What cost, what price could you place upon this creating process? God has already shown the value He has placed upon our transformation, and it came at great sacrifice. It began with God sacrificing peace for over vast millennia upon vast millennia by allowing an angelic rebellion within the spirit realm. This was followed by another great sacrifice in this present age of man by the torture and killing of His own Son, who lived a righteous life, and thereby became our Passover and our High Priest. The Eternal’s sacrifice for our sake has been beyond what we can begin to grasp or fully appreciate, and He has had great patience for His greatest work yet of creation — Elohim (the Family of God). What is our cost and our sacrifice in comparison? It is so very small.
It is relatively easy for the human mind to magnify the suffering in life that we experience, and although all suffering is distasteful and at times seemingly impossible to bare, the reality is we can bare it, but how we bare it determines what we become, even in God’s Church.
In the last post, I said I did not know if it might be my last in this age, but here is another one — another blessing we can receive from God as we willingly participate in God’s creation into Elohim through the continuing process of the transforming of our mind. Much of that transforming process is delivered in large part through sermons, posts, and other communicated information that God gives to us. The end result of such transformation is truly glorious, awesome, and far beyond our ability to fully comprehend, but what we do see is so incredibly exciting and inspiring.
There are times, probably far more than most (just as a simple reality), I have felt great weight and concern for God’s people concerning the day of Christ’s coming and of his standing once more on the Mount of Olives. But then God helps me bring that “into check” and proper focus by giving me to know that His love is so very much greater and mine is so very, very, very small in comparison and that His people are fully in His power to deliver. Just thinking about how we could even have such pressing concerns or weight sounds so foolish when we see it in this proper perspective, but we are still very human indeed. Christ also makes it clear that he will carry that which we simply cannot and that by such faith and understanding, our weight is not heavy at all.
The reason I mention all this is because we are two weeks from Pentecost 2013 and no physical consequences of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Trumpets have yet been made manifest. To the normal human mind this can carry great weight and concern, especially if we consider May 27th of last year; but we are to put it into a proper perspective of what God is doing, along with the knowledge that God is in full control. So with that perspective and no burden of weight to carry, today I still wait and I look for those things to become manifested from those Trumpets before Christ’s coming. It is with this that I must pause and explain what I have been blessed to see over the past few weeks that has given me greater peace and a growing excitement on a spiritual plane that is beyond anything (in maturity) I have experienced in the past. Just as a few have written and stated the inspiration they have received recently as they have recalled Herbert W. Armstrong stating, “When it is all said and done, we win.” He explained how he had good news because he had read the book (the Bible) to the end and it says (paraphrasing the Bible) “we win.” It is within this context that I am going to explain the excitement and inspiration I have in terms relating to where we now are in time.
Our senior evangelist, Johnny, recently referred to “patterns” in the sermon he gave. There are patterns we can observe and learn from concerning how God is working in the Church and in the world. After the apostasy, this matter of patterns had a lot to do with how God worked with us to teach and lead us as a remnant of His people.
Over the past few posts, God has given me much greater insight into His creation process at work in His Church through the time of His final 3 ½ year witness (living testimony) and His judgment concerning this world and the Church that was scattered. In this end-time, we have learned much more about God than we already knew or fully understood, and God has given us more of both (knowledge and greater understanding). As the Church, we have lived a strong revelation of the Seventh Thunder, but the world hasn’t yet experienced this.
As we focus on what we have gone through during this time of witness and then this additional prophetic Day of the Eternal, there are patterns and truth (reality) we can draw upon to see and learn much more, for we have been living what God has given to His Church. Before this period of time of the final witness even began for God’s Church, God began drawing larger numbers into it to become part of His work and witness in this final time of the Day of the Eternal, as well as being part of the witness (living it) of those first 3 ½ years. Over this period of time, God was going to do something new (a special witness) and mold (build and fashion) something new that has not existed in the same manner or to the same degree as in the past. Look at our recent history.
Although we have not fully understood it, it was given to us from God that we had come to the end of Laodicea once we had come to the time that the 3 ½ years of final witness were to be fulfilled. God revealed that we had entered a different time for God’s Church, not one identified as one of the seven eras, but one that would be part of God’s final witness. It really is so awesome when you see it! What did God do?
The remnant out of Laodicea — those brought to repentance from that era — remained small and of similar size for years, even as there were continuously those who would leave and others who would come. Then something changed. God began to stir up interest in a book entitled, 2008-God’s Final Witness, and through that process God began to draw larger numbers to live into that time of 3 ½ years of witness and still more were called once it had begun. We grew so fast that in our current state of organization (at that time) we were overwhelmed and began to address needed changes that led to a much stronger means of caring for God’s Church, including those who were being called to participate in a powerful witness about this age of mankind.
God enabled us, as a very small group, to be able to send out approximately 750,000 books into almost every country of the world, with another 1,500,000 books downloaded from our website, which have all been translated from English into six other languages. We cannot know the number of people who have read these books, but it was all about God’s witness and a matter of His work. God could have chosen a much smaller number to be sufficient for that portion of His witness (testimony), but this is what He did. It is God’s work.
As only God does the calling, one can look at the numbers of those called at any time to see what God is doing. Over the past few decades, this pattern reveals much about specific moments in time and reveals much about what God is working out at that time. We are to learn from such things. One can learn a great deal about how God was building the Church through the time of Mr. Armstrong that gave real encouragement and strength to him as His apostle by God giving growth to the Church at the rate of 30 % per year through His calling. That is an incredible rate of growth to experience in an organization over such a long period of time. God was doing a great work that was to go out into all the world in a powerful manner and that was accomplished by the kind of financial strength that was given to Mr. Armstrong to accomplish God’s purpose of Mat. 24:14.
Then this pattern changed throughout Laodicea as there were great fluctuating changes that occurred at different times (of which there is not time to go into that now). Just before we entered the time of the final 3 ½ years of witness, and then increasing even more toward the beginning of that period of time, there is a pattern that reveals God had strong purpose for increasing our numbers in a manner of giving incredible growth in size, and then just as abruptly God decreased that pace dramatically by calling fewer and fewer the closer we came to the end of this 3 ½ year period. There are awesome things to be gleaned from all of this, but the primary one is to recognize and remember that only God the Father does the calling, and it is evidence of that which establishes a pattern from which we can learn much as is being covered in some of this post.
So what occurred in the lives of those who have yielded to God’s calling through that time of witness? As you step back and look at it with the focus on that aspect, it is beautifully inspiring. As a prelude to the new age of the Kingdom of God reigning on earth, God is revealing as a witness concerning His Church what He has molded, fashioned, and built within His Church at this unique time when 6,000 years is being brought to a close. It is a witness against Satan and the demonic world, and in contrast, it is a witness to the glory, power, majesty, and creative excellence of God Almighty. This is so powerful and awesome because this witness has occurred at a time when Satan’s deceptions upon the world in the form of spiritual Assyria, spiritual Egypt, and spiritual Babylon have reached their pinnacle of evil influence over this world. Now, Satan’s way — his system — is starting to implode upon itself, while God’s way — and the witness of it — has become so very spiritually strong in His people that they are now filled with great faith on a scale and in a manner never before revealed within the Church.
I have witnessed — we have witnessed — maturity and spiritual strength living in a physical spirit begotten people on a level not seen before in God’s Church. Though we have been blessed to witness it and to have been living it, it is not something to be lifted up by, but to be humbled to know we have been so blessed to experience such power at work in the Church — in us — for this is the fruit and result of Christ and His Father’s work in the Church.
What is being said here? There has never been a time in history where people have been given so much spiritual insight as they are now, nor over such an incredibly short space of time. Not only are the tools available to quickly and easily dispense such a large amount of knowledge from God, but never before has so much spiritual knowledge (truth) been available to God’s people. God’s plan being carried out through progressive revelation has been to bring the Church to this time and prepare us for the most incredible time of all — the time for the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth and a new age for mankind in the Millennium.
At this end-time, Satan has been lifted up with some of his greatest pride ever as he believed he had dealt a powerful death blow to God’s Church from the time of the apostasy. However, this has only been a service to us since that time, and it will only serve over the next 1,100 years to strengthen God’s people due to the lessons that have been magnified as a result of the apostasy. One of the greatest lessons is that a person who is begotten of God’s own spirit can be easily lifted up with pride by the vastness of the wealth of knowledge God gives His people, and those spiritual riches can be mistakenly thought of as coming from self. Another powerful lesson that is magnified by the apostasy is that no one can let down spiritually, become lukewarm, and then expect that God will continue dwelling in them. There is no meaningful commitment in a spirit that is lukewarm about their calling, and God cannot and will not dwell within, nor work His new creation in such a person’s life. These are great lessons not grasped before the apostasy occurred, but now carry great meaning and motivation for God’s people.
God’s remnant Church has learned these lessons well. As a result, by the means God has used to magnify a singular unified message to His people with a vastness of truth never before revealed on such a level, God has refined His people through fire that has been unique to this end-time through the very truths He has revealed. Over this period of such a short time of witness, God has more quickly fashioned and produced a powerful living faith through His spirit working in us. As it was with the apostasy, Satan believed he would destroy us, especially over this period during the past five months, when he and his demonic army were allowed to have power to wreck havoc, pain, and torment upon God’s people. Why would our Father who loves us so very much allow, and not just allow, but open the door for Satan, giving His permission to do this to His own people? To understand this is to become even stronger in faith and gratitude for living at this time to witness (to live) this to God’s great purpose. As for Satan, as always, he does not get it. He does not understand the power of spiritual faith that God can mold and fashion in the mind of those with whom he is transforming.
The Witness of Our Life
Can you grasp the sheer awesomeness of what we have been blessed to live? How much more could be stacked against a people so that they could so easily be scorned, ridiculed, and mocked by the world, so easily scorned by God’s Church that was scattered after the apostasy, and so easily scorned by Satan himself? Even before we entered the time of our “witness,” it was openly declared who the two end-time witnesses were. This revelation alone painted a giant target on ourselves because this sounds so outrageous and preposterous to others. Yet that was minor compared to the fact that one was a woman, and then secondly, that they were husband and wife. In the eyes of others, how “far out” does that sound? Then before it had actually begun, God revealed the truth that Jesus Christ would be returning on Pentecost instead of on the Feast of Trumpets as we had believed, and it was then announced that all our timing was now pushed forward by about eight months. God could have revealed this well before, but for the very purpose of what He was working out concerning His Church, He revealed it later.
God’s people will follow Him wherever and however He leads them, and all this is a matter of our living by faith and truth that God reveals to us.
We could list many other things that are seemingly preposterous to others about what we believe (as with women ordinations), what we have taught and followed, but you should get the point of all this by now. Yet there is one more thing that needs to be added. The “topping on the cake” or the crescendo to all of this is that the one leading this group is in prison, having been convicted of purposely evading the payment of taxes to his government, which is so very untrue, and those items picked out to prove the case were twisted, untrue, and conjured up to paint a picture that was also false. This has happened throughout time to God’s servants and even to His own Son. So yes, we have been made an easy target for the Church that was scattered, for this world, and for Satan himself. But that is exactly what God has purposed in order to reveal the Seventh Thunder in a manner that will, in God’s time, shake this earth!
Considering what has taken place over these past five months with Satan attacking God’s own Church, and that God gave him free reign to do this to the people He loves so dearly, reminds me of God’s conversation with Satan when He said to him, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one who fears God, and eschews evil?” (Job 1:8). God then allowed Satan to move against Job in a very devastating manner.
What did this matter of God allowing Satan to attack Job accomplish? It produced deep spiritual conversion, understanding, and living faith that Job had not known before. The same has been accomplished in an even more powerful way within the Church. This account about Job established a story that carries incredible lessons and spiritual inspiration that can be received from it. And we are still learning because what has been allowed to be upon us has produced much, much more in the lives of many, and this has established a powerful witness to the glory and power of God due to His producing and fashioning such a creation within His begotten Family — minds that have been transformed that have lived incredibly strong faith and have exercised such focus of purpose to fulfill God’s will against the strongest of adversities, mockery, and attacks from Satan and his demons over such a long period of time. What happened to Job has happened to the Church in a much greater way and for a far greater purpose.
As I am writing this, I am truly moved as I consider the product of what God has created because I have never witnessed such a powerful thing in God’s Church to this time. It is a testament to God’s power to mold and fashion each of us in such an awesome way. During the apostasy the Church had grown horribly weak spiritually and was so very lukewarm that God spewed out the entirety of the Church and ceased to dwell in it. The Church had become an easy target for Satan and the demonic world. This time, over the past 5 months, it appeared to Satan (from his viewpoint), as it did to all who have mocked and ridiculed God’s Church, that we were easy targets and would be defeated, but none of these grasp the level of faith, perseverance, and steadfastness that God had molded and built into His people. Candidly, God’s people are strong in faith, as this past period of five months now testifies. It is from the work of God and Jesus Christ! Over the past couple of months, the cards and letters I’ve received echo that faith in such a powerful way, as so many have shared their personal experiences of strong trials and attacks while on the other hand relating the incredible ways in which this has made them so much stronger.
Just stop and consider how people in the Church went through great adversity as they approached May 27th and then moved forward through that time and on into another year — the Day of the Eternal. Then in your own life, consider the changes that have taken place that have made you stronger, bolder in confidence, and more deeply determined to fight on to live God’s way of life in God’s Church — not to some specific date, but throughout your life. We have gone through great fire and testing over this period of time that has made us what we have become and has produced in us a much stronger faith and boldness in God’s way — in His truth. We have grown to shrug off what the world thinks of us and are far more concerned with what God thinks. We are a family — God’s Family — that He has chosen, molded, and refined.
Less Than Two Weeks
Today, as I continue to write this post, it is now two weeks to Pentecost. In the back of my mind I have had concern about how well God’s Church would do if there is more that will be revealed to us (more to learn and have molded in us) if Christ does not return on this Pentecost. Today, I am not concerned, but I am bolder, more confident than ever, and filled with the strongest faith yet concerning God’s perfect creation that He is working in His Church. We live by “what is” and we do not panic and we do not fear the “what if’s.” We know we are on the road to Pentecost and that Christ will return on Pentecost — “a” Pentecost — whatever Pentecost God so determines. My hope is that it is still this Pentecost of 2013, but I also know we could be given more from God — much more — that we do not yet have.
I also know that whatever God gives us and whenever He gives it that it is what is best for us and it is what is true, as we are ever growing in greater truth the more God reveals to us. He is the Creator and He molds and fashions us according to His perfect will. Even as Christ said, “My sheep hear my voice and they follow me.” I hear his voice and am following him as I always have (by God’s grace, favor, and design), and I have the peace to know that everyone who is beside me is doing the same thing. In contrast to that, I also know that those who are not beside me will be as those who have recently left and no longer hear Christ’s voice. We can only fight for this way of life by our own individual choice and determination before God, and we cannot give it to anyone else, but we are so incredibly thankful for all the others who make the same choice and continually press forward in the same Family together. That is where our peace is. If someone chooses otherwise, then I feel badly for their choice and I know they will pay a horrible price in this world for such a choice, but I do not need to carry any of that for them because I cannot.
What I see today in God’s Church truly moves me and excites me so much so that whether Christ comes now or later, God’s people have awesome times before them. God has not only strengthened His Church with powerful faith, but He has refined it by making the gold more pure by removing the dross — both done in the same refining fire! We have grown in much greater faith, unity, and purpose of spirit, unlike that which led to the apostasy as the love of many was waxing cold. The love of many today is waxing hot. We are so blessed to have gone through such refining fire and to have become such a strong Family! I find it difficult to explain in words how grateful I am to have seen this in God’s Church, to understand it, and to be a part of it with each of you.
Brethren, it is easy for the natural carnal spirit that seeks self justification to find fault with prophecy and those things written in 2008 — God’s Final Witness. All prophecy is written in such a way that it lends itself to being picked apart with human reasoning, but it is from God and it is based first upon that which is spiritual and only God can reveal what it means, just as with all truths that God must reveal to the human mind by the power of His spirit. All prophecy will come to pass in exactly the way God purposes to fulfill it, and it will come to pass in His time. We learn from that process as we do in the revelation of all truth. We have lived the 3 ½ years of witness God gave for His two witnesses to establish in that final witness. Is our job over (of the two witnesses)? Not yet. How long will it go? My hope and present belief is it will continue up to May 19th, as far as living in this physical life, but on that day our work will certainly continue on in greater purpose and power, regardless of being human or spirit.
The Prophetic Day
We have also lived in a prophetic Day of the Eternal. It is my hope that there is only one such prophetic day in scripture that must be fulfilled, but I also know there can be more if that is God’s will and purpose that He is working out. As with God revealing the meaning and identity of Melchizedek during the Feast of Tabernacles in 2005, I now have even bolder confidence and inspired faith that if there is more work before us, God will show what it is.
The world can easily move into WWIII before May 19th, requiring God’s intervention to prevent mankind from self-destruction. I still watch (physically and spiritually) and wait upon God to fulfill His word and His promise of Christ’s coming. For the sake of this world that is held captive and is in bondage to Satan’s ways, I hope and pray Christ returns this Pentecost of 2013. If it is not, we will go forward and God will reveal far more to us about the greater purpose He has as to what we are to live.
God has brought us to this time. Whatever comes to pass, God has prepared us for it. We are strong in faith, of good courage, and we are Family.