The book of Colossians is addressed to the Colossians and the Laodiceans. Colossians and Revelation 3 are the only places in the Bible where the Laodiceans are directly addressed. And let’s not forget, these are God’s own people.
Colossians was written about a.d. 59–61. The book of Revelation was written around a.d. 90, only 30 years after Paul warned the Colossians and the Laodiceans. John revealed what happened to the Laodiceans! The Colossians heeded the warning—the Laodiceans did not.
Revelation 3:14-19 tell us the Laodiceans became lukewarm. The book of Colossians tells us how the Laodiceans turned away from God. We can see specifically how they rebelled. This book can help us see how to remain faithfully Philadelphian. Since the book of Colossians is tied directly to Revelation 3, that means Colossians is a prophetic book! It tells us in detail how the Laodiceans erred in the past—and how they are sinning today!
The book of Colossians reveals their problems, and the book of Revelation reveals the outcome! The Laodicean problem today is the same as it was 2,000 years ago! All of the Laodiceans have had one overriding problem that led to their downfall. Let’s examine that problem.
Christ Is the Head
The Church is the Body. Christ is the Head (Colossians 1:18). “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (verses 16-17). The word consist means hold together. Five of the seven Church eras in Revelation 2 and 3 lost their Head! The end-time Laodicean era is one of those. Most of these eras didn’t hold together because they lost their Head—Jesus Christ! Many of these members may have remained in the same church, but they still didn’t “hold together” spiritually. They, like the end-time Laodiceans, had many serious divisions. “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18). Christ is the Head of the Body.
Let’s look for a moment at the head of our physical body. If we lose that head, then we have no guidance system and we die.
That applies spiritually as well. If you replace your Head (Christ) with a man—you have lost your spiritual Head. That is precisely what has happened to the Laodiceans today. They were warned to let no man take their crown (Revelation 3:11). They are in the process of letting that happen because they have become blind (verse 17). They would not be blind if they had held on to their Head!
A Laodicean man sits in God’s Laodicean temple or Church and acts like God (2 Thessalonians 2:4). How serious is the problem? “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (verse 10). The word perish should read “are perishing.” These are God’s people, or they could not be perishing spiritually. They are dying spiritually and don’t know it! Why? Because they follow a man—and have stopped following the Head of the Body—Jesus Christ!
The most important doctrine in God’s Church is God’s government—or holding the Head of the spiritual Body, Jesus Christ. If you lose a doctrine equal to the hand or foot, you can continue living. But if you lose the doctrine of government—the Head—the Body dies unless God can somehow awaken you before it is too late! As Herbert Armstrong often said, “Government is everything!” You can compare it to no other doctrine. No doctrine is even close to being as important!
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8). Again, we are warned to beware of a man taking us away from the Head with philosophy—or worldly education. The expression “rudiments of the world” reads “ruling spirits of the universe” in the Today’s English Version. The Laodiceans are very well educated by this world’s standard. The subject is demons turning Laodiceans away from God through philosophy and wrong education!
It is a demon attack on God’s government—or the Head of the Body! The demons know that if they can destroy God’s government, they can destroy God’s people!
Paul warned Laodiceans in the first century and today about that very problem. “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power” (verses 9-10). Christ is the Head of everything under God the Father! Destroy this great power in our lives and we die spiritually!
Again, Paul warns about men beguiling the saints. “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind” (verse 18). How does it happen? They are very religious. But they are beguiled into a phony religion of worshiping fallen angels! Again, demons are attacking God’s government. Only then can a false leader get God’s people to follow a man! Multiple thousands of God’s own people are being deceived that way this very moment. They had God’s government, but then let Satan destroy it!
I sometimes get attacked for writing such words. But that only encourages me to write them more. I know the source of the attack! Satan uses a deceived man to “beguile” God’s people. Anytime you follow a man spiritually, you are worshiping demons! Satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). That means people worship him.
Notice the very first area Satan attacks. “And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God” (Colossians 2:19). The first and greatest deceit is to get God’s people away from God’s government—the Head! Today, none of the Laodiceans are “holding the Head”!
Holding the Head is how God’s people are “knit together.” It can be achieved no other way. Without God’s government, any church lives with an enormous amount of division—though most of them would deny it.
If we are “knit together,” we have a very deep unity. Only God’s government can achieve that oneness. That is the only way you can avoid following a man! Even if you follow yourself, you are still following a man.
The Worldwide Church of God (wcg) has disintegrated spiritually since Mr. Armstrong died. They are deeply divided. And other groups that have left also are divided and will become more divided. Why? Because none of them, except the pcg, has the government God taught to Mr. Armstrong! That is the only way to be knit together. God’s government is based on God’s law. Our Head leads us based on God’s law of love (1 John 5:3).
The whole process of leadership can be gigantic and complicated. But leadership is simplified by looking to our Head—Jesus Christ. He directs the Body through His government based on God’s law. Then God feeds us spiritual manna, or revelation. And then the place where Christ is becomes obvious to any discerning person. That is how we all become one. We all have the lawful mind of Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:5).
Colossians 2:19 is a prophecy showing that all Laodiceans today would lose their Head (Christ)—just as they did in the first century! Satan knows that if he can destroy God’s government, he can also destroy God’s Work!
Mr. Armstrong proved to us that he fulfilled the end-time Elijah role. “And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias [Elijah] must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things” (Matthew 17:10-11). He gave us at least 18 restored truths. When Mr. Armstrong was alive, members of the wcg believed he restored all things. God’s government was the first point mentioned in the 18 truths.
Now in your wildest imagination, do you think it is possible to restore all those truths and do a powerful worldwide work without God’s government? Saying Mr. Armstrong didn’t teach God’s government is like saying Christ restored a body without a head!
The Laodiceans reject Mr. Armstrong as having fulfilled the end-time Elijah role. They all acted like they believed it while he was alive. After his death they changed their minds. Rejecting Mr. Armstrong as fulfilling the Elijah role is tantamount to saying his whole work was a fraud! The Laodiceans have no basis for saying they are God’s true Church.
But there is still a deeper motive behind it all. All of the Laodiceans who reject Mr. Armstrong’s Elijah role also reject God’s government! It’s just a carnal way of saying, “I won’t submit to God’s government!” That is a rebellious attitude which God will soon expose—in the Great Tribulation, if not sooner!
What Is the Gospel?
Mr. Armstrong was commissioned by God to preach the gospel around the world. “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). That was the first time the true gospel had been preached around the world since the first century! No one can logically deny that Mr. Armstrong did that. He used this verse to show the commission God gave to him—the very reason for his being called in this end time.
But what is the gospel? It is the good news of God’s Family administering God’s government in the wonderful world to come. If Mr. Armstrong didn’t teach God’s true government, as the Laodiceans say, then he didn’t understand God’s gospel! And Mr. Armstrong couldn’t have preached it around the world! Then all the followers of Mr. Armstrong were spiritually defrauded—if that ugly scenario were true, which of course, it is not.
Why are so many of God’s people easily led away from their Head? They are going to pay with their physical lives and 50 percent shall even lose their spiritual lives! And yet they take it so lightly. How horrifying! If we don’t understand and submit to God’s government, we will never, ever be in God’s Kingdom!
Satan has a basic pattern he follows in leading God’s people into a false gospel. “Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead)” (Galatians 1:1). Paul was an apostle, “not of men.” Some of the Galatians were rebellious against God’s government taught by the Apostle Paul.
The Laodiceans today are rebelling against God’s end-time Elijah, Herbert W. Armstrong. They reject the government God taught through him.
And now what is the result? The same as it was in the Galatian church. “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel” (verse 6). Satan destroyed God’s government taught by Paul, and then he led the Galatians away from the gospel! You can’t separate God’s government from the true gospel!
“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (verses 11-12). The gospel and the government taught by Mr. Armstrong and Paul was revealed to them by God! The Laodiceans today are blind. They can’t discern the difference between what is and what is notrevealed concerning many doctrines.
God Reveals to Those He Governs
We see examples in the world of weird prophecies being taught and believed. There is a reason. They are not prophecies based on God’s law, which is the basis of God’s government.
“Neither have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets” (Daniel 9:10). God’s prophets set His laws before the people. Ministers were custodians of God’s law. But God only revealed His law to the prophets or apostles (Ephesians 3:5).
All prophecy is based on God’s law. Without God’s government and His law, prophecy becomes human folly. God’s government, based on His law, is what keeps prophecy stable. “As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth” (Daniel 9:13). All this evil is coming upon modern Israel because of our sins against God’s law. It was prophesied in the law of Moses. Those books of the law also contain prophecy.
God only reveals His prophecy to those who obey His government which is based on His law! Prophecy apart from God’s law is dangerous. God is revealing His prophecy only to His very elect today because they keep His law. “Her gates are sunk into the ground; he hath destroyed and broken her bars: her king and her princes are among the Gentiles: the law is no more; her prophets also find no vision from the Lord” (Lamentations 2:9). First, God’s law, or government, is no more. Then her prophets find no vision, revelation or prophecy from God! The word vision is defined as “divine revelation” in Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon. God stopped revealing to the prophets when they stopped obeying the law! That’s what happens when we fail to hold on to our Head. There can be no revealed prophecies without the Head! The law and revelation both come in one package.
This is the colossal difference between the Philadelphians and the Laodiceans.
Before God taught Mr. Armstrong prophecy, He taught him the law. The first challenge Mr. Armstrong received was about God’s true Sabbath day. That is one of God’s Ten Commandments—a part of His law and government. The ministers are to be guardians of the law—not its revealing agents. God revealed His law and government to Mr. Armstrong in this end time. Through Mr. Armstrong, God restored His law and government (Matthew 17:10-11). Our job is to hold on to what God revealed and restored.
When God reveals Malachi’s Message and more truth about all of the major, minor and former prophets, as well as much prophecy in the New Testament, it is the ministers’ job to hold on to that revelation!
“And I raised up of your sons for prophets, and of your young men for Nazarites. Is it not even thus, O ye children of Israel? saith the Lord. But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink; and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not” (Amos 2:11-12). God’s people were given a strong prophecy message through Mr. Armstrong. This is a prophecy that the Laodiceans would reject the prophecy message they were taught. The Philadelphians prophesy. This causes a Church split. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3).
But God continues to reveal to His very elect. “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (verse 7). God always reveals truth to His true Church. God revealed all of the basic truths to Mr. Armstrong. But there is a different work now that Mr. Armstrong has died. God revealed the gospel to Mr. Armstrong and he preached it to the world (Matthew 24:14). God also revealed many prophecies to His end-time Elijah (Malachi 4:5-6). When he passed from the scene, there arose another work with a different commission. Our work deals more specifically with a warning. “The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy?” (Amos 3:8). The lion has roared. He is about to pounce on his prey. God is about to punish Israel as no nation ever has been punished. The pcg was given God’s “secret.” We must warn the Laodiceans, the nations of Israel and to some degree, the whole world (Revelation 10:11).
The pcg will be here when Israel, if it fails to repent, dies; Mr. Armstrong will not. That is why our message is much more focused on a warning. God has revealed a deeper understanding to us of the prophecies Mr. Armstrong taught. Also, God has given us some prophetic understanding Mr. Armstrong did not have. Ours is an extremely urgent prophetic message. “Who can but prophesy?” It is so vital, God says His true Church feels a desperate need to prophesy! The lion roars just before he lunges and devours his prey!
Guarding God’s Law
The pcg ministers have a heavy responsibility to guard what God revealed to Mr. Armstrong and to the pcg. “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by” (Zechariah 3:7). The expression “keep my charge” means the act of guarding. It means a place where guards or guardians are set. The end-time Joshua’s great sin was failing to guard God’s truth! (see Zechariah 3 and 4).
“For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 2:7). The word keep is better translated guard. Here God says the Laodiceans failed to guard what God had revealed about His law. This is why God is not revealing truth to them today. The prophets and apostles receive God’s revealed truth and give it to the ministers to guard.
“For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life” (Proverbs 6:23). The commandment is a lamp. The law is light. If you reject God’s government based on His law, you lose God’s lamp and light! You enter into a world of darkness—without prophecy and vision.
God removed the lamp from the Ephesus era. He also removed His lamp from the Laodiceans. We will be greatly condemned by God if we can’t see His lamp in this dark, dark world! God reveals His secrets to people with childlike attitudes (Matthew 11:25; 18:1-3).
Only through strong government, based on God’s law, can we see God’s lamp! The more intensely we keep God’s law, the brighter God’s lamp will be!
The book of Malachi is prophecy mainly for the end time. But there is a great deal in this book about the law. “For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 2:7-8). The Laodicean ministers are causing people to stumble at the law. That is the major theme of this prophetic book! God makes the ministers contemptible and base because of their contempt for His law!
Our most important work is warning the Laodiceans—because they won’t get a second chance! “As for the beauty of his ornament, he set it in majesty: but they made the images of their abominations and of their detestable things therein: therefore have I set it far from them. And I will give it into the hands of the strangers for a prey, and to the wicked of the earth for a spoil; and they shall pollute it. My face will I turn also from them, and they shall pollute my secret place: for the robbers shall enter into it, and defile it” (Ezekiel 7:20-22). This book was written primarily for the end time. The expression “my secret place” is “holy of holies” in the Langes and Soncino commentaries. The holy of holies is being defiled in this end time. (For more detailed information, request a free copy of our book Ezekiel: The End-Time Prophet.)
The temple is a type of God’s Church in this end time. So God’s own Church is being polluted. But so are the nations of Israel. “Make a chain: for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence” (verse 23). The modern nations of Israel are full of bloody crimes. God warns them to repent. If they fail to respond, God will take it to the next level. “Wherefore I will bring the worst of the heathen, and they shall possess their houses: I will also make the pomp of the strong to cease; and their holy places shall be defiled” (verse 24). Then God will bring Germany to enslave Israel, if our people don’t repent.
What is the real problem? “Mischief shall come upon mischief, and rumour shall be upon rumour; then shall they seek a vision of the prophet; but the law shall perish from the priest, and counsel from the ancients” (verse 26). The prophet has no vision. Why? Because the law has perished from the priest—meaning God’s own ministers. They had the law and then let it slip away! Ezekiel’s statement that the law “shall perish” is a prophecy for today. Because the ministers of God have defiled the law, God reveals no vision or prophecy to them!
So we can see how closely prophecy and the law are intertwined. When the law perishes, it means mainly the Laodiceans rejected God’s government! They are guilty of not guarding the law. Events are growing much worse in Israel at a rapid pace. Soon people will remember how the wcg once preached a strong prophecy message. People will go to them in the future, asking for an understanding of terrifying events in their land. But the wcg can give them little or no prophetic understanding.
Then these people will go to other Laodiceans seeking the answer to their nation’s problems. Still, they will receive very little prophetic understanding. There have been several dissenting groups from the wcg, but only the pcg will give them a “vision,” or new revelation. That is because only we have held on to God’s government based on God’s law—which was taught by Mr. Armstrong! And only we are doing God’s prophesied Work!
Why did God raise up our work? “Yet the Lord testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets” (2 Kings 17:13). God raised up prophets to warn His people to mend their evil ways and keep His law—the Ten Commandments. That is what we tell the Laodiceans and physical Israel. The pcg was raised up for that very purpose!
God sent prophets to rebuke some of Israel’s greatest kings. Nathan was sent to rebuke David about his sin against God by committing adultery and murder! Our job is not to hide out in Israel. We are to take God’s message to the highest levels! (Revelation 10:11). After all, we do have a warning message from the supreme Ruler of the universe!
People will perish both physically and spiritually if they don’t wake up! “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 29:18). The word vision is rendered “prophetic vision” in the Anchor Bible. If the Laodiceans fail to have God’s “prophetic vision,” it is because they don’t keep God’s law. And that means they are not “happy”—they lack God’s joy!
Most of God’s own people are perishing spiritually, because their ministers are not guarding the law (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, 10). And the Laodicean people like it that way—at least for the time being. What a terrifying penalty God’s people must pay, all because the Laodicean ministers fail to guard God’s law.
Thousands of years ago, something was taken from this Earth. God must restore it. What was taken away? “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21). God’s prophets have known from the beginning that something was dangerously and fundamentally wrong on this Earth. Throughout most of recorded history, these prophets have warned this world it was going in the wrong direction. But if we go back far enough, we see that the Earth was full of joy, peace and abundance. Then disaster struck!
We must receive “the restitution of all things” to solve mankind’s problems. The Basic English version reads: “when all things are put right.” The Moffatt translation calls it “the great Restoration.” That means this world is upside down and must be put right-side up.
What does this involve? A fundamental change in government! “And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you” (verse 20). Jesus Christ is coming to establish God’s government. He has qualified to replace Satan on the throne of this Earth.
Back to the Beginning
Satan rebelled against the government that God and the Word had submitted to for all eternity. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:1-4). God and the Word had lived in joy and abundance forever. God was the Head, and the Word submitted to Him. They both submitted to God’s law. It is the only government that has ever worked! And it has worked beautifully for all eternity!
The Word later became Christ the Son. God became the Father. “Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I” (John 14:28). The Father is greater. He is the Head of the Family. God is building a family through family government.
Then God created angels and taught this government to them. He says this: “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God [angels] shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7). When the Earth was created, the angels shouted for joy. They were happy and joyful because they obeyed God’s government based on His law. This joyful relationship could have lasted for billions of years. But there was a colossal disaster!
God put Lucifer in charge of the Earth and over one third of the angels. But Lucifer led these angels to rebel. They lost their joy and happiness when God’s government was rejected! True joy and peace can only be produced by submitting to God’s government.
Lucifer (“light bringer”) rebelled and became Satan (“adversary”). “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:12-14). Satan said, I will exalt my throne. He has a throne. He is the ruler of a government—but not God’s government. Satan still rules this Earth with the angels who became demons (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Satan said, “I will be like the most High.” The Moffatt translation reads, “I will … rival the Most High!” Lucifer wanted a collegial type government. He wanted to be equal to God in power. Reader’s Digest, in its “Word Power” section, once defined collegial this way: “Relating to a group of colleagues, each of whom has equal authority; as, ‘Collegial deliberations can be lengthy, inconclusive and frustrating.’” Even the world sees that this type of government can be “lengthy, inconclusive and frustrating”! Already, several of God’s Laodicean churches have experimented with this type of government.
Desiring such a government is just another way of rebelling against God’s government! God does not have a two-headed or multi-headed government.
Satan has led men to establish many varieties of government. But they all follow Satan! (see Revelation 12:9). Does Satan’s government work? Look around and see the fruits. This world is filled with deceit, violence and corruption! This is what happens when God’s government is removed! Of course, some men rebel more against God than others. But only God’s government has always worked. And it always will. Man’s government, inspired by Satan, has never worked and never will work!
God’s government is so simple. He uses a man to lead His Church. Then God commands us to follow that man, as he follows Christ. If that man goes astray, don’t follow him. God will shortly replace him with a loyal leader or raise up another Church.
You don’t have to fear following God’s man. What you should fear most is when God’s man becomes Satan’s man! That means we must know our Bibles. If God’s government is destroyed, then the end result is always disaster!
This is the fundamental lesson and doctrine men must learn! God’s government is producing “the restitution of all things”—inside His Church. Mr. Armstrong was used by God to “restore all things” (Matthew 17:10-11). That was a great beginning in establishing God’s government and truth to this Earth. God’s own Laodicean churches have destroyed that government so quickly. We also see many other doctrines being destroyed that were established by God through Mr. Armstrong.
How did Satan deceive all those angels? The same way he deceives men today. He gets them to desire a collegial government, or some other perverted government of man; then Satan has them following him. Of course, people follow him in varying degrees.
Lucifer was a covering cherub at the very throne of God. “Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire” (Ezekiel 28:14). He was trained at the headquarters of the universe. He sat at God’s feet.
Herbert Armstrong served God for 57 years—a long time. He ordained many evangelists who seemed loyal at the Church headquarters in Pasadena, California. All of those top men have rebelled against that government. Not one of them submits to the government of God taught through Mr. Armstrong! Not one! Some of them will repent in the Tribulation—but others will never repent, and perhaps have already blasphemed against God’s Holy Spirit!
God intended Lucifer to go to other planets after His Work was established on Earth. But Lucifer would not wait. The only place astronomers can find little or nothing is in the northern heavens. That is in the direction of God’s throne, and almost everything in that direction was destroyed when Satan fought with God over government! There was a violent, destructive war. And Satan is still fighting against God’s government today!
God allowed Satan and the rebellious angels to leave God’s government and establish their own. Satan inspires God’s own people to do this today! God will allow you the same option—at least for a short while.
The major lesson God has tried to teach men for thousands of years is submission to His government! If we can’t submit to the Head of the body, then we can’t be in God’s Kingdom. We must learn from Satan’s example. God’s end-time Laodiceans have made the same mistake Lucifer did! Government is the most difficult lesson of all for men to learn. We must become deeply converted to grasp it.
God kept reminding Lucifer of his headquarters training. “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire” (verses 15-16). In verse 14, Lucifer is called the cherub that covers. In verse 16, he is called “O covering cherub.” God was reminding him that he would be judged on the basis of his exalted training at the very headquarters throne of the universe!
Today, God is warning those top men who were trained under Mr. Armstrong about the seriousness of their rebellion. They were trained by God’s end-time Elijah. That was the highest level of God’s government on Earth! Now they are being judged accordingly. What a grotesque tragedy! They are repeating Lucifer’s shameful mistake. “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee” (verse 17). Lucifer’s vain heart was lifted up.
The Laodicean leaders today are not humble and childlike, or they would be in God’s Philadelphia Church. Lucifer wanted local autonomy—he wanted to rule Earth his way. He didn’t want to rule the way he had been trained! God gave him that option. But look at the horrifying fruits. God allows the Laodicean leaders to make the same mistake. Soon they will see their own rotten fruits. Like Lucifer, the Laodicean leaders want to ruletheir own way—not the way God trained them at His headquarters on this Earth!
How Satan has deceived them! We must not underestimate his subtilty. He broadcasts to the spirit in man and that influences our attitude. The thrust of all Satan’s broadcasting is against what?Government—government—government! He broadcasts against our Head—Jesus Christ. He hates God’s government and inspires men to have the same attitude. Oh, what a hard lesson this is for men to learn!
Learning From History
Look at all the problems in this world today. Why can’t we solve our problems? There is a definite reason. “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:22-24).
God gave Adam and Eve the institution of marriage. He also gave them His Family government to rule the marriage and family. The family became a disaster when they rejected that government. One son, Cain, killed his own brother, Abel. But the parents continued rebelling against God’s rule. Adam and Eve turned away from their spiritual Head—and the whole world followed them! Mankind doesn’t want God to rule them. Now mankind has its own religions, governments and systems of education—not God’s.
The first Adam led the world away from the tree of life. The second Adam—Christ—is going to lead mankind back to that tree. God’s Philadelphians are called now to help Christ rule the world. But first we must learn to be ruled by God. Then we can help teach the whole world how to submit!
Here is what Mr. Armstrong said at a wcg ministerial conference on May 17, 1976: “[The] government of God is the whole thing—and it had better be in our lives!” We must let Christ put His submission—His faith—into us! This is vital for godly character. We must let Christ rule us. He won’t force us to submit. Only childlike submission makes it possible. We must deeply desire to let Christ rule us—nothing must stand in the way.
Christ came to Earth for two reasons: to restore God’s government and to save men. First, God’s government must be established. That is why we are called now. We are being prepared to govern the world with Christ. Then God can build godly character in men and save them.
At the 1972 Feast of Tabernacles in Spokane, Washington, Mr. Armstrong said, “Government is the most important [issue] to God and in His mind. And it should be in ours!” Yet every evangelist and pastor-rank minister alive today that Mr. Armstrong trained has rejected that government! Almost all the ministry and the Church he founded has rejected the government of God! After all those years, they still didn’t learn the lesson of government! That is always the big issue.
Satan caused Adam to be cut off from the tree of life. And he is cutting God’s Laodicean Church off from the tree of life. That is why only the pcg receives revelation from God today! For example, Malachi’s Message and all of my booklets contain revelation from God! There is new truth and deeper understanding in all of them.
There is a reason Christ is not revealing truth to the Laodiceans. He is on the outside, knocking to get back into their lives. The Laodiceans have rejected their Head. “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” (Revelation 3:20). Christ won’t reveal truth to them until they open the door. Those who respond to Christ’s knock are to share Christ’s throne, or rule (verse 21). What a fabulous reward! Even those Laodiceans who repent in the Tribulation will not receive that reward. The Philadelphians—not the Laodiceans—are to be in God’s headquarters temple forever!
Look at the magnificent power and blessings that come into your life if you just open the door and let Christ rule you!
All of the firstfruits are very precious to God. “And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also” (Jeremiah 3:8). God had to divorce ancient Israel. But God has a new wife in this end time—His Church. “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion” (verse 14). But notice He is not married to a physical nation today. He is taking “one of a city, and two of a family” for His very elect today. God discusses divorcing a nation and then marrying His Church, or Zion. This book is specifically referring to the end time. God’s end-time wife is “backsliding” just like ancient Israel did! Only this time they are perishing spiritually (2 Thessalonians 2:10).
God is bringing His Philadelphians out of the “backsliding” Laodicean Church! That is the only way these verses could apply today. God doesn’t bring 75, 100 or 200 out of the Laodicean Church at one time. He takes “one of a city, and two of a family.” God works with individuals—salvation is not a group affair. He says “if any man,” or any individual member of the Laodicean Church, will hear His knock, He will come inside his or her life (Revelation 3:20). The Philadelphians have a deep, personal relationship with their God—their Head.
There is an awesome reason why God is giving us this individual responsibility and attention. We are being trained for the highest positions in God’s Family! “And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding” (Jeremiah 3:15). Very soon, God will give this world pastors that will teach only His revealed knowledge and understanding.
The Laodiceans today are rejecting God’s revealed truth given to Mr. Armstrong. They are rejecting the very government that God used to build His great end-time Work. The Laodiceans have rejected their Head—Jesus Christ. They feel secure following a man who belongs to a large group of people.
The quality of character God wants today can’t be mass produced! God works carefully with “one of a city, and two of a family.” If these Philadelphians can follow their Head, God will use them at His headquarters of the universe—forever! (Revelation 3:11-12). I think we can begin to see why God requires such refined, tried and tested character today! God says He is choosing “pastors according to mine heart.” They will teach exactly what God teaches.
Head and Body
Satan has confused this world and the Laodiceans—especially about God’s government. God simplifies Church government. “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant” (1 Corinthians 12:1). God gives the body different gifts (verses 4-10). “But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ” (verses 11-12). A physical body has a head—so does God’s spiritual Body. Christ is the Head of His spiritual Body, or His Church. Please read and study all of 1 Corinthians 12. God sets His saints in this Body as it pleases Him (verse 18).
Christ sets apostles and physical leaders over His Church. God always places one leader at the top. “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues” (verses 27-28). Just because Christ is the Head doesn’t mean He doesn’t choose a physical head over His Church. Christ used Mr. Armstrong to build what was probably His biggest Work ever on this Earth in numbers of members! Mr. Armstrong was used by God to preach the gospel around the world (Matthew 24:14). He restored all things (Matthew 17:10-11). He built God’s Family (Malachi 4:5-6). Mr. Armstrong did all that by “holding the Head.”
Now we have Satan-inspired Laodicean leaders who would dare reject the very government God used to do all of that mind-boggling work!
Even though God uses a man to lead His Church, we still follow Jesus Christ. “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation” (Hebrews 13:7). God gives men the rule over His people. But He tells us to follow their faith—not their carnal ideas! God expects us to submit to His human government in faith. But we still cling to Christ—not men.
If we lack faith, or have lost our faith, then we can’t faithfully follow God’s leaders. Satan will use men to deceive us. That is exactly what has happened to thousands of God’s own Laodicean people! So let’s understand. God doesn’t want us to follow human government. If the leaders are not walking by faith, then don’t follow them. We are only deceived when we follow government that is not walking by faith. You’ll never be deceived if you follow the leader as he follows Christ! That means you don’t follow a man.
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (verse 8). Christ uses the same government today that He used under Mr. Armstrong! In terms of numbers of members, God probably built His greatest work in 2,000 years through Mr. Armstrong. To say that it was done without God’s government is casting aside all logical reasoning! It is also a rebellious attitude. “Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein” (verse 9). We are warned not to be carried away by “strange doctrines.” We were taught God’s government under Mr. Armstrong. One evangelist, who was considered the third man in charge of the wcg for years, started his own church and formed a “collegial government.” That is the strangest and most abominable doctrine of all! Because God’s government is the Head of Christ’s Body. If someone wants to cut off the Head of the Body, he is terribly rebellious and deceived!
If you lose God’s government doctrine, then many other doctrines will also become strange! How could it be any other way when you lose your Head?
“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you” (verse 17). God says we must submit to those men who are accountable for our eternal lives, or the leaders can’t serve you with joy. This is another way of saying follow those who point you to Christ and His government.
If Satan could only destroy one doctrine, which one would it be? Government—every time! That way Satan can destroy God’s Work! And the rest of the doctrines will become tarnished at best.
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13). Why did Christ give us human leaders? To perfect the saints—and bring them to the stature of Christ. Without God’s government, the saints cannot be perfected! That’s how important God’s government is!
How desperately Satan wants to destroy that government! Then we become unstable and easily deceived. “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (verse 14). This is how Satan has gotten to the Laodiceans. First, he destroyed God’s government. Then he tossed them to and fro. Unbiblical change became a way of life! Their lives are no longer solidly based on God’s law. But in their deceived minds, they call their lawlessness righteousness.
Today the Laodiceans are splitting up into different groups. “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10). The end-time Laodiceans don’t “all speak the same thing.” They refuse to obey their Head—Jesus Christ—when He says there must be “no divisions.” They disagree with Christ when He says that we must “be perfectly joined together.” They disagree with Christ about having the “same mind” and “same judgment.”
How could anyone ever reach such a wonderful unity without God’s government?
The Laodiceans say that Christ can do His Work through different branches of His Church—even when they know those branches are far from being “perfectly joined together.” That is another way of saying, “We reject Christ as our Head!” They simply cannot reconcile their teachings with what Christ says! So they reject Christ as their Head.
“For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” (verses 11-13). Is Christ—our Head—divided? No, but men like to follow other men. That is the problem Paul had with the Corinthians. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). We must all have the mind of Christ to be “perfectly joined together.”
God always uses only ONE Church to do His Work. There isneveran exception to that statement! There is only one lamp. Sometimes, God has to remove it from one Church organization to another (Revelation 2:5).
Let’s take a look at the kind of wife Christ rejects. “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me” (Luke 19:27). If Christ can’t rule or “reign over” us, we will be destroyed forever. This person undoubtedly disagreed with several of God’s doctrines. But Christ was only concerned about one doctrine—government. He couldn’t rule this person.
As Mr. Armstrong said, “Government is everything” and it’s “more important than anything.” Every Laodicean group has one ingredient in common: They reject God’s government taught by Mr. Armstrong!
Christ already has a wife on this Earth. Even before the marriage is consummated, we are married in God’s eyes. “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7). Now is the time to get ready to rule with Christ. Again, only the firstfruits are married to Christ. Those converted after Christ returns will be the children in God’s Family. There is God the Father, Christ and His wife, and those on the children level (called after Christ returns). That comprises God’s Family.
Christ demands that His wife be submissive to her Husband. Then He can trust her to help take care of the children in the future. We help Christ bring sons and daughters to the Father. They must come through the Husband and wife. That is the inspiring responsibility for which Christ is preparing us! Christ discusses our physical marriages and how they must be structured if they are to work effectively (Ephesians 5:21-23). But the real subject Christ is concerned about is His marriage to the Church (verse 32).
The main way the wife makes herself ready is by letting her Husband rule her! The whole world will see that happy, submissive example in the World Tomorrow and follow along. That is a big part of how the world will look to Christ.
Satan fought against God’s government and was rejected forever. We are being tried and tested for a supreme purpose. God is building character in us until He knows we will never again fight against His government! That is how God prepares us to be members of His glorious Family forever!
Sidebar: Who Is Doing the Attacking?
The Global Church of God held a ministerial conference in July 1993. At that time, Rod Meredith, their leader, made the following statement: “We don’t plan to change any big thing; perhaps some small things as we grow in understanding.” Then he went on to discuss a change they had made. It was the single, biggest, most monumental change they could possibly make!
Mr. Meredith continued, “In 1961 to 1972, when I was superintendent of ministers, I didn’t then understand management. Now I’ve learned we must have the right approach in servant leadership.”
He said he didn’t understand “management” in those years. He knows that his real subject is Church government. Jesus Christ is the Head of the Body—His Church. He rules it through Church government. When you reject God’s government, you reject the Head—Jesus Christ. No doctrinal change could possibly compare with changing God’s government! And the fruits alone prove that Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong established God’s government.
So let’s not be deceived just because he used the word “management.”
He said, “I’ve learned the right approach in servant leadership.” That implies that Mr. Armstrong had the wrong approach, failing to teach “servant leadership.” God’s ministry has made governmental mistakes in the past, and I suppose Mr. Meredith made his share. But here is the dangerous deception. He is implying that Mr. Armstrong and God’s government were the cause of those mistakes. Mr. Armstrong didn’t approve of, or teach, the wrong approach to government. These leaders like Mr. Meredith “didn’t get it” the way they were taught!
If you make mistakes administering God’s government, then correct them. Don’t reject the Head—Jesus Christ. That is like cutting off your physical head because you have dandruff!
Mr. Meredith continued, “Let’s try to do it right this time, as shepherds with a loving approach ….” It doesn’t take a genius to see that he is attacking Mr. Armstrong. He is saying that Mr. Armstrong didn’t do it right—his government lacked a “loving approach,” it was not “servant leadership”! I don’t know how his attack against Mr. Armstrong could be more heinous! Saying that the government Mr. Armstrong taught didn’t have a “loving approach” is a vicious attack! Of course, he is really attacking Jesus Christ and His government!
God’s people must be warned. This evangelist said we are “attacking” his church. We are not. God has commissioned us to warn them, and all of the other Laodicean groups. This is done out of love (Revelation 3:19).
The only reason we correct the Laodiceans is because of their attack on Mr. Armstrong and what he taught. We wouldn’t criticize them at all if they would stop destroying what God restored through him! They are the cause of our warning. Only their repentance will ever correct the disunity.
Mr. Meredith preceded the above statements with affectionate-sounding words about Mr. Armstrong. Then the subtle attack began. But when I correct them as they criticize Mr. Armstrong and his teachings frequently, they call it attacking. If they insist on calling it an attack, then it is sin that we are attacking. The greatest sin of the Laodicean churches has been their attack against God’s Church government. God’s true Church knows the difference between true and false government. That is what separates the Laodiceans from the Philadelphians.