June 2017           "A Journal of Biblical Understanding"           Volume 14           

(Daniel 4:25)
" ... and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will."


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The World Wide Church of God...
And The State of God's Church Today!

This article is one that will attempt to answer, at least on one level, why the World Wide Church of God was scattered, and the state of the church in this day and time.

The World Wide Church was founded by Herbert W. Armstrong as the Radio Church of God, denoting its primary method of reaching the world. As the church grew and expanded around the world, it was renamed to better denote what it had become...a world wide church.

For many years the church grew at an unprecedented rate of 30%, something unheard-of in religion. As Herbert W. Armstrong aged into his ninetieth year, he began to wane in strength and vigor until he was quite frail and had to have a nurse almost around the clock.

In Mr. Armstrong's ninety-third year, he became almost bed-ridden.

Even though Mr. Armstrong had months earlier set up a ministerial council of 12 and had announced that they would name any future Pastor General, a letter dated Jan. 10, 1986, was mailed from headquarters, on Mr. Armstrong's letterhead, naming Joseph W. Tkach as Pastor General. It stated in part:

"After much counsel and prayer over the past months God has led me in announcing a decision last week to appoint Mr. Joseph W. Tkach, director of Church Administration, to the office of Deputy Pastor General, to assist me while I am in a weakened state, and should God choose to take my life, to place himself totally in Christ's hands to lead God's Church under Christ, succeeding me as Pastor General, in the difficult times ahead."

The announcement Mr. Armstrong had made before was part of an article in the World Wide News, Special Edition dated June 24, 1985 in which he said this:

"A final personal word. In a few days I will be 93 years of age. For some years now, there have been some, like vultures, waiting for me to die. They would like to come back and take over the leadership of the Church in my stead. I have been deeply concerned about this, but in no sense worried. This is the church of God, not of any man. Jesus Christ is the living head of this Church, I am not.

And Jesus Christ will never receive any of those who have gone out to draw a following after themselves to come back and lead God's Church into Satan's liberalism. It would be no longer God's Church, even as Ambassador College was no longer God's college, and Christ had to start it all over again through me with one freshman class.

When I have, even rarely, mentioned my concern in this category, the response of members has always been the belief that God would keep me alive. I hope that He will, and I do try to take every care of my health and physical condition, but whether God keeps me alive 10 more years, or only 10 more minutes is entirely in God's hands. Brethren, put your faith in Christ and the living God and not in me. If Christ should remove me, He will direct the Advisory Council of Elders to select one of them to continue leading you until the coming of Jesus Christ in power and glory.

Pray that God will keep YOU in His Church until He replaces this evil world and brings the wonderful, peaceful and blessed Kingdom of God."

(emphasis by the editor)

It seems Mr. Armstrong had no inkling that the apostasy of the church would begin from within and begin with the lead ministry!! Yes, Jezebel was alive and teaching in God's Church!! (Rev. 2:20)

Very slowly at first, Joe Tkach began a systematic dismantling of all the teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong and by the early 1990's had been able to eliminate almost all the articles, booklets, books and magazines that Mr. Armstrong had written.

During this time Joseph W. Tkach died of cancer! Whereupon, his son, Joe Jr. assumed the role of Pastor General and continued to throw away everything upon which the World Wide Church had been built.

As all this progressed, many began to leave the church or were thrown out (they called it disfellowshipping) for questioning the many decisions made at headquarters to abolish the church as everyone knew it. I was one of those who was marked and disfellowshipped.

I was very upset since I had believed that the World Wide Church was "the only true church of God" and that if one weren't in THAT church when Christ returned, that one would be "left behind." This was quite worrisome to me and I began a deep bible study to see what God's Word said about all these things. The worry continued until I found this scripture:

John 10: 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Fatherís hand.
30 I and my Father are one.

These scriptures made me realize that MAN has NOTHING to do with whether I am a child of God or not!! It is God's decision entirely!! I realized at this point that I could be one of God's Children even though I was not attending services with some particular organization or congregation!

Church attendance was not the prime requisite! Obedience and having the Holy Spirit within is the PRIME requisite!

In the book of Matthew chapter 16 verse 18, Jesus is quoted as saying He would build His Church, and the gates of hell (the grave - hades) would not prevail against it.

Jesus did build His church. He began it with 12 Apostles. Try as I might, I just could not find ANY reference to the formation of some corporate structure or ministerial hierarchy with absolute power. I also could not find where Jesus named a human head of the church! I KNOW some churches teach that Peter was the "head of the church", but that is without scriptural foundation.

It is stated in Ephesians that Jesus is the Head of the Church.

Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.

The phrase "savior of the body" is also a very interesting inclusion in that verse as well. We should ask what body? I will get into that.

Without Jesus we can do nothing!

Jesus IS the Head of the Church. He is the one who has AUTHORITY over it and NO ONE ELSE. He also gave an analogy of the structure of the church in the book of John.

Joh 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

If Jesus isn't in it (what ever that IT might be) then it is NOTHING. Those who strive to "put" Jesus into something have no power to do so, just as He explained in the above verse. Some churches try to force Jesus to BECOME bread and wine, insisting a priest has that authority!

How and with what is the Church of God equated?

1Co 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

The members of the Body of Christ ARE the church. It doesn't say they ALL have to belong to ONE group or congregation or that there is only ONE congregation. It just simply says YE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST. Since Christ is Head of the church, anyone who claims to be the physical head of the church must find the authority for this in scripture!

The Catholic Church uses what they call the "ascension of Peter" to try to claim authority over the church. It is said that all the Popes were descendents of Peter, who was the head of the First Century church.

There is just one simple problem with this premise.....Peter wasn't the head of the church!! Peter WAS an Apostle. He was one who was sent (that is what apostle means) by others in the Jerusalem church. James was the head of that local church and did the sending.

Whoops, I guess that makes James the Pope, huh? No, not likely.

It is stated in no uncertain terms that Jesus is the Head of the Church. It is shown that HE has ALL authority at this time to govern the church in all matters through the power of His Holy Spirit.

Joh 3:35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.
Joh 13:3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;
Joh 17:7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.

Any authority taken by men is from traditions of churches, and personal interpretations of scripture from the many versions of the Bible that are extant today. Jesus very plainly said that anyone who wanted to "exercise authority" over the brethren was mistaken.

Mat. 20:25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many

And also in:

Luke 22: 24 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.
25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.
26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.

The scriptures seem to take great pains to point out that we in God's church are ALL brethren, and that Jesus is the Head of the Church.

Satan even had a problem with that because he wanted to be OVER the stars (angels) of God and the congregation (church) of God! You can read about this in our article "The Seed of Satan" in the archives of the web site.

So here we are a church, scattered physically, but more together in the unity of the Spirit than at any time in the past!!

Many are publishing and promoting the True Gospel as well as they can using God's help. There are some fairly large organizations engaged in this activity such as The Intercontinental Church of God with Garner Ted Armstrong (Mr. Armstrong's son), The Philadelphia Church of God with Gerald Flurry, The United Church of God, AIA, The Church of God, International, The Living Church of God, with Roderick Meredith and maybe a few others I've missed.

There are many, many smaller congregations and service groups which have sprung up as members of Jesus' body continue to teach and preach the True Gospel to this sin sick and dying world.

The Internet has become a very popular and economical method of doing this job.

All these have been designated euphemistically as "splinter groups" of the World Wide Church of God. There are still a few people who remain with the World Wide church (not really a true designation any longer).

Most of the organizations, groups, and congregations still publish and preach the Gospel around the world for a witness and a warning, using donations, tithes and offerings to send all the video cassette tapes, audio cassette tapes, brochures, booklets, books and other things freely as we had been taught by God the Father.

Mt 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

That, of course, was commanded of the disciples and Apostles. By extension, it is commanded of us today.

Even we here at Seven Times publish a newsletter that is mailed freely to those who request it, never asking for money. We have established the Seven Times On-Line Newsletter web site to reach a greater public, still not asking for money. We just expect that if we are doing the job God has given us to do, He will provide what we need. Of course, we welcome anyone who wants to have a financial part in spreading this Gospel of The Kingdom of God to the world, but it is not required to receive anything we produce under the inspiration of God Almighty and Jesus Christ.

What is the state of the church at this time?

These tests and trials have caused many, many people to get into the Word of God and learn directly from Him what is the truth! It has caused a great crying out TO GOD for guidance and direction. That before was given primarily by the ministry of the church.

It has caused some to go off on great tangents. Some back to old teachings such as God's "sacred name." Some have gone back into the Protestant and Catholic churches, from where they had left after proving the truthfulness of God's Word about the Seventh Day Sabbath and Holy Days as opposed to this world's holidays.

However, the Word of God is going out now with great power through television and radio from those organizations and groups who can afford to do it this way, to this wicked world, and also in a still small voice to neighbors and friends from members of the body who have finally gotten the idea that God wants THEM to participate in telling "that old, old story" of Jesus and His Love!

Witnessing to this world is being done on an ever widening base as God's children realize they are responsible for using the "talents" and "pounds" they have been given to glorify the Great God Almighty and to go into all the world fulfilling our great commission which I call "sowing the seed."

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 (Holy Spirit):
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. Amen

What caused the physical scattering of the church?

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

The pronoun "he" in the last part of the verse is referring back to the "him that liveth for ever", and this is God, of course.

Why would God scatter the church?

First, it caused the individual members of the Body of Christ (those who have God's Holy Spirit) to begin to look directly to God and Jesus as their Saviors, and for answers to their Biblical questions, instead of looking to the ministry of the church. They were then taught by God to USE the Holy Spirit He had provided to access the strength, power, and holiness of God for their part of the Commission He had given them to do.

2 Tim. 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Secondly, it brought to the forefront of the Body those GOD has chosen to be righteous servants of the brethren and of God and Jesus.

I Cor. 11:18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

The word "heresies" can be rendered "sects" or "groups" or as mentioned in verse 18, "divisions".

And all this was done so "that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." Yes, there are some who, for one Godly reason or another, are approved by God to serve in a greater capacity, and God sets them forth so that they can be known among the brethren. Some will even be manifest (made to be known) among Israel at large, even though Israel will probably reject them even as Amos, Isaiah, and others sent from God were rejected.

God said He knew they would do that but to go and preach anyway.

Isa. 6: 5 ∂ Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
9 ∂ And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.
10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

That is what is now being done. There is now a very powerful witness to the church AND to the world that God WILL bring punishment upon them if they do not obey His Voice and begin KEEPING His Commandments, Statutes, Laws and Ordinances as the Fathers have done before us.

AND THEY AREN'T LISTENING!! They think the same way Rev. 3 stated about the Laodicea church. Israel believes they are 'all right'. They believe they are God believers and Christians, depending upon which religion we talk about.

And you know what? Not everyone who believes in Christ is a "Christian." Just because someone believes there is a God, doesn't make them a child of God!! There is much more to it than that! What IS necessary is covered in other articles on our web site!

Brethren, God HAS a PLAN!! He and Jesus are WORKING that plan! God has ALL POWER to be able to bring that plan to FRUITION!!

Mr. 10:27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
Lu 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

God requires activity to increase the "talents" and "pounds" He has given us, so that when He returns, He will find His investment has gained more "talents" and "pounds."

Mat. 25: 15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lordís money.
19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

All these did as the Master had required, but there was one man who did NOT.

24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.

Yes, everyone has at least ONE talent or pound that can be used to the Glory of God and God REQUIRES it to be used!

Those in the World Wide Church, by and large, were just "praying and paying" and then going home to do NOTHING with the information (one could read that as 'talent') they had been given. They in effect were just "covering up" what they had been given and not sharing it with anyone else!!

It seems to me God got tired of waiting around for all His children to get into the act and begin to do something with the Gifts they had been given. He decided to test them by putting them into situations where they would have to produce or quit, much as he did the disciples in Jerusalem.

Acts 8:3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
4 ∂ Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
6 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.

Yes, God treated the World Wide Church much the same way He did the disciples at Jerusalem. And when you read those scriptures please notice, the Apostles REMAINED at Jerusalem. These disciples went, with only God inspiring and teaching them what to say and do!

Another reason I think is important concerning the scattering of World Wide is that unwittingly the ministry began to claim credit for doing what they called "the work of God." They knew our commission was to "sow the seed" and "make disciples". They, however, continued to claim they were "doing the Work of God", but God DEMANDS the Glory for the results of His Holy Spirit!!

Yes, the work God has given us to do is to "sow the seed" of His good news, The Gospel of the coming Kingdom of God and His salvation! (Mat. 28:19-20).

What IS the work of God?

Joh 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

The Work of God is the CONVERTING of human minds by the implanting of His Holy Spirit enabling them to begin to THINK like God!

NO HUMAN BEING CAN DO THAT!! However, I do know several who have claimed to "convert" many people. They just didn't stop to think about what they were saying, I guess.

That implanting of God's Holy Spirit gives a person a "down payment" (an earnest) on eternal life because if they have God's Spirit at the resurrection, they will be resurrected IMMORTAL, AND ETERNAL.

Eph. 1: 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Ga 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
1Co 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
1Co 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

May I say, THE STATE OF GOD'S CHURCH IS "ALIVE AND WELL TODAY ON PLANET EARTH!" The true body of Christ is doing the work He has given us to do of going into all the world and preaching the Gospel, making disciples for God and Jesus.

Are you busy using the "talents" and "pounds" God has given you so that He will be Glorified?

I hope so.

Your friend,

Ken

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