Worldwide All Over Again?Written by David Ben-Ariel
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!
I RODE BY MY OLD HOME CHURCHWritten by Irvin L. Rozier
Jeremiah 6.16 "Thus saith LORD, Stand ye in ways, and see, and ask for old paths, where is good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, we will not walk therein."
Today, Wednesday, July 12, 2005, I rode by my old home church, Youmans Chapel. Seeing church brought back many fond memories.
The year was 1959, and I was in second grade. The members of Youmans Chapel Baptist church called my Daddy, late Rev. A.J. Rozier, to be their pastor. This small country church was located in a farming community and congregation was made up of some down to earth folks. We sang hymns out of old hymnal...I can still hear song leader say, "Get your song book and turn to page 57 and let's all sing Amazing Grace like we mean it." Some of other songs that still ring in my ears are "On Jericho Road", "Camping in Canaanland", "Just a Little Talk with Jesus", and "I'll Fly Away". Several of congregation could really sing and piano player sure could rattle them keys. Back in those days, we didn't have nurseries and such, so babies and all little children sat with their parents. Daddy was a bi-vocational preacher...he also sold furniture. He knew that God had called him to preach and pastor at Youmans Chapel. I can see him now, standing behind that wooden pulpit, delivering a message to hungry congregation...a message straight from throne of God.
We had a few small Sunday School rooms, but we had no social hall. The sanctuary was not air-conditioned, so we used those hand-held cardboard fans to ward off heat of hot Georgia summertime. We did have two gas space heaters for cold of wintertime. After all week revivals, we would have Sunday dinner spead on tables set up under towering pine trees. Man, there sure was some good home cooked food and deserts at those Sunday eatings! After dinner, we would go back into church and have special singing. I immensely enjoyed hearing those good old gospel songs even though I was a small child. Daddy preached at Youmans Chapel until mid 1965, and then was called to another church. The Lord called Daddy home in 1966..he was 40.
Some of families who attended Youmans Chapel were kin to each other, and to Mr. Youmans, who donated land for church. I fondly recall Carters, Youmans, Eatons, Godwins, Howells, Pittmans, Bowens, Moores, Battens, Dowlings, Harpers and Bryants. All these folks hold a special place in my heart. Sister Margaret Bacon played piano, and her husband, Gene, was a close friend of my Daddy's. Those two could really sing, and they had beautiful children. Brother Gene and my Daddy are now singing around throne.