Introduction

From the book Malachi’s Message to God’s Church Today
By Gerald Flurry

In her book Another Gospel, Ruth Tucker congratulated Joseph W. Tkach for “the direction” in which he has led the Worldwide Church of God (wcg)—away from most of the fundamental teachings of the late Herbert W. Armstrong.

“It’s clear that the Worldwide Church of God has changed its thinking about Herbert W. Armstrong,” she said during the religious radio interview on “Truths That Transform.”

Vast changes have been made in the Worldwide Church of God since Herbert W. Armstrong died. If you understand the doctrines Mr. Armstrong taught, then you can see why that church is being fundamentally changed from the top. Even other religions can clearly see that the Worldwide Church of God “has changed its thinking about Herbert W. Armstrong.” But is it clear to the members of the Worldwide Church of God? All of Mr. Armstrong’s major books and booklets have been abolished!

Several groups have left the wcg since Mr. Armstrong died. Your Bible says only one of those groups can be doing God’s Work. That means only one church truly follows in the footsteps of Mr. Armstrong. If you make a wrong choice, it will bring physical and spiritual curses. A right choice will lead to incredible physical and spiritual rewards. It is crucial that we find the church which is delivering God’s final warning message.

Scholars today still can’t determine where prophets like Nahum or Malachi came from. But these men still had God’s message! Today, the Philadelphia Church of God has access to over 300 million people via television. God is opening that door to deliver His message.

Notice what a leader of one group that left the wcg stated about what would happen if Mr. Armstrong were to be resurrected (I have omitted the names he referred to):

But he [Mr. Armstrong] would look for [evangelist one] and he would look for [evangelist two] and he would see a work was being done, not perfectly. And he would say, “Well, [evangelist two], I didn’t think you had that good of a radio voice, but you’re doing a broadcast you know.” And he’d kind of wonder and he’d say, “Well, you’re still preaching the truth. And [evangelist one] is there, your leading editor and writer. And he’s preaching the truth. And now [another minister], he’s there—oh that’s wonderful.” And he’d think, “Well now, I knew [evangelist three] was a good man, and now I’m glad [he] is with you,” he’d say. “And I’m thankful that some of my lieutenants have carried on the Work of God and it’s still being done.” And he would be very grateful. And I mean that.

He named three evangelists and one pastor who came out of the wcg. But there are at least four or five times as many high-ranking evangelists still in the wcg. So should we go back to the wcg? Ridiculous! Satan has gotten this man’s mind focused on menNOT THE MESSAGE OF CHRIST! As one of our members said, “It doesn’t matter who the postman is as long as he brings the right mail!”

If you will prayerfully consider this man’s reasoning, you can see he doesn’t have a clear focus on God’s message. In the last few months of his life, Mr. Armstrong told wcg members, “Most of you don’t get it! And many of you ministers don’t get it either!” This is what Mr. Armstrong was referring to! Men were losing their focus on God’s message.

God said He would send a messenger to us in this end time. “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 3:1). The messenger of the covenant is Jesus Christ. The other messenger prepared the way for Christ’s return. This was the end-time type of John the Baptist who prepared the way for Christ’s Second Coming. “But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap” (verse 2). This is obviously referring to Christ’s Second Coming. His first appearance was not like a “refiner’s fire.”

For years Mr. Armstrong said repeatedly that he fulfilled this office. He was an end-time type of John the Baptist. But only the pcg today agrees with Mr. Armstrong’s teaching on this verse. All—and I mean all—of the Laodicean churches say by their teachings that Mr. Armstrong “twisted and perverted” this verse—and many other prophecies that refer to his end-time work. They don’t believe Mr. Armstrong fulfilled this office, when there is superabundant evidence that he did.

Why do the Laodiceans fail to see that Mr. Armstrong fulfilled all of these major end-time prophecies? Because their focus is too much on the man—not on God and His message!

There are three parts to this equation: 1) God, 2) His message and 3) the human messenger. Keeping your focus on God and His message is the only way to follow the right messenger. Man’s biggest spiritual flaw has always been losing sight of God’s message!

Christ said there would be a great falling away from God’s truth just before His return (2 Thessalonians 2:3‑4). Satan would be the power behind that rebellion (verses 8-9). Why did they rebel? “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.” God’s own Laodicean Church is perishing! Why? Because they don’t love the truth—God’s message!

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (verse 11). God will send His own Church “strong delusion.” What is the strong delusion? It comes from deceived leaders inside God’s own Church! Strong delusion indeed! The great tragedy is that they get followers who look to men and not God. This is God’s supreme test today to see if His people really “get it” and truly love Him and His message.

God has wonderful praise for His very elect. “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not” (Matthew 24:23). God is addressing His own people here. False Christianity has always worshiped a false Christ. God is talking to people who worship the true Christ. Then many of them leave Christ and His message and follow a man.

This message is aimed directly at you and me!

Here is the key to avoiding deception. Once you are a part of God’s truth and Work, you must cling to it like a drowning man to a helping hand. But notice, if “any man” tries to lead you into a false work of “Christ,” don’t believe him. That is the monumental sin of all the Laodicean churches today: They have left the Work of Christ for the work of a man! Several Laodicean leaders try to get you to focus on men! But the very elect’s focus is on Christ and His message, and they cannot be deceived by one man or several men of stature. Once you are with Christ and His Work, never let a man deceive you away from it. But that is happening to thousands of God’s people today—many thousands!

Soon it will be obvious to everyone which group comprises the very elect. Then everyone will know why it was impossible to deceive them. They never lost sight of Christ’s message.

If you want to know what sets the Philadelphia Church of God apart from all other churches, it is the message! “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (verse 24). The very elect cannot be deceived because they always focus on the message! Not even great signs and wonders can deceive them.

I can give you this wonderful promise from God: Never lose sight of the message, and you’ll never be deceived. Then your future will be secure and glorious!

What does it all mean? Did you know that those Laodicean changes were prophesied? Much of what has happened since Mr. Armstrong’s death is revealed in the book of Malachi. If you will prayerfully study Malachi’s Message, you will see that there are many urgent issues confronting all of God’s people today. Please search the Scriptures as the Bereans did (Acts 17:11), and prove all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Then believe your Bible—not men!

A Christian is a person who follows Christ. Would Christ lead His Church astray—in the wrong direction? No, He would not. If God’s Church goes astray, Christ rebukes it. If they fail to repent, then He removes the lamp and raises up another Church or work. Most of the time this is what He did in the past (Revelation 2 and 3). Christ said, “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). So we know that the Church Christ leads is somewhere on this Earth and we, as Christians, have the responsibility to be in that Church, following Christ—not a man, church or any organization. Are you a true Christian? Do you follow Jesus Christ? This subject is so terribly important. We cannot leave it to chance. Our salvation hangs in the balance!

Continue Reading: 1: A Call to Remembrance