Saturday, June 25, 2016

Brexit - Were the COG Prophets Right?

One day after the Brexit vote, various Armstrongist leaders, prophets, and talking heads are publishing mostly pre-written statements about the future implications of Britain leaving the EU. For a good idea on what they're already saying, read Banned by HWA article "Was He Right?" Years ago, it was foretold that Britain would leave the EU, then Germany would rise and enslave us all. All of Armstrongism watched the Brexit with great anticipation, hoping after decades of worrisome prophetic failure that finally they can hold their heads high and say with confidence, "We were right!" It's a much needed boost of confidence for an ailing system.

But we have to ask - were they right?

Let's briefly review some of the details that are being left out in all this rush to proclaim victory over the mapping out of the end times.

Don't forget for one moment that Armstrongism comes out of Ellen G. White's Seventh Day Adventist movement, and that was born in the prophetic failures of William Miller. A long and storied past of false prophecy is in the DNA of Armstongism.

Herbert Armstrong, “the founder, Pastor General, and spiritual and temporal leader” of the Church of God on earth had barely just incorporated the Radio Church of God (later the Worldwide Church of God) when he began publishing his false prophecies that Christ would return in 1936. He did it again in World War II. And again in the early 1970s. Then Christ was to return in the 1980's. Then by the end of the 20th century. But he never once even hinted that he might be wrong. Instead, he claimed no association with being a prophet at all. Those exceedingly detailed claims spoken under the authority of God were all just educated guesses, in effect. Then he tried to bury the past. People were told to burn the old material which contained the errors. All then proceeded as normal with new predictions. "All Systems Go!"

This pattern of false prophecy and cover-up continues to this very day under the guidance of Herbert Armstrong's many "one true" successors. A fabulous example is Ron Weinland's spectacular failure with "2008: God's Final Witness." In summary, we were all supposed to begin dying in 2008. "But wait," you say, "It's 2016." Correct. I don't want to ruin the end of the book for you, but [SPOILER ALERT] Ron got the predictions right from God and transmitted them to us all accurately, but God was lying in order to fool Satan. [END SPOILER] Well, if you can't blame God who can you blame?
He's still at it even now. For a great deal more, I highly recommend you read our friend Mike's blog about the False Prophet Ron Weinland.

Don't be so surprised by this. Armstrongism has a very long history of prophesying something that never comes to pass, moving the goal posts, then proceeding forward as if they were right all along. We've written about it more than once before (eg. Herbert W Armstrong's Doctrine and FruitAn Inconvenient Plain TruthAll Systems Are Go, or read our Categories page for many more). The story ends the same every time with wait and see. And tithe.

Why dredge up this ugly past? Because in order to properly understand the current clucking about Brexit, you absolutely must know there's a lot more to it - decades more - than just Britain leaving the EU. If you don't know your history, you won't know that Britain leaving the EU isn't even what was supposed to happen in the first place.

If we all recall, in the original version of prophecy there was no EU. It was the early 1930s and no one ever dreamed that an EU was even possible. In the original version, a ten nation group from somewhere in the old Holy Roman Empire was simply going to run amok then Jesus would return. Next, Mussolini was going to become the Beast. Then Hitler was to be the Beast. Then Hitler supposedly went into hiding and would re-emerge as the Beast. There was no EU. There was no Brentrance let alone a Brexit.

In the 1960s it began to become clear that the new European trade agreements were more than just a series of trade agreements. It didn't take a prophet to see that the point was political unity to prevent World War III. What was the reliable prophecy from that time? Britain was never supposed to join in the first place. They might float around the edges, but since this political union was to be the Beast we couldn't have "Ephriam" join in. (For those of you who are somehow unaware, Herbert Armstrong was deeply involved in British Israelism aka. Anglo Israelism. In Armstrongism, England is the modern identity of the ancient Israelite tribe of Ephraim.)

But by the mid-1970's Britain did join. Emergency! It was now necessary that the only people on earth who knew what the future would be like should change their story yet again. In the new version, Britain was going to leave the EU and then the end would come.

This is where we find ourselves today. This is what all the crowing is about. So "We were right!" ...after several attempts. One thing right, out of Lord knows how many wrong things. But are the COG prophets right? We at ABD are not impressed.

The issue isn't just in the past. Going forward is an issue as well. A few additional details come to mind and they are rather important.

  • After Brexit there will still be 27 EU nations. One down, 17 left to go to hit that correct ten-nation Beast power. Technically speaking it's really eleven nations, because ten nations are supposed to ally themselves under Germany. 10 + 1 = 11. 16 nations left to go.
  • The Beast power can't just include Germany, it has to be formed by Germany and dominated by Germany. In other words the whole EU needs to be dissolved and a new ten-nation combine needs to be formed. To put it another way: Britain left the EU -- so what?
  • These ten nations can't just be ten random nations surrounding Germany. They have to be mainly nations that are not on the list of British Isreal nations of western and northern Europe (the Beast isn't Israelite). For example France can't be a partner with Germany as France is the modern identity of the ancient Israelite tribe of Reuben. Or Denmark can't be a partner because Demnark is the modern identity of the ancient Israelite tribe of Dan. (Something we're not even supposed to be able to find out until the very end.) To put it another way: the entire EU -- so what?
  • The Beast power can't just be Germany in the lead, either. It has to be a singular ultra-charismatic human being who leads Germany who leads the ten other nations.
  • This Beast king must be closely partnered with the Pope and at least pretend to be Catholic himself and convert the majority of the world to Catholicism. In an increasingly secular post-Protestant Europe where Catholicism in particular is not very popular and waves of Muslim immigrants arrive daily, this point is going to be particularly difficult to pull off.
  • This whole mess is supposed to happen quickly and it's only supposed to happen at the end. It's supposed to take the world by surprise, not drag out over several decades (or centuries as the case is). And then the end shall come.
  • The ten nations under Germany in association with Vatican City are supposed to enslave Britain, Australia, and the entire North American continent - and then still have enough military wherewithal to turn and attack Russia while a 200 million strong Chinese army marauds its way across the Middle East. I'm no military tactician myself, but as it stands the entire EU doesn't seem capable to conquer even one of these things let alone all of them.

We could go on and on this way. The point is Britain leaving the EU isn't the whole story, and getting lucky on a small fraction of the story (after several iterations) isn't the same as being prophetically accurate.

If this were a math problem, would the teacher grade them correct? No. If a prophet from another religion got only this much right, would we say they were sent by God? No. In what other area of life would anyone with this track record still hold any credibility at all? The only place that comes to my mind is in the U.S. Federal Government. <--- FAR cry from God there. This reminds me of a movie quote that goes like this, "60% of the time, it works every time." Only instead of 60% it's somewhere closer to 2%. And I'm being generous. Does "2% of the time, we're right every time," make sense to you? Because it doesn't to me. One certainly cannot claim "we were right therefore we're God's one true church" and at the same time expect us all to ignore all the overwhelming majority of the time when they weren't. And we are supposed to base our current and future plans, hopes, and dreams on this??

Will Brexit have powerful and far-reaching implications for the world? Yes. That much is inevitable. And I'm not saying that as any form of prophecy. I'm saying that because history proves it's unavoidable. Could it lead to war? It might; it might not. Lots of lesser things have. Lots of greater things have not. Should you worry about it? No. All of this entire mess regarding false prophecy is born in fear and worry. Armstrongists tend to dislike the world and they would rather it finally just go away. They obsess over bad news because it feeds their desperate hope that the end is nigh, even at the door.

But don't be like that. Love your neighbor as yourself. And don't fear. Just trust! Not in COG false prophets, nor us here, but in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Believe in Jesus and love your neighbor. That's your work as a Christian.

There is much more we here at ABD have said and could yet say on this topic. But does what we have seen make Herbert Armstrong or any of the other COG prophets right? When you consider the context and the changes and the details, the answer is a resounding NO!

It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom. ; )
Acts 17:11


Reid said...

Excellent! I was a COGer during the time that the UK was never to enter the EU. The story changed over and over. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and the His saving work not in fairy tales made up by men who want money and power.

Bill said...

I've been trying to locate where, exactly, HWA said or wrote that Britain would leave that union after joining it. All I could find was his "prophesy" that they would not enter into it to begin with. So how, by any stretch of the imagination, does all this add up to him being right over this particular matter? How does this add up to a prophesy in the win column for HWA?

coger777 said...

Herbie was on and off on the Brits and whether they would remain in the common market. I heard him one day say they will be part of it and the next month he said they would not, then the next month he didn't know.

The ACOG's are using this Brexit as 'proof' that hwa was a prophet. This is a money grab for new members and to retain old ones. Its the only time I have seen them get so excited..."Herbie got it right" when he did no such thing.

Anonymous said...

In case your readers don't know. The herbert armstrong searchable library will prove how many "prophecies" were/are wrong. You don't even have to read the articles. Look at the front pages of the early 1950's. "POPE TO MOVE VATICAN', "HITLER MAY BE ALIVE", "HITLER DID NOT DIE", USA TOTAL COLLAPSE IN 20 YEARS". That last one was from Feb. 1956! Read and enjoy.

xHWA said...

The HWA searchable library has been a fabulous source of material for us. It's great!

Anonymous said...

Check out ESN's excellent reply to a letter re Brexit and HWA's predictions (The Philadelphia Trumpet is Boasting 6/27/16 and Gerald Flurry and Rod Meredith caught in a lie 6/28/16) at

Further, I believe Bob Thiel's view is more in line with Bible prophecy i.e. the Beast of Revelation will be 10 leaders + the Beast leader + the False Prophet. There's nothing in Scripture re 10 nations or groups of nations forming the Beast empire. Thus, whether the EU becomes bigger or smaller or is replaced altogether is not what is hinted at in Scripture. What is referred to by the apostle John is the apostate leaders (i.e. 10 + the Beast leader accompanied by a False Prophet like the Pope I believe) that will be governing over an apostate European continent and enforcing the mark of the Beast. So HWA and the COGs are and have been largely wrong about the EU or the future "United States of Europe" being only 10 nations since Scripture is clear about the number referring to the number of influential political figures who will be in power at the time of the end. I think Thiel is the only one who is correct about this.

Henrik V Blunck said...

Very positive attitude towards the entire mess of failed prophecies. :-)

I fully agree it would be futile to present the entire picture, but certainly a good overall perspective you provided. As a Dane I can also say that Gerald Waterhouse and others indicated Denmark would follow - and we certainly won't.

Recent polls have indicated that approx. 60% are pro remaining in the EU, but that some 52% are not for further integration at this time, which is mainly caused by both the economic challenges faced by the entire Eurozone, and further caused by the lack of democracy involved in EU institutions.

Keep up the good work. Nice blog, even for a nonbeliever as myself. :-)

nck said...

hwa said that the uk would not be a part of the final 10.
So it doesn't matter if the uk was in or drops out and goes in again as long as it is not a part of the final 10 whatever (leaders or nations or whatever)

More important than what hwa thought. Does anyone believe that there are other bible readers who are reading the same passages but have real power in this world try to steer the world into the direction that it fits certain passages???