I have talked with some who seem to think that Mr. Armstrong said that the work of the Philadelphian ERA of God’s church to “Preach the Gospel to the World as a Witness” is the same as the Commission given to the church to go into all nations teaching them to observe what Christ had commanded.
What Mr. Armstrong said as I recall it was that the work of taking the Gospel message to the World as a Witness was a prophetic fulfillment of Matthew 24:14. A job that he was specifically called to accomplish. And in fact he said that he had indeed finished that job.
Notice the scripture:
Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
The word used for preached is the Greek word G2784
meaning: Of uncertain affinity; to herald (as a public crier), especially divine truth (the gospel): – preach (-er), proclaim, publish.
Now notice the scripture that gives all ERA’s of God’s Church their great commission:
Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.
The Greek word used here is not proclaiming or heralding but rather implies teaching and making it understood.
A prolonged (causative) form of a primary verb δάω daō (to learn); to teach (in the same broad application): – teach.
Can you see how on the one hand the Gospel was Proclaimed to the world in the manner of a herald(witnessing if you will) with no effort to make them understand whereas the teaching of the great commission was to make the Gospel understood and to make disciples from all over the world, which all the ERA’s of God’s Church has done.
The Witness work was a special prophetic fulfillment of Matthew 24:14 not the great commission of the church which was something completely different in scope and fulfillment. It is why Christ opened the doors to mass media to the Philadelphian ERA so that could preach/proclaim the gospel to the world as a witness. This was only done in Philadelphia, in Laodicea Christ work is with the individuals who are part of the body of Christ. Rev. 3:20. There is a major difference between preaching as a witness and teaching the gospel to the world.
Read more fully about the Matthew 24:14 Prophecy in the following article.