Chapter 7

‘Prophesy Not’

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

During the Regional Directors’ Conference in the spring of 1988, Dr. Herman Hoeh stated that the Church of God had entered into the Laodicean era. Laodicean leaders quickly stopped that message. They didn’t think it was time to discuss this subject. God’s prophecy of the Laodicean era is a major prophecy for the end time. Dr. Hoeh’s statement would have given urgency to God’s people.

Prophecy is dual. For example, in the book of Amos, we have prophecy for ancient Israel. However, the main fulfillment is for Israel at the very end time (Amos 9:11-15).

“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” (Amos 2:11). God says, He raised up ministers and prophets. This is not some worldly religion. These are ministers God raised up—true ministers of God! Please note that carefully. God raised them up, but Satan has led many of them astray.

“But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink; and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not” (verse 12). Some of the structured ministry of the wcg have drunk much of the “wine” of this world. Their spiritual vision has become blurred. They can’t discern between truth and error. It implies that some ministers won’t give prophetic warning as they should. They fail to really warn the world!

Prophets were usually sent when the ministers or priests failed to do their job. Most leading wcg ministers have adopted this “prophesy not” philosophy. One of the wcg’s major topics today is how the Church dwelled too much on prophecy in the past. They are taking a “prophesy not” posture. (It’s another way Mr. Armstrong is being put down.) “Prophesy not” is another way of saying, “Don’t prophesy the way Mr. Armstrong did in the past!” The “prophesy not” attitude means there was a time when the wcg had a strong prophecy message. That is no longer the case. It’s almost the reverse of the way they used to prophesy when Mr. Armstrong was the leader.

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17). This is speaking of God’s Church in the very end time. God divides their work into two parts: First, they keep the commandments; and second, they have the “testimony of Jesus,” which is the “spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10).

Remember, the Laodiceans are “lukewarm.” They are rebelling against God. They cause people to “stumble at the law,” or at keeping the commandments of God (Malachi 2:8). They also “have” the spirit of prophecy because Mr. Armstrong gave it to them. But they don’t preach in the spirit of prophecy! They just have it! The Laodiceans keep saying “prophesy not,” or “don’t prophesy as we did in the past” (Amos 2:11-12). They have to say “prophesy not” because the wcg had such a strong prophecy message when Mr. Armstrong was alive! The “prophesy not” attitude is a very major change in the wcg teaching!

God considers this prodigious change by the wcg to be a major sin! God wants His Church to prophesy of the soon-coming world catastrophe, and also the imminent return of Jesus Christ and the glorious World Tomorrow!

Remember that the primary time for this prophecy about the Laodicean Church not prophesying is at the very end. Please go back and read Mr. Armstrong’s letters and articles about prophecy and compare them with what wcg leaders say today. The contrast is shocking! Then you will see that Amos’s prophecy is being fulfilled before your very eyes! This “prophesy not” approach is very much alive in the Laodicean Church today.

It is not fulfilling God’s commission to warn the world! Does Amos’s prophecy apply to what Dr. Hoeh said about the wcg being Laodicean? Of course it does. Leaders of the wcg don’t want that truth preached.

We ministers must not succumb to a spirit of “prophesy not.” If we faithfully do our part, God’s message won’t be suppressed!

If we succumb to the pressure, we will become drunk spiritually by drinking the “wine” of deception and will lose our spiritual discernment. After all, we are talking about God’s Church—not man’s. God has never supported a compromising spirit.

When the structured ministry fails to repent and do its job, then God says prophets shall arise! (Amos 2:11-12; 3:7-8). God’s people must get the truth so they can choose! They must have a choice! (Deuteronomy 30:19-20). That is God’s way.

“Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). Prophets arise in a time of crisis (in this case, both a Church and a world crisis). “The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy?” (verse 8). Prophets or submissive leaders are going to respond to that frightening, lion-like warning! “Who will not fear?” (see also Malachi 1:6; 2:4-6).

Paul said, “[W]oe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16). He feared the “lion”! If we don’t preach the truth that God reveals, we show a dangerous lack of godly fear—fearing man rather than God. Prophets speak out when they are told to “prophesy not”! They listen to God—not men. So must we.

God’s secrets are no longer being given to the Laodiceans. Their leaders are in rebellion against what Christ taught through Mr. Armstrong. God won’t reveal His secrets to those who rebel against His government!

Physical and spiritual Israel are entering into a crisis they can’t even imagine (just like the other eras experienced in Revelation 2 and 3).

God talks about blowing a “trumpet” (Amos 3:6; Ezekiel 33:6; Isaiah 58:1). That is exactly what the wcg is not doing today! (Amos 2:11-12). Mr. Tkach said the world couldn’t accept a message like the one Mr. Armstrong preached on television.

That is not the way Amos viewed his calling. He had a peaceful job as “an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit” (Amos 7:14). He probably didn’t want to leave this peaceful occupation. But God “called him to die” (as one commentary said of all the prophets). He was commanded to blow a trumpet and warn Israel (a type of our work today, verses 10-17).

Tradition says Amos was killed by Amaziah, the high priest, or by the king. The world wouldn’t accept Amos’s message either—for very long. Yet Amos still blew the trumpet until they killed him. This is far removed from the weak message being sent out from the wcg today.

The Philadelphia Church of God is blowing a trumpet today! If you would like to be added to the mailing list for our monthly magazine, the Philadelphia Trumpet, please contact us at the address or phone number shown at the end of this book and request your free subscription. We give God’s prophetic view of current events in the way the Plain Truth used to. All inquiries will be kept confidential.

The Book of Revelation Unveiled at Last

In the November-December 1986 Plain Truth article “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” David Hulme wrote this: “When we put this [sixth] chapter in Revelation alongside Matthew 24 and let the Bible interpret its own symbols, we can see that these horsemen represent the signs that Jesus said were to be the ‘beginning of sorrows’—the time leading up to His Second Coming.

“You need to face it, and then you need to know how to escape. Jesus did say it was possible to qualify to escape what is coming.

“In Luke 21:36 we read this: ‘Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.’

“Here’s a warning to stay alert, to watch world events, and to start making right choices. We have a booklet, The Book of Revelation Unveiled at Last, that will help you get started. This age of man’s course is almost run out and you need to escape these awful times ahead. Christ promised a time of protection for those who will heed a way to escape. You need to find out how.

The Book of Revelation Unveiled at Last will help you grasp the meaning of these prophecies that at first seem so hard to understand” (emphasis mine throughout).

That quote was made almost one year after Mr. Armstrong died. Now this booklet is also discontinued. It is desperately needed right now. If you still have it, read it again and judge for yourself. Mr. Armstrong didn’t live to see the end of this age as he thought he would. (So correct that little error in the booklet.) Never was a booklet’s message more urgently needed. Christ has not revealed exactly when the end will be, but He still said it is the wicked who can “not discern the signs of the times” (Matthew 16:3).

In that booklet, Mr. Armstrong shows how Christ is personally warning this world of an impending holocaust! That warning message is an ingredient sadly lacking in the wcg today. Mr. Armstrong knew the Church was called to warn this world. Today, the wcg is moving away from that responsibility! And its message is not a strong warning! The Book of Revelation Unveiled at Last IS a strong warning. That is why this booklet was canceled!

Another Major Book Discontinued

The United States and Britain in Prophecy was the most requested book in the wcg. That means it probably did more to build the wcg than any other book it has ever published!

Read what Mr. Armstrong said about this book: “[T]he one central master key to prophecy as a whole is the identity of the United States and the British nations in these prophecies for today! …

“[T]he all-important master key has been found!

“That key is knowledge of the astonishing identity of the American and British peoples—as well as the German—in biblical prophecies. This very eye-opening, astounding identity is the strongest proof of the inspiration and authority of the Holy Bible! It is, at the same time, the strongest proof of the very active existence of the living God!” (The United States and Britain in Prophecy, eighth edition).

Please read these quotes by Mr. Armstrong again. They are so very profound. Then you can better see why Satan is attacking this book!

A few years ago, the wcg sent a survey about The United States and Britain in Prophecy to the ministry and then on to many of the members. Here is one of the questions from that survey: “Is this booklet irrelevant in light of the commission given to the Church to go to all nations with the gospel?” In other words, the wcg is asking, “Is this book irrelevant to the gospel?”

A major portion of the book is about David’s throne, which Christ will sit upon when He comes to rule this Earth! (Luke 1:31-32). Nothing could be more a part of the gospel! Read the book—it’s filled with the gospel.

This is just another sign that the wcg is preaching “another gospel”!

Michael Snyder, former assistant director for Public Affairs for the wcg, said the book could very well be “classed as speculation” and permanently withdrawn. And so it was. The wcg has pulled The United States and Britain in Prophecy from circulation—forever! They have indeed classed this book as speculation.

The Watchman Expositor, a newspaper produced by Watchman Fellowship, wrote about The United States and Britain in Prophecy in 1991: “British-Israelism has always been a theory without credible proof. It is presently under review by the Worldwide Church of God and will probably be modified, if not repudiated. This doctrine is the last vestige of Herbert W. Armstrong’s legacy as a false prophet. Will the current president, Joseph Tkach, have the courage to retire it as he has Mystery of the Ages?” (Volume 8).

The wcg leaders have been working with this Protestant group since 1989, trying to remove the wcg’s cult status. The Expositor believes that removing The United States and Britain in Prophecy will remove the “last vestige of Herbert W. Armstrong’s legacy as a false prophet”! How could the wcg leadership work closely with such a group? Do the wcg leaders also think Mr. Armstrong was a false prophet? Their deeds show they think Mr. Armstrong was a false prophet! We must look at what they are doing.

The Expositor group sees that the wcg leaders have virtually destroyed the foundation of all that Mr. Armstrong taught!

How many of the wcg members see that?

Michael Snyder told Watchman Fellowship the following: “I respectfully submit to you that if Watchman Fellowship wants to help the Worldwide Church of God grow in grace and knowledge, then it can do so by printing up-to-date information” (ibid).

Michael Snyder is asking Protestants who believe Mr. Armstrong was a lying, false prophet to “help the Worldwide Church of God grow in grace and knowledge”!

How utterly condemning! No wonder God spews them out of His mouth!

“Incredibly, in the midst of this doctrinal turmoil, the Worldwide Church of God now considers it to be a ‘misrepresentation’ to quote its founder, Herbert W. Armstrong, as a spokesman for beliefs of its current membership” (ibid).

Do you believe those words? What a shocking betrayal! Mr. Armstrong can no longer be quoted as a spokesman for the wcg! The Watchman Expositor sees that. Do the wcg members see it?

That’s why The United States and Britain in Prophecy and other teachings of Mr. Armstrong have been discontinued. The wcg leaders tell the Watchman Expositor the truth about their views of Mr. Armstrong, but then have another version for their own members! What diabolical hypocrisy! This is the betrayal of 2 Thessalonians 2. One man is “taken out of the way.” Then he and Christ are betrayed by the “son of perdition”! It’s another Judas Iscariot-type betrayal!

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name” (Revelation 3:7-8). This “key of David” revolves primarily around the knowledge God gave His Church in The United States and Britain in Prophecy (we will send you a free copy if you do not have one). The “open door” was the gospel going to the world. Neither of these ingredients is present in the Laodicean Church (verses 14-20). The Laodiceans are “blind”—just as God said they would be! Next to the Bible, The United States and Britain in Prophecy is probably the greatest book ever written on prophecy! The wcg leaders are not only attacking a book—they are attacking God’s truth taught through Herbert W. Armstrong.

A Commission to the World?

Now read what Joe Tkach Jr. wrote in Reviews You Can Use (September-October 1989): “God’s Church has a job to do, a commission—to preach the gospel and to teach those who believe (Matthew 28:19-20). What is the commission of the members? Members aren’t called just for their own salvation. They are called to help support the work of the Church.” Notice he refers to Matthew 28:19-20 as being the commission for the Church.

In the World Tomorrow program’s special tribute to Mr. Armstrong just after his death, it was said, “This is the commission that Jesus Christ gave to His Church, to preach the gospel of the Kingdom ….” At that point in the program, “Matthew 24:14” was shown on the screen.

When Mr. Armstrong used a scripture to define the Church’s commission, he generally referred to Matthew 24:14—not Matthew 28:19-20. “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). Why the change today? Which, incidentally, no one in the wcg really explained. And there is no biblical basis for that change.

You need to understand, as Mr. Armstrong certainly did, that Matthew 28:19-20 does not totally define the Church’s commission to the world. It does not include a warning about the end. Matthew 24:14 discusses the gospel and the “end.” The context tells us the Church is to warn this world of what is to happen just before Christ returns—and just after. The whole chapter of Matthew 24 is about God’s coming Kingdom—and the terrible nuclear holocaust that precedes it. Without a strong end-time warning, the Church fails to fulfill this commission.

wcg leaders canceled The Book of Revelation Unveiled at Last. Why? Because the warning was too strong. That is the only reason. Read it and see for yourself. The warning must be strong in order to adequately get the message across!

The wcg gave $100,000 to the Hurricane Hugo fund and $100,000 to the San Francisco earthquake fund, plus other similar contributions. (But they say they can’t afford to print Mystery of the Ages!) The message of the Church’s real commission from Christ says earthquakes are to increase (Matthew 24:7, 14). God’s money would be far better spent telling the world why these disasters are happening—the cause. God commands the Church to “give them warning from me” (Ezekiel 3:17). God also says, if they are not warned, the ministry is guilty of their blood (Ezekiel 33:1-7, 11). This means the wcg and other Laodicean groups will be plunged into the Tribulation with the world—because the world’s blood is on their head.

The whole book of Ezekiel is about a watchman warning Israel of its coming death—unless its people repent. It applies primarily to the end time.

Has the wcg forgotten why the Church exists? A big part of the Church’s commission is to warn (and we do grow in character by giving our lives to God while warning the world). Has the wcg forgotten that God’s Work is a trumpet-blowing work?

This is another way Pasadena’s leaders should follow Mr. Armstrong’s footsteps. God will destroy this nation with disasters—if it doesn’t repent. Disasters will multiply, and money from the wcg won’t make a dent. And they may find themselves blunting God’s corrective sword! Israel’s only hope of escaping the Tribulation is the Church’s warning message! Its only hope.

The Worldwide Church can’t continue these disaster contributions very long. You watch and observe. Disasters will overwhelm this nation. Just look at what has happened here in the United States since the San Francisco earthquake: In 1992, Los Angeles experienced some of the deadliest riots in U.S. history. That same year, Hurricane Andrew killed 14 people and caused $16 billion in damages. In 1993, the Midwestern United States experienced severe flooding while the East Coast was plagued with drought. Later that year, California experienced the worst fires in history. 1994 began with the Northridge earthquake in Southern California. Over 50 people died while 20,000 were left homeless. In 1995, Oklahoma City was struck by the worst domestic terrorist attack in American history. Over 160 people died in the deadly bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

There is no real hope in giving these contributions—but there is hope in God’s warning message! The cost of the 1989 San Francisco earthquake ran into the billions. How did the United States (the world’s greatest debtor nation) finance recovery from that disaster? By selling treasury bonds to the Japanese (the world’s largest creditor nation). The United States can’t even finance its own disasters. Wouldn’t the wcg’s $100,000 have been better spent on a special booklet or article revealing why this whole nation is on the verge of a financial earthquake? The worst in the history of man! Is it trying to smooth over the correction and chastisement God is sending to this world?

So much prophecy is being fulfilled—and wcg leaders almost ignore it. It is another way leaders in Pasadena are saying, “My Lord delayeth his coming” (Matthew 24:48). This verse is also part of the warning of Matthew 24.

Mr. Armstrong served God for over 50 years and taught the Church for many years about our commission to the world. Yet wcg leaders today come along and arrogantly change what God has taught His Church through Mr. Armstrong. Some ministers have even denied there is a change! At least they should admit such a massive restructuring of their commission. Where is their godly fear? Read all of Matthew 24 and see what the Church’s commission really is.

Look at the history of God’s Church eras (Revelation 2 and 3). Their primary problems were losing their first love, becoming immoral and compromising with the world. At the same time, they compromised with what the Church taught in the past. Some also lacked the will to warn the world! That is why the gospel—and the warning that accompanies it—was not preached around the world until Mr. Armstrong came on the scene!

God’s people must wake up to the radical and dangerous changes being made in the wcg. The wcg leaders have said their members are to “support the work of the Church.” However, if they support the WRONG work, the consequences are disastrous!

Continue Reading: Chapter 8: Church Division