|More About the Church
What Every Reader
one thing uppermost on Satan's mind right now is to
destroy God's Church, which he is swaying more and more
toward secularism - interest in material and physical
things - going consistently a little more toward the
world of Satan and his ways."
First of all, you need
to know that you live in a world cut off completely from
God. Even though I have said it before, let me put it in
a brief "nutshell." Let me restate the
Where Man Went Wrong
This brought on the
earth chaos, decay, waste, emptiness and darkness. Psalms
104:30 says God then RENEWED the face of the earth
(Genesis 1), in six days creating man after God's own
kind (Gen. 1:26). God created man mortal- male and
female-out of the dust of the ground (Gen. 2:7). God
offered the first man and woman, from whom the human race
has sprung, eternal life in the Kingdom of God, actually
being born as one of God's own children in the God FAMILY
(symbolized by the tree of life)-or (Adam had to make a
choice) rejection of God and His government, and taking
to himself the knowledge of good and evil deciding for
him-self right from wrong. God is the source of basic
knowledge. Man rejected this knowledge.
Is God Trying to Save the World Now?
God did intervene in
the cases of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham-the nation
Israel. He communicated to them His way. He intervened in
sending Christ with the MESSAGE to be announced of the
coming restoration of the government of God after the
6,000 years of man's rule. Christ announced that man may
be, if and when called by God, forgiven, reconciled
(relationship and access to God established), and can
receive God's Spirit (the impregnation of GOD-life) and
be born into the God family by a resurrection from the
dead. But a first death was pronounced on all children of
Adam because of Adam's sin (I Cor. 15:22; Heb. 9:27) and
a SECOND death as penalty IF man rejects God's salvation
when and after God calls him.
The Good News Announcement
Then came Jesus Christ as the
Messenger of the Covenant (Mal. 3:1 and Mark 1:1, 14-15). He
brought an announcement-a message from God-the good news
announcement of the coming Kingdom of God! But He did not come on
a "soul- saving crusade." As stated before, of the
thousands who heard Him announce the coming Kingdom of God, only
120 BELIEVED what He said (Acts 1:15). They formed the beginning
of the Church of God when they received the Holy Spirit on the
Day of Pentecost, A.D. 31. That same day God added to them about
three thousand whom He had specially called (Acts 2:41). Then,
after that, "the Lord ADDED to the church daily such as
should be [at the resurrection] saved" (verse 47). The
apostles did not get these people saved-but God added such as He
CALLED to be saved.
Thus the Church of God started. It started in a world cut off from God-and comparatively very small. Jesus called it "the little flock" (Luke 12:32). For a short time it grew to a few thousand members God had called and added. Then, in a short time, the persecution set in (Acts 8:1) and the Church was diminished in size.
True Church Goes Underground
The true gospel of the Kingdom
of God was suppressed by the false church raised up by Simon the
sorcerer (Acts 8) in A.D. 33. In reality it was the remnant of
the Babylonian Mystery Religion, which appropriated the name
"Christian" and deceived the whole world (Rev. 17:2, 5)
By A.D. 59 even the churches had turned to another gospel (Gal.
1:6-7). The true gospel was suppressed!
The "little flock"-the true Church of God-virtually went underground. The gospel had to be taught secretly. Thousands of true Christians were tortured and martyred-put to death by the fast-growing false Babylonish church.
Ever since then only a comparative few have been called by God to repentance, belief and spiritual salvation.
Let me make that plain!
In Ephesians 1, Paul addresses his inspired letter "to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful IN Christ Jesus" (verse I). He is writing to saints in Christ-not to the world. When Paul here uses the pronoun "us," he means those saints and includes himself.
He says: "According as he (God] hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having PREDESTINATED US unto the SONSHIP [as it should read] of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will" (verses 4- 5).
Predestinated-why? To be lost? No! To become God's sons-His own children. The rest of the world, remember, is cut off from God-has no access to Him.
He continues: "In whom also we (not the world) have obtained an INHERITANCE, being PREDESTINATED according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who FIRST trusted in Christ" (verses 11-12).
Notice what that says: We were predestinated to be the FIRST to trust in Christ-to receive SALVATION. We were specially CALLED, chosen-while the rest of the world is cut off from God and Christ.
After the second coming of Christ-after He establishes the Kingdom of God and the whole world comes under Christ's rule at the end of this DAY OF MAN (this 6,000 years when the world as a whole is cut off from Christ)-then EVERYBODY will be called to salvation (Matt. 25:31-40).
But today only the precious predestinated FEW! Jesus plainly said: "No man can come to .me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him..." (John 6:44).
World Cut Off From God
Again get this: understand it!
The world as a whole is cut off from all access to God. God has
not been trying to save the world. God sentenced this world to
6,000 years of going its own way-forming man's own governments,
his own religions-all false-his own knowledge and systems of
education-his own society going the way of "get" rather
than of "love." Instead of trying to save this sinning
world, God sentenced it to sowing its own ways, and reaping what
it sows-to prove once and for all that ONLY God's way of love is
good for us.
Just look at the result today! Soon, if God does not step in and intervene, and take over the rule, man will destroy himself. For the first time in history the weapons of mass destruction are available that can erase all life, including all humanity, from this earth.
Just before man brings that about, God will intervene once again, stopping it by. His supernatural power, and send Christ to rule with the Kingdom of God over all nations.
Then Satan will be put away at last (Rev. 20:1-4). Christ on His throne will go out to save all who are willing (Matt. 25:31). After a thousand years of Christ's rule will come the Great White Throne Judgment-the resurrection back to mortal physical life of all since Adam (except those God had intervened to call). That will be many billions. God is NOT trying to save them NOW-He will THEN.
Finally, at last, everyone will have been called and had his chance for salvation and eternal life!
A Divine Master Plan
The Holy Days picture God's MASTER PLAN. The Day of Pentecost is called the Feast of Firstfruits-just the small FIRST harvest for God's Kingdom-including us, now. The Feast of Trumpets pictures the coming of Christ to rule. The Day of Atonement pictures putting Satan away so we may be at one with Christ. The Feast of Tabernacles pictures the millennium-the Kingdom of God ruling-the thousand years when all then living will be called, and saved if they are willing. The final day of the fall Feast pictures the Great White Throne Judgment, when the billions sentenced to be cut off from God will be resurrected mortal, and then called, drawn to Christ and saved if they are willing.
Back to the Beginning
But I have gotten a little
ahead of myself.
It is necessary that we go back once again to the beginning. When Satan got to Eve in the Garden of Eden, he did not say, "Reject God's government, and come under my government." No, he was too subtle for that! He said, in effect: "God lied to you. You won't surely die if you take to yourself the production of the knowledge of what is good and what is evil. Rule your own life. God knows that when you eat this forbidden fruit, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods [a correct translation would be, "You shall be God"], knowing good and evil."
Notice, too, that God did not sentence mankind to 6,000 years of Satan's rule. God allowed man to be deceived by Satan. God allowed man to THINK he was forming his own governments, his own religions, producing his own knowledge and education. But God knew how Satan would deceive all mankind (Rev. 12:9), blinding man's eyes from the truth, and swaying him by broadcasting ATTITUDES through the air. Conditions in the world, with man ruling himself, unknowingly swayed by Satan, have grown worse and worse.
The true Church remained pretty much underground until it shrank to the level that the GREAT CHURCH (of Revelation 17) didn't bother any longer to try to stamp it out. It was in such a world that this "Philadelphia era" of God's Church was born. We had now come to the very living generation that shall witness the end of this age, and the coming of Christ, and setting up of the Kingdom of God.
In other words, it is in this living generation when the great event that Christ announced over 1900 years ago will actually happen! This is the living generation that shall live in two worlds-the end of this present evil world, and the beginning of the world tomorrow ruled by the Kingdom of God! The time had come for this tremendous gospel announcement to go out to the very world that will live to see it happen!
Preparation for God's Work
In a sense there is a parallel
in my own life. I have lived in two different centuries. I lived
in the end (the last eight years) of the nineteenth century, and,
so far, seventy-eight years in this twentieth century. God has,
in a number of cases, prepared in advance those He calls to a
very special mission. In the Old Testament, God prepared Moses by
having him brought up in the king's palace by the king's
daughter, as a prince. In the New Testament He prepared the
apostle Paul by having him educated by the great teacher of that
time, Gamaliel Of course these men were living the way of this
world during the pre-training period.
The same was true in my case. I will cover just very briefly the high spots of that early training, before I was converted and called and THE GREAT COMMISSION conferred on me.
At age sixteen, on my first summer vacation job away from home in another town, my employer aroused ambition in me. He instilled great self-confidence. He assured me I was destined to be a great success, but I would have to work hard to achieve it. But I had no GOAL in life-the first law of success.
At eighteen, after thorough self-analysis and analysis of various professions, Occupations, etc., I set my life goal as the advertising profession. It was the wrong goal, but God changed that in due time. Nevertheless, it did PREPARE me for God's commission! I was successful. I put myself in contact with successful men-the presidents and board chairmen of the great industrial corporations of the middle west in 'the"' United States, and of the great banks of Chicago and New York. In my twenties, I was making the equivalent of (at today's dollar- value) $150,000 a year!
I had spent three years with the largest trade journal in the U.S.-the Merchants Trade Journal. I worked one year writing advertising copy, two years as their "idea man" (travelling the eastern two-thirds of the United States, looking for ideas and material for articles), and finally writing articles for publication. Then a short time as assistant secretary of the South Bend, Indiana, Chamber of Commerce; then seven years as advertising representative- or publishers' representative with an office in Chicago's loop.
I built a big-paying business by making surveys resulting in large- space advertising from such companies as Goodyear Tire and Rubber, J. I. Case Plow Works, Moline Plow Works, Emerson Brantingham, John Deere & Co., Dalton Adding Machine, and others. Every one of these giant corporations went into receivership during the flash depression of 1920. My business suddenly, by forces beyond my control, was swept away.
Shocking Challenges Spur Search for Truth
My family, with my wife's
brother and sister, migrated to Oregon in 1924. It was an 18-day
trip over dirt and gravel unpaved roads in a Model-T Ford.
In the autumn of 1926, I was hit by a dual CHALLENGE. My wife had suddenly taken up with "religious fanaticism," as it then seemed to me. A sister-in-law challenged me on the theory of evolution, which she had been taught in college. She called me "downright ignorant" because I did not accept or believe the theory.
This dual CHALLENGE plunged me into the most intensive in-depth study and research of my life-a virtual night-and-day study. I delved into the writings of Darwin, LaMarck, Huxley, Haekel, Chamberlin, etc., etc., but primarily the Bible. I had quit attending church at eighteen, and had never had any real religious interest.
I was shocked-actually stunned- when I read in the Bible, in Romans 6:23: "The wages of sin is death..." I had been taught from early boyhood that what we got paid for sin was ETERNAL LIFE- though in "hellfire." Here I had been taught in Sunday school just the opposite of what the Bible taught. But the last half of the sentence floored me just as hard: ..... but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
WHAT? Eternal life a GIFT? I had been taught I already had eternal life. I was an immortal soul.
You see, I had told my wife that I knew the Bible said, "Thou shalt keep Sunday." I didn't know where to find that in the Bible, I admitted. But I knew it must be there, "because," I said, "all these churches get their religion out of the Bible, and they all (but one I thought of as fanatical) observe Sunday. All these churches can't be wrong," I argued.
In this study I obtained every book I could find that upheld Sunday observance and condemned Saturday Sabbath-keeping. But I also obtained a Seventh-day Adventist book explaining their doctrines, and also a book called Bible Home Instructor (or something like that) published by the Church of God, Stanberry, Missouri. It was one of their members, neighbor to my parents' home in Salem, Oregon, who had convinced my wife she ought to keep the Sabbath, Friday sunset to Saturday sunset.
On carefully checking with the Bible, I found most denominations had some Bible truth. I could see plainly from my own biblical study they were totally contrary to the Bible in many other beliefs. As my study continued, always relying on the BIBLE-which, incidentally, I had PROVED to be the inspired WORD OF GOD-I discovered that this Church of God had more biblical truth than any church I could find.
But as my own in-depth study
continued, I found much they lacked. I later discovered they were
described in Revelation 3 as the Sardis era of God's Church. I
discovered that after the great persecution which had set in
about A.D. 33 Simon the sorcerer, leader of the "Babylonian
Mystery" religion, was refused an apostleship in God's
Church. He, as I learned from other sources, nevertheless
represented himself as chief apostle, adopting the name of
Christ-or Christian. He proclaimed the biblical doctrine of
"grace" or forgiveness of sin through Christ's death,
but turned it into license to disobey (Jude 4).
This Babylonian Mystery religion, now masquerading as "Christianity," suppressed the gospel Christ had taught. Jesus brought the announcement of the Kingdom of God. Simon's false church claimed their church was the Kingdom, already set up. He proclaimed a DIFFERENT Jesus as well as a DIFFERENT gospel. He proclaimed a Christ who DID AWAY with His Father's commandments thus doing away with the basic constitution and law of the Kingdom of God. He taught, and his false church later (A. D. 321) made official, the "Trinity" doctrine, saying the Holy Spirit of God is a GHOST-a third spirit PERSON- thereby doing away with the fact that we can be begotten by God's Spirit and enter the Kingdom at the time of the resurrection.
Solving a Jigsaw Puzzle
As stated before, the true
Church virtually went "underground." The true Church
did continue through EVERY GENERATION to now. But when I first
came among them, in 1926-27, they had lost most of the true
gospel! Little by little God revealed His true gospel, in all its
fullness, to me.
But first God had to completely disillusion my mind of all I had been taught in Sunday school prior to age eighteen. God caused me to come to His work with a mind swept clean of all these false teachings- free to reject error and accept TRUTH! I know of no other worldwide religious leader since the original apostles, and Paul, all of whom were taught by Christ IN PERSON, who ever came to God's teachings in this manner!
I found the Sardis-era Church of' God retained only a smattering of the full true gospel. They understood Christ is coming to REIGN, and He will reign 1,000 years, and ON EARTH! (Seventh-day Adventists say in heaven.) But they had lost all knowledge that we could be BORN OF GOD, entering His Kingdom which is HIS FAMILY as HIS BORN CHILDREN. They had no conception of what the Kingdom of God is or would be like. Some believed in a pre-millennial coming of Christ, some in a post-millennial coming.
The had the truth about the Sabbath, but not the annual Sabbaths. They had the truth about NOT going to heaven, and that the earth is the inheritance of the "saved." They had the truth about the "state of the dead"-that the dead are unconscious and know nothing-that the next consciousness after death will take place at the resurrection. They knew the "hellfire" commonly preached is error, and that usually the word "hell" is translated from the Hebrew sheol and Greek. hades, meaning simply the "grave." (In some cases "hell" is translated from the Greek gehenna, meaning fire that BURNS up what is burned in it.)
They believed in water baptism by immersion. They believed-one of their most emphasized points- Jesus was three days and three nights in the grave (crucified Wednesday, resurrected Saturday evening, and already gone while it was yet dark at sunrise Sunday). Thus they did away with Easter, and they did not observe Christmas, since it was a pagan holiday and Jesus was not born at or near December 25. They believed in the "law of God" and knew sin was the transgression of God's law.
Let me say here that the Bible is like a jigsaw puzzle. You find its truths here a little-there a little. It does not start out with Genesis 1:1 and go straight through with ALL of God's revealed KNOWLEDGE and TRUTH in direct sequence. In fact, the REAL beginning is not Genesis 1:1, but John 1:1. Much had happened between John 1:1 and Genesis 1:1, filled in from other places in both Old and New Testaments.
Truth Revealed Slowly
But God was revealing His truth
to me. At first I had to learn a doctrine at a time. In other
words, if the whole truth were a jigsaw puzzle of 1OO pieces, I
found the Church of God of the Sardis era, even Though God's
Church, had lost about 75 of the pieces, though some were among
the important pieces. But it was impossible to fit them together
so as to produce the WHOLE and FULL PICTURE, plain and clear.
God was inspiring me to fill in the gaps.
With what they had-which God made clear to my mind were TRUE doctrines-the picture was all distorted. It did not show why humans were put on earth. It did not show what was God's purpose that caused Him to decide to create humanity in His likeness, and put them on earth. There plainly was a devil called Satan, but where did he come from? Did God create a devil to torment us? One of their prominent ministers, because they had no answer to this, preached that no such thing as a devil exists.
Why is the human mind so superior to the animal brain, when there is virtually no difference qualitatively and quantitatively? They had none of these truths. Where was the United States identified in prophecy? They did not know this, and therefore had prophecies of the "beast" and those of Daniel and Revelation all in error-even as the Adventists. They did not understand that God is not trying to save the whole world now-or why. It was my understanding that they looked on this world as God's world, and God was trying desperately to save it, but the devil was winning the battle.
What is man's real potential? Aside from being resurrected immortal, which they believed for the saved-then what? What was the real purpose in putting humanity on earth, after all? If the "saved" are resurrected, where do we go on from there? What shall we be doing for all eternity? Will we get bored with nothing to do?
Filling in the Gaps
Little by little, God revealed
to me more and more TRUTHS-additional pieces of God's revealed
KNOWLEDGE that filled in the gaps-answered all the questions.
Why is the human brain able to invent such intricate mechanisms, to fly to the moon and back, and yet be utterly helpless to solve man's problems-to live at peace with his neighbor? They could answer, vaguely, "Because man is unwilling to keep God's commandments." And that's true-but why? Why is he unwilling? There is so much more that needs to be known than the limited truths they possessed.
God revealed to me the truth about Israel and Judah-the divided kingdoms, and the Birthright promise to Ephraim and the Sceptre promise to Judah. They understood none of this, and, though their editor and leader wrote me that this was a truth revealed from God to me, he filed it away and the Church (Sardis) never got it!
The truth of how God is reproducing Himself was revealed to me. God's master plan could never be understood by them, since they rejected the annual Sabbaths and festivals that reveal and picture the master plan.
Restoring Basic Knowledge
To sum it all up, God raised me
up and used me in RESTORING the basic knowledge that had been
lost through the generations since the churches turned to ANOTHER
GOSPEL (Gal. 1:6-7) in the very first century.
God led me not only to recognize and accept what truth the Church of the Sardis era retained, but to restore what God's Church through the many generations had lost-and, in addition, I think, to reveal through me additional vital knowledge from God's Word, possibly not even understood by the apostle Paul.
Daniel foretold that in OUR TIME-this time of the end-just at the very END of this 6,000-year "day of man," with mankind generally cut off from God, that "knowledge shall be increased." Undoubtedly he referred to God's revealed knowledge - but it is significant that even in man's world, cut off from God, technological, "scientific," and physical knowledge has greatly increased. In the decade of the '60s the world's fund of knowledge doubled - though man's troubles and evils also doubled.
God's Ultimate Purpose
God has graciously opened my
mind (not for my benefit, but for His church) to much I believe
to be NEW KNOWLEDGE. God has blessed His Church with stupendous
knowledge which I believe no man-not even in God's Church-ever
understood before! How wonderful! What a blessing! How we should
shout for joy!
Do we really realize this? Do we appreciate it? Do we delight in it? Or are we like the sow which would trample in the mud precious diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires, on her way to eat slop?
Do we recognize the true values?
Finally, God has revealed to me His ultimate grand and awesome purpose-what is man's real potential-what we will be doing through all eternity. Never bored. Always joyfully accomplishing new stupendous and super-wonderful achievements. Always looking forward to still greater designs; always looking back on great accomplishments, on and on throughout the whole vast endless universe!
How wonderful! God has revealed His wonderful, awesome truth to His Church, the Worldwide Church of God-God's Church for this time.
But now a few words about the rise and establishment of today's era of God's Church.
Fellowship With the Sardis Era
During my initial in-depth
study of the Bible, I came to know of the "Sardis" era
(Rev. 3:1-6). It was a member of it that had shown my wife the
truth about the Sabbath question. They were a small group meeting
in a country schoolhouse south of Salem, Oregon.
My wife and I began fellowshipping with these sincere and humble people of God at the time of my conversion and baptism, spring of 1927. We carried on this fellowship for several years, but we never joined them or became a member of the Sardis era of the Church of God.
These brethren urged me repeatedly to preach, but the last thing on earth I wanted to do was to be a preacher.
However, I continued my interest and study in the Bible, and continued to be thrilled as I received more and more understanding of the Bible. Finally, along in November (I think it was), I had discovered a special Sabbath covenant, established forever in Exodus 31:12-17. This was my first discovery of new truth on the Sabbath question. I was excited about it, and the desire to share this knowledge with these brethren outweighed my reluctance to preach.
Soon I was preaching more or less regularly before these people. I found there was a division between them in the area surrounding Jefferson, Oregon, and that there was another group of them besides the one in which I was fellowshipping. The brethren I was fellowshipping with split off from Stanberry, Missouri, so far as paying tithes was concerned. They incorporated as the Oregon Conference of the Church of God. By December of 1931 they wanted me to preach a ten-day evangelistic meeting in a church in Harrisburg, Oregon, which these brethren rented regularly. From my first sermon God blessed all my preaching and writing with success.
In July 1933, Mr. Elmer Fisher, who lived six miles west of Eugene, asked me to preach a six-weeks' campaign of evangelism at the Firbutte one-room country school. This schoolhouse was in a sparsely settled community. Considering the small population, my efforts were blessed with unusual success. This campaign ended with several newly baptized converts. I had presented the truth about the annual Holy Days and Festivals to the Oregon Conference brethren, but they "laughed me to scorn" (Matt. 9:24). Now, for the first time, I had newly converted brethren who immediately accepted this truth. A small church of 19 members emerged as the parent church, later to become the Worldwide Church of God.
I continued evangelistic meetings in many districts in and near Eugene, Oregon. The church grew. It accepted all of the new truths God was revealing to me in the Bible.
Philadelphia Era Born
Let me make it clear that I was
never a member of the church of the Sardis era. I did continue
fellowshipping with them and preaching before them until the work
which started the "Philadelphia era" of the Church
consumed all my time. It was separately incorporated, and thus
the present Worldwide Church of God came into being. This Church
was born in August 1933. From that humble beginning I have met
with nothing but persecution and opposition, even as Christ was
when He appeared on earth.
It is a thankless job, because Satan is bound to destroy me if he can. The one thing uppermost on Satan's mind right now is to destroy God's Church, which he is swaying more and more toward secularism- interest in material and physical things-going constantly a little more toward the world of Satan and its ways. The one thing uppermost on Satan's mind right now is to stop this message.
God is using me to take His message through the doors God is opening to kings, presidents, emperors, prime ministers, leaders of nations, and the people of those nations.
But the one thing uppermost on God's mind, right now, is to restore the government of God to the earth and to have it announced to the world. We have to rely on God, for He is stronger than Satan. That's why I need your heartrending, urgent prayers-that God will restrain Satan, and keep on protecting me miraculously - as He has done-from harm, keep on opening doors, renewing my youth, giving me the strength, the vitality, the energy and drive to keep on with His Work, knowing that you are 100 percent behind me, praying your hearts out for me.
If you don't, I cannot carry on.
I have not meant to criticize or blame in any way the people of God of the Sardis era. God allowed His persecuted "little flock" to diminish both in size and in His revealed knowledge. God could have raised up out of stones the one He wanted to do the Work. But He did call and choose me, revealed His TRUTH through me for all His Church, and has used me, and will still go on using me-if you are with me.
Go back to the beginning of
this vitally important article.
I have shown you how this Church came to believe what it does-truths no other people on earth know! Truths nobody else on earth is proclaiming to the world!
I have shown you its ROOTS-its origin, its history, and its prehistory.
The one and only place in the world where the government of God is being administered is in the Worldwide Church of God. I have said to you that the thing uppermost in God's mind is restoring the government of God by and through the Kingdom of God on this earth. God has placed that government in His Church. This is a government based on LOVE. Some don't believe in it and are fighting it. I need you to be 100 percent back of me in it.
Every day now we are one day closer to GLORY! Time is running out on us. There are WONDERFUL THINGS ahead for us, but we must sacrifice, be faithful, and ENDURE now!
I have shown you how this Church came to believe what it believes. And how those precious beliefs were put into this Worldwide Church of God, by Christ through me. I have shown you HOW it was FOUNDED. God says His Church is founded on the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone. Not only the original twelve apostles and Paul, but He used His ONE apostle for this twentieth century in founding this Philadelphia era of His Church.