2000-Year History of the Church of God
How much do you really know about GOD'S CHURCH? Where has it been?
Have you supposed it was re-established after 1900 years through the efforts
of Herbert W. Armstrong? IT WAS NOT! You will be ASTONISHED to see
the true history of GOD'S Church. This true history, authentically
documented WITH NEW FACTS which our older members should re-read, is breathtaking. Here are the astounding
facts! This surprising truth is bound up in the real meaning of the
SEVEN CHURCHES IN REVELATION!
HERE -- for two thousand new readers -- is the TRUTH about our
Church! Almost two thousand years ago a Messenger came to this earth
bringing startling news of a coming world government!
That messenger was Jesus Christ!
Jesus came to DELIVER this message from God to man. He did
NOT come to preach it PERSONALLY to the whole world. Instead, Jesus
spent His ministry PREPARING THE FOUNDATION FOR THE CHURCH WHICH WOULD CARRY
HIS GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM to all nations.
Why Jesus Promised to Build Church
Jesus devoted His ministry to calling out disciples, teaching
them the gospel, setting them an example by His own ministry. He
authorized them with the greatest commission ever given to human beings -- to
preach the "gospel of the Kingdom of God in the whole world"
(Matthew 24:14; Mark 16:15).
Before Jesus ascended to the throne of God, He commanded the
apostles and disciples to remain in Jerusalem until they were imbued with the
Holy Spirit, which made them the begotten sons of God, put them into His
Church (I Cor. 12:13), and endued them with the POWER OF GOD to carry out His
JESUS FOUNDED HIS CHURCH BY SENDING THE PROMISED HOLY SPIRIT ON
THE DAY OF PENTECOST, MONDAY, JUNE 18, 31 A.D. -- a date ABSOLUTELY
established by the exact and INSPIRED mathematical and astronomical
computations of God's Sacred Calendar.
It was an inspired Church, a Church in which Jesus, through the
Holy Spirit, was living His life and THROUGH WHICH JESUS BEGAN TO PREACH
AND PUBLISH HIS GOSPEL TO THE WHOLE WORLD.
What Is the True Church?
The true Church is the collective body of individuals, called out
from the ways of this present world, who have TOTALLY surrendered themselves
to the rule of God, and who, through the Holy Spirit, become the begotten sons
of God (Rom. 8:9).
The true Church is not some POLITICALLY ORGANIZED DENOMINATION
which one joins or becomes a member of in order to be "saved." Jesus
did not die for some one ORGANIZATION called a Church (Acts 20:28).
You can't join the true Church; ONLY GOD CAN PUT YOU INTO IT!
The Church is called the body of Christ because it is a SPIRITUAL
ORGANISM whose LIVING, ACTIVE HEAD is Jesus Christ, in the same sense that the
husband is HEAD of the wife (Eph. 5:23, 31).
Notice that from the very beginning the Church was subject to the
rule of God. It was not a government by the will of man or boards of
men. Jesus is the Head of the Church. He rules the Church.
Read the accompanying article in this issue.
Church Grows in Truth
Before He ascended to the Father, Jesus prayed that His Church
would be kept ONE in the Father's name. "Holy Father, KEEP THROUGH THINE
OWN NAME those whom thou hast given me, that they may be ONE, as we are"
The true church -- "the Church of God" (I Cor. 1:2) --
is not many divided quarreling denominations, but ONE Church, composed of many
scattered members, ONE Church united in Spirit, mind, attitude and heart
because its members have totally surrendered their wills to God and have
yielded to correction and reproof from the Word of God.
No denomination could be the true Church, because none has been
willing to admit where it has been wrong, none has received God's correction,
none has allowed the Holy Spirit to guide it into truth. The Church
which Jesus is building is composed of those SCATTERED individuals who have
God's Holy Spirit, who admit it when they are wrong, as the apostle Peter, did
when he made a serious mistake (Gal. 2:11).
Now notice Jesus' promise in John 16:13. He would send the
Spirit of truth who "will GUIDE you INTO all truth."
Here is the KEY which proves who are in God's Church. It is
composed ONLY of those who are GROWING INTO TRUTH as God reveals it. The
moment anyone ceases to GROW, but wants to retain only what he had five or ten
years ago, FROM THAT MOMENT ON THE HOLY SPIRIT CEASES TO LIVE IN HIM.
False Teachers Prophesied
Now let's notice what was prophesied to happen to the Church.
Jesus warned that there would be a great falling away -- MANY
false ministers deceiving the MANY (Mat. 24:4,5). Paul earnestly warned
THE ELDERS that from their own number some would depart from the faith (Acts
False apostles and false brethren arose within local church
assemblies (II Cor. 11:13-15, 26). Soon they outnumbered the faithful
who ALONE made up the TRUE Church of GOD.
Not only did Jesus prophesy that false ministers would deceive
the many, but He also said His Church would be SCATTERED and persecuted.
The Church first became scattered in the days of the apostles (Acts 8:1).
But that did not mean the scattered individuals were not part of
the Church. They WERE the Church because they were joined to Christ
through the Holy Spirit. Those who drove them out became the FALSE
church -- the church of the God of THIS world -- "the synagogue of Satan."
Notice what Daniel says about the Church: "And they that
understand among the people shall instruct many: YET THEY SHALL FALL BY THE
SWORD, and by flame, by CAPTIVITY, AND BY SPOIL, MANY DAYS. Now when
they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: BUT MANY SHALL
CLEAVE TO THEM WITH FLATTERIES. And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge them, and
to make them white, even to the time of the end" (Dan. 11:33-35).
How plain! The true Church was forced out of the local
organized congregations and scattered. False churches would arise
professing to be the churches of Christ. False brethren would betray God's people.
BUT JESUS PROMISED TO BE WITH THE FAITHFUL REMNANT TO THE END OF THE AGE -- to guide His people into truth.
Where has His Church been these 1900 years?
An Amazing Prophecy!
In the book of Revelation is an amazing prophecy. Almost no
one understands it, yet it is so very plain. It is the Seven Churches of
Notice Revelation 1:12-13. John sees a vision of seven
candlesticks and Jesus in their midst. The Bible interprets the seven
candlesticks to mean seven particular church congregations (verse 20). Jesus Christ is pictured as dwelling among the Seven
Churches As THOUGH THEY WERE A TYPE OF THE ENTIRE CHURCH.
There is the answer. Jesus dwells in the entire Church.
Since this vision pictures Him dwelling only in seven churches, THOSE SEVEN
CHURCHES REPRESENT THE ENTIRE CHURCH!
Jesus chose the seven because THEY FORMED A PERFECT TWO-FOLD
First, they were typical of general conditions among God's people
anywhere. That is why we today are admonished to hear what the Holy
Spirit says to ALL THE SEVEN CHURCHES.
SECOND, those seven churches, each with its own particular
characteristics, were chosen because their location IN SUCCESSIVE ORDER on a,
long mail route WAS TYPICAL OF SEVEN SUCCESSIVE STATES OF GOSPEL LABOR OF THE
CHURCH OF GOD THROUGH ALL AGES.
Who ARE the Seven Churches?
WHY have all Bible students, until NOW, been unable to identify
these churches? It is due to the fact that everyone has ASSUMED,
erroneously, that these picture the seven stages of the visible, organized
churches which have called themselves "Christian." In other
words, it has been assumed that the churches of THIS WORLD are pictured in
Revelation 2 and 3 as continuations of the true Church in apostolic days.
Everyone, it seems, has SUPPOSED that, following the apostolic
Church, these seven churches picture the course of history in the Greek and
Roman Catholic and the Protestant churches -- the churches of the god of THIS
THIS IS NOT TRUE!
These two chapters of Revelation picture, and convey God's
message to THE TRUE CHURCH OF GOD -- the Church in which CHRIST lives and
works -- the Church which is HIS BODY -- HIS instrumentality -- the Church HE
USES! It is the Church that was scattered, persecuted, unorganized --
many of whose members have been martyred. This Church is composed of
members who, even though begotten by and led by the Holy Spirit, yet are human
and therefore not perfect. In the message to each of these seven
churches Jesus has a word of correction. In every case He points out
things they need to overcome. But they are the people who have and are
led by His Spirit, who put themselves under God's government instead of human
traditions or self desire or the way that seems right to a man, and who have
in the main THE TRUE GOSPEL, even though they often lost vital portions of it.
Notice, chapter 2, verse 1: "These things saith He that
holdeth the seven stars (the angels of the TRUE church) in His right hand, WHO
WALKETH IN THE MIDST OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN CANDLESTICKS" (THESE SEVEN
CHURCHES). Jesus Christ is IN these churches. They are HIS churches, not Satan's churches which falsely
masquerade as "Christian."
And remember the TRUE Church has not been politically organized,
powerful and recognized by the world -- but scattered, persecuted, SELDOM
NOTICED by the world, and even then regarded as heretics.
Now let's UNDERSTAND who they are, one by one.
The Apostolic Age
The church at Ephesus pictured the APOSTOLIC CHURCH, a Church
which patiently labored in the gospel, which met many false apostles but
remained steadfast to the truth (Rev. 2:1-7).
THERE WERE TWO 19-YEAR CYCLES IN THE HISTORY OF THE APOSTOLIC CHURCH DURING WHICH THE GOSPEL WAS CARRIED TO THE OLD WORLD. It
was exactly 19 years from A.D. 31, when the Church was founded, to the time
that Paul received the vision to go into Europe! In Acts 16:9 Paul had a
vision of a man in Macedonia (in Greece) who shouted "Help us!"
Paul described this even in II Cor. 2:12-13 where he wrote that "a DOOR
was opened unto me of the Lord" by which he meant that a way was opened
to preach the gospel in Europe.
Paul went into Europe about the time of Pentecost in the late
spring of 50 A.D. After a few months of preaching, he arrived in Corinth
in the fall of that year (Acts 18:1) where he remained for a YEAR AND SIX
MONTHS (verse 11). It was now the beginning of 52 A.D. An
insurrection broke out against Paul when Gallio was deputy or pro-counsel of
Achaia (verse 12). A recently discovered inscription in Greece states
that Gallio held this position during 52 A.D., which proves that the gospel
went to Europe in 50 A.D., just 19 years after the Church was founded!
From 50 A.D. it was another 19 years until the fleeing of the
Headquarters Church at Jerusalem in 69 A.D. Here is what happened in 69 A.D.
on the Feast of Pentecost -- exactly two 19-year cycles after the Holy Spirit
came on the day of Pentecost: "Moreover," records Josephus, the
Jewish historian, "at that feast which we call PENTECOST, as the priests
were going by night into the inner court of the temple ... they said that in
the first place they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that
they heard a sound as of a multitude, saying, 'LET US REMOVE HENCE.'"
(From WARS OF THE JEWS, bk. VI, ch. v, #3.)
God's people did REMOVE HENCE! They fled to Pella, beyond
the River Jordan. From that time forward the UNITED power of the Church
of God to spread the gospel of the Kingdom ceased. No longer was there a
Headquarters Church at Jerusalem to whom all churches could look as the
standard of TRUTH. It now became A STRUGGLE TO STRIVE FOR THE FAITH ONCE
DELIVERED (Jude 3).
The many local churches soon LEFT THEIR FIRST LOVE. Shortly
after John finished the book of Revelation, the remnant of the true Church was
scattered over the length and breadth of the whole Roman Empire. This
fulfilled Jesus' warning: "I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove
thy candlestick out of his place" (Rev. 2:5).
Thus ended the Apostolic Age typified by the "Church at
The prophesied "Church at Smyrna" arises next. It
appeared to be dead -- nonexistent -- yet it was alive, SUFFERING PERSECUTION.
This pictures God's Church during more than four centuries under the
persecuting Old Roman Empire.
Besides the true Church there was also a "Synagogue of
Satan" (Rev. 2:9) developing during this period.
The Synagogue of Satan -- What Is It?
Now read Revelation 2:9. "I know the blasphemy of them which
say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan."
Notice, this is a synagogue of Satan. A synagogue is merely
the Hebrew word for church. Then Jesus is not speaking of a RACE, but of
a CHURCH that belongs to the devil!
This church claims they are Jews. Why? Because Jesus
said, "Salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22). "To the Jew
first, then also to the Greek" (Rom. 1:16).
In Romans 11:16-27 Paul explains that Israel and the Jews, to
whom salvation belonged, were broken off because of unbelief. Gentiles were
grafted in their place. But once grafted in, they were no longer
Gentiles -- "BEING IN TIME PAST Gentiles in the flesh" (Eph. 2:11).
Now they were all one in Christ Jesus, "no more strangers and foreigners,
but fellow citizens with the saints" (Eph. 2:19).
"He is a Jew," says Paul, "which is one inwardly;
and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter;
whose praise is not of men, but of God" (Rom. 2:29).
So here was a church made up of Gentiles, claiming salvation,
claiming to be Jews inwardly, masquerading itself as a "Christian"
This synagogue of Satan is the apostate church which developed
after 80 A.D. and ultimately became recognized as the State Religion of the
Roman Empire. That Church has had many Protestant daughters which are
also Satan's churches.
The True Church Persecuted
The world at this time did not recognize which was the true
Church. "The world knoweth us not" (I John 3:1). It is
from the enemies of God's Church that we have scanty records of God's people,
who were now maligned as heretics.
For centuries, Catholic writers mention small remnants of the
true Church within the bounds of the Roman Empire. Sometimes they were
individuals, sometimes scattered families, and especially in the Near East
there were still a few local congregations preaching the gospel and keeping
the commandments. As late as the beginning of the fifth century in Asia Minor,
the bishop Chrysostom bewailed members of the Catholic Church, who, upon
learning the truth from the scattered remnants of the true Church, repented of
their ways and began to observe "the feast of trumpets, the feast of
tabernacles, and the feast of the great day of expiation" (Bingham's
"Antiquities Of The Christian Church", bk. XVI, ch. VI).
As a result of the Council of Nicaea (325 A.D.), Emperor
Constantine commenced the Tribulation (Revelation 12:6) with full force.
The true Church fled into the valleys and mountains in Europe and Asia Minor.
Now notice what John writes to the "Church at Pergamos":
"I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is;
and thou holdest fast my name, and has not denied my faith" (Rev. 2:13).
A Miracle Occurs
The local church to which John wrote was situated in Pergamos,
the capital of the Roman province of Asia in Asia Minor -- Pergamos was
Satan's seat of worldly human government for that province. Just as the
local Church at Pergamos was situated in a city where Satan swayed human
politics, so the next work of God's Church occurred WITHIN the bounds of
Satan's government -- the Eastern Roman Empire -- where a small body of God's
It was about 650 A.D. that God, as if by miracle, raised up among
the scattered remnants of his Church in Cappadocia and Armenia a man who
revitalized his people and spread the gospel. This well-educated man, by the
name of Constantine of Manales, was given a gift of portions of the Bible.
He was utterly amazed by the truth he found revealed in it after study.
Soon he began, preaching and with the help of trained evangelists found such a
fruitful harvest that there were tens of thousands converted to the truth.
After twenty-seven years of ministry, he was stoned to death in
684 A.D., but an officer, Simeon, sent to destroy him, was so stirred by his
death that he became converted and carried forth the gospel until he was
burned at the stake six years later! Within another hundred years God raised
up a third minister, Sergius, to guide his people who were allowing many false
teachings to grow in their midst.
The name given to these people of God by their enemies was the
PAULICIANS. The reports circulated about these people were slanderous
and false. It was not till almost the beginning of the twentieth century that a book called THE KEY OF TRUTH, containing many of
their teachings, was translated into English by Fred C. Conybeare.
This partially preserved record of God's people proves that THEY
PREACHED THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM; THAT THEY BELIEVED THE CHURCH WAS FOUNDED
NOT ONLY UPON JESUS CHRIST, BUT ALSO UPON THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS (Eph.
2:20); THAT THEY BAPTIZED BY IMMERSION; THAT THEY LAID ON HANDS FOR THE
"RECEPTION OF THE SPIRIT" (p. CXXIV). THEY NOT ONLY
"CONTINUED TO KEEP THE PASSOVER ON THE FOURTEENTH OF NISAN," BUT
THEY ALSO OBSERVED THE SABBATH AND THE FESTIVAL OF UNLEAVENED BREAD (pages
CLXII and CLII of THE KEY OF TRUTH).
The devil was angry with these people who understood the gospel
and kept the commandments. Knowing that he could not overthrow their
faith by force, he corrupted them by introducing false teachers who taught the
"doctrine of Balaam" (Rev. 2:14). In turning to Numbers 31:16, you will see that Balaam induced the Israelites
to practice idolatry and commit spiritual fornication.
Once again Satan, in his wiles to overthrow the Church,
introduced false teachers among God's people. These teachers induced many in
the Church to celebrate certain IDOLATROUS pagan holidays, particularly
Epiphany, the original birthday of Nimrod, supposedly in honor of Christ's
birth and baptism.
Satan also caused many in the Church to take part in worldly
politics in the hope of safeguarding themselves. Mixing with the
politics of this world is called "fornication" in Revelation 17:2.
God's Church is to be a virgin and remain pure and SEPARATE FROM THE WORLD,
waiting for the marriage to Christ (II Cor. 11:2).
As a result of these sins, Jesus warned his Church: "Repent;
or else I will fight against thee with the sword of my mouth" (Rev.
2:16). Most took the warning lightly until it was too late. Trusting in their worldly political alliances with neighboring
Arabs, instead of relying on Jesus' protection, they were betrayed and
slaughtered -- one hundred thousand of them! The faithful few who escaped were driven to Southeastern Europe and called
Bogomils. "There they throve for centuries, and ... spread their
tenets into Bohemia, Poland, Germany, Italy, France, and even into
England" (p. CIV).
The Church in the Wilderness
John was inspired to commend the "Church at Thyatira"
because THE LAST WORKS of the Church were MORE THAN THE FIRST. But in
the local Church there was a false teacher (symbol of the Catholic Church) who
taught some to practice idolatry. Jesus warned He would cast them into
great tribulation and "kill her children [Protestants] with death"
unless they repented (Rev. 2:18-29).
Now let us notice how this description fits exactly the next
great expansion of God's people.
As a result of the evangelization of the Alpine regions by the
Paulicians and Bogomils of Bulgaria, as God's people were called, there arose
numerous ministers and faithful congregations. One of these men was
Peter de Bruys who preached the gospel of the Kingdom in the south of France (Jones' CHURCH HISTORY, ch. 4, sect. 3). Two
other preachers of the time were Arnold and Henri. They were charged by the
Catholic Church with remaining faithful to the whole law of God and of
observing the sabbath ("Ecclesiastical History", by Peter Allix, pp.
The Lutheran historian Mosheim says of other congregations of the
Church in the twelfth century that they held "a notion that the
observance of the law of Moses, in everything except the offerings of
sacrifices, was obligatory upon Christians ... they abstained from those meats
the use of which was prohibited under the Mosaic economy, and celebrated the
Jewish Sabbath. The second tenet which distinguished this sect was
advanced in opposition to the doctrine of three persons in the divine
Yes, they knew that God was not a trinity, but a family!
A crusade was instituted against many of these people in Southern
France. Thousands perished. But when it seemed that the FIRST WORK
WOULD SOON BE ENDED, there arose an even GREATER leader among God's people.
It was the close of the twelfth century. In Lyons, France,
lived an astonishingly successful and wealthy merchant, Peter Waldo. "One
day, while in the company of some of the leading citizens, one of his friends fell lifeless at his side. Terrified by the
event, he said to himself: If death had stricken me, what would have become of
Being a Catholic, Waldo asked one of these theologians what is
the PERFECT way. "Ah! answered the theologian ... here is Christ's
precept: 'If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell that thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and take up
thy cross and follow me.'" (Comba, "History Of The Waldenses,"
Waldo disposed of his property by distributing to the poor. But
from his wealth he also had a translation of the Scriptures made. In
this translation he noticed the command to the apostles to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God. His mind began to understand
God was using Peter Waldo.
Comba says that "he brought to the study of the Scriptures
that practical common sense which had guided him in his business transactions
... The word of Christ was clear enough; for Waldo it was simply a question of
furnishing a literal translation" (p. 243 of Comba's
The humble remnant of the Church of God listened to him.
Soon many new disciples were coming to repentance. "His disciples
became almost as many CO-WORKERS for him" (p. 26). The world called
God's Church was once again spreading the gospel! A SCHOOL
FOR MINISTERS WAS ESTABLISHED TO PROVIDE THE TRAINED HELP TO CARRY THE GOSPEL.
Called the "Church of God"
Their enemies admitted that these people proclaimed the gospel of
the Kingdom of God, that they baptized repentant believers and obeyed the
WHOLE law of God.
But just as there was a false teacher, Jezebel, in the local
church at Thyatira, so now there were many FALSE teachers and FALSE brethren
among these people. Some rose up among the Waldenses teaching that it
was right to have Catholics and Protestants baptize their children and to
attend IDOLATROUS mass once in a while. Others committed spiritual
fornication by meddling in politics in the hope of avoiding persecution.
To correct his people God caused a frightful crusade to pass over
them 300 years after the death of Waldo. Only a faithful remnant
Once again we see the repeated fact that after a few generations,
the local congregations are no longer composed of truly converted brethren,
but of unconverted children and halfhearted believers who either go aside into
total error in the face of persecution or else are forced to give up their
lives for the faith, as Daniel prophesied.
But in 1315 A.D., long before the crusade against the Waldenses
occurred, the truth of God was carried to England by a German Waldensian
preacher, Walter Lollard.
Now let's notice what John wrote to the "Church at
The Church in England and America
The "Church at Sardis" had a name that it was alive but
it was dead (Rev. 3:1). Only a minute fraction of its people were really
surrendered to God and holding to the faith once delivered. This is just the picture of the Church of God for over 600
years after the preaching of Walter Lollard.
Through the preaching of Lollard and other helpers, hundreds were
repenting. Thousands were learning for the first time that Catholic
religious holidays came from paganism and that Sunday was not the Sabbath.
But within sixty years after the coming of Walter Lollard, a
reform movement under John Wyclif arose in England and nearly engulfed the
teachings of the original Waldensian preachers. After a period of persecution,
there remained only a few who kept the faith and observed the Sabbath and the
annual festivals. When confronted with imprisonment for their faith, several
ministers gave up the faith even though some of their followers remained steadfast (Cox's "Sabbath Literature", Vol. 1, p. 162).
It was not until about 1650 that there were enough Sabbath
keepers to establish local congregations. They called themselves the
Churches of God, but the world termed them Sabbatarians and Sabbararian
From England the Church of God spread to America. In 1664,
Stephen Mumford, sent to Newport, Rhode Island, raised up a small church
mainly from Baptist converts. One by one new churches were established
through continued help of the churches in England.
But as always happens, after several generations the children
take truth for granted and never really surrender their wills and their lives
to God. In less than one hundred and fifty years, the English churches
almost disappeared, having cut themselves off from God by TURNING FROM his
truth, and by adopting the name "Seventh-day Baptists."
In America the NUMBER OF CHURCHES gradually increased as the
gospel was spread from state to state. But so nearly dead were these
congregations that in 1802 many began to ORGANIZE THEMSELVES together into a
General Conference instead of submitting to the government of God for the
carrying out of the gospel. At this serious juncture, MOST of the local
churches JOINED THEMSELVES TOGETHER to form the Seven-day Baptist General
Conference. Some began teaching the Trinity doctrine and the immortality
of human souls.
Several congregations did not become members of the Conference.
For another half century they maintained the truth they possessed, although
most of them did not go all the way in obedience to God. John aptly described this period: "Be watchful,
and establish the things remaining, WHICH ARE ABOUT TO DIE: for I have not
found thy works perfected before my God" (Rev. 3:2).
The Adventist Movement
During this time the advent movement among SUNDAY-OBSERVING
CHURCHES was begun by the uninspired William Miller. In 1843 several
followers of Miller in Washington, New Hampshire, became acquainted with the
truth of the Sabbath. It was not until after the miserable disappointment of 1844, however, that the general body of
adventists had the Sabbath called to their attention. A small number
accepted the Sabbath and soon UNITED WITH THE FEW REMAINING CHURCH OF GOD
BRETHREN who refused to be affiliated
with the Seventh-day Baptist Conference.
They called themselves the "Church of God" and began
publishing "The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald." Their first
songbook was dedicated to "The Church of God scattered abroad."
With each passing year, new and different doctrines were being
introduced to explain away the adventist failure of October 22, 1844.
Finally, a meeting was held in Battle Creek, Michigan, September 28 through
October 1, 1860.
"This conference also took into consideration the subject of
a name by which our people should be called," wrote Loughborough on page
351 of the "Great Second Advent Movement." "This again
called forth a diversity of opinions, some pleading for one name and some for
another. The "Church of God" being proposed, objected to on
the ground that it gave none of the distinctive features of our faith, while
the name "Seventh-day Adventist" would not only set forth our faith
in the near coming of Christ, but would also show that we were observers of
the Seventh-day Sabbath. So unanimous was the assembly in favor of the
latter name that when PUT TO VOTE only one man voted against, and he soon
afterward withdrew his objection."
In the spring of 1861 another conference was held in an
unscriptural effort to reorganize local congregations. The following
covenant was recommended for this new church organization: "We, the
undersigned, hereby ASSOCIATE OURSELVES TOGETHER AS A CHURCH, TAKING THE NAME
OF SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST Once again men forgot that they
cannot organize themselves INTO the Church of God. They can only
organize themselves OUT OF the Church of God!
A Remnant Remains!
When this new name was being forced on the churches, there
appeared an article in the April 9, 1861 issue of the "Review and
Herald" in which a few brethren from Ohio wrote that they would not give
their offerings for any other purpose "than the advancement and extension
of the truth and the 'Church of God.'" Within the space
of sixty years, two major departures from the church of God occurred.
The ministers would not strengthen that which was ready to perish!
FOR ANOTHER SEVENTY YEARS conditions remained almost unchanged.
The remaining brethren retained the name "Church of God."
Among local congregations only a few individuals repented and strengthened the
truth that was ready to perish in their midst. But most of the ministers
resorted to organizing evangelistic work on the pattern of state conferences
rather than yielding themselves to God's government and direction in the
carrying of the gospel. In fact, instead of the true gospel, most
ministers taught a "third angel's message," which they had accepted
from the adventist people.
Today's Church Prophesied!
Notice the amazing description of the next event in the history
of God's people. John writes to the "Church at Philadelphia":
"I know thy works: behold, I HAVE SET BEFORE THEE AN OPEN DOOR, and no man can shut it: FOR THOU HAST A LITTLE STRENGTH, AND
HAST KEPT MY WORD AND HAST NOT DENIED MY NAME" (Rev. 3:8).
Here is a Church with little strength, few in numbers, but which
has kept the word of God; one which has not denied the truth. Here is a
Church which is preaching the gospel because Jesus promises to set before it AN OPEN DOOR until the work of the Church is
Here is a Church which Jesus loves despite its weakness!
Here is a Church to which He says: "Because thou hast kept the word of my
patience [which Jesus interprets in Revelation 14:12 as KEEPING THE COMMANDMENTS and the faith], I also will keep thee FROM THE HOUR
OF TEMPTATION, WHICH SHALL COME UPON ALL THE WORLD, TO TRY THEM THAT DWELL
UPON THE EARTH" (Rev. 3:10).
This verse pictures a Church which is carrying the gospel just
prior to the last great time of trouble that will engulf all the world.
THIS IS THE CHURCH OF GOD TODAY!
The Gospel Goes to All the World
Jesus chose Paul, who was highly educated, for spreading the
gospel to the Gentiles. He later raised up Peter Waldo, a successful
businessman, to keep his truth alive during the Middle Ages. In these last days WHEN THE GOSPEL MUST GO AROUND THE WORLD, Jesus
chose a man amply trained in the advertising and business fields to shoulder
this mission -- Herbert W. Armstrong.
Paul was struck down. Waldo was shocked by the sudden death
of his friend. In like manner God three times swept away Mr. Armstrong's
business in order that he might come to understand the truth.
Shortly before this event, God had opened the mind of Mrs.
Armstrong to understand the Sabbath truth from an elderly Church of God woman.
After six months of study, in a persistent effort to prove Sabbath-keeping
unscriptural, Mr. Armstrong also SURRENDERED HIS WILL TO GOD and accepted the
From this moment forward, God opened the minds of Mr. and Mrs.
Armstrong to understand one truth after another. The Church of God
brethren with whom they associated became so intensely interested that Mr.
Armstrong soon found himself speaking at their insistence -- then PREACHING to
small groups in Oregon!
Not long after his ordination, a momentous juncture occurred. A
movement was under foot to organize the local congregations of the Church of
God under human government -- a financial board of seven men. By 1933
certain leading ministers demanded that no more NEW truth be preached to the
brethren. They were refusing to repent and allow the Holy Spirit to work
through them to establish the truth that was ready to perish!
Most of the congregations succumbed to error. The age of
the Church of Sardis was over. THE CHURCH PERIOD OF PHILADELPHIA WAS TO
A DOOR Opens
The time had come for the gospel to go AROUND THE WORLD! Having
tested and proven that Herbert and Loma Armstrong would remain faithful and
subject to His government, God opened before them and a few faithful brethren
the marvelous DOOR of radio and the printing press to carry forth the gospel.
From a minute beginning in Oregon, in 1934, the work of God spread to cover
much of North America in 19 years. In 1953 it leaped to Europe and the world!
This is very significant.
God gave the Apostolic Church just two nineteen-year cycles to
carry the gospel to the Old World. He opened a DOOR to the apostle
Paul AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SECOND NINETEEN-YEAR CYCLE by which the gospel
went to Europe (Acts 16:9; II Cor. 2:12-13).
So now just before the second coming of Jesus Christ, God has
given His Church -- THIS CHURCH -- JUST TWO 19-year cycles in which to carry
the gospel to the world!
The first cycle HAS ALREADY PASSED. God opened the door for
the second cycle in January 1953, and the gospel is now going to all the
Do you catch the significance of this?
It means that this work, this MISSION to which God has called us
ALL, is a DIVINE WORK, a DIVINE MISSION! -- not the work of some one man.
WE ARE THE CHURCH OF GOD to whom Jesus committed the GREATEST task ever to
fall upon mortal man -- the carrying of His gospel, the good news of the
Kingdom of God, to ALL nations.
We are a people with "little strength," but God has set
before us an OPEN DOOR WHICH NO MAN CAN SHUT. We must use that door. We
must become zealous, working, praying, studying, giving tithes and offerings
as we have never given before, so that this gospel can go IN POWER around the world.
Future Is Dangerous
This is the time of the end when prophecies hidden for ages are
being revealed. TRUTH is being restored, knowledge is rapidly
increasing. But knowledge brings RESPONSIBILITY; it becomes DANGEROUS if not rightly handled.
Now notice Jesus' LAST WARNING to His Church. At the very
close of this age, when the work of spreading the gospel is almost finished,
Jesus addressed yet another Church work -- the Church at Laodicea: "I
know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: ... I WILL SPUE THEE OUT
OF MY MOUTH" (Rev. 3:15,16).
This frightful condition lies just ahead of us. Just as the
Sardis era of the Church existed side by side with the Philadelphia era, SO WE
WILL CONTINUE OUR WORK at the very same time that another work will develop. Another separate work is yet to
arise-made up of begotten individuals who are spiritually lukewarm! WOE
BE TO ANY OF US IF WE TAKE PART IN SUCH A WORK! Here is a work, yet to arise
because of our preaching, which will say: "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of
nothing." And Jesus will reply: "As many as I LOVE, I rebuke
and chasten: be ZEALOUS therefore, and REPENT."
It is time to WAKE UP! If YOU become complacent, lacking in
zeal, looking upon a local church as a social club, instead of having your
heart in the gospel, you, too, may end up in the "Church at Laodicea." Jesus, then, will NOT deliver you from the
impending, horrifying tribulation.
Notice Jesus' admonition in Luke 21:36. "WATCH ye
therefore and PRAY ALWAYS, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape ALL
these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of
Let's PRAY and WORK, TOGETHER to carry this gospel to all nations
so Jesus will say to each of us, "Well done, thou good and faithful