Chapter 9

Malachi’s Message

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

Mr. Armstrong’s last instructions to Mr. Tkach were, “I have reached world leaders. Your job is to get the Church ready.” Mr. Armstrong also told an evangelist a couple of days before he died that “the gospel has been preached.”

It isn’t that God doesn’t want the gospel and a warning message preached today. The world needs to be warned now more than ever before! But God knew the Laodicean Church would not do the job. The prophecies tell us that. They offer “polluted bread” and the Church is becoming divided. So the gospel commission to the world was finished when Mr. Armstrong died. But there is still a work of warning the world. Now the Philadelphia Church will have to warn the world and the Laodiceans. The Laodicean work is failing in its commission—to God’s Church and to the world! Therefore, the Malachi message has become necessary. Through the Philadelphia Church, God is warning the Laodicean Church to repent!

Just as God sends a warning message to a sinning world, He is also sending a warning message to a sinning Laodicean Church.

The message of Malachi must be delivered. This is the primary way God is knocking on the door of the Laodiceans (Revelation 3:20). This statement is made to an era. The Laodiceans are going to hear this knock—if we Philadelphians do our job. The Laodiceans will either hear and respond now—or repentance in the Great Tribulation is their only hope for salvation.

God has revealed these truths to bring the Laodiceans to repentance.

What happened anciently after Malachi came to the temple? Look at all the confusion Christ encountered about 450 years later. Overall, the message Malachi brought didn’t turn most people to God—and they suffered horribly. We also know that 144,000 Church members won’t repent until the Tribulation. Others will go into the lake of fire. Still, God’s Family is going to expand mightily.

God’s major Work today is getting this message of Malachi to His people and getting them ready to go to a place of safety and into God’s Kingdom (Luke 21:36). Those who don’t repent will be warned. They will be without excuse.

Anciently, Malachi came to a temple that was in shambles—after Zerubbabel was dead. The same is true of Malachi’s message today. The direction of the Laodiceans is in disarray after the death of Mr. Armstrong, our modern Zerubbabel. Many ministers lack godly fear (Malachi 1:6; 2:4-8) and their sacrifices to God are polluted (Malachi 1:7-8). The message of the wcg is so polluted that it would be better to stop the message and close down the Worldwide Church of God! (verse 10). Polluted bread is being offered (verse 7), and the ministry causes people to stumble at God’s law (Malachi 2:7-8). Some ministers are cruel to fellow ministers (verse 10). In case you don’t believe that, just believe God! It is happening. The Worldwide Church is too scholarlytoo academic in worldly ways (verse 12). Many ministers are treacherous to past instructions of the Church (verses 14, 16), and tithes are being misused (Malachi 3:8-10).

Staying with the Laodicean Church will cause you to suffer their fate! Some people will think it’s disloyal to follow Christ out of the wcg. Mr. Armstrong was fired from the Sardis Church for following God and the truth He revealed. And more ministers will be “fired” from the wcg if they start teaching this message of Malachi. It’s not a sin to walk away from the Laodicean Church into the Philadelphia Church of God. It’s a sin if we fail to do so! You will not be leaving the Body of Christ!

Before this is all over, I believe anyone who truly follows Christ has to leave or be “cast out” of the Laodicean Church. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). Either we get off the train, or we are destined to crash with it!

The message of Malachi is to be delivered in modern times. This implies and means more than one person will do the Work. “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). This is about a group of God’s people who do God’s Work. It is a prophecy of a SEPARATE Philadelphia group. These people were “disfellowshiped” or “cast out,” or they just left the Laodicean Church.

Ministers in God’s Church talked for years about the probability of two end-time churches being discussed in Revelation 12: “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent” (verses 13-14). Here is one group of God’s people (Philadelphians) persecuted by Satan and taken to a place of safety. “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed [or, “the rest of her offspring” (New King James)], which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (verse 17). Here is a different group (Laodiceans) that Satan persecutes in another way (he “wars” against them during the Tribulation).

The Philadelphian group is persecuted before they go to a place of safety (verse 13) and they are separate from the Laodicean group (verse 17). Here, and in Malachi 3:16, it reveals that these two groups separate and can’t “walk together” some time before the Tribulation. Do the Laodiceans inflict part of the pre-Tribulation persecution on the Philadelphians? Malachi 2:10, 14-16 are about the Laodiceans being “treacherous” to the Philadelphians. That treachery comes just before and after the two groups split.

Persecution of the Philadelphians by the Laodiceans is also discussed in 2 Thessalonians 2 and Zechariah 3 and 4—by strong implication. Some of this persecution comes in the form of casting people out of the Laodicean Church!

Only one of these churches is righteous enough to go to a place of safety. Christ is leading that group. Christians are in God’s Church if they are following Christ! (1 Peter 2:21; Luke 18:28-30). That is from God’s Word—the Holy Bible! If you follow the Scriptures, you are in God’s Church—in spite of what any man says! Remember, the Bible is full of examples where Church leaders have led people astray. This is why every spiritual step we take must be biblically based!

The wcg was destined to split. Those members with the strength to stay with what “Elijah” taught—the “trunk of the tree”—are going to be God’s “jewels” who are taken to a place of safety and given an incredible reward!

You can’t escape making this major decision. This is what walking by faith is all about. All Philadelphians must follow the group Christ is leading—not just “stay in the Church.” Just “staying in the Church” could be a grave mistake, leading to the Tribulation—or eternal death!

“Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?” (Malachi 3:7). God is calling upon them to repent. The Laodiceans don’t see a need to “return.” They question God. But there is a group that does “return” to what “Elijah” taught. The prophecy says we either return to what “Elijah” taught or we are destined to go into Gehenna fire (Malachi 4:1-6).

A big part of the work of the Philadelphians is helping God separate the Laodiceans from the Philadelphians (Malachi 3:17). This should not take very long—but it will be painful! Very painful! In some cases it will break up families. God knew it would happen (Luke 14:26-27).

Mr. Armstrong preached the gospel to the world. The emphasis of our work to the world now is on warning. Amos said, “[T]he land is not able to bear all his words.” This is a prophecy that the pcg must fulfill. So there is a work to the world that we must do.

The book of Malachi is not addressed to the nations as many other books are. His message was to get the temple worship “back on track.” The temple today is God’s Church. This book of Malachi is about ministers who despise God’s name and have profaned the temple worship (Malachi 1:6-13). Their deeds are very evil while they pretend to be extremely righteous. God directs His command to the ministry (Malachi 2:1). They lack godly fear (verses 4-6). These ministers cause people to stumble at God’s law. This can only apply to God’s Church, which alone truly keeps God’s law. And God directly blames the unfaithful ministry for the end-time crisis in the Church!

God said He would send Elijah the prophet, and He did (Malachi 4:4-6). Mr. Armstrong reluctantly admitted to all of us that he fulfilled this prophecy—and nobody else!

The curse (verse 6), which we have always thought applied to the world, actually applies to the Church! And that is a change you can prove from the Bible. All these subjects I have discussed with you can be proved or disproved from the Bible.

The whole Malachi story revolves around an end-time Elijah, Mr. Armstrong (Malachi 4:5-6; Matthew 17:10-11). These events occur just before Christ returns. Laodicean ministers are treacherous to the wife (Church) of their youth (Malachi 2:14-16). This is the Church Mr. Armstrong, or “Elijah,” founded, the one in which most of us grew up spiritually.

We know by Church history (Revelation 3:1) that God’s Church was spiritually dead when Mr. Armstrong came on the scene. This is one reason he restored “all things.” Then came the Philadelphia era (Revelation 3:7-8), which is followed by the Laodicean era (Revelation 3:14-19; 2 Thessalonians 2; Zechariah 3 and 4).

The wcg always taught (when I was a member) that Malachi 3:17 is about God’s loyal people escaping the Great Tribulation. The Tribulation comes after Mr. Armstrong died and before the Day of the Lord. The Laodiceans go into that same Tribulation to be punished (Revelation 3:19).

“But ye are departed out of the way …” (Malachi 2:8). They were established in God’s way by Mr. Armstrong and then “departed” out of it after Mr. Armstrong’s death! They rejected much of what Elijah restored. This can only apply to the Laodiceans who reject what Mr. Armstrong restored. The Philadelphians continue in the way of Elijah and come out of the Laodicean Church (Malachi 3:16).

Remember that Malachi is about an end-time messenger, like John the Baptist, who prepares the way for Christ’s Second Coming (verses 1-2). It all occurs just before “the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” Common sense would tell us the events Malachi prophesied about couldn’t happen while Mr. Armstrong was alive. There was a type of it in the 1970s—but he stopped it, and as one pcg member said, that was the only time in recorded secular and biblical history that it ever happened! The only time! Mr. Armstrong restrained it (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7).

These prophecies in Malachi could occur fully only after Mr. Armstrong was dead. There simply is no other explanation for this end-time book—if we are led by God’s Holy Spirit.

This matter is all going to be concluded before “the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” It is at that point the Laodiceans either repent and are sealed—or lose their salvation. Between the death of Mr. Armstrong (“Elijah”) and the “great and dreadful day of the Lord” is the Laodicean era. Then Christ begins to personally intervene.

As Mr. Armstrong said, the Bible is a coded book. It is indeed! The book of Malachi is primarily about the Church from the time of Mr. Armstrong’s death to “the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (the point where the Laodiceans are sealed—Malachi 4:5-6). Malachi reveals what happens during this period.

Mr. Armstrong turned us to the Family of God. The Laodicean sin involves turning away from the Family of God and what God did through Mr. Armstrong. Malachi tells us how the Church moves from the Philadelphian era to the Laodicean era. The Laodiceans turn away from the Philadelphia standard. Common sense also tells us that is what happens. The Laodiceans would have been Philadelphians—if they hadn’t turned away. They established their own standard—not Christ’s!

The “book of remembrance” and being “treacherous to the wife [Church] of your youth” are keys to reveal a turning away from what God taught us. The Laodiceans fail to remember. They don’t just lack “drive and energy.” They are treacherous because they are part of a Judas-like betrayal! (2 Thessalonians 2). This is the epitome of what a Laodicean is!

“And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for YOU. … And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you …” (Malachi 2:1, 4). All of God’s ministers are going to know Malachi’s Message came from God—whether they realize it now or in the Great Tribulation! They must “know.” This is a promise from God. The only remaining question is when the ministry will recognize it. Christ is going to purge His ministers! (Malachi 3:3).

Fellow ministers of Jesus Christ, God’s people desperately need an example to follow. God has helped me with many miracles since I was disfellowshiped. He will do the same for you. All we have to do is trust Him. Please step out on faith!

God says, “I will require my flock at their hand” (Ezekiel 34:10). We are being judged by what we do with God’s flock! God will judge each one of us—it’s beginning right now! The critics and scholars will howl, but it won’t alter God’s Word one iota! They will only be fighting God.

It will take time for God to dislodge wrong concepts from His people. Through prayer, fasting and study of this message again and again, a clear understanding will come to many of God’s people—those with a Philadelphian attitude. Those people who walk by faith will see that they have been betrayed. God’s people have always had to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). God’s Church now faces its greatest crisis! If we put all the pieces together, it fits like an amazing puzzle. After all, it’s been prophesied for thousands of years!

Malachi came originally to rekindle the fires of faith in many rebellious priests. We ministers must let Malachi move and stir us to a greater effort! God needs loyal ministers now as never before!

Faith is nothing more than acting on God’s Word!

Backing and supporting this message is your ticket to a place of safety and a magnificent reward. This is how God makes up His jewels!

“He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward” (Matthew 10:40-41). Prophets are mentioned again (as in Amos 2:11-12; 3:7-8). Malachi’s message will be delivered!

The prophets in Amos 2:11-12 and Amos 3:7 were not a part of the structured ministry that was going astray. They prophesied against the Church. Christ was with the prophetsnot the structured ministry that He also raised up. Time and again in the Old Testament, the prophets came to straighten out the priests and the people.

God’s people must understand these verses. If they receive a righteous man in the name of a righteous man—they receive a righteous man’s reward. The same reward!

This is how God will separate the Philadelphians from the Laodiceans. One group has the faith of Christ and one doesn’t. If people don’t receive a righteous man in the name of a righteous man, they are Laodicean—or worse. They fail to discern their real leader, Jesus Christ! Your reward depends on recognizing the true representatives of God. There is no reward for just being a member—even in God’s Church! Today, most of God’s people are going astray.

Mr. Armstrong had the faith to walk away from a dead Sardis Church. Now YOU have to possess the faith to walk away from, or be kicked out of, a lukewarm Laodicean Church—or YOU will receive a Laodicean reward.

Those who walk away and support the Philadelphia standard in a new organization will BE REWARDED for EVERY contributioneven for giving a cold glass of water! (Matthew 10:42). God rewards every little good deed.

Our reward revolves around receiving God’s message regardless of who the messenger is. It takes spiritual discernment to recognize where God’s message is being delivered. This is God’s major test now.

Herbert Armstrong wrote about the 1970s rebellion in the Worldwide News, June 24, 1985. He warned us about something like this happening again. Here is what he said: “I want you, brethren, to think about and understand what happened to God’s Church in the 1970s ‘lest history repeat itself’! I want you to see the ‘fruits’ of rebelling against God’s way and God’s government” (emphasis mine). History has repeated itself! The “fruits” of rebelling against God’s way and God’s government are there for all to see.

Are we in the Philadelphia Church rebelling against God’s government? No, we are not! We are backing God’s government by preaching what God has revealed. Leaders of the Laodicean Church are rebelling—by flagrantly turning away from what Christ taught us through Mr. Armstrong!

Mr. Armstrong warned us about history repeating itself! Now Christ is going to see if we “remember” the instructions of “Elijah” (Malachi 3:16; 4:4-6).

The minister’s responsibility is to preach God’s truth—not what men say. God is going to judge each one of us severely on that basis.

Who Serves God?

You must be able to discern who serves God and who serves him not (Malachi 3:18). There is no reason to discern who serves God unless you support that service! “Faith without works is dead.” How else can you be one of God’s “jewels” who goes to a place of safety and into God’s headquarters temple? Those who cannot discern one work from the other are destined to go into the worst time of suffering ever on this planet! And remember, when it talks about those who serve God, it is in the same chapter and context as tithes and offerings (Malachi 3:9-10, 18).

I have been in God’s Church since September 7, 1961. I was ordained into God’s ministry on Pentecost of 1972, and I have pastored churches since 1975. The wcg has disfellowshiped me because of the message you have just read. But Christ has not! We are not out of God’s Church—only out of the Laodicean Church! Therefore, God has led us to establish a new church organization:

PHILADELPHIA CHURCH OF GOD
P.O. Box 3700
Edmond, Oklahoma 73083
Phone: (405) 340-7474
24-hour fax: (405) 359-6280

(Please see the last page in this book for international addresses.) All of the original 12 members of the pcg lived in Edmond, Oklahoma. “Edmond” means “protector of wealth.” Isn’t that really what God wants from the Philadelphia Church? Doesn’t He want us to protect the precious spiritual wealth that Christ has established in His Church? And isn’t it clear what the Laodicean Church is doing with God’s revealed truth? If the Philadelphia members don’t protect God’s truth, it will perish from this planet!

We are producing many articles and booklets. A booklet on the book of Amos, which the Laodicean Church does not understand, has been produced. Much of this book’s prophecy describes what is happening in the Laodicean and Philadelphian churches right now! If you would like a free copy, just call for one.

God’s new Church organization has been officially recognized by the Internal Revenue Service and approved for a tax-exempt status in the U.S. This means the Philadelphia Church of God can receive God’s tithes and offerings and these contributions are deductible from the contributor’s income taxes.

Of course, the Philadelphia Church will be accused of greedily desiring money. Paul was accused of the same attitude, and I respond just as he did: “I seek not yours”—that is, your tithes and offerings—“but you” (2 Corinthians 12:14). People’s physical and eternal lives are at stake! Who cares what the critics say! I intend to help God’s people all I can. I must do my part! Woe be unto me if I don’t. And I have absolute faith that God will continue to provide others to help, because it is prophesied! (Malachi 3:16-17). More of that help is arriving every day. God has commissioned a group of people to deliver the warning message of Malachi. The word “burden” in Malachi 1:1 means a prophetic oracle, or warning. We must warn God’s people! Those who fail to heed face terrible curses (Malachi 2:2; 4:5-6). What a blessing to be a part of God’s wonderful Work. And think of the tremendous reward God will give those who are part of it.

Ministers in the wcg who cling to what Christ taught can be quickly fired. When that happens, they will be almost totally and directly dependent on God. Still, Philadelphia ministers must expect miracles. God has shown us many miracles since we were disfellowshiped.

Anyone who has questions or comments, or any kind of interest in God’s truth, is encouraged to write or call us.

Mr. Armstrong wrote in the September 1980 Good News: “The Plain Truth magazine made its most humble bow on February 1, 1934. By that time I had obtained a subscription list of around 350, including our own and the Oregon ‘Sardis’ members.”

Mr. Armstrong wrote many of the Sardis members and essentially told them their Church was dead! He told them God was now raising up a new work. Mr. Armstrong set a precedent for what the pcg is doing now!

Any of you ministers who want to discuss this Philadelphia work, please call or write me. Everything will be kept absolutely confidential. I fully understand that you have to use caution and wisdom in any contact that you make.

Many people first received Malachi’s Message on January 16, 1990, the very day of the anniversary of Mr. Armstrong’s death (January 16, 1986). We didn’t plan it, but we were happy it happened that way. You are going to see the date of Mr. Armstrong’s death take on more significance as time goes on. John Amos and I were disfellowshiped on December 7, 1989—40 days before the anniversary of Mr. Armstrong’s death. The number 40 is significant in the Bible. The third 19-year time cycle of the work of the wcg ended in January of 1991—the same month as the fifth anniversary of Mr. Armstrong’s death. In the original version of Malachi’s Message we asked this question: “Will we see some dramatic event in the world or within God’s Philadelphian and/or Laodicean churches then?” The Persian Gulf War began on January 16, 1991! God considers the date of Mr. Armstrong’s death to be very significant.

“Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down” (Luke 13:7-9).

God gave the fig tree four years to bear fruit. If it failed to produce, He cut it down. After Mr. Armstrong died, God also gave the wcg four years to bear fruit. When the wcg failed, God raised up the Philadelphia Church to do His Work. Mr. Armstrong died in January 1986. The Philadelphia Church made the first mailing of Malachi’s Message in January 1990—exactly four years later! We planned none of this—God did the planning.

In Acts 5, Gamaliel had an important message for those in power when they persecuted Peter and the other apostles: “And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God” (Acts 5:38-39). If the pcg Work today is a human effort, it will come to nothing. But if God is behind it, no man can stop it. As Gamaliel said, those who fight against this Work will be fighting God Himself. And those who support the Philadelphia Church of God will be supporting God.

Who Has a Government Problem?

Members of the Philadelphia Church of God are being accused of rebelling against God and His authority. We are doing just the opposite! Remember Joshua and “his fellows.” Joshua had the authority problem. That is the main focus of the story. And “his fellows” follow him—not Jesus Christ! The “man of sin” is also a story of rebellion from the top. The Laodiceans are rebelling against what Christ taught in the Philadelphia era. The leaders mentioned in Malachi are being treacherous to what Christ taught through Mr. Armstrong and treacherous to members of God’s Church.

Who has a government problem? The whole battle we face is struggling to cling to Christ’s government. The Philadelphia Church of God is not leaving Christ—but many of God’s people are prophesied to do so. If you step out and obey Christ—our leader—you will have more joy and peace—not less!

We are not rebelling—we are taking a stand against those who are!

Church Unity is Coming

Laodicean leaders in the wcg don’t really understand why the pcg is so successful. They refuse to see that God is behind this Work! They have closed their eyes (Matthew 13:15). The pcg has been commissioned by God to warn the Laodiceans about their sins. The whole book of Malachi is about this commission. Malachi’s Message was revealed by God. Every human being on this Earth must eventually come to see that!

Christ said we must “knock” on the Laodicean door (Revelation 3:20). Amos and several other of the prophets discuss the commission of the Philadelphia Church of God.

Jesus Christ is behind this Work. Nobody can stop it!

The wcg must accept the message of the Philadelphia Church, or go into the Great Tribulation! It appears that 50 percent of the Laodiceans will lose their salvation (Matthew 25:1-10).

Why can’t they take God and His truths more seriously? Why must they suffer so horribly to learn to obey God?

Thank God, Jesus Christ shall return soon to rule His Church and bring it the unity it should have today.

Realize that this is all prophesied to happen. We can rejoice that the end of this age is very near.

Brethren, please study and digest this message, and pray fervently for God to guide you. Believe your Bible—not men! Your eternal life hangs in the balance.

Continue Reading: Chapter: Afterword