ZION MINISTRY - BIBLE PROPHECY
THE SEVEN CHURCHES IN PROPHECY
By Neville V. Stevens
New International Version used throughout unless otherwise specified.
Most of Christianity knows that Christ built His Church (Matt 16:18). What they don't know it why! If God's dealings with mankind down through the ages were primarily directed through the 12 Tribes of Israel, then why was a church necessary? And most assuredly we can know that God has not abandoned the House of Israel. Not only has He named the Tribes of Israel as the recipients of the greatest blessing of all time (Rev 7:4), but Christ came ONLY to the lost Tribes of Israel.
Throughout the course of history God insists that He hasn't changed. His purpose remains the same and is undiminished. Yet the teachings of Christ seem to change many of the ground rules for human conduct. Whereas in the past, the Tribes of Israel were sent on many military campaigns at God's command with specific instructions to utterly destroy whole nations of people, yet we find Christ's message was one of tolerance towards all people.
Surely there must be some conflict! But what?
Speaking of conflict, God said at the very outset that He would put hatred (or enmity) between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent (Gen 3:16) - thereby indicating two seeds or two separate peoples. Did God change His mind sometime after calling the 12 Tribes of Israel as His chosen people?
While we continue in prosperity as the nations of God - being descendants of those 12 Tribes - it rarely seems important to worry too much about God and His instructions. In fact the vast majority of Israelites today totally ignore such instructions, and don't even believe God exists or couldn't care less.
Those who do care usually confine their worship of Him to a little lip-service on Sundays and at funerals. Then there is a tiny portion of Israel that believes in God and serve Him in all that He requires of them. Those who do this are extremely rare and are the exception.
Of course the ratios of these groups change in times of disaster and in wartime. Quite suddenly, people have a change of heart when faced with disaster and death. God knows this because He has been viewing the activity of humanity for a long time. He knows what is required to swing the focus of humanity back to righteousness. In other words, God knows how to get His people's attention!
Have you ever considered what would happen if suddenly disaster struck on a national scale, devastating whole cities with death and destruction on all sides? The looting would start and nothing would be safe. Lawlessness would abound. Then, as in all disasters, epidemics would result, and food production would cease. What if age-old enemies were to see whole nations brought to their knees and defenseless? Would they offer assistance? Would they follow the example of the Tribes of Israel in sending food and supplies?
Consider Islam, which hates the American people with a vengeance and calls them the 'great satan'. Would they mourn for the greatest humanitarian nation of all time if the U.S. suddenly found themselves stricken with major trouble? Of course not!
If you look around the world today you will notice that most nations lack the humanitarian qualities of the Tribes of Israel. In Africa, blacks slaughter blacks; Asians slaughter Asians, India hates Pakistan and vice-versa. Russia turns their guns on their own people, and Arabs have never been able to live in peace among themselves or with others. In terms of utter bestial behaviour, the inhabitants of South America have a history of deplorable cruelty equal to anything in the annals of human history.
An observer standing off and viewing the earth would have to conclude there are marked differences between the House of Israel and the rest of the world, particularly in terms of human cruelty and indifference to suffering. Every nation on earth has, to some extent, been impacted by the qualities of mercy that God has imparted to His people Israel.
When the ten Tribes of Israel departed from Gods teachings and were driven from the land God gave them, they became corrupted with the ways of the Gentiles. At the time of Christ, He referred to them as the lost Tribes of Israel. Even at that time they were a scattered people and were unidentifiable as the people of God. Its true that a great number of them had already reached Europe and the British Isles, but they had little knowledge of who they really were. In reference to them, Christ said, I have come only to the lost Tribes of Israel. Clearly, it was foremost in Christs mind to reach these people! And so Christ built His Church.
It was the Church that Christ built which was to be sent to remind Israel of who they were and what God required of them. It was not Gods intention that they remain lost. In the circumstances, the Church did a remarkably good job! There would not be a single Israelite on the face of the earth today who has not heard of the glorious Name of the Son of God.
But Christianity did not complete the job. Instead, Gentile Christianity arose and hijacked the Truth as their own and subtly began to diminish the importance of the Lost Ten Tribes. They de-emphasized the meaning of the whole Bible to elevate the importance of the Church over Gods people Israel. Furthermore, they insisted that God had cast away His chosen people. This continued for almost 19 centuries until God called to service a shepherd who would again emphasize the importance of the Tribes of Israel. This man would recapture many of the true values that God had imparted to His people long ago. To his credit this man doggedly pursued much truth and imparted it to a fledgling group of people whose lives were enriched with this knowledge. In short, they were the recipients of the real treasure on this earth.
The real benefit came when this fledgling Church began to realize that they had to take a message to the lost Tribes of Israel. Eventually, this message was beamed to all the Tribes of Israel, and many listened. The message was not always perfect, but it was purposeful. It made the important link between the Church and the Tribes of Israel, and emphasized this importance.
When Herbert Armstrong was removed in January, 1986, the big shakeout began. Very subtly, the Church began the migration back to Gentile Christianity together with its denial of the importance of the House of Israel. And of cause, it was a Gentile who began this process. His name was Joseph Tkach a man totally bereft of any spiritual understanding. Did this man die a peaceful death? Those who knew him know that he didnt! He died a cursed man. This alone should have set warning bells ringing in the minds of those who had been listening to him. It should have been clear that God was not pleased, and so he died an agonizing death. And lets make a clear distinction between those who die in martyrdom and those who die of a cursed disease. God says: Ps 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints. And notice the preceding verses: V12-14 How can I repay the LORD for all His goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the Name of the LORD. I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all His people. And this cup of salvation is the very cup that Christ referred to: Luke 22:20 In the same way, after the supper He took the cup, saying, This cup is the New Covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. It was this cup that was despised by Joseph Tkach and he refused to honour Christ in the Passover ceremony. He even refused the name Passover which Christ used, and which relates back, and links to, the Israelites in Egypt when the death angel passed over and spared the firstborn among the Israelites. So Tkach rejected the New Covenant of the Blood of Christ!
But what of the rest of the Church? Have they treated it as an unworthy thing and treated it in an unworthy manner? In this, each must examine himself. But be assured that if you dont treat this Cup of Salvation the New Covenant in Christs blood in a worthy manner, then you will surely die! The Apostle Paul gave exactly the same warning! 1Cor 11:27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the Body and Blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the Body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep (died).
Does anyone seriously believe they are Christians when they treat the Body and Blood of the Lord in such a contemptible manner? Do they really believe they are under the New Covenant? Paul said many were already weak and sick and a number of them had already died! A large portion of the Churches of God have treated this warning as fanciful nonsense. They believe that if someone is weak and sick and dying then it couldnt possibly be related to Gods warning! In their minds the Body and Blood of Christ is not that important. To their way of thinking, God would never single them out in such a manner even though He brought death to probably more than a million Egyptians in the time of the Levite Moses and the first Passover.
It was Moses and Aaron from the Tribe of Levi that God sent to reestablish His Laws with the House of Israel, and to confirm them as His chosen people. With the passage of a great deal of time since then, God again speaks of sending a Levite. This time, just before the great and dreadful Day of the LORD. And why should anyone be surprised about this? Wasnt John the Baptist a Levite? (Luke 1:5). And didnt he come in the spirit and power of Elijah? (V17). Didnt he also prepare the Way for the Lord? (Same verse).
God reveals that His Son is going to return in a very different manner from His first appearance. No longer would He be a humble carpenter but a Mighty Commander and Ruler! And once again a Levite will prepare the Way for Him (Mal 3:1) and few men will be able to endure the Day of His Coming (V2). God says He will purify the Levites for this important work (V3).
But why the Levites?
Long ago, God chose the Levites as His very own Tribe. He took them in place of the firstborn, and they are the wave sheaf offering: Num 8:15 After you have purified the Levites and presented them as a wave offering, they are to come to do their work at the Tent of Meeting. They are the Israelites who are given wholly to Me. I have taken them in place of the firstborn, the first male offspring from every Israelite woman. And lets not imagine that God has changed His mind! The appearance of John the Baptist proves that He hasnt! The Book of Malachi is the Levite Book, which details Gods intentions, and this Book speaks of events leading up to the appearance of the True Messenger of the Covenant (Mal 3:1) and the great and dreadful Day of the LORD (Mal 4:5). This same Covenant that is linked with the True Messenger, and which David called the Cup of Salvation, and which Christ called the New Covenant in My Blood will continue with Levi!
This is what God says: Mal 2:4 And you will know that I have sent you this admonition so that My Covenant with Levi may continue, says the LORD. My Covenant was with him, a Covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered Me and stood in awe of My Name. True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with Me in peace and uprightness and turned many from sin.
Some of these quotes may seem a little repetitive. But they cant be emphasized enough! The Churches of God are convinced they have done a good job of bringing salvation to many people, but their teachings are not based on true understanding. They keep confusing their purpose with Gods Purpose.
When God made mankind He made him from the dust. And He said man would return to dust. Many other lifeforms have returned to dust because this is the way of all flesh. Most normal people have no qualms about eating flesh because we know God made certain animals for this very purpose. They are born, they die, and they become dust once more. Its given to all men once to die, and God has finally settled on a life span of seventy years for a human being.
God speaks of a resurrection but not for everyone! Many people have lived and died and will never live again. Their reward was in this life. The memory of them is blotted out forever! God tells us plainly: Isa 26:13 O LORD, our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your Name alone do we honour. They are now dead, they live no more; those departed spirits do not rise. You punished them and brought them to ruin; you wiped out all memory of them. Such men are of no importance to God. They are only flesh and are dispensible. God has no obligation towards them whatsoever. Theyve had the only reward they will ever get. David made this plain: Ps 17:14 O LORD, by your hand save me from such men, from men of this world whose reward is in this life. You still the hunger of those you cherish; their sons have plenty, and they store up wealth for their children. And I in righteousness I shall see your face; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with seeing your likeness.
And why the preoccupation in the Churches with the vast hordes of people who have no interest in serving God? Didnt Christ say He came only to the lost Tribes of Israel? Was it ever Gods intention to bring all the nations of the earth into His fold and have the Israelites (and the Church) learn the ways of the heathen? Yet its become an obsession with many to learn the ways and culture of the heathen and to preserve it!
God has, however, made provision for alien citizens among the Tribes of Israel to become true Israelites provided they live according to all the Laws He gave to His chosen people, even to receiving the allotted inheritance promised to Abraham (Eze 47:21-23). All other aliens possess only one right and that is to die forever!
And lets not pontificate about this! When you see the men of this world, who are of the nations that God never called His own, in full bloom and exhibiting all the characteristics of their father the devil, you will be so glad that God has called to duty a Levite just like Moses.
Perhaps youve forgotten that God intends to gather all nations against Jerusalem for a final showdown. I think you already know their fate! They will be crushed and their blood will flow to the depth of a horses bridle (Rev 14:20). Christ Himself will fight (Zech 14:3) and the Tribe of Judah will also fight, and will gather the spoils of war (V14).
The Churches of God need to remember their place. They do have an important role to play in the restoration of the earth (Acts 3:21) and which will be achieved by Christ (1Cor 15:24). Paul listed the priorities in orders of rank when he said each in his own turn: V22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when He comes, those who belong to Him. I hope you understand clearly what is being said here! The firstfruits are the early figs that God craves (Micah 7:1, Amos 8:1). Christ cursed a fig tree because it produced no early fruit. John the Baptist said this: Luke 3:7 John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not say to yourselves, We have Abraham as our father. For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. Notice who these trees were! They were the children of Abraham the Tribes of Israel! Christ said He came to bring fire on earth and wished it were already kindled (Luke 12:49), and here John is speaking of some of these trees being thrown into this fire. Yes, whole tribes will fuel the flames and many will die but not all! God plans to purify at least 12,000 of each Tribe, and many others will limp back to the land that God gave His friend Abraham. God says when they walk through the flames they will not be burnt (Isa 43:2). We should really review the previous verses to this Bible quote. These are the last two verses of the previous chapter: Isa 42:23 Which of you will listen to this or pay close attention in time to come? Who handed Jacob over to become loot and Israel to the plunderers? Was it not the LORD, against whom we have sinned? For they would not follow His Ways; they did not obey His Law. So He poured out on them His burning anger, the violence of war. It enveloped them in flames, yet they did not understand; it consumed them, but they did not take it to heart.
So John the Baptist was sent with a message of repentance to the House of Israel, and the Church swans off to a place of safety is this right? No! Thats not quite right. Now might be a good time to clear up a few little white lies Herbert told you. He was careful to include the importance of the 12 Tribes of Israel in Gods overall purpose, but he stopped short of detailing the role the Church would play in these proceedings.
Armstrong recognized the importance of an endtime work that would be done by a prophet called Elijah. He happily encouraged any references to himself as this Elijah. Though some have pointed out that he once mentioned with a wink and a nod, and in muffled tones, that he wasnt the Elijah to come. And of course, the assumption has never diminished; it continues even today among some of his followers. These followers knew Herbert well enough not to believe his denial, and continued to believe the opposite. His arrogance never permitted him to commit it to print in a manner for all to see.
The point is he wasnt Elijah no matter how many times the claim is repeated! He fulfilled nothing of the role of Elijah! Armstrong uttered many prophecies, and typically none of them came true. His defenders say he never claimed to be a prophet (even though some of these say he was one of the greatest prophets of all Elijah), and therefore anything he said was not required to be accurate. To these people, everyone else who utters a prophecy that doesnt come true is a false prophet, but they insist that Armstrong was neither a prophet nor a false prophet. What was he then? Hes got to be one or the other or he should have kept his mouth shut! He deceived a lot of people and left them thoroughly disenfranchised. Now they dont know what to believe or where to go for the answers.
And all this at the most dangerous time that this world has ever seen!
The Churches of God are facing a curtain call. They are about to mount the world stage and will be visible to the whole world. How do we know this? God tells us! He details a sequence of events: First a great war is fought between Satan and his demons against Michael and his angels, and Satan is defeated and cast to earth (Rev 12:7). Then we read this in V12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them. But woe to the earth and the sea because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows his time is short. When he hits the red dirt of planet earth with a thud, he will surely know that his thousand-year prison sentence is not far off. Thats the suspended prison term he received long ago. V13 When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.
It should be obvious to all that the Church didnt give birth to Christ Christ built the Church! The woman is the House of David, and Christ is the son of David. This has been explained many times in our other articles. This woman is taken out of Satans reach (V14), and so he turns on her offspring (V17). This is a full frontal attack that will end in a rout. The Church will go as sheep to the slaughter. While they must go the way of all flesh, they will only have a short while to wait. All the great men of the Bible are still in their graves awaiting the moment of their awakening. They have waited thousands of years. Not so with the Church. They will soon be awakened and will live in Glory (Rev 6:10-11). For the faithful people of God, death means life everlasting.
Among their numbers will be some who have been marked for captivity (Rev 13:10). These will be tough men and women of endurance. They must be a constant tower of strength to all others. They will be hand-picked by God to perform this task. God intends to have some lamps burning brightly even in captivity.
Some may refuse to believe these things. They refuse to believe because they have never believed God or even sought to understand why God has planned it all this way.
At the forefront of discussions that presently prevail are the bona vides of Herbert W. Armstrong. Some love him and some hate him. Regardless of personal preferences, the man did teach some wonderful treasures. When Christ said, If you will enter into life, keep the Commandments! Herbert Armstrong believed Him. He dutifully taught this principle. While its a relatively simple statement, it means the difference between life and death. It should present no problems for anyone who believes their Saviour, but it seems to be a major stumbling-block for most of Christianity. Many other things were taught by Armstrong, which formed the basis of Godly understanding. He laid a very good foundation.
Herbert Armstrong wanted to add more substance to his teachings, and like so many others who see themselves as men of God, he began to speculate about prophecy. He spent a lot of time in local libraries studying what other men had to say on these subjects, and on the basis of the teachings of men, he began to formulate his theories. He was completely unabashed about this, upholding the opinions of men in support of his teachings. In this he overlooked a very important principle established by Christ: John 6:44 No-one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: They will all be taught by God. Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from Him comes to Me.
There are many people in the Churches of God who still seek the opinions of men concerning Gods Word and they wear it as a badge of honour! They think they deserve brownie points for researching the opinions of scholars who know nothing of Gods great Plan. Frequently they quote these scholars more than they quote God.
Concerning His statement, Christ said it is written in the Prophets. By listening to Christ we are directed to the teachings of the Father. Christ was directing us to the 54th Chapter of Isaiah (He actually quoted V13). In quoting this verse He was telling us that this chapter of Isaiah was relevant for our time. Be assured that Christ never quoted Gods Word out of context. A whole book could be written on the contents of this chapter alone. It gives infinite detail and contains pointers and markers to virtually the whole Plan of God. But lets take the time to highlight some of it.
Firstly, lets establish who the Teacher is! Isa 54:5 For your Maker is your husband the LORD Almighty is His Name the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth. The LORD Almighty is the Father and He is greater than Christ (John 14:28), the Redeemer of Israel. The Father has put everything in Christ the Redeemers hand, and given Him rule over the entire earth. When Christ has put down all rebellion and restored the earth, He will hand the Kingdom over to the Father (1Cor 15:24). Christ is, in fact, working in the Fathers stead, but in total accord with everything the LORD Almighty has instructed Him - even His very words (John 14:24).
Then the Great Teacher Himself speaks tenderly to the Wife the Tribes of Israel (Rev 7:4, 14:1-5). Then we find a reference to the days of Noah: V8 To Me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. Christ echoed these very sentiments on the Mount of Olives: Matt 24:37 As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. It should be noted that Satan is to send a flood against the woman (Rev 12:15-17) but will be unsuccessful! He will then turn on the offspring of the woman (V17).
So Satan will turn all his fury on this offspring. But God wont! As they enter into faithful service to the Heavenly Father and begin teaching the Testimony of Jesus and the keeping of the Commandments of God, Gods faithful mercy will be extended to them, and He will be watching over them. Then the truth of Gods words in Ps 116:15 will be known of many people.
So after the lesson of the days of Noah, God assures His people that He will no longer be angry with them even though Satan certainly will be! God says this: V9 So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again. Though the mountains be shaken (and they will) and the hills be removed (and they will), yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My Covenant of peace be removed, says the LORD, who has compassion on you. This is the Covenant of Peace that Christ spoke of and which continues with Levi a Covenant of life and peace (Mal 2:5).
Immediately after this, God begins to speak of the afflicted city Jerusalem! And He also speaks of the Sons of Jerusalem. God mourns His beloved City! This is what He says: Isa 54:11 O afflicted City, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones. All your sons will be taught by the LORD, and great will be your childrens peace. And here we see Christs quote: All your sons will be taught by God. These are the Sons of Jerusalem, and their children or offspring will have great peace. They will live according to the Covenant of Peace which continues with Levi. Levi, of course, is the messenger that precedes the Mighty Christ (Mal 3:1).
And just to complete the message about the afflicted City of Jerusalem, God says this: V14 In righteousness you will be established. Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you. If anyone does attack you (which they will), it will not be My doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you.
Then God speaks of a blacksmith. (As a point of interest, the name of Judas Maccabee means blacksmith hammer). V16 See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the Destroyer to work havoc; no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from Me declares the LORD.
So we can see by this example that being taught by other men scholars - who know nothing of Gods Way, ensures we miss many things that are taught by God.
A great number of people followed the teachings of Herbert Armstrong because they recognized much truth in what he taught. God blessed that organization materially, and made it visible to the world. Since Armstrongs departure its been all downhill for this organization. Its become very obvious why this is so. As the true teachings of Herbert Armstrong were stripped away, the power and influence has also been stripped away. Slavering brute beasts manipulated their way into the organization, seizing assets as their own, while promising freedom. They truly went the way of Satans agents (Balaam, Korah, etc) enticing people to turn from the truth and to adopt their teachings of lawlessness. 2Pet 2:12 But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish. Its no secret that Peter was speaking of the last days (2Pet 3:3), and even more precisely, the Last Great Day the seven millennial day (V9-10).
Peter continues: V13 They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed an accursed brood! They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness. But he was rebuked for his wrong-doing by a donkey a beast without speech who spoke with a mans voice and restrained the prophets madness. It would be better for those in the Worldwide Church of God to listen to a donkey they might learn more from a donkey! They are certainly not being taught by God!
Continuing: V17 These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. For they mouth empty boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. Theres been far too much boasting in the Churches of God by men who have nothing to boast about! And God has made fools of them! He ranks their intelligence as being less than a donkey! God ensures that all boasters are humiliated, and the humiliation has begun. These brute beasts boasted of being financial managers who would steer a straight course, only to see the entire financial structure collapse around their ears. Their promise of freedom from the Laws of God were supposed to entice many more from the broad spectrum of Christendom, and to fill the coffers with increasing wealth. It never happened! While these brute beasts are too stupid to see what they are doing, the eyes of the seven Churches are observing.
Peter made it clear that he was speaking of the true Church that once served God. He was not speaking of Catholics or Protestants. V19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. At the beginning when you were called you understood virtually nothing. You learned and recognized the truth of God and understood His requirements for entering into life. Those who loved God rejoiced that there were ways of serving Him apart from mere lip-service. You recognized the corruption of Gods Word in the worldly churches, and began a life of faithful obedience to God. And you rejoiced together as brothers and sisters. V21 It would have been better for them not to have known the Way of Righteousness, than to have known it and then turn their backs on the Sacred Commandment that was passed on to them.
We might be left to wonder which Sacred Commandment Peter was referring to, but as we read further, he begins speaking of a Day! This is the seventh Millennial Day the Day of the Lord the Day that all the prophets spoke of. In the fourth Commandment God tells us to remember the Seventh Day! Peter begins by telling them not to forget this one thing. 2Pet 3:8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. V10 But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the Day of God and speed its coming. What kind of people ought you to be? Those in the Churches of God ought to know! They should be observing Gods Holy Day the Sabbath Day in a godly way.
And what is the Sacred Commandment that the brute beasts hate the most? Its the Seventh Day the Sabbath of God. They will go to almost any lengths to defy God in this. They twist and wrest the Scriptures by whatever means are available, and their reasoning is childish and illogical. One of the many brute beasts that have infiltrated the Worldwide Church of God claims that Christ is the Sabbath and He keeps us. This madman seems unaware that God says we are to keep His Sabbath holy. Peter was right when he said these people blaspheme the things they dont understand!
Even the Italian people know which is the Seventh-day Sabbath! Their name for Saturday is Sabato! Why should anyone doubt that the Gentiles changed the observance of the true Sabbath hundreds of years after the Apostles had departed. It seems illogical that anyone who has ever opened the first Book of the Bible and read it would not know that God made the Seventh Day holy.
With the passage of six long millennial days, what began in the Alpha will be present in the Omega. God made the first Sabbath holy and He made the last Sabbath holy. His presence will certainly be in the Last Great Day.
Both Peter and Jude spoke of this Great Day (see Jude 1:6, 18), and both spoke of the judgments that would occur. Both spoke of those who had turned to error and followed Balaams way. Jude specifically addressed his message to those who have been called: Jude 1:1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ, and a brother of James, To those who have been called . And notice what he says in Jude 1:18 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their ungodly desires. These are men who will divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.
Even Paul spoke of perilous times which would come in the last days (2Tim 3:1). Both Peter and Jude indicated a time of great testing. Jude spoke of exercising brotherly kindness to those who have been called: Jude 1:21 Keep yourselves in Gods love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire, and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
The Churches of God continue to listen to dreamers! Men who do not have the Spirit! Why do they even listen? Cant they recognize that these men are selfish, self-centered boasters who exhibit none of the qualities of godliness, and who understand nothing of Gods Plan and purpose? They beguile and exploit you with stories they have made up (2Pet 2:3), and while they continue to teach false prophecy, they are ever ready to attack everyone else as false prophets! Youve seen it all and youve heard it all! You are now at the crossroads. What to do?
Gods instruction is this: Now you must return to your first love the love of Gods truth. Rev 2:4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. You will recall how you loved Gods Word as little by little you gleaned the precious treasure from the teachings. And which teachings were these? These were the teachings of the man God established as a shepherd. Since he was a foolish and worthless shepherd (and God ensured that he was so that prophecy would be fulfilled), you will be required to rightly divide the Truth from the error. Not an easy task, but then God will give you additional resources if you do it with all your heart. God is no longer winking, instead His eyes are set steadfastly on you! Your day of judgment has come you will either win or you will lose! Its now up to you.
As difficult as it may be for some of you, you must now go back to the teachings and exercise godly wisdom in re-establishing all that God requires of you. In this task you wont get a lot of help from me. Im forbidden to write articles about basic doctrine that was established long ago. My job is not doing what the foolish shepherd was commissioned to do, but rather to speak of prophecy. And dont think this is a cop-out; most of you knew and understood Gods requirements long ago. In the passage of time you developed itching ears to listen to all sorts of nonsense. Now you must limp back to the basic doctrines that you have begun to ignore. Those who really want to serve God would be well advised to study the basic teachings of the shepherd God raised up for His flock.
Once these things have been restored and all the dead wood pruned away in your life then you will be ready for the Work God has planned for you. There is a lot of error in the teachings of the foolish shepherd, but there is also a lot of truth. By godly diligence you can rightly divide the Truth of God from the many errors. This is your immediate task. And dont blame me! You are responsible for your own salvation, and you are responsible for serving God. If you fail, then you only have yourself to blame. You knew that it was your responsibility to prove all things and to hold on to that which is good. Now is your chance. And the burden of proof is on you to do just that. God is going to test you to see if you will again examine the teachings of the shepherd that God Himself raised up to teach you, and to carefully sift it for godly instruction.
And a word of warning. Never again will God permit a hierarchical structure in the Body of Christ. It should never have been! But it is certainly not permitted now! Its absolutely monstrous that anyone should lord it over the Body of Christ the Church. If any man thinks he is something when he is nothing, then let him be your slave and treat him as such until he comes to his senses. Christ Himself made this so very plain: Matt 20:25 Jesus called them together and said, You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life for many. If the Son of Man Himself did not come to be served, or to exercise authority over His people, what makes any man think he can do this? I know all about the subtle trickery of using verses that seem to contradict Christ, but do you really think that anyone has the right to contradict Christ? Christ is the Word of God. He is the One of whom Moses said: You must listen to Him! (Deut 18:15, Acts 3:22).
As the Word of God this same Son said this: Eze 34:12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after My sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. V16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.
Yes, the sleek and the strong will be destroyed. Doesnt this remind you of what Jude said? Here it is: Jude 1:12 These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.
Some may think that those who exercise authority over Gods flock seem righteous. And they do seem righteous according to the standards of this world. The Gentiles love to lord it over everyone, and they do it with the venom and cruelty of their father the devil. There should not even be the slightest appearance of this type of conduct among Gods flock.
The shepherds would do well to follow Pauls example to the Ephesians: Acts 20:33 I have not coveted anyones silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus Himself said: It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Not quite what the shepherds who feed only themselves would have you believe, is it? God has many ways by which He can humiliate those who refuse to obey Him. Youve seen many of these shepherds die excruciating deaths from terrible diseases. God refused to heal them and they suffered the devastating symptoms of diseases that God would never inflict on the faithful. His warnings came long ago: Deut 28:58 If you do not carefully follow all the words of this Law, which are written in this Book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome Name the LORD your God the LORD will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses. He will bring upon you all the diseases of Egypt that you dreaded, and they will cling to you. The LORD will also bring on you every kind of sickness and disaster not recorded in this Book of the Law until you are destroyed.
Its very convenient for many to believe these warnings do not apply to them. For some strange reason, Christianity believes that they are immune from any form of judgment. They think they are out of range of Gods displeasure. There are thousands of Christian sects none of whom can agree with the others concerning Gods requirements, but each of them believes that God only favours them. How can this be called unity of the Spirit? As we see the proliferation of all the diseases that people dread today, and we see loved ones struck down and suffer severe and lingering illnesses, we should be asking ourselves why. Gods warning was to the whole House of Israel. Those who live the lawless life of the House of Israel must expect to suffer the same consequences. Those who should know better will suffer a double portion of these penalties. And it all has to do with teachings. God holds those who teach error to be doubly accountable. James spoke of this: James 3:1 Not many of you should be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. And what do we find? We find everyone wants to be a teacher, and they even go from house to house evangelizing their nonsense. And what pathetic nonsense they teach!
What does it take for the human mind to grasp the importance of all that God teaches? What is it that these pathetic people are doing wrong? Firstly, they should stand in awe of God and revere the Name of Almighty God. They should fear to disobey Him! They should realize that God doesnt need them! They should recognize that except for the grace of God they would return to the dust of the earth never to arise again. And why should it be any other way?
Does anyone seriously suggest that God would want anyone in His Kingdom who refuse to obey the Laws of that Kingdom? Surely every Christian understands that Satan the devil despises Gods Laws and His rulership. Surely they understand that if they emulate Satan then they are not Gods! If people want to be like the rest of the world, then they are a part of it. If anyone is a part of this world then they are not Gods servant. Gods servants are separated from the world, even though they must live in it. They are distinct from the others in that they fear God and stand in awe of His Name. And remember these words: Ps 89:7 For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD? Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings? In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; He is more awesome than all who surround Him. Those who stand in the council before the Holy One the LORD Almighty greatly fear Him! If these holy ones do this, what human being as any right to treat Him in a good ol boy manner. What arrogance is exhibited by those who think they are somebody when they are nothing at all!
Lets digress to a passage of Scripture that describes a group of people that God has called for a special purpose quite apart from the Church I might add! They are described in Mal 3:16. Yet the Church is not excluded from this group, but God will make the choices. Some will be picked up and others left, and in many cases they will be working together. Youve read Christs words many times concerning these things. These people have their names recorded in a scroll of remembrance. As a point of interest, Moses did too! Ex 32:32 But now, please forgive their sin but if not, then blot me out of the Book you have written. The LORD replied to Moses, Whoever has sinned against Me I will blot out of My Book. David, among others, was also recorded in this Book. So the clear message is that its not only the Church that is written in the Book of Life. The clear message is that Gods overall purpose is to keep His promise to Abraham and his offspring. To this end, God has established the Church. And in the day of clouds and darkness, when the Church is scattered over many nations with the whole House of Israel, God will rescue them.
God has appointed men like Moses, and like David, to this task. As God did in days of old, so He will do again. To this end, God has called His own Tribe to duty, and a special man called Levi. Levi is a man like Moses, who was also a Levite. Moses didnt hesitate to kill an Egyptian who was mistreating an Israelite. Nor did Moses hesitate to utterly destroy the whole nation of Egypt (although it was Gods Power that did it), and neither did Moses hesitate to lead the armies of Israel against whole nations of Gentiles. Yet God describes him so: Num 12:3 Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth. Of all the mighty things that Moses did through the mighty power of God, he still considered himself to be nothing at all.
When accused by his own brother and sister, Moses scarcely moved to defend himself. But God did! This is what God said: Num 12:6 Listen to My words: When a prophet of the LORD is among you, I reveal Myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams. This is not true of My servant Moses; he is faithful in all My House. With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD. Why were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?
Its difficult to see how a mere shepherd could imagine he has the right to lord it over Gods flock! And even worse, to jump up and defend his magnificence in arrogance and conceit. A true servant of God is characterized by his deep humility and unfeigned love for his own people. Those who are close to God know they are nothing at all! They greatly fear God and stand in awe of him, and they honour His Name in every way.
When God wrote about Levi in the Book of Malachi, He began to speak nationally about all the Tribes of Israel. He says this: Mal 3:6 I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from My Decrees and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you, says the LORD Almighty. But you ask, How are we to return?
So God says He doesnt change, and therefore the descendants of Jacob (the 12 Tribes of Israel) are still His people, and He tells them to return to Him. God gives them some instructions the whole nation of them (V8), then God describes their attitude towards Him in V14 You have said, It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by carrying out His requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD Almighty? But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly the evildoers prosper, and even those who challenge God escape. These words ring very true today! Theres a general conception today among the House of Israel that no-one needs God. Theyre doing very nicely without Him. They seem to have forgotten that God was always working behind the scenes to prosper them and to raise them to preeminence in the world. He was giving them a little taste of the glories He has prepared for them. Recall the words, The eye has not seen, nor the ear heard the glories that God has prepared for them that love Him. Even today, with all the burgeoning technology and equipment, and the lavish lifestyle enjoyed by the House of Israel, they have yet to see the glories that God has prepared for those who love Him!
And they have certainly forgotten that none of this would have been possible except God had raised His hand to ensure it was so: Hos 11:3 It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them. But they no longer honour God and give Him the glory and the praise. But God knew this from the outset! Notice what He says in V2 But the more I called Israel, the further they went from Me.
Even though God says Return to Me, and He is telling them to think clearly and acknowledge that it was He who blessed them, God had no expectation that they would. Yet He has not punished them as they deserve. Instead He says this: Hos 13:12 The guilt of Ephraim is stored up, his sins are kept on record. Pains as of a woman in childbirth come to him, but he is a child without wisdom; when the time arrives, he does not come to the opening of the womb. Yes, Ephraim is a foolish son of God (see Hos 11:1, Matt 2:15). See also Isa 49:1-3 which shows that Israel (Ephraim) is supposed to represent Christ, the Word or Logos. And like the One who became the Christ, Ephraim was established with cords of human kindness in a great land of prosperity. They became foremost throughout the world in establishing Christianity. And although they were far removed from Christ when He walked the earth, yet the message reached them, and they embraced it, and became the very bastion of Christian teachings. Thousands of Christian groups have arisen in the nation of Ephraim (U.S.).
Once God had prospered them, they turned away. They saw no gain by carrying out His requirements, and even noticed that evildoers prosper and those who challenge God escape (Mal 3:14-15). But then directs them to a special group of people whose names are recorded in the Scroll of Remembrance. These are faithful people who talk with one another (notice the word talk not argue). Here is the description: Mal 3:16 Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A Scroll of Remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honoured His Name. They will be mine, says the LORD Almighty, in the day when I make up My treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.
These people fear the Great God and stand in awe of His Holy Name! They dont run around like idiots telling everyone that God will accept them just as they are. These people stand in awe of Gods Word and believe everything that God has said. These people are in intensive training and are preparing for the great service they must provide for God. These are not fainthearted weaklings who are blown about by every wind of doctrine. They know what God has said, and like Abraham, they believe God! They understand that God has promised to rescue the remnant of the House of Israel and to bring them back to the land that He promised Abraham.
God will establish a Kingdom as He did in the days of King David. This Kingdom will be taken from the Jewish people and given to a people who will bear fruit (Matt 21:43). Though small in number this Kingdom will bring terror to all who oppose them. Nations will be required to deliver up their slaves or face utter destruction, and, as in the days of Moses and David, all rebels will die without mercy. At the appropriate time, David himself will be raised up to preside over all 12 Tribes of Israel.
The nations of the earth at that time will know this is the hand of Almighty God doing these things. Then the lines will be clearly defined. It will be the 12 Tribes of Israel against the world. The enmity that God put between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent will be very evident. Again and again, Christ identified the seed of the serpent! He said they were present at the murder of righteous Abel (Matt 23:35). Cain was the embodiment of the serpent Satan the devil! This seed of the serpent has continued to infiltrate the chosen people of God from the House of Israel to the very Churches of God.
Christ chose 12 apostles (who will also sit on thrones for each of the 12 Tribes), yet one of them was a demon. Christ knew it, but no-one else did until the last moments of Christs life. Judas Iscariot happened to be very good at appearing righteous. He mumbled all the right platitudes to project this righteousness, and at the time, he fooled all the disciples. They had no idea that this was Satans plant. Judas great faux pas was to attempt to be more righteous than Christ, and to object to the waste of a precious ointment on the feet of Christ. Like his father the devil, Judas was a liar, a murderer, and a thief. Yet he remained undetected by all except Christ. It was prophesied that this betrayer would never be forgiven (Ps 69:24-28). See also Acts 1:20 where Peter quoted one of these verses.
God says vengeance is mine, I will repay (KJV). In the Book of Romans, chapter 12, Paul begins by explaining the role of the Church. He wrote this: Rom 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of Gods mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God which is your spiritual worship. Notice that it says your bodies not your minds or your hearts. What did Paul mean? In the letter to Timothy he explains: 2Tim 4:6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. This is a reference to Christs blood being poured out just like the wine from the Cup. Paul knew that his body had to be offered up as a living sacrifice just like Christ, and he willingly went to his death in martyrdom. And he says this in V8 Now there is in store for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award me on that day and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing. Yes, the righteous Judge will reward us! This will be according to what we have done, as recorded in the Books (Rev 20:12).
So we find that Paul also gave his body as a living sacrifice and went as a sheep to the slaughter. But before his departure he gave some very good advice. He wanted to ensure the sheep went to the slaughter innocently and blamelessly just like their Saviour! This is their spiritual worship and service to Almighty God. This is Pauls instruction: Rom 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with Gods people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live in peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for Gods wrath, for it is written: It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord. On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
With these words Paul was preparing the flock to offer up their bodies as living sacrifices. Paul knew what his duty to God was, and he was ready to be offered. With great haste he made plans to return to Jerusalem where things were turning nasty for Christians. This is what he wrote: Acts 20:22 And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me the task of testifying to the Gospel of Gods grace. And of course, Paul was speaking to the overseers of the Seven Churches! (V28).
Do you think God could not have saved righteous Abel from being murdered? God knew it was coming and allowed it to happen! God even put his protection on this murderer Cain. In this example, the wicked seemed to prosper. Cain got away with it and became a tyrant believing he could do anything and not be restrained. He could kill off anyone who opposed him and get away with it. This became the hallmark of Satans reasoning. This reasoning persisted right up to the death of the Son of God. But in this he made a strategic blunder. Satan believed his tried and proven method of eliminating his enemies would work again. When faced with a cruel and vicious death, he believed Christ would recant His faith in God. But it never happened and Satan found he had engineered the death of Gods own Son who was destined to replace him as ruler. In doing this, he had ensured his fate. Had he known what Godly character was, he would not have killed the Lord of Glory.
Now he has nothing left but a full-on attack on God and this he will do (Rev 12:7). God has observed his foolish strategy over the space of 6,000 years. God anticipates his every move. Satan has ruled this earth and has enjoyed dominion over all the nations on the earth. He has ruled over them all as a tyrant. His best efforts always end in failure. He doesnt know the way of peace and righteousness. He is vicious and cruel to lesser beings and takes pleasure in inflicting pain and torture. He lacks any form of mercy, and he despises all who believe Gods Way is best. God has largely left Satan to his own devices, except when he has reached his hand against Gods chosen people. Though from time to time God has utterly crushed the empires he has built.
Now some people have great difficulty understanding why God doesnt use His great Power to bring an end to wickedness without resorting to human intervention. In the past He made it clear that He could erase humanity from the face of the earth at will. He did this in the days of Noah, and left Satan and his demons with nowhere to live. Just bear in mind what Christ had to say about the abode of demons: Luke 11:24 When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, I will return to the house I left. When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the condition of the man is worse than the first. These evil spirits dont like to be separated from a human host or house. This is where they like to live. They like to live as humans do, and they like to control all activities.
So we can see that those who killed righteous Abel are still active on earth, and they take full advantage of their hosts. But as in the case of Judas Iscariot, they are not always easy to spot. Its not the presence of a human failing or occasional sin that identifies them, but the cunning craftiness of hidden motives and the plotting and scheming to gain ascendancy over others that characterizes them. Like Judas Iscariot they are extremely clever at disguising their true motives.
If you want to see the perfect example of a demon ruler, just look at Yasser Arafat. He even has the characteristic parkinsons disease symptoms. The neurons of his brain are being short-circuited by the demon that dwells within him. This man is a liar, a murderer and a thief. There is a humorous side to all this. Arafat is well known for serving all food at his dinner parties. He greed is so evident, and hes so blatant in taking the best for himself, that its become common knowledge. It was getting so bad that his propagandist had to actually deny it. A denial by any Moslem is evidence of the truth of the matter. And why would it be any other way? Islam is Satans frontline defense mechanism. This is the force by which he will astound the whole world. And he has already sent them on a number of training runs. For years now, they have been attacking Catholics who live in Moslem lands, and destroying their church buildings. To the observer, there is absolutely no logic to these bizarre attacks. Moslem hordes dont need any form of logic to respond to their father the devil. At the moment, its these poor Catholic families that are bearing the brunt of Islamic madness. But soon this persecution will be greatly expanded just as soon as Satan feels he can get away with it!
And at this stage in human history he will! He is perfectly fulfilling all prophecy, and what is more, he has no other option. Hes made his move and set his pawns in place. Now its all out conquest and the victor takes the spoils.
God loves the world (cosmos) that He created the world that caused all the sons of God to shout with joy. It was perfect in beauty and form. God desires to live here on earth (Rev 21:3), and to enjoy the lifestyle of a perfect Kingdom of happy and contented subjects. He envisages a world of faithful obedient subjects who will love Gods Way of Life, and will live in peace and bear children. He has prepared a people for this very purpose; these are the 12 Tribes of Israel. Their fame and their teachings will inspire the whole world.
Yet, a vast horde of people in the far-east will still exist in the final carve-up. These will be Satans second line of defence. These are the dragon-worshippers who will await Satans resurrection as a man after his thousand-year prison sentence (perhaps hell get a short time off for good behaviour). He will have the same opportunity that God gave His Son, Jesus. But thats another Bible story for another time.
All rights reserved
More chapters soon.