.” But many of God’s people—as well as certain “leaders”—have also lost sight of the vital need to give the knowledge of the kingdom of God to the world as the Church once did.

The apostates sold the literature because they had put themselves in a position in which they had to. (Of course, they also wanted the money.) These other leaders did it to make money—to make “merchandise” of the brethren (II Pet. 2:3). What other motive fits their actions?

Let’s move away from specific examples and understand the apostle Peter’s choice of words. First, here is what he wrote, “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment…lingers not, and their damnation slumbers not.”

Everyone understands that merchandise is sold to make money. In retail, consumer products are a source of revenue. Of course, such transactions are “what makes the world go ‘round.” Peter is explaining that when the brethren are reduced to merchandise—and this is the term God uses to describe His people when misused—they have been reduced to a source of money for someone, and nothing more. In fact, these have become “stolen merchandise” that must be “fenced” (pawned) at below market value. This is what leaders have made of God’s people when they, through deceit, unlawfully take brethren away from the true Work of God—and ultimately from God Himself!—so they can use skills learned in Christ’s ministry to garner financial profit—TITHES!

On the other hand, and this is where you have a personal responsibility, those who willingly empower such leaders have chosen to be “merchandise”—mere “tithe-payers” bought and sold by false ministers!—allowing, in fact providing, deceived leaders with a position of authority to enrich themselves or their organizations.

Surely you have not previously seen the problem explained in this way!

“The Thief Comes Not…”

Think of all the terms that Jesus Christ uses to describe false ministers entering among His sheep—enemies, strangers, false apostles, false christs, false teachers, hirelings, wolves, slow bellies, Cretians, dogs, foxes, serpents, etc. The 10th chapter of John describes unauthorized men entering Christ’s sheepfold as “thieves and robbers.” It is interesting that verse 10 of this chapter summarizes any false leader as simply a “thief.” While Christ’s words in the second half of this passage—“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”—are quoted most often, the first half is perhaps more instructive for this age: “The THIEF comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.”

You are left to ponder the motives OF SPIRITUAL THIEVES at work throughout the splinters, using God’s people as cheap merchandise! Men willing to divert for themselves millions of dollars in tithes that belong to God for the sole purpose of doing His true Work will have no problem selling personal opinions and stories in books for profit.

When I think of how such leaders will react upon being confronted with what is written here, I cannot help but recall the story of Christ’s account in Mark 11:15-18 of when He entered the temple and “overthrew the tables of the moneychangers,” calling it “a den of thieves.” The result? When “the scribes and chief priests heard it,” they “sought how they might destroy Him.” The account contains no record of contrition or repentance. Expect the same today!

Summarizing, many have forgotten Christ’s Matthew 10:8 instruction to freely give what has always been priceless, anyway.

We have now come to the other infinitely greater mass amnesia, mentioned earlier…

Chapter Seven – Remembering Another Duty—the Ezekiel Warning!

This book has continually referenced two elements of God’s Work: announcing the kingdom of God to the world and warning the modern nations descended from ancient Israel.

The second aspect of responsibility has been largely forgotten—another victim of “amnesia.” Only rarely does one any longer hear people talk about addressing and warning the descendants of ancient Israel of impending war, famine, disease and captivity—if national repentance does not occur.

This volume would be incomplete without a chapter carefully re-explaining this special warning as an ongoing and vital part of finishing God’s Work.

Mr. Armstrong was on fire with and absolutely consumed by the duty—the truly gravest of responsibilities!—to warn certain nations, and he continually reminded the Church that this was an ongoing obligation until the end of the age. His book The United States and Britain in Prophecy detailed what is at stake for the still prosperous great Israelite nations of the West if they did not change their ways. This electrifying longer book was the Church’s most often-requested piece of literature. Its message should have become a driving reality in the life of every single member of the Worldwide Church of God. I remember how in 1966 just the early smaller edition hit me like a thunderbolt and changed my life forever. Most of you would likely say the same.

Will you anoint your eyes and experience this feeling again?

Ezekiel 33

In addition, Mr. Armstrong continually reminded God’s people of Ezekiel 33:1-9. Speaking of the house of Israel in modern times, this passage, and actually the entire chapter, speaks of a “watchman” who “sees the sword come” and chooses to either “blow the trumpet” or “blow not the trumpet.” The context also includes a very specific and stern warning directly to the watchman of “blood” that will be on his head if he does not warn of what he sees is coming. I personally tremble at this warning. Do you? (And can you grasp that no one of Laodicea—the blind!—could fulfill this role? They cannot see their own deplorable spiritual condition. How could they watch—SEE!—on behalf of others?)

Will You Remember?

Allow Mr. Armstrong to explain again to all who will hear what the Ezekiel Warning is, as well as its profound importance to the overall Work of God. May God help you grasp what is written here. Read most carefully (all emphasis is his):

“About this time God impressed on our mind His real meaning of the prophecies in Ezekiel 33:1-19 and 3:17-21. The true significance of the entire Book of Ezekiel had been revealed for some time. But now, suddenly, it took on immediate and specific and personal significance.

“I had seen that Ezekiel was a prophet with a message for the future. He himself was in the captivity of the House of Judah … But he was not sent a prophet with a message to these people.”

“His message was a warning of invasion and total destruction of the nation’s CITIES. That invasion was for the future. That prophecy came more than 120 years after Israel [the House of Israel] already had been invaded and conquered.”

“So now I saw Ezekiel was set a watchman—to watch international conditions as well as God’s prophecies—and when this invasion is preparing, and near, shortly prior to Christ’s coming to rule the world, he is to warn the people who had migrated, in Ezekiel’s day, to northwestern Europe and the British Isles! But Ezekiel never carried that warning! It was not for his time! He was used merely to write it! It now became plain to me that God was to use a modern 20th-century ‘Ezekiel’ to shout this warning.”

“I had no illusions that I was chosen to be the ‘modern Ezekiel’ to proclaim this message. But I did know that no one was sounding this alarm. I did plainly see this sword of destruction and punishment coming. I knew the time was near. Perhaps, with World War II well under way, it was even then upon us. We could not, then, foresee that God would grant another recess period in the series of world wars before the final round to end at ‘Armageddon.’

“And I did see plainly, that God said: ‘If the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned’ that God would require the blood of the people—and now whole peoples—at the watchman’s hand!

“That was a stern warning to me.”

The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong,
Volume II, Chapter 42, pp. 36-38

“In those early days I was especially interested in the book of Ezekiel.”

“The message in fact is for today—and contained a warning of things to happen to Britain, America and the Western European nations now in our day.

“I saw clearly, back in those early days, that Ezekiel’s prophecy was a message to be taken by some modern twentieth century servant of God—a ‘modern Ezekiel’ to America, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

“I dwelt in hundreds of broadcasts on this book of Ezekiel and its warning of things imminently now to happen to Britain, the United States and Western Europe.”

“And so it was that Christ, the Head of this Work, caused me during the first 20 or 25 years of this Work to put special emphasis on Ezekiel’s warning to our people, in our day.”

“How I Came to be Going to Kings and Heads of Government,”
PT, Feb. 1977

“This is the most seriously-in-earnest article I have ever written for The Plain Truth. Our beloved country—yours and mine—now faces total destruction!”

“A third of our people—white English-speaking people and minorities with us—will die in a disease epidemic such as the world never experienced—resulting from imminent famine! I do not know whether in two or three years—or in another decade or more—but sooner than people think!”

“Why do not theologians, doctors of divinity and of theology, evangelists, religious leaders shout this warning to you? they simply do not understand God’s prophecies! They do not preach what God’s Word says—they take a piece of a sentence or a paragraph here or there out of context—yet leave about 98 percent of the Bible unread and unpreached!

Wake up! Readers of The Plain Truth! If they have not the courage to tell you, I have!”

“The lamentations and woes of the message to be carried to Israel never occurred in Ezekiel’s time or later. They are to strike America and Britain in our time.”

“America the Beautiful. America the Condemned,
PT, June-July 1980

“In OUR TIME, God showed me in the New Testament where He sent His disciples FIRST to the same ‘lost sheep of the House of Israel’ (Matt. 15:24). And so it was that Christ, the Head of this Work, caused me during the first 20 or 25 years of this Work, to put SPECIAL emphasis on Ezekiel’s warning to OUR PEOPLE, IN OUR DAY.”

“The Apostle John in his vision is told to take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel, and eat it up.

“HOW LIKE EZEKIEL’S PROPHECY!

“It was sweet as honey in his mouth but BITTER in his stomach.

“The message of the little book seems to be what the angel next said, ‘Thou must prophesy [proclaim-preach-foretell] again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues and KINGS!’

“Now WHEN?

“The message of the little book written on both sides of a roll, to be eaten and swallowed, takes us directly back to Ezekiel’s prophecy. Ezekiel himself, as I have shown, NEVER WENT TO ISRAEL, NEVER DELIVERED THAT MESSAGE. It was not a prophecy for the Israel of his day—but for OUR DAY, NOW. Ezekiel’s prophecy was NOT a message to MANY NATIONS, speaking different languages, and to their KINGS. It was to the REBELLIOUS PEOPLE of the House of Israel and it was emphasized to Ezekiel they were NOT of strange speech—NOT foreign Gentile nations.”

“Could it be possible, after proclaiming the Gospel of THE KINGDOM OF GOD, as well as Ezekiel’s warning to the people of Israel, that, beginning January, 1972, when my PRESENT CAMPAIGN of walking through the doors God said He would open (Rev. 3:8) to KINGS, and many NATIONS of DIFFERENT LANGUAGES commenced, that it is the FULFILLMENT OF THIS PROPHECY OF REVELATION 10?”

Co-Worker Letter, November 19, 1976

Even the Apostates

The final quote that follows does not come from Mr. Armstrong, but rather from his successor who had instructed the Editorial Department to write a tribute to Mr. Armstrong. It demonstrates that even the apostates once clearly understood who Israel was, as well as the overall framework of prophecy, at least up to seven months after Mr. Armstrong died. This necessarily would have included the need to continue the Ezekiel Warning. Even these men once worried the Church could one day forget this.

Here is how this was described and listed in The Worldwide News as number 15 of what were called “the 18 truths” restored under Mr. Armstrong. The part in bold is as it originally appeared:

(15) Prophecy can be understood only if you know that we are the Israelites, and what prophecies apply to us and which do not. Others who do not know Israel’s identity can’t understand, for example, the 30th chapter of Jeremiah and scriptures like that, which show the Great Tribulation will be the time of Jacob’s trouble.”

WN, August 25, 1986

This article carried both a photo of all Mr. Armstrong’s major books on prophecy as well as the familiar portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong together, with a caption stating, “In the early 1930s, God began to use the Armstrongs to restore these 18 essential truths to His Church. Could we, today, lose sight of them?” (Emphasis mine.)

Tragically, many more than the apostates lost sight of the basics—and the urgency—of Bible prophecy, and thus the need to continue the warning message to Jacob (Israel) before his “trouble” began. What happened to cause this? Why do so few brethren today discuss something so central—so absolutely fundamental—to what was once understood to be an integral part of the Great Commission? How did so many forget all of the kinds of statements that we have just read?

The answer is that Satan’s spirit is confusing the splinters and causing memory loss on a matter he wants de-emphasized and permanently forgotten. He knows what this warning means to his future. It is much more attractive to him if God’s people can be diverted into, and become preoccupied with, fixing this world—HIS world!—through his social improvement gospel, rather than announcing the arrival of the wonderful world tomorrow, when he will be bound and the kingdom of God is ruling.

Make yourself remember this!

Crying Aloud

The book has several times referenced Isaiah 58:1 without focusing on what this scripture once meant to the Church. In fact, in a sense, this lone passage set the tone for how Mr. Armstrong led God’s Work throughout his ministry. When he needed to correct the Church on matters of great importance, he did it in the spirit of this verse. Naturally, when he needed to speak out in warning to powerful nations, he also did it in the spirit of this scripture.

The introduction stated that this subject would be covered in the tone of Isaiah 58:1: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” By now the reader recognizes the book fulfills this promise, and yet the strongest material—the most exciting and inspiring points by far—remain for later chapters. We are still laying groundwork—foundation!—for what you will learn, including why I can state now that you will be moved profoundly by coming knowledge.

Here is the point. You must recognize how the special warning to Israel is being, and will continue to be, issued. What tone of voice—what clarity of issues—and what LEVEL OF VOLUME!—God expects His servants to use. In fact, we will even see in those later chapters why God compares the voice of His Work, and of His chief servant at the end of the age, to that of a trumpet! (See my thorough article on this subject, “‘Cry Aloud, Spare Not’—What ALL Forgot!”)

An Uncertain Sound?

Paul wrote, “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to battle?” (I Cor. 14:8). Ask yourself why your organization, either in written or spoken form, does not speak with the clarity, authority and blast of power described in Isaiah 58:1 and in this chapter. Ask why there is not the same urgency in its words and “tone of voice” as Mr. Armstrong used—and as I am trying with all my might to use with you RIGHT NOW!

The United Church of God has used a variety of approaches to their telecast. These tend to almost resemble “fireside chats,” in which the sometimes two different men who “broadcast” together exchange “interesting” questions and ideas. Certainly nothing in their approach or manner remotely resembles the way Mr. Armstrong’s literally “trumpet-like” tenor voice pierced the airwaves as though it was coming from a charging bull elephant!

Another larger splinter quite literally prides itself, and this thinking emanates directly from the leader, in presenting the truth as an intellectual “vision,” a view he declares Mr. Armstrong failed to realize was the more correct way to take the gospel to the world, never mind any kind of a warning to Israel.

A side note: Any number of slivers and individuals can claim that they are “doing the Work.” I can think of several groups who have anemic and almost pitiful websites, which are invariably badly conceived and poorly maintained. That they are far from speaking with the tone and volume of Isaiah 58:1 to be used by the watchman is apart from the fact that God is not leading them. Just their paltry store of material and lack of quality reflects this much.

On the other hand, one leader bellows and rages, primarily attacking those of Laodicea as though brothers and sisters in Christ are “enemies” in a way no true servant of God would ever do. He actually takes pride in thundering, “We are AT WAR with Laodicea!” Obviously, God is not at war with His own people, and neither are His servants. He certainly does want to warn those of Laodicea because of what lies ahead for all who do not repent of their spiritual condition. This begins by returning to God’s Church. By no definition is this strange man’s self-proclaimed “responsibility” related to the true Work of God today! It is simply alien to everything of God.

Sadly, and so very tragically, the remaining majority today seem to have fallen into believing and preferring that their leaders, whom they suppose to be used of God, should practice what God used Isaiah to condemn: “Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits” (30:10).

I urge the reader to read the tone and language used in our books, such as America and Britain in Prophecy, Who or What Is the Beast of Revelation?, Are These the Last Days?, Why Man Cannot Solve His Problems, Tomorrow’s Wonderful World – An Inside View!, War, Killing and the Military,as well as The Bible’s Greatest Prophecies Unlocked! – A Voice Cries Out—and so many more.

To understand the principle behind Isaiah 58:1 is to understand why we write as we do—why I speak with a spirit of warning to both national physical Israel and the majority of God’s people, in spiritual Israel (Laodicea). Both are in deep trouble, and a fair, just, loving, merciful God wants them to awaken before it is too late! Given the terrible time just ahead, the Great Tribulation, does any believe soft, purring tones and “commentary” about it will get the job done?

By no stretch! And each of God’s people will have to decide the manner in which they will support who and what this chapter describes.

The Devil’s Role

Remember that it is the devil who seeks to thwart God’s Work in every possible way. And he is not particular about how he does it. He does not care if he destroys the Work outright—as with the outcome in Pasadena—or merely destroys the brethren’s understanding of what the Work is—the case in the splinters. He knows that once either has happened, he can divert people into other priorities, including a re-engineered definition of what is the Work and what is the gospel, for those who even still believe something should be done!

Some time ago, I spoke for many hours with one of the most senior evangelists from the early years, ordained in 1952. It was an astonishing conversation. I was appalled to learn that he did not even remember the term “Ezekiel Warning.” He had no recollection whatsoever of Mr. Armstrong having used this term. I could not believe my ears, and that I had to carefully explain it to him several times in the same conversation. He proved that complete amnesia can strike anyone.

Jesus promised His disciples that “the Holy Spirit…shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26). As with the true gospel, and so many other points, if you have forgotten how Christ, through Mr. Armstrong, taught this enormous doctrine—the special warning is certainly one of the very greatest doctrines, involving a whole book of the Bible and other passages—and its vital importance to the Church, ask God to help you remember both.

He will answer you—and He will also help you understand how John 14:26 and receiving more of the Holy Spirit is a crucial part of the process of anointing your eyes!

A Conclusive Statement

The final statement that we will read from Mr. Armstrong describes how God’s Church will remain a “little flock, persecuted, despised by the world.” However, this will not deter it from continuing to announce the kingdom of God and to warn Israel until the Great Tribulation. Remember, the former has always been the Church’s responsibility—and the Church is still here! Christ promised the “gates of the grave” would never prevail against it, and that He would “never leave nor forsake it.” So, the Church will be here until He returns, meaning until the Tribulation arrives! Only then will the Work cease.

I mentioned how some have misquoted The Incredible Human Potential (pp. 116-117), portraying Mr. Armstrong as contradicting his own many statements above. In that book, he appears to say that only apostles—exclusive of the Church as a whole or of one of lesser rank—can take the gospel to the world. You may wish to get the book and carefully read his statement to see that he is actually saying that the Church was not established by Christ to “persuade the whole world into a spiritual salvation, now…to evangelize and save the world—NOW!”, as he put it. This statement is being misused and circulated by a few people as supposed proof that only apostles were commissioned to preach the gospel—that the Church, if initially led by one of lesser rank, cannot do this. It has also been explained that Mr. Armstrong only saw his office as that of apostle after a full 19 years of the Philadelphian age had passed.

This is another example of how some ignore clear statements, reflecting Mr. Armstrong’s true perspective, while taking a single statement out of context to distort for their own purpose. Ultimately, certain people do this in order to conclude that they need no longer exert the effort to do the Work. But others seek an excuse to keep for themselves—to plain STEAL! (wittingly or unwittingly)—God’s tithes and offerings!

Again, the above thinking parallels the violation of a key rule of Bible study. I repeat from before: All of God’s people were taught, as a basic rule of studying God’s Word, to always start with the most basic, clear scriptures to understand an entire doctrine. The same must be done when understanding all of what Mr. Armstrong taught about carrying on with the same Work until the age ends. Carefully reflect upon this before continuing.

Notice how this final quote incorporates virtually all of the critical elements that we have discussed, including the all-important tie-in of what is the true Body of Christ, the purpose of that Body or Church, and what is the only gospel that Church will be taking to all nations:

“God started His Gospel Work—proclaiming the Gospel (good news) of His Kingdom—through the individual human body of Jesus. But after His resurrection, Jesus sent the same Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, A.D. 31, and thereafter, to enter into the collective Body of those constituting God’s Church.

“The Church, then, is the collective Body Christ uses as His instrument, empowered by God’s Spirit, to carry on God’s Work. Jesus Christ heads and directs it from heaven!”

“But what is the divine mission of that Church? What is its purpose? The answer is to do the Work of God, which Jesus started and now continues through His Church.”

“Wherever God’s true Church is—the one Church that is Christ’s—it will be preaching that Gospel to the whole world—over all continents—today. For we are near the end! That is the Gospel of the living Christ! It is the good news of the coming Kingdom of God to RULE THE WORLD!

“But wherever that one true Church is, it will be named the Church of God…But that is not all. Many have appropriated God’s name, but are not proclaiming the Kingdom of God

“That true Church is preaching the imminency of the coming of Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords, to rule all nations for a thousand years on earth.

“There is only one such Church! [Author’s note: Can you—will you—believe this once again?]

“It is doing the Work of God. It is, as Jesus said it would be, a ‘little flock,’ persecuted, despised by the world.”

“Personal,” GN, Aug. 1983

In contrast to this clear picture of the Church painted by Mr. Armstrong, most of the “church” today—I am speaking of the splinters—came to take on a completely different look—and thinking. We now examine it to learn of yet one more astounding memory loss suffered by most of God’s people—the role of the brethren within the Work…

Chapter Eight – What About “Local Evangelism”?

It was promised earlier that we would revisit the subject of the social gospel in a different context, and include more of what Mr. Armstrong taught about it. That happens now. Let’s understand how the Church, through “cunning sleight of hand” (Eph. 4:14), was sold a “bill of goods” that was another central part of the apostates’ sinister agenda to condition God’s people not just to believe as, but also to function like, the world’s churches.

Missionaries the world over, both clergy and laymen alike, generally describe themselves as called to participate in the “work of the Lord.” Many of you either have come from such a background—you grew up in a church that strongly emphasized this. If you did, you know the sincerity—the genuine dedication—of those who seem to so selflessly give themselves to one or another form of this endeavor. Some, like Mother Teresa, spend an entire lifetime making it their personal mission to “save” as many of the “unwashed” as possible. This is all part of the world’s social gospel, which is linked to improvin