The book of James concludes with an electrifying prophecy. God has at last revealed its true meaning.
It tells us much about an end-time Elijah and some vital history of God’s Church.
“Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months” (James 5:17).
The epistle of James is for the end time. If you look at 1 Kings 17, you will see that the original Elijah prophesied about rain and drought—he didn’t pray for it. James is speaking about the end-time Elijah, who prayed about spiritual rain and drought. James is talking about a man who faced a different set of problems than did the original Elijah. In this verse, Herbert W. Armstrong prayed that it not rain—that there would be no revelation from God.
“And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit” (James 5:18).
This prophecy has been fulfilled during the Laodicean era of the Church of God.
Consider what this verse is really saying.
Mr. Armstrong fervently prayed that the spiritual rain—the revelation of God—would stop coming into God’s Church, and that it would begin again after 3½ years. In order to pray that, he must have recognized the rebellion in the Church—probably far more than we have realized. Why else would he pray that God would cut off His revelation and guidance until He raised up a new work?
Events prove that this prayer was answered. After Mr. Armstrong died, the Church suffered through precisely 3½ years of spiritual drought, and then we received rain.
The End of the Drought
Daniel 8:10-12 prophesy of a false leader in God’s Church being used by Satan in destroying God’s Work. The “daily”—the Work of God—was cast to the ground, and the truth was stopped because of transgressors in the Church. These rebels were causing difficulties for Mr. Armstrong before he died (they are described in Revelation 3:9 as “the synagogue of Satan”).
Verse 13 of Daniel 8 shows that the sanctuary (the Church) and the host (the angels supporting the loyal people of God) were both trodden underfoot! The work in God’s Church was replaced by a “mystery of iniquity,” or lawlessness. The very elect were crying out to God, How long before you cleanse the sanctuary? And in verse 14, God answers that it would be after 2,300 sacrifices—or 1,150 days. All of this is explained in our free booklet Daniel—Unsealed at Last!
This was the most traumatic time in God’s Church for God’s loyal remnant.
Mr. Armstrong died on January 16, 1986. After 1,150 days, or around March 11, 1989 (probably that exact day), God began revealing to me the truths contained in the book Malachi’s Message. In God’s eyes, it was at that point that the sanctuary was cleansed.
But look again at the prophecy in James 5:17-18.
Though the sanctuary was cleansed through God’s prophet, spiritual rain was not watering the Church immediately.
God reveals His truth to apostles and prophets (Ephesians 3:5), but that truth doesn’t rain into the Church until His man speaks to the Church.
You can see the same pattern in Revelation 11:1. When God measures His temple, first He measures the altar—then He measures “them that worship therein.” To get His message to the people, first it must go to the altar, or the ministry, when God reveals it to His man. It takes time, then, for that truth to get beyond the altar and to reach the Church.
As God was revealing Malachi’s Message, my children were at Ambassador College in Pasadena, California—my daughter, Laura, in her senior year; my son, Stephen, in his freshman year. That was where I felt they could get the best education on this Earth. But I became increasingly uneasy as I detected the wrong direction the leaders were taking God’s Church. Both of them were alerted to problems in the Church. I convinced Stephen to continue his education at the Ambassador campus at Big Sandy, Texas, closer to where I was in Oklahoma.
That summer, on his way to Big Sandy, my son visited us in Oklahoma. I picked him up at the airport and took him immediately to our July 14 weekend church campout at Robber’s Cave, Okla. (My son was keeping a diary at the time, and recorded these events.) It was a tense weekend, because I had a rough draft of Malachi’s Message with me that I had decided to share with my son. When I gave it to him on that Sabbath, he was the first to see it, and I was very concerned about how he would respond.
Some others in the Church were already suspicious about what I was doing. Stephen was also slightly unsure of where I was spiritually and didn’t read my manuscript immediately (on July 15)—he didn’t want to be accused of blindly following his dad.
We need to remember that Mr. Armstrong had provided strong leadership in the Church for 57 years. We were usually suspicious of anybody who spoke against Church headquarters—that includes me! Anybody who left the Church in that period was considered to be rebelling against God. Also, Stephen’s teachers at Ambassador College had been teaching against “heretics.”
So I waited in vain, and rather tensely, on that Sabbath day for my son to read Malachi’s Message.
Finally, my son read the rough draft ofMalachi‘s Messageon Sunday, July 16, 1989—exactly 3½ years after Mr. Armstrong died! My son was positive in what he said, but he didn’t say much. I could tell he had been sobered by what he read. The sanctuary had already been cleansed, but it took a few months before that rain began to reach beyond the altar, or ministry.
In God’s eyes, that is when the “latter rain” began (James 5:7)—with my son. At that point, the drought ended. With great relief and joy, we thanked God that He was once again revealing truth to His very elect!
Within six months, we were mailing Malachi’s Message to a large number of the Laodiceans. Revelation was again raining into God’s Church. Many of God’s people realized they had been starving and thirsting to death because of a lack of spiritual nourishment! This eternal, life-saving rain brought God’s people to the pcg.
That refreshing spiritual rain had started on July 16, 1989, with one young, unbaptized man reading a rough draft of God’s revelation.
God’s Challenge to Young People
For me to give Malachi’s Message to my son placed a heavy responsibility on him. I knew this was going to be a test for my son. When something like that happens, we have to make the right decision! Clearly, the way God viewed it, that was a far more significant moment than it would have appeared.
Young people, realize: My son really wrestled with that choice—as probably any unbaptized person would have. He loved college, yet here was his dad doing something that many members dismissed as rank rebellion! God made him choose—just as He makes each of us choose. It would have been so easy to turn away from God at that point and to miss all the blessings. But if we make the right choice, God can accomplish tremendous things in our lives! We must always strive to get ourselves out of the way and let God lead us.
Look what one person can achieve by choosing correctly and going wherever God leads him!
God began the latter spiritual rain with an unbaptized person! Is there any doubt that God can powerfully use our young people?
Clearly, such choices aren’t easy—sometimes they are the most difficult of our lives. But don’t choose wrong and then make the excuse, I did it because I’m unbaptized. That’s no excuse—that is a cop-out!
It’s easy to choose the wrong way. But the young people in God’s Church have an opportunity to choose correctly with noble and eternal consequences! What marvelous results your life will produce if you choose right!
In the summer of 1992, three years after my son made that choice, I received the understanding that Malachi’s Message was actually the “little book” spoken of in the 10th chapter of Revelation. (This truth is explained in our free booklet The Little Book.) I first delivered this revelation at our Philadelphia Youth Camp that summer. That is the only time I have given new revelation to a group of unbaptized young people. I didn’t make that choice, God did!
Is there a connection between what happened in Robber’s Cave with my son and what happened with the new revelation about the little book?
God is certainly challenging you young people to follow Him and to let Him bless your life!
Our youth have a strong connection toMalachi‘s Message—the little book. And God wants them to fully understand that!
Then look how closely this is all tied to God’s revelation of James. How much could we have understood James 5:17-18, without knowing when my son would read Malachi’s Message for the first time? Those verses would not have had the explosive impact they now have.
Mr. Armstrong is involved in our Work today in a way we had not understood before. And God is involved in the pcg much more deeply than we often think!
This is just one more reminder about who is in charge of this Church. Christ keeps showing us how our Work is tied to the end-time Elijah.
“Where is the God of Elijah?” He is extremely active in the pcg today!
The Little Book
Malachi’s Message is the seminal book of the Philadelphia Church of God. When we came to understand that it was actually prophesied right in the middle of the greatest book of prophecy in the Bible, that significantly elevatedMalachi’s Messagein importance!
If you want to identify the people of God, just find the little book of Revelation 10. It must be special to us. If it isn’t, we need to repent of that.
This is a gentle reminder of who is the Source of revelation—and who is in charge of this Church. A few people leave this Church over trivial things. They don’t understand the depth of what God is doing, or they would never walk away!
What sets the pcg apart from other churches? The revelation of God! It is raining into this Church all the time! The Laodicean churches have none of it—because of the way they treated God’s servant the Elijah! They will have to repent to escape the lake of fire.
Both of these events—the rain beginning on July 16, 1989, and the 1992 revelation about Malachi’s Message—revolved around the little book of Revelation, and God disclosing where He is working today.
Both events give us a strong idea of just what God is talking about in the prophecy of James 5:17-18.
How specific James’s prophecy is! It tells us of Mr. Armstrong’s fervent, faith-filled prayer that God would cut off revelation from His Church and then start it again 3½ years later. God answered that prayer mightily, and honored his end-time Elijah in a truly special way.
There is no question that the epistle of James is for this end time!
Read Revelation 10. It describes a very impressive angel delivering the little book, which contains a thunderous, lion-roaring message (verses 1-3). Remarkably, the Apostle John was told not to write the message down (verse 4). The label “little book” is also a prophecy that it would later be written in book form. Then verse 6 reveals that the little book initiates a time of “no more delay” (rsv)—and verse 7 prophesies of the Philadelphia Church of God winning the copyrights toMystery of the Agesand delivering that book to the world before Christ’s Second Coming. (This sequence of events is all explained in our free booklet The Royal Book of Revelation.)
The book of Revelation puts all prophecy into a time frame, or time sequence. Then, in Revelation 10 and 11, what develops around the little book is put into an extremely specific and detailed time frame.
God’s end-time Elijah died January 16, 1986. Just 1,150 days later, God revealed the heart of Malachi’s Message to me. The sanctuary was cleansed.
Then, 3½ years after Mr. Armstrong died, God began to rain new revelation (Malachi’s Message) into His Church beginning with my son—that continued the Elijah Work.
God reveals through James how Mr. Armstrong was beseeching God to stop new revelation from entering His sinning Church—and then continue to provide it 3½ years later. That is when God started raining the little book into God’s faithful remnant. We now see his prayers were fulfilled in a specific time sequence, which makes our spirits soar!
All of these events revolved around Mystery of the Ages—Mr. Armstrong’s most important book and a synopsis of the Bible. The message of the Bible was condensed into a smaller book—Mystery of the Ages. Why is this so vital? It clearly shows that the God of Elijah is powerfully alive in the pcg! The Elijah Work continues.
God makes it clear to our young and older people that we are all—each one of us—critical to the success of this Church. We are all an essential part of God’s miraculous Elijah Work. Malachi’s Message identifies us as the continuing Elijah Work. The latter rains indicate that we are the Elijah Work in the Laodicean era.
Look how God honored His end-time Elijah—before and after he died. The Laodiceans and this world must learn to honor him as God did and always will!
Verses 8-10 again bring the little book into the picture. “And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter” (verse 10). It is a bitter message because it reveals the eternal destruction that awaits so many of God’s people—but it is also sweet to know where God is and how He will bless His faithful people with understanding and revelation—and with an eternal future!
Remember, John was told not to write the message of the seven thunders. How could it be a “little book” if it wasn’t written down? Clearly this passage is describing an end-time fulfillment, when the little book would be written down. It had to be revealed to a man in this end time and written in book form so we could prophesy again! (verse 11).
God didn’t want that message revealed until the time was right, and John knew it.
Looking at James’s prophecy, I wonder how much God revealed to Mr. Armstrong just before his death that He also didn’t want written down at that time. We may be stunned when we find out how much Mr. Armstrong really knew!
The whole of Revelation 10 revolves around the pcg, Mystery of the Ages and Malachi’s Message. That leads right into Revelation 11, which also discusses the work of the pcg. Verse 2 shows how this work culminates in the Tribulation and Day of the Lord.
Notice, then, what else God ties right into the story flow here.
“And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth” (Revelation 11:3-4). Very soon, two witnesses will come from this Church with a powerful message that will shock all humanity.
We are getting awfully close to the time of these two individuals!
Clearly the two witnesses would have to come from this Church, God’s faithful Philadelphia remnant. It is striking how directly God ties their work into the work of the pcg and the little book.
I don’t know who they are, nor do you. We don’t need to speculate about it. But I believe that God put the thought in my mind that we do need to tie their work in with the little book. It certainly is interesting the way it is linked here.
We need to carefully ponder these statements.
Consider the amazing events God is orchestrating for His Church.
On March 11, 1989, the sanctuary was cleansed, and God began to do a work again. But what good would it have been if God had given that revelation to me, and it never reached the people of God? That is who the message is for!
On July 16, 1989, that little book was delivered to my son, and from there that spiritual rain began to fall in the Church—“them that worship therein.” The drought ended.
Rain doesn’t come from a man! Rain descends from above! Spiritual rain comes from God!
Whoever the two witnesses are, Christ in them will be doing that work. How could men—apart from God—possibly fulfill a job like that?
All of these prophecies are being fulfilled in spectacular detail! We are living in the most wonderful, exciting times ever on Earth! Christ is making preparations to return very soon!
God is revealing the book of James now to show that He still has not given up on the Laodiceans. He wants His very elect to deliver one last warning to them, to persuade as many of them as possible to turn back to God so they can be in His Family! My son has written a book about the fall of the wcg, including our court battle with that church, which exposes in detail where the Laodiceans went wrong and turned away from God.
I believe that book will have a strong impact on the Laodiceans and the world. It will also help the pcg finish the Work.
God is giving us the tools we need to reach more Laodiceans, because God loves His Family! How special God’s people are to Him. Virtually all of the wcg ministers, and 95 percent of the brethren, deserted God. How easy it would have been for God to say, I’ve had it with them! I’m finished with them! But He persisted and patiently waited, knowing there would be a small elect that would rise up and be measured—people who would prepare for the future—who would be ready to rule the Earth with Christ when He returned.
Notice what the Elijah section in James 5:17-18 is connected to: “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him” (verses 14-15).
God heals the sick! In 1978, Mr. Armstrong died—stopped breathing for a short while—and was resurrected physically. God heals! Of course, none of us will live forever. If God chooses not to heal you now, He will resurrect you later.
James says that God will “raise him up” because healing is actually a type of the resurrection, when that person will be raised up out of the grave and receive a spirit body!
James is not speaking primarily about physical healing—but spiritual healing!
This is ultimately about eternal life—or eternal death!
James is talking about saving lives, both now and in the future. God heals! Healways heals! He raises us up out of the sick bed, or out of the grave. This is about life—life—life! Eternal death only comes if we turn away from God.
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (verse 16). We must be praying for those among us who are sick.
Here James advocates energetic prayer. This is effectual prayer—it gets results!
Do you realize that the right kind of prayer energizes you? If you are out of energy, ask God for it, and He will energize you!
“Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit” (verses 17-18). These verses don’t refer to the original Elijah, who prophesied, not prayed. This prayer for drought and for rain again was uttered only by the end-time Elijah.
And God ties healing right into that context.
After Mr. Armstrong died, the wcg leadership changed the commission of the Church almost immediately. wcg leaders said it wasn’t a doctrinal change—but it was.
The first official doctrinal change—made in the spring of 1987—regarded healing. The Church began to claim that the stripes of Christ do not apply to healing or anointing; the leaders removed those references from their Passover service. They also claimed that it is not always God’s will to heal. In Joseph Tkach’s book called The Plain Truth About Healing, he wrote, “Some commonly cited verses about healing, at first glance, can certainly give the impression that healing is an absolute promise of God.
“For example, James 5:14-15 direct a sick person to call for the elders of the Church and to be anointed, with the promise that ‘the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up.’ Such a statement certainly sounds like an absolute promise! After all, it says, ‘The Lord shall raise him up.’
“Psalms 103:3 also sounds like an absolute promise to heal every person every time, saying God is one ‘who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases.’ Since we all know that God forgives every iniquity, it appears only logical that God also heals every disease. That seems to be what the verse says.” I would certainly agree with that! But he went on:
“But, experience proves that not every Christian is divinely healed of every disease every time.” That statement blatantly pushes aside the fact that God heals when He resurrects! “Experience proves”? Well—have you ever seen someone resurrected from the dead? That is a promise from God! Where is his living faith?
Mr. Tkach continued, “And this is true even though he has been properly anointed, and even though he has been baptized and had all his sins forgiven (as Psalm 103 says). …
“Certainly God has not promised to heal everybody every time. …
“Still, we must ask whether God has bound Himself to heal every person who has the faith and obeys Him. The answer is no, God has not bound Himself to heal everyone who has faith and obeys.”
Those are antichrist statements!
Compare that with what Mr. Armstrong wrote in the original version of The Plain Truth About Healing: “Nowhere in the Bible does God say, ‘IF it be God’s will’! This very verse, along with many others I have given you, expresses God’s will! Notice that sly, subtle IF. That is satanic!”
After being criticized over the new healing doctrine, Mr. Tkach wrote in his “Personal” in the Worldwide News, March 14, 1988, “But as the end of his life drew near, Mr. Armstrong made it clear to me that he now questioned his understanding on the use of the medical profession. But as he was in no condition to do further study, and although he had a few years earlier written in the strongest terms against any change in the healing doctrine, it was left to me to correct the misunderstanding.”
That was the same reasoning those men used to dismiss Mystery of the Ages. They didn’t provide a shred of proof! They simply expected God’s people to believe the profane assertion that, on his deathbed, Mr. Armstrong wanted to sweep aside what he had taught for most of his life! That is why God calls the Laodiceans liars (Revelation 3:9).
Surely all of us have some kind of physical affliction that we will still have until the resurrection. At that point, we will be transformed into incorruptible spirit! (1 Corinthians 15:51‑54). Is that not a healing?
Physical healing isn’t really the issue here—God is trying to save people spiritually!
Joseph Tkach died in 1995 of brain cancer. God is a God of symbolism, as you can see throughout the Bible. Was there symbolism in Mr. Tkach’s death?
The Laodiceans are sick—deathly ill! It’s like they have spiritual brain cancer. They are in desperate need of being healed spiritually. If someone doesn’t help them get back into the Family of God—even if it has to be in the Tribulation—then they will die forever!
Cancer of the brain is trivial compared to what James is trying to get across to us! He is talking about spiritual healing—and spiritual death. That is God’s primary concern!
There is a reason why God includes the specific doctrine of healing here. This is where the Laodiceans officially turned away from God. To repent, they must get back to the beginning of their rebellion. Otherwise, God cannot heal them.
We don’t have much time left to learn these lessons. Most of God’s people will have to go into a nuclear tribulation before they understand that they were dying spiritually. When the bombs are falling, they will have to stop fighting and arguing with God! If they don’t, it will be over for them.
Oftentimes, I direct the message on The Key of David to the Laodiceans. I realize that to most of them, what I say is mere words. They are proving to God that He cannot reach them with words alone. So God is going to intensify the physical curses in order to give impact to those words!
I believe that the fact that God has now revealed James portends even more serious trials specifically for the Laodiceans. Some horrifying prophecies are going to give an electrifying impact to God’s message.
Apparently, the Laodiceans need something like a Katrina—or perhaps the Great Tribulation—to shake them and make them see that they’re dying!
Thank God for the Tribulation! Without it, it appears 95 percent of the Laodiceans would die forever! What a loving God we have!
The nations of Israel are also proving that it is going to take much more than just words to influence their minds. For over 70 years, God’s Church has been warning them about the “Holy” Roman Empire and about their prophesied demise. Our main warning has been to Israel, not the Gentiles. Those warnings have not persuaded them, so God is increasing the pressure—and quickly! Look at what has happened in Israel and the world just since the beginning of the last hour in 2001! It is stunning!
What Mr. Armstrong Must Have Known
Mr. Armstrong was a man like we are—he was physical and had strong emotions. At one point, he prayed that God would let him die if He didn’t have more for him to do. In 1978, Mr. Armstrong did briefly die—and Godraised him from the dead. God brought him back to life and gave him seven more years. Mr. Armstrong accomplished more in those last seven years than in his whole life! That is absolute evidence that God is doing this work through us—and we must do it, or it won’t get done.
Mr. Armstrong was aware of the prophecy in Zechariah 3 about Joshua, who had filthy garments and a problem with a “mitre” or turban—a government problem. He thought that passage applied to his son, and in principle he was right.
But as Mr. Armstrong became more frail in his final months, he grew increasingly aware of just how deep the corruption in the Church leadership was. In the June 24, 1985, Worldwide News, he described some as being “like vultures, waiting for me to die.” He was specifically referring to his son and others outside the Church. But as it turns out, there were vultures inside as well! And Mr. Armstrong began to recognize these vultures shortly before he died!
Considering the people Mr. Armstrong was surrounded by, is it hard to imagine him praying for the revelation to cease? God’s Work was his life! What could he do but beseech God in the face of their evil deeds? He specifically prayed that God’s revelation would stop until a group of people came along that would be loyal to God and distribute His message to this world.
Do you think God wouldn’t pay attention to that prayer? He did—and even directed Mr. Armstrong in the prayer.
Mr. Armstrong knew so much! But in his frailty, he really didn’t have the strength to do any more about it. All he could do, for quite some time, was sit there and pray fervently to God. And those prayers were prophesied and answered!
Perhaps he prayed, God, obviously I have been betrayed. You need to set this right. Vengeance is yours.
Consider what Mr. Armstrong must have known in order to ask God to stop the rain of revelation in the wcg! He knew he was about to die. He must have known that his successor would betray him. He must have realized that the Philadelphia era was ending, and that the Church would become Laodicean. He must have realized that the Joshua of Zechariah 3 would gain control—and that this is how God wanted it. He had to have understood quite a bit about Malachi! In the resurrection, we may not have too much to explain to him, considering how much he knew about the rebelling Laodiceans.
Now—what must Mr. Armstrong have known to ask God to end the drought after 3½ years? That God’s Work wasn’t finished!
He must have seen that there would be a Philadelphia Church of God—a remnant of people who would remain loyal to God and would pray for that revelation. He must have recognized that there was more revelation coming. He had to have known that he didn’t fully understand about the Laodicean era—and that God would have to reveal that to another group. He also knew that two witnesses would come on the scene right before Christ’s return.
If you meditate on and believe this prophecy in James 5:17-18, you see something truly remarkable: how much God showed to His end-time Elijah in the frailty of his final days!
But in all of that revelation, God actually sought to soothe and calm him. I’m sure God was impressing on Mr. Armstrong’s mind, Don’t worry—I’m working it out this way—it is according to my plan. All you need to do is be praying about it. So Mr. Armstrong did.
God is much more interested in His people than we typically realize. What seems so casual or unimportant might be extremely important to God! He is deeply involved in our lives!
Why is God so concerned about this little group of people? Because He is intensively concerned about who is going to prophesy again! He would like to have many more people preparing to teach the world, but sadly, most have turned away. There isn’t anyone else! This Church is pathetically small compared to what it should be! We have dedicated people who really want to do the job, but we should have many more people to help.
And yet, what an honor to be doing the Elijah Work in this end time. God is explaining so much to us because of the strong tie we have with His Elijah.
James 5:6 says, “Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.” Mr. Armstrong didn’t resist them. He was probably so feeble that he couldn’t resist. But he went to the great God of Elijah and prayed fervently! There he was, lying on his death bed, and the Work of God was continuing in a spectacular, magnificent way! Look at the saving faith Mr. Armstrong exercised!
This example shows that no matter where you are or what your physical state, if you just keep this in your mind, God will do amazing things in your life. Even if you are dying. You are never out!
I saw that truth play out even in my wife. The stroke she suffered about nine months before she died incapacitated her terribly. But even in that condition, I could see evidence of God working with her, and her accepting that. I told her what a wonderful attitude she had.
Never take your eyes off God. He is famous for last-minute heroics.
It seems there may be somewhat of a parallel with what happened to Moses just before he died. God didn’t allow Moses to enter the Promised Land, but He did take him right to the top of Mount Nebo and allowed him to see the land from there (Deuteronomy 34:1-5). Mount Nebo offers quite a panoramic view. That was a nice gesture on God’s part. If you know you’re going to die, it’s only natural to want to see all you can first.
I wonder if God let Mr. Armstrong do the same. Perhaps God gave him a stronger vision of what would happen in the Church, what would happen during the Tribulation and Day of the Lord—even what would happen on into the World Tomorrow.
When I read James’s prophecy, it seems that the final weeks of Mr. Armstrong’s life were very inspiring! That is a very different picture from what I thought in the past.
The evil men who surrounded Mr. Armstrong thought they had outfoxed God’s apostle. But almost every move they made was prophesied by the great God! He put them on the stage, and their evil deeds are there for all to see—many of them known thousands of years in advance!
How magnificent and transcendent is our God!
Think about the picture of this frail old man on his death bed, having such powerful, clear, moving communication with the omnipotent God!
How much more can you and I have this fervent and effectual, faith-filled, life-saving prayer life?
How much of this life-saving faith is in your prayer? I don’t advocate getting “pentecostal”—but really getting through to God and getting results!
Mr. Armstrong did that all his converted life. But he probably reached God more than ever in those last few months.
Saving Souls From Death
“Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20). Who has erred from the truth today?
God personalizes these verses by discussing “the sinner” or “a sinner” (rsv). Many of us know individuals who have turned away from God. God is reminding us that there are real individuals out there in the gravest kind of spiritual danger. We must express our deepest love for them through this work.
God wants us to know that the apostasy within His Church places a great deal of responsibility on our shoulders! We must try to save the Laodiceans from death!
We need to take this new revelation to the Laodiceans. This is God’s beloved Family! If you contribute to this work, and contribute to bringing someone back to God, that is going to cover a multitude of their sins—and there are many terrible sins that need to be covered.
Lange’s Commentary says that multitude refers to the fullness of an entire mass, or the entirety taken as one unit. Virtually God’s whole Church has fallen away! Like many other verses in James, this dates the prophecy: It is for now, during this Laodicean age.
God puts His faithful people right in the middle of the picture.
If we deliver James’s message, it will be one of the greatest acts of love we have ever committed!
Christ talked specifically about the sinner, and a soul. God is concerned about every single one of those people! He wants to save as many Spirit-begotten individuals as He possibly can.
I am quite sure this will be the final major warning to God’s Church. There will not be another before Jesus Christ returns and God’s Kingdom is here!
It is interesting that there is no conclusion to James’s epistle. There is no amen, no wrap-up. It isn’t concluded because the story continues—the Work goes on!
The fact that there is no conclusion also dates this prophecy.
Who else could write the conclusion to this except this Church?
3 John is similarly unfinished. Why? Because we are the ones fulfilling it! We must write the conclusion! And what a conclusion it will have, if we do our job. The latter rain is still falling.
We have a towering work to do! We are working to “save souls”—physical lives, and eternal lives!
This book is a living book!
God is pouring out upon us the latter rain! He is speaking to His Church. We have not understood the depth of what James is about before. I know now what James means—because God revealed it! That’s what He does when we obey and submit! God speaks and reveals to His people!
Why is God revealing this message now? Because of the very elect—God’s people! God reveals to the faithful people who reside in His inner court. What greater honor is there than that?
How profoundly God loves His Church. He speaks powerfully when He gives new revelation. That shows how much God loves you!
Now, God says to us, I want you to love me back—and get this message out!