Quote-miners rejoice! I've recently read over a forgettable little speedbump in the Armstrongist library. The title of the booklet is "Are We Living in the Last Days?" copyright 1971, 1973. I cannot determine who the author is, specifically. It only claims to be from Ambassador College. No doubt someone out there knows. Certainly it was not Herbert Armstrong himself. But I think you'll enjoy some of the quotes recorded therein all the same.
The opening statement contains this quote:
"How can you KNOW whether this really IS the end-time generation? Can you PROVE it?"
I would like everyone to keep in mind that throughout the entire history of the Radio/Worldwide Church of God, the claim was that we could know prophecy and its fulfillment (including timing) for sure! The claim was always that this information was revealed by God, transmitted on authority of God Almighty, and is sure! Failure to act upon it meant your eternal life was forfeit. These were by no means mere claims of "maybe" or "could be". They were SURE!
Bear that in mind.
“You are living in the time of the end. But people have said that for centuries, haven’t they? Yes, they have. And, surprisingly, we say it again today. You are living in the time of the end – at the close of an age.” P.7
An absolute claim. Remember - it's sure and you can prove it.
“Throughout history men have been jeering at the proverbial picture of the eccentric, slightly mad, self-appointed ‘prophet of doom’…” p.7
Because a false prophet can only be a person who is wild in appearance, and slightly mad. Not at all like the respectable people in suits and limousines like you see in Herbert Armstrong's entourage. Clearly these men are for really real prophets.
(II COR. 11: 14) For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.
On p.8, the author points out “perhaps the most famous” false prophet, William Miller. The very William Miller from whom Herbert Armstong’s church is descended.
It is astounding to me that the past cannot be changed, but these men always acted as if it never happened.
The connection between the Worldwide Church of God, the Seventh Day Adventist church, and William Miller's Adventist group is a matter of historical fact. Easily provable. Still they flatly deny it. This is plainly a lie; a deception; an untruth.
William Miller started the "Christ is coming soon" Adventist movement in the 1840's. Though he twice failed, in an event known as "The Great Disappointment", his movement forged ahead never the less. (Sound familiar?) Into that group, in the latter 1840's, came James White and Ellen G. Harmon (aka Ellen G. White). They ran the show in this Adventist group until one fateful night between September 28th and October 1st, 1860, during the meeting where the church was deciding to take the name "Seventh Day Adventist", one Gilbert Cranmer, an elder in the church, broke away because he could no longer accept Ellen G. White's visions. Gilbert Cranmer started his own church that later became known as the "General Conference of the Church of God - Seventh Day." It was within this break-away church that Herbert Armstrong became a preacher, and elder, and a leading member of church government; only to break away and form the Radio Church of God (1934, 1946) which later became known as the Worldwide Church of God (1968).
This is a matter of documented, historical fact. The Worldwide Church of God IS an offshoot of the Seventh Day Adventists. And a descendant of this very William Miller whom it here derides as false.
They are descended from a false prophet.
“So, all these people have something in common. They were all wrong. Not one of them was right. The end of the world hasn’t come yet. The world is still going along on a kind of disequilibrium. But, going along nonetheless.” P.10
At this point, 1971/1973, Herbert Armstrong had been precisely one of “these people” for just shy of 40 years already. His own false prophecies started in the early 1930’s. Read the Plain Truth magazine, June/July 1934, paying close attention to page 3, and see for yourself how Herbert Armstrong plainly taught that Jesus Christ would return in 1936!!
What is even more egregious is that this booklet was written right smack in the middle of the "1975 In Prophecy" debacle! January 1972 was supposed to be the start of the 3 1/2 year Great Tribulation leading to the return of Christ. This booklet was started in 1971, in 1972 the prophecies failed, prompting Herbert Armstrong to write a horrendous redaction letter, and in 1973 - not one year later - this booklet was released.
I want you to read more about the 1972 failure in this article "All Systems Are Go!"
“But the time has come to silence this doubting, skeptical and cynical attitude. God says the time HAS COME FOR ALL THESE PROPHECIES TO BE FULFILLED…” p.42
In 1971, 1973?? I wasn’t even born yet! I’m fairly certain that if the end had come, I wouldn't be writing about it. Nor either would you be reading this.
“For centuries a wily and crafty adversary of God (Satan the devil) has sent his false prophets to delude man into expecting the imminent return of the Messiah. Always there has been a letdown. Christ did not show up when these self-appointed ‘prophets’ said He would.” P.42
And there’s absolutely no difference in this instance.
Yet men such as Ron Weinland, Gerald Flurry, Dave Pack, Rod Merideth, John Ritenbaugh, Harold Smith, etc, etc, etc, continue on as if none of this false prophecy mattered... or happened.
1972 never happened. Nothing to see here.
“Consequently, people have become doubtful that Christ really will ever return. This is exactly what the devil has desired! Because when God’s true servants stand up to announce the immanency of Christ’s return, a ‘once bitten, twice shy’ public will not believe it! They’ve been ‘had’ too many times!” p.42
I wonder. I just wonder... is this an admission of guilt, craftily disguised as a warning? One of those “If I tell them my plan, they won’t believe it” sort of things? Something to ponder.
“God’s Word plainly says, ‘Watch therefore, FOR YE KNOW NEITHER THE DAY NOR THE HOUR WHEN THE SON OF MAN COMETH’ (Matt. 25:13). This Work has never set an exact date for the return of Christ!” p.43
Nooooooooooooooooo. Never. Except when they set 1936, 1936-1954, 1972, 1980, and etc, etc.
We're the good guys! Not at all wild-looking like a real false prophet. Trust us!
If you read "All Systems Are Go!" you will know why they included this disclaimer about setting exact dates.
The key here is the word “exact.” It’s deceptive to make claim after failed claim, then weasel out of it by saying “I never set an exact date.” Notice how God never set exact dates in the Bible either - so this excuse is void. But I tell you this - Herbert Armstrong made precise statements again and again and again. Only by the sheer volume of claims could a person possibly find one that appears to have come to pass. The great majority failed on their face!
The problem in 1971/1973 was that no one had assembled any accurate record of what was claimed in the past. Through the blessings of the Internet, we can see that now. Just glance at this list of 209 failed prophecies for one example.
“Though we cannot know the precise day of the return of the Messiah, we can know the approximate time in history – “THE TIME OF THE END.” P.43
You can? Then why didn’t you? Remember, this booklet was written in 1971/1973.
I'm not saying no one can. Perhaps it is possible. But I would go so far as to say no one has. And that most certainly includes these people!
“As John the Baptist prepared the way for the first coming of Jesus, this Work is preparing the way for his second arrival! (Mal. 4:5-6.)” p.43
You should be fully aware that Jesus arrived during John the Baptist’s ministry.
And now we sum it all up with this final quote:
“Is this the wild-eyed ranting of another ‘sect’? Or is this the message of the WORK OF THE LIVING GOD? You can prove it. Your eternity could depend on it! Your immediate future will surely depend on it. This is the End Time! Yes.” P.44
Yes. You can prove it. How?
(DEU. 18: 22) “When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.”
Simply ask yourself – did Jesus return in 1971/1973 or its immediate future? No. Case closed. There is nothing more to discuss. And, yes, your eternity could depend on this.
Current members of any Armstrongist group - any Church of God that descends from Herbert Armstrong or his teachings - I implore you -- take this seriously to heart and get out of there as soon as you can! Don't bury your questions. Ask them! These are not light matters to be brushed under a rug. Take this to heart and meditate on it.
If you have left, know for a fact that you are not alone. There is help for you. Just look at this list of supportive documents, kindly assembled by Que on your behalf. There are many people pulling for you. Contact me, I will personally see to it that you get the help you need.