This article is a must-read for every one of Godâs people. It introduces and explains why more articles will followâand why I have addressed men such as Ron Weinland and Gerald Flurry by name. It also explains why this will continue.
Isaiah 58:1 describes a special commission given to Godâs leader at the end of the age. This article opens and clarifies this verse by looking at 12 Hebrew words within it. After reading it, for those who even remember Isaiah 58:1, you will see the verse as almost infinitely more important than you previously thought. Throughout, it looks at what Herbert W. Armstrong recognized about this dutyâin his own wordsâand how he carried it out to the Church and the world. The article covers how this passage applies today, focusing on what I have been doing and will do in a broader way regarding the splinters.
Jesus Christ always spoke as âhaving authorityâ (Matt. 7:29)ânever with ambiguity, or soft, purring tones. He never âspared,â and had no interest in everyone âspeaking well of Himâ (Luke 6:26). Wordsâlabels!âJesus used to describe those He was indicting would be thought by most of Godâs people today as âunlovingâ and âtoo strong.â Think how He (and other biblical writers) described false leaders and others: âSerpentsâ â âvipersâ â âdogsâ â âravening wolvesâ â âswineâ â âthievesâ â ârobbersâ â âhypocritesâ â âmurderersâ â âliarsâ â âslothfulâ â âworkers of iniquityâ â âwicked and adulterous generationâ â âhereticsâ â âcretiansâ â âheathenâ â âslow belliesâ â âtaresâ â âunruly mouthsâ â âfoxesâ â âevil workersâ â âopen sepulchersâ â âsynagogue of Satanâ â âchildren of the devilâ â âfalse prophetsâ â âfalse teachersâ â âfalse apostlesâ â âdeceitful workersâ â âhis (the devilâs) ministersâ â âevil menâ â âseducersâ â âfoolsâ â âblind guidesâ â and more.
This article also speaks with authority. A sermon to be posted on April 21, titled âThe Synagogue of Satan Identifiedâand Marked!â will add more.
Throughout his ministry, Herbert W. Armstrong âcried aloud and spared not,â warning those headed for punishment foretold in Godâs Word. In fact, he spent his life fulfilling Isaiah 58:1, and knew he had Godâs authority to do it. He always âlifted up his voice like a trumpet,â never worrying what people thought. He addressed what needed to be said, with no regard for what they wanted to hear.
With a consistent boldness, strength and descriptive language, Mr. Armstrong continually practicedâin reality, obeyedâIsaiah 58:1. He saw the clear responsibility to warn thoseâof either physical or spiritual Israelâwho were headed for the Tribulation. After reading this article, you will not doubt Mr. Armstrongâs approach to warning those headed for disaster, if they did not awaken. Nor will you doubt mine. Included are extensive quotes from Mr. Armstrong demonstrating how seriously he took this responsibility to warn both the nations of Israel and Godâs people.
Conditioned to the endless what could be called âBaptist love speakâ heard in UCG, LCG, COGwa and other groups, be careful of offense at the strength of Mr. Armstrongâs language, which you may not have read for many years. Instead, savor his words, carefully reflecting on your own condition. Most emphasis is Mr. Armstrongâs, but some italics and all bold is mine. Read carefully all of his statements, asking what splinter leader speaks with even 25% of the force of just the first one:
âBrethren, I am terribly DISTRESSED and sick at heart at the reports from all over, that MANY of our members are LUKEWARM, or entirely LETHARGIC, spiritually. If YOU are one of those, I have to warn youâyou may not be on the way to Godâs Kingdomâbut on the way to your END in the LAKE OF FIRE!â
âReports indicate that many have âcome inâ to Godâs Church in this manner: They have come to really SEE and KNOW that this is, truly, GODâS Church. They know there is terrible WORLD TROUBLE just ahead. They have heard how Godâs Church is to be taken to a PLACE OF SAFETYâŚSo these people come in, selfishly, for a sort of spiritual and physical SECURITYâto assure PROTECTION when the Great Tribulation bursts upon the world! But they are NOT themselves âon fire for GOD!â They are spiritual DRONES! And God will not give them protection!â
âlet me burn your ears before the Almighty God burns you in the Lake of fire! If that has been your attitudeâif you are only on the getting side, and shun helping, and giving to the cause of God, then I say to you on authority of Jesus Christ, if you donât repent and quickly, and changeâŚyou do not belong in Godâs Church! You are some of the rotten, putrid, spiritual waste that has been plugged up inside the spiritual body of Christâs wife âŚâ [Authorâs note: Does such language offend youâor lift and stir you to action?]
âAnd if THAT doesnât make your ears tingle, and AWAKEN you, then Jesus Christ says to YOU through me, YOU are in danger of the Lake of Fire!â
âDid you ever read of Gideonâs experience in choosing men for battle? There were 32,000 men. There are about 32,000 actual BAPTIZED adult members (or professing members) in the Church of God today! God had Gideon proclaim to them: âWhoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from Mount Gilead. And there returned of the people 22,000; and there remained 10,000.â Then God put them to a TEST, and, finally, ONLY 300 out of that 32,000 were chosen by the living ETERNAL!â
âOh BRETHREN! MUST it be that way with Godâs CHURCH todayâthe very BODY of the living Christ?â
âUnless I PUSH youâPULL at youâREMIND you to act in this DUTY TO GOD AND HIS WORK, you donât go along on Godâs roadâyou lie down and QUITâŚâ
Brethren Letter, Mar. 2, 1967
The tone has been set!
Passage Like None Other
Isaiah 58:1 declares, âCry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.â A simple definition of the Hebrew from Strongâs Concordance follows each key word in bold. These words become your focus. The definitions are so strong they need no comment from me. First, they demonstrate what GOD intended. Second, notice how certain Hebrew words are repeated twice in the original text. This is Godâs own emphasisâa way of HIM saying to not only be strong but to do it with double emphasis. This is much like Christ saying âverily, verily,â meaning âtruly, truly.â You are already learning more about this verse than you probably knew:
(1) Cry qaĚraĚ' (kaw-raw')âthe idea of accosting a person met; to call out to (that is, properly address by name)âŚbewray [self]âŚcall (for, forth, self, upon), cry (unto), (be) famousâŚmention, (give) name, preach, proclaim (-ation), pronounce, publishâŚsay.
(2) Aloud gaĚroĚn gaĚroĚn (gaw-rone', gaw-rone')âthe throatâŚas roughened by swallowingâŚaloud, mouth, neck, throat.
(3) Spare [not] chaĚsĚak (khaw-sak')âto restrain [not] or refrain [not]âŚrefuse [not], spare [not]âŚassuage [not], forbear [not], hinder [not], hold back [not], keep (back) [not]âŚreserve [not]âŚwithhold [not].
(4) Lift-up ruĚm (room)âto be high actively to rise or raiseâŚliterally or figurativelyâŚbring up, exalt (self)âŚgo upâŚheave (up), (be, lift up on, make onâŚ) high (-er, one), hold upâŚlift (-er) upâŚloud, mount upâŚtall (-er).
(5) Voice qoĚl qoĚl (kole, kole)âto call aloud; a voice or sound: aloud, bleating, crackling, cry (+ out), fame, lightnessâŚ[pro-] claim, proclamation, + sing, sound, + spark, thunder (-ing), voice, + yell.
(6) Trumpet shoĚphaĚr shoĚphaĚr (sho-far', sho-far')âin theâŚsense of incising; a cornet (as giving a clear sound) or curved horn: trumpet.
(7) Show naĚgad (naw-gad')âto front, that is, stand boldly out oppositeâŚto manifestâŚannounce (always by word of mouth to one present); specifically to expose, predict, explainâŚbewrayâŚcertify, declareâŚdenounce, expound, fully, messenger, plainly, profess, rehearse, report, shew (forth), speak, surely, tell, utter.
(8) People âam (am)âa people (as a congregated unit); specifically a tribeâŚhence (collectively) troops or attendants; figuratively a flock: folk, men, nation, people.
(9) Transgression peshaâ (peh'-shah)âa revolt (national, moral or religious): rebellion, sin, transgression, trespass
(10) House bayith (bah'-yith)âa house (in the greatest variation of applications, especially family, etc.)âŚhome.
(11) Jacob yaâaĚqoĚb (yah-ak-obe')âheel catcher (that is, supplanter); Jaakob, the Israelitish patriarch: Jacob.
(12) Sins chatĚŁtĚŁaĚ'aĚh chatĚŁtĚŁaĚ'th (khat-taw-aw', khat-tawth')âan offence (sometimes habitual sinfulness), and its penaltyâŚsacrifice, or expiation; also (concretely) an offender: punishment (of sin), purifyingâŚsin.
Reread the power in this list! Come to grips withâand never lose sight ofâthe awesome commission built into this single colossal passage within Godâs Word. Someone, somewhere, must be fulfilling Isaiah 58:1. Mr. Armstrong said time and again that Godâs pattern of government is that He always works through one chief servant and leader at a time. Finding the person and organization performing this commission is among the greatest responsibilities of Godâs people today.
Physical AND Spiritual Israel
Two more brief quotes from Mr. Armstrong further set the table:
âIf someone tells me my house is on fire, Iâm not going to laugh at him and refuse to take it seriously. Iâm going to examine, and be sure! If heâs wrong, then at least I shall KNOW my house is safe. I learned years ago that it can be very dangerous to carelessly assume, or just take for granted. Itâs much wiser and safer to get all the FACTS, and then decide.â
âAnd oneâs life for eternity is much more precious than his house.â
âI have given you Godâs Word faithfully. It is not popular. It is not what the popular majority tell you.â
âMy responsibility ends with telling you. I have cried aloud. I have lifted up my voice.â
Which Day Is the Christian Sabbath? (1976)
âThe world has sunk into a complacent, indifferent slumber.â
âThe 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!â
âSoft words and pretty speeches do not arouse people out of this pleasant dream. It takes a JOLT!â
âPersonal from the Editor,â PT, Sept. 1965
Do Mr. Armstrongâs words seem old-fashioned to youâtoo strong for today? A loving God always warns before punishment, particularly severe punishmentâand the worst punishment in all history now lies just beyond the horizon. Mr. Armstrong spoke long ago in the terms above. Those who are even casually watching prophecyâand know anything of the speed, sequence and magnitude of oncoming eventsârealize calamity is now imminent. Godâs people are supposed to grasp what happens when, as well as where and to whomâand why. Make yourself remember that the final era of Godâs people are not promised protection from what is comingâand make yourself remember WHY!
The straightforward statements above fulfilled Godâs command to âCry aloud, spare not.â Mr. Armstrong always did this. He never feared the opinion of people, the âcritics.â Neither do I.
Isaiah 58:2 continues, âYet 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 Godâ (vs. 2). Israelâs conduct was a charadeâthey appeared âasâ Godâs people, but were not in conduct and faithfulness. They enjoyed âapproachingâ God, not DOING what He said. But this passage also describes most brethren todayâspiritual Israelâwho think they are following Godâs will, but are not even close.
So tragically, this has become the case with many clear points of Bible teaching once understood by the whole Church!
Consider another familiar passage also quoted often by Mr. Armstrong because he recognized his connection to it: âSon of man, I have set you a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear the word at My mouth, and warn them from Meâ (Ezek. 33:7). Later in the same chapter, God speaks to another group at the end of the age whom He calls âMy people.â This group also loves to hear Godâs words, but will not DO them (vs. 31-34). The whole chapter speaks of a âswordâ to come on all thoseâBOTH GROUPS!âwho will not take heed to their conduct. God makes plain to the watchman that he will be no exception if he does not fulfill his duty.
Reread Isaiah 58:1, recognizing it is both a COMMAND from God to His servants and a TWO-FOLD commission: âCry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, AND the house of Jacob their sinsâ (Isa. 58:1). There is more to this verse than first meets the eye. Who is the first group introducedâthose whom God calls âMy peopleâ? And what is their âtransgressionâ? It cannot be speaking of physical Israel because the âHouse of Jacob (Israel)â is referenced nextâafter the word âAND.â The identity of this second group referenced is obvious, as are their âsins.â The first group is also obvious. They are Godâs people at the end of the age who have committed a particular âtransgressionââone tied to rebellion or religious revolt (recall the definition above). It becomes obvious what that transgression is when one merely understands the meaning of Laodiceaââthe people rule, judge and decide.â This revolt/rebellion is against the government of God in His Church, although proving this is not the main subject of this article. See the point. God no longer rules the great majority of His people at the end of the age. His final leading servant is to tell you this widespread transgression in no uncertain terms (he is to âspare notâ)!
The Ezekiel Warning has long been understood as directed to physical Israel. But the watchman of Ezekiel 33 (and 3:17) takes a warning to the physical nations of Israel AND spiritual Israelâthe âIsrael of Godâ (Gal. 6:16). Revelation 12 and other New Testament passages reveal that the Church, Old Testament and New, is identified as Israel. Most know that the carnal ancient Israelites constituted the âcongregationâ of Israel or, as it is referenced in Acts 7:38, the âchurch in the wilderness.â The Church of the New Testament is clearly seen to be spiritual Israel. She is pictured as a woman in Revelation 12, with verses 1 to 5 describing Old Testament Israel, and the rest of the chapter (verses 6-17) depicting the New Testament Church. (Compare Galatians 4:26 with Hebrews 12:22-23 and II John 1, 5.)
Mr. Armstrong at times applied Isaiah 58:1 to both the modern nations of Israel and the Church, doing this in writing and sermons. So do I. This explanation of Ezekiel 33 and Isaiah 58 helps you understand why. Mr. Armstrongâs pattern to Godâs people is being repeated. Again, the task involves warning in both cases. And in both cases it involves trying to awaken people to biblical truths that have been ignored. It also involvesâagain in both casesâspeaking in the spirit and tone of Isaiah Â58:1. Make yourself comprehend.
Separate warnings must be issued during the period before the Great Tribulation. The stakes for both groupsâphysical and spiritual Israelâare in part the same. Because those who will not heed will be sent into the worst punishment of all time, a fair, just, loving and merciful God would send an unmistakable warning, explaining there is a way of escape. In every Bible account in which punishment was to take place, God warned well in advanceâthe Flood, Nineveh, Israel and Judah before captivity came, and sometimes individual kings within Israel and Judah. This is Godâs established pattern.
It should be easy to see why the final Church era, Laodiceaâin the worst spiritual condition of any in 2,000 years (and this after it had been given the full truth through a special restoration, Matt. 17:11)âmust receive a POWERFUL WARNING from Godâs designated Âservant!
We might ask: While God could use two different men before the Tribulation, one to warn Israel and one to warn Laodicea, is this what He would do? This is not what He did when Mr. Armstrong was alive, and the sixth era was involved. This becomes Godâs pattern at the end of the age.
NO OTHER VOICE WILL BE SENT TO CRY WITHOUT SPARING!
âThe Spiritual Leaderâ Is âWatchmanâ
Here is another short but all-important statement from Mr. Armstrong. It comes from his booklet Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast?:
âGod expects the spiritual leader of His people to be His âwatchmanâ (Ezek. 33:7) and to warn the people.â
This statement is literally impossible to misunderstand. Like others from Mr. Armstrong, you either believe it or you do not. (And you either proved it or you did not.) If you do believe it, you must go and find whoever is the manâone spiritual leaderâcommissioned to fulfill this responsibility. But you will not be able to see the importance of locating the Church carrying out this duty until you grasp the nature and magnitude of the task Mr. Armstrong references. Once this extraordinary responsibility is truly understood, it automatically becomes its own powerful motivator and magnet to search for whom God has selected to be the final âwatchmanâ to âwarn the peopleâ before calamity strikes.
See this point. Mr. Armstrongâs statement is meaningless if you cannot know who the leader of Godâs Church is. This means you must know where the Church and Body of Christ is. That is where the government of God would be in place, and where Christ would be directing and empowering His chosen servant to carry out this special responsibility. It goes without saying that whoever this man is, he would have to be clear on these things himself. How else could he know it is his responsibility to sound the warning!
If the appointed leader can knowâand he would have to know with absolute certaintyâso can you! In fact, for this man to fulfill his duty, he would require to be with him a great many people who also knew this and who would back him up. This means that the proof, with all necessary facts and evidenceâthe fruit!âof whom Christ is using must be available to Godâs people. Only then could they be in a position to decide if they areâor are notâgoing to support this effort.
Finally, God would have to have made available for review the fruits of the man whom He had selected, so that all could prove and know that CHRIST had selected him, and that the man had not presumptuously appointed himself. Godâs people would also have to be able to correctly discern all imposters, remembering the devil counterfeits everything.
It is vital to make clear that God knows He could not have left any of these things in doubt. He simply could not, and you will find that He did not. Presenting that evidence is not the purpose of this article. Numerous books, booklets and sermons do this. You owe it to yourself to review them.
âHe that receives you receives MeâŚâ
As with Mr. Armstrong, some reject me personally as the one Christ would choose and send to continue His Church, Truth and Work. Be careful. Jesus told His disciples, âHe that receives you [Godâs representatives] receives Me, and he that receives Me receives Him that sent Meâ (Matt. 10:40). Take time to also read John 13:20âbut also Luke 10:16! Again, be careful.
God would not send someone without ensuring we could know that he came from God. If God sends a man, He would obviously want it known. He would make it plain!
Think just of this article, and ask: Who else is saying these things?âany of them? NO ONE!
Understand again. Someone, somewhereâI repeat, someone, somewhere!âhad to be raised up after Mr. Armstrongâs death to continue Godâs Work and lead in the reconstitution of the Church. Someone has to carry the authority to do this and can be found to be carrying it out. Someone has to warn the nations of Israel. Someone must also warn all Godâs people in a lukewarm state. God does not speak audibly from the heavens, but rather through His human servants. If you decide God is not using The Restored Church of God and working through its leader, you must go in search of what would be a clone of this Church and Work. Be sure to keep in mind all the established âqualifiersâ in your pursuit. If you do this sincerely, whether your journey is short or long, it will bring you full circle to one place!
Mr. Armstrongâs Warnings to the World
The following quotes represent Mr. Armstrongâs approach to his duty of crying aloud to the world. I have listed many so the reader can experience how often and how strong he was in fulfilling Godâs command regarding Isaiah 58 and Ezekiel 33. You will see he intermingled references to both passages. Note how strong Mr. Armstrong was in several quotes just when writing The Plain Truth readership, who could not hear his piercing tenor voice as did the brethren. Again, bold is mine:
âGod BEGAN intervening in WORLD AFFAIRS over 33 years ago, in the very smallest way at first, with this WORLD TOMORROW broadcast and The PLAIN TRUTH magazine. This intervention is PREPARING THE WAY for Christâs coming.
âIt is restoring the knowledge that SIN is the transgression of Godâs Law (I John 3:4). It is, by a preaching of LOVE, showing the people THEIR SINS! It is making plain WHAT sin is! It is lifting up its voice like a trumpet, and is CRYING, ALOUD, with the AMPLIFIED POWER of more than 45 million watts of radio power, WORLDWIDE! It is fulfilling Isaiah 58:1.
âGod says He will do nothing without first WARNING the people (Amos 3:7).
âVery soon, now, God is going to INTERVENE in WORLD AFFAIRS, just prior to Christâs Coming, by sending on the SINNERS OF THE WORLD the PLAGUES of âThe Day of the Lord.â That is a time of GODâS WRATH against evil spoken of in more than 30 different propheciesâboth Old and New Testaments!â
Brethren Letter, April 17, 1967
âGod sent His prophetsâHIS DIVINE SONâHis ApostlesâHis true ministers, pleading with a world forced to chooseâwarning this world of the inevitable result of its folly of rebellion.â
âMost people today are like a person in a deep sleep, dreaming a pleasant dream. When one tries to arouse him to tell him his house is on fire and heâs about to be burned up, he drowsily protests:â
âDonât! Donât wake me up! Goâ wayâlet me sleep!â
âWell, listen! Your house is on fire!â
âI have to warn the peopleâor have their blood required at my hand! God Almighty commands me, âcry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgressions.â (Isa. 58:1). God doesnât say âwhisper.â He does not say, âpreach soft and smooth things soothingly.â He tells me to lift up my voiceâto cry aloud!âto thunder forth His warning!â
âThe time for soft, dainty, purring, soothing preaching is past!â
âI do not talk softly, soothingly, on the air. I cry aloud! I do not spare youâI tell you the truth with all the power God gives me!â
âWe seek not to please people. We seek only to obey God, and to help and to save peopleâbecause we love them!â
âIn His Message to His true Church of this time, which is yielding itself to be His instrument for shouting this very warning, and carrying Christâs gospel to the world, Jesus said: âBecause thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of trial (Great Tribulationâday of the Lord), which shall come upon all the world.â (Rev. 3:10). But those that are lukewarm, careless, indifferent, Christ says He will spew out of His mouth. (Rev. 3:16).â
âI feel exactly as the prophet Jeremiah felt, when God revealed to him the destruction soon coming on the land of Judea, because of the sins of the Jews of his day. The Chaldean armies of King Nebuchadnezzar were about to march on Jerusalem. Jeremiah saw itârealistically. But the people were sound asleep. It made Jeremiah sick at his stomach.â
ââMy bowels, my bowels!â Jeremiah cried, clasping his hands tightly around his abdomen. âI am pained at my very heart! My heart is beating wildly. I cannot keep silent!â (Jer. 4:19.)â
âYes, I know how Jeremiah felt!â
âDo you think I can keep silent, today? God has revealed to me your danger! I can also see your lethargy.â
âSome few have written me gripes and criticisms. Some few have not wanted to see such realistic pictures of whatâs coming in real life! Some few have threatened to stop reading The plain truth âŚâ
ââŚif by Godâs grace, thru his power, I can make this real enough, I can be the means of saving some of you. And your lives are very precious! Every single one that is saved is worth all the effortâall the criticism from those who want soft and smooth things and deceitsâall the persecution.â
âyour life is very precious. Itâs a potential child of God! I hope to see you, and know you, and love you, in the kingdom of God! Yes, your life is very precious to me! Iâm going to try to wake you up to reality, if I can. Criticize and condemn meâŚI can do no other than to make this warning plain! Itâs motivated by a spirit of love! God help you to wake up and heed!â
âYes, I Know,â PT, Feb.-Mar. 1955
âThere are times, I have to confess, when I feel impotent, helpless, frustrated. I wonder if any of our readers could put themselves in my place, and realize what I see and know, and how I feel.â
âYes, millions are hearing Godâs last solemn, frantic warning! Would you suppose that fact would fill me with joy, sweep my being with elation? it doesnât! Instead, I feel defeatedâfrustrated!â
âDo you know why? Because I see, as Christ said of his preaching to the people, that âthey seeing see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.â Only at Nineveh did the people ever heed a warning!â
âIt gives me a feeling of utter futilityâof putting forth supreme effort, fighting thru the years with all my own strength and energy, plus all that Iâve been able to drink in from Godâand yet, itâs like being on a tread-millâactually making no progress!â
âI, personally, see what lies ahead! It fills me with frantic terrorâfor the safety of all the people whom I loveâpeople who could be spared and protected from the catastrophes they are bringing on themselvesâeven as I fully expect to be spared thru Godâs supernatural protectionâbut they wonât!â
âwill you understand? Will you heedâand spare your own precious life from the things to come? will you take warning?â
âGod says that if we ourselves see these things coming, and warn you, we have acquitted ourselvesâyour blood is not on our hands. But that is not enough to satisfy meâjust to save my own skin. I want to see you saved, too!!â
âHeart to Heart Talk With the Editor,â PT, Apr. 1956
âBut Christ raised up this Workâpreaching the PLAIN TRUTH. Godâs Truth CUTSâit cuts right AGAINST human natureâit angers some peopleâit corrects, it reproves, it shows people what SINNERS they areâit shows them WHAT THEIR SINS ARE! People donât LIKE to be criticized, reproved, rebuked, told they are DOING WRONG. It is the most UNpopular teaching there is! Itâs the HARDEST to accept. Yet Christ guided this Work exactly THAT WAY! He caused it to start out THE SMALLEST, like the proverbial grain of mustard seed. It started with NO MONEYâNO CAPITALâNO GROUP, ORGANIZATION, OR SPONSOR of any kindânone but the living GOD, that is!
âChrist caused this Work to start out proclaiming His Truth straight from the shoulderâpulling no punchesâand these punches DID hit a lot of people! It did correct, reprove and rebuke. It did show people just WHAT were their sins! It DID âcry aloud and spare not, and show Godâs people their sinsâ (Isaiah 58:1).
âIt never even ASKED the public for support.â
Brethren Letter, August 28, 1966
âYou may search the Bible from beginning to end. Youâll find the true prophets, apostles, ministers of God put first emphasis on the right cause, not the effect. They proclaim the way that leads to peace, happiness, security, and finally, eternal life. In Bible language, this means that Godâs Word, and Godâs true prophets and ministers put first emphasis on Godâs law.
âAnd, further, since sin is the transgression of Godâs law, the true ministers lift up their voices to show the people their sins (Isaiah 58:1). They call the people to repentance, reconciliation to God through Jesus Christ, forgiveness of sins, leading those who have been going astray back into the right way of Godâs Law through Godâs free grace.
âItâs just this simple: There is a right way that leads to every desired resultâblessings now, and eternal life forever. Godâs Law is merely a defining of that way. But the whole world has been going astrayâgoing the wrong way. God sends His prophets and ministers to proclaim the right way, to show people that they are going the wrong way, to cause them to turn around and get back on the right way through Jesus Christ by Godâs free grace. Then the desired result follows. And thatâs the only way to that desired result!â
The Plain Truth, Personal from the Editor, May, 1966
The next quote comes from Volume One of Mr. Armstrongâs Autobiography, under the subhead âThe Crucial Testâ:
âA man accosted me as I was walking along the gravel country road, between the Firbutte School and the Jeans School in the fall of 1933.
ââYou wonât get far,â he said. âYouâre preaching the straight truth of the Bible. That offends people. The Bible is like a sharp two-edged sword. It cutsâit reproves, corrects, rebukesâpeople wonât support that kind of preaching! You wonât get far.â
âBut I was not relying on the support of people. If people paid me, I would have to serve people. If I were to serve God, I would have to look solely to God for support!
âOf course God does work through human instruments. But I had to rely on God to lay it on the hearts of people to support the kind of preaching that obeys Isaiah 58:1 by crying aloudâlifting up my voice and showing the people their sins!
âNever was a more important decision made than that decision to cut loose entirely from relying on men, and instead, relying solely on Godânot only for truth, and for direction, but also for support! Thatâs why we never solicit the public for contributions.
âVery quickly after that decision the living Christ began opening doors! Very small ones at first. Then additional small onesâthen a big doorâthen more and more of them!
âAnd, to finance what He opened before me, He added, slowly, gradually, but consistently to the little family of Co-Workers who voluntarily wanted to have a part in Godâs Workâin changing hearts, changing human nature, preparing for Christâs coming to change and SAVE the WORLD! But I could not invite people to become Co-Workers. I could welcome them with gratitude when God caused them voluntarily to become Co-Workers with Christâbut until they took the initiative I could not ask them. No other activity on earth is operated like thisâand perhaps none has grown so surely.â
Mr. Armstrong Warns the Church of a Laodicean Condition
The article has not yet focused on what Isaiah 58:1 once meant TO THE CHURCH. In a sense, this lone passage set the tone for how Mr. Armstrong led Godâs 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 point. You must recognize how the special warning to Israel is being, and will continue to be, issued. What TONE OF VOICEâwhat CLARITY OF ISSUESâand what LEVEL OF VOLUME!âGod expects His servants to use. He compares the voice of His Work, and of His chief servant at the end of the age, to that of a TRUMPET!
Here are just a few quotes showing this time how he warned GODâS PEOPLE about falling into a lukewarm state. Many more could be included. Note how he connected being lukewarm to watering down doctrinal truth:
âInstead of wholeheartedly OBEYING Christ through HIS WORD, THE BIBLE, there was creeping in, during years when I was in other parts of the world up to 300 out of the 365 days in the year, a LIBERAL spirit of SATAN.â
âThose leaders to whom I had delegated the responsibility of ADMINISTERING the POLICIES and DOCTRINES Christ had set in Godâs Church through His apostle, went way BEYOND the authority given them. They started CHANGING POLICIES and watering down Godâs TRUTH, changing DOCTRINES, compromisingâseeing HOW CLOSE they could goâand lead the Brethren in goingâto the ways of SATAN! They wanted to be more LIBERALâmore like THIS WORLD OF SATAN.â
ââŚthere still remains among a FEW of us a tendency to LET DOWNâto lose our zealâand even to become LUKEWARM.â
Brethren Letter, Sept. 15, 1980
âThis Church was drifting into a Laodicean condition.â
âThe Laodicean church will be characterized by spiritual lukewarmnessâhalf of its membership (Matt. 25:1-13) will be shut out of the Kingdom of God.â
âBut, the bad news, as it appears today, my dear brethren, is that we, undoubtedly of the Philadelphia eraâmy sonâs ridicule notwithstandingâare in serious danger of becoming also the Laodicean era. I am personally much concerned about that. If you are not concerned, then indeed we are in mortal DANGER.â
âWhat God Never DidâNever WillâAllowâŚ,â GN, Aug. 1979
âNow back to Revelation 12:17: Satan shall be full of wrath against the remnantâthe last remaining generation of the Churchâthe âLaodiceanâ Church, and will terribly persecute her. But Matthew 25 shows that though that final generation of the Church shall be lukewarmânot less emotional, but more âliberal,â more secular and less spiritualâless strictly biblicalâyet half of them shall be saved at Christâs coming, though half shall be spewed out of Christâs mouth (Rev. 3:16).â
âPersonal,â PT, Aug. 1980
ââŚwhen my sonâŚcame to take over more authority than had been delegated to him, surrounding himself with a group of liberals, who led him, and mis led him into watering down Godâs doctrinesâunder their false influence a Laodicean lukewarmness and indifference, losing the love of Godâs truth, found root in the Church.â
âChrist Sets Church on Track,â GN, Apr. 1979
âOf the âPhiladelphiaâ Church, Christ says, âI know that you have but little power.â It is probably the weakest in numerical and physical strength and powerâthe smallest in membership, of any of the Churches from the time of the Apostles until the Second Coming. It has but few ministers.â
âBut some of those in the Church today will grow weary with well-doing. They will brag about being the true Churchâthinking 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 to drift into the Laodicean church!â
âMust Godâs Ministers Be Ordained By the Hand of Man?â, GN, Oct. 1962
âLaodicean is the dominant Church attitude at the endâŚAt the end, the Laodicean condition of lukewarmness dominates in the churches.â
Radio Broadcast, early 1960s
âWhen we face a serious or alarming situation, there isâŚa tendency toward LETTING DOWN IN PRAYERâin BIBLE STUDY, and consequently in that zeal and willingness to sacrifice for GODâS WORK.â
âDo you suppose Satan does not know all this? He knows! He will do all in his power to get you discouraged to get you to find some faultâto let down in prayer and Bible studyâto lose your inspired zeal for Godâs Work!â
âI KNOW that most of us have not, yet, come back to that full WHOLEHEARTED energetic ZEAL for GETTING ON WITH THIS WORK that we MUST have to finish it!â
âLooking at present FACTS, and TRENDS, that might seem impossible! But this is THE WORK OF GODâA WORK OF FAITHâand existing facts, trends, circumstances, HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH FAITH. The living Christ has resources, and ways WE KNOW NOTHING OF!â
âAnd whereas, it is incumbent on usâŚto CONFESS and deploreâŚour SINS in allowing worldly interests and pleasures to start drawing us away from our God, and our zeal for HIS WORK, I call on all Brethren to CONFESS this lukewarmnessâŚand to PRAY, with all FERVENCY and CONTRITION, for Godâs pardon for these offenses, and for a permanent BLESSING on HIS WORK henceforth, continuously to its final completion.â
âBrethren, many if not most of us have let other interests creep into our minds and hearts till we do not have ANYWHERE NEAR the ZEAL for the GREATEST WORK ON EARTH, that the football players have for a football game.â
âWHY can football players get themselves âUPâ in almost fanatical ZEAL, motivated by HATE, when we are indifferent, âDOWN,â and lukewarm about the MOST IMPORTANT AND GLORIOUS CALLING OF ALL TIME?â
ââŚChrist is doing his partâopening new doors. Only one thing has been wrong!âand we must face it!âtoo many of us have been growing lukewarm âŚâ
âWe may think, because we keep [Godâs] Sabbath, that we have no wicked ways or sins to turn from. But laxityâŚcan be sin.â
Brethren Letter, Nov. 2, 1972
Does it upset you that I have quoted Mr. Armstrong so many times and in this way? The principles and truth of his words are timeless. Of course, he is no longer here to deliverâto SHOUT!âthese warnings himself. Someone else must continue it, recognizing the danger he spoke of is now greaterâmore imminentâMUCH CLOSER AT HANDâfor those who have not heeded!
All real ministers of God must possess the heart of a shepherd. True shepherds love Godâs sheep, and must be prepared to give their lives for them. God says that He chastens every son that He loves (Prov. 3:11-12; Heb. 12:6-11), and He often uses His servants to bring His chastening. If this article offends you, that may be goodâif it stirs you to action. If you choose to resent my words, this is a price I am prepared to payâwith the hope that it could awaken you later.
There is no longer time in this age to speak any way but boldly. But doing this with authority does come at a price. I will continue to do thisâno matter the price for me personally, and no matter how few or many are willing to pay it with us! Those who will not pay Godâs price now ought to recognize that prophecy reveals the price will soon increase dramatically for His peopleâand for all people on Earth.
It is still not too late to forsake the majority and escape what they must endure!
An Uncertain Sound?
The apostle Paul wrote, âFor if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to battle?â (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. Ask why there is not the same urgency in its words and âtone of voiceâ as Mr. Armstrong usedâand 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 âfireside chats,â in which the sometimes two different men together pretend to âbroadcastâ as they exchange âinterestingâ questions and ideas. Most of what they say could be described as little more than weak, syrupy whispering. (Popular televangelists are stronger!) The Living Church of God is doing little better. Ask regarding its leader. Would God warn through a man who himself needs strong warning? Of course not.
The Church of God, an International Community prides itself, and this thinking emanates directly from the leader, in presenting the truth as an intellectual âvision,â a view he has declared Mr. Armstrong failed to realize was the more correct way to take the gospel to the world, never mind any kind of warning to Israel.
A side note: Any number of slivers and individuals can claim they are âdoing the Work.â 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 in the manner of Isaiah 58:1 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, the one who believes himself to be âThat Prophetâ bellows and rages, primarily attacking those of Laodicea as though brothers and sisters in Christ are âenemiesâ in a way no true servant of God would ever do. He actually takes pride in thundering, âWe are AT WAR with Laodicea!â 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. By no definition is this strange, bizarre manâs self-proclaimed âresponsibilityâ related to the true Work of God today! It is alien to everything of God.
Certainly nothing in the approach or manner of these groups or âleadersâ remotely resembles the way Mr. Armstrongâs literally âtrumpet-likeâ tenor voice pierced the airwaves as though it was coming from a charging bull elephant!
So tragically, most splinter members (and ministers) today seem to prefer their leaders practice what God condemns: âProphesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceitsâ (Isa. 30:10). Too weak, timid and afraid to be unpopular and persecuted, leaders of the organizations happily supply what their tithe-paying voters want.
As with the articleâs very first quote from Mr. Armstrong, I am also sick at heart! I am terribly saddened that so many have grown so desperately blind to their need to seek Almighty Godâand to clean up their character, along with their woeful and confused doctrinal understanding. Like Ezekiel âsighing and cryingâ (9:4) for the sins of modern Israel, I personally sigh and cry for the wretched, deplorable condition of so many thousands of brethren whom I know!
I urge you to see the tone and language in our books and booklets, 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, Tomorrowâs Wonderful World â An Inside View!, War, Killing and the Military, and so many, many more.
To understand Isaiah 58:1 is to know why we write as we doâwhy I speak with a spirit of warning to both national Israel and the majority of Godâs people, in spiritual Israel (Laodicea). Both are in deep trouble. I repeat: a fair, just, loving, merciful God wants them to awaken before it is too late! Given the terrible time just ahead, the Great Tribulation, do any believe soft, purring tones and âcommentaryâ about events and trends gets the job done? By no stretch!
Each of Godâs people must decide the manner in which he supports who and what this article describes.
Do not miss my next two postings. The first will be a sermon (posted April 21) that identifiesâand MARKS!âthe modern âsynagogue of Satanâ (Rev. 3:9). The second, an Open Letter (posted sometime in May), will present the truth and clear up many of the greatest lies told about me personally that are circulating throughout the splinters. Brethren must have an opportunity to cut through the 10-foot-thick layer of deceit surrounding my name. I have come to see it as my duty to give all of Godâs people a fighting chance to defeat these lies and deceit. I will be specific! The April sermon sets up the May follow-up article.