When Herbert W. Armstrong died, Dr. Hoeh declared that seventh candlestick had been lit. That means Laodicea officially began immediately.
Nearly four years later, Malachi's Message to God's Church Today began to sound alarm: something wasn't kosher in God's Church! It exposed a corrupt ministry intent on destroying Worldwide Church of God's foundational doctrines, and urged brethren to hang on for dear life to what God had given us through His end-time Elijah. We were encouraged to get a grip, while others were losing it (Revelation 3:11).
Those who were of God heard what Spirit said to Churches through Malachi's Message. Those who weren't of God quickly lost it (God's truth) and slipped further and further into darkness. That darkness was disguised as a "new light of understanding" (II Cor. 11:14). The true members of God's Church responded to His call and came out of that decadent organization. Those who remained behind became SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN.
They were no longer God's Church! You can't reject God's truth for demonic doctrines without becoming a part of "Mystery Babylon" (I Cor. 10:21; II Cor 6:14-18). All this has been quite revealing (I Cor. 11:19)!
God knows end from beginning (Acts 15:18). He prophesied a great falling away that would leave few standing. The BIG ONE has hit and shaken God's Church to its core! But isn't it possible to know truth without knowing Truth (II Tim 3:7). God's calling us to a deeper love and conversion (I John 3:18). Isn't God's truth a means to an end? Didn't Mr. Armstrong fear some just "DON'T GET IT?" That too many were only converted to our doctrines? The doctrines are meant to help bring us closer to God by having a better understanding of His Will, but only a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will save us! We need Christ's teachings, but we need God Father and Jesus Christ even more! Only they can establish us and secure our salvation (II Thess. 2:13-17). You can have all understanding in world and still fall short (I Cor. 13:2).
Remember Solomon? Just because you know God's truth, doesn't mean you know Him! (Job 42:5; I John 2:4) You're not going to be judged by how much you know, but by HOW MUCH YOU GROW! By how much you apply what you know, becoming more Christ-like, more Godly, more representative of God's Kingdom, here and now (James 1:22; John 13:35). A system can't save you and ritual is no substitute for a relationship! (II Tim 3:5)
Malachi's Message Still Applies!
Whereas Worldwide was physically rich, aren't we in danger of feeling spiritually rich and self-complacent (Amos 6:1)? Ancient Israel had God's holy days; didn't eat pork, etc. But it didn't keep them from going into captivity! (Amos 5:21). It wasn't enough! Worldwide doesn't feel sufficient, they feel so impoverished they go to Babylon for help! We're ones who feel safe and secure! Who said we can let our guard down? We're commanded to REMAIN ON HIGH ALERT until Christ comes! (Luke 21:34) Yet some are failing to continue to apply Malachi's Message (Rom. 2:17-21). God's refining process isn't over! (Dan. 12:10; Isa. 48:10)
Let's see to it that Philadelphia Church of God (Judah) doesn't go way of Worldwide Church of God (Israel)! These biblical principles still apply: don't put undue trust in men; work out your own salvation, it's not a group affair; beware scholarly approach that demands you rely on men - not God's Spirit or personal Bible study. And God help us to look past Petra (though it's important), to focus on His Kingdom (Luke 21:36; Isa. 33:17) To survive Holocaust is one thing, to enter God's Kingdom is everything! (II Pet. 1:10-11).
Beware of Emperor Worship!
What's greatest false doctrine to come out of Babylon? The nefarious idea of a DIVINE EMPEROR! Nimrod had put himself in God's place! He had people depending on him for all their answers and protection. Today, we have such MEN "playing God" in Church! (Nahum 1:11; II Thess 2:3) There's nothing new under sun. Unlike Moses, who wished that all God's people were prophets (Num. 11:29), Nimrod felt threatened by any "competition." He dealt cruelly, in a jealous rage, with those who opposed his haughty position. God used Shem to put him back in his place! Leaders are ordained of God; they do have a definite place, but it's NOT in Holy of Holies (II Chron. 26:18)! They're intruding in God's business, and trespassing on His sacred ground, when they get out of line and overstep their bounds (Zeph. 1:9; Exodus 19:12; Col. 2:18). Away with emperor worship! It's soon to sweep Europe, but we don't need it in God's Church. Not if we want to remain God's Church!