Just three weeks before he died, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote these words to the members and co-workers of the Worldwide Church of God: “Until the present moment I felt that God might provide a way for complete recovery, and He still may. So I have withheld this statement until now, but I feel it is better that you all know the condition. I am now in my 94th year. God may grant that I continue in this very limited manner to direct the Work for some time, but the occasional severe heart pains that I have endured have made me feel the necessity of letting our co-workers know of the condition as it is.
“Remember, this is the Work of the living Creator God. We are now very near the end of this present age. I will continue to give my all to the Work of God up to the last breath. I hope you will all realize the seriousness of the time in which we live and that nothing is important any longer other than to be close to God and assured of a place in His very soon-coming Kingdom.
“This world is not God’s world, and of that we may all be thankful. It is now in its very last days. This illness has impressed heavily on my mind, more than ever before, the uselessness of this present evil world. Thank God we are all very near to its end. …
“Regardless of the outcome of my present illness, the Work will continue right on to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Meanwhile, dear brethren and co-workers, I and the Work of God need, as never before, your continued fervent prayers for the continued progress of this great Work. Christ is the living Head of this Work, and He will continue guiding those He has chosen right up to His Second Coming, which grows daily nearer at hand” (emphasis mine throughout).
During the final days of his life, Mr. Armstrong was concerned most about the Work continuing. After he died, however, there was a massive revolt against what he taught. The Laodicean era began.
This marked a monumental shift in the history of the Church. Of course, God was watching over events, paying very close attention. And, as we have shown repeatedly in our literature, He was allowing things to fall apart quickly for specific reasons. It was all happening according to His prophetic plan.
The Work did continue after Mr. Armstrong died. But not in the way he expected.
As we will see in this booklet, God’s plan was much more detailed than we have ever understood before. You will see God’s extreme concern for His people—those who do His Work. But you will also notice that wherever God—and His Work—is, Satan is close by. And the war between the two is always intense.
Remember Mr. Armstrong’s letter in light of this scripture: “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days” (Daniel 12:11). The word “sacrifice” is in italics in the King James Version of the Bible. That means the translators added it.
The only word that Daniel used is daily. That word is used about 100 times in the Old Testament. And 80 percent of the time it is translated continual or continually. It is translated always about 5 percent of the time. The Cambridge Bible reads, “the continual shall be taken away.” Our focus needs to be on the daily, or continual—not on a word (sacrifice) that is not even in the original Hebrew text.
The International Critical Commentary translates it this way: “And from the time that the constant (sacrifice) is taken away and the abomination-appalling set up there are a thousand two hundred and ninety days.”
Strong’s Concordance and Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon define the Hebrew word for daily as perpetual. Webster’s Dictionary defines perpetual as “continuing forever, everlasting, valid for all time.”
There is only one Hebrew word for “daily sacrifice” in verse 11. So we will emphasize the word continual. The continual is far more than just a word. It is a vision of God’s Work from the beginning! It goes back to the time Christ built His Church (Matthew 16:18) and before. It continued from that Ephesus era to Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea (Revelation 2 and 3).
Only in the first and last centuries was the gospel preached around the world. Still, the organized work of God’s Church continues from the time of Christ’s first coming until His Second Coming. The Work is to be taken away and God’s people delivered to a place of safety (Revelation 12:14). The Work, however, will continue through the time of the two witnesses during the Great Tribulation.
The daily is God’s Work. It must continue because Christ prophesied that it would. “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of [the grave] shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). The work of God’s Church is the continual. That means it will never die, or Christ is a liar. The Work is continual!
That doesn’t mean all of God’s people do His Work. In fact, most of them do not (Matthew 24:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4; Revelation 3:14-17). That is why God shatters their power during the Tribulation (Daniel 12:7). The Laodicean, or lukewarm, churches fail to continue doing God’s Work. They fail to continue the Elijah work (Malachi 4:5-6; Matthew 17:10-11; 24:12-14). They will be cast into the Tribulation because of this great sin. Christ is continuing His Work today, but they are not a part of it.
Only the very elect are taken to a place of safety. Only they continue doing the Work of God. “Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left” (Matthew 24:41). The Philadelphian woman (or Church) is taken to a place of safety. The Laodicean woman is left behind.
“Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing” (verse 46). Only the Philadelphians will be found doing, or continuing, God’s Work. Christ is not living in the Laodiceans (Revelation 3:20). That is their cardinal sin.
It’s one thing to be God’s people. It’s another to be doing His Work. The big question is not “Are we God’s Church?” It’s “Are we doing the continual Work of God?”
“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (verses 14-19). We are commissioned to tell the Laodiceans what God says about them! “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (verse 20).
Christ has always worked through men. The Philadelphia Church has been commissioned to knock for Christ and tell the Laodiceans that they are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked”! That is God’s loving rebuke. Hearing that rebuke is their only hope to escape the tribulation.
God plunges the Laodiceans into the Great Tribulation to show how He feels about us when we fail to continue His Work. God’s Work is paramount. If we can continue to do the work of the end-time Elijah, then we can continue the very Work that Christ Himself established at His first coming!
It is not easy to continue the very Work Christ started! Christ continues to do the Work through His firstfruits today. It is very hard work, but the rewards are truly phenomenal!
The Work may change its emphasis. Spiritual seasons change. But it is still God’s Work. God’s Work did not die with Mr. Armstrong. It has continued.
The book of Daniel is for this end time, even though it was written hundreds of years before Christ. Through Daniel, God has communicated an end-time message to His very elect that they must continue doing the same Work. Daniel will have lived in vain if we do not deliver his message!
We can’t be a part of the continual if we forget what God taught us. “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time:and at that timethy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1). Only God’s people, who are written in a book, are delivered. This is a physical deliverance. The Hebrew word for delivered is translated as a physical “escape” 75 percent of the time. Why does God deliver His very elect?
The book mentioned here is not the book of life. It is the book of remembrance (Malachi 3:16). Most commentaries state that this refers to a minority of God’s people. The context makes that point very clear. A remnant fear God, and their names are in a “book of remembrance.” That means they are a part of the continual. They remember and continue God’s Work.
The majority of God’s own people forgot part or all of what God had taught them. They became Laodicean.
Philadelphians remember what God taught. “And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him” (verse 17). The word jewels is a bad translation. The context of the verse tells you that. A better translation is God’s “special treasure.” Why are these people so special? God says He will “spare them as a man spares his own son” from the Great Tribulation. He will protect His Family members who remember. They remember God’s Family government, as taught by an end-time Elijah, and submit totally to their Father. They continue God’s Family government and Work.
The Laodiceans, however, stopped honoring their Father (Malachi 1:6). God cannot rule them as their Father. That is why they must be punished in the Tribulation. They didn’t continue God’s Work.
“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). We are commanded to “remember the law” (verse 4). God sent an end-time Elijah—Herbert W. Armstrong—who did remember the law. God gave him His government to implement that law and establish His Family. He taught us that marriage and family are God-plane relationships.
If we continue the family government and Work Mr. Armstrong taught, then we can escape the great and dreadful Day of the Lord. But that is only the physical reward. The very elect will also rule with Christ from His headquarters forever (Revelation 3:12, 21).
Here is the big question today. “Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not” (Malachi 3:18). This thought switches back to verses 13-15. The big question is, who is serving God and who is not? Those who answer that question correctly will receive some fabulous rewards! Most of God’s own people are not serving God by doing His Work! The question revolves around God’s end-time Elijah and his message. Who is continuing the Work he established? Who remembered the government he proclaimed? Who continues to honor our Father as Elijah did?
The Present Truth
Many of the Laodiceans are stuck in the past. They have no new revelation—no “present truth.” God is not revealing His secret to them.
“Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). The Laodiceans should have some secret prophecies to teach the world in its greatest crisis ever! But they don’t. They are stuck in a degenerating past.
“The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy?” (verse 8). The lion has roared! It is time to prophesy about god’s revealed secret.
The Laodiceans are rejecting many of the prophecies they were taught (Amos 2:11-12). This is one big reason God is not revealing prophecy to them now.
“Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth” (2 Peter 1:12). Peter knew he had a twofold commission. First, he taught God’s people to remember what Christ had taught. Second, he admonished them to be grounded in the newly revealed truth. And even though Christ is no longer here on Earth, He still reveals new truth—the present truth—to His Church in every age.
God only reveals the present truth to those who remember what He taught in the past! This is precisely why the Laodiceans have no present truth. They don’t have God’s revealed secret or prophecy. They are not doing the continual Work of God. They are not being led by Jesus Christ (Revelation 3:20). Many have forgotten part or all of the truth they knew from the past. This attitude prevents God from revealing new truth. That is why Peter said we must be “established in the present truth.” Receiving it is not enough. We must be deeply grounded in the present truth to continue in God’s present Work! How can it be otherwisewith Christ as the living Head of His Church?
God has given the Philadelphia Church very abundant truth in the major and minor prophets and other books like Lamentations and Daniel. He is using us as He did Daniel and the other prophets. We continue the same work!
Moving the Lamp
God’s tabernacle in ancient Israel had a lamp that was continually burning. It was a type of God’s spiritual lamp today.
Israel was told how to build the tabernacle (Exodus 26:1). The altar also had to be built (Exodus 27:1). There also was a lamp. “And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always” (verse 20). The lamp was to burn always, continually.
God also has a lamp in His New Testament Church. First, we are taught about the great God who keeps the lamp burning. “And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks” (Revelation 1:12). That would be better translated as seven lamps—or seven Church eras.
Jesus Christ is in the midst of these seven lamps (verses 13-16). His countenance shines like the sun in its full strength. His eyes are like flames of fire.
Then God lists the seven Church eras He leads. “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden [lamps] …. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy [lamp] out of his place, except thou repent” (Revelation 2:1, 5). The Ephesus era lost its first love and so the lamp was removed. God’s people failed to continue what Christ Himself started!
There are seven eras, and one lamp in each era. God’s loyal ministers and people must keep it continually burning. Christ promised it would never go out (Matthew 16:18). The lamp had to be moved from the Ephesus era to the Smyrna era. God also had to move His lamp in the Laodicean era to another Church.
“And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings” (Revelation 10:10‑11). God moved His lamp and commanded His Church to “prophesy again.” The Laodiceans have stopped prophesying (Amos 2:11-12). However, God still continues to reveal His prophecy (Amos 3:7-8).
The “little book” is the primary thrust of this “prophesy again” message. The little book’s message is directed at the Laodiceans who do not continue to keep God’s lamp burning. Their eternal lives are at stake.
So God revealed prophecy of what was happening in His own Church. The very elect focus on who says “prophesy again”—the great God of Revelation chapter 1. They don’t focus primarily on the prophecy itself, but on the Revealer.
“And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months” (Revelation 11:1-2). The word temple is from the Greek naos, meaning inner temple. That is where the Christ of Revelation 1 dwells! These saints continue to let Christ rule and do His Work through them.
Those comprising the altar, or ministry, let God measure them. This means these ministers tremble before God’s Word. And so do these very elect members.
The majority of God’s people are Laodicean and refuse to let God measure and correct them. So they have to be put in the outer court. They go into the Great Tribulation where 50 percent will repent and 50 percent will die forever!
At that time God’s very elect will be in a place of safety. The two witnesses do the continual at that time. “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth” (verse 3). For the world, the flame continues to burn through the two witnesses.
When the organized Church continual is taken away, it causes many people to panic. “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11). The continual, or spiritual daily sacrifice, is taken away. People run to the north, south, east and west; but they can’t find God’s message as they could before. When they finally wake up, it will be too late physically! (see also Ezekiel 33:30-33).
Could one of these people be you? May God help each one of usheed this message now!
“And now, O Daniel, keep all this a close secret and keep the book shut as a secret, till the crisis at the end; ere then many shall give way and trouble shall be multiplied on earth” (Daniel 12:4; Moffatt translation). We are now in the “crisis at the end.” The trouble is not just doubled, it is multiplied! Terrifying times are here now—worse than any time in history!
The phrase “many shall give way” refers to God’s own people. As the trouble multiplies, they turn from God and give in to the world’s evil way. They quit doing God’s continual (see Matthew 24:12).
“And from the time that the daily shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days” (Daniel 12:11). The continual is not a physical sacrifice—it is a mind-stirring vision! This daily refers to a spiritual Work of God during all of man’s history—even before that in God’s mind.
This vision connects us to the eternal pastANDthe eternal future. It is a continuation of God’s great Work—without beginning or end of days!
“Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days” (verse 12). Blessed could read “oh, the blisses.” If we wait for God, what a blessing. Soon we shall be counting days until we marry Christ—“oh the blisses”! What a vision for those saints loyal to God.
If you look at its history, God’s Church often turns astray. God’s people frequently lose the vision. They fail to continue in God’s great Work. They lose their greatest reward. (For more information, request my book The True History of God’s True Church.)
Many horrendous trials lie ahead. But it is what lies beyond those trials that should excite us beyond words to describe. An excitement that will last forever!