The article below by Mr David C. Pack is very interesting. His reasoning in many ways and use of the bible is masterful in itself. The problem is that Mr. Pack like most of Laodicea, does not truly understand the ERA that is extant now nor is he aware of what Christ is doing in this ERA of God’s Church nor where that work is being done.
I will be commenting in red ink throughout the article trying to show how close he comes and yet how far away from the truth he remains because of his own blindness to what Christ is doing and where it is being done.
All of God’s people wish they were back together. This is heard everywhere. But these many thousands have come to believe it is “just not time” to be in one organization. If you feel this way, you are about to see why this is wrong. God not only wants His people together again, but is planning to bring it about.[this is true, but the reason and the method by which God is going to perform this is an amazing truth, I will try to bring it out as we go along] This article, my last extensive one to the offshoots of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG), reveals the part you control. (It also begins to prepare God’s people for a coming special, powerful prophecy, now underway, that God is guiding.)
If you are in the United Church of God (UCG), Living Church of God (LCG), Philadelphia Church of God (PCG), Church of God, a Worldwide Association (COGwa), or any other splinter or sliver that came out of the WCG, this will be the single most important article you will ever read. If you do not read it all, it will be the worst decision you have made since God called you. BELIEVE THAT![in a way this is true, if you study the commentary made here concerning the real work of Christ, you find the points that Mr. Pack is pointing out will bring you to an amazing truth and set your feet on a path to what Christ is truly trying to accomplish and why. Unfortunately for Mr. Pack not the one that he assumes]
Your leaders will attack this article. In fact, they will do everything in their power to defeat its understanding out of desperation to keep you from acting on it! Also BELIEVE THIS! Sadly, many in the splinters have been literally trapped in these organizations by a blizzard of lies and deceit from top leaders. Some about doctrine. Some about The Restored Church of God. Others about me.
Jesus Christ loves His people above all else. He would never leave them unable to know where is His Church, Work, Truth and Government. If He did, the question would forever remain for those who still cared about these greatest of matters, “Where do we go?” One man’s opinion would be as good as another.[just remember here, it is Christ that is going to tell His people, where He is working, what He is doing, and what they should be doing as well, God, not a man among many men]
Today, literally thousands of former WCG members are sincerely wondering where they should attend. While some no longer care about the doctrines, traditions, standards—and fruit—of an organization, the majority still do. A just and loving God declares that He is not a “respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). He will give every one of His people a chance to do the right thing. Herbert W. Armstrong often stated with extra emphasis, “God never allows us to decide WHAT is right, only WHETHER we will do it.” This is what you are about to face.[ another truism that I agree with wholeheartedly]
Does God have one Church[watch carefully as we go along what Mr. Pack has decided a church is as apposed to what the bible says the church is]—or since the apostasy does He now work through and direct many churches? To which of these vastly different alternatives—meaning, a single Church or choose your favorite—does the Bible say that God’s Spirit will lead you? The Christ of the Bible leads those who follow Him. What this means is about to become more clear to you than ever before.[it is a valid question the answer to which may surprise you and Mr. Pack. Please understand I do not intend to demean Mr. Pack or what he is trying to do. I suppose him to be sincere, just sincerely wrong in focus and blinded as most in Laodicea are.]
Two Emails Say It All
Here are two emails illustrating how so many have changed in thinking, but also how some may never return to God’s Church and to correct understanding, while others will. The emails are recent, and while both happen to be from members of UCG, they could as easily be from any of the larger groups who virtually all now subscribe to the idea that the Body of Christ—God’s Church—is comprised of many groups. Thousands have largely unconsciously slipped into believing what Joe Tkach and his underlings taught them, which in turn they had learned from Protestant theologians.
The first email is tragic, but typical of so many people today:
“My friend, you are not the Only True Church of God. Herbert W. Armstrong was a minister, not God’s Only Apostle. You are not the heir apparent like a lot of these Bozo’s out their [sic] who claim they are the ones. Be a Branch of God’s Church and quit claiming that you only have the truth.”
The second email is inspiring to read, and also typical of what many are coming to remember. The writer references my “RCG Fruits” letter, posted in mid-January:
“A week ago I read Mr. Pack’s letter [about fruits] to the splinter organizations, of which I am [in] one, the UCG.
“I was stunned. It never occurred to me that God was still doing a work through one Church, as the evidence had never been presented before, until now. The fruits speak volumes, this cannot be the work of a man without the intervention of God.
“This is not the work of a self appointed egotist, as I used to think, without checking the facts…”
“The wounded remnant [names one nation] UCG are very despondent. All new people only attend once as it is so small. Most members left for COGWA.
“The RCG sounds very exciting. It is like going back to the 60s. To think of what I have been missing out on. I need more contact.”
We receive emails like the latter on an almost daily basis. Frankly, it is one of the greatest reasons that we are “very exciting.”
Basic Understanding Re-established
This article will examine in much detail what the Bible says about how the Spirit of Christ works within His people to always lead them to where He is working. [indeed it does, wait till you see where Christ is working and what He is doing]It brings much plainproof of this. God’s Word reveals without any ambiguity Christ’s role in this, and what He expects His people to do in response—what is their part—their responsibility—in returning to God’s one Church. The article explains both elements in a sequential, layered fashion—quote by quote, point by point, scripture upon scripture. But this will only be visible to the reader who stays the course to the article’s conclusion. After several subheads, if you have God’s Spirit, you will probably be unable to stop reading.
This article transcends and encompasses everything about your calling. If you are not IN God’s Church—however this might have come to be—you are headed toward losing God’s Spirit and eternal death! All hope of salvation is lost to you if you do not break free from confusion and return to the only Church built by Jesus Christ—to become a branch reconnected to the Vine (John 15:1-2, 4-5, 7). I repeat, the article proves this—conclusively![in a sense what he says here is true. A possibility exists that if you do not see where Christ is working and what he is doing in time, you may end up in the time of Jacobs Trouble where a full 50% of God’s people will lose their salvation. The trouble is, he is in the same danger because todate he does not understand what Christ is doing in this age of His Church]
We first must briefly establish what Mr. Armstrong wrote about three basic Bible subjects: (1) the unity of God’s Church, (2) gathering with and scattering against Christ and (3) how and to where Christ’s Spirit leads those outside His Church, the Body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18). Those who remember but have firmly rejected what Mr. Armstrong taught on these subjects, including having rejected how he understood many related verses, will likely not be helped by this article. But it will be life-changing for those who can return to this fundamental understanding. You will see why you must return to God’s Church.
Mr. Armstrong taught:
(1) God has one, unified, organized Church, also called the Body of Christ. His first quote opens describing the confused thinking of so many today. Permit the simplicity of what follows to speak to you:
“Today some in the Church of God do not UNDERSTAND just what the Church of God really IS! Some have become confused as to whether there is ORGANIZATION or government in it—and I mean in GOD’S OWN CHURCH! And God HAS ONLY ONE CHURCH! (I Cor. 12:12, 13)…”
“God has ONLYONE CHURCH on earth, which He directs in the doing of His Work—not TWO churches—not MANY denominations and sects, and ‘groups.’ ‘But now are they many members, YET BUT ONE BODY’ (I Cor. 12:20—see also v. 12, 13). ‘For by one Spirit are we all (not part of us) baptized into ONE body.’”
Brethren Letter, May 2, 1974
“What about the one who follows a man because of that man’s personality, charisma or attractiveness, or some other group?
“Stop and think!0.3
“Is Christ going to marry a number of differing groups, not in complete harmony with each other—yet all ‘professing Christ’?”
“Jesus Christ is going to marry the one and only true Church—not a number of scattered groups or scattered individuals.”
“7 Proofs of God’s True Church,” The Plain Truth, Sept. 1979
Make yourself address and answer whether you do or don’t any longer believe what Mr. Armstrong taught—what you perhaps believed for a long time and said you would never give up. If you are unsure, my book The True Church – One Organization, or Many? goes much, much further in analysis and proof than two short quotes. The serious Christian will read this book. It is comprehensive and literally impossible to misunderstand. You can recapture what you lost.
[Here we need to begin to discern what the “Church” really is. The new testament does not talk about a corporate church with a single group headquarters except when they were all living a communal existance in Jerusalem. After they were scattered there was no more single group or corporate headquarters. The Bible says and Mr Armstrong confirmed that the “church” is not a corporate group but rather those people who had been given God’s Holy Spirit. In the Philadelphia ERA of God’s church a single group was needed a quite large group larger than any that had ever existed before in order to help Christ do the work that He was doing in that ERA.
Rev 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
Here is the work that Christ was doing in Philadelphia spelled out for us. He was opening the doors of mass media to His church so that the prophecy of Mat 24:14 could be accomplished. Mr. Armstrong took the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to the world and its leaders. That took the resources of a massive church which is what Mr Armstrong said over and over. That corporate church under the leadership of God’s Apostle and Elijah was the only place where that work was being done.
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.
Mr. Armstrong said that he finished that work and that no repeat of that work was going to come in after him, there would be no Elisha following Elijah. And yet so many of the larger corporate groups are doing that very thing. A work that Mr, Armstrong disallowed and not a work that Christ is doing today.
After Mr. Armstrong died the Philadelphia ERA ceased and Laodicean began with the Apostasy, the scattering of God’s people and their testing. Notice how God refers to this ERA of His church it is even called the Church of the Laodicean(s) notice the plural there? The only ERA of the church where a plural was used when addressing it.
The real church, those who have God’s Spirit are now scattered amongst hundreds of corporate groups but THEY are still THE church of GOD.]
A single, powerful scripture sets up the next point from Mr. Armstrong. Jesus plainly stated, “He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathers not with Me scatters abroad” (Matt. 12:30). The fascinating and all-important context of Christ’s summary statement will be examined later. It will remove all doubt of His intended meaning. But ask now: How could Christ gather to several places, when His point was to contrast gathering to scattering? Scattering obviously involves many locations. By definition, gathering means to one location. There is no honest way to make the verse say something else. Run from anyone who tries.
Now three more short quotes from Mr. Armstrong:
(2) He addressed Matthew 12:30 many times, making clear that he knew exactly what Christ meant. Most have forgotten or never realized how often he addressed Jesus’ statement (all emphasis his throughout):
“Again, ‘He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth’ (Luke 11:23). Those not with Christ, WHERE HE LEADS in his church, are scattering and against Him.”
“Is God’s Church Composed of Many Separate ‘Groups’?”, Good News, Dec. 18, 1978
Mr. Armstrong is consistent with what Christ taught. Those who scatter the flock (ministers or members who support them) are AGAINST Jesus Christ. This subject is much more serious than meets the eye—and than most brethren have discerned. “Against” is equivalent to “anti.” Think. To be against Christ is to be Anti-Christ! Ministers cannot scatter people away from where Christ is working without being against Him. There is no in-between—and this is what Mr. Armstrong correctly taught from the Bible. Another quote further drives home the point (bracketed words are his):
“Jesus said, ‘He that is not with me [and since He is the Head of God’s one and only Church, He plainlymeant with Him where He is working—in God’soneChurch] is against me; and he that gathers not with me scatters abroad’ (Matthew 12:30).”
“7 Proofs of God’s True Church,” The Plain Truth, Sept. 1979
Do not complicate the basic meaning of Scripture, and the way Jesus Christ views gatherers and scatterers. We should at least ask: How can one be somewhere other than God’s Church—WITH Christ, meaning the ONE PLACE “where He is working”—and not be against Him? A final quote from Mr. Armstrong puts everything in full perspective:
“That one body of Christ, carrying on his work, must function as a unit. It must work in harmony and unity, with teamwork, for God is not the author of confusion. There must be no pulling off in different directions by different men in that one Body. There must be no competition or division. And anyone who knowingly promotes, or encourages anyone in promoting, such disharmony, competition, and division, becomes the enemy of God, and is serving the devil and not God!
“There is no example in the Bible where God carried on his work under the New Covenant by any single individual outside of, independent of, his organized church and his order of government in the church. Anyone outside of God’s Church is against God’s Church!
“Jesus said: ‘He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad!”
[Here again we need to understand what Christ is doing and where He is doing it and who is helping him. We saw above that Christ told us what He would be doing in Philadelphia, opening the doors of mass media for His expanded church to walk through. But what does he say about Laodicea? What is He doing now?
Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Rev 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
In this ERA of His church he is not working with a group like He did in Philadelphia. Today He is working with the individual members of the body of Christ, those with enough Spirit left to hear His Voice. He is calling each of us to repent and to watch for His return. Take time to read the Knock of Laodicea yourself for a full understanding of the work Christ is doing.
Mr. Pack is trying by his own admission to carry-on or continue the work that Mr. Armstrong said that he had finished. Yet Christ says now that He is doing a different work altogether and since Mr. Pack is not doing that work then he is as stated above scattering the brethren even more.]
“Must God’s Ministers Be Ordained by the Hand of Man?”, Good News, May, 1954
Could Mr. Armstrong have been more clear? We must ask: How much worse for the victims if the “pulling off in different directions by different men” is being done outside, not “in,” the Body?
Now note Mr. Armstrong’s summary: “You are an enemy” and “serving the devil”—minister or lay member!—if you are in any way scattering 77against God’s Church. Come to grips with why you may believe Mr. Armstrong was wrong. With so much at stake—very salvation!—be brutally honest. The wrong answer means paying the ultimate price.
Among today’s former WCG ministers, there are only gatherers and scatterers. Christ is a gatherer. So are HIS ministers—ALL of them. They gather “with” Him. Scatterers are directing brethren away from where Christ works, and are thus “AGAINST Him.” Two decades into an apostasy, this should be impossible to miss. Do not “wrest the scriptures” (II Pet. 3:16) as many ministers and others do so freely today. Jesus Christ said what He meant and meant what He said! Mr. Armstrong clarified and affirmed Christ’s words so there could be no misunderstanding. I affirm both. Again, make yourself come to grips with whether you believe Christ and Mr. Armstrong.[I am in total agreement with Mr. Pack it is just that Christ is not doing the same work that he is doing. Christ is reaching out to His people at a critical time in the history of the church a time just before the Great Tribulation to save as many as possible from what is coming and to ensure the survival of the church(the body of Christ). Mr. Pack on the other hand is in fact continuing to scatter God’s people by insisting on doing his version of the work of God rather than allowing God and His Spirit to lead him.
Please take careful note of who is going to gather His people back together and from whom He is going to take them when He does so. A message given to the last end-time era of His people and given to His Shepherds;
Eze 34:1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Eze 34:2 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?
Eze 34:3 Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock.
Eze 34:4 The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.
Eze 34:5 And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered.
Eze 34:6 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.
Eze 34:7 Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD;
Eze 34:8 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;
Eze 34:9 Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD;
Eze 34:10 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.
Eze 34:11 For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.
That is why Christ is Knocking on the door of the individual members of His flock so that they can open to him via repentance and prepare themselves for what is coming. There is coming a time soon when Christ will reveal Himself to His church at the 1335, where those who are counted worthy will be taken to a place of safety. That is the time when He will Himself gather His people as stated above.
Israel and the world have already had their warning, now God is preparing His bride so that He can gather them to himself to protect them from what is coming, those that have enough oil left to hear His voice.]
Now the third basic truth:
(3) Mr. Armstrong explained another powerful understanding—that those with the Holy Spirit outside God’s Church will always be led to God’s one Church—and, if they “reject” truth and refuse to come, they will lose God’s Spirit:
“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.[Amen to that, for that is exactly the “work” that Christ is doing now, leading those who have His Spirit and can Hear His voice to true repentance and real change so they can join in His work to help to reach others and save as many as can be from the Great Tribulation.]
“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.”
“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
Many have come with The Restored Church of God having been baptized in a splinter. These have personally demonstrated what Mr. Armstrong wrote would happen. It was evident they did have the Holy Spirit—“by their fruits you know them”—and Christ did lead them to where He is working. Because of fruit shown, re-baptisms have been rare.
The new convert’s spiritual continuance hinges on finding and entering the organization that Christ leads.
I Corinthians is clear: “By one Spirit are we all baptized into one Body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (12:13). Christ places members in the Body where He wants them: “Now has God set the members every one of them in the Body, as it has pleased Him” (vs. 18).
Remember for a moment: In the years before the apostasy, God’s people understood that members can leave the Body—the Church—and retain the Holy Spirit, but only if they came back. When a member was disfellowshipped or left the Church, he did not immediately lose God’s Spirit. No one thought this. But if one were disfellowshipped or drifted away from the Church and stayed out long enough, he WOULD lose the Holy Spirit. Everyone also knew this (or should have), including every minister. Nothing new or mysterious here.
How much more serious becomes the question of returning for thousands today who were once in God’s one Church, and under His Government—who once fully understood what the last statement meant—but who would not follow the lead of God’s Spirit back to the Church? No thinking person could believe that new converts—those who were never previously in the Church—are held accountable for their actions, while those who KNOW BETTER are not! Ponder this.
The stage has been set. You either do or do not believe the above three foundational pointsof truth. If you do not, and have no intention of returning to what you once believed, stop reading now. Your thinking has been permanently overthrown and the article cannot help you. If you do believe them, then buckle down and focus because now it gets serious!
[The fact of the matter is that until recently there was no “work” being done that Christ has had a part in. He stated plainly in Revelation 3 what His work is today, the same place where He stated what His work was in Philadelphia. Only none of the groups that have formed since the Apostasy believe Him. That is why the Holy Spirit has not led all of His people to a single group. That group actually a grass roots movement within the Body of Christ, is just now being formed and even it is not where all will be gathered, that will be at the 1335. But it is the Fellowship that is doing Christ’s work and where you will want to help Christ do His work.]
“Quench Not the Spirit”
Although Mr. Armstrong’s words are conclusive, they demand scriptural backup. We should be able to prove whether he was right or wrong. He was one or the other, not both. So then, is it true that all with God’s Spirit must come to—or return to—Christ’s one Church or they will lose God’s Spirit? Let’s learn what Mr. Armstrong knew—step by step by step.[Understand that what was true to a degree in Philadelphia with it’s one huge group supporting Christ’s work in that age of the church is not true today where Christ’s work is to reach His flock wherever they may be scattered across the Laodicean Landscape. He does not need a huge group to support that effort of His people who have heard Him and are there only to support His efforts at reaching each individual. GROUPS ARE IRRELEVANT TO THE WORK THAT CHRIST IS DOING TODAY! ]
On something so important, the Bible should speak with clarity and authority. It does! Let’s ask: What role does the Spirit of Christ play in one returning to His Church? How exactly does Christ work within each Christian’s mind? Can you refuse to submit to what He does, but retain the Holy Spirit? This is a huge matter for every one of God’s people to consider! Since the Father entrusts His children to Christ, having made Him the Head of the Church, it is the work and leading of Christ’s Spirit that we focus on.
We start by asking: Can a Holy Spirit-led person who IS attending God’s Church lose the Holy Spirit?
The apostle Paul warned the Thessalonians: “Quench not the Spirit” (I Thes. 5:19). The Greek word translated “quench” is sbennumi. It means “quench,” “put out,” “extinguish” or “go out.” This describes a true Christian who lost God’s Spirit while sitting right in Sabbath services every week. In a sense, he died where he sat—he fell away. This happens when one fails to “stir up the gift in [him]”, as Paul told Timothy (II Tim. 1:6-7). Now think. If Christians could keep God’s Spirit indefinitely, no matter their actions, Paul would not have warned brethren about quenching it. And if this can happen to those IN the true Church, what of those OUTSIDE it? Now ask: What if they also knew to return but did not? Of course such people would lose God’s Spirit. But they would need to understand the choice they were making.
That is why this article is so important at this stage in God’s unfolding plan.
Sbennumi is also found in Matthew 12 in a prophecy about Jesus: “A bruised reed shall He [Jesus] not break, and smoking flax shall He not quench [again, meaning put out, extinguish or go out]” (vs. 20). That Jesus would not “quench a smoking flax” means He would not “put it out.”
God’s Spirit still remains in thousands of people in the splinters—but it has become at best a tiny flame that is going out. God and His ministers can take a smoking flax and help turn it into a roaring fire in the right environment. People in weak condition can recover! But we will see that they must first return to Christ’s Body and be reattached to the Vine, having been branches cut off, and for many years now. I am trying with all my effort in this article to fan into a flame what may be down to an ember—or only a smoking flax—in your life.
Next look at Ephesians 6:16. It instructs Christians to “Quench [sbennumi] the fiery darts of the wicked one [with the shield of faith].” This clearly means to put them out. None would suggest it means, “Reduce Satan’s fiery darts to a flicker.” The word quench does not change meaning when it is found in the Bible.
[But don’t you see that is exactly the problem with Laodicea.
Rev 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Rev 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
They are neither Hot nor cold because they do not understand the work that Christ is doing and their part in it. They think that they are rich and don’t need anything including Mr. Pack’s group. They are all complacent with where they are and are in danger of being spewed out of God’s mouth into the Great Tribulation.
This work that Christ is doing and that we are helping with is to give them the eye salve they need to open their eyes to their true condition so that they might repent and change and be accounted worthy to escape. They are slowly quenching the Spirit by staying where they are and not repenting of their true condition]
The Foolish Virgins
Matthew 25 provides a final example of sbennumi. The parable of the 10 virgins takes on much more meaning in light of this word. First recognize that Mr. Armstrong laid the foundation of understanding that all 10 virgins are Laodicean. It says, “they all slumbered and slept” (vs. 5). After Mr. Armstrong died, a false idea grew up in the splinters that somehow five of the virgins are Philadelphian and five are Laodicean. My book “Anoint Your Eyes” – Christ’s Warning to His People covers many quotes from Mr. Armstrong proving what he knew about the parable.
Let’s read carefully for understanding. The chapter begins, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps and went forth to meet the Bridegroom” (vs. 1). Next notice: “Five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps [their bibles], and took no oil [the Holy Spirit] with them” (vs. 2-3). The Greek for “no” means “nothing, none, not, no or never.” Plainly, these had become unconverted minds—people who had lost God’s Spirit before the Bridegroom came. The context shows the foolish virgins did not realize what had happened—that they had unwittingly quenched God’s Spirit.
Verse 4 states, “But the wise took oil in their vessels [themselves] with their lamps.” However lukewarm they had become, the wise could at least to a degree understand God’s Word (their lamps) with some of His Spirit (oil) still present in them. The other five fell away completely, having gone from lukewarm to cold (Matt. 24:12). Keep this simple! God’s Holy Spirit had left them completely—they took no oil.
But let’s furtherprove they had completely lost God’s Spirit.
Verses 6 and 7 state, “At midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the Bridegroom comes; go you out to meet Him…Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.” Now the key verse: “The foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out” (vs. 8). Some Bible margins say “going out,” but this is incorrect! “Gone out” is again sbennumi—“quench, extinguish, put out, go out.” This is why it says the foolish virgins had no oil. They did not follow Christ and lost His Spirit—and they were apparently at least mostly IN the Church because they are shown in close contact with the other virgins. It appears they also “died where they sat.” Ignoring Paul’s warning (I Thes. 5:19), this group quenched God’s Spirit.
The result? They missed out on the kingdom of God. Miscalculation will bring the same for anyone, including you!
Mr. Armstrong was obviously right. People can lose Christ’s Spirit whether while in or out of God’s Church. Time is obviously short for those who may have been outside it for decades. But, for those willing to follow Christ, His Spirit will always lead them to one place. After reading this article, your decision will speak volumes about whether you also waited too long…
[While I disagree that the lamps had gone out completely the end result was the same. There was not enough oil to make it through the trials and tribulations of the Great Tribulation and the 5 foolish virgins lost their salvation apparently. The problem was as Mr. Pack stated they all waited too long to respond to the Holy Spirit. A call was initially made to all the ten virgins and they waited too long to respond they could not find the bridegroom. None of them heard or were aware when Christ revealed Himself at the 1335, the gathering of those whom Christ accounted worthy. They missed it and only half had enough oil left to endure what was coming.]
“Led by the Spirit”
Now begins awesome understanding for those with ears to hear. Romans chapter 8 reveals absolutely crucial knowledge about God’s Spirit, and how it leads individual Christians. Let’s see: “You are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His” (Rom. 8:9). First notice that the “Spirit of God” is the same as the “Spirit of Christ.” This is not a mere detail. It becomes important to know later.
Now verses 10-11: “If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; [but] the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him [the Father] that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwells in you.” Verse 10 opens with “If CHRIST be in you…” To have the Spirit of Christ is an equation with having Christ Himself in you. This is also no mere detail. You will soon see why.
Verse 14 is short, but also crucial in describing the work of God’s Spirit in each mind: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they [no one else] are the sons of God.” The Spirit of Christ in a man LEADS him—“as many as are led of the Spirit…” Continue to keep the discussion simple. If you have the Holy Spirit, you have the Spirit of Christ, or CHRIST IN YOU. Christ LEADS every individual by His Spirit. The person must follow Christ’s Spirit because only then “they are the sons of God.” If one does not follow where and as Christ leads, the verse makes plain he or she will lose (“quench”) God’s Spirit. Recall from Revelation 14:4 that the 144,000 are described as those who “follow the Lamb whithersoever He goes.”
Simply put, Christians are those who follow Christ, PERIOD. Others don’t, they do. Get this! And to remain a Christian, you must never cease following Christ.
[Indeed Mr. Pack is correct we must follow wherever Christ leads. But in this ERA of the Church He is going to each of His people Himself to get them to open the door of their minds and hearts to Him via repentance and good works. The “WORKS” of the church of the Laodiceans is flawed. To continue to support those works rather than help and support where Christ is working is not following the lead of His Spirit. And going to Mr Pack’s group is not following the lead of the Spirit either if it was it should have already happened.]
Recall that Mr. Armstrong wrote, “Jesus said that His sheep do hear and recognize His voice and His truth, and that they will follow Him!” Beyond merely “having” God’s Spirit, a Christian must be “LED” by it. Accept what these verses plainly state! Tamper with or ignore them at your own peril. You must follow where Christ leads—always!
The obvious question: If God’s people had gotten confused and unusual circumstances (think apostasy!) caused them to lose track of His Church, to where would Christ lead those who still wanted to follow Him? It would always be to HIS CHURCH! If they got split up, He would “gather” them to be “with” Him. Nothing complicated here—for those who do not want to quench God’s Spirit. He certainly might wait for a while to retrieve them in order that they learn crucial lessons, including humility in regard to how they could let it happen. But His love for them would mean that He would intervene before it was too late.
Let’s summarize. Having the Spirit of Christ in us is the same as—an equation with—having Christ (Himself) in us. Think of Colossians 1:27—“Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The article is built on this recognition.
But there is still much more to see before powerful conclusions come to bear. First let’s ask: What methods does Christ use to get one’s attention? Does He tell us? Is the Bible plain in this regard? It is…
John 10 and the Good Shepherd
John 10 shows the relationship between sheep and shepherds, and how Christ always leads His people out of danger. The chapter describes two types of false shepherds (false ministers). Both types contribute to scattering, but one is active and the other is passive. Let’s understand. First Christ described thieves, robbers and strangers who attack and scatter His sheep—the active ones. Next He introduced hirelings who flee from (or watch) the attack doing nothing—the passive ones. When God’s people are being scattered, hirelings neither try to thwart the attack nor protect the sheep, and bring them back to where Christ’s Church is assembled. The passive shepherd describes many men as the WCG disintegrated. When wolves scattered the sheep, the hirelings did not stand up and fight the wolves. Many hirelings did go into the splinters, but way too late and after showing little or no courage prior to leaving. The result? Many sheep were lost.
Now read Jesus’ instruction to His sheep about false shepherds: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that enters not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But He that enters in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter opens; and the sheep hear His voice: and He calls His own sheep by name, and leads [notice the word] them out. And when He puts forth His own sheep, He goes before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice” (vs. 1-4). Recall Mr. Armstrong’s words, as well as all of the last subhead. Connecting the dots, it was Christ in them that did the leading. They followed HIS SPIRIT, but this means they were listening for it.
The context is Christ delivering His sheep from false leaders. Ministers who steal God’s tithes—and steal His sheep!—among their many other evils and offenses today—so obviously fit this description. When God’s people are in danger, Jesus calls them “by name” and leads them “out” (away) to safety! This is specific—individual—personal. But, again, the sheep must be willing to follow Christ. If they got confused for a time (short or long), they would repent and return to following Christ once they realize what they have done.
This is the John 10 message!
More clarification. Many among God’s people and in the world talk about “hearing Christ’s voice,” and this can mean whatever anybody needs it to mean. Let’s read the Bible definition of Christ’s voice. No opinion, idea or other definition counts. Jesus stated this before Pilate: “Every one that is of the truth hears my voice” (18:37). Combining John 10:4 and 18:37 brings clarity: Jesus’ sheep know His voice of truth.
The Greek word for “voice” is phone (fo-NAY’). Telephone derives from it. Like most today, Christ has a phone, and like all people who have one, He uses it. But, just as some do not answer their phone or a knock at their door, some will not answer Christ when He calls them from danger. Think of suspense movies when someone is calling another person warning of kidnappers or intruders seeking to bring harm, and the phone ringing without being answered. Christ calls His sheep through His Spirit in them—leading them, using each person’s name. As He keeps His promise, will you hear the phone and follow? Through His Spirit, Jesus makes it clear where His Truth, Church, Work and Government are found, and each sheep decides what to do when presented with this knowledge. As the location of these things becomes known to people with God’s Spirit, they must follow where that Spirit LEADS.
Since Christ says He has a voice, no wonder His Spirit is described in the Old Testament as a “still small voice” (I Kgs. 19:12). Think of Christ’s phone not as one with a loud ring, but rather one set on “vibrate.” How carefully are you listening for this low quiet stirring (voice) in the tempest of cacophonous noises and sounds in the modern world and in the confused, competing splinters everywhere around you? How sharp are your listening skills?
When Christ showed the future apostle Paul (then still Saul) that he was “kicking against the pricks” of Christ, Paul immediately answered, “What will you have me to do?” (Acts 9:5-6). He had previously missed Christ’s signals—but he changed, and went on to become one of the greatest servants of God of all time. Christ had to strike Paul blind to get his attention. You should not expect such leniency. But perhaps this article can in its own way similarly “strike” you.
What might you go on to become before the age is complete? What could yet be your final record, now unwritten?
Jesus continues in John 10, and He is blunt: “A stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers…Verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep [Christ leads through the correct door into the right Church so we can be “with” Him]…by Me if any man enters in, he shall be saved [all others will not], and shall go in and out, and find pasture [only its one Mother, the Church, feeds His people]…I lay down My life for the sheep” (10:5, 7, 9, 15). The last phrase makes this serious. Christ gave His life for you. He owns you (I Cor. 6:20; 7:23).
Strangers do not and would never follow Christ’s voice. They don’t have His Spirit. Therefore, Christ is not calling their names. This could include your minister. Waiting to see what he does has nothing whatsoever to do with what you will do. You cannot ignore where Christ leads and survive. Just one wolf can make short work of many sheep when they refuse to follow their shepherd.
Also ask: How could one continue to knowingly follow strangers—false ministers who teach wrong doctrines and oppose God’s Work—and keep the Spirit of Christ? Scripture makes plain that brethren who follow false ministers cannot retain God’s Spirit indefinitely. TIME IS RUNNING OUT. If you read this article and “put off” following Christ’s voice—decide that you can ignore it for a time—ask why Christ should extend you more mercy than the many years He has already allowed.
Another question: How long can Christ’s sheep continue to follow the devil’s agents—“grievous wolves”? How long could first-century brethren follow Alexander the Coppersmith when he was attacking the apostle Paul, and retain God’s Spirit? How long could early brethren continue following Diotrephes, who had come to oppose the apostle John and true brethren, and still retain God’s Spirit?
No man—meaning any false minister, false prophet or false teacher—can take a Christian out of Christ’s hand. Jesus emphasized and further explained in John 10:27-28, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.” But this can happen if the person chooses to leave Christ’s hand to follow a thieving stranger. If he let himself be deceived, it was his own fault. He ignored Christ calling His name for too long.
Jesus promises to knock on every man’s door and that if “any man hear My voice, and open the door…” (Rev. 3:20) He will re-enter that man’s life. Like names, each man’s “door” is specific—individual—attached to one man’s house. If you do not “answer the door” at Christ’s knock, expect to fall out of even the lukewarm Laodicean condition, and beyond Christianity altogether.
For almost 2,000 years, the Great Shepherd has been calling His sheep to where He has placed His name. In today’s worst time of threat to His flock in Church history, Jesus would not abandon or fail to protect it. He promised to “never leave nor forsake” His people. When the “going got tough,” Christ would do more than ever, not less. Know this!
Believe every verse in John 10! This chapter should at the same time be inspiring (the promises) and sobering (the warnings) that Jesus declares near the chapter’s end that, “The scripture cannot be broken” (vs. 35).
The True Vine
This leads to John 15. As you read a whole series of verses, ask: Where in them is room for any separation between Christ and His sheep?—meaning must they absolutely be with Him where He leads?
Verses 1-2 state, “I am the true Vine, and My Father is the Husbandman. Every branch in Me that bears not fruit He takes away…” This describes Christians who ARE connected to the Vine but who do not grow and are taken away. How much then could those who are NOT connected be able to grow? Grasp the meaning here! Continuing, “…every branch that bears fruit, He purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit” (vs. 2). Those cut off from Christ (the Vine)—meaning they are not where He is working—cannot “bear fruit,” no matter what they have told themselves. Again, keep this simple!
All-important verses 4-5 declare, “…As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the Vine; no more can you, except you abide in Me. I am the Vine, you are the branches: he that abides in Me, and I in him [Christ is alive in His people], the same brings forth much fruit: for without Me you can do nothing.” Those who stay away from Christ’s Church permanently—or even for too long—die spiritually. They cannot bear fruit “of itself”—or by themselves, either at home or in the many splinters and slivers that are all cut off from Christ.
John 14:17, 15:26 and 16:13 all refer to the Spirit of Christ as the “Spirit of truth.” This term for the Holy Spirit becomes its own additional PROOF that Christ will lead confused sheep to where His FULL TRUTH is found—the only place that Christ is Head.
Consider. The apostle John also recorded, “He that says, I know Him, and keeps not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth [meaning the Spirit of truth] is not in him. But whoso keeps His word, in him [no one else] verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him” (I John 2:4-5). This passage reinforces James 1:18, which explains Christians are begotten with “the word of truth.” It is the truth of God’s Word—the Spirit of Christ—the Spirit of truth—that leads the Christian. Now note this: Only those who have the Spirit of truth in them can have love perfected in them. The splinter leaders speak almost unceasingly about love. But, having rejected the leading of God’s Spirit, they have merely “perfected” how to TALK about love, not truly practice it. The names of various top ministers come immediately to mind.
Note how they resist the message of this article—and how much love they show its author. Then ask why.
Where an alien spirit is present, God’s Spirit is ultimately pushed out, with the spirit of Satan taking over completely. The true Christ would never lead an organization that has openly permitted what John called the “spirit of error” (I John 4:6) to supplant His leadership. Now understand. The Spirit of the true Christ would never direct the “church” and “work” of those guided by what Paul called “another spirit” (II Cor. 11:4). Any article about Christ’s Spirit has to acknowledge the devil’s spirit in the wolves at work today, men who are not operating on human strength alone—far from it. Paul also called this evil spirit the “spirit of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2). Your job is to “try the spirits” (I John 4:1-2), and to “get it right” when you do. The ultimate disobedience is against the leading of Christ’s Spirit, and thus is direct disobedience to Christ Himself!
What follows in John 15 is sobering: “If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered [Greek—“to shrivel, dry up and wither away”], and men gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (vs. 6).
Staying connected to Christ, and bringing forth much fruit, is central to every Christian’s continuance. Notice verse 8: “Herein is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit…so shall you be My disciples.” It is only through this process, your unwavering connection to Christ, that Christians are His disciples. There is no other way!
How long can one retain Christ’s Spirit while away from Him? It depends on many factors: how long since He was connected to the Vine—how much the person had at separation—how rapidly God’s Spirit is being quenched, and other factors tied to general attitude and conduct. Think of a branch cut from a tree. The bigger the branch, the longer before the leaves droop. Break off a small twig and leaves can wither in minutes or even seconds. If a large, mature tree is felled, it can go for a couple days before all leaves run out of water. But it takes many months for the wood in the tree to dry out. For Christians, 18-20 years (more for some) surely stretches the limit…
There is still much more to understand. The discussion again turns more serious.
[Much is said above and is true. His Sheep will hear His voice and follow him. Consider for a moment what was said. There is a Gatekeeper whose job it is to open the door and “reveal” Christ to His sheep so that they can HEAR His voice and follow Him. The Shepherds of Israel refuse to do that because many are “feeding” on God’s people, they are themselves hirelings and do not truly care for them. God has raised up a Gatekeeper so to speak in Mr Frank L. Maschio of the Christ’s Knock Ministry. Christ has shown Mr. Maschio the work that He is doing and has given him the job of Gatekeeper that he might make that message and work known to the people of God. Mr. Maschio is not available now yet what he taught is being brought back to you at the Church of God Community Web site This is a Gathering place for fellowship for any of God’s People. We will be providing the eye salve that the Knock Message gives to any who care to hear. It is not a church or group only a kind of “Watering Hole” for the Body of Christ who would like to fellowship and share with others of the Body of Christ regardless of your affiliation. ]
Follow or Rebel
Recall Jesus’ words, “I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20). In a sense, Jesus Christ is seen to be leading from both inside and outside His people. “Knock” in the Greek more correctly means to “rap”—closer to bang or pound. Christ then knocks hard outside each man’s door. But He is also doing it from inside the individual’s mind—leading him.
After falling far away from God, King David besought Christ (the God of the Old Testament), “Take not Your Holy Spirit from me” (Psa. 51:11). God did not, and David also went on to become one of the greatest servants of God to ever live, soon to lead all the tribes of Israel at Christ’s Return. David’s request of God sets up well the question we have been asking in different ways: Must one respond to Christ’s knock when His name is called? If he ignores these signals, does Christ conclude, “That’s alright. I won’t take My Spirit from him”? Now prepare to see that David’s previous actions, however wrong, do not even come close to all that the one who has been outside God’s Church for many years would have done. What is this saying?
Not a respecter of persons, Christ gives every Christian the same choice. It’s follow or rebel. There are no other alternatives. Stay simple. Let’s use our imagination by picturing a “conversation” between Christ and any person with His Spirit who is outside His Church—meaning every person in every WCG splinter or sliver existing today. Some will follow. But others will not. We examine these:
First, Christ through His Spirit commands, “[Name], return to My one Church.” The person answers, “No. I’m going to continue following a stranger.”
Christ next commands, “Come back under My government.” The reply? “No. I refuse. I will never follow one leader again. I like my freedom.”
Christ then directs, “Start paying My tithes to the only place I am working. They belong to ME.” The answer? “No! I’m paying them to the organization I attend, even though they are led by those who are against you. It’s my choice.”
Christ reminds, and again commands, “I called you to do My Work. Start helping MY one organized effort to announce the true gospel and to warn the great nations of Israel.” The response? “No! I’ve decided you have various works going on. I picked my favorite.”
Christ goes further, “Leave your family and friends in the splinters, and follow Me.” The same response: “No! I’m comfortable with them. And they need me. I don’t want to hurt them or upset the family.”
Christ commands yet again, “Leave ALL the damnable heresies you are hearing and return to every one of My doctrinal truths.” The person answers, “No! I have changed my mind about some things Mr. Armstrong taught. Joe Tkach may have been a false apostle but he got some things right that Mr. Armstrong got wrong. I am sold on these other ideas. I’ve been told they are right and that I should believe them.”
Finally, Christ DEMANDS, “Come to where I lead and work—REATTACH TO ME—the VINE.” The person says, “NO! I will NOT reattach to you or fellowship where you lead and work! I am staying where I am! My minister may be a stranger, but I like him. I have decided that I am attached to you where I am.”
Would Jesus Christ accept these answers, simply replying, “Well, that’s okay, you are an exception. You can still have My Spirit. I won’t take it from you”? No! This would be rebellion in its worst form! If the new convert, the one given God’s Spirit outside His Church, must follow Christ or lose God’s Spirit, why would it be different for those who were once more mature Christians—for those who possibly have had God’s Spirit for decades and were for years in God’s Church? These would have greater responsibility to return to the Church—and fast! For these, even a little stubbornness would be dangerous. While we might conclude that the new convert would be given more time, the person away from Christ for 18-20 years—and who once KNEW BETTER—would seem to be a candidate for less patience, and maybe much less after Christ’s command to return.
One cannot follow false ministers and remain Christ’s sheep. God takes rebellion seriously, comparing it to witchcraft in I Samuel 15:23! (Consider the Bible examples of rebellion: Korah, Cain, Saul, and others.) He also likens stubbornness to lawlessness and idolatry (same verse). Most never see choices as clearly as Deuteronomy 30:19—life and death. God does!
Would such stubbornly resistant rebels retain Christ’s Spirit? Of course not! OF COURSE NOT! The very suggestion insults the true Jesus Christ whom so many have forgotten. Such should remember “the goodness AND SEVERITY of God” (Rom. 11:22). Those who resist and rebel against Christ’s call to return to His Church commit the very worst form of quenching God’s Spirit, seen in this light to be rank rebellion. Consider going back at first opportunity to reread the above exchange with Christ, but this time on your knees.
Nobody knows how many have resisted and completely rejected Christ’s calling back to the Body, or who will yet do this when the opportunity comes. But also, how many will not resist…
[You know Mr. Armstrong once said that if you start from a wrong premise you will never arrive at the correct conclusion. We must begin to follow the work that Christ said He was going to do in this end-time ERA of God’s church. It is stated clearly in Rev. 3:20 and we should all of us be about our Fathers business now!]
A House Divided
We now return to Matthew 12. Jesus’ statement about gathering and scattering (vs. 30) came in a very powerful context. Jesus Himself removes all doubt about (1) exactly what He meant and (2) what people were fighting against if they did not gather with Him. What follows is gravely serious to you.
The context of “He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathers not with Me scatters abroad” (vs. 30) is addressing the crucial importance of unity in God’s House. Let’s see this: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or housedivided against itself shall not stand [survive]” (Matt. 12:25). Why do those who teach that the New Testament Church is scattered among many organizations never reference this verse when it’s the passage that sets up verse 30? In the next verses, Jesus went on to explain that even the devil realizes his kingdom cannot survive divided. Surely the great God of heaven and the all-powerful Jesus Christ are at least as wise as the devil! As Paul wrote, I speak as a fool.
Think. Can a divided marriage continue indefinitely? Could even the most powerful company survive if its board of directors were divided? Could a winning professional football or soccer team survive if the coach continually challenged and opposed decisions, policies and judgments of the team’s management or ownership? Could a school survive if every decision made by the principal was challenged by teachers, and groups of them regularly broke away to form more (unauthorized) schools?
Certainly not! God would not have a lower standard of unity than THE DEVIL! Why do God’s people accept the idea that the most important organization on Earth—the CHURCH AND HOUSE OF GOD!—can be divided into endless squabbling groups? How long could God’s people survive in a state that married couples, companies, sports teams, schools—and the devil—could not endure, and would not be foolish enough to think they could? Where Christ is working, it is NOT divided by different beliefs (I Cor. 1:10). The splinters, however, are divided, and about almost everything, due to power plays and endless (and growing) doctrinal errors.
Get clear that the most important “house” described in the New Testament is “the house of God…the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (I Tim. 3:15). Take more than a passing interest that this verse ties the Church to where “THE truth” is—not “SOME of the truth” or “MUCH of the truth” or even “MOST of the truth”—and certainly not “truth mixed with error”—but rather simply “THE TRUTH”! Again, this would be the only place—the only HOUSE—where the Spirit of truth would lead one. Get this! Paul is speaking of ONE House, singular, just as Christ said in Matthew 16:18, “I will build My Church,” singular, not “My churches.”
Throughout the New Testament, the Church of God is variously called the House of God, the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Lord. These are all the same thing. Paul called God’s Temple a “buildingfitly framed together” (Eph. 2:19-21). Here is the point not to be missed. Two chapters later he said the identical thing about the Body of Christ. Notice: “From whom the whole bodyfitly joined together and compacted [I Corinthians 12:24 adds, “tempered…together”] by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part…” (Eph. 4:16). Christ’s House is not divided. Mr. Armstrong knew this, and if you were once in the WCG, so did you!
Comprehend again this truth you have forgotten! Christ wants you in His House and no one else’s. He will lead you there and nowhere else!
[And it is all so right on the point. God is indeed finishing His Temple. He is gathering those who can still hear His voice like precious jewels;
Mal 3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
Mal 3:17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
Mal 3:18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.
This is referring to the time when God will gather together those of His people accounted worthy by the evidence of their repentance and good works to “SPARE THEM” from the coming wrath of satan.
He is indeed building His Spiritual Temple and then sparing them from what is to come. The http://cogcw.org web site is here to be of help in allowing God’s people to fellowship freely and to help those in need]
The Unpardonable Sin
We are still not done with Matthew 12, and the grave difference between gatherers with Christ and scatterers against Him. There is one final element to what Christ taught—and it is BIG! Those who knowingly work against the leading of God’s Spirit are in danger of the unpardonable sin!
We pick up in verse 31—immediately after Jesus explained gathering and scattering. His very next words were: “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaks against the Holy Spirit [including the Spirit of Christ at work leading His one Church], it shall NOT be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. Either make the tree [each person] good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree [each person] corrupt, and his fruit corrupt” (vs. 31-33).
This is a plain warning not to resist or work against where God’s Spirit is working. Many are actively doing this today. To these Christ says, “You are against Me and that will not be forgiven.” Read Acts 5:39, and pause to let it sober you. It is possible to “fight God.” Take a moment to read Matthew 12:30 and 31 together. Do not break in context what Christ made inseparable.
Now, in light of Matthew 12:31, can the top men in LCG, UCG, PCG, COGwa, COGaic, or any group or individual, continue for years maligning and attacking the work of God’s Spirit in His Church and Government, including the human servants He is using to carry it out, and still have God’s Spirit? The same people have almost invariably done this privately against Mr. Armstrong. I know. (For more and more top leaders, but also others, this long resistance has been coming at a terrible price. And this will grow worse.) Make yourself ask: Can such leaders retain the Holy Spirit? Of course, this assumes that all of them once had it. And then, do those who follow their doctrines, send God’s tithes to them, and sit in their presence for years, get a free pass? The new convert does not. And neither does one who has had God’s Spirit for 20, 30, 40, or 50 years—the one who should absolutely know better.
Next look at Hebrews 10, beginning in verse 23: “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering…Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together [with God’s Church], as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more as you see the day [of Christ] approaching. For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries” (vs. 23, 25-27).
The Greek word translated “received” in verse 26 means “to take, to admit, to receive what is offered.” But it also has a second meaning—“not to refuse or reject.” Beyond receiving God’s truth, this word carries the special connotation of not at any time later refusing or rejecting it. A most powerful word about continuing to receive the truth!
Hebrews 10 continues, “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose you, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite unto the Spirit of grace? [Reread the last phrase.] For we know Him that has said, Vengeance belongs unto Me, I will recompense, says the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge His people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (vs. 29-31). When was the last time you thought about the end of this passage?
Now Hebrews 6: “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away [quench God’s Spirit], to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” (vs. 4-6).
With joy, Christ bought you once. He will not do it twice!
True Christians CAN FALL AWAY! May God help you recognize this can include YOU, and that it involves whether you follow Christ back to His Church—where everything wonderful about true Christianity can begin again.
[God’s mercy never ends. He is making His people ready for His gathering at the 1335 but even those whose sleep is so deep that they cannot respond in time will still be given a chance during that time of trial, He has not cast them off. He does not consider being asleep the unpardonable sin as Mr. Pack seems to imply. I find it not in good taste or logic for that matter to say that if you do not come into MY GROUP God is going to cast you off forever. But perhaps I read it wrong.]
Mr. Armstrong Warns
We need not wonder what Mr. Armstrong would say if he suddenly reappeared to survey all the devastation since the apostasy. In 1933, when he left the Sardis church over what some consider minor issues of truth, he showed by his actions what he would do now. He knew that the smallest details of truth were important. (What would he say today?) Mr. Armstrong followed Christ out of Sardis toward what became the founding of the Philadelphian era of God’s Church. Think. All of you reading this article would not have to worry about the decision you face—similar to what Mr. Armstrong faced—had he been unwilling to pass the test you must now pass: This means following Christ out of your splinter to HIS HOUSE![So he says but I think he is wrong what about you? Is that really the test? I say Christ is doing a work that is different from what any of the groups that compose the church of the Laodiceans is doing. That is what you should be looking for; Join us at the Church of God Community Web as we provide help, fellowship and information about the Knock and what Christ’s work is really all about.
But there are also some who do in fact follow the truth, sometimes having to demonstrate great courage to stay the course, only to fail later. At the individual level, Mr. Armstrong saw people depart from the truth over and over in his lifetime. And when they left the Church, he knew what it meant:
“Rather astonishing, isn’t it, that people who have heard God’s TRUTH preached for many years – people who at first accepted it in the love of God, professed it, started out practicing it – should, through the years, fall away from the truth…[and] begin to embrace false doctrines and errors…[This describes every splinter.]
“What is God’s sentence upon them? Listen!
“‘It is IMPOSSIBLE for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted of the good Word of God…if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh’ (Heb. 6:4-6). ‘Let it be a warning to ALL, and let all FEAR, and TREMBLE before the all-powerful WORD OF GOD!’”
Herbert W. Armstrong, “Why Local Churches?”, Good News, March 1957
Read this statement twice to grasp its message. Then substitute your name in place of “people who have” in the first line.[Also you should remember that what was God’s work and method in Philadelphia is not the same in Laodicea or any other ERA of God’s work. Each ERA had it’s own unique work to do as did Christ Himself.]
Return to the TRUE Work!
Pause for a moment to look at the amount of media opportunities and doors that are closing to the splinters. Why is this? And why instead are they not advancing? While the leaders are denying these pullbacks, they are happening, and soon their denials will be easy to see through because it will grow much worse. By contrast, the Work of The Restored Church of God is mushrooming and exploding—think of just our media efforts going up like a rocket all over the world! Thousands of letters are arriving each week at our Headquarters, and we now project it cannot be long before this number will be over 10,000.
Jesus taught, “You shall know them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:16, 20). Mr. Armstrong repeated these passages often. Only the ONE Church that Jesus built passes the test when fruit alone is made the standard. All true fruit—that from God—springs from having the truth, God-appointed traditions and standards of the past, alongside God’s guidance and blessings—which are all demonstrably provable!
The organizations (small, medium and large) that formed from the Worldwide Church of God in the wake of the apostasy grew very little or in most cases not at all in 2012! In fact most declined in size, as well as in virtually all categories of measuring fruit. And I repeat, prophecy reveals that things will get worse, not better, in these churches built by men. What is coming will not be pleasant to watch. But you are supposed to learn from it as it happens. For instance—and this will be far from the only problem—the income of every big splinter will continue to drop. More and more people will withhold and bank their tithes. Many already are doing this because in ever greater numbers they recognize “something is wrong”—with some concluding “terribly wrong.” They are not yet sure what it is, but this article goes a long way in helping them understand, if they have “eyes to see and ears to hear.”
An unbelievably POWERFUL WORK is underway in The Restored Church of God. Our income is exploding, one of the reasons our media is doing the same. This is because we did not break the grand pattern set by Mr. Armstrong—any of it! It is because Jesus Christ actually does head this Church. In another year, probably maximum, the profile of God’s Church and true Work on Earth will be beyond imagination. It will take your breath and leave your ears ringing.
The Restored Church of God is doing God’s Work—and He has none other! Our many fruits can be examined in a recent letter I wrote—but even what it lists is out of date because it was written two whole months ago. For instance, we are adding tens of thousands of dollars per month just to our media budget, and plan to continue doing this. Other new buildings are soon to be announced and we have hired 10 people at Headquarters just since January 1st.
[I find it strange that Christ always referred to His church as a little flock. Only in Philadelpia was a large church required for the work given to that ERA. So why are large buildings needed to fulfill the work Christ laid out in Rev. 3:20? In fact what does membership, website hits, buildings and income really prove? Especially in Laodicean. This is the end-time. What possible good are all these buildings if Christ is coming very soon. It kind of makes me think that maybe the folks running that church don’t think that He will be coming back to soon.
It makes me think of the scripture:
Luk_21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
Surfeiting means taking on too much of even a good thing, too much good food, too much wine or too many buildings for instance.It might in truth make you feel you have too much time and be indeed caught unawares and miss out on the 1335 when Christ reveals himself to His Church on a certain special day and proceeds to gather His people to Himself.
What Mr. Armstrong Could Connect
Mr. Armstrong tied neglecting the Work of God to the loss of His Spirit in those guilty of this. It becomes another GREAT reason you must follow Christ’s lead back to His one Church—and the only place HIS WORK is being done! There are only two quotes here, but there could be many similar ones included:
“Those who are self-centered, caring nothing for the Work of God, having not enough outgoing concern to want to help get Christ’s message out to this blinded, deceived, dying world, fall away. Those who center their whole ‘Christian’ life and activity on developing their own selves spiritually, whose hearts are not in or concerned about this great outgoing worldwide Work of God, actually directed by the living Christ, develop only inwardly, until they shrivel up spiritually and fall by the wayside!”
What will you be doing in the NEXT LIFE?
“I have always noticed that those whose hearts—and their pocket books as well—are really in the work of God are the ones who remain spiritual, close to God, and who are growing spiritually. And, without exception, every single member of God’s Church who has ever lost interest in this WORK OF GOD—this work of carrying the Gospel to the world…begins to fall backward spiritually. Soon such people go off into false doctrines. Their understanding is closed. They begin to believe errors and lies. They become more and more bitter, unhappy, and they either go back into the world or they go into some false offshoot movement which bears no fruit, and fails totally to carry out the Commission of Christ—THE WORK OF GOD!”
“More Growth in the Church of God,” Good News, March 1960
For those who will believe Mr. Armstrong, his last sentence above summarizes the splinters—such “offshoot movements…bear no fruit, and fail totally to carry out the Commission of Christ.” These two statements together supplement the understanding that God’s Spirit also leads to the only place Christ WORKS, meaning where He does His TRUE WORK! The God of the Bible works through fleshly human beings. This is His pattern ever since the pre-Flood “preachers of righteousness.” Since Christ is not divided, neither is His Work. Therefore, it cannot be in several places at the same time. And it is of course still led by one man. Mr. Armstrong understood this and both spoke and wrote about it often—that God’s government in His Church always begins with one man. Here is perhaps the very shortest of his statements in this regard:
“God has always, in dealing with humans, worked through ONE MAN at a time—one who believed God!”
“And Now Christ Sets Church Back on Track Doctrinally!”, The Worldwide News, Feb. 19, 1979
The leadership of one man cannot be split over many groups. Think about this. This great principle of God’s Government becomes another big reason that those who throw out the undivided Church doctrine must necessarily also throw out that God’s Government starts with one man. The reader is left yet again to decide whether Mr. Armstrong did not even understand the Government that God used him to lead—the one under which he did the greatest Work in New Testament Church history. Will you continue under men who believe Mr. Armstrong neither understood what IS the Church, nor how it is LED?
So then, does one man lead one organization, the one Body of Christ doing the one Work directed by God—or do many men, and sometimes councils of many men, lead many organizations, each only a part of the Body of Christ doing a part of God’s Work? Think slowly and carefully. If you answer incorrectly, you have excluded yourself not only from God’s Church, Government, Truth and Work—but also His KINGDOM!
Now think of it this way. Will you permit Christ’s Spirit to lead your thinking back to what you probably once believed for a long time and said you would NEVER GIVE UP?
Leading to One Unified Organization
The world’s churches are in confusion, divided by endless disagreement over doctrine, practice and personality. Amos 3:3 asks, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Of course not! The over 2,000 denominations of the world do not “live…by every word of God” (Luke 4:4). Because they merely follow traditions of men instead of God’s Word, endless disagreements divide and produce more and more churches of men.
Similarly, one split or departure of individual ministers after another in the splinters and slivers just over power and control—where correcting false doctrines is usually not even in the discussion—proves this. But God’s Church was always to be completely different. Many New Testament passages show that the Church Jesus built is unified, with all its members and congregations walking together in complete agreement—with God, Christ and each other.
The following seven passages (many more are available) define who are the brethren, and their connection to one another. The quote from Psalms shows God’s approach from the beginning:
- Psalm 133:1: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” God’s people—“brethren”—are not in competing, fighting, disagreeing organizations.
- I Corinthians 1:10: “I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ [by His authority], that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joinedtogether in the same mind and in the same judgment.” If some are not willing to follow this scripture, they cannot remain “brethren.” The question “Is Christ divided?” (just three verses later) is rhetorical, with the obvious answer “No.” Christ is not divided!
- Acts 2:41-42, 44: When 3,000 were baptized in one day on Pentecost, it says the brethren, “…continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship…And all that believed were together, and had all things common.”
- Ephesians 2:21-22: “In whom all the building fitly framedtogether grows unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
- Ephesians 4:15-16: “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joinedtogether and compacted by that which every joint supplies…”
- I Corinthians 5:4: “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
- Philippians 1:27: “Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel…”
These passages all add to the same marvelous painting: Christ’s supreme Masterpiece—His Church. Because they must believe the same thing, God’s people would naturally be together. Why are all brethren not together today? Because SCATTERERS at the top of the big splinters, with others assisting—Christ’s enemies who are serving the devil (recall Mr. Armstrong)—will not permit them, through lies and deceit, to be gathered back to be “with” Christ in His Church.
They must gather themselves back…
Mr. Armstrong a Final Time
This article will not be understood by some who read it, including probably some around you. There is a reason. Consider this last remarkable statement from Mr. Armstrong’s 1982 sermon “Why the Church?”—perhaps the single clearest, most comprehensive sermon I ever heard him give. He discusses those who seem to know the true doctrines, but only in a physical way. They understand nothing spiritual in nature. They do not comprehend the real meaning or intent of the truth and are not led of the Holy Spirit (italics obviously mine):
“We are not in the Church unless the Holy Spirit of God dwells in us (II Cor. 6:16). Just being in the Church and saying you are a member and I often wonder how many that say they are members, and we look on as members of the Church, really are?…
“The Holy Spirit of God must be opening your mind to God’s way of life and you must be living that way of life. You must be following where the Holy Spirit of God is leading you (Rom. 8:7). Because the carnal mind, and we were all carnal to begin with, and some of us I’m afraid still are, unless we really have received the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a spirit of a changed mind, a sound mind, a different kind of mind that can comprehend spiritual knowledge. And I have found so many in the Church that have been members for a long time and they don’t comprehend spiritual knowledge. They get doctrine. They’re straight on doctrine but they don’t understand it…
“Brethren, I worry sometimes about the Church and I have to remember we don’t get a full measure of the Spirit of God all at once…If any man have not the Spirit of God he is none of His. I don’t care how long he has been a member of the Church. I think most of us do have God’s Spirit but I know there have been those among us who rose up to be evangelist rank in the ministry that did not have the Holy Spirit. And sometimes it would be easy for me to lose faith when I think of those things. I tell you every one of us needs to examine himself…”
Mr. Armstrong well knew that “members” could have doctrine correct but be unconverted—including evangelists! Yet again, where does that put those former WCGers of today who now believe a host of false doctrines, follow false leaders, have rejected God’s Government, and are outside the true Church? And ask: Would Mr. Armstrong say that evangelists leading splinters were remotely converted? Who is kidding whom? Such people would be in much worse condition than Mr. Armstrong described. Think logically. One last time: If new converts must come to God’s Church, would any honestly believe those who were once in it, but left, could just “hang out” wherever they please, including at home? Further, in light of Mr. Armstrong’s quote, is it okay with Christ as long as they are with “evangelists”?
Most brethren in the WCG never examined themselves or only did so superficially. Mr. Armstrong was correct saying most never truly “got it.” It is a serious error to assume that because people went to a splinter they did all that was required of them. Many of these now unwittingly resist God, having been temporarily (or permanently) captured by Satan (II Tim. 2:24-26). Their fruits prove it! (“ANOINT YOUR EYES” covers in exhaustive detail the biblically-prescribed examination and recovery process that Christ requires every one of His people to undergo to escape what lies ahead.)
All Will Come Here!
This article makes crystal clear that God’s Spirit always leads His people to one place. You have seen enough to know this. You have also seen that Mr. Armstrong knew God has but ONE CHURCH—and that many Bible passages support what he taught. Many more could have been included.
Understand. An unknown but powerful and very detailed Bible prophecy describes the complete coming back together of all God’s people to one “House.” How, when and why large numbers will return—including what is the incredible and completely unanticipated final catalyst for action—is not the subject here. I will be returning to explain specifics of this enormous prophecy over weeks to come. But know that the Bible does plainly describe a “coming back together” within God’s Plan of two co-existing end-time categories of brethren. And it will arrive soon. Any idea that today’s disagreeing organizations could unite on their own is impossible, because of many more verses than Amos 3:3. Surely 20 years have shown this. Almighty God must intervene or this would never happen. And He will.
A towering question faces YOU—and you must confront it: Must every person with God’s Spirit—regardless of where they now attend—come to The Restored Church of God or lose the Holy Spirit? Yes, absolutely! If not, the Scripture would be broken (John 10:35)—and in many places! Christ has one Church and we are that Church. The Catholics are certainly not afraid to claim to be God’s one Church even though they are not. How could the TRUE Church do less?
Also understand! History will record that The Restored Church of God gathered the flock, to be with Christ, rather than helped to scatter it—as UCG, LCG, PCG, COGwa, COGaic and so many others are doing! The distinction turns on which church has the full truth and much fruit to back up claims that God leads it, not to mention that this Church still must believe there IS only one Church.
Soon, all of God’s people will know what The Restored Church of God is. They will come to remember and recognize the Church that is the same as the one they used to know. They will return to it, or refuse and quench God’s Spirit forever. No one else is telling Christ’s brethren (YOU) this. This is in part because all other leaders have forgotten what God’s Church looks like. This long article is God’s chosen leader doing his part in the spirit of Isaiah 58:1-2.
Recall a final time that God would never leave in doubt for His people WHAT to do—WHAT is right—in this case, WHERE to go—but rather only to decide WHETHER they will obey. Tragically, instead of following as Christ calls their name and knocks on their door, many will fall prey to devil-inspired attacks upon, and deceit about, God’s Church coming from the top men in their organizations (but also other ministers) until it is too late for them to recover.
You have been duly warned.
I state emphatically, on God’s authority, that every last person—member or minister—throughout the world who is determined not to lose God’s Spirit—certainly many thousands—is coming to The Restored Church of God. Other new converts—many more thousands because of the soon-to-be-immense size of God’s Work (Rev. 10:11)—will be called to work alongside them in the tiny handful of years remaining before those of Philadelphian mind and condition are separated and taken to be protected from the Great Tribulation and Day of the Lord.
Those wishing to be in God’s one Church will unite because they will come to again believe the same thing! And they must arrive with enough time remaining in this age to fully recover all that they had. They must have opportunity to recapture the Philadelphian standard of zeal and doctrinal truth. (Of course, many will never fully do this and will remain Laodicean, or recover and revert again to being Laodicean—or quench God’s Spirit after they return—none of which are the subject here.) God’s people must also have time to help in a meaningful way with the final colossal phase of GOD’S WORK!
Upon being led by Christ through His Spirit to see and understand that you are outside the Church He heads—every reader of this article—return to Christ’s Church with all due speed! This is Christ’s command. Otherwise you will SOON lose God’s Spirit. Do not ignore or put off this understanding. After years away from Christ, you are weaker and more spiritually fragile than you know. Do not procrastinate—do not permit human nature to convince you that you need not act NOW! Do your homework. Reread the article in the next 24 hours, maybe twice. Do not lose the two most precious things in your life—God’s Holy Spirit, and your place in the kingdom of God!
Follow Christ’s Spirit back to His Church so you can be “with” Him again!
[More could have been said of course but I think enough was given that you can perhaps hear Christ’s voice and understand what He is truly trying to do. Not build another organization so that people can run to it thinking they are safe like they did in fact do with the WWCG but rather to work with His bride as the individuals they are to provide them with the eye salve they need where they can see themselves as they really are, where they can wake up and realize that they are not in Kansas(Philadelphia) any more. That they have been sound asleep immersed in the attitudes and conditions that make up the works and people of Laodicea, that Christ has told this end-time era over and over again in His word that they were to be watching for His revealing and their own works to get themselves ready as the bride of Christ and to further have their “loins girded about” ready to go on a moments notice when Christ is revealed and He gathers His people about Him at the 1335.]
I have added a blog post concerning this rebuttal to Mr. Pack’s article. I would love any of you who have comments about it to join in and let us here from you. Here is a link to the blog post you can comment there.