Chapter 3

How Lucifer Failed

From the booklet From the Beginning

The name Elijah means “my God is God.” The original Elijah came to reveal the true God—the God family. John the Baptist was a type of Elijah (Matt. 17:10-13). He came to reveal the true God, so people should have known who Christ was at His first coming.

Herbert W. Armstrong was the end-time Elijah. He was prophesied to “restore all things,” to reveal the true God (Matt. 17:10-11). He delivered the God family message to the whole world (Mal. 4:5-6; Matt. 24:14). He taught us what happened from the beginning. He repeatedly referred to John 1:1 as the beginning, not Genesis 1:1.

The Jews thought Elijah was sent to help widows and heal a multitude of people. When Christ corrected them, they tried to kill Him! “But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias [Elijah], when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow” (Luke 4:25-26).

They didn’t understand the Elijah work. Elijah was only sent to one widow. He was primarily sent to reveal the true God. That was his mission or purpose. He was not sent to save widows or to heal people. If the Jews had listened to John the Baptist—a type of Elijah—they would have known who the Son of God was! To this day, they still don’t know.

“And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode. And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true” (John 10:40-41). John, the first-century Elijah, did no miracles. Yet, Christ said there was no greater born of woman than John (Matt. 11:11). All things that John spoke of Christ were true. Everybody at that time and throughout history should have known who Jesus Christ was. John’s purpose was to reveal the true God—the real Christ. He revealed all about the Lord from the beginning—the God who became Jesus Christ.

Mr. Armstrong didn’t perform many great healings or do numerous miracles. He didn’t shake the nations, as one Laodicean group said the Elijah would. But he did reveal the true God, which was why God sent him!

He prepared the way for Christ’s Second Coming as John did for His first coming (Mal. 3:1; 4:5-6; Matt. 17:10-13; 24:14).

He taught us about the two trees from the beginning. He restored all things—including the government of God—by far the most important doctrine of all. Except for the pcg, all of those members Mr. Armstrong left behind have rejected that doctrine! That means they have also rejected Mr. Armstrong as the end-time Elijah. These Laodicean groups must somehow feel they are Elijah types to make such a radical and dangerous government change!

None of these Laodiceans were commanded to do an Elijah work! Now they are having a great controversy over which is the right government—as they rebel against the government God has already taught them over a period of many years! They need to go back to the beginning of that vital instruction and study all that Elijah taught on the subject. There could never have been such a towering Elijah work accomplished by Mr. Armstrong without God’s government. Everybody should be able to see that. Even more obvious is the fact that he was the end-time Elijah.

Back to Horeb

After performing some very impressive miracles, Elijah heard some bad news and became discouraged. “And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers” (i Kings 19:1-4).

After all those miracles, Elijah feared Jezebel and asked to die. He knew she was very good at killing people. She had already killed all the other prophets! Elijah lost sight of that “from the beginning” vision God gave him. He got his mind on Jezebel trying to kill him and off the great miracle-working God.

“And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat: because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God” (vv. 7-8). He was directed back to Horeb—or Sinai—the mount of God. This is where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. The people saw lightning, thunder, a quaking mountain and were very fearful because of God’s power. God took Elijah back to a crucial beginning. Then he was again very much aware of God’s overview and power to back His chosen servants.

“And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?” (vv. 11-13).

A strong wind broke the rocks on the mountain in pieces. Then there was a shattering earthquake. After that, a fierce fire. But God was not in the strong wind, earthquake, or fire. However, He was in the “still small voice.” What was God’s point? God does not often manifest Himself in mind-shattering physical events. Usually He comes in a still small voice. But it is still the same omnipotent God! You must learn to recognize God in that “still small voice”—like in what you are reading right now!

If we truly understand this great vision at Horeb and “from the beginning,” we do not need physical miracles from God. All we need is faith! That faith comes with the “from the beginning” vision.

Prophesy Again

“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” (Rev. 10:10-11).

God has commissioned the pcg to prophesy again. God has given us the little bookMalachi’s Message—because we are the only Church that knows how to “prophesy again.” The end-time Elijah prophesied the first time. We continue from that point. How can the Laodiceans prophesy again as the Elijah did if they do not even think the Elijah has come yet? If they just understood the Elijah work “from the beginning”—that is, from the original Elijah—they would know Mr. Armstrong fulfilled that role.

The Elijah work continues until Christ returns (Rev. 11:1-6). “And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them” (Rev. 11:7). The two witnesses finish their testimony. That means they finish God’s Elijah work. They don’t just study their Bibles! The people will kill the messengers and reject the message—as usual.

“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” (v. 2).

These people got away from the “inner court” of God’s temple or Church. The inner court is where God dwells—where God administers His government. They have gotten away from the temple understanding in the Old Testament and what it means today. They have gotten away from the Elijah work.

We were commanded to remember the law. “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments” (Mal. 4:4). Again, God points the Elijah work back to Horeb, where the law was given.

Judgments are made in each Elijah work based on God’s law and statutes. These judgments change with each Elijah work. That means Elijah enforces the law—that is government! There always has to be a government to enforce God’s law! Always! Who would establish that government and enforce God’s law in the end time? “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he [one man] 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” (vv. 5-6).

I believe this is the strongest warning in the Bible. God’s own ministers are going to lose their eternal lives if they don’t understand who the end-time Elijah was today! That is what these verses mean. Remembering revolves around the God family government.

The God who gave the law in Horeb was the Word. It was that God who became Jesus Christ and died for us. Taking that sacrifice lightly will cause 50 percent of the Laodiceans to lose their eternal lives (Matt. 25:1-18; ii Thes. 2:10).

This is by far the greatest crisis facing God’s Church in these latter days. That is because they fail to remember from the beginning.

Messenger With a Name

John the Baptist knew all about the Word “in the beginning” (John 1:1). He knew God and the Word existed before the angels and the universe were created.

God also inspired this first-century Elijah to put his name in the Bible. “He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias” (v. 23). John the Baptist recognized that he fulfilled a specific biblical prophecy. He was a voice crying in the wilderness. Mr. Armstrong, the end-time Elijah, also fulfilled this prophecy. He and John the Baptist both were voices crying out in the midst of religious confusion. Isaiah 40:3 is a prophecy about the first and Second Coming of Christ. These Elijahs didn’t shake the nations of Israel. Most people ignored them!

Mr. Armstrong also applied many other scriptures to himself, including Malachi 3:1 and 4:5-6, Matthew 17:10-11 and 24:14.

Both of these men had this vision from the beginning! And in both cases it comes down to finding a man who was doing the Elijah work—who was delivering God’s message “from the beginning”—even though it is prophesied that most people would not even recognize these Elijahs (Matt. 17:10-13).

Unless we deeply recognize the origin of God and the Word, we will not recognize the man God is using. Many of the end-time Laodiceans talk about “the evils of a one man government.” That means they must reject God’s end-time Elijah! It is a message inspired by a rebel called Satan. One of the Laodicean leaders said it was wrong to apply scriptures to Mr. Armstrong. That too is satanic. If God applies scriptures to a man, we must do it too.

John the Baptist, Christ and all of the apostles, except the Apostle John, got themselves killed delivering that message! That is because Satan is the god of this world (ii Cor. 4:4; Rev. 12:9).

Lucifer Rebels

What was Lucifer’s major sin? “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (i John 3:8).

Satan sinned from the beginning. That means we must understand that Lucifer once ruled this Earth. He sinned by failing to administer the government of God on Earth.

That means you must know that he was once a great cherub who helped to cover God’s throne. He was created for that responsibility. He was educated in how to rule God’s way—with God’s loving government. No angel should have known better how to rule! He may have sat at God’s feet for millions of years! Then Lucifer was sent to this Earth to apply what he had learned.

“And he [God] shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 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 3:20-21). Jesus Christ is coming to replace Satan as the Ruler—the government—of this Earth.

The first Adam—inspired by Satan—did not qualify to administer God’s government. The second Adam, Jesus Christ, did qualify. The battle was all about qualifying to enforce God’s government on Earth.

The leading Laodicean ministers sat at Mr. Armstrong’s feet, as Lucifer did at God’s feet. They heard Mr. Armstrong discuss the two trees scenario, where Adam failed to qualify to replace Satan. Now they are rebelling the same way Lucifer did—committing the same sin! What a dangerous sin. They are being defeated just as Adam was.

We are called today to follow the second Adam and to share His governing of this world. Christ came the first time to destroy the works of the devil. God’s Church is called to overcome Satan. But most of God’s people are being overcome by Satan! They are failing to qualify to rule—just like the first Adam.

If we have this from the beginning vision, we see what a terrible struggle we have with Satan. In any war, the first and most important lesson is to know your enemy—to know its history from the beginning.

Since Mr. Armstrong’s death, most people familiar with the Worldwide Church of God know that church has divided into many different groups. A newspaper previously called In Transition (since changed to the Journal) covers much of the news of many of these different groups and what each one believes. I have read several articles from two or three issues discussing the government controversy in several groups. Not once have I seen the word Satan in that newspaper! Satan has torn the Laodicean Church apart, and they are oblivious to the main enemy who has devastated them!

“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. 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?” (i Cor. 1:10-13).

I don’t hear or see the Laodiceans discussing these verses. Surely any honest Christian knows the Laodiceans are not fulfilling the kind of unity Paul was talking about! God says they are “blind” to their own disgusting evil (Rev. 3:17-18). They are failing to do God’s warning work and don’t even know it. If they knew about Satan from the beginning, they would know they are losing a war and would repent. But they are all so self-righteous that they seem to be unaware they are even in a war!

Mr. Armstrong once said, “If we begin to compromise with God’s truth, even in the smallest, slightest manner, we have allowed Satan to get a foot into the door of the Church, and soon he will push open the door (he is stronger than we) and take over the whole Church.”

Satan destroys whole nations. He even gave Jesus Christ a difficult battle. Whether we realize it or not, we are in a fiercely dangerous war!

Rejecting the Head

The first-century Laodiceans that Paul dealt with had the same problem the Laodiceans have today. A Laodicean attitude is the same in any period of history. That makes the first-century Laodicean problem a prophecy of what happens to the end-time Laodiceans.

“For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh” (Col. 2:1). Paul was in a great conflict for the brethren. But they would not fight as he did.

“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” (v. 8). They were getting into worldly pursuits: philosophy, vain deceit and the traditions of men. It is all “after the rudiments of the world”—that expression means “ruling spirits of the universe.” That refers to Satan and his demons, who have power and influence that reach beyond this Earth. It is this frightening power that has overwhelmed the Laodiceans.

This has led to a catastrophic problem. “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” (v. 19).

They are “not holding the Head.” Jesus Christ no longer rules them. Just like Lucifer, they were once ruled by God. But they were not able to hold the Head.

Most of the Laodiceans today even boast of how they have “a new government.” They know they do not have the government God taught them through Mr. Armstrong.

The Laodicean discussion of a government change really means they are rejecting their Head—Jesus Christ. That is how blind they are!

Lucifer rejected his Head and now he has led the Laodiceans to do the same. They have committed Satan’s sin from the beginning. They try to ignore Satan but he won’t ignore them!

“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” (Rev. 11:1-2).

There is a group that has Christ as their Head. They are used to measure—through God’s law and government—a loyal ministry and members of God’s true Church. The Laodiceans are put in the outer court to be plunged into the Great Tribulation. Those who will not be measured have rejected their Head and His government—just like Lucifer did.

Lucifer was the great covering cherub. “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou are 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” (Ezek. 28:13-14). This is a description of what was and is the very headquarters of the universe. What an exalted office Lucifer had. But he wanted more.

Lucifer became so arrogant that he—the created—tried to overthrow the Creator! He was on God’s “holy mountain.” Then he fell off—and what a hopeless fall it was. He now faces only the blackness of darkness forever. All because he refused to administer God’s government.

This all happened before man was even created. If we understand Satan from the beginning, we realize this is the supreme warning to God’s own Church—either administer God’s government or be an eternal failure!

We urgently need to understand this history—or we will be wretched and hopeless failures.

When you read of the serious wcg problem in the 1970s, Mr. Armstrong often spoke of Satan’s attacks on God’s Church. He knew who the real enemy was. Only the pcg thinks that way today. That is not a boast—it’s reality!

“Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee” (v. 15). What iniquity? Satan, like Diotrephes, wanted the preeminence. He wanted to govern his way—not God’s way.

“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” (v. 17).

He was very vain and corrupt. Satan even thought he could rule the universe without God’s government!

Why did the Apostle John discuss Satan? Because it was Satan who got to Diotrephes when he wanted the preeminence.

It is also Satan who gets to the Laodicean leaders today. Satan leads the Laodicean ministers to think they can rule with a new government, which is really rank rebellion! Satan has already shown that it will not work—from the beginning.

John discussed the law again and again. He personally was God’s human government that Diotrephes rejected. He was the one-man rule at that time.

Universe Created

“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man: for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundation 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 shouted for joy?” (Job 38:1-7). Job didn’t get it. So God took him back to the beginning, before there was an Earth or universe.

Tradition and history indicate that Job built the great pyramid. He was a splendid architect. However, he thought he was so great that he challenged God. Then God showed him how He built the whole universe—how it was from the beginning. A great architect indeed.

So often we get caught up in the present and forget this vision of the past—which also gives us a great vision of the future. We must see God’s master plan from beginning to end. Then we won’t focus on our puny power but on God’s omnipotence.

There is another lesson in the history of Lucifer and the one third of the angels over which he had charge. All of the angels shouted for joy when God created the universe. They were to be used by God to beautify the whole universe. The angels were all happy, because they kept God’s law and were ruled by God. Then Lucifer and one third of the angels lost sight of this beginning and rebelled. Satan and the demons destroyed God’s physical creation on Earth and in much of the universe. In the process they also destroyed their joy, by failing to rule the Earth with God’s government. May God help us to avoid Satan’s sin—from the beginning.

Continue Reading: Chapter 4: The Laodicean Era