Chapter 3: How Satan Attacks God’s Government
There are many warnings in the Bible about rejecting God’s government. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy [Spirit] hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:28-30). The false ministers’ goal is “to draw away disciples after them.” That means they have to destroy God’s government to get His own saints to follow them! They get people’s minds off Christ and onto themselves. Then the very people Christ “purchased with His own blood” are deceived.
Notice carefully, these grievous wolves “enter in among you,” or they come into God’s own Church and devour the flock! But even worse, “of your own selves shall men arise” and lead the flock astray. Paul warned the elders at Ephesus for three years, “night and day with tears,” but they were still deceived (verse 31).
How could God’s own people be so easily deceived? “Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship” (verse 38). These people were more emotional about Paul’s departure than Christ’s warning about grievous wolves! This verse reveals flawed spiritual lives. Instead of crying over Paul’s leaving, they should have been scared to tears by his tragic prophecy of what would happen to them spiritually!
So we can clearly see the flawed character that allowed Satan to use false ministers to deceive the flock! God’s truth is dangerous knowledge. Nothing could be more serious! Our eternal lives are at stake!
Satan Uses a Man
God used a man, Herbert W. Armstrong, to establish His government in this end time. “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 truly shall first come, and restore all things” (Matthew 17:10-11). Mr. Armstrong was used by God to restore all things just before Christ’s return. He listed 18 major truths that God used him to restore. The first truth listed was government. That is the way it should be, since government is the most important doctrine of all. Without government, you can’t properly establish all of the other truths of God! Satan causes confusion and chaos if God’s government is not administered.
That is why Satan attacks government first. It was prophesied that Satan would do just that in this end time. God said the end-time Laodicean era would rebel against Him (Revelation 3:14-20). But how? As I pointed out earlier, besides the book of Revelation, Colossians is the only book in the Bible that discusses the Laodiceans.
The book of Colossians discusses the first-century Laodiceans and tells us specifically what a Laodicean attitude is really like. This means Colossians becomes a prophetic book for those of us in the Laodicean era. There is a direct connection between the book of Colossians and the book of Revelation. A Laodicean attitude in the first or last century is basically the same! (Request my free booklet Colossians: First-Century Parallels to learn more.)
“Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea” (Colossians 4:15-16). The Apostle Paul had to deal with Laodiceans, just as we do today.
These people knew that Christ used a man to lead. They forgot, it seems, that Satan uses the same method. It is only through our Head—or Christ—that we can be “knit together.” That means a very deep unity! It also means a very strong government from the top.
“Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10). None of the Laodicean groups will have this unity. They will have “divisions” and won’t “speak the same thing.” They won’t have the “same mind” and the “same judgment.” Therefore they won’t be “perfectly joined together.” This kind of unity can only be achieved by Christ using one man to lead for Him—as He did with Mr. Armstrong!
Christ is not divided (verses 11-13). But all of the Laodiceans lack the unity of verse 10! A man leads them into division and away from Christ. Let’s look at an example of how that happens.
Destroying God’s Government
Rod Meredith, after being disfellowshiped from the wcg, also started his own church. In a booklet explaining his new church’s doctrines, he wrote, “We are faithfully preaching the truths proclaimed by Herbert W. Armstrong” (Church Government and Church Unity). Later in that booklet he wrote: “If we look into the New Testament with an open mind, we find a totally different approach to government than what has developed in the Church” (emphasis mine). He is referring to God’s government taught by Mr. Armstrong! In one simple paragraph Rod Meredith swept away the government of the living God! The very government that God established, which did the greatest work ever on this Earth since Jesus Christ—in terms of numbers! The fruits prove that! And that work could never have been done without God’s government.
And yet Mr. Meredith boasts that he sat at Mr. Armstrong’s feet, which I didn’t have the opportunity to do. If you closely examine what he and I teach, you’ll clearly see who sat at Mr. Armstrong’s feet—spiritually! The above statement is from a man who would dare to say he is “faithfully preaching the truths proclaimed by Herbert W. Armstrong”! No, he is not! If you lose God’s government, all the other doctrines will be tainted! He says he is “faithfully preaching the truths proclaimed by Herbert W. Armstrong,“ yet his first booklet destroyed the most important truth Mr. Armstrong ever restored—government! And that was only the beginning!
In a January 20, 1993, letter to his church, Mr. Meredith wrote, “We must now come to understand what God really says about Church government ….”
According to Mr. Meredith, the powerful work God did through Mr. Armstrong was done without God’s government! He wrote that we are only now “really” understanding Church government. Surely anyone who saw and accepted the fruits of God’s end-time Elijah must be concerned about such an outrageous statement!
We cannot enter into God’s Family if we don’t understand Church government. Yet Mr. Meredith implied that none of us did under Mr. Armstrong!
Since government is the most important truth (it concerns the First Commandment), let’s examine what he said on page 5 of his booklet, speaking about the Sardis era. He said there was “a lot of ‘politicking’ and divisions,” but “no one felt that those people were rebelling against God.” Yet 1 Corinthians 1:10-13 say Christ is not divided and there must be no divisions in His Church! The Sardis Church he discussed was “dead” (Revelation 3:1). God’s government had been destroyed.
Mr. Meredith also indicated that shifting from one Sabbath group to another was all right, and that “Mr. Armstrong felt that way also.” Rod Meredith is either ignorant of what Mr. Armstrong taught or he is telling a dangerous lie!
Let’s read what Mr. Armstrong said May 2, 1974, in a letter to the Church: “God has only one Church on Earth, which He directs in the doing of His Work—not two churches—not many denominations and sects, and ‘groups.’ ‘But now are they many members, yet but one body’ (1 Corinthians 12:20—see also verses 12-13). ‘For by one Spirit are we all (not part of us) baptized into one body.’”
As he said, God only directs one Church to do His Work. The very reason God raised up Mr. Armstrong was because the Sardis era rebelled and refused to do God’s Work!
Through Mr. Armstrong, Jesus Christ restored the government of God—not, of course, yet over the world, but over the Church.
Now, if you don’t have God’s government, the members generally will be either “spiritually dead” or Laodicean and will not grow. The very purpose for God’s government is to help God’s people grow and do His Work (Ephesians 4:11-14).
Here is what Mr. Armstrong wrote in his booklet Which Day Is the Christian Sabbath?: “Perhaps only one lone voice is warning you! But God used one lone voice to warn the world in Noah’s day—one lone voice in Elijah’s day—one lone voice in the day of John the Baptist, and after he was put in prison, in the person of Christ Himself!”
Mr. Meredith must destroy God’s government to get people to follow him.
Mr. Meredith was suspended from the wcg by Mr. Armstrong for about six months in 1979–80. Since Mr. Armstrong had to personally suspend him, it should cause anybody to be somewhat concerned. The fruits of his life now strongly indicate what his problem was. He was rebelling against God’s government even then! Now his government problem is out in the open, where the whole Church can see it!
Is that part of the reason he rejects Mr. Armstrong as God’s end-time Elijah? Denying that Mr. Armstrong fulfilled that role is tantamount to saying his work was a fraud!
I mention his suspension for only one reason. He is deceiving some of God’s own people by destroying fundamental biblical truths that Mr. Armstrong taught. Nothing is more serious! Eternal lives are at stake! God is testing all of us to see if we know how to follow Him—not a man!
There were a “few names” in the Sardis group that qualified, in spite of their leaders (Revelation 3:1-5). But Mr. Armstrong believed even those few Sardis members, who were alive and obedient in the Philadelphia era, came and joined the wcg. Even those “few names” qualified by not looking to their deceived ministers! And just before Christ raised up the Philadelphia era of the Church through Mr. Armstrong, those people had no real work they could support. That is not so today. The pcg is doing a powerful work. God’s true Church will always follow Christ and support His Work.
Mr. Meredith said Mr. Armstrong just “exhorted” them to stay together so they could do a greater work. Older members in the wcg know that is not even close to the truth. Mr. Armstrong repeatedly told us that the wcg was the only true Church of God on Earth doing God’s Work! One of the main reasons the wcg was God’s only Work on Earth was that only the wcg had God’s government. You can’t do God’s Work without God’s government. Mr. Meredith will have that proved to him by God—since he shamefully failed to learn that most important lesson of all while he “sat at the feet” of Mr. Armstrong!
By Their Fruits
Here is another statement from Mr. Meredith’s booklet on Church government: “Mr. Armstrong knew and many of us who have studied Church history know, that in fact very seldom in its 2,000-year history has God’s Church ever had one administration, with one man in charge.” Now he is leading you to believe that he and Mr. Armstrong reasoned in a similar fashion. Actually he knows better.
It is true that God’s churches seldom were governed by one man and one administration during 2,000 years of history. But they were asleep spiritually! (see Matthew 25:1-5; Luke 19:12-27). Christ knew this would happen. That’s why He said, when the gospel is preached around the world, it’s very close to His return (Matthew 24:14). That statement couldn’t be made unless most of the other eras failed to preach God’s message around the world.
Of course Mr. Meredith is talking about those Churches of God that he is aware of—like the Sardis era—and they were “dead” and divided even before Mr. Armstrong came on the scene. Now the Laodiceans are becoming scattered, because they too have rejected God’s government. All you need to do is look at the fruits of these Churches! Christ knew His Churches would fail to get the gospel to the world. Mainly, it was because they slumbered and slept for 2,000 years!
The only Church to preach the gospel around the world, since the first century, was the wcg under Mr. Armstrong! Why? Because the Philadelphia era and the Smyrna era were the only Churches that kept God’s government. And even the Smyrna era was apparently too weak to preach the gospel to the world. Most of the other eras floundered around in division.
Mr. Armstrong clearly had charge of the wcg and preached God’s government. Now Mr. Meredith is teaching a government of man that can never do God’s Work, because God won’t support it!
Here is another statement Mr. Meredith made in his booklet: “There was never one man in charge of all these scattered groups, never any central government—though some of those groups were contemporaneous.” But look at the lack of fruits in those groups. They virtually had no real work. There is no way the great and powerful Christ was leading them. Then look at the fruits of Christ’s Work through Mr. Armstrong! Fruits clarify so much! “Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-16). Mr. Armstrong preached the gospel around the world with power! That could never have been done by divided groups who rebelled or are rebelling against God, like those Mr. Meredith talked about!
Mr. Meredith also wrote: “Each must be judged individually. Some that left were actually ahead of the main Body in understanding (not breaking up certain marriages, Pentecost on Monday, etc).”
Please read that statement again. He said ministers who left—or rebelled against the Church headed by Mr. Armstrong—were actually ahead of it in understanding! All right—where are those groups today that had that “advanced” understanding and left the wcg? Where are their fruits? In most cases they have almost disappeared! They were just rebels who never produced any real fruits! Compare their “advanced” work with what God did through Mr. Armstrong. Look at the fruits!
Anybody who says those men were “ahead of the main Body” in understanding is just in abysmal ignorance! Those who left the wcg under Mr. Armstrong may have had some technical points right, but God could never have worked through their rotten, rebellious attitudes! Their fruits prove that!
Does God Directly Guide His Church?
Here is another statement from Mr. Meredith’s booklet: “In the past, we (and I include myself in this!) have mistakenly assumed that Christ directly guides His Church so that no serious errors will ever be made and no serious doctrinal deviations will ever occur.”
That statement strikes at the very heart of God’s government. Of course we make mistakes. But God never allowed a fatal mistake to be made when Mr. Armstrong led the wcg. Christ directly guides His Church when the leaders submit themselves to Him! God has not in the past, and never will, force His people to follow Him. History shows that even most of God’s own people turned away from Him.
“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 3:8). Christ opens doors for His Work. Mr. Armstrong preached the gospel around the world (Matthew 24:14). He did that because Christ prophesied he would do so. That work proved that God “directly guides His Church”!
Christ prophesied that Mr. Armstrong would restore all things (Matthew 17:10-11). And he did. But only because Christ was directly involved. The most important truth God used Mr. Armstrong to restore was government. Now Mr. Meredith has destroyed what God restored!
Christ prophesied that Mr. Armstrong would restore the spiritual and physical families (Malachi 4:5-6). And he did. Again, only because Christ directly guided him.
Mr. Armstrong would correct people if they gave him credit for building Ambassador College. He knew Christ directly established that college. Mr. Armstrong always said that God directly established the Plain Truth and Good News magazines. He always gave God credit for directly opening doors in radio and tv and establishing local churches. That is how God directly guides His Church—if His leaders seek Him with all their heart. Mr. Meredith failed to learn the lesson of government. And because of that, his work is destined to fail.
Mr. Meredith said we need a different form of government than what Mr. Armstrong taught. Mr. Meredith wrote in his booklet, “The right church government should be ‘collegial.’ That is, it should include a broad representation of all the elders and ministers of the Church as the account we read from Acts 15 makes clear. And correct church government should always be based on a multitude of counsel (Proverbs 15:22).”
Webster’s Dictionary has only two definitions of collegial government: “1) Marked by power or authority vested equally in each of a number of colleagues. 2) Characterized by equal sharing of authority.” In our democratic Western societies, that may sound good, but it is not God’s way of ruling! And it is destined to fail.
God could never have built the work He did through Mr. Armstrong with a collegial government! And does anybody believe Mr. Armstrong could have put the Work back on track in the 1970s with such a government? At that time, most of the Church members and leaders disagreed with Mr. Armstrong! Still, God’s government was implemented and God blessed the Work abundantly! The fruits are there for everyone to see!
The government Mr. Armstrong used was far from “collegial.” Yet Christ did the greatest work through Mr. Armstrong (in terms of impact on people) that had been done since the first century! And in many ways, Mr. Armstrong’s work was even bigger—that is, in terms of people reached!
Of course, God’s leader must get a multitude of counselors to aid him (Proverbs 11:14; 15:22; 24:6). But God still holds the leader accountable for making the final decisions. It’s all done through a system of family love.
Here is what Mr. Meredith wrote about the Sardis era: “Down through history, Christ has guided His Church so that often—in fact most of the time—there were different ‘branches’ of the true Church coexisting at the same time. Sometimes it was a geographical necessity. But often, as in the Sardis era, Christ allowed His people a certain freedom of choice. Which Seventh Day Church of God would they worship with? The branch administered from Stanberry, Missouri? The one located in Caldwell, Idaho? Or the one headquartered at Salem, West Virginia? Or one of the others?” (ibid).
God’s Word tells you all of those churches were dead! (Revelation 3:1). Where in the Bible do you find “a certain freedom of choice” to decide which church you want to attend? There is no such scripture! Such choices are made only by those who are lukewarm or dead spiritually!
Mr. Armstrong was persecuted intensely by the world for saying the wcg was God’s only true Church! This happened throughout his ministry of over 50 years. Mr. Meredith, of all people, ought to know that!
Mr. Meredith continued, “And as Mr. Armstrong often said, among them were many sincere people who will be in the Kingdom of God.”
Mr. Armstrong said no such thing! And I challenge Mr. Meredith to find a quote supporting that false statement! Here is another quote from Mr. Meredith: “Perhaps before plunging into scriptural examples, I should first set the stage. Frankly there was never—in the New Testament Church—any example of a ‘Moses figure’ or a ‘Pope Peter’ who towered over the other apostles and elders, gave them orders, threatened to ‘fire’ them, etc. I cannot refer you to any scripture on this, because it is not there!”
There is some very subtle deception here. Mr. Meredith said you won’t find a strong government “in the New Testament Church.” He knew that God’s government was already clearly established in the Old Testament. (It is continued in the New Testament and we’ll prove that to you as we continue on this subject.) Like the Sabbath, for example, God’s government was already established in the Old Testament. The practice was continued in the New Testament. He was actually leading people to reject what the Old Testament teaches about God’s government. This is a Protestant approach to God’s Bible!
He knew that Mr. Armstrong never made such a distinction! Yet he said that he was faithfully teaching what Mr. Armstrong proclaimed. At the same time he was destroying the very foundation of what Mr. Armstrong taught!
Mr. Meredith didn’t believe a leader should have the authority even to threaten or fire people. Let’s analyze that and look at the fruits of Mr. Armstrong’s godly work. Mr. Armstrong had to fire other leaders in the 1970s or God’s Work would have been destroyed! And Mr. Meredith should know that better than most other wcg leaders. He was right there at the Pasadena headquarters. There is no way Mr. Armstrong could have ever put God’s Work back on track without God’s government. And look how God blessed Mr. Armstrong’s effort.
What was Mr. Meredith really saying in his government booklet? He was saying that he would rather destroy God’s government than submit to it! God’s people can’t deny the wonderful fruits of God’s government in action!
Mr. Armstrong’s Letters
I personally know that Mr. Armstrong would bend over backwards 100 times to avoid giving hard correction. Many people couldn’t understand why he wasn’t more authoritative at times. His mercy is a matter of record. But there were times that God’s government had to be implemented. He also had an advisory council of elders and he did seek a multitude of counsel. Mr. Armstrong wrote a letter to the Church on March 19, 1981. Here is an excerpt from that letter (emphasis his):
“Zerubbabel built the second temple to which Jesus came the first time. John the Baptist prepared the way before the first coming. But who was to build the spiritual temple to which Christ shall soon come the second time? Who was to prepare the way before His Second Coming?
“Remember God does things in dual stages. As Zerubbabel built the first temple of material stone, wood and other materials, he was a forerunner or type of one through whom Christ would raise up or build the spiritual temple—His Church of our time, prior to the Day of the Lord and Christ’s Second Coming. As John the Baptist prepared the way, in the physical wilderness of the Jordan River for the first coming of the human Jesus (both man and God), then coming to His material temple, and to His physical people Judah, announcing the Kingdom of God to be set up more than 1,900 years later, so God would use a human messenger in the spiritual wilderness of 20th-century religious confusion to be a voice crying out the gospel of the Kingdom of God, about the spiritual Christ, coming in supreme power and glory to His spiritual temple, to actually establish that spiritual Kingdom of God.
“Brethren, has that been done by this Church?
“Did God raise up a one-man leadership to be used by Him in building this spiritual temple and in proclaiming after 1,900 years the true gospel of the Kingdom of God in all the world—to even go to kings and heads of nations (Revelation 10:11)—in bringing the Church back to the faith once delivered? (Jude 3).
“Has this happened, in your days, and has God brought you into this prophetic fulfillment as a part of it?
“Has anyone else done it?”
Did Mr. Armstrong think one man would and did fulfill this prophecy? Absolutely! He speaks of “one,” “a human messenger,” “a voice,” “a one-man leadership”—and then ends by asking, “Has anyone else done it?” Mr. Armstrong did an amazing work—one of the greatest in the New Testament. It is simply not possible to do such a work without God’s government! Yet Mr. Meredith would like you to believe that’s how it actually happened.
Peter was in charge of the Israelites and Paul was over the Gentiles (Galatians 2:7-8). Mr. Armstrong discusses this subject too. Mr. Armstrong had to battle this same government heresy in the 1970s. Here is what he wrote to the Church May 2, 1974, in a member letter (emphasis his):
“In the Old Testament, God chose one (Moses, Samuel, Saul, David, etc) at a time, under God, because Israel was one nation in one location or area. One at the top of the human level, under God, with others under him, was all that was required to administer the principle of government from the top down.
“But in the first century of the gospel work in the New Testament, God was sending the gospel into many countries, over wide areas. So He organized His Work into two principal divisions, or areas—Israel and Gentiles. They were widely separated geographically. Communication was virtually nil, except by personal contact. Transportation was by foot, horse or muleback, or by camel or elephant, or sailboat. If Peter were the sole human head under Christ, it might take him weeks to communicate with the man next under him in Rome, if he were in Jerusalem. So God worked directly with two in separated areas. Today, if I, for example, need to communicate with Mr. Hunting or Dr. Meredith at Bricket Wood, or with Mr. Luker at Sydney, Australia, I can usually reach them in a matter of three minutes to an hour or so by telephone. Or I could reach them in a matter of hours by airplane. With such communication and transportation facilities available today, Christ requires only one, once again, directly under Him. …
“In the first century, God Himself chose Paul and committed to him authority directly under Christ, the gospel work to the Gentiles. He was not chosen apart from or contrary to or in opposition to Peter or to the headquarters at Jerusalem, as dissenters have chosen themselves, apart from, and in opposition to, God’s headquarters today. When Paul went to Jerusalem headquarters, it was by revelation from God. He communicated to the leaders there what he preached to the Gentiles, lest he might be preaching contrary to them as God led them, and thus might have been preaching in vain—as he would have been, if he preached a different gospel (Galatians 2:2 and 1:8-9).
“Paul was called separately and directly by Christ. He was not one of Peter’s sons in the Lord. He was not one under Peter who, on his own, broke away from Peter and God’s headquarters, and set himself up as head of a competing church seeking to destroy God’s Church. The dissenters today cannot claim they are following Paul’s example.”
Why can’t people agree on what God teaches about government? Because the carnal mind cannot be subject to God’s law and government (Romans 8:7). So people, who are weak spiritually, carnally reason around the government of God and cling to their self-destructive ways. Let’s continue with Mr. Armstrong’s member letter:
“You, brethren, today, all were called, directly or indirectly, through me and the government of God doing the Work of God—you are all my sons and daughters in Christ. Compare 1 Corinthians 4:14-16: ‘I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ (or who pose as being), yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.’ So far as following Paul’s example is concerned, God in person directly called and guided Paul in a way He does not you, and the turning away of the dissenters cannot be justified by any comparison with Paul, and the government of God through Paul.
“Brethren, we in God’s Church are being trained and prepared, now, to rule in the Kingdom of God during the Millennium. What kind (principle) of government are we being trained to administer?
“At that time, beginning with Christ’s coming and the resurrection, Christ will be King of kings over all nations (Revelation 19:16). Directly under Christ, over Israel—that is, all the nations springing from the 12 tribes of Israel—will be the resurrected David. Notice: ‘For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Eternal of hosts, that I will … burst thy (Israel’s) bonds … but they (Israel) shall serve the Eternal their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them’ (Jeremiah 30:8-9).
“Notice again: At the beginning of the millennial reign under Christ, God will unite Israel (10 tribes) and Judah once again into one nation, in the land of ancient Israel (Ezekiel 37:22) with one king over them. ‘And David my servant shall be king over them’ (verses 24-25). Again, ‘And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David’ (Ezekiel 34:23).
“Of course, also under Christ will be others over the Gentile nations, but God has not revealed who specifically. But, under David, God does tell us who shall rule those of each of the 12 tribes.
“Peter had asked Jesus what positions the 12 apostles would have in the Kingdom during the Millennium. ‘And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel’ (Matthew 19:28).”
God’s government of rule from the top down is so clear from the Bible. You would expect unconverted people not to understand. But what about those who have learned the truth about God’s government and then rejected it? Their future is dangerously shaky! Mr. Armstrong continues in the letter:
“Will there be others under each king over one tribe?
“Turn to Luke 19, beginning with verse 11. Jesus gave a parable to His disciples, because they thought the Kingdom of God should immediately appear in their time. (Some dissenters, like the Baptists or other Protestants, are now coming to believe it did appear then, in their hearts.)
“‘He said therefore, A certain nobleman (Christ) went into a far country (God’s throne in heaven) to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return (to Earth). And he called his ten servants (so-called lost 10 tribes of Israel), and delivered them ten pounds (British money, here representing symbolically God’s Holy Spirit, or spiritual gifts for the operations in the Work of God in the Church, now), and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his citizens (Judah—the Jews—His own to whom He came and who received Him not—John 1:11) hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom (Second Coming of Christ to rule all nations), then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he (Christ) said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he (Christ the King) said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.’ And the one who had accomplished nothing in God’s Church now, lost even that which had been given to him.
“This shows we are rewarded (not saved) according to our works—according to how much we have grown in grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ—how much we have supported God’s Work, either actively in a specific position or by our prayers, encouragement to those who do serve, tithes, etc.
“Later, from heaven Jesus said: ‘He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron’ (Revelation 2:26-27). …
“Brethren, we are in training, now, for that rule in the Kingdom of God.
“And what principle of government? From the top down. From God—it is His government—the government of God the Father. Under Him is Christ. Under Christ, over Israel, will be the resurrected David. Under David, each over one of 12 tribes, the 12 original apostles. Under each of them, rulers over cities.”
Mr. Armstrong learned from experience that you either use God’s government or Satan destroys God’s Church! And still, most of the evangelists who “sat at his feet” never learned that lesson! Let’s continue in Mr. Armstrong’s letter:
“Years ago, seeing this, and not considering the many, many scriptures charging some in the Church with authority, rulership, saying to ‘rebuke’ the unruly, etc, I took the above scriptures to mean there is no authority in the Church. I did not want to exercise authority. I was still new in God’s truth (this was over 40 years ago). So, in the early days of the parent Church of the Philadelphia era, at Eugene, Oregon, I allowed ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ to come in and sow the seeds of discord among brethren. It resulted in splitting the Church in two—possibly turning half my flock onto the way that leads into a lake of fire! God had His own way of rebuking me soundly, making me see this in its true light. Jesus here is talking about the manner in which the authority Christ delegates is used. He is not saying there is no authority.”
Earlier in this later, he wrote:
“Now notice Titus 1:4-5 and 2:15—Paul wrote to Titus (under Paul), ‘To Titus, mine own son after the common faith (even as those under me in the Work today are my own sons, directly or indirectly, in the Lord): … from God the Father (first in rank) and the Lord Jesus Christ (second in rank) our Saviour. For this cause left I (next in rank—to Gentiles—under Christ) thee (under Paul’s authority in the Work) in Crete, that thou shouldst set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders (under Titus, who is under Paul, who is under Christ) in every city, as I had appointed thee.’
“Paul gave reason, in the following verses, for government and authority in the Church—‘For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers … Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses (even as those fighting against order and government in God’s Church are doing today), teaching things which they ought not (as right now), for filthy lucre’s sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, (lazy gluttons—rsv). This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith’ [Titus 1:10-13]. And Paul adds, chapter 2:15, ‘… and rebuke, with all authority.’
“Yes, God’s government is necessary in His Church, and He put it there!
“No authority in the Church? What did God mean when He says in His Word, ‘Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account (as I know I shall), that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that (causing those over you grief) is unprofitable for you. Pray for us (those of us God has set in authority today): for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly’ (Hebrews 13:17-18).
“No government in God’s Church? Then why did God inspire this to the Thessalonians? ‘And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves’ (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13). …
“Next I said, some have become confused as to whether there is organization or government in it. I have abundantly shown text after text in the New Testament showing government and rule and authority in the Church—and I did not even quote such passages as 1 Corinthians 5, where Paul ordered the Church to ‘put away from among yourselves that wicked person,’ or 1 Corinthians 4:21, where Paul said to that Church, ‘What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?’ Without organization, the Church could never fulfill its great commission—its very purpose for being at the present time. Yes, there is organized government and rule—but the rule is in love—in outgoing concern for the good of those ruled. …
“God has only one Church on Earth, which He directs in the doing of His Work—not two churches—not many denominations and sects and ‘groups.’ ‘But now are they many members, yet but one body’ (1 Corinthians 12:20—see also verses 12-13). ‘For by one Spirit are we all (not part of us) baptized into one body.’”
Could Mr. Armstrong have been so terribly deceived about God’s government for over 50 years, and still have served God as he did? Impossible!
Only the pcg today holds fast to God’s government. The wcg and all of the other dissenting groups have one ingredient in common—all of them reject God’s government! They are leading God’s own people to perish spiritually! (2 Thessalonians 2:10). Nothing could be more diabolical!
At the wcg Feast of Tabernacles in 1972, Mr. Armstrong said, “God has always worked through one at a time …. It’s not doctrine unless Garner Ted [his son] gets it from me [Mr. Armstrong] …. God calls the Church to back up His apostle and get His message to the world …. Every doctrine has come through Mr. Armstrong from Christ.” In this end time, no other government has ever worked! And no other government ever will.
How is God restoring His government on this Earth today? Through His loyal Philadelphians. But we must love and cling to that government or God won’t use us to rule with Him in the World Tomorrow.
Satan broadcasts in feelings, moods, attitudes and emotions. Primarily these negative emotions are aimed at God’s government. That is how Satan destroys God’s government. God’s government is the most important issue to God! And it must be in our minds too! We get nowhere fighting each other. That is what Satan often causes God’s people to do.
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north” (Isaiah 14:12-13). Satan has a throne. God put one angel over the Earth. But Lucifer wanted to kick God off His throne.
Lucifer was a covering cherub. He covered God’s throne. He sat at God’s own feet, perhaps for millions of years.
Mr. Meredith told people repeatedly that he was of evangelist rank and sat at Mr. Armstrong’s feet for years. He implied that God would use someone with those credentials. Many other high-ranking Laodicean leaders use their stature to draw members to themselves. But Lucifer had more stature than most of God’s angels. He was probably the highest-ranking angel. He also sat at God’s own feet—perhaps for millions of years. All of this experience and stature didn’t stop him from rejecting God’s government!
Lucifer means “light bringer.” He was sent to this Earth to administer God’s government, and he failed.
God has given the Philadelphia Church of God some prophetic understanding that Mr. Armstrong didn’t have. But all of our prophecy is based upon the prophetic foundation Mr. Armstrong established. God didn’t reveal to him many of the Laodicean end-time prophecies. Those prophecies were to be revealed to the pcg after Mr. Armstrong’s death.
We have not changed, or even tampered with, a single one of Mr. Armstrong’s restored truths. All of the Laodicean groups, no matter how much of Mr. Armstrong’s teaching they claim to retain, have attempted to destroy the most important truth of those restored truths—government!
Still, many of them would like people to believe they are faithfully following in Mr. Armstrong’s footsteps. That is a very dangerous fraud.
Remember, God’s people are in training primarily to help God restore His government. Satan is fiercely trying to destroy that government. Let’s make certain that no man beguiles us into rejecting God’s government.