Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Vital, Eye-opening New Sermon

The book of Revelation twice describes a group called “the Synagogue of Satan”: “...I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan” (2:9) and “I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you” (3:9).

What is the Synagogue of Satan? Who are they? Do its members meet as a group? Is it a particular organization? Was it the WCG apostates? Is it false Christianity? Or something else? Can we know—conclusively? How do its members “blaspheme”? What does it mean “say they are Jews”?—and how do they “lie”? These imposters are shown to persecute Philadelphia at the end. How do they do this? And how do their actions relate to you?

God intended His servants at the end of the age be able to answer these and all related questions (Rev. 1:1)!

Mr. Herbert Armstrong wrote and spoke little or nothing directly about this “synagogue,” although he left certain unmistakable clues that speak volumes in finally identifying them. The sermon includes these clues—and how they help connect the dots. As with everything else in the Bible, the term “synagogue of Satan” has been misunderstood and misrepresented in the world, and even been hijacked by anti-Semites and other racist groups to serve their own Satanic agendas.

Titled “The ‘Synagogue of Satan’ Identified—and Marked!”, Mr. David Pack’s sermon shows how the Bible—God!—interprets exactly who are these people—and explains the grave implications for those held under their destructive influence! The sermon at a point includes a public “marking” (Rom. 16:17) of certain men—there could be many more—and why this has become necessary. The delivery is meticulous, and removes ALL DOUBT in one of the most compelling messages you will ever hear.

Mr. Pack states, “I cannot think of a more important sermon for God’s people at the end of the age. Every member in LCG, UCG, COGwa, PCG and COGaic—but also those in every splinter and sliver!—should hear it, and probably more than once. The listener will almost certainly want to do this.”

Friday, April 20, 2012

Evil Reports Validate True Ministers

Greetings again brethren!

True Christians have over the millennia suffered persecution from those who oppose God and His truth. Right from the beginning, suffering and persecution have been the hallmarks of faith (I Pet. 2:19-20). God clearly says that all those who are reproached for His sake (I Pet. 4:14), who suffer as Christians (vs. 16), and who leave everything for His sake, will gain much more—but with persecution (Mark 10:29-30).

This is particularly true of faithful ministers, who have borne the brunt of suffering and persecution for the sake of the gospel of the kingdom of God. Most of the prophets were hounded, tortured, and killed, suffering greatly at the hands of evil people (James 5:10). Many were evil spoken of (I Cor. 10:30; Neh. 6:13). Virtually all the original apostles were killed in horrific manner.

True ministers do not run from consequences that arise from their beliefs and vocation. They are willing to share in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings (Phil. 3:10), and suffer for well doing (I Pet. 3:17).

From the patriarchs and the prophets down to Christ and His apostles and disciples, up to the present age, all who have sought to obey God and live in accordance with His every word, all precepts and commandments, have suffered one form of persecution or the other. These can be manifested in different forms (Heb. 11:35-38).

Joseph was persecuted by his own brothers and eventually sold into slavery (Gen. 37:26-27). He served time for an offence he did not commit (Gen. 39:17-20). Moses suffered persecution (Heb. 11:25). David’s life was constantly threatened by King Saul. The prophets—Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Amos, Hosea and most of the others—had similar experiences. The apostle Paul, who had himself inflicted suffering on the Church (Acts 8:1, 11:19), faced intense persecution, yet did not give up (Acts: 13:50; Rom. 8:18; II Cor. 1:4-7; 12:10; Gal. 5:11; II Tim. 3:10-11).

Jesus made it clear that those who abide in Him must walk as He walked (I John 2:6). From the very beginning of His ministry until his death, He was opposed, accused, defamed, maligned, insulted, abused, abased, railed at, reviled and humiliated (Luke 11:53-54). He was called all sorts of names, including drunkard, gluttonous, friend of sinners (Matt. 11:19), and bastard (John 8:41). He was referred to as a blasphemer and a Sabbath-breaker deserving of death (John 5:16, 18; 10:33; Matt. 12:9-14). His miracles were attributed to “Beelzebub the prince of the devils” (Matt. 12:24). They even accused Him of being demon possessed (John 8:48; 7:20)! He was derided as being uneducated (John 7:15). Some who knew His hometown insulted Him by saying, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). Even His own family did not believe in Him (Mark 6:4). At every turn in His ministry, those who felt most threatened by His popularity among the common people plotted to entrap Him, in order to have Him arrested and killed (Matt. 22:15-22; Luke 20:20-26; John 11:47-49). Finally, they succeeded in getting one of His own to betray Him, after which He was arrested, tried illegally, convicted and condemned to death—like a common criminal—on trumped-up charges of blasphemy, sedition and subversion, crimes He never committed! His family was not there for Him (Mark 6:4). At the time He most needed His friends who had spent 3½ years with Him, they were not there. In the face of imminent death, He was abandoned, rejected and stood entirely alone! Ultimately, even His Father could not intervene (Matt. 27:46). Christ was isolated, deserted. He had committed to paying the penalty for sin, and had to do it by Himself.

Is it therefore any surprise that even today true ministers of God are vilified, derided, defamed, slandered and libelled for committing no other crime than being unwilling to compromise the truth? If Jesus “endured such contradiction of sinners against himself” (Heb. 12:3), should we expect anything less?

One of the promises God made to all those who desire to live in Christ is considerable suffering (II Tim. 3:12; II Thes. 1:4-5; Acts 14:22). Yes, that is His promise! All who desire to live in Christ must be prepared to suffer as He did. God would be a liar if this were not the case, and of course He is not (Num. 23:19). His faithful ministry, and indeed all true children of His, must count it all joy when they suffer (are slandered, defamed, ridiculed or evil reports are written about them) for righteousness’ sake (I Pet 4:13)! It is truly a thing of joy to share in the fellowship of Christ’s suffering (Phil. 3:10). By so doing, we identify with those “who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Heb. 6:12).

If God in the flesh, the Creator of all things, willingly suffered so much at the hands of His creation, how could we do less? Christ said in John 15:18, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” We should be more than willing to follow in His footsteps. It would be presumptuous of me or any one of God’s true ministers to expect anything less than hatred from anyone who does not have His Spirit, and particularly from those who hate Him and His ways. Since a servant cannot be greater than His master, all His true ministers must prepare to be hated and persecuted as He was (John 15:20). What God’s faithful ministry faces now is but a microscopic representation of what lies yet ahead!

It is not surprising that after this website was launched, haters of God started attacking every minister posting here. The spate of attacks vividly brought to my remembrance a foundational scripture: “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death” (Phil. 4:10). This verse has truly come alive!

But contrary to what these enemies of God may be thinking, we are utterly grateful to God for giving us the wonderful and exceptional opportunity to share in a tiny fraction of Jesus’ sufferings. For us, it is a great pleasure to gladly submit ourselves to this situation rather than receive the vain attention and praises or commendations of men. In light of Christ’s warning in Luke 6:26, “Woe to you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets,” the evil reports that have been circulated about us since we started this site validate us. If haters had commended or agreed with us, then something would have been wrong. Christ has made it clear that any such commendation would be to our shame. But the fact that they do not speak well of us is as it should be. Again, it is such evil reports that validate true ministers! “Blessed are you, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake” (Luke 6:22).

That we are detested gives us comfort that we are doing the right thing and are in the right place. In reality, we are better off when they defame, rail at, chide, taunt and try to represent us as evil.

Being offered the opportunity to taste a tiny sliver of what Christ went through, what His apostles and true servants have gone through over the millennia, what Mr. Armstrong went through in His 52-year ministry, what His 21st century apostle has been going through, and what other faithful ministers of His are currently passing through is a unique privilege, and we are thankful to the Father for having us go through this process, and making it possible for us to truly count it all joy (I Pet. 4:13).

To our fellow ministers out there—those who once knew the peace of mind, joy, sense of fulfilment and satisfaction that came with being part of the one undivided body of Christ, where His government is working—it is not too late to retrace your steps, come back home, shoulder your own share of the suffering, and be part of this great end-time Work of God!

I urge every reader to listen to an extraordinary and most eye-opening sermon to be posted on Monday. Titled, “The Synagogue of Satan Identified—and Marked!”, it will forever change your view, and on a host of topics.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Prophecy Marches On – and Strong Website Interest

Greetings everyone! What a joy it has been to join the Headquarters staff and brethren in Ohio for the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread! This extended visit has enabled us to again witness, and begin to participate in “hands on,” the dynamic Work God is accomplishing here and around the world.

A recent Open Letter to those in the WCG splinters—“RCG Fruits – Obvious Fingerprints of God!”—details facts and figures confirming the phenomenal growth in the Work as it reaches out to this sin-sick world, and to those whose works are “neither hot nor cold” (Rev. 3:15). If you have not already done so, I urge you to read it and meditate on the impact being made, and genuine service provided, by the Work of God as I write.

We can now vividly see the fulfillment of prophecy marching on, with the massive earthquakes of yesterday affecting nations on the shores of the entire Indian Ocean: “BANDA ACEH, Indonesia – Two massive earthquakes [measuring 8.6 and 8.2 on the Richter scale] triggered back-to-back tsunami warnings for Indonesia on Wednesday, sending panicked residents fleeing to high ground in cars and on the backs of motorcycles” (Associated Press).

Then again today, more earthquakes in places such as Mexico and the Oregon coast. This should bring to mind Jesus Christ’s words for our time: “…and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse [different] places” (Matt. 24:7).

Friends and brethren, it is high time we fully open our eyes, hearts and minds to the reality we ARE living in the last days. And, not only that, but especially that we are living at the very end of the entire Church age! Do we individually really GRASP this truth?

Recall the warning the apostle Paul wrote to “sleepy” followers of Christ: “And knowing the time, that NOW it is high time to awake out of sleep, for NOW is our salvation nearer than when we believed” (Rom. 13:11).

Today’s apostle, Mr. David Pack, and The Restored Church of God continue to cry out very loudly over the airwaves, cyberspace, in print and in person: May God speed the day of the establishment of His Kingdom on earth.

We each, individually, choose either to participate in this Work, or reject it!

Finally, I leave you with some stunning statistics from RCG's main website (rcg.org). The True Origin of Easter booklet was downloaded an incredible 83,417 times during the week leading up to Easter, and was downloaded 35,316 times on Sunday alone! Certain search phrases put RCG’s booklet ahead of even Internet giant Wikipedia. For example, when someone types in “origin of Easter” in Google, the booklet has been in the number 1 search-results position!

Adding to the week’s amazing success is that free (organic) traffic increased substantially over 2011. Nearly 80 percent of visitors to our website during the week came at NO COST to God’s Work, in large part made possible by our extremely high Google search rankings.

These are yet more powerful fruits of where God’s true Work is being done!

Friday, April 6, 2012

The One True Church – Frequently Asked Questions (Part 4)

Continuing with the series, here are four more questions—quoted from Mr. Pack’s book The True Church – One Organization, or Many?

QUESTION 8: How can one have God’s Spirit, but still be outside His true Church? (This is the first of four related questions and answers, each of which builds on the others.)  
The answer to this has already been covered via many of Mr. Armstrong’s quotes, so only a little more need be said. There are branches—individual Christians—that are cut off from Christ’s Church. From that point, His Spirit is dwindling in them, not being replenished. But these “branches” can still be grafted back into the Vine (explained throughout). The flow of God’s Spirit can begin again, and this is directly connected to anointing their eyes. 
Basic fact. All of God’s people, and certainly the ministry, understood in the past that any particular member could be disfellowshipped from the Church and then brought back into it. We all knew that one can be out of the Body of Christ, but return to it. No mystery here. Members can be in the Church (in Christ’s Body), leave or be put out of the Church—from membership—then come back into the Church, having never lost God’s Spirit. Of course, many never return and obviously God’s Spirit does slowly leave them. This process depended on how much of the Holy Spirit they had, and how much time passed while they were cut off, among other things. Are you willing to wait and take the risk? 
Question 9: If only one organization forms the Church and Body of Christ, what about baptisms taking place in the splinters? Are there instances where these are valid—where there is a genuine conversion occurring? 
The answer comes in a quote from Mr. Armstrong: 
“Can one who does not know of the true organized Body doing God’s Work and therefore is outside of it, be a member of the true Church which Christ built? The answer is yes—for it is possible for one to have truly repented, believed, and received God’s Spirit—and be following that Spirit as far as he sees and understands—who does not know of the organized Work Christ is using today. But surely God’s Spirit in him would lead one, in due time, into his part in the organized Body the living Christ is directing. [Reread this sentence until it cannot be forgotten.] 

“Is it possible that one who has joined a sect, church, or denomination not doing God’s Work, might be truly converted, and led by God’s Spirit in him? 
“The answer is yes—I have known of a few. But in every case, either they came into the organized spiritual organism Christ is using in the real Work of God—or, when their eyes were opened to further light and truth, they rejected it and lost the Spirit of God. And this was amply demonstrated by the fruits.” [Now reread this.] 

“Jesus said that His sheep do hear and recognize His voice and His truth, and that they will follow Him!” 
“Just What Is the Church?”, Article, 1970 
The last paragraph carries powerful meaning for you. Read John 10:1-12. 
Consider Mr. Armstrong’s own baptism: Seeking someone to perform his baptism, he found a Baptist minister who would do it according to God’s Word. He stressed that he did NOT want to be baptized into that man’s church, denomination or religion—in his case the Baptists. Instead, he asked that he be “baptized into Jesus Christ” (Rom. 6:3). In the spring of 1927 he was baptized. No one questions these facts. Mr. Armstrong continued following the truth. Not only did it become clear that he was in the Body of Christ (in Sardis), in his case that Body later grew around him outside Sardis. 
The new convert’s spiritual continuance hinges on finding and entering the organization that Christ leads. How obvious. 
Many have come with The Restored Church of God having been baptized in a splinter. 
Because of fruit shown, rebaptisms have been rare. But Christ did lead them to where He is working. No one knows how many others have resisted this move. 
Question 10: What about those who die in Laodicea—who did not return to God’s Church, Work, Government and full Truth—meaning they also never re-entered the Body of Christ? Since they are branches cut off from Christ at the time of death, do they make it into God’s kingdom? What is the status in God’s sight of those who died in this condition? 
First realize that this question comes with two possible timeframes for application: A person dies in this condition either before the Tribulation—or dies in the Tribulation. In either case, the assumption is that the person had not yet lost all of God’s Spirit, but was still outside Christ’s Church and Body. 
Some basic understanding of those in the Laodicean condition is necessary before a relatively simple answer to these questions becomes easily visible. 
All 10 of the virgins of Matthew 25—five “foolish” and five “wise”—were running out of “oil”—the Holy Spirit. While all were branches cut off from the Vine, half had dwindled so far in their supply that they could not spiritually recover. They were in the process of what would be completely losing the “oil” that is God’s Spirit! This is why the foolish virgins in the parable were instructed to “go…buy” oil (the Holy Spirit) from “them that sell” (the Father and Christ). While they attempted to do this, the point of the parable is that they had started too late. 
The good news of the parable is that five virgins did recover—they were “wise” enough to solve the problem, in effect, at what is seen to be the very last minute. The bad news is that the five “foolish virgins” did not recover in time to save their eternal lives. They were shut out of the Wedding Supper as a result. They had lost too much of God’s Spirit to have the strength to pull out of the spiritual dive they found themselves in. For some, the process of losing God’s Spirit is complete before the Tribulation. For others, after the Tribulation had begun, the amount of God’s Spirit remaining was insufficient to be able to resist taking the Mark of the Beast. 
Recognize that the section of Revelation describing the Laodicean era omits any statement that Christ will “come” to it. This is because it will not yield a single survivor still alive at His Return. Half of the “virgins” die in the Great Tribulation by beheading (Rev. 12:17; 20:4), the result of Satan’s wrath on physical and spiritual Israel—and the other half sell out and obviously accept the Mark of the Beast, dying in the Day of the Lord, the time of God’s final wrath on all nations before Christ’s Return. 
Now comes the simple answer. If one dies with God’s Spirit—either before the Tribulation or as a martyr in it for not taking the Mark—the person died in Christ! (The Holy Spirit in them will permit them to be changed at the First Resurrection.) The more time that passes before the Tribulation arrives will mean that both situations will apply to potentially large numbers of people. In light of the big picture, the greatest percentage of God’s people at the end of the age are seen to die outside Christ’s Body. 
I Corinthians 3:12-15 holds the key to their salvation, showing that the fire of the Tribulation may “burn” up the part of the person’s character that had been allowed to remain “wood, hay and stubble.” All such people are seen to suffer “loss” of “reward”—“but he himself shall be saved; but so as by fire.” These people did not participate in God’s all-important Work at the end of the age. Neither did they come under His government. Further, they had accepted and practiced false teachings, some or many. And finally, they spent years fellowshipping with the wrong people, with those not of Philadelphia. These points describe why God will not protect them in the Place of Safety. In fact, many of them came to believe that there was no literal Place of Safety. In the end, Laodiceans have a 50 percent chance of barely scraping into God’s kingdom. 
Why would anyone risk so much loss? Yet thousands are. 
The bigger picture of what is happening in Matthew 25 to God’s people at the end of the age is covered in much greater detail in my book “Anoint Your Eyes” – Christ’s Warning to His People. I have presented only the briefest thumbnail of exactly what got so many into trouble today. 
Question 11: Do splinter leaders have the authority to change the style of government over the Church? 
Mr. Armstrong plainly taught that true doctrine could only enter the Church through apostles. Rejecting the truth of this understanding is its own false doctrine. Think! People must reject this doctrine to be in a position to reject any other doctrines. Of course, this book has addressed another great example of where this has occurred—where Mr. Armstrong’s teaching about what is the Church has been thrown out. 
The next statements come from the period when Mr. Armstrong was putting the Church back on track—after liberals had watered down many doctrines! The truth was under assault, and Mr. Armstrong’s instructions show exactly how the Church is brought back to unity. The first quote returns from earlier: 
“The word apostle means ‘one sent forth.’ 
“The New Testament Church of God received all its teachings, practices, customs, from the apostles, with Peter chief over all the others. 
“Yet the apostles were the teachers, who instilled in the Church the beliefs, teachings, practices and customs of the Church. And all members of the Church were required by God to believe and speak the same thing!

There was no doctrinal board! The teachings of the Church did not come from a council of ministers and/or lay members, who voted on what to believe. [Remember this for the next question.] 
“Right here, mark well this point: God put His truth into His Church through Christ and through the apostles!” 
“How Christ Gives the Church its Beliefs,” Good News, November 20, 1978 
“God says we in His Church must all believe and speak the same thing—we must be agreed on what is truth and right and good as opposed to what is evil and sin.” 
“But HOW? How does Jesus Christ put his doctrines into His Church? How did He in A.D. 31? How in A.D. 1933?” 
“Only by His chosen apostles. 
“Our teaching and doctrines must come from God! Through Christ! And through His apostle!
“God has always, in dealing with humans, worked through one man at a time—one who believed God! Some in ancient Israel challenged this one-man leadership. Some, likewise, have challenged it today! 
“First, Moses’ own brother and sister challenged his one-man leadership…‘And the anger of the Eternal was kindled against them’ [Num. 12:9]. 
“Yet, though our members and ministers all know this, some are not afraid to speak contemptuously, in hostility, or defamingly against Christ’s apostle today! They need not fear ME! For I will not turn on them or strike them. 
why, then, do they not fear god? It must be one of two things. Either they do not really comprehend this teaching…or they do not believe that God has chosen me as His apostle and human leader today. 
“The church is GOD’S Church. The head of the Church, under god, is Jesus Christ. Under Christ, on the human level, is His chosen apostle, through whom He has raised up and built this spiritual TEMPLE to which the reigning Christ shall soon come in glory (Eph. 2:20-21). 
“All doctrines in the Church as it began, A.D. 31, were put in by the apostles. All doctrines in the present Philadelphia era were put into the Church by Jesus Christ through His chosen apostle.” 
“And Now Christ Sets Church Back on Track Doctrinally!”, Worldwide News, February 19, 1979 
“Church teachings were being changed. The most resultful booklet of all, The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy, was attacked…the same with a number of other basic and important booklets written by Christ’s apostle. 
How does God’s Church receive its doctrines, beliefs and teachings? Direct from God, through the channels of Jesus Christ as Head of the Church, and from Him through the apostles! Never by any others! Never by a group of ministers appointing themselves as a Doctrinal Committee! So it was in the first century. 
“How did the Worldwide Church of God receive its doctrines, beliefs and teachings? Exclusively through Christ’s apostle!

But every doctrine, belief and teaching in the Worldwide Church of God has come from Christ THROUGH His chosen apostle!” 
“What Is a Liberal?”, Worldwide News, February 19, 1979 
After examining what Mr. Armstrong said, we must ask where he got the idea that only he, as Christ’s apostle, could be used to bring doctrine to the Church. Let’s briefly examine what the Bible reveals. 
First, notice again what Paul recorded: “Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Eph. 2:19-20). 
In conjunction with Christ’s leadership of the Church, apostles and prophets play a special role. Since apostles outrank prophets, their role exceeds prophets. Yet, since prophets recorded much of the Bible, and because the Bible was complete by Mr. Armstrong’s time, it required an apostle to properly explain, and thereby restore to the Church, the true doctrines of God. This was never thought to be difficult to understand. What got lost in the thinking of so many? 
Now recall that Acts 2 described how the early New Testament Church “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (vs. 42). No wonder verses 44 and 46 went on to state that the brethren “were together” and “with one accord” in the temple. When people hold to the apostles’ doctrine, their fellowship is unified! Mr. Armstrong understood this. He did not teach it to elevate himself, but rather because he understood the all-important principle of how unity is maintained in God’s Church. When the apostates finished with the Church, they had even convinced (primarily at an unconscious level) most of the 25 or so percent who “survived” and fled the WCG into a splinter that it was “open season” on any doctrine that ministers or brethren might wish to target. 
Consider all that you have read so far. No splinter leader possesses the authority to even alter—much less throw out altogether!—the truth about the Church, government structure, the Work or any other doctrine that Jesus Christ put into His Church through the 20th-century apostle whom He “sent.” The splinter leaders are unauthorized to change doctrines, never mind the entire structure of government. Doing this leaves them guilty of outright rebellion against the government of God. Next ask if a doctrine as far-reaching in implication as what is the Church would somehow be an exception to the method Christ gives truth to His Church—that such teaching could enter the Church through any other office than that of apostle! 
I ask again, could the WOLVES who replaced Mr. Armstrong somehow better understand what is the Church than did a faithful apostle? If Christ guided these men, on what basis would He expect His sheep to know that He did?—and that they should instead listen to WOLVES on something so big?

Continue to check back every few days for more in this series of 15 questions in upcoming posts. These answer a wide variety of crucial questions. To see all of them answered now—and much more about the big picture of what is God’s Church—read The True Church – One Organization, or Many?