Copyright © 2001, 2007, 2012 Philadelphia Church of God
After Lucifer and one third of the angels failed in the job they were commissioned
to do on Earth, God decided to recreate Himself through man. As stated earlier, this was Plan B, since it involved more risk. In fact, it required that God send the Word to Earth to become His Son, deliver a vital message and die for all mankind.
God the Father had a fierce determination to have a family. He was willing to risk the eternal life of the Word, who became His Son. But through that risk, God could accomplish the greatest feat of creation—to create perfect, holy, righteous character in man, eventually bringing mankind into His family.
God went from Plan A to Plan B because of the greatest catastrophe in the universe to that point! The angelic rebellion showed God that the angels could not be trusted to rule the universe. It would take created sons who had the very character of God. So God planned to recreate Himself through man—His ultimate creation! We each individually must become perfect as our Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48). Otherwise we will not be born into God’s family. We would fail, as one third of the angels did.
There are greater risks in Plan B, but there is also far greater potential. Men literally become God—members of His family, whereas angels cannot.
Now, when the Word came to Earth as flesh, what was the message He came to proclaim? It is a simple message, yet the world—even most of God’s people—fail to understand!
Let us review John 1:1. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In this verse, the word with is not merely a preposition that denotes place or space, but rather refers to the closest spiritual relationship two beings can have!
This intimacy could never have happened unless the Word submitted to God. Without government, this relationship would have broken down. The Word was truly with God. For eons and eons of time there was God and the Word living in perfect love and harmony.
What an example for humanity, divided and warring throughout its history!
Are you with God? Mr. Armstrong so often asked the Church, “Are you with me?” Though most of them thought they were, time revealed that most of them were not. We must be with God and with His leader the way the Word was with God. If you say you are with God’s leader 100 percent, then you are saying you are with God 100 percent, the way Christ is with Him. We must show by our example that we will remain with God for all eternity—just as the Word, or Christ, has.
The Greek word for with is surely one of the most revealing words in the Bible. It reveals how God and the Word have lived in unity and love for all eternity. It also shows how we can be unified with God and be born into His family. This word is truly a great vision.
That glorious eternity will not happen by accident. It requires that we keep God’s law and submit to His government—as the Word did. God has made a covenant with us to write His laws in our minds and hearts (Hebrews 10:16). That is the only way we will remain with Him forever.
This is where humanity has always rebelled. And this is where most of God’s own people are rebelling today. They don’t have God’s law and government, which is the only way we can ever be unified with God!
We are talking about eternal life—being with God forever! We must think on that level, far beyond Earth. Otherwise our life is a waste.
“All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). God made all things, including the angels, through the One who became Jesus Christ. But here the angelic rebellion is not mentioned. God’s main focus is on Plan B now.
“In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (verses 4-5). This world is full of darkness. Jesus Christ came as the Light, but the dark world failed to comprehend God in the flesh!
We are that light today, if Christ lives in us. That means we must submit to the Father as He does.
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John” (verse 6). God sent John the Baptist, and the world killed him. Humanity still has an intense hatred for God’s truth today. It has been that way throughout man’s history. That is why mankind is in darkness.
“The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light” (verses 7-8). We, like John, are here to bear witness of God’s light. We show this world God’s light through our examples and work.
“That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (verse 9). This Light is for every person born into this world, whether they realize it or not. And they will not get beyond Earth unless that Light shines in them.
The people of the world are headed for the greatest disaster ever. They can only avoid it if they see the Light and heed God’s warning message.
We are making light available to them. They must choose whether or not to accept it.
“He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (verses 10-12).
Power in the Greek actually means right as well as power. Two phenomenal words. We have the right, a birthright, to be born into the family of God! Not because we earned it, but because God gives it as a gift. However, that of itself is not enough. God says we must also have power to be born into His family. We cannot do it humanly. It takes God’s power to overcome and grow.
Right and might. We have the honorable right to be born into God’s family, and we also have the power to take advantage of that right. This birthright is far beyond anything God had in mind for Plan A. It is the greatest plan God will ever have—recreating Himself.
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (verse 14). The Word made flesh was the only begotten Son of the Father. The Word—also God—came to Earth and was born of a woman. God risked the life of His only begotten Son so that He could expand His family! Had His Son sinned, He would have died for all eternity. But Jesus Christ lived a perfect life. Christ set an example for all mankind. He introduced the God family, showing how God was going to expand that family by bringing billions of human beings into it!
The whole world and even most of God’s own people are deceived about the next verse.
“No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (verse 18).
Thayer’s Lexicon says that Christ was in “the closest, most intimate relation with the Father.” What a relationship! Christ was in the bosom of the Father—the most intimate relationship ever! For all eternity, they had worked in agreement, harmony, peace, joy and love. Only God’s love can explain that closeness.
That is where the Father wants you! He wants you in His bosom—to have the same relationship that He and Christ have. Jesus Christ set an example, showing us how to have that relationship with our Father. You have never seen or heard about another example like Christ’s. And you never will see another one like it!
Christ sacrificed Himself that we might have a Father-son relationship that lasts forever. It is our birthright! What an incredibly wonderful future. We must comprehend this profound understanding, or we will fail utterly.
Notice the last part of verse 18. It says that when Jesus Christ came to Earth, He declared the Father. That was His message for mankind; it was about the Father!
That is why the greatest disaster in the history of man is probably what has happened to God’s own Laodicean Church in the end time: They do not honor their Father (Malachi 1:6). They refuse to declare the Father! They have rejected the message of Jesus Christ in which He declared the Father. He was not a rebellious Son who came to declare Himself, though that is what the religions of this world teach! The Laodiceans teach that same rebellious message, in their doctrines and by their example.
Christ was in the bosom of the Father, and He was submissive to His Father in the sense that He not only obeyed His Father, but He made it His goal to please Him. What an example for us! He put His eternity on the line to preach that message; and still, 95 percent of God’s people have rejected it today.
God and Jesus Christ are not just about words. Christ came to the Earth and He lived God’s way. He demonstrated how it works.
Leading psychologists are saying that the father’s role in a family is unnecessary. That is a nation-destroying philosophy. Where is that message coming from? Not from Jesus Christ! It is coming from Satan—the god of this world.
Satan hates the family because it is a God-plane relationship. That means it is a type of the God family. The individual human family was designed to help prepare us for the God family.
That is why family!
Our Father is the Head of that wonderful, majestic God family. Our number-one passion must be to declare Him and His family!
We need to move more into the bosom of the Father! God wants us to get deeply entrenched in His family! Jesus Christ led the way in declaring the Father. Now we are commanded to follow His example!
Look at our potential. We are kings and priests. We are the sons of God. Our entire lives must revolve around declaring the Father. False Christianity builds its work around the person of Christ—not His message of declaring the Father! Christ said, “[M]y Father is greater than I” (John 14:28).
Declaring the Father is what separates God’s very elect from His own Laodicean Church and the world!
This is the foundational truth of the Bible. People who don’t declare the Father are deceived! They don’t understand that our calling is about being born into God’s family—headed by the Father.
Nothing makes a loving father happier than seeing a son deliver his message. Christ delivered His Father’s message. He set an example for us to follow. Now we must deliver our Father’s message. It is why we were called.
Only God’s very elect declare the Father!
Why do men and women so desperately desire physical families? That desire comes from the God family, because they desire a family more deeply than we can imagine. No one has done what they have to beget a family.
God and the Word became Father and Son. Why? Because God wants a family. He wants billions in His family. What an opportunity.
As Herbert W. Armstrong’s book The Incredible Human Potential shows, had Lucifer and the angels succeeded, we probably wouldn’t be here. But the angels never had the potential or opportunity to be born into God’s family. What an awesome opportunity we have been given!
Jesus Christ gave Himself as a sacrifice for all mankind. How that pleased His Father! Was the Son here just to gain stature for Himself, or was He trying to uphold His Father’s standard? We are here as a result of His success—because of our Husband’s perfect life!
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God” (Revelation 19:11-13).
Here John refers to Him as the Word again. Jesus Christ will come back as the Word of God. He is still the Spokesman for the God family. He will return with His wife, the Church. She will help Him speak to the world for God. Together, they will declare the Father!
Then, the Father, the Son and His bride will bring all mankind into God’s family.
As we saw in the last chapter, God had to use the Prophet Samuel to clean up what Eli had polluted. “So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel: and the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. And the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even unto Gath; and the coasts thereof did Israel deliver out of the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites. And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. And he went from year to year in circuit to Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places” (1 Samuel 7:13-16).
Samuel established colleges in the three cities of Bethel, Gilgal and Mizpeh. The original Elijah had colleges on that circuit as well, except one of them was in Jericho, not Mizpeh (2 Kings 2:1-5; the “sons of the prophets” were college students).
Samuel founded these schools to clean up the priesthood. He virtually abolished the priesthood because it was so polluted. He decided to start over by raising up these colleges.
The Soncino Commentary states, “Samuel’s greatest claim to honor and the most permanent of his life’s achievements were the schools of the prophets which he founded, and from which in the work of the Hebrew prophets there issued the supreme creation of Israel’s religious genius. … Where the gift of prophecy existed the schools would develop it, but the members of the schools formed a religious and moral leaven in the life of the people.”
Samuel institutionalized this God family vision.
When Mr. Armstrong came on the scene in the end time, the Sardis Church was dead. God then used him to raise up three colleges.
When Mr. Armstrong died, the people whom he taught lost that vision: “A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? …” (Malachi 1:6). God opens the book of Malachi talking about great spiritual desolation. His own Church is dying! Why are they dying—losing their eternal lives? They are refusing to honor their Father! They have lost the God family vision. Nothing could be more catastrophic!
Malachi 1:11 states, “For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts.”
Presently, in the pcg, Jesus Christ is making the Father’s name great. We strive to declare the Father, to make His name great, even now. We fight in court over printing Mr. Armstrong’s literature so we can do this. God will make His name great among the Gentiles with those books that we fight for: Mystery of the Ages, The Incredible Human Potential, The Missing Dimension in Sex.
Soon, the Church will make the Father’s name great to the entire Earth. All peoples of the world will honor their Father!
They will be studying Mr. Armstrong’s books and booklets. This is God’s revealed truth for all mankind, not only for His Church today.
We must make the Father’s name great among the Gentiles — the whole world! They must be taught to honor their Father! That is what we are now being prepared to do. People must understand why they were created. At last they will understand why man is here.
They will also read the Philadelphia Church of God books and booklets. Without them there would be a gap in their knowledge. They would not understand where the very elect went after Mr. Armstrong died. They would fail to understand where the saints who honored and declared their Father were located.
Elijah raised up three colleges, as Samuel did. (The end-time Elijah did the same.) There was also an Elisha, anciently, who continued those colleges. He looked to Elijah as his father. Elijah was a spiritual father to Elisha and the sons of the prophets in the sense that they came to God through him—directly or indirectly. Samuel, Elijah, Elisha and an end-time Elijah all raised up colleges to institutionalize the God family vision. When Mr. Armstrong built Ambassador College, it was really about the God family. That is why all those colleges were there. They were declaring the Father. That is why we have raised up Herbert W. Armstrong College in Edmond, Oklahoma: to continue what Elijah did—declaring the Father!
Samuel had to get rid of the polluted priesthood and start over. That is what we have done. Prophecy revealed it would happen (Revelation 11:1-2). The Father had to continue as the Head of the family. We must honor Him.
Why build those colleges throughout history, if men were only going to turn away from them? Because that is not the way it will happen very soon. In the World Tomorrow, God will establish those colleges all around the world—many thousands of them. And the firstfruits will lead those colleges as they declare the Father and this God family vision! Then, God’s knowledge—this vision—will cover the Earth as the waters fill the ocean beds (Isaiah 11:9). And we are learning how to do that today. This Church is a college for those teachers.
After the Millennium, billions of people will be resurrected in the Great White Throne Judgment on the Last Great Day (John 7:37). They will need colleges to be taught! That is why we will establish those colleges throughout the Millennium; so we are ready to teach them—to declare the Father to them.
For this plan to work, God needs people now who are learning how to declare the Father. It is the fundamental truth of God’s plan. What beautiful truth we have received. It’s time we learn this deeply so we can teach the whole world! That is the only reason we are called today.
God says, “My name shall be great among the Gentiles” (Malachi 1:11). That prophecy will be fulfilled through the colleges God establishes in the Millennium.
Isaiah 30:20 states, “[Y]et shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers.” People will see their teachers in these institutions set up around the world. Maybe they’ll see them in a classroom, or on television via satellite transmission.
Herbert Armstrong also set up Imperial Schools for pre-college students. It was to prepare them for Ambassador College. That was only done in a limited way, but it should be a great vision for the very elect today. We have to prepare our young people so they can go to college, and then, from college, go on to teach the world.
God will not call the students—or the world—into the classroom until the teachers are ready!
Parents: How will you prepare your children for God’s work? You have a major responsibility to get them ready for that: to teach those little children why family, why marriage, why children—to declare the Father to them.
Hannah set an inspiring example for us.
Of course, we make mistakes. Samuel had two sons, and they turned out like Eli’s did. The Bible doesn’t mention much about Samuel’s child rearing, but God highly exalts him throughout the Scriptures. His children at least had a wonderful example. The young people have their responsibility too. Let’s not let the past hold us back. If we have made mistakes, we need to correct them, move on and be great for God.
John recorded Christ’s prayer the night before His crucifixion. It concludes, “O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:25-26).
Christ asked that the very same love with which the Father loved Him would be in us. The same love that the Father had for Jesus Christ can be in you! Then we will all declare the Father. This is the heart of the God family vision!Continue Reading: Chapter 5: Where Is the God of Judgment?