Chapter 1

A Call to Remembrance

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

“Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name” (Malachi 3:16). Why a book of remembrance? This is not the book of life. It is a special book which concerns a unique group of people who fear the Eternal and fellowship a lot.

These are the Philadelphians who remembered. We are warned to remember what we were taught (Malachi 4:4-6). Many prophecies about the end time discuss a turning away from past instructions (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, 15; Revelation 3:7-21). It is a book of remembrance because they remembered what they were taught! That is why God spares them from the Great Tribulation (Malachi 3:17; Matthew 24:21-22; Revelation 3:10) and gives them a headquarters position in His Kingdom forever (Revelation 3:12).

The Laodiceans fail to escape because they forget—and turn to a lukewarm message. God remembers the Philadelphian group because they remembered Him.

“Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not” (Malachi 3:18). If we are going to be able to discern between those who serve God and those who serve Him not, it will be because we remember what we were taught. Without that precious God-inspired knowledge, Satan will deceive us! That is a very serious statement—but it’s biblically based.

This is really more than a “book of remembrance.” It’s a message from Christ to those who remember past instructions. It’s a wonderful message of encouragement.

God calls things what they are! It all revolves around remembering—by Philadelphians and by God. Much of our remembering revolves around an “Elijah” and the things God taught us through him. Then God remembers the Philadelphians, and He protects and rewards them in the future.

The entire book of Malachi revolves around two groups—those who forget (the majority) and those who remember (the minority). Are you in that book of remembrance? Anyone who is not is destined to go into the Great Tribulation. And 50 percent of those who rebel will go into the lake of fire. We must take this warning seriously.

The Temple Prophets

Judah came back from Babylonian captivity to build the restoration temple about 515 b.c. After the temple was completed, it took only 40 or 50 years for them to turn away from God’s Word.

The book of Malachi was written around 450 b.c.

Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi are labeled the “temple prophets” by most commentaries, and for good reason. Anciently, Haggai and Zechariah came to the restoration temple of Zerubbabel while the temple was being built. Malachi didn’t come until years later when the priests had corrupted God’s way—after the temple was built.

Haggai mentions Zerubbabel seven times—God’s number of completion. Zerubbabel completed, or finished, the temple (Zechariah 4:9). These prophetic books are precisely structured—just as all of the Bible is. They weren’t haphazardly thrown together.

Physical Israel was corrected by the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah while the temple was being built.

We don’t want to overlook the meaning of the temple prophets’ writings for us today. We know that most prophecy is dual, with the main fulfillment being for this end time. If Malachi came after the temple was built anciently, what is his message for us today? How does his message apply to us right now?

Several commentaries say that Zerubbabel died an old man. Afterward, the Jews began to get off track. God sent Malachi to correct the ministry, first of all, and then the people secondarily. That was the very purpose of his coming.

There are no verses in Malachi about building the temple as there are in Haggai and Zechariah. The temple had already been completed by Zerubbabel. Mr. Armstrong said he was a type of Zerubbabel. We shall see that Mr. Armstrong also finished a work and that the book of Malachi is to be fulfilled primarily after he died.

Malachi had nothing to say about the judgment of nations. Notice: His main concern and major work was to keep the fear of God alive in the ministry (Malachi 2:1-8). There was a crisis in the ministry.

Malachi’s going to the temple priests was only a type of what is to occur in God’s Church today.

We’ll see that from Malachi 1:6 to 3:3, every verse is directed specifically at the ministry. God will purify His ministers first of all. Some ministers have a deep love for God (Malachi 3:16), but other ministers “despise” God’s name (Malachi 1:6).

“And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will he regard your persons? saith the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 1:9). “This hath been by your means” would be better translated, “This has been your doing” (Soncino commentary). God labels the ministry as guilty. It is the main cause of the Church’s end-time crisis. “[Y]e have caused many to stumble at the law …” (Malachi 2:8). God then purges the ministry (Malachi 3:3; 4:6). Remember, this is all to be fulfilled in the end time—just before Christ’s return.

The attitude of some ministers toward God is scornful. “[Y]e have snuffed at it …” (Malachi 1:13). This literally means: “You snort at me.” Soncino says the change of the pronoun from “me” to “it” is a deliberate alteration by the scribes in order to remove the harshness of the expression.

There is no greater honor than being in the ministry. Also, there is no greater responsibility. The ministry must always be spiritually alert. The history of the Church of God is filled with disasters when the ministry failed to do its job!

Church Eras

In 1982, a sermon was given by a wcg evangelist of many years, Dr. Herman Hoeh. It was transcribed and sent to the hard-of-hearing members. The title was “Church Eras” (Revelation 2-3). In that message, he said, “The congregation of Ephesus had a great responsibility. It was told they must acquire the love that pertains to the love of God; the love that is reflected in brotherly love. This type of love is so important that even though they did the rest of the Work, but did not have love, God said, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place unless you repent. It ultimately meant that instead of those congregations as a whole carrying on the Work, people had to leave those congregations and a whole new organization developed. Those congregations that had no love when the light went out became the basis of the Greek Orthodox Church in the Greek world” (emphasis mine throughout).

Dr. Hoeh said “people had to leave those congregations and a whole new organization developed.” What if they had stayed with the leadership and the Church in that era? Dr. Hoeh said they would have ultimately become “the basis of the Greek Orthodox Church in the Greek world”! A similar scenario happened in other eras.

Undoubtedly, the leadership and members of the Ephesus era condemned those who left as being disloyal to Christ. Undoubtedly, those of the Ephesian Church sincerely believed they were right, but they were tragically wrong. Christ somehow led a group of His deeply converted people to start a new organization which adhered to the truth He had established in the Ephesus Church. Then God stopped using the Ephesus Church to do His Work. Christ removed the lampstand.

The Apostle John tells us, “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church” (3 John 9-10). John wrote this letter several years before he died. The few faithful brethren who were left were being “cast out,” or put out, of a local assembly.

Were these members who were “cast out” still in God’s Church? Actually, they were the only ones who constituted the true Church of God! They were the Church because they were joined to Christ through God’s Holy Spirit.

So how did the people leave the Ephesus-era organization and develop a whole new organization? Certain members were “cast out.” This is probably how God’s loyal people started a new Church in the Ephesus era. It would seem many, if not all, of those loyal to Christ and John were “cast out.”

The point is, those close to God followed Jesus Christnot the deceived leaders in God’s Church!

John spoke out in faith! One of Herbert Armstrong’s main complaints in the 1970s was against ministers who knew what was going on, but failed to speak out! Paul openly challenged Peter (Galatians 2:11). Sometimes it has to be done to keep the spirit of God’s Word!

Often Church members ask, “Is he out of the Church?” But that isn’t the most important question. That isn’t the question the Apostle John was most concerned about. His followers were “cast out” of the Ephesus Church—but it was because they were actually following Christ! They were kicked out of the Ephesus Church, but they still followed God. Following Christ has caused many members to be kicked out of a Church era—when those churches were going astray. A Christian is one who follows Christnot a man or a church organization.

Of course, it is a monumental decision to take such a stand, not one to be taken casually, because the consequences are so serious. You must examine the issues and determine where Christ is leading.

Did you know that historically, most of God’s churches or Church eras have gone astray? (Read Revelation 2 and 3.) Why were they deceived? Because the people blindly followed human government—not the government of Jesus Christ!

We started mailing Malachi’s Message in January 1990. Since that modest beginning, God has raised up the Philadelphia Church of God with thousands of supporters and readers worldwide. As time goes on, many more members of the Worldwide Church of God are becoming deeply disturbed by the Worldwide Church’s movement away from what Jesus Christ taught through Herbert W. Armstrong.

Several different churches have been formed by former Worldwide Church of God ministers. All of these churches—including the wcg—are Laodicean, except one. So says your Bible! Only one church has God’s lamp. Do you know where that lamp is?

God is not the author of confusion. You can prove which group Jesus Christ is leading—from your own Bible. You have nothing to fear from reading this message. But you have everything to fear if you are deceived! Your physical and spiritual salvation depends on it!

Many members of the Philadelphia Church of God have left or been cast out of the Worldwide Church of God—we have not and never did stop following Christ. But a statement like that must be supported by ample Bible proof. Following Christ is exactly what Malachi’s Message is all about.

John Amos and I were disfellowshiped in late 1989 for seriously questioning the wcg leaders’ doctrinal changes away from what Mr. Armstrong taught and for believing what was later printed as Malachi’s Message. We never preached against Pasadena to the wcg members while we were in that church. If you will read this book, then at least you will better understand why we and other pcg members were disfellowshiped from the Worldwide Church of God.

Let’s begin by understanding an important fact about the seven Church eras of Revelation 2 and 3. It is quite revealing. Apparently, five of the seven eras were led into oblivion and disaster! Every Church era except the Philadelphia and Smyrna eras had leaders, at least in the end, who led them astray. That is why, in most cases, new eras were raised up by God.

The Sardis era did God’s Work until it died spiritually. Then Herbert Armstrong was raised up to start a new era. A few of the Sardis people have qualified to be in God’s Kingdom in spite of their spiritually dead leaders (Revelation 3:1-5). They made it because they didn’t follow their leaders! God commanded the leaders to repent. But they didn’t. Later, God led some of the Sardis members into the Church of God during the Philadelphia era under Mr. Armstrong’s leadership.

When five out of seven Church eras were prophesied to be led away from Christ, do you think it can’t happen to you—even when a Laodicean era is prophesied to appear?

God Commands—Test Your Leaders

“Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars” (Revelation 2:1-2). Some men were saying they were apostles when they were not. God then praised the Ephesus Church for detecting this error. Those men were not apostles in a worldly church. God wouldn’t have praised them for detecting false apostles of the world. These false apostles were in God’s Church—or somehow affiliated with it!

God said, “[T]hou hast tried them.” Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament defines the word “tried” this way: “to try, make trial of, test: for the purpose of ascertaining his quality.” Does that sound like we should just go along with the Church leadership? God says you either put them to the test or you can easily be deceived.

Our focus must not be on an organization or an era but on the great Christ, who is in the midst of those eras. “And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle” (Revelation 1:12-13). The emphasis is not on the seven candlesticks or eras—the emphasis is on Christ who is in the midst of all seven eras. Christ is right in the middle. But He will allow His followers to go astray. Then He usually has to start a new era—or work with those who remain loyal to Him.

Let’s continue the description of Christ: “His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength” (verses 14-16). This great Being is described to introduce the seven eras of Revelation 2 and 3. If we let Christ and His Work slide from the middle of the picture, all we have left are deceived churches. So the emphasis is not on being “in the Church,” but following this great God! When John saw Christ in this vision, he “fell at his feet as dead” (Revelation 1:17). Unless this same God leads the Church, we are in serious trouble; and if Christ isn’t leading the Church, we should not follow!

If the Ephesus Church members, in a right attitude, tried those who said they were apostles, shouldn’t you? This was the same Ephesus Church discussed in 3 John 9-10. Was Diotrephes one of those false apostles? How did he get all those people to follow him while casting John’s followers out of the Church? How much authority did he have? It’s difficult to say. John’s followers, who stood by John and Christ, were “cast out.” The point is, John discerned Diotrephes’s evil motives and rebuked him.

I would never suggest anyone try to overthrow Mr. Tkach. As David said, we can’t lift our hand against the Lord’s anointed. I wouldn’t dare try to do that. But neither would I FOLLOW Mr. Tkach or any other leader into the Tribulation or the lake of fire!

Paul said, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Paul said the leader is to follow Christ. Follow a man only as he follows Christ. We can’t do that unless we are testing and proving all things. It’s very biblical to do so.

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). John pleaded with God’s beloved people to “try the spirits.” Why? Because there are “many” false prophets and false leaders. Often these deceivers were in God’s Church. We must always test our leaders with God’s Word. That certainly includes me. You must prove what I say in this book!

Individuals go astray. Churches go astray. Christ never goes astray! A man is not the trunk of the tree. An organization is not the trunk of the tree. God’s Word is the trunk of the tree. And what Christ established through Mr. Armstrong for over 50 years is a big part of the tree trunk.

Anybody who has been loyal to God’s Church for very long is used to change. But not all change is good. The Laodicean Church is prophesied to change. But that change is away from the Philadelphia standard—not a good change. The Laodiceans are prophesied to turn away from the trunk of the tree. God warns us to be vigilant.

“These [Bereans] were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). Do you realize, brethren, that your approach to Bible study helps reveal to God how noble you are? Do you search the Scriptures daily “with all readiness of mind,” eager to see what the Bible says, so you can follow Christ more perfectly? God’s elect are very noble people when it comes to their Bible study.

Thayer’s Lexicon says the word “searched” is often used as the verb “judge” in the Bible. The Bereans approached their Bible study by investigating and examining the evidence. That includes examining our leaders—as long as it is done with a Berean attitude. God knows if an attitude is right. It is good to have righteous indignation when the direction is wrong in God’s Church. God certainly does!

Luke said these people had greater nobility because of this attitude. That means a higher reward in God’s Kingdom. The noble elect have fallen in love with God’s truth. They love God so much they will stand alone or even die for Him. They are not deceived by “hugs and kisses” without real substance. And they are not deceived by endless talk of “love”! They know what the true love of God is. They judge by “fruits” (Matthew 7:16), not outward appearance.

“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11). God will personally send strong delusion! But why? Why would God send strong delusion to His own people? Does He want us to fail? Of course not. This is God’s way of testing who “received not the love of the truth” (verse 10). God wants to know how much you love Him and His Word. It’s not possible to deceive God’s very elect (Matthew 24:24).

Paul is not talking about normal delusion being sent to God’s people—it is “strong delusion.” You’re going to see multiple thousands of people deceived because they are “blind” to their own spiritual condition (Revelation 3:17). They assume there is safety in numbers, and they assume they are God’s very elect who cannot be deceived. If they are not careful, these assumptions will lead them into the Tribulation and possibly the lake of fire!

We all think we love God. God requires that we have the depth of love necessary to withstand strong delusion. God sends “strong delusion” to His Church to determine who will be His very elect. God wants to know who loves the truth—and who just has it. With a wrong attitude, some are going to die for all eternity! (2 Thessalonians 2:10). God is deadly serious about our calling.

God’s Church has been flooded with His precious truth. Now God is going to see if we just talk about faith—or really live by faith—by His Word. Do we remember what we were taught and live by it?

God sends strong delusion to see if His people are Philadelphian or Laodicean. God is re-creating Himself. We’re either going to be God—or we’re going to be nothing! God wants to know who will qualify for His Kingdom. That is the whole purpose for our existence.

There are probably more warnings in the New Testament about false teachers than any other subject.

Let’s examine two vastly different teachings—one by Herbert Armstrong and one by Joseph Tkach.

Don’t Assign Scriptures to Leaders?

Mr. Armstrong applied scriptures to individuals like himself. Mr. Tkach said “it is not appropriate.” Which view is biblical? (I hope you will answer that question throughout Malachi’s Message!)

Mr. Tkach said, “It is not appropriate … to assign various scriptures to Mr. Armstrong or me personally as though our leadership were specifically prophesied in the Bible. Besides being erroneous and spiritually presumptuous, this kind of thinking only serves to falsely brand God’s Church as a cultish sect that worships its human leaders.” This quote was taken from Mr. Tkach’s “Personal” in the Worldwide News, January 9, 1989. He made this church-wrecking statement less than three years after Mr. Armstrong died.

Mr. Tkach assisted Mr. Armstrong for seven years. Mr. Tkach and most of God’s people heard Mr. Armstrong say he fulfilled Matthew 17:10-11, Malachi 4:5-6 and other scriptures. Mr. Tkach agreed—even after Mr. Armstrong was dead!

God said He would send an end-time Elijah and that “he” (singular) would turn the hearts of the fathers. The Bible clearly states one man would fulfill that office. “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. 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” (Malachi 3:1-2). The subject is obviously referring to Christ’s Second Coming. Christ said He would send His “messenger” (singular) and “he” (singular) would prepare the way for Christ.

Just as one John the Baptist prepared the way for Christ the first time, so one messenger (Mr. Armstrong) has prepared the way for Christ’s Second Coming. Christ puts a personality in numerous scriptures. What could be more plain? These are some of the most pivotal prophecies in the Bible. No longer assigning scriptures to leaders is not a small change. This is a colossal change!

Was Mr. Armstrong “erroneous” and “spiritually presumptuous” for assigning scriptures to himself?

Assign a Name to Matthew 17?

“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias [Elijah] truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias [Elijah] is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed [desired]. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist” (Matthew 17:11-13).

Dr. Donald Ward, a former wcg minister, said, “Let’s not put a personality in these prophecies—let God do it.” The disciples had the faith to assign John the Baptist (a type of Elijah) as the man who prepared the way for Christ. The disciples did it—God approved and canonized it—and disciples (Church members) can do it today!

How shamefully tragic if the wcg doesn’t recognize that Herbert Armstrong came in the spirit and power of Elijah and “restored all things.” Yet Scripture says, “[A]nd they knew him not” (verse 12).

The Worldwide News, August 25, 1986, enumerated 18 truths restored by Mr. Armstrong. Mr. Tkach introduced the article. Here are his words:

Jesus said, Elias [Elijah] truly shall first come, and restore all things (Matthew 17:11). Jesus was referring to something that was to happen in the future. John the Baptist had already come, and Jesus didn’t begin His ministry until John had been put in prison. John didn’t restore anything. Jesus was referring to another MAN, not John.

Shortly before the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord, someone would come in the spirit and power of Elijah, in the spirit and power of John the Baptist, and would restore all things to the Church.

Then followed a listing of those 18 truths. Mr. Tkach, at that time, said this referred to Herbert Armstrong. Then, on January 9, 1989, in the Worldwide News, Mr. Tkach said, “It is not appropriate … to assign various scriptures to Mr. Armstrong or me personally as though our leadership were specifically prophesied in the Bible.”

Mr. Tkach simply said “it is not appropriate.” No scriptures were given to support such a massive restructuring of his thinking. This is a crucial, earthshaking issue! He is changing foundational beliefs!

“Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom” (Matthew 16:28). This verse is about a vision of Christ’s Second Coming (Matthew 17:9). “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 [Elijah] truly shall first come, and restore all things” (verses 10-11). An “Elijah” (Herbert Armstrong) did come—a major event that occurred in this end time!

Do God’s disciples today know that Christ is talking about an end-time Elijah type who fulfilled the role of John the Baptist in preparing for the Second Coming of Christ? Do we know this by faith based on God’s words? God’s people must walk by the faith of Christ!

And remember, the Elijah discussed in these verses is the same Elijah discussed in Malachi 4:5-6.

Mr. Armstrong said he fulfilled the Elijah role. Most wcg members heard him say that. Mr. Tkach heard and agreed—when Mr. Armstrong was alive and shortly after his death. But not now.

The Bible says only one man would restore truths to prepare the way for Christ’s Second Coming (just as there was only one John who prepared the way for Christ’s first coming).

The big issue in this subject is this: Christ said an end-time Elijah would come and restore all things. “Elijah” (Herbert Armstrong) did come. Now if we deny that, we are calling Christ a liar!

This is no tiny issue to be casually pushed aside while Pasadena leaders act like they are not changing foundational beliefs! Christ says we MUST apply a personality to Matthew 17!

‘Wife of Your Youth’

God gives a serious warning to some end-time ministers. “And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the Lord of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart” (Malachi 2:1-2). We need to heed this warning, because it’s about ministers who have departed out of the way and cause people to stumble at the law (verse 8).

Who else but God’s Church keeps His law today?

The context of Malachi 2 (and the whole book) is about a ministry that has gone astray. Verse 13 discusses the altar, which pertains to the ministry and worship within the Church. Then comes a strange change in the subject. Or is it a change?

“Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously” (verses 14-16). Malachi discusses marriage immediately after discussing the ministry. Is this a sudden turn in thought—or is it the same story flow? The context here is very important.

God says He was a “witness” between us and the wife of our youth. This could not have applied to many of our physical marriages. God certainly wasn’t a witness when we got married physically if we were living sinful lives in the world and then were later called into His Church. And in many of our marriages, we didn’t covenant with God. Often, we didn’t even know God at that time!

Notice that God says she is “the wife of your youth,” notyour wife of your youth.” This wife is “your companion,” notyour wife.” She is “the wife of your covenant”—notyour wife of your covenant.” (The New King James translation is inaccurate here.) The King James Version is an accurate translation and it never says she is “your wife.” That is because this is Christ’s wife!

The Church became “the wife of your covenant” when you became a baptized member. When we entered God’s Church, we entered into a covenant with God. We became a part of Christ’s wife (Revelation 19:7). Even some commentaries say this “wife” of Malachi 2 applies to God’s Church. The International Critical Commentary mentions that the term “wife of your youth” designates the Yahweh religion.

The second chapter of Malachi is addressed to the priests—plural—or ministers (verse 1). Verse 13 discusses the altar where the priests serve. Then verse 14 begins discussing a wife—one wife. If this verse is discussing physical marriage, the words “priests” and “wives” (both plural) would be used instead of the plural word “priests” and singular word “wife,” which is referring to the Church. Christ only has one wife, and that is the subject of the whole book of Malachi. Some very evil things are happening to Christ’s wife!

Christ is discussing His wife—and our companion. The Church becomes our loving companion, family and life.

The whole book of Malachi, and this chapter in particular, tells us the ministry is dealing treacherously with Christ’s wife. This is directly referring to Elijah’s, or Mr. Armstrong’s, teaching from the beginning—from the early days of the wcg when he was “restoring all things.” That was the Church in which many of us grew up spiritually (the wife of our youth).

Some wcg ministers may think they are only pushing aside what Mr. Armstrong taught. But Christ is taking it personally! Christ is saying that He established truth throughElijah,” and some ministers are now dealing treacherously with those instructions.

The whole second chapter of Malachi is directed to God’s ministers and their conduct in the Church. Some leading ministers are treacherous to the Church (verse 14) and to their fellow ministers (verse 10)—both of which are a part of Christ’s wife, the Church. The primary focus is spiritual marriageNOT physical marriage.

Paul discussed marriage between physical people in Ephesians 5:21-33. He still said, “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (verse 32). The main subject is Christ and the Church, even here where he discusses the spiritual relationship in a physical marriage. Let’s look at an example: “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (verse 21). All of us in the Body of Christ (the Church) must submit to one another in the fear of God—not just in a physical marriage relationship. That way Jesus Christ leads every one of us—He is the Boss—not any man. Every Family member submits to our Leader, Jesus Christ—who submits to God the Father.

Every other verse in Ephesians 5 applies to Christ and the Church in that way. If Ephesians 5, where the subject is marriage between physical people, applies to Christ and the Church, then certainly Malachi 2 does!

One John, One Elijah

“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain” (Isaiah 40:3-4). These verses apply to a John the Baptist, but this was never fulfilled by John before Christ’s first coming. This is for an end-time work (verses 9-10). There was one John who prepared the way for Christ’s first coming. There was one John (Herbert Armstrong) who prepared the way for Christ’s Second Coming. Nothing could be more plain.

“And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias [Elijah], to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17). Only one man of God is in the spotlight to prepare the Church for Christ’s Second Coming.

John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah, but he never turned the hearts of the fathers to the children. Those people following John did not yet have God’s Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit this would have been spiritually impossible. It says “he” (end-time John) would turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and prepare the way for Christ’s Second Coming.

Mr. Armstrong clearly did the work of John the Baptist. That work intensified at the end of the Church’s second 19-year cycle. That is when Mr. Armstrong began to travel around the world, meeting with world leaders, proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom of God.

wcg leaders now say to never apply a scripture to Mr. Armstrong or Mr. Tkach. They didn’t learn that from Mr. Armstrong. They are rejecting most of what Mr. Armstrong taught—and those teachings are very biblical. In such a short time after his death, we have seen major shifts in how the wcg views prophecy. There are major changes in other areas too. Every book by Herbert W. Armstrong has been abolished! It’s as if Mr. Armstrong has been disfellowshiped—postmortem!

Continue Reading: Chapter 2: Hold Fast