Tuesday, March 31, 2020

COVID-19: No More Fearmongering

I haven't posted in quite a while. Just couldn't let the COVID-19 situation go by without one. I needed to get my thoughts out regarding the Church of God leaders who make some sort of prediction about Jesus' imminent return.

Let's start at the start - the Church of God splinter groups all come from the Worldwide Church of God which was founded by Herbert Armstrong. Herbert Armstrong was a minister in the Church of God (Seventh Day). The COG7 was founded by former Elders in the Adventist movement - most particularly Gilbert Cranmer - who had disagreements over Ellen G White. The Adventist movement was started by William Miller in the late 1830s.
I want to emphasize the time here. Late 1830s. That was roughly 180 years ago. We are just shy of 200 years away.

Why is that important? Because of what William Miller was doing. William Miller decided that he had figured out Biblical Prophecy and preached that Jesus would return in 1843.  Clearly that did not happen. Undeterred, he reset the date for 1844. That also failed. He gave up but his followers did not. Jesus' second coming is called the Second Advent. Miller's followers were therefore called Adventists. This is how the Adventist movement started. They only adopted the Sabbath later. Their origin, their foundation, their entire genesis is in false prophecy.
Ellen G White continued to move the goal posts. Predictions came and predictions went until her death in 1915. Nothing came to pass in all those 75 or so years. Undeterred, her followers continue to this day. And not just her followers, but the many, many off-shoots of the Adventist movement, including the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Hebrew Roots movement, the Church of God (Seventh Day) - who, to their credit tend to stay away from prophecy - and, of course, the Worldwide Church of God.

In the early 1930s, Herbert W Armstrong started his own ministry on the sly, not letting his COG7 leaders know. What did he do? Let's take a look at his message:
"...19 years after the first seige, or 585 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar made his final siege, drove out all the Jews, took complete possession of the land, and the Times of the Gentiles came fully in. And 2520 years later, or 1936 A.D., the Times of the Gentiles will have completely ENDED. As nearly as we can calculate from the dates of ancient history, the year 1936 will see the END of the Times of the Gentiles. Those "Times" have not been completely fulfilled until that year."
-Herbert Armstrong, Plain Truth, June/July 1934, pp.4-5
That's right. He started with false prophecy about the imminent return of Christ. Did Jesus return in 1936? No. Did that stop Mr. Armstrong? No.
To save myself the time and effort of writing all this out again, I will direct you to our article "All Systems Are GO!" where we document HWA's repeated false prophesies that did not stop until his death.

HWA tried to weasel out of it all by claiming that he didn't "prophesy" but "predict." No. He DID prophesy! We have documented it. Read our article, "An Inconvenient Plain Truth" and see. We document over 60 time-specific prophecies from one small window of time, the 1950's, and some of those were done in the name and authority of the Almighty God. That's 60 time-specific prophetic failures, from only one publication, from only one decade. How many more are there? Countless!

We have plenty more articles that you can find on our Categories page.

Now, you might be thinking, "How is any of this relevant to me? This isn't 1972 and I don't follow Herbert Armstrong." It is relevant to you because it wasn't just William Miller, or Ellen G White, or Herbert Armstrong, but everyone that followed those people - including the leaders of the Church of God splinter groups today. And those people are relevant. When Dave Pack named his group "Restored" what do you suppose he was restoring? Why, the Worldwide Church of God, of course! Just Google it. It says so right there. When Gerald Flurry named his group "Philadelphia Church of God" it was because that was the name Herbert Armstrong chose for his next church, should the government of California force him to give up leadership of the WCG in the Receivership debacle in the later 1970s. The name of Worldwide Church of God would be abandoned for Philadelphia Church of God. Why do all Church of God groups call themselves Church of God? Because they all come from the Worldwide Church of God, which started as the Radio Church of God, which came from the Church of God (Seventh Day). They are not just following naming convention here. This is a continuation in every sense. Herbert Armstrong may not be directly relevant to you, but he is directly relevant to every leader of every Church of God splinter - and that makes this relevant to you. He is relevant to the entire system.

If you are a member of a Church of God splinter, you come from an organization that was born in false prophecy. It was raised on false prophecy. It makes its living off of false prophecy. And to this very minute it is led by men and women who continue the family tradition without shame or remorse.

No2HWA over at the Banned By HWA blog reports that Dave Pack is telling his flock that they will not see another Sabbath. Pack isn't going to stop when that fails. Ron Weinland said the end would come in 2008. He doubled down for 2012 and that failed. I will not waste the energy to collect more examples, but we all know they are all around. You have personally experienced a conversation with content much like this, no doubt.

But I want you to ask yourself - does the COVID-19 pandemic really meet the requirements of the imminent return of Christ, as taught by the Church of God movement? Does it? No.

Where is the Beast Power? I don't see Germany rising, do you? I don't see Italy doing anything but suffering. Where is the World War? Where is the famine killing over a billion people? Where is the False Prophet? I mean THE False Prophet of Revelation, not Dave Pack. The Pope in Rome isn't going around raising armies and moving the Vatican to Jerusalem right now. In fact, he is all alone; just as isolated as the rest of us. Where are the signs and wonders? Where are the Two Witnesses? I don't even know where Ron and Laura Weinland are right now. Probably jail, again. Where is ANY of the rest of the end time narrative? Nowhere.

You have one thing, the SARS-COV-2 virus, causing one plague, the COVID-19 disease, which is infecting millions, and killing thousands, and will burn itself out in a few more weeks from now. The response has been dangerous to the world economy, yes, but it hasn't been terminal. The quarantines will lift. The unemployed will return to work. The economy will be in recession, maybe even depression, for a while, but it will come back fairly soon. And when this happens what will you have? Among other things, like a job, you will have more evidence of false prophecy.

I wonder - what will you do with it?

Will you take almost 200 years of unrelenting false prophecy to heart? Will you hold yourself and others to a higher standard of evidence from now on? Will you stop tolerating wild speculation? Will you understand, and I mean truly understand, that a church getting this many things wrong cannot possibly have any authority on prophecy? Will you finally give yourself permission to question the teachings on prophecy? Will you reconsider what you have been taught and take steps anew to understand what the Bible is actually saying in prophecy? Will you hold your leaders to account?
Will you continue on as normal? All systems GO! Will you wait and hope for the next bit of tragedy to stoke up that flame inside you? Riding the rush of schadenfreude and Terror-porn? Will you continue to fall for it over and over and over again, year after year, time after time, again and again and again. until, like Ellen G White, Charles Taze Russell, Herbert Armstrong, Rod Meredith, Gerald Flurry, and so many others, you pass away from this life wondering why nothing happened?

I sure hope you choose the former! I sure hope you hold these false prophets to account.

I have a suggestion! Write or speak to them and tell them you will not pay one more cent in tithes until they can prove to you that they speak for God where prophecy is concerned. You will not pay one more copper penny until their prophecies start coming true, in specific ways. Don't let them put it back on you by asking, "How?" Don't let them back away with arguments over "predict" vs "prophesy." Don't let them gaslight you and place fault on you for holding them to account. You put their failure at their feet and let them get themselves out of it.

No more fear mongering! No more profiting off of misery! No more false prophecy! No more!

Are you afraid? I am! It's natural to be afraid. It is a perfectly normal human response to want a way out of uncertainty and to look for comfort. It is comforting to hear that Jesus is coming next week. It is comforting to think you won't have to endure anything further because in 7 days you're out of here. The problem is it's a false hope. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call a lie. God did not send Dave Pack this prediction. God didn't deceive him, or Satan, or Ron Weinland, or anyone else, causing them to give a seemingly false message to throw Satan off the trail. If you read this blog post on or after May 1, 2020, then you have your proof that Jesus did not come by "next Sabbath" and you are surrounded by a false system. False prophets are profiting off of your fear. You are afraid, you buy into their message, and that message gives you a temporary, though false, hope. Then the message fails and they go on to the next opportunity to make money form people's misery. They have been doing this for almost 200 years. 200 years of failure and going on as if nothing happened. Don't allow them to do this to you any longer!

No more fear mongering!

"Where else am I going to go," you ask? "Who else has the true doctrines, like the Sabbath," you wonder? We do have suggestion that might possibly, just maybe, help you in that. Read our articles. We would like to assist you in finding those true doctrines and who else has them. Are you sure false prophets have true doctrine?
I bet you wanted something a little more immediate and material. Tell you what. I don't usually do this, but it helped me, so I will suggest it to you: go to the Church of God (Seventh Day). You need a safe place that gets you away from those false prophets but still has the Sabbath? There you have it. Reach out to them, attend their services, and then read our material here at ABD.

Finally, I want to ask God's blessings on you all. He loves you. He cares for you. When you suffer, He suffers with you. Is this a dark time? Yes. These things happen. Remember, Ezekiel and Daniel were taken in exile to Babylon even though they were righteous. Remember, the Apostles were all murdered, but one. Remember, Jesus specifically said we will have tribulation in this life. Bad things happen to good people! It doesn't mean God is particularly angry at you. Sometimes towers fall on people, and sometimes plagues disrupt lives indiscriminately. That's life. It doesn't mean there is no God. It doesn't mean He is golfing while we suffer. It just means there is a problem here below, and has been since that terrible decision our first parents made in Eden. This said, don't take unnecessary risks! I know you may be hoping on hope that Jesus will return and you won't have to face this current tribulation. Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen this month. Nothing else is in place at this time. You will have to face it with the rest of us. So, PLEASE, take every precaution and stay isolated. I will be praying for and with you. God bless you and preserve you! God keep you safe and secure! God provide and protect you! God have mercy on us all who look to Him. I pray in His Son's Holy Name. Amen.

UPDATED: See our follow-up article posted on May 1, 2020: "Dave Pack Is A Fraud."

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


Earl said...

Very fine article. I'd comment more, but it seems your comment section seldom posts.

Leonie said...

Exceptional writing, as with all the others. I have been reading your blog since 2018. Some articles and comments I read over and over and have learned so much. Thank you for seeking and keep sharing truth, Seeker. May God bless you and keep you.

Best regards,
South Africa