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by: Frank W. Nelte


Many people have wondered about Daniel 12:7 ...

And I heard the man clothed in linen, which [was] upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that [it shall be] for a time, times, and an half; AND WHEN HE SHALL HAVE ACCOMPLISHED TO SCATTER THE POWER OF THE HOLY PEOPLE, ALL THESE [THINGS] SHALL BE FINISHED. (Daniel 12:7)

People have looked at the changes that have taken place in the Church of God since Mr. Armstrong's death. They have looked at the new churches that have sprung up from the Worldwide Church of God as a response to the introduction of heretical teachings into WCG. And they have wondered: "Is THIS what Daniel was talking about?"

Let's examine the whole situation more closely.


In the late 1920'ies there were a very small number of people in the United States who made up the Church of God. There were also then, and in the subsequent decades, small pockets of people in various other countries who were a part of the ailing Church of God.

God brought Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong into contact with these people and then used Mr. Armstrong to raise up the present era of the Church. The Church grew at approximately 30% per year till about 1968. In the early 70'ies there were some setbacks, but the growth continued. By the time Mr. Armstrong died in January 1986 Church attendance and Feast of Tabernacles attendance were both well in excess of 100 000 people.

But that figure does not really reveal the Church's real scope and impact. The Plain Truth magazine had a circulation of around 7 million copies, the Church's radio and television program was on many, many stations and Mr. Armstrong had had personal contacts with very many world leaders. The Church, through its Foundation, was involved in many different projects around the world. Millions of booklets and magazines were being distributed free of charge to those who requested information from the Church.

Without question during Mr. Armstrong's time the Worldwide Church of God had "a power" or an impact way beyond the size of its actual membership. There are many churches in this world that had far more members than the Worldwide Church of God; yet the impact they have on people beyond their own membership is insignificant when compared to the impact the Worldwide Church of God had during Mr. Armstrong's time.

For a few years after Mr. Armstrong's death things continued in a relatively steady way with even some increases in various areas. But there was a steady, if unnoticeable at first, erosion of the Church's teachings and beliefs. Gradually it became more and more obvious to most people that the Church was indeed in the process of overturning all of its traditional beliefs. From about 1990 onwards a decline started to set in, gradually at first. From then onwards a steady stream of ministers and members started to leave the Church. It came to a head at the end of 1994 and at the start of 1995 with Mr. Tkach's introduction of the new covenant theology, which did away with the remaining foundational beliefs of the Church.


Now, barely six months later, the Church is struggling just to survive. Over 150 ministers have been disfellowshipped, terminated or pressured to resign or to retire just in the past few months. Tens of thousands of members have left the Worldwide Church of God. Many have joined the new churches that have been started ... the United Church, the Global Church, the Philadelphia Church and the International Church. There are also numerous other splinter groups.

The income of the Church has dropped to precipitously low levels. Many faculty members of Ambassador University have been terminated. The Church has cut its subsidies to the university, to the AICF foundation and to its international offices. The magazine circulation has been drastically slashed. The television program has been terminated. In an attempt to improve the cashflow many assets are up for sale.

Those who have left the Church include many long-standing ministers and people in key positions of leadership ... regional directors, regional pastors, the business manager of the Church, members of the Board of Ambassador University, the President of Ambassador University, prominent professors and lecturers of the university, etc.. This is not some small revolt by a handful of conspirators. Not at all! This is a reaction to the introduction of heretical teachings into the Church.

Without doubt this is the worst crisis that the Worldwide Church of God has experienced since Mr. Armstrong first began publishing the Plain Truth in 1934. The credibility of the Church itself stands in question, and rightly so! And the credibility of Ambassador University stands in question.

Yes, "the power" that the Church once had has indeed been scattered!

How are we to understand all these things? What will it lead to and how will it all end? Let's see what God tells us about all this through the Bible.

Let's start by examining Daniel chapter 12.

AND AT THAT TIME shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. (Daniel 12:1)

The words "AND AT THAT TIME" clearly refer to what has been said just before this ...

And he shall plant {or shall have planted} the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him. (Daniel 11:45)

So the timing of Dan. 12:1 is the time when the "beast power", and specifically the leader of that group of nations, comes to an end. It is the time when Christ returns to this Earth to intervene in world affairs.

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame [and] everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2)

Here two different resurrections are referred to, about 1100 years apart. The first resurrection (i.e. "to everlasting life") takes place at Christ's return.

And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. (Daniel 12:3)

Those who "shine as the brightness of the firmament" and "as the stars" refers to individuals who will be in the first resurrection. Let's look at this verse more closely:

- "they that be wise" is the verb "sakal" which is used with the Hiphil stem. This stem refers to causative action. This phrase thus means: "they that give insight", "they that CAUSE people to consider", "they that teach", etc.;

- "shall shine" is the verb "zahar", also with the Hiphil stem. This verb is used 22 times in the O.T. and 18 times it is translated as "warn". Here it means: "they shall WARN" or "they shall admonish", rather than "they shall shine". What shines is the warning they give!

- "they that turn many to righteousness" means "they that bring justice in administering the law to many people".

This verse, verse 3, in effect tells us that those who give people an insight into the truth of God and in the process warn people about the consequences of disobedience to God, are going to be in the first resurrection, shining like stars.

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. (Daniel 12:4)

This verse tells us that these things would not be understood till our time today, "the time of the end". Our age would be characterized, amongst other things, by a knowledge-explosion.

Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. (Daniel 12:5)

In this vision Daniel saw two more individuals.

And [one] said to the man clothed in linen, which [was] upon the waters of the river, HOW LONG [SHALL IT BE TO] THE END OF THESE WONDERS? (Daniel 12:6)

THIS VERSE IS IMPORTANT! It is a question about timing. The question was obviously phrased for Daniel's and for our benefit, not for the benefit of the spirit beings involved in the vision.

The question is about the time period LEADING UP TO Christ's return. It is: how long UNTIL these things take place?

And I heard the man clothed in linen, which [was] upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that [it shall be] for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these [things] shall be finished. (Daniel 12:7)

Firstly, the angel "swearing" by God is a reference that this revelation is directly from God! Next, the time period mentioned is three and one half "times", which often refers to "years".

What we have here is a time period of three and one half years which finishes at Christ's return. That's the question in the previous verse. Thus something significant must take place three and one half years before Christ's return, though we may only see the significance in hindsight.

Let's now carefully examine the last part of this verse. One Hebrew verb is used twice here, something that is not apparent in the English text. The verb "kalah" is first translated as "when he shall have accomplished" and the next time as "all these shall be finished". It is the same verb in Hebrew.

Next, this verb "kalah" is used 206 times in the O.T. and is most commonly translated as "CONSUME". In the first use it is used with the Piel stem, which expresses intensive action. Here are a few examples of where this verb "kalah" is used with the same Piel stem.

- Isa 1:28 = shall be consumed;

- Isa 10:18 = shall consume;

- Isa 15:6 = (the grass) faileth;

- Isa 27:10 = consume (the branches);

- Isa 49:4 = I have spent (my strength);

- Jer 9:16 = till I have consumed;

- Ezek 20:13 = to consume them; etc..

The verb translated "to scatter" (i.e. "naphats") means: to break in pieces, to shatter, to disperse, etc.. It is also used with the Piel stem (i.e. intensive action).

The noun translated as "the power" means "the hand" in Hebrew.

So let's put the last part of this verse together:

"... when he shall have completed breaking in pieces (note this!) and shattering completely the power (or hand) of the holy people (i.e. God's true Church), then all these things shall be consumed (rendered as "finished" in the English text)."

Now here is the way I understand this section of this verse:

There is someone (not identified in this verse) who will work at shattering and breaking into pieces the power that the Church of God had achieved. When he has accomplished this breaking into pieces, THEN the "consuming" of the end time will start. That consuming is NOT a reference to the Church but to the consuming in the world, "the time of trouble" of verse 1. This consuming will take three and one half years and will culminate in the return of Jesus Christ. So the "something significant" that takes place three and one half years before Christ's return is that the power of the Church of God will have been COMPLETELY broken in pieces. This may be as a consequence to other significant events.

The "someone" not identified in this verse is Satan!

Verse 8 makes clear that the description has been completed. Daniel now presents his own comments.

And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what [shall be] the end of these [things]? (Daniel 12:8)

The Hebrew word here translated as "end" is occasionally translated as "reward". In plain English, Daniel asks: how is it all going to turn out? That's what we would also like to know.

And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words [are] closed up and sealed till the time of the end. (Daniel 12:9)

This is basically a repetition of what was said in verse 4. These things were not to be understood until the end of this age. There was no need for anyone in a previous age to understand these things, because they didn't apply then. We are now living at the time when these events will confront us.

Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. (Daniel 12:10)

The Hebrew verb translated as "many shall be purified" is used with the Hithpael stem, which is the reflexive form. Thus this actually means: "many shall purify THEMSELVES", and is so translated in Young's Literal Translation (one of the versions in the Online Bible).

The Hebrew for "and made white" is also in the Hithpael stem and means: "yes, make THEMSELVES white". The Hebrew for "and tried" means: "and be refined". The emphasis here is on the active involvement and participation of the individuals themselves ... it is not just something that is done for them.

This verse contrasts two different attitudes: those who are wise (Hebrew here is: consider, ponder, give attention to) shall discern and perceive what is taking place and will take action to clean THEMSELVES up to "be ready" for Christ's intervention. On the other hand, there is a group who CAUSE to do wickedly (the Hiphil stem is used here, referring to causative action) and they simply will not understand and will CONTINUE to do wickedly.

Do you grasp what this verse is talking about?

There are two different attitudes in God's Church at the end time. It is by the wicked continuing to do wickedly that the power of the Church is broken into little pieces. Because the wicked simply continue in their wicked ways, THEREFORE those who make an effort to purify themselves to be made white by God feel pressured to scatter. This is a defence against compromising their commitment and integrity towards God.

The last three verses (verses 11-13) talk about a timing. I personally am not sure at this time how this applies. Therefore I see no point in commenting on these verses in this paper. Be sure you understand the first 10 verses of this chapter and don't worry too much about the last 3 verses. They will become clear in due time.


Every piece of revelation that is given in the Bible, is given for a purpose. There is no such thing as God inspiring something to be recorded which God did not want to be understood. However, God did not necessarily want everything He inspired to be understood at the time that He inspired it to be written. That is clear from the verse we have just looked at, where God said: "go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed and sealed up TILL the time of the end" (Dan. 12:9).

So we should understand that EVERYTHING that God has inspired in the Bible God intends for some people to understand at SOME time. This is also made clear in Amos 3:7 ...

Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7)

The closer we come to the time when Christ will return to this Earth, the more understanding God is going to give to those of us who are faithfully trying to serve Him. The very fact that there is a great pressure on us to "LET GO" of the things we understood during Mr. Armstrong's time, is why God instructs us to

Behold, I come quickly: HOLD THAT FAST WHICH THOU HAST, that no man take thy crown. (Revelation 3:11)

God instructs us to hold fast to the truth we have. And those who hold fast are the ones to whom God will give MORE understanding as the time of Christ's intervention draws closer.

The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: A GOOD UNDERSTANDING have all they that do [his commandments]: his praise endureth for ever. (Psalms 111:10)

That "good understanding" also depends on "seeking God" ...

God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, TO SEE IF THERE WERE [ANY] THAT DID UNDERSTAND, THAT DID SEEK GOD. (Psalms 53:2)

[When thou saidst], Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, THY FACE, LORD, WILL I SEEK. (Psalms 27:8)

Today we are faced with the situation that the truths that were understood during Mr. Armstrong's time are steadily being LOST by many people who are a part of God's Church. The true doctrines are not being preached. Many people have very quickly and very readily accepted the false teachings that have been introduced into the Church. They are neither holding fast nor seeking to understand the mind of God.

And so we are witnessing the destruction of the Church of God. As God said through the prophet Hosea ...

MY PEOPLE ARE DESTROYED FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE: BECAUSE THOU HAST REJECTED KNOWLEDGE, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. (Hosea 4:6)

There is no question that many people in the Church of God today have actively REJECTED the true knowledge of God, and have instead chosen to believe the things they WANT TO believe ...

3 FOR THE TIME WILL COME WHEN THEY WILL NOT ENDURE SOUND DOCTRINE; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 AND THEY SHALL TURN AWAY [THEIR] EARS FROM THE TRUTH, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4)

This is a description of the Church of God today, in 1995. We need to recognize that many people simply DON'T WANT "sound doctrine". Unless we face up to this reality, we will end up very frustrated and very discouraged, trying to get other people to see the foolishness of the false teachings. They just don't want to see it. You need to understand this!

And so, as many people have accepted false ideas and false teachings, we have entered a time when the truth of God is not going to be readily available. There is now already "a famine" for those who want to hear the truth of God preached ...

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I WILL SEND A FAMINE IN THE LAND, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but OF HEARING THE WORDS OF THE LORD: (Amos 8:11)

God said that He is the One who would CAUSE such a "famine" to come about. Notice this point! God is involved! Further, let's face the facts: for the world at large there has thus far ALWAYS been "a famine of the word". The vast majority of the people in this world have never heard the true explanations of what the Word of God actually means. Oh yes, they may have a Bible in their homes; they may even go to some church or other; but they have never understood the truth. They have always been starved, as far as taking in the truth of God is concerned. To send "a famine of the word" makes very little difference to the people of this world.

But a famine "of hearing the words of the LORD" makes an enormous difference to the people of God's Church!

Understand that Amos 8:11 applies to the people of God's Church. God said that the time would come when those who really WANT to hear the words of God would be faced with a famine in this regard. The word "famine" refers to: a scarcity in the supply of something specific. It is only by the people of God that a scarcity in the supply of understanding the words of God would be perceived as "a famine". And it is only the people of God who would actually make a great effort to overcome that famine ... to once again achieve a regular and an abundant access to the truth of God. As the next verse says ...

And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, THEY SHALL RUN TO AND FRO TO SEEK THE WORD OF THE LORD, AND SHALL NOT FIND [IT]. (Amos 8:12)

This verse is speaking about God's people. They are the only ones who would go to such lengths to hear the truth of God once again. It seems clear to me that Amos 8:11-12 is speaking about the true believers in the Church of God at "the time of the end", a time when others would be turning away from the truth towards believing "fables", i.e. heresies! In Daniel 12:3 we saw the reference to those who will give God's people an insight into the truth of God and warn people about the consequences of disobedience to God. That is also referred to in the previous chapter of Daniel.


In Daniel chapter 11 God has given us a secular historical rundown from Daniel's own time to the second coming of Christ. Within this context God has included an unmistakable reference to the Church of God. It is found in verses 32 to 35.

Verse 35 makes clear that this is a reference to things pertaining to "the time of the end". So these verses tell us something about God's Church at the time just prior to Christ's return. Notice the context:

And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily [sacrifice], AND THEY SHALL PLACE THE ABOMINATION THAT MAKETH DESOLATE. (Daniel 11:31)


Now remember that Daniel chapter 11 is a discussion of SECULAR leaders down to the time of Christ's return. It is a discussion about KINGDOMS. It is not a discussion about the Church of God at all. But it is after a reference to the abomination of desolation that this brief section about God's Church is inserted into the general storyflow. Think about this for a while! Can you understand WHY it is at this precise point that a reference to the Church of God is introduced?

The "abomination that makes desolate" is a reference to something that is initiated by secular rulers. Now notice the next verse which introduces the Church of God into this discussion ...

And SUCH AS DO WICKEDLY AGAINST THE COVENANT shall he corrupt by flatteries: BUT THE PEOPLE THAT DO KNOW THEIR GOD shall be strong, and do [exploits]. (Daniel 11:32)

For a start, notice two things here: "the people that do know their God" is a very clear reference to true Christians! That is totally clear. Nobody else knows the true God! Nobody else! Secondly, exactly does it mean "to do wickedly against the covenant"? What is it that they are doing against the covenant? Think about this verse.

To understand what is meant by "the covenant" in this verse, we should look at every other place in the Book of Daniel where this word is used. The word "covenant" (Hebrew is "beriyth") appears exactly 7 times in Daniel ... Dan.9:4,27; 11:22,28,30,30,32.

In Daniel 9:4 Daniel himself in his prayer refers to the covenant God has made with "them that love Him". In Daniel 9:27 the angel Gabriel said that Jesus Christ would "confirm the covenant" with many for one week. In Daniel 11:22 a leader referred to as "a vile person" would overcome "THE PRINCE OF the covenant". Historically this very likely was fulfilled by Antiochus Epiphanes dealing with the Jewish High Priest at that time. In Daniel 11:28, still dealing with Antiochus Epiphanes, we have a reference to the fact that "HIS HEART (!) shall be against the holy covenant". This is speaking about someone who has A WRONG ATTITUDE towards the holy covenant that God has made with Israel.

Verse 28 is very important to understand. We are dealing with a historical personage, Antiochus Epiphanes; but what God has highlighted for us is THE MAN'S WRONG ATTITUDE towards the covenant God has made! This is again highlighted in verse 30. Here we are told that IN DEFEAT (!) this individual has "INDIGNATION AGAINST THE HOLY COVENANT".

In the Hebrew "have indignation" is the verb "za'am" and it is used with the Qal stem in the perfect tense. The perfect tense in Hebrew expresses a completed action. With the Qal stem this verb means: to denounce, to be defiant, to be abhorrent. So in this verse God tells us about an individual who denounces His covenant and is defiant towards it. In the second part of verse 30 this individual with this wrong attitude communicates with those that "FORSAKE THE HOLY COVENANT".

We have now examined all six references to "the covenant" that precede the one we saw in Dan. 11:32. We should now be in a position to understand what is being talked about when suddenly the Church of God at the end-time is introduced. We are dealing with an individual who has a wrong attitude towards the covenant God has made (which covenant Jesus Christ will confirm!), who denounces and abhors the covenant and who is seeking out those who are willing to forsake this covenant.

The reason God introduces the Church of God in this particular context is because there are VERY CLEAR PARALLELS between what happened at the time of Antiochus Epiphanes and what is happening in the Church of God at the time of the end. There is a leader in the Church of God, Mr. Joseph W. Tkach, who has a wrong attitude towards the covenant of God ("the old covenant was a TERRIBLE taskmaster"), who has denounced the covenant of God and who is seeking allies amongst those who are willing to forsake the covenant.

Let's look again at verse 32 ...

And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do [exploits].

Those who really DO know the true God and what He expects from us are going to be STRONG! Does that include you? Are you "strong" in your opposition to the heresies?

In this verse the Hebrew verb for "shall he corrupt" is used with the Hiphil stem (i.e. causative action) and the imperfect tense. This literally means that "he CAUSES them to be defiled or godless or polluted or corrupted". And he achieves this "by flatteries", the same way as he had done back in verse 21. So those who succumb to the flatteries end up acting "wickedly against the covenant" of God!

This is speaking about the situation that is extant in the Church of God RIGHT NOW!

Now notice the next verse.

AND THEY THAT UNDERSTAND AMONG THE PEOPLE SHALL INSTRUCT MANY: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, [many] days. (Daniel 11:33)

This is where I feel that I fit into the picture, together with quite a number of others. We are "instructing" many.

At the very time that the leadership of the Church has, by means of flatteries, introduced many heresies and an animosity towards the covenant God made with His people to obey ALL of His laws not only in the letter but ALSO in their spiritual intent, God has seen to it that there are those who DO understand and who ARE WILLING to explain the truth in spite of opposition.

I don't by any means believe that I am somehow the only one who is speaking out against the heresies without any desire for a personal following. I am assuredly NOT the only one. God HAS reserved a people unto Himself who have not bowed the knee to Baal! Our calling is "TO INSTRUCT MANY" as long as God makes that possible.

I have tried to explain it this way: the articles I have been writing, countering one heresy after another, can provide "A HOLDING PATTERN" for those people who are unsettled in the face of all these heretical teachings in the Church. The same is true for the things other men have written, or perhaps audio-tapes from various men. These articles and tapes don't really provide "a new church". They can all help to keep people focused on the truth until the dust settles and God shows us clearly what it is that He wants us to do under our present circumstances.

They that understand among the people shall instruct many!

My articles are not "a church". There is no "church of the writings of Frank Nelte" and there will not be one! But there are those of us who, I feel, have a responsibility from God to instruct as many people as possible in God's truth. I said above that we can help to keep people focused on the truth until the dust settles. That's how I have at times explained it in the past. Maybe that's what will happen. But I have also come to feel that maybe "the dust will never settle"! Maybe each one of us, whoever we are, will only have the opportunity to instruct God's people for a limited period of time ... before the second part of verse 33 sets in: persecution. I really don't know at this stage. Speaking for myself, while I have been disfellowshipped and while there are a considerable number of people who have imputed all kinds of wrong motives to me, I really don't feel "persecuted". Not at all. Hey, I have done the same thing myself at times; so why get upset or worried if the same thing happens to me?? So I do not, at this stage, feel persecuted. But I realize that that can change very quickly.

The way I understand it, Dan. 11:33 tells me that those of us who understand and who instruct many DO NOT REALLY PROVIDE "ALTERNATIVE" CHURCHES FOR GOD'S PEOPLE! What happens to those little churches we have formed when we then fall "by the sword or flame or captivity or spoil"?? Do the people then look for another group to join up with?

Now please understand this: supposing I myself did NOT see this question the way I have described in the above paragraph and I went out and also started another "Church of God" ... would that mean I am in any way "LESS sincere"? No, it wouldn't! It would just mean that I have a different understanding, but the underlying motivation of sincerity could be exactly the same.

I say this because I know and am convinced that those who have formed the various "churches of God" are sincere. They come to the question from a different understanding and a different approach than I do, that's all. I hope I can make clear that I don't feel that any wrong motives are involved, because that is not what I feel.

This context here in Daniel chpt. 11 is talking about the people of God just prior to the second coming of Christ, and I personally don't see that it is God's will to raise up alternative churches to the one in which people "do wickedly against the covenant" of God. Perhaps there is something I am overlooking. If anything, it is more a matter that God "acknowledges" that His people WOULD be scattered ... some staying in WCG, some not attending anywhere, and others joining various churches that would spring up. All of them provide to some degree some form of shelter. But are they the "shelters" God intended to be built? And if so, exactly which ones of these "shelters" did God intend?

Let's look at the next verse.

Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. (Daniel 11:34) 

The reference in verses 33 and 34 to "THEY shall fall" seems to me to refer to both, those that understand as well as those that are instructed. The point in this verse is that God does provide help to make it possible for people to be instructed. God will see to it that such instruction is available.

The expression "many shall cleave to them with flatteries" has been true throughout the history of the Church. We need to understand this! People have always used "flatteries" as a means of advancing themselves. I mean "some" people, not all people. That is why God included this statement as a warning as long as 2500 years ago.

There were those who flattered Mr. Armstrong, trying to create the impression of absolute loyalty, when they really didn't agree with Mr. Armstrong and, in some cases, didn't even like Mr. Armstrong. Their motive was to advance the self. Flattery is always a trap! We are tested before God by our responses to flattery.


Now notice the next verse. This is where we see quite clearly that this section refers to our time.

And [some] of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make [them] white, [EVEN] TO THE TIME OF THE END: because [it is] yet for a time appointed. (Daniel 11:35)

First notice that this verse applies to "the time of the end". That is our time today! Next, remember that in verse 33 those with understanding were instructing people. NOW in verse 35 we see that even of these who have understanding some shall fall. Who is this speaking about?

It seems to me that verse 33 is speaking about ministers in the Church of God, specifically at the time-period of the "Worldwide Church of God", that understood the truth of God and made this plain to the people in the Church of God. Their teaching was sound and their explanations made sense. It was easy to follow their logic. The reasoning was sound.

In the nearly 10 years since Mr. Armstrong's death SOME of those teachers have turned away from the truth they once taught God's people. They have "LET GO" of the truth they had, and they have turned their ears to fables (also known as "Greek philosophy").

God is allowing this for a specific purpose. There are a considerable number of people who attend the Church of God and who totally abrogate all responsibility for what they believe. They tranquillize their consciences by reasoning like this:

"This is God's Church and Jesus Christ is the Head of it (correct thus far!). THEREFORE God will not permit heresies to be taught in HIS Church (this is false!). Therefore I should believe whatever headquarters tells me to believe, even if it is in the form of a flattery (this is obviously also false!). However, IF it turns out that any teaching really IS wrong before God, THEN it is up to Jesus Christ to make the people at the top correct this error (this reasoning is a copout!)."

Understand that God does not want unthinking "yes-men" in His eternal Family! God not only wants us to use our minds; He REQUIRES us to use our minds. It is THE MIND that God tests! God wants to know that we will willingly submit to Him totally and unconditionally WITH OUR MINDS! There are two main ways God tests us to find this out. Firstly, God wants to know if we will submit to His laws and instructions; whether we gladly accept His way of life. Secondly, God wants to know whether we will resolutely and forcefully RESIST the temptation to accept any other way of life, no matter how attractive and plausible it may appear. Do we believe GOD ... or do we believe what PEOPLE tell us God supposedly says and means?

In plain terms, God wants to know that we will DO what He tells us to do, and RESIST doing what we should not do or believe.

Remember Romans 3:4 ...

God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. (Romans 3:4)

To allow someone, anyone, to tell us that any verse in the Bible doesn't really mean what it ON THE SURFACE "SEEMS" TO MEAN, is a way of disbelieving God. Oh certainly, there are places in your KJV of the Bible where the translation does not accurately reflect what the Hebrew or Greek text actually says. This is the case even far more often with any of the other translations. And there we should be open to what the original text means. But it should never be the case of needing to "explain away" correctly translated clear statements.

Now back to Daniel 11:35. Here God tells us that THE EXPRESS PURPOSE for some of the men of "understanding" falling away from the truth is so that the membership of the Church will be TESTED (or "tried"). The reason is that God wants to "PURGE OUT" those who don't really believe Him, those who are only clinging to the Church "with flatteries", those who will readily let someone talk them out of believing the inspired words of God and accepting "fables" instead. The result of this testing is that the weak and undecided ones are purged out and the rest are "made white" before God. Will people go along with FALLEN "men of understanding" because these men have "a reputation" for understanding ... or will they RESIST the ideas of those who have fallen and erred? This is what God wants to find out!

Understand this: if you will not believe the clear, correctly translated words of God and instead accept the words of men, THEN GOD WILL ALSO REJECT YOU!

Now understand this also: it is through the influence of those of understanding who have fallen that the power of the holy people is scattered. Daniel 11:35 is speaking about exactly the same time as Daniel 12:7.


In the Hebrew O.T. there are several different terms used for religious leaders. The four main English words we need to understand in this regard are: shepherds, pastors, prophets and priests.

The Hebrew word for "prophets" is used for God's true prophets as well as for false prophets, prophets of Baal, etc.. It is a masculine noun which also has a feminine form (i.e. prophetess).

The Hebrew word for "priest" is "kohen" or "cohen", which is used 750 times in the Old Testament. It is used both, for God's true priests as well as for pagan priests, just like the word for "prophets".

The English words "shepherds" and "pastors" are a translation of the same one Hebrew word "ra'ah". This word "ra'ah" is actually a verb and NOT a noun! In the O.T. KJV the word "shepherd/s" is used 65 times and 63 times it is a translation of "ra'ah". {In the other two places it is "ro'iy", which is derived from "ra'ah".} The word "pastor/s" appears 8 times in the O.T. KJV and it is always a translation of this verb "ra'ah".

So the first thing we need to recognize is that in the O.T. there is absolutely no difference between the terms "pastors" and "shepherds". Both these words are a translation of one Hebrew verb. Next, this verb "ra'ah" means: TO FEED, TO PASTURE. The English noun "pasture" literally means: a feeding place for sheep and cattle.

Shepherds and pastors are the same thing. The words simply emphasize slightly different aspects. The word "shepherd" focuses on looking after and taking care of the sheep. The word "pastor" focuses on providing food for the sheep, which directly ties in with the Hebrew word "ra'ah". These two words have a slightly different focus but they refer to the same individuals.

Now here is the point to understand: the Hebrew VERB for "to feed" is never used for ministers or religious leaders of false churches. Religious leaders of false churches (e.g. of Baal, etc.) are never referred to as "feeding people", i.e. as "pastors" or as "shepherds". They are only referred to as "prophets" or as "priests".

When the verb "ra'ah" (i.e. shepherds or pastors) is used in a critical and corrective context, it is referring to ministers in God's Church (or in O.T. Israel) and NOT to ministers in any of the world's false churches. This is an important key that you need to understand! It is then a reference to ministers who are not doing the job they should be doing. The places where the words "pastors" or "shepherds" are used in the O.T. have nothing to do with ministers in false churches.

I mention this because sometimes we would like to look at God's indictment of the "shepherds" and "pastors" of Israel and apply these Scriptures to the ministers of the world's churches.


These Scriptures are really speaking about ministers in God's Church who deal with God's people and they are NOT doing what God wants them to do! Think about this carefully. Do you understand that God's focus in the Scriptures is not on condemning ministers in false churches? God is not really involved with the false churches ... or with their ministers. And where God DOES want to focus on the ministers of false churches, He has used the words "prophets" or "priests", which refer to people who "SPEAK". Furthermore, how could the verb "to feed" POSSIBLY be applied to ministers of false churches?? It is impossible for them to "feed" anyone spiritually, just as surely as it was impossible for the priests of Baal, even the nicest one among them (!), to really "feed" people spiritually.

So now let's look at a few passages in God's Word.

 My people hath been lost sheep: THEIR SHEPHERDS HAVE CAUSED THEM TO GO ASTRAY, they have turned them away [on] the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace. (Jeremiah 50:6)

This is talking about ministers in God's Church CAUSING members of God's Church to go astray! The people in the world's churches were astray to start with, even without having any ministers. This verse is speaking about people who AT ONE STAGE were on the right track! But their ministers CAUSED them to go astray!

Yea, [they are] greedy dogs [which] can never have enough, and THEY [ARE] SHEPHERDS [THAT] CANNOT UNDERSTAND: THEY ALL LOOK TO THEIR OWN WAY, EVERY ONE FOR HIS GAIN, from his quarter. (Isaiah 56:11)

Again, this is a verse we would like to use for the ministers in false churches ... but that is not what God is talking about! The whole context of this chapter is God's Church; verse 3 tells us that there will be gentiles in God's kingdom and verse 7 tells us that there will be no racial separation regarding access to God's Church.

Isaiah 56:11 is a reference to ministers in God's Church who act from a selfish motivation. This is not my idea! It is what God tells us! And it is really no different from what Paul told the Philippians about the majority of ministers in his (Paul's) time.

20 For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. 21 FOR ALL SEEK THEIR OWN, NOT THE THINGS WHICH ARE JESUS CHRIST'S. (Philippians 2)

Paul was here speaking about the ministers who served under his leadership. It is like what Paul told the ministers from Ephesus in Acts 20 ...

29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 ALSO OF YOUR OWN SELVES SHALL MEN ARISE, SPEAKING PERVERSE THINGS, to draw away disciples after them. (Acts 20)

The ministers from Ephesus to whom Paul was speaking were not really any different from ministers in God's Church 1900 years later. And most of you have heard some of the men who TODAY speak "perverse things"!

In Jeremiah chapter 23 a whole section is devoted to a discussion of the bad ministers within God's Church! Notice briefly ...


These are the people who cause "the scattering of the power of the holy people". Read the whole chapter yourself; in it God also refers to "the prophet" and "the priest".

In Ezekiel 34 we have a whole chapter addressed to the ministers in God's Church ...

Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; WOE [BE] TO THE SHEPHERDS OF ISRAEL THAT DO FEED THEMSELVES! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? (Ezekiel 34:2)

My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, MY FLOCK WAS SCATTERED UPON ALL THE FACE OF THE EARTH, and none did search or seek [after them]. (Ezekiel 34:6)

[As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because [there was] no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, BUT THE SHEPHERDS FED THEMSELVES, AND FED NOT MY FLOCK; (Ezekiel 34:8)

[SEEMETH IT] A SMALL THING UNTO YOU TO HAVE EATEN UP THE GOOD PASTURE, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet? (Ezekiel 34:18)


That's a recurring theme, isn't it ... a selfish motivation on the part of the ministers? Today, right now, God's Church is in the process of being SCATTERED by their own ministers! The sheep are driven away by the introduction of heresies.

By the way, this last verse (Ezek. 34:19) shows that the membership takes in and is sustained by (i.e. they "eat") what the ministers have shown contempt for (i.e. have "fouled with their feet") ... a reference to the true teachings which the sheep still accept and live by but which the ministry (i.e. those who teach the heresies) ridicules and shows contempt for. And just in the last few months there have been some INCREDIBLE examples of ministers "FOULING THE TRUTH OF GOD WITH THEIR FEET"!

The examples include things like:

- mocking those who still deleavened their homes for Unleavened Bread;

- mocking those who still keep the Sabbath faithfully;

- deceiving people into eating leaven during Unleavened Bread;

- deceiving and tricking people into eating pork;

- showing contempt for the Church's previous (correct!) teachings;

- totally misrepresenting our past teachings; etc..

So understand this: while God predicted that His people at the time of the end would be scattered, He also showed that THE MINISTRY is responsible for this scattering. And for that God will punish the ministry!

But God also shows what He will do for His sheep that have been scattered. It is right here in Ezekiel 34 ...

As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep [that are] scattered; SO WILL I SEEK OUT MY SHEEP, AND WILL DELIVER THEM OUT OF ALL PLACES WHERE THEY HAVE BEEN SCATTERED IN THE CLOUDY AND DARK DAY. (Ezekiel 34:12)

God will seek out His sheep! God will not overlook any who are His true sheep. God will find His true sheep where ever they may have been scattered. What is important is that you are a real "sheep".

This brings us to some of the places where the scattered sheep have gone.


In the past 15 years or so quite a number of new churches have been started by former members of WCG. The first major one of these is probably the "International Church of God", started by Garner Ted Armstrong in the late 1970'ies. Around 1990 Gerald Flurry started the "Philadelphia Church of God". Around 1993 Rod Meredith started the "Global Church of God" and in April 1995 a large number of former ministers of WCG started the "United Church of God", of which David Hulme is currently the Chairman of the Board.

Besides these four major new churches, there are in the region of 70 minor splinter groups that have been formed by former members over the years. These minor groups have never attracted any significant followings. And many of them have already disappeared.

The question that arises is this:

Since WCG has clearly and blatantly pressured the true "sheep" into scattering, is God now working through one of these "new" churches; and if so, through which one of them?

There is no question that some of the "sheep" have already joined or at least started to associate with one of the four major new churches ... and possibly even with some of the minor splinter groups?! That is the situation we now face. So ... should true Christians who still attend WCG now leave WCG and also join one of these new groups, or should they "tough it out" in WCG?

Consider the following:

1.) There is more to being the true Church of God than just having the right set of doctrines! Did you know that? Can anyone just start a "true Church of God" by simply studying the Bible and then teaching all the true doctrines? No, that's not how it works.

For example: supposing I have made a thorough study of the Bible and I now start a new "Church of God" in which I correct EVERY mistake that exists in WCG and in all the other new "churches of God" and I start in my new church to teach the truth of the Bible MORE ACCURATELY AND MORE FAITHFULLY than any of the others ... would that therefore make my new church "the real Church of God" at this time?


2.) NOBODY can start a new era or phase of the Church of God without a specific command from God to do so! Do you understand that unless God actually "sends" someone to start a church, it is not going to be of God? It is not a matter of having "good intentions".

Consider the example of "Uzzah" ...

And when they came to Nachon's threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth [his hand] to the ark of God, and took hold of it; FOR THE OXEN SHOOK [IT]. (2 Samuel 6:6)

There is no question that Uzzah had the best intentions ... he thought the Ark of God was going to fall off the ox-cart and he wanted to protect it from damage. And it is correct that God also didn't really want the Ark damaged. But Uzzah did something that God had instructed should not be done. And so God was angry with this disobedience ...

And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for [his] error; and there he died by the ark of God. (2 Samuel 6:7)

I am convinced that God is NOT pleased with anyone who decides to start a new "Church of God" just based on "good intentions" to protect the defenceless "sheep", if God has not in fact sent that man to start a new Church!

The important question to ask is: "Yes, but does God actually WANT a new Church started?"

3.) There is no question in my mind that God SPECIFICALLY commissioned Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong to start the Philadelphia era of the Church. That commission from God is written all over the 50-year ministry of Mr. Armstrong! But there are MAJOR questions in my mind that God may have commissioned Rod Meredith or Gerald Furry or Garner Ted Armstrong or the Committee under David Hulme's chairmanship to start a new Church of God. I don't believe there is ANY evidence for such a specific commission from God. And God has assuredly not given me a commission to start a new Church.

Remember ...

EXCEPT THE LORD BUILD THE HOUSE, THEY LABOUR IN VAIN THAT BUILD IT: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh [but] in vain. (Psalms 127:1)

Unless God has given a specific command to start a new Church, it is in vain!

4.) God makes very clear that He "SENDS" men to do specific jobs. In many cases such men didn't even want the job God had selected for them. You know the examples of Moses and of Jeremiah. Notice a few statements from the Book of Jeremiah ...


FOR I HAVE NOT SENT THEM, saith the LORD, yet they prophesy a lie in my name; that I might drive you out, and that ye might perish, ye, and the prophets that prophesy unto you. (Jeremiah 27:15)

For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I HAVE NOT SENT THEM, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 29:9)

Clearly there are and there have been people who claimed to do God's will, but who were not sent by God. Equally clearly there are those who were indeed sent by God ...

To hearken to the words of MY SERVANTS THE PROPHETS, WHOM I SENT UNTO YOU, both rising up early, and sending [them], but ye have not hearkened; (Jeremiah 26:5)

Because they have not hearkened to my words, saith the LORD, WHICH I SENT UNTO THEM BY MY SERVANTS THE PROPHETS, rising up early and sending [them]; but ye would not hear, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 29:19)

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, [thou] that killest the prophets, and stonest THEM WHICH ARE SENT UNTO THEE, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under [her] wings, and ye would not! (Matthew 23:37) 


1) While Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong was still alive, his son Garner Ted did his best to lead the Church of God into heretical teachings. He authorized and supported the aborted attempt at "revising" the doctrines of the Church through the infamous "S.T.P." project. This project never got any further than perverting the teaching about healing. Once Mr. Armstrong was made aware of what his son was leading the Church into, he put Garner Ted out of the Church and then wrote a LENGTHY AND THOROUGH REFUTATION of the S.T.P.'s teaching about healing.

Garner Ted Armstrong then formed his own church, the Church of God International. It was formed in rebellion towards his father. The teachings that Garner Ted Armstrong had not agreed with, he changed in his church.

Whether the doctrines Garner Ted Armstrong teaches now, in 1995, are correct or are wrong is totally immaterial! {And he does hold some wrong teachings!} The fact that he started his church OUT OF REBELLION makes clear beyond a doubt that God is not the One who instructed or authorized him to start "the Church of God International". Therefore that church is NOT an alternative that God has provided for those who are pressured and forced out of WCG by heretical teachings.

2) Gerald Flurry saw that Pasadena was perverting the true teachings of the Bible. And so he started a new church, the Philadelphia Church of God. He proclaimed himself as the "Pastor General" of that church. The emphasis he put into his church is on maintaining the teachings Mr. Armstrong had put into the Church and a strong emphasis that Mr. Armstrong was the prophecied Elijah.

In a later section I intend to address the question of "Elijah". At this point I will just say that Gerald Flurry has preached some rather unbalanced views. He has put a heavy emphasis on prophecy and has made several predictions which did not come to pass (e.g. he predicted an earthquake for the Los Angeles area for the day of the World Cup Soccer Final in 1994, etc.).

Many of the views he expresses in his writings are not correct. There is no evidence, as far as I am concerned, that Gerald Flurry was instructed by God to start a new church ... no evidence at all. As a general overall impression, his "work" is a human attempt at trying to solve the problems that the leadership of WCG has created. But God is not in it. And God has not "sent" him.

3) When the heresies emanating from Pasadena got still worse, Rod Meredith finally reached a point where he felt he could no longer go along with Pasadena. So he started the Global Church of God. His motive was fine. I don't believe the story that Pasadena put out about Rod Meredith ... that he was seeking personal power and prestige and authority. I believe his motive and his intentions were fine. But they were "HIS" intentions; there is no evidence that they were "GOD'S INTENTIONS"! They were once again only a HUMAN solution to the problems that God had foretold would come upon His Church.

Some people have told me that they feel the Global Church is "too aggressive" in seeking to gain members from WCG. I don't believe that is a problem. The problem is not that Global is too aggressive in its drive to gain members; the problem really is that God did not send Rod Meredith to start the Global Church!

Of all the "churches of God" around at this present time, Global is probably more correct in its DOCTRINES than any of the others, though they are not without errors either. {I say this because up till now United has not really spelled out its doctrines. Once they do so, they may be just as correct as Global.} Not unlike the Philadelphia Church of God in this one regard: their biblical understanding seems to be LOCKED INTO THE 1960'ies! I said locked "in their understanding", though not necessarily in their practices.

4) After Rod Meredith started the Global Church of God, the heresies in WCG continued to get worse. Finally, in January of this year Mr. Tkach laid his cards openly on the table (until then he had played a largely "hidden" hand!) and declared his intention to do away with the last vestiges of the true doctrines God had put into His Church through Mr. Armstrong. That is when many of the leading ministers who until then were still a part of WCG formed a new church, the United Church of God. Most of these men had stayed in WCG up to that point, not necessarily because they went along with the heresies, but because they wanted to provide support for God's "sheep" who are still in WCG. But Mr. Tkach's "new covenant ideas" made it impossible to stay.

The main focus at that time was on four things: the Sabbath, the Holy Days, tithing and the matter of clean/unclean meats. On these things everyone was agreed. On other issues things were not quite as clear-cut. With the large number of people that came together in such a short time, there was also a variety of ideas and feelings on other subjects.

So the leadership of United asked for time ... to have the opportunity to sort out all the other questions, where there were potentially different views in some cases, and known differences in others. They hope to have things sorted out by the end of this year. Again, the motivation was fine. The reasoning was: people have been hurt and are suffering. So let's first of all provide an environment in which people can worship God in peace and in truth. Once we have that in place, we can address all the other questions.

The danger here is that people join a church before they are fully aware of what the final teachings of that church are going to be. IF the doctrines that are eventually decided on are acceptable to those who have joined, they will stay. But if people are not happy with the doctrines United will accept and teach, once these things are addressed, then people will leave United.

United has probably become a place of refuge for more of God's true "sheep" than any of the other churches. Perhaps that is too large a grouping of God's people for it to last in the face Satan's onslaught to totally "scatter" the power of God's Church? I like to see God's people together and united. I don't like division. But I see the seeds for potential division within United in its (thus far) lack of doctrinal definition. Look, if United ends up forming the largest single grouping of God's people at this time (which it could!), then it will certainly attract Satan's attack to further scatter God's people. That's what Daniel tells us to expect! And doctrinal differences could very well end up being at the root of further divisions and further "scattering".

This briefly covers the four major new churches of God. But there is one point we need to keep in mind as we look at all of these alternate churches.


We started off by looking at Daniel 12:7. We saw that "the power of the holy people" is indeed being scattered. Satan is responsible for that "scattering". It is his EXPRESS INTENTION to scatter the power God's Church had under Mr. Armstrong's leadership.

Why did we have that "power" back then? Remember how Mr. Armstrong used to explain it? The "power" was obviously of God! We know Revelation 3:8 ... that we had only "A LITTLE STRENGTH". It was God who opened the doors for us (same verse). Remember how often Mr. Armstrong would say something like:

"Brethren, if at least 51% of us are really converted and submit ourselves to God, then God will bless the Church (i.e. give us strength and power)."

Do you think Mr. Armstrong was correct when he said this? I believe his statement was correct. And I believe that SATAN ALSO KNOWS that Mr. Armstrong's statement was correct!

So here's the big picture:

Since the day Mr. Armstrong died Satan has been working at scattering "the power of the holy people". How did he do that? By inserting the RAZOR-THIN edge of the wedge of doctrinal changes from the day Mr. Armstrong died. That first light tap on the wedge of doctrinal corruption produced a cut in the fabric of God's Church no bigger than the width of a razor. It was so minute that almost nobody noticed it.

But an incision had been made! A foothold had been established and Satan was poised to continue tapping-in the wedge of doctrinal corruption. Satan's success ensured that God would withdraw His blessings (as per Mr. Armstrong's explanation).

The gradual insertion of the wedge was so subtle and so deceptive that many people actually thought it was of God! So people started to "REJECT THE KNOWLEDGE GOD HAD GIVEN HIS CHURCH" (see again Hosea 4:6) because the "new truth" conveniently told them what their ears were "itching for" (see again 2.Tim. 4:3). And people in the Church of God, who in their own hearts consider themselves dedicated and converted Christians, turned their ears away from the truth unto fables ... only in "minor issues" of course. You know, things where we could conveniently say: "well, as far as I am concerned, the Bible isn't really clear on this or that and Mr. Armstrong privately (supposedly) told so-and-so that he was wrong in putting this doctrine into the Church", etc., etc..


Have you forgotten how subtle and crafty Satan is? Do you really think he will openly and publicly trumpet out his real intentions to you? Don't you understand that it was SATAN'S IDEA that "it takes a little bit of sugar to make the bitter medicine go down"? After first accepting that little bit of sugar, are you NOW trying to spit out the bitter medicine? When you were a little child and your mother brought you a spoon full of sugar ... weren't you suspicious of what was hidden in the sugar?? Didn't you know from experience that the sugar was nothing but a cover- up?

The big picture is that EVERY DOCTRINAL CHANGE INITIATED BY PASADENA SINCE MR. ARMSTRONG'S DEATH was made with the explicit purpose of tapping the wedge of doctrinal corruption further into God's Church so that the power of the Church would be scattered.

If you believe for one moment that ANY of the over 200 changes Pasadena has made is right and good in the sight of God, then you don't understand the mind of God!

Do you really believe that God would say to Satan: "Alright, I will allow you to introduce heresies into My Church, but only on the condition that for every 20 bad and wrong changes you introduce, you must also introduce ONE change that is right and good in MY sight"? Do you really believe that the fountain in Pasadena can bring forth both, a little bit of sweet water together with a whole lot of BITTER water (see James 3:11)? Would you rather believe that idea than admit that you too may have had a mild dose of "itching ears"?

Anyway, back to the big picture: for the past nine years one doctrinal change after the other has been introduced. The early ones were intended to be "the sugar-coating" of the bitter pill of totally throwing out the truth of God. Many people, including many ministers, went along with quite a number of these changes ... different people went along with different changes. Which changes people went along with is totally immaterial to Satan. All Satan is interested in is that they DID go along with at least SOME changes.

The result was that gradually many people, including especially ministers (see again Jeremiah 50:6; etc.), accepted a whole range of "minor" doctrinal changes. They had forgotten another thing that Mr. Armstrong frequently explained, when he would say:


Many people DID accept "one millionth of an inch" here and "one millionth of an inch" there. Oh yes, these "millionth of an inch" changes they accepted were mostly minor and seemingly not of very much consequence; but accepting those "very minor" changes DID do one thing: it divided people! There were those people who went along with these "minor" changes and those who didn't. Those divisions put a strain on "walking together".

So by the time the first major split-off (i.e. Gerald Flurry and the Philadelphia Church) came, even some of those who left WCG had absorbed various "millionth of an inch" changes that Satan had injected into WCG virtually from the day that Mr. Armstrong had died. Mr. Flurry's unbalanced ideas about prophecy and his lack of understanding about "Elijah" make this clear. Gerald Flurry's CLAIM that he teaches the things Mr. Armstrong taught is only supported superficially, on the surface. His prophetic ideas are clearly not what Mr. Armstrong taught.

After Gerald Flurry had started PCG, the rest of us continued to stay in WCG. By the time Rod Meredith started the Global Church, some people had accepted and absorbed so many MORE "millionth of an inch" doctrinal corruptions. Others had resisted these changes. So of those who went and joined Global some took the things they had absorbed with them into Global, while others rejected all the changes.

The rest of us stayed in WCG and some continued to absorb the doctrinal corruptions, which, by the way, were no longer just on the level of "one millionth of an inch", while others continued to resist. When Mr. Tkach then threw down the gauntlet in January this year, some of those who left to start the United Church had absorbed quite a number of doctrinal corruptions and about the only things some few disagreed with WCG on were the Sabbath, Holy Days, tithing and clean/unclean meats. Others rejected far more of the changes that had been introduced. Some who went to United reject all or most of the changes that were made. In this context a statement like "we agree with all of the 18 basic truths Mr. Armstrong restored" is intended to be conciliatory but it is not sufficient.


The issue is that Satan has injected several HUNDRED errors into the Church with the explicit goal of SCATTERING THE POWER OF THE CHURCH! That is Satan's goal which God revealed to us in Daniel 12:7. Never lose sight of this point.

Satan is working in exactly the same way as he has done before. Can we not identify his modus operandi? Recall how Satan worked things out in the world.

Very soon after the deaths of the original apostles the true Church of God was replaced by a false one. The false church, with false doctrines, continued to inculcate into its doctrinal portfolio ever more heretical ideas from paganism. By the time Martin Luther and John Calvin and all the other Protestant reformers came along and disagreed with a few of the major doctrines of the Catholic Church, these very same Protestant "REFORMERS" had also absorbed literally HUNDREDS of wrong ideas from the Catholic Church. They accepted so many doctrinal corruptions as biblically correct, as above being questioned or being challenged, that the few doctrinal issues they took exception with are immaterial.

They, the daughters of the Catholic Church, are not really different from their mother in any significant ways ... as far as GOD is concerned! They merely give the "outward appearance" of being more faithful to the Bible; but they aren't really! Yet many were totally sincere and committed and willing to suffer persecution, even to a degree that most of us have never faced. They were sincere, but they were deceived. Satan is the master deceiver. And they were just his victims, like everyone else around them.

There is a parallel here in the way we are being scattered. It is the same Satan at work. Even as Satan inspired doctrinal corruptions in the Catholic Church before the Protestants ever split off, so Satan inspired doctrinal corruptions in WCG before these alternate churches broke off. And even as the Protestant churches unquestioningly accepted many of these doctrinal errors, so some of the people in the alternate churches have accepted some or even many of the doctrinal errors WCG introduced before they themselves split off from WCG, while other people (ministers and members) in these same churches have rejected all of these things and continue to do so. That creates the potential for divisions.

Can you see that Satan has followed the same basic pattern that he used in the religions of this world?

No specific one of these alternate churches is God's answer to the problems that the Worldwide Church of God has created, although many of God's true "sheep" have sought refuge amongst these churches. That is why the "sheep" are now scattered ... some are attending United, some are attending Global, some are still attending Worldwide, some are not attending any church, and some are attending one of the other groups that have been formed. During Mr. Armstrong's time the "sheep" were all united under one Pastor General, but now they are divided and scattered.

That's exactly what God predicted through Daniel!

Depending on which church true Christians are associating with, they will face greater or lesser pressure to "LET GO" of some of the things they had learned. God's instruction to His people, in whatever environment they are now living, is: "HOLD FAST THAT WHICH YOU HAVE THAT NO MAN TAKE YOUR CROWN" (see Rev.3:11). Understand that ALL of us will face some pressure to let go, wherever we are; but in some churches of God (I am including WCG in this listing) people will face more pressure than in others.

You need to understand that GOD did not establish any of these alternate churches. They are not GOD'S answer to the problems WCG has created ... they are man's answers to these problems. You need to also understand that God is certainly NOT guiding WCG at all! The Worldwide Church of God is being guided by a TOTALLY CARNAL HUMAN LEADERSHIP! This is something that God is "allowing"! But it is Satan's "DOING"!

As a result of the pressure of heresies within WCG, God's people are being scattered. That's what Satan wants to achieve ... to scatter the power of God's Church and God predicted it through Daniel. In analogy, those who are fleeing are going into the caves and the dens for refuge. That's what these new churches provide ... refuge. The point I am trying to get across is that there is no one specific "cave" that God is at this time leading people to as opposed to any of the other "caves". What God is concerned with is that your life, your conduct and your character are right before Him, not necessarily which particular "cave" you temporarily seek refuge in. Whichever church you continue to be a part of ... WCG or United or Global or one of the others ... realize that your "membership" in that church is going to be a very temporary thing. We are indeed in a period of "transition" ... the time of scattering before the gathering together.

I don't think people are better off in WCG than in one of the new churches. But I also don't feel that people necessarily have to leave WCG. I at present am disfellowshipped from WCG and I am not meeting with any other church. However, if God were to show me in some way that I MUST chose between these different churches, then I would probably join either Global (because I know where they stand) or, once they have spelled out exactly where they stand, United. For me personally neither Philadelphia nor International are an option, though I am convinced that some of the true "sheep" have been scattered to these groups as well.

The scattering is nothing new really. It's all happened before. Remember the faith chapter ...

(Of whom the world was not worthy:) THEY WANDERED IN DESERTS, AND [IN] MOUNTAINS, AND [IN] DENS AND CAVES OF THE EARTH. (Hebrews 11:38)

They were scattered!

You remember, years ago, when you studied into the history of God's Church? How God's people had to flee time and again from persecution ... from Asia Minor across the Alpine regions and eventually into North America? They were scattered by persecution. They sought refuge in whatever cave they could find.

You remember what happened after Stephen was stoned and Saul (later Paul) started to persecute the Church?

And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was A GREAT PERSECUTION against the church which was at Jerusalem; AND THEY WERE ALL SCATTERED ABROAD throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. (Acts 8:1)

It is always the same thing. Persecution leads to the Church being scattered. Today the doctrinal persecution is more intense than it has been at any other time this century! And true Christians were "scattered". It is nothing new. Now let's look at another question.


A major misunderstanding to which many of the people in God's Church still cling is that "Mr. Armstrong filled the office of the Elijah at the end time".

That idea is totally false!

It is based on a false assumption! Let's understand.

1) There is only one single passage in the Old Testament that predicted that God would send another "Elijah". It is found in Malachi 4:5 ...

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: (Malachi 4:5)

The next verse talks about what Elijah would do ...

And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4:6)

Now understand something: these two verses are the last statement in the entire Old Testament as we have it, or the last statement in the section known as "the Prophets" in the inspired Hebrew canon of the O.T.. These verses form a bridge to the New Testament. They form a bridge specifically to "the Day of the LORD", the time when Jesus Christ will return to this Earth.

The references in the New Testament we will now see all refer back specifically to this closing passage of the section of "the Prophets".

2) The angel Gabriel told Zacharias that John the Baptist would fill the role of the prophesied "Elijah" ...

And he SHALL GO BEFORE HIM IN THE SPIRIT AND POWER OF ELIAS, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. (Luke 1:17)

Notice here first of all that filling the role of "Elijah" involves GOING BEFORE JESUS CHRIST TO INTRODUCE CHRIST AND TO POINT PEOPLE TO CHRIST! Elijah ... "shall go before Him"! Notice also that Gabriel expanded the original prophecy of Malachi 4 to mean: "IN THE SPIRIT AND POWER OF Elijah". Next notice that Gabriel explained that the "turning" referred to in Mal. 4:6 means: "TO TURN THE DISOBEDIENT TO THE WISDOM OF THE JUST AND TO PREPARE A PEOPLE FOR THE FIRST COMING OF CHRIST"! This statement by Gabriel means that the "Elijah" at the end must also prepare a people for the SECOND coming of Christ, since Mal. 4:5 focuses specifically on Christ's second coming.

3) Jesus Christ referred to this prophecy on one occasion. This is recorded in two of the gospel accounts ... in Matthew 17:10-13 and in Mark 9:11-13. The account in Matthew gives more details. So let's examine that account ...

And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? (Matthew 17:10)

This was asked after they had witnessed the transfiguration in which they had seen a vision of Elijah. Since they had seen "Elijah" in vision, they apparently assumed that Elijah was already a spirit being and therefore asked: "why does Elijah still need to be resurrected and come again, if he is already a spirit being?" The account in Mark shows that the context they were talking about was "the resurrection". Notice ...

And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another WHAT THE RISING FROM THE DEAD SHOULD MEAN. (Mark 9:10)

This context is important to keep in mind. The vision had focused their minds on the resurrection.

Next, the answer to their question is really quite simple: THE REASON why the scribes said that Elijah must come before the Messiah comes was because the scribes were aware of Malachi 4:5! Bear in mind that Malachi 4:5 doesn't really say before WHICH coming of the Messiah. The scribes thought that there would be only ONE coming of the Messiah, the second one. WE IN GOD'S CHURCH TODAY can clearly understand that the Messiah was prophesied to come TWICE, but the scribes didn't understand this.

From Jesus Christ's explanation we today can also understand that the prophecy in Malachi 4:5, even though it clearly focuses on the second coming of Christ, was intended by God to also have an application to Christ's first coming; something that John the Baptist fulfilled. This is a clear example of the principle of DUAL APPLICATIONS for many prophecies, something Mr. Armstrong often expounded on.

Now notice how Christ answered their question.

And Jesus answered and said unto them, ELIAS TRULY SHALL FIRST COME, AND RESTORE ALL THINGS. (Matthew 17:11)

First of all, Christ CONFIRMED that the scribes were correct in saying that "Elijah" still had to come at some time in the future. Christ was referring to the obvious intent of Malachi 4:5, something that would take place before the second coming.

But then Christ ADDED something not found in the original prophecy. Christ said that "Elijah" would "RESTORE ALL THINGS"! This is something of a "job description" for "Elijah" ... that he would have to "restore" things.

The Greek word translated "restore" is "apokathistemi". It is used eight times in the N.T. ... four times it refers to healing and twice it refers to what "Elijah" would do. In three verses it refers to a withered hand being "RESTORED" (Matt. 12;13; Mark 3:5 and Luke 6:10). In one verse it refers to a man's sight being "restored" (Mark 8:25). These usages convey the meaning of "restoring to a state of origin" or "restoring to the way that something should really be".

So in verse 11 Christ affirmed that what the scribes said was correct. But then in the next verse He contrasted this with something that the scribes did NOT understand.

But I say unto you, That ELIAS IS COME ALREADY, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. LIKEWISE shall also the Son of man suffer of them. (Matthew 17:12)

The words "but I say unto you" introduce an additional application of Malachi's prophecy. This was a confirmation of the prophecy Gabriel had pronounced to Zacharias. The "Elijah" Christ refers to here was already "past tense" at the time Christ said this. THE FOCUS Christ presented here was that John the Baptist WAS KILLED! The word "LIKEWISE" transfers this focus to Christ Himself. In other words, in the same way that John the Baptist was put to death for doing the job of "Elijah", so Jesus Christ Himself would also be put to death for the message that He brought.

The concluding verse of this section makes clear that the disciples understood that Christ meant that John the Baptist had indeed filled the role of "Elijah".

Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. (Matthew 17:13)

And that is all we have in the Bible as far as prophecies about "Elijah" are concerned. So let's summarize what we have seen.

4) This is a clear illustration of "progressive revelation".

Firstly, The only prophecy about "Elijah" in the O.T. is very brief and short on details. However, the focus is clearly on the SECOND coming of Christ. This reference is intended to provide a bridge from the O.T. to the second coming of Christ.

Secondly, the angel Gabriel explained that the prophecy referred to someone coming "in the spirit and power of Elijah". Gabriel applied this prophecy to John the Baptist.

Thirdly, Gabriel explained that the prophecy refers to someone "going before" the Messiah; i.e. announcing the Messiah's coming and pointing people to the Messiah, identifying Him for people.

Fourthly, Gabriel made clear that the prophecy referred to a specific person, not to "a work" of a whole church era! The prophecy does not speak about "THE WORK of Elijah"; it speaks in the singular about one individual who would do a specific work.

Fifthly, Gabriel explained what the expression "turning the hearts" refers to ... it refers to teaching people not to be "disobedient" to the laws of God and to prepare people for the coming of Christ.

Next, Jesus Christ confirmed that John the Baptist did indeed fulfil the role of coming "in the spirit and power of Elijah". But what Christ did is change the focus BACK TO THE "ELIJAH" AT THE END!

Next, Christ added that the "Elijah" at the end would have to restore things to the way they really should be! Christ did not mean that "Elijah" would restore things "in the world" ... that wasn't the original Elijah's job and that wasn't the job of John the Baptist either. Jesus Christ meant that "Elijah" would restore things to the way they really should be IN THE CHURCH OF GOD! That commission for "Elijah" implies that there is a "falling away" first which then necessitates "a restoring"! In 2.Thess.2:3 Paul explained that there would be a "falling away" before Christ's second coming; that is why "Elijah" needs to "restore all things".

5) The wrong assumption that Mr. Armstrong was the "Elijah" of the end time was arrived at as follows:

Back in the 1960'ies Mr. Armstrong believed Christ would return in the 1970'ies. He believed we had already then entered the time of the end. THEREFORE there simply had to be an "Elijah" somewhere around. It was logical that the "Elijah" would be God's leading servant at the time. It was also logical to assume that "Elijah" would be the leader of the two witnesses. And it was felt that Mr. Armstrong was the leader of the two witnesses as well ... after all, who else was there for these roles?

HOWEVER: today we should recognize very clearly that in the 1960'ies we had NOT YET entered the specific end time events that precede the return of Jesus Christ. Thirty years have passed since then.

It was 30 years too soon to focus on who the two witnesses will be! It was also 30 years too soon to focus on who the end time "Elijah" will be.

We correctly understood that "Elijah" immediately precedes the second coming of Christ. Once we had put a name to "Elijah" (i.e. the name "Herbert W. Armstrong"), THEN we looked for reasons to hold onto that name ... even when circumstances changed! As circumstances changed, we should have recognized that our speculations about Mr. Armstrong being "Elijah" were wrong. Instead we modified our expectations to accommodate changed circumstances. We then said: it is not that Mr. Armstrong is "Elijah"; it is that the whole Church under the human leadership of Mr. Armstrong is doing THE WORK OF ELIJAH! But that is not what the Scriptures say!

The Scripture says: "behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet ...", and NOT: "behold I will send you A WORK OF ELIJAH ...".

Let me state it this way:

IF back in the 1960'ies we had understood that Mr. Armstrong would die at the beginning of 1986 and that Jesus Christ would definitely not return until at least 12 years after Mr. Armstrong had died ... THEN NOBODY WOULD HAVE CONCLUDED THAT MR. ARMSTRONG WAS "ELIJAH"!

The conclusion, back in the 60'ies, that Mr. Armstrong was "Elijah" was based on the ASSUMPTION that Mr. Armstrong would also live up to the second coming of Christ! History has proved that assumption to be wrong. But some continue to hold fast to the wrong conclusion based on that wrong assumption ... they now look for OTHER WAYS of rationalizing that the wrong conclusion was somehow correct.

Others have never understood the real reasons WHY we felt that Mr. Armstrong was "Elijah" in the first place ... all they know is something very general about some "WORK OF ELIJAH", whatever that may be? They are the ones who looked to things like the Church's Y.E.S. and Y.O.U. programs somehow being fulfilments of Malachi 4:6. But Malachi 4:6 was not talking about Y.E.S. lessons and Y.O.U. activities. The angel Gabriel explained that this Scripture refers to turning the hearts of those who are disobedient towards God.

6) WHAT IS IT ABOUT ELIJAH THAT GOD FOCUSED ON? WHY did God say that He would send "Elijah"? Why not "Isaiah" or "Moses" or "Jeremiah" or "Ezekiel"? Why "Elijah"? Do you understand?

As Gabriel pointed out, it has nothing to do with THE PERSON of Elijah as such. It has to do with 2 things: coming in the spirit of Elijah, and coming in the power of Elijah. So we have to look at the ministry of Elijah himself to see what God means here.

There are several things that stand out about Elijah's ministry or work:

- Elijah brought on a three and one half year drought (James 5:17; 1.Kings 17:1);

- Elijah identified the true God to Israel in an age of confusion .

And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, HOW LONG HALT YE BETWEEN TWO OPINIONS? IF THE LORD [BE] GOD, FOLLOW HIM: but if Baal, [then] follow him. And the people answered him not a word. (1 Kings 18:21)

- Elijah took on the false ministry head-on and slew 450 of the pagan priests (1.Kings 18:22,40);

- Elijah called fire down from heaven on three occasions (1.Kings 18:24,38; 2.Kings 1:10,12).

Now which of these things is God trying to draw our attention to by telling us that He will send someone "in the spirit and power of Elijah"? Well, let's look in the Book of Revelation. These things that identify Elijah lead us straight to the two witnesses at the end.

- the 2 witnesses have a three and one half year ministry, the same length as the drought Elijah pronounced (Rev. 11:3);

- the 2 witnesses have power to cause a drought for that whole length of time .

These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. (Revelation 11:6)

- the 2 witnesses also have power to call fire from heaven, through their speaking .

And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. (Revelation 11:5)

- the 2 witnesses will identify the true God in an age of confusion ... that is why they are "witnesses";

- the 2 witnesses will also confront the false ministry head-on, and some of their enemies will die (Rev. 11:5).

All of these things are "IN THE SPIRIT AND POWER OF ELIJAH"! The parallels between Elijah in the O.T. and the two witnesses before Christ's second coming are overwhelming!

The original Elijah worked alone. He felt a heavy burden and he FELT ALONE; he said: "... even I alone am left" (1.Kings 19:14). In due time God replaced him with Elisha. John the Baptist, the first man to come "in the spirit and power of Elijah", also worked alone, and died alone. He needed reassurance when he had run his course. So he sent his disciples to ask Christ ...

And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? (Matthew 11:3)

It is not until the Book of Revelation that we see that "Elijah" is actually given an assistant to share the load that the original Elijah felt was too heavy for him. And so we see that there will be TWO witnesses, who will do the very same things that Elijah did!

Whether only the leader of the two witnesses qualifies for being called "Elijah" or whether both of them fill the role of doing one work is only a technicality. Revelation 11 makes clear that BOTH of the two witnesses will do Elijah-like works ... and both will die in the same way.

So our reasoning in the 60'ies that "Elijah" and the leader of the two witnesses are the same person was correct; but our conclusion that Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong fulfilled both these roles was wrong. If we had known for sure that Mr. Armstrong would die more than a decade before Christ's second coming, we would not have made that wrong assumption.


In Malachi 4:5-6 we saw the original prophecy. In Luke 1:17 we saw how the angel Gabriel APPLIED this prophecy. It has to do with preparing for the coming of the Messiah. John the Baptist was the one who pointed out the true Christ to humanity. He was there when Christ started His ministry. And John the Baptist was Jesus Christ ADDED something to the job description of "Elijah". Christ said that "Elijah" would have to "restore all things", meaning restoring the true teachings of God.

By the way, the two English words "all things" are a translation of the one Greek word "pas". In this context we should not take the word "ALL" to refer to the nth degree. It means "all things in a general way of speaking". It is used in the same way as in Matt. 2:3, where "ALL Jerusalem was troubled" and in Matt. 3:5, where "ALL Judaea went out to John the Baptist" and in Luke 6:17, where a great multitude "out of ALL Judaea" came to hear Christ, etc.. Obviously, not every single person in Jerusalem was troubled when the wise men came to Herod and not every single person in Judaea went out to John the Baptist. It is a reference to "all in a general way of speaking".

Back to Christ's statement: the reference to "restoring" implies that some things must first "be lost".

I don't believe that it is in any way an exaggeration to say that Mr. Armstrong would not in his wildest dreams have imagined the magnitude of the extent to which the Church of God would, within a mere 10 years of his death, LOSE the truth of God!

Let me state it this way:

10 years ago, in 1985, Mr. Armstrong wrote about the "18 truths" he had been used to restore to God's Church. IF at that time Mr. Armstrong had known how many truths the Church would have lost by 1995, he would certainly not have felt that his was the final restoration!

Today we are talking about A LOT MORE THAN JUST 18 TRUTHS that have to be restored! Can you understand this? The dismantling of the teachings of the Church, the rejection of the truth, the introduction of heresies and the discarding of the writings of Mr. Armstrong has been so methodical and so thorough under Mr. Tkach's leadership that almost everybody in the Church has been influenced to some degree. Many of those who consider themselves loyal to the things Mr. Armstrong taught don't even realize that they have departed in one area or another from the faith that was once delivered to us. It is not a matter of having a wrong attitude; it is a matter of having been deceived by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness ...

That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (Ephesians 4:14)

In plain English: how many people have been taken in by clever arguments in one area or another? All too many, it seems.


I have upheld Mr. Armstrong's integrity and his office and his position as much as anyone else, and I still do so! But Mr. Armstrong was not the "Elijah" who would restore all things immediately prior to the second coming of Christ! The depth of doctrinal depravity into which the Church of God has sunk in the past 10 years REQUIRES that God send someone to restore all things before Jesus Christ returns! It is because of THE FOUNDATION that Mr. Armstrong was used to lay, that it will be possible for an "Elijah" to restore all things. The things God used Mr. Armstrong to put into God's Church are the basic reference points, the yardstick, the measurement by which things need to be "restored".

The closer we live to the time of Christ's return, the more understanding we will have access to. That is always the way God has worked. It does not in any way diminish the job God's servants in previous times performed. For example, Daniel and Jeremiah didn't understand some of the things the apostles came to understand. Notice the words of Christ ...

For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous [men] have desired to see [those things] which ye see, and have not seen [them]; and to hear [those things] which ye hear, and have not heard [them]. (Matthew 13:17)

Not having seen and heard those things did not in any way take away from the prophets and righteous men of old. By the end of his life the Apostle John came to understand some things the others had not been privileged to understand. Mr. Armstrong came to understand some things that none of the apostles in their life-times could have understood. That didn't make Mr. Armstrong more important than any of the original apostles. He just lived at a later time when more of God's plan had unfolded.

It was Mr. Armstrong who repeatedly told us that 90% of prophecy applies to our time and beyond. And so it is not in any way demeaning towards Mr. Armstrong to realize that we today, almost 10 years after his death, should be in a position to understand MORE than what Mr. Armstrong was privileged to understand and to teach. It is simply a matter that MORE OF GOD'S PLAN HAS UNFOLDED IN THE PAST 10 YEARS. There is more for us to see. A lot of things have happened in these past 10 years! Had he lived, these things would also have influenced Mr. Armstrong's understanding.

So please understand that when I disagree with Mr. Armstrong on some things, it is not that I have any desire to elevate myself above Mr. Armstrong. Not at all! It is just that I have the privilege, as do you, to view the history and the developments in God's Church 10 years down the road from Mr. Armstrong's perspective. Those 10 years MUST have an influence on our understanding. We must confront reality! And we must GROW in knowledge, as well as in grace (2.Peter 3:18).

So the job of the end time "Elijah" is to restore the things the Church has lost. As Gabriel pointed out, the job also includes going before the Messiah ... announcing the Messiah's return. Yes, Mr. Armstrong did do this during his lifetime, but he is now dead and can't do it any more. But SOMEBODY will still have to do this until Christ DOES return! The job of Elijah, as Jesus Christ pointed out, also involves DYING! As Christ referred to John being put to death ("... they have done unto him whatsoever they listed ..."), so likewise the end time "Elijah" will have to die as a martyr. And that is precisely what the two witnesses will have to do.

In the Greek of the New Testament the one word "martus" means both, "a witness" and "a martyr" and it is translated by both these English words. And as we know, the two witnesses are "martyred", or killed, at the end of their ministry.

Mr. Armstrong was not killed ... he died a natural death at the end of a long life. This means that Mr. Armstrong could not have been either one of the two witnesses or "Elijah".

Another point to consider: the people who still believe that Mr. Armstrong was the "Elijah" of the end ALSO used to believe (15 and 20 years ago!) that Mr. Armstrong was one of the two witnesses. Mr. Armstrong's death has FORCED them to stop believing the latter idea, but they still cling to the former. They don't understand that the two are tied together.

This is a typical problem that arises when people approach a Scripture with the answer in mind even BEFORE they have examined the Scripture itself. People like that are then forced to read specific meanings into what the Bible actually says. Their minds are closed to the correct answers. We need to always examine the Scriptures first with an honest open mind.

Think this whole question through very carefully for yourself. Mr. Armstrong was a servant of God. He was the leader of an era of God's Church. But he was not the "Elijah" of the time of the end, just as surely as Franz Josef Strauss was not "the Beast". It was our mistake to, already 30 years ago, want to put names to "Elijah" and to "the Beast" and to "the two witnesses". We should now understand that 30 years ago God was not about to tell us who these individuals would be 30 or more years later! 30 years ago it wasn't really our business to know who these individuals will be. But it is hard not to speculate a little bit now and then, isn't it?

So: "Elijah" truly shall still come and restore all things! And "Elijah" will be one of the two witnesses. And he will announce the return of Jesus Christ. And just like John the Baptist, he will then be put to death (together with the other one of the two witnesses); in this case three and one half days before the return of Jesus Christ. And just like John the Baptist he will announce: "BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD!"

That was not the job God called Mr. Armstrong to perform.


As I mentioned earlier, the Philadelphia Church of God is very emphatic that Mr. Armstrong was the "Elijah" to come. Some of the other churches may believe something similar, if perhaps not as emphatically as Philadelphia.

To believe that Mr. Armstrong was "Elijah" is obviously a MAJOR misunderstanding. We are living in the time when "the power of the holy people is being scattered" in very aggressive ways. The time when God will have to send the end time "Elijah" is clearly rapidly approaching ... if the rate at which the truth of God is being rejected, obscured, watered down and compromised is any indication.

There is no doubt that God has reserved unto Himself a people who have not compromised, who have not bowed the knee to Baal and who are committed to follow Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, "wheresoever He goes" (see Rev.14:4). But it is equally clear that even the "wise virgins" who do have "oil" are slumbering to some degree and that a cry needs to go out, saying: "the Bridegroom is coming; go out to meet Him" (Matt.25:6). It is only when the power of the holy people has been completely scattered, when Satan feels that he has actually succeeded, that God takes those who are His to the place of safety.

It is not really going to be the way many of us have speculated over the years ... that God gives the word to the leader: "Right, now tell the Church it is time to go to the place of safety", and the leader then passes the word on through the emergency telephone network.

The word will not really go out until the power of the holy people has been COMPLETELY scattered; until the true Christians are so divided and so scattered into different groups and bodies that THE ONLY WAY to get us together again will be for God to take us to the place of safety and once again THERE form us into one body. As we saw already in Ezekiel ...

As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep [that are] scattered; SO WILL I SEEK OUT MY SHEEP, AND WILL DELIVER THEM OUT OF ALL PLACES WHERE THEY HAVE BEEN SCATTERED IN THE CLOUDY AND DARK DAY. (Ezekiel 34:12)

God will not miss a single one of the sheep that are His! You can have total confidence in God's promise to take care of all His scattered sheep, including you.

There are true sheep in WCG, but that is not where God is working at this time. There are true sheep in United and in Global and in the other churches, but that is not where God is working either at this time. When there is "a famine" of the word, then there simply isn't any one organized body that is preaching that word. There are only scattered "pockets" of true believers.


If there were indeed one body through which God is working at this time, THEN THE SHEEP WOULD NOT BE "SCATTERED"! It would mean that the sheep that are attached to that one body are "in the right place". And those that are in the right place are not "scattered", are they? Can you understand that the prophecies about the power being broken and the sheep being scattered can only be fulfilled if there is no "one specific correct body" for the sheep to be attached to. It is not the "bad" sheep that are being scattered; it is the "good" ones! That's what Daniel 12:7 and Ezekiel 34:12 tell us! And that is also what history tells us. It is not that there will be some "good" sheep that are "lucky" to be attached to the right body, while there are other "good" sheep who are "unlucky" to be attached to the wrong body or even to no specific body.


That may be a little unsettling for many of us. I am sorry about that. I really wish I could give you an easier message, like telling you: "well, at this particular time Church "X" is the one God is working through and that is the one you should join." But I don't believe that is what the Word of God reveals about the time we are living in. So if you can obey God where you are, then stay in that organization; if you feel pressured to compromise in your present circumstances, then move ... but consider carefully what you do.

Some have joined the new churches and that is fine. Then there are a very few ministers who have basically kept a congregation together without joining any of the groups and also without becoming a new church themselves. It is all part of the scattering. If there is bold and confident leadership on the part of the minister, then the sheep in such circumstances are not necessarily any worse off than those who aligned with one of the larger new groups.

Having said the above, we should also be practical and realistic. There are many people who would not survive spiritually if they were to continue in the hostile environment of WCG. They would wither and die under those circumstances; i.e. they would eventually give in to the pressure to compromise with the heresies WCG now teaches. Or they would drop out completely. I know such people, where "THE STRESS" of the heresies being presented week after week is getting to them.

If you are like this, then I will tell you: GO AND LEAVE WCG! It is better for you to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil. 2:12) in an environment that is less hostile towards your desire to obey Almighty God, than to be pressured into compromise by the constant proximity of heresies.

Look, if you really feel stressed out by what WCG teaches, then it is okay to leave. That is the principle of 1.Cor. 7:15. The leadership in WCG have by default become "the unbelieving" and they have departed from the truth. Understand that "GOD HAS CALLED US TO PEACE". I don't usually recommend that people leave WCG ... except under these severe circumstances.

If you do leave WCG, then you don't have to live as a hermit or a recluse. Associate with others who have also left WCG or who have been put out of WCG. Whether those people are associated with Global or with United or one of the other groups is not really that important. Don't cut yourself off from others who have left WCG for the same reasons you did. Also continue to fellowship with faithful brethren who still attend WCG and who are happy to continue their friendship with you.

Try to maintain contact with other true believers; it will help you to cope. As long as you perceive that there is a right spirit in the group, associate with them. They are as sincere as you are in wanting to put God first. Realize that the Church of God is in transition ... from being one united body to being scattered in every direction. I suspect that the phase we have entered will very likely be a short one, though I have no way of knowing this for sure.

I don't believe that God will really get all of His people together into one body again until we are at the place of safety. I suspect that those who will be taken there, will come from various different circumstances and environments and organizations into which we have been scattered due to persecution and the spreading of heresies.

I may not have all of the details correct here, and you may not agree with the things I have just explained. That's okay. Some of these things are just my opinions, just how I personally see things. Time will tell. If nothing else, hopefully I have given you something to think about.

Whatever you do, always stay faithful and committed to the calling God has set before you. If your mind is open to the truth of God and open to correction from the Word of God, then nothing can separate you from the love and the calling of God (Rom.8:38- 39).

So hang in there and be faithful unto the end ... whether you are meeting with one of the new churches or whether you end up being "scattered" for a little while without a larger group to associate with.


The above is reproduced with the permission of Mr. Frank Nelte.

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