Keeping an Eye on January 16 and 17

Here’s why we do it.

The reason we carefully watch for significant events in January is because of what happened 24 years ago. On Jan. 16, 1986, after preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God as a witness to the world for nearly six decades, Herbert W. Armstrong died at the age of 93. The next day, January 17, marked the beginning of the Laodicean era of God’s Church—an era characterized by spiritual lethargy, prophetic blindness and gross materialism (Revelation 3:14-22).

Early on, the new leadership in the Worldwide Church of God (wcg) tried to conceal its contempt for Mr. Armstrong’s work and his teachings. But by the end of 1988, it had become painfully obvious to a few discerning observers that these men were maliciously intent on disassociating themselves from everything Mr. Armstrong stood for.

In March 1989, my father began working on a manuscript to explain, from a biblical perspective, why the wcg was making so many changes. Later that year, on Dec. 7, 1989, after wcg leaders in Pasadena, California, had learned about the manuscript, they promptly fired my father and excommunicated him.

In the weeks that followed, my father converted his manuscript into an 83-page, photocopied “book”—called Malachi’s Message to God’s Church Today. On Jan. 10, 1990, a tiny church of only 13 people packaged 921 copies of Malachi’s Message, and delivered the bundle to the post office the next day.

“This message is being received by many people on the very day of the anniversary of Mr. Armstrong’s death,” my father wrote toward the end of that first version of Malachi’s Message. “We didn’t plan it, but we are happy it happened that way.” Then, he wrote this: “You are going to see the date of Mr. Armstrong’s death take on more significance as time goes on. … The third 19-year time cycle of the work of the Worldwide Church of God ends in January of 1991—the same month as the anniversary of Mr. Armstrong’s death. Will we see some dramatic event in the world … then?”

On Jan. 16, 1991, exactly one year after we first distributed Malachi’s Message, the fifth-year anniversary of Mr. Armstrong’s death, the United States launched the Gulf War. As Brad Macdonald notes (article, page 16), that correct forecast in 1991 was only the beginning of a prophetic legacy we have been building on for the past 20 years.

Amos and the Earthquake

The first booklet my father wrote after Malachi’s Message was The Lion Has Roared. It summarized the key prophecies proclaimed by the biblical Prophet Amos. As it happens, we also completed production of this booklet around January 16—this time in 1992.

In a speech he gave on Dec. 21, 1991, my father again noted that many people on our mailing list would be receiving The Lion Has Roared near the anniversary of Mr. Armstrong’s death. Anciently, the Prophet Amos delivered his warning message two years before a great earthquake, my father added. “And I mean they had a massive earthquake.” Later, he wondered, “What if there is another massive earthquake on this Earth—maybe from two years by the time this booklet goes out?” (emphasis mine throughout).

Then, toward the end of that two-year window, my father pointedly asked in a message delivered on Oct. 30, 1993, “Is it possible that God could strike with an earthquake the latter part of this year; maybe the first part of next year or maybe even on January the 16th, 1994? Is it possible something like that could happen? Well yes, I would say it’s possible, especially in the state of California.”

He was speaking of the possibility of an earthquake not only in January 1994—but even in California!

In the December 1993 Trumpet, he again asked, “Will an earthquake be the next California disaster?”

The following month, on January 17, at 4:31 a.m., a massive earthquake rocked Southern California, causing $20 billion worth of damage and leaving 20,000 people displaced from their homes. The massive jolt killed over 70 people and injured 9,000 more. The epicenter devastated the community of Northridge, which is about 20 miles northwest of Pasadena.

Yet another remarkable coincidence? Or an undeniable sign that God’s prophetic work of boldly warning this world in the noble tradition of Herbert W. Armstrong had continued, without missing a beat?

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of our work this past December, my father said in a sermon on December 5 that the Philadelphia Church of God began on Dec. 7, 1989—the same date the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941—because God wanted to remind us that we must finish the work Herbert Armstrong began in warning the United States and Britain of their coming destruction at the hands of a European superpower. It will be a time of “great tribulation,” the likes of which this world has never seen, Jesus said in Matthew 24:21.

In that same message, my father also noted that January 2010 marks the end of the fourth 19-year time cycle since God’s end-time work began in 1934. Should we then be surprised that as of this month, the European constitution is now being fully enforced in Europe? Or that Germany’s high court recently decided to ban Sunday shopping in Germany, effective Jan. 1, 2010? (page 15).

Now grasp the significance of what is happening before your eyes. The seventh and final resurrection of the “Holy” Roman Empire is here! Yes, the European Union must still be pared down from 27 member states to the biblically prophesied 10 nations or groups of nations. But we are living right in the midst of a revived Holy Roman Empire.

Mr. Armstrong thunderously proclaimed this prophecy for nearly six decades! Now, it is reality! As of January 2010, my father noted on December 5, Revelation 17:10 will have been fulfilled, including the now-resurrected empire that had “not yet come” during the days of Herbert W. Armstrong.

The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 is nothing compared to what is happening right now in Europe. Regarding the fulfillment of Bible prophecy, my father noted, January was already shaping up to be a “jam-packed” month. And as always with the history of this work, January 16 and 17, in particular, are dates we need to keep an eye on.

Given the numerous prophetic events that have been fulfilled since Mr. Armstrong’s death in 1986, do we dare not sit up and take note of the sure prophecies of God?