January 16: God’s Miracle Day
The key to understanding what you will read in this booklet is to believe the Bible. Shockingly few people truly do. Most people push aside undeniable Bible truths.
Jesus Christ said that spiritual truth must be revealed to us by God—and that God actually hides truth from those who are “wise and prudent” in their own sight. He reveals only to those with the teachable, humble attitude of “babes” (Matthew 11:25).
Here is an important reality: If you know the truth of the Bible, you recognize that the whole world is deceived (Revelation 12:9).
The Bible foretells of a soon-coming time when Jesus Christ will return to this Earth as King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16). At that time, the knowledge of God will cover the whole Earth (Isaiah 11:9; Zechariah 14:9).
Now, let’s look at some important prophecies of events that would occur just before that future to be ushered in at the Second Coming.
A Sign of the Second Coming
Through the Prophet Malachi, God foretold this: “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple …” (Malachi 3:1). The Bible is clear that this preparatory “messenger” role was fulfilled before Jesus’s first coming by John the Baptist (Matthew 11:10-11; Luke 7:27-28). However, John was only a type or forerunner of a man who would prepare for Christ’s return. Malachi’s prophecy clearly has an end-time focus, when Christ will appear not as a human being but as a glorified spirit being, to rule with power! (Malachi 3:2-3).
In a related prophecy, Malachi wrote, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:5-6).
Again, John the Baptist fulfilled this prophecy in type in the first century a.d. (Matthew 11:13-14). But the primary focus in Malachi 4 is on its latter-day fulfillment, “before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord”—revealed in other prophecies to be the time immediately preceding the Second Coming (e.g., Joel 2:31; Revelation 6:17).
When Jesus Christ walked the Earth in the first century, He directly referred to and endorsed these prophecies. And He spoke to His disciples explicitly about events and signs that would lead up to His glorious return—especially in His most important “Olivet prophecy” (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21).
Now, consider this vital statement from that prophecy: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14).
Christ was giving His disciples—and us today—a sign of “the end” of the age He was referring to. And what was that sign? The preaching of the true gospel message in all the world. That means this prophecy could not have been fulfilled during the many centuries after Christ spoke it—or else it is a failed prophecy! The various versions of the “gospel” that have been promoted worldwide over the centuries are false gospels! They are not “this gospel of the kingdom” that Jesus Himself proclaimed—or their being preached could not have been a sign that “then shall the end come”! What a startling truth!
Put this together with another of Christ’s prophecies. He said that the “Elijah” who would precede His Second Coming, spoken of by Malachi, would “restore all things”—or all the foundational biblical truths (Matthew 17:11). That would have to include the understanding of the true gospel! (This is a critical verse that we explain fully in our booklet A Pivotal Sign of the End Time. Please order a free copy.)
These are vital prophecies! Do you know of any church that talks about them?
Do preachers believe these words of Jesus Christ Himself, and watch for their fulfillment as a sign of Christ’s return?
Put all these prophetic passages together, and you see God Himself foretelling the arrival of a man, with a God-given message, possessing the very truth of God—and preaching that truth around the world as a witness, preparing for and in the days immediately preceding the Second Coming!
Have you seen such a man?
A Messenger of God
That man was Herbert W. Armstrong. God began to work with him in the 1920s by challenging his religious assumptions. Mr. Armstrong was provoked into undertaking an intensive study of the Bible. In doing so, he saw how so many commonly held “Christian” beliefs actually contradict Scripture.
Whereas churches congregate on Sunday, the Bible teaches a seventh-day Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11). Whereas churches teach that the penalty for sin is eternal life in hellfire, the Bible says that penalty is death (Romans 6:23; Ezekiel 18:4, 20). Whereas churches insist that the law of God is “done away,” the Bible plainly says God’s law defines sin, that it is “holy, and just, and good,” and that we love God by willingly keeping His commandments (1 John 3:4; Romans 7:12; 1 John 5:3).
Mr. Armstrong’s further study revealed a host of generally ignored but plain Bible teachings: regarding the nature of God, the plan of God, His purpose for creating human beings, the existence of angels and evil spirits, the purpose for the Church, and many other doctrines. He even came to understand the key to Bible prophecy, and to properly identify the signs Christ gave of His Second Coming.
Though Mr. Armstrong didn’t recognize it until much later, God was actually fulfilling Christ’s prophecy in Matthew 17:11: restoring “all things” through this man, doctrine by doctrine! You can read a wonderful, thorough biblical explanation of all these restored doctrines in Mr. Armstrong’s masterful book Mystery of the Ages.
Armed with these truths, Mr. Armstrong built not only a church, which grew to encompass 725 congregations in 57 countries, but also a powerful multimedia work that broadcast and published those truths far and wide. Its monthly newsmagazine, the Plain Truth, peaked at a global circulation of 8.4 million in seven languages. Mr. Armstrong’s weekly television program, The World Tomorrow, was by far the most popular religious program in America. Hundreds of millions of his books and booklets were distributed worldwide.
Beyond that, Mr. Armstrong personally met with and delivered the gospel message to over 500 heads of state in countries around the world—kings, emperors, presidents, prime ministers, ambassadors, lawmakers, governors, mayors, generals and others—as well as crowds of thousands of everyday people. God opened many doors so Mr. Armstrong could fulfill another of Christ’s prophecies: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations” (Matthew 24:14).
Herbert Armstrong preached the gospel message to “all nations.” He was the man through whom God restored all things to prepare the way for the Second Coming!
These prophecies prove that his ministry had to be fulfilled before Christ’s return! They show that God put tremendous emphasis on the work this man did!
Whether or not people realize it, Mr. Armstrong’s life was a pivotal event in world history!
Mr. Armstrong devoted himself wholly to the Work of God for nearly six decades.
And then in 1986, at the age of 93, Herbert W. Armstrong died.
On January 16.
Mr. Armstrong’s death was a high-profile event. The Worldwide Church of God (wcg) received condolences and expressions of respect for Mr. Armstrong from prominent leaders all over the world! Even U.S. President Ronald Reagan acknowledged the occasion, telling Mr. Armstrong’s supporters that they could “take pride in his legacy.”
The spiritual significance of Mr. Armstrong’s ministry was clear even during the waning years of his life. However, the deep significance of his death—and even the date of his death—was not fully apparent until some time had passed.
‘Taken Out of the Way’
Few people recognize this spiritual reality, but it remains true nonetheless: Whenever and wherever God is working, Satan the devil is active as well, trying to undermine and destroy.
Throughout his ministry, Mr. Armstrong faced opposition and persecution, at times unimaginably intense. Some of the worst of it came from within the organization he founded. But empowered by God, with strong, righteous leadership, he held those forces back and kept the Church and the Work of God on track.
When he died, however, that satanically inspired opposition was no longer restrained. Slowly at first, but with increasing momentum, it began to wreak chaos within the Church of God, changing doctrines and casting truth to the ground.
This spiritual catastrophe was a direct fulfillment of the Apostle Paul’s prophecy in 2 Thessalonians 2. Study this chapter. Paul speaks of a terrible calamity striking the true Church of God just before “the day of Christ”—the Second Coming. “[T]hat day [of His return] shall not come, except there come a falling away first [within the Church!], and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition [or destruction]; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (verses 3-4).
This is a grievous, mountainous disaster! The “temple of God” symbolizes God’s own Church (Ephesians 2:19-22). Here is a man of sin and destruction sitting at the very head of that Church, leading a massive “falling away,” or as other translations render it, a great revolt, rebellion or apostasy!
How could this happen? Paul explains, “… because they [God’s people] received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11). The people didn’t love the truth God had given them! So they were easily deceived.
Now, notice this detail: “And you know what is restraining him [that ‘man of sin’] now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness [that evil, destructive force—it was a ‘mystery’ because it was being restrained, and was thus hidden] is already at work; only he [an individual] who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way” (verses 6-7; Revised Standard Version). The King James Version reads, “… until he be taken out of the way.”
As long as he was alive, Mr. Armstrong used God’s power to restrain that lawlessness. But then, on January 16, 1986, “he” was “taken out of the way.”
With Mr. Armstrong gone, the man of sin, inspired by the devil himself, became free to operate without restraint.
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). So that date also is of great significance to God.
You can read a parallel prophecy in Daniel 8:10-12. The setting here is also God’s Church, symbolically portrayed as the temple. And the time setting is “at the time of the end” (verse 17). Here the work of the Church is typed by the “daily sacrifice,” or regular temple offerings. Daniel describes “an host”—or an evil spiritual army—being mobilized “against the daily sacrifice [God’s Work] by reason of transgression [or sin].” Just as in 2 Thessalonians 2, the sins of the people gave the devil and his army of demons an opening into the Church! And this evil host “cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.” (I explain all this in detail in my free booklet Daniel—Unsealed at Last!).
On January 16, 1986, Mr. Armstrong was taken out of the way. On that day, the great spiritual war of Daniel 8 began. On that day, Satan began working mainly through one man, systematically dismantling and casting to the ground the truth that Mr. Armstrong had taught. Within a few short years, the Worldwide Church of God had renounced the very teachings that distinguished it as God’s Church. Today it is utterly unrecognizable as the organization Mr. Armstrong founded. It has been renamed; it no longer keeps the Sabbath or the law of God; it retains none of the biblical truths he restored.
Understand these scriptures, and you begin to grasp why January 16 is such a pivotal date!
Satan Cast Down
Now, study a remarkable prophecy in the book of Revelation.
Revelation 12 describes a war in heaven where great angelic beings fought against the devil and his demons. Here is the outcome of that spiritual war: “the dragon fought and his angels [the fallen angels—the demons], And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (verses 7-9).
Grasp the full significance of this passage!
This says Satan deceives the whole world! That means everybody! Ephesians 2:2 calls Satan “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” 2 Corinthians 4:4 calls him “the god of this world.” He is worshiped by great multitudes of people—unwittingly!
This prophecy speaks of Satan and his demons, of which there are millions, being cast to the Earth. When did this happen? God intends us to know, or He wouldn’t have given the prophecy.
Here is a detail that shows us the time frame: “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:12).
This statement shows this is also an end-time prophecy. Satan was cast down just a “short time” before Jesus Christ returns to Earth and replaces him as the god of this world! That is spectacular, joyfully good news! But it does mean a great deal of woe for us on Earth in the short term.
More evidence of when this occurred appears in the next verse: “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child” (verse 13). The “woman” here is described in more detail in verses 1-6. It is a symbol of the Church of God.
This prophecy shows that as soon as Satan was cast down, the very first thing he did was to attack the Church!
Verse 13 specifically dates this prophecy. We can point to a specific time when God’s true Church was forcibly attacked by the devil in this end time.
This links directly with the prophecies in 2 Thessalonians 2 and Daniel 8. Satan and his demons were cast down to Earth at the same time that “he who restrains” was “taken out of the way”! And they immediately invaded the Church and began casting truth to the ground!
Here again we see just what a decisive pivot point in world history is January 16, 1986! The world entered a profoundly different time!
We must be aware of the scale of spiritual warfare that occurred on that date, and that has been taking place ever since! From that point, Satan and his evil minions were confined to Earth! This has brought a whole new level of suffering to this world. Satan was already being worshiped on Earth, but now it is even worse. He is cast down and full of wrath. He and his army are a spiritual force of tremendous evil and destructive power. We must be able to recognize their malevolent influence!
You can already see the associations, both positive and negative, that make January 16 so momentous. This date reveals the spiritual dimension behind events. As we will see in greater detail, it exposes the devil’s efforts to destroy not only the Church, but also modern nations. More importantly and inspiringly, it shows God’s hand at work even in the details of what happens in His Church and in the world.
I was a minister in the Worldwide Church of God when Mr. Armstrong died. I was extremely supportive of the new leadership. But soon, I became alarmed by the changes that were taking place at Church headquarters in Pasadena, California. I began to search the Bible for answers as to why the Church was going astray.
In the spring of 1989, God began to show me the answers. I started work on a manuscript that explained 2 Thessalonians 2 and many other prophecies about the Church’s departure from the truth. (Even the timing of this miraculous process, which started on January 16, 1986, is significant. I explain it in Daniel—Unsealed at Last!)
That manuscript became a little book, called Malachi’s Message to God’s Church Today.
When Joseph Tkach Jr. found out about Malachi’s Message, he summoned me and my assistant, John Amos, to Pasadena and fired us—on December 7, 1989.
That marked the beginning of the Philadelphia Church of God (pcg). A group of 12 of us met for our first service on December 16, the Sabbath after I arrived back home in Oklahoma. Then we immediately got to work refining Malachi’s Message. Once it was finished, we printed a thousand copies. We had collected the addresses of 921 ministers and members of the wcg. We packaged the books and delivered them to the post office on January 11, 1990.
Toward the end of that first version of Malachi’s Message, I wrote, “This message is being received by many people on the very day of the anniversary of Mr. Armstrong’s death. We didn’t plan it, but we are happy it happened that way. You are going to see the date of Mr. Armstrong’s death take on more significance as time goes on” (emphasis added).
Then I wrote: “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 January 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 Operation Desert Storm—the Persian Gulf War!
That correct forecast was a tremendous faith-building event! It showed the significance God puts on the date of Mr. Armstrong’s death. (Request a free copy of Malachi’s Message.)
Ever since, we have paid special attention to this anniversary. And time after time, we have seen God underline the significance of this date. He has repeatedly orchestrated events, both in His Church and in the world, even spectacular miracles, to draw the focus of anyone who is watching.
Some people have asked why we watch this date on the man-made Gregorian calendar, rather than the anniversary of Mr. Armstrong’s death on the Hebrew calendar. I believe the fact that God has emphasized January 16 (rather than Shevat 6, which would fall on different days each year by the calendar everyone uses) demonstrates His determination to send a message that people will understand! Clearly, God doesn’t want us to forget who His end-time Elijah was! 2 Thessalonians 2 shows what happens to those who forget. God keeps reminding us how important that man is and what He taught through him.
Amos and the Earthquake
The first booklet I wrote after Malachi’s Message was The Lion Has Roared. It explains the key prophecies in the book of Amos. It so happened that we completed production of this booklet around January 16, this time in 1992.
In a sermon I gave to our Church on December 21, 1991—the tape of which was sent to congregations around the world—I noted that many people on our mailing list would receive The Lion Has Roared near the anniversary of Mr. Armstrong’s death. I then said, “Amos began to speak about his visions two years before the earthquake. And I mean they had a massive earthquake.” You can read about it in Amos 1:1.
In that sermon I noted how much the Work we are doing is a modern-day counterpart to what Amos did. Then I said, “What if there is another massive earthquake on this Earth—maybe from two years by the time this booklet goes out? I’m not saying that’s going to happen. I don’t know. But I know that the lion has roared!”—a reference to Amos 3:8. “And when the lion roared in Amos’s day, they had a massive earthquake two years after he started [proclaiming his message]. … I wouldn’t even be surprised if within the next two years you don’t see a massive earthquake in this world, perhaps even in Pasadena, California.”
In an October 30, 1993, sermon, near the end of that two-year window, I said this: “The booklet on Amos will have been published two years at the end of this year. You could say a lot of people even got it around January 16. Is it possible that God could strike with an earthquake … 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.”
In the December 1993 Trumpet, I printed an article in which I wrote, “Isaiah 29 is also an end-time chapter (verse 18). God does punish us with ‘natural’ disasters. ‘Thou shalt be visited [punished is a better translation] of the Lord of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire’ (Isaiah 29:6). God says He visits, or punishes, us with ‘the flame of devouring fire’! …
“Notice, God also says He will punish Israel with the earthquake. Will an earthquake be the next California disaster? When it strikes, will the people of Israel repent? Probably not. Still, we control our own destiny. The curses will continue until we repent. That is God’s plan, and nothing can change it. …
“How much we suffer is in our own power to control. God help us to repent soon. Only then can we avoid the far greater curses that are prophesied to strike very soon!”
That was a mind-splitting prophecy of a potential disaster! Those statements were not based on human reasoning or human prediction. They were based on God’s Word and His Work.
Then on January 17, 1994, at 4:31 a.m., a massive 6.7-magnitude earthquake rocked Southern California. It killed over 70 people, injured 9,000 more, and displaced 20,000 people from their homes. Property damage exceeded $20 billion, making it one of the costliest disasters in American history.
The epicenter was in Northridge, about 20 miles northwest of Pasadena.
The ministers of God’s Church there in Pasadena were well aware of the prophetic role Mr. Armstrong fulfilled—and of the anniversary of his death. The Bible compares God’s ministers to the priests anciently, who were of the tribe of Levi. The Prophet Malachi, who foretold of an end-time “Elijah,” also prophesied of God making a covenant with an end-time “Levi,” the father of the Levites (Malachi 2:4). Mr. Armstrong fulfilled that role as well. And Malachi 3:3 says God will “purify the sons of Levi, and purge them”—those ministers who trained under Mr. Armstrong and then turned on him.
There were two giant lessons here that should have gotten the attention of those men—and many others!
God was emphasizing that Herbert W. Armstrong was the end-time Elijah.
But also, God was demonstrating forcefully that He was continuing His Work through the Philadelphia Church of God!
Amos prophesied for two years and then there was a great earthquake. God revealed the real meaning of the book of Amos to the pcg and how it applies to this end time. We mailed the Amos booklet and almost exactly two years later we had the California quake! When we prophesy accurately that an event might occur on a specific date, it reveals that God is directly involved!
The book of Amos is dual. It was fulfilled in ancient Israel. But its primary fulfillment is in this end time. “In that day” always refers to the return of Christ and the traumatic suffering just before it (Amos 9:11). Amos prophesied of prosperous conditions that will follow Christ’s return (verse 13). But he also prophesied that the people of Israel—mainly the American and British peoples—are going into captivity unless they repent (verse 14). Then, once they repent, God will use them to lead the world, and they will never go into captivity again (verse 15).
The earthquake struck on January 17, the day the Laodicean Church began eight years before.
That is also the date, one year earlier, that our television program, The Key of David, began—the closest Sunday to January 16 in 1993. We started with seven stations: kdoc in Los Angeles, kxtx in Dallas, wuni in Boston, wdjt in Milwaukee, wveu in Atlanta, whse in New York City, and whsi in Long Island, New York. Seven is the most important number in the Bible. God was not only validating what He did through Mr. Armstrong, He was also validating His Work through the pcg! That was very encouraging to us.
Copyright Battle—and Victory!
The last book Mr. Armstrong wrote was Mystery of the Ages. He called it “the largest and most important book I have ever written.” He finished it in May 1985, just months before his death. It is a magnificent summary of all Mr. Armstrong’s work—the accumulated knowledge of his entire ministry!
In a September 1985 letter to Church members and co-workers, he wrote, “We want to reach the largest audience possible with this book.” From the time it arrived from the printer in September 1985, through the end of that year, the book was requested an astounding 740,000 times, making it the fastest-moving, most popular book the Church had ever produced.
For a while after Mr. Armstrong died, the Church continued promoting Mystery of the Ages, serializing it in the Plain Truth and distributing over 1.2 million copies. But that effort didn’t last long. The doctrinal changes were swift, and by early 1988, the wcg permanently removed the book from circulation and pitched 120,000 warehoused copies in the trash!
I thought more about Mr. Armstrong’s goal of distributing Mystery of the Ages to “the largest audience possible.” That noble, God-inspired effort had lasted only two years! And in 1996, I realized that we needed to revive that effort!
We printed Mystery of the Ages and, in January 1997, began distributing it freely.
Within a month, the wcg filed a lawsuit against us for printing the book they had destroyed. This began a massive legal battle between these two churches that was to last for six years.
The story of what happened in that battle is truly epic! It was the forces that believed and upheld the truths God had restored through Mr. Armstrong in direct confrontation with those who wanted those truths erased, buried and obliterated! You can read the full story in my son’s book Raising the Ruins.
We won the first round, in a Los Angeles courtroom. But wcg leaders appealed to the Ninth Circuit, which granted them an injunction to stop us from printing Mr. Armstrong’s material, and ordered us to pay the wcg damages for our “unauthorized” printing. We appealed to the Supreme Court, which declined to give us a hearing.
It appeared our case was dead. But we had faith God would work out a way for us to win in the end, and continued to publicly say so. Again, the whole story is documented in Raising the Ruins. And you can read all about why I was so confident God would deliver us, in my free booklet Habakkuk. The bottom line is, God did work out a way. wcg leaders began to approach us with offers to sell the copyrights to Mystery of the Ages and several other works of Mr. Armstrong that, just a short time before, they had explicitly said they never wanted published again! Their initial offers were unrealistic. Back-and-forth negotiations occurred over a period of months.
Finally, the day came when the wcg sent us a message agreeing to sell us all the copyrights we sought, for exactly what we offered. That afternoon, lawyers from both churches conference-called the judge with the news that the terms of a settlement had been reached—effectively ending six years of litigation.
It was January 16, 2003!
Gaining possession of Mystery of the Ages and 18 other works by Mr. Armstrong was the greatest victory in pcg history! And God made sure it happened 17 years to the day after his death!
What a spectacular miracle!
I can show you several prophecies that reveal what was happening spiritually during that court battle. God was with us the whole way, backing us because we took a stand for His truth and His end-time Elijah. And He forced the wcg to sell us those works. (We would be happy to send you a free copy of Mystery of the Ages.)
The fact that the wcg agreed to this deal on January 16 was an unmistakable sign! First, it points to God’s end-time Elijah. It shows that there was a great God behind Herbert W. Armstrong. Second, it points to the Church today that is still doing the work of Elijah. The end-time Elijah died, but the God of Elijah did not! And that same God is backing this Work that is holding fast to the truth. The court case victory was a dazzling sign of exactly where the God of Elijah is! God wants to make sure people know where He is! This is something anyone can see.
Third, it shows that God was smiting His lukewarm people and sending a strong warning to all enemies of the truth!
These are exactly the themes we see over and over with January 16, God’s miracle day!
Shuttle Disaster—Israel’s Future
The fact that God uses January 16 not only to perform miracles for His people, but also to warn this world, especially the modern nations of Israel, was made clear in another monumental event tied to January 16, 2003—the very same day we resolved our court battle. That was the day the Space Shuttle Columbia launched for the last time. It was up in space for 16 days. There were seven people on board. These are interesting numbers.
One woman on board the shuttle, Kalpana Chawla, had e-mailed her family about how beautiful Mount Fuji and the Sahara Desert looked from space. She couldn’t get over the marvel of seeing Earth from space. There really is something special waiting out there for us!
But the Columbia’s journey ended tragically when, upon reentering Earth’s atmosphere, it disintegrated in a fiery conflagration! Sixteen minutes before touching down, the shuttle exploded—over North Texas, where Mr. Armstrong had a college (another interesting fact). “‘There are no survivors,’ the president said, but by then we had been watching the endless video of what looked like the shooting stars of August, knowing that those bright, white puffs of star were made of metal and rubber and men and women” (Time, Feb. 10, 2003).
Consider the symbolism, and the emphasis on January 16 and the number 16! Is there any connection with a man who warned Israel for years and years—a man who died on January 16? The tragedy is only a type of what is coming upon the whole of Israel if they don’t find out where the God of Elijah is and take heed!
Also aboard the Columbia was Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut, whose mother and grandmother were Auschwitz survivors. He wanted this trip to be, in the words of Time magazine, “a happy respite from a hard winter for his embattled country” (ibid). The International Jerusalem Post printed an article titled “Remnants of a Dream: Symbols Surrounding the Death of Colonel Ilan Ramon.” His dream was to go out into the universe—a great, adventurous dream. That’s where God wants to take us! But you know what the “remnants” of this dream were? The only thing left were the body parts they found of Colonel Ramon!
His dream won’t have to end just being remnants. But every person who departs from God has that future staring them in the face, and they’ll never escape that.
When President George W. Bush spoke after the disaster, he quoted an e-mail by Colonel Ramon: “The quiet that envelopes space makes the beauty even more powerful. And I only hope that the quiet can one day spread to my country.” A Jerusalem Post article said, “In a country where the main news stories usually change hourly, not daily, the story of the loss of Ramon dominated tv screens, radio and the press for the whole week” (Feb. 14, 2003). And imagine—it was all tied to January 16 and the God of Elijah.
On this trip, Colonel Ramon took with him a sketch of a lunar landscape drawn by a 14-year-old Jewish boy. “The artist, Peter Ginz, never lived to see such a sight, or even to witness the day when humans first traveled beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. He died at Auschwitz, one of the 6 million Jews exterminated by the Nazis during the Second World War” (Observer, Feb. 2, 2003). This boy was trying to dream, as a boy was created to do. He should have had nothing but life ahead of him—but the Nazis killed him! And they’re going to do the same to multiple millions more—people who are too hardheaded to listen to the God of Elijah! They ought to be fulfilling their dreams, but that will never happen until they humble themselves before God! Until then, all their dreams will turn into the most horrifying nightmares!
Look at the news: We are so close to repeating that dismal history, a million times over! This world is on the cusp of nuclear madness! Is this the world that we want? Is this the great achievement of mankind?
This world needs a sobering warning!
“I know my flight is very symbolic for the people of Israel, especially the survivors, the Holocaust survivors,” said Colonel Ramon (Jerusalem Post, op cit). If only he knew! It is so symbolic! “Because I was born in Israel, many people see this as a dream come true” (ibid). We have such lofty dreams. God gives us the ability to dream and dream—but those dreams will always be shattered until we have God ruling our lives! Until we find the work of Elijah.
God’s end-time Elijah has a message for this world! He has the foundational message this world needs if they are ever to fulfill their dreams.
The New York Times wrote about the disaster: “For Americans already grappling with a confluence of threatening events, the instinctive reaction was, ‘What next?’” (Feb. 2, 2003). We have to tell them exactly what’s next! “[T]o a nation still struggling with the aftermath of the most devastating terrorist attack in its history and the abiding threat of another, plus a sluggish economy, nuclear tension with North Korea, and the prospect of war with Iraq, this morning’s disaster was an especially harsh blow” (ibid). And God says the blows will get harsher and harsher until people drop to their knees.
This event made headlines around the world—and it was tied directly to January 16. It was a shocking warning from God about the fiery end awaiting our peoples. Many people are afraid of terrorism. But they should be afraid of having the Almighty God against them! That’s what they should fear—and that’s all they would have to fear! If they could learn that lesson, they wouldn’t need to have any of those other fears.
This relates directly to our copyright victory. Study Habakkuk 1, which details the injustice we experienced in the courts. Verse 5 describes our miraculous deliverance. And then, right in that context, comes verse 6: “For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs.” This is a prophecy about Germany’s rise! God is raising this people up to destroy Israel! We can see them rising at a furious pace even today.
Also in this context, Habakkuk 3:16-17 discuss nuclear winter: “When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls.” Look at the context! The court case is history. Germany is already the powerhouse of Europe. All this is happening before our eyes!
God is doing all He can to open people’s eyes to reality. He loves all people, just like He loves you. God gave His Son to die for all His rebellious children! He never stops loving them! He can’t, because He is love.
Colonel Ramon had a spark of hope. But we have much more than a spark—we have a flaming hope of something very real! Those men want to colonize space. That is our future! And that is all thanks to the God of Elijah!
That future was made even more vivid and exciting the very next year, 2004—also on January 16—when the Hubble telescope concluded 114 days of taking pictures—over 800 of them—of a tiny pinprick of outer space above the Northern Hemisphere. The resulting image, called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, shows a spectacular spray of galaxies, some of them thought to be over 13 billion light-years away! Each tiny dot in this image is a galaxy—a collection of millions to hundreds of billions of stars.
What an inspiring glimpse into the universe future God has awaiting us! God certainly wants to give us that vision to motivate us. And He magnified it by attaching it to January 16, His miracle day!
A Terrible Foreign-Policy Blunder
In recent years, the curses associated with January 16 have been achingly prominent for America. But also, God supplied His Church with the most magnificent miracle of all.
The steep moral decline of the United States was highlighted on January 16, 2015, when the Supreme Court agreed to take up the question of same-sex “marriage.” Given the political leanings of the justices at that time, it became certain which way the case would go—as it did in June of that year. The court determined to silence dissent on the matter, and the country would no longer tolerate any adherence to the traditional, biblical definition of marriage. That such a case would even be considered was an official declaration that the Bible no longer has any moral authority in today’s America.
Exactly one year later, the worst foreign-policy blunder in America’s history occurred!
On January 16, 2016, the Obama administration implemented its nuclear deal with Iran. The U.S. and the European Union lifted economic sanctions on the terrorist-sponsoring nation, released over $100 billion in frozen assets, and brought Iran into a host of economic deals.
The deal gave Iran all it needed to greatly accelerate its race toward building its own nuclear weapons!
At the same time the deal was implemented, the White House diverted people’s attention from it by making a lopsided prisoner swap with Iran, forfeiting 21 Iranians: seven of them suspects in sanctions violations, 14 of them criminals with international warrants out for their arrest. The Wall Street Journal reported U.S. officials saying that “most of these cases were tied to violations of U.S. export laws and the sales of dual-use equipment that could be used in Iran’s military or nuclear program.” On top of that, the Obama administration airlifted $400 million in cash to pay Iran for the release of four innocent American hostages. One U.S. official shamefully called this prisoner swap a humanitarian gesture on Iran’s part. Of course, having American hostages freed from unjust incarceration is positive. But consider the cost: This deal gave the enemies of America more incentive than ever to take Americans hostage. Look what they can get for them!
What a scandal! America’s conduct in these disasters revealed a people with no honor, no pride, no fighting vigor! Something terrible has happened to our people.
The fact that the nuclear deal was implemented on January 16 is a great warning to America. This cataclysmic foreign-policy blunder marked a lurch toward the worst suffering ever on this planet! It brought the United States and the world closer than ever to the onset of a biblically prophesied nuclear World War iii that will destroy billions of people! (Matthew 24:21-22; Daniel 11:40-44). The beating war drums intensified.
When Mr. Armstrong died on January 16, 1986, it began the greatest spiritual disaster ever in God’s Church, at least in terms of numbers. I don’t think there has ever been a greater spiritual crisis. Thirty years later, on January 16, 2016, a major step was taken toward the greatest physical disaster ever on Earth!
Tragedies like this one associated with January 16 show that this is the future until we are ruled by the God of Elijah! God’s lukewarm people, and the whole world, ought to get nervous on or around January 16 from now to the end of this age!
The nuclear deal with Iran was disastrous for the world—yet it also contains good news. The good news is that Jesus Christ will return to stop mankind from annihilating all human life (Matthew 24:21-22; Daniel 2:44). If Jesus Christ didn’t return, the war would escalate to a point where no flesh would be saved alive. But He will return! So those war drums also signify the advent of the best times ever on Earth—a vision of peace, joy and happiness forever. The good news eclipses the bad news ten thousand times over!
New Throne of David
The final January 16 miracle I want to discuss in this booklet happened in God’s Church on that date in 2017.
I have written a book titled The New Throne of David explaining this momentous event. This was the day that God blessed His Church with possession of the very throne that Jesus Christ is about to assume when He returns to Earth!
“He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:32-33).
Christ is going to rule from “the throne of his father David.” God has preserved the rulership on that throne by a descendant of David—from the time of David up to the present day! This is an inspiring truth that you can prove from your Bible and from history. You can trace that line down to the present-day ruling family in Britain.
Throughout the generations, a “stone of destiny” has always been associated with that throne. Queen Elizabeth ii is the latest of many monarchs who were crowned beside it—a tradition that goes back to the time of kings in the Bible! (e.g., 2 Chronicles 23:11-13).
However, on January 16, 2017, God replaced that “stone of destiny” with a new stone—and moved the throne of David from Britain into His own Church!
Now God’s own people will have the honor of personally presenting Christ with that throne when He returns. It shows how close we are to that epochal event!
I realize this is a bold claim to make. I urge you to request a copy of The New Throne of David and prove this truth for yourself. There I explain it straight from many passages in the Bible.
One of these is the prophecy of Genesis 49, which is for “the last days” (verse 1). Verse 10 reads, “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, [or] a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh [Jesus Christ] come ….” This prophecy is directly in the context of Christ’s Second Coming. The “scepter” is the symbol of kingly rule—the line of monarchs that will culminate in the reign of Christ as King of kings. And this verse speaks of that rule combining with the role of “a lawgiver”—someone who administers the royal law of God, a priestly function.
If you know the history of the throne of David, you know this has not been a function of the physical line of kings. In fact, especially in recent times, they have often fought against the law of God rather than living and ruling by it!
This prophecy specifically refers to a time when the throne and the royal law would be combined. This happened on January 16, 2017. The scepter must be ruled by the royal law now, and the royal law must be applied to the scepter promise—“until Shiloh come.”
When God gave the revelation about the new stone on January 16, 2017, the royal family of Britain was displaced as the royal family of David’s throne. That was a signal of terrible events to come upon Britain, as well as a sharp decline of America and Judah, the Jewish nation in the Middle East.
One astounding aspect of this truth regards the new “stone of destiny.” I will let Mr. Armstrong explain, from his Autobiography, regarding the first public Bible lectures he conducted in his ministry back in 1933:
“Mr. Oberg was starting his new meetings in Harrisburg on Sunday night, July 9. The Fishers and I decided to start the meetings at the Firbutte school the same night. I arrived at the Fisher farm, leaving my wife and children at our home in Salem, about July 5 or 6.
“This was the small—actually infinitesimal—start of what was destined to grow to a major worldwide gospel Work reaching multiple millions of people every week.
“But if small, it started with a burst of energy and inspiration. First, it started with intensive and earnest private prayer. To the rear of the Fisher farm home was a fair-sized hill. Running over this hilltop for exercise I discovered a rock about 14 inches high. It was in a secluded spot. It came to mind how Jesus had dismissed the multitudes, and gone up into a mountain ‘apart’ to pray—alone with God. I dropped to my knees before this rock, which seemed just the right height to kneel before, and began praying earnestly for the success of the meetings. It became sort of a daily pilgrimage, during my stay at the Fishers’, to this, which became my ‘prayer rock.’ I’m sure that I drank in much energy, spiritual strength and inspiration at that prayer rock.”
In 2002 I took a tour of some of the sites of Mr. Armstrong’s early days in the Work, and I saw that “prayer rock.” We asked the owners of the property if we could have it, and that summer we transported it to our headquarters facility in Edmond, Oklahoma.
It wasn’t until over 14 years later that God revealed to me that Mr. Armstrong’s prayer rock had replaced the “stone of destiny.” Once again God is putting a dramatic spotlight on the man who prepared the way for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!
And it happened right around January 16, the anniversary of his death.
God is continually reminding us that we are continuing the work of Elijah. We must follow Mr. Armstrong’s example. The understanding that God has given me about this stone underlines this point emphatically!
God caused all these things to happen miraculously. It was all prophesied, and God brought it about in a way that is truly mind-staggering!
God’s Miracle Day!
Again and again, God is calling our attention back to the pivotal date of January 16. He has performed so many miracles on this date! And so many of the most tragic curses on Israel have happened on this date! Those curses are only a type of what is coming on the nations of Israel if they don’t take heed and look to the great God who is sending them. Everyone on Earth needs to pay attention to this and understand this important truth!
Study this date, and watch for it! It points you to a man around whom so much revolves in this end time! A man who built God’s spiritual temple. A man who restored all things. A man who preached the true gospel of the Kingdom of God to all nations as a witness. A man who warned Israel for decades of the curses and calamities they are about to experience. A man who prepared the way as a messenger before the Second Coming—and whose very work was a sign of the imminence of that earthshaking event!
But far more important than pointing you to a man who died on this date, studying January 16 points you to the great, living, Almighty God of Elijah!
God’s miracle day leads you to the omnipotent God, who rules in the kingdom of men and shapes world events to fulfill His prophecies. It directs you to the Father who is correcting the nations out of His love for them, to turn them from their sins and lead them back to Himself. It draws you to the God who is actively involved in His Church, speaking through revelation and opening mighty doors of opportunity.
And it helps you come to know the great God of miracles—who is about to send His Son to put down the rule of Satan, to take His place on the throne of David, and to establish His perfect Kingdom, administering the government of God and the royal law of God in perfect combination, forever!
Notable Events in the Church
- Jan. 16, 1990: Malachi’s Message reaches people
- Stephen Flurry is first member baptized in the pcg
- Jan. 17, 1993: Key of David television program airs for the first time, on seven television stations
- Jan. 16, 1996: New revelation on the book of Micah
- Jan. 16, 1997: First pcg printing of Mystery of the Ages reaches subscribers
- Jan. 16, 2001: John Amos Field House construction is dedicated
- Jan. 16, 2002: Former wcg member Ernest Martin dies
- Jan. 16, 2003: Initial terms are reached with the wcg for the purchase of copyrights to 19 of Mr. Armstrong’s works
- Jan 16, 2006: Headquarters staff moves into the new Hall of Administration
- Jan. 16, 2016: Concrete foundation poured for performing arts building
- Jan. 16, 2017: God plants the new throne of David in His Church
Notable Events in the World
- Jan. 16, 1991: U.S. launches Operation Desert Storm against Iraq, starting the Persian Gulf War
- Jan. 17, 1994: 6.7-magnitude earthquake in Northridge, California, one of the costliest disasters in American history
- Jan. 16, 1995: 6.9-magnitude earthquake in Kobe, Japan, kills 6,434 people
- Jan. 16, 1998: German parliament repeals the constitutional right to privacy
- Jan. 16, 1999: Prosecution for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton ends
- Edmund Stoiber becomes chairman of Germany’s Christian Social Union
- Jan. 16, 2003: Space Shuttle Columbia is fatally damaged upon launch; 16 days later it disintegrates upon reentry, killing the crew of six Americans and one Israeli
- Jan. 16, 2004: Exposures end for Hubble Deep Field View, which shows 10,000 galaxies in one photo
- Jan. 16, 2008: Germany announces deployment of combat troops to Afghanistan
- Jan. 16, 2009: Israel agrees to unilaterally withdraw from the Gaza Strip
- Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Germany’s Angela Merkel meet to discuss Ukraine and gas supplies
- Jan. 16, 2010: President Barack Obama announces one of America’s largest-ever rebuilding projects after Haiti earthquake, one year into the Great Recession
- Jan. 16, 2013: After the Sandy Hook massacre, President Obama issues a series of executive orders on gun control
- Germany begins withdrawing its gold holdings from Paris and New York
- Jan. 16, 2015: U.S. Supreme Court announces it will hear arguments on same-sex “marriage”
- Jan. 16, 2016: Implementation of Iran nuclear deal begins; sanctions on Iran lifted
- China inaugurates Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
- Jan. 17, 2016: President Obama initiates a scandalous hostage deal with Iran
- Jan. 16, 2017: Obama administration conspires against President-elect Donald Trump days before leaving office