"What's It Going To Be?"

The Feast of Trumpets is swiftly approaching, a day which pictures Christ’s return to this earth as King of kings and Lord of lords and reflects the beginning of a series of events culminating in the putting away of Satan for a thousand years and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on this earth.

We see continued trouble in the world which was predicted millennia ago to happen in the last days. Christ, while on this earth, spoke of a time of wars and rumors of wars, of famines, pestilences, and earthquakes – of false prophets deceiving many, and of peril for His chosen people – even lawlessness within their ranks and the love of many growing cold.

What is our number one objective as we come down, according to Biblical reckoning, to the end of 6,000 years of mankind’s existence on this earth? Is it not to have a part in the establishment of God’s great Kingdom on this earth in the very near future? What could be more important to this remnant of God’s chosen people than to understand God’s Truth as outlined in the Scriptures? Yet, is not a lack of true knowledge one of the major obstacles facing God’s people at the end time?

We are living in a time of technological advancement unimaginable just a few generations back. Yet God understood the ability of mankind to achieve such phenomenal growth in all areas of physical life. Very early in the history of man, God saw this ability to advance rapidly and in order to slow down this growth to His timetable, He actually came down and made adjustments to slow this whole process down (Genesis 11:4-8).

Today, unless God intervenes, mankind has come to the point where he has the ability to totally annihilate all life from the face of the earth. And it is a fact that man has never developed a weapon, which he has not eventually used. God’s timetable is now set and we can clearly see events drawing closer to a climax.

Now, relative to God’s people at this same time, Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, tells us in 2 Timothy 4:3, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” God’s people are prophesied to begin turning away from the sound doctrines, which have been taught in the Church by God during the life of Mr. Herbert Armstrong, an apostle of Jesus Christ during our time.

Earlier in this book, Paul tells us, “…all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Many of God’s people no longer want to be reminded that we are living in such perilous times. Many do not want to be put under the pressure of these truths that reveal that it is through much tribulation, through many trials, that we will enter the Kingdom.

Paul instructs us, “…in the last days, perilous times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, …lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power…”(2 Timothy 3: 1-5). And in verse 7, “…always learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

We are told in verse 13 that during this same period, “…evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

These words were inspired, through the apostle Paul, by God, as a warning to His people who would be living in the latter days. These words were meant for you and me.

Are we offended when a minister of God spends time expounding these and similar scriptures? Do we get weary or bored when we hear such things? Do we realize that it is in the many little things we do in our efforts to live our lives according to the example Christ lived that will eventually reveal our sincerity toward this way of life?

Mr. Armstrong seemed to think that one of the most important things for God’s people in these latter days would be for the bride to be made ready for the marriage supper that is planned at the return of Christ. The individual assigned this responsibility did not perform that task and we find the body of Christ scattered in disarray. We should therefore, in addition to performing our responsibilities relative to preaching the Gospel to the world, be spending sufficient time in carrying out those important details relative to the feeding of the body of Christ in preparation for the marriage supper of the Lamb.

In Titus 2:12-14 Paul writes, “…we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”

Let us be zealous for good works, brethren. Let us do God’s Will, to live godly lives and to not be so easily offended by one another or by what we consider the milk of God’s Word. If we cannot take the milk, how will we be able to take the meat, both of which are plenteous in the Word of God? Or, do our ears itch to hear fables, speculations, and the hypocrisy of soothing words telling us we are all okay? Are we indeed rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing?

Dear brethren, we are in perilous times. However, our Lord Jesus Christ wants all of us in His soon coming kingdom when the last trump sounds. Let’s be there!

Doctrine – How Important? Part 1

“Left Behind” series is truth and fiction. Doctrines = teachings. Don’t add or take away. Hold fast – don’t drift from scriptures. Take heed and don’t forget. God will not stand for false worship – consequences.

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An Opportunity for All of Mankind

God calls and raises up in the last day. He gave His son so we should not perish but have everlasting life. As in Adam, all die but in Jesus Christ all made alive. He will pour out his Holy Spirit on all flesh in the last days. Fear God and keep His commandments. He will bring every work into judgment.

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Developing a Kinship With God

Begotten now not yet born. Abraham believes God and was the friend forever. He had willingness without question. Moses was the only one to ever see God in His glory. Establish a friendship with God. See the Lord while He may be found. Stand at the door and knock. Come out of Satan’s world. Stay in continuous contact. Be grateful and thankful. You are my friend if you do what He says.

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A Time for Judgment

If we qualify now we will have judgment responsibilities in the future. There is no just judgment on earth today. In righteousness you shall judge. God teaches us good judgment and discernment. If we would judge ourselves we wouldn’t need judging.

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Meaning of the Feast

The Feast is not a vacation. Understand the purpose to dwelling in booths. Learn to fear Eternal. What distracts us? Don’t allow anything to come between us and God. Simplify our lives and don’t become entangled in this life. Look at Abraham’s example of sojourning and obedience. Set your mind on things above.

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Faithfulness in The Little Things

The Bible has many examples showing that as long as people followed God’s instructions, He was with them, but when they turned away from truth, He did not continue to bless them. People think they can change “little” things, not taking into account the far reaching damage that will be done to themselves and others. This applies, too, when it comes to church doctrines. When right teaching is compromised, even a “little,” God is not pleased.

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Does God Require Tithes and Offerings, Today?

(Editors Note – This editorial is written in response to questions and comments we have received in recent weeks. We feel this information is vital and timely and are providing a summary of our answers in this week’s Editorial Section of the Update).

With the apostasy which has come upon the Church, many of God’s People have turned to false teachings, as Paul clearly stated would happen in 2 Tim. 4:3-4. Many have changed their whole approach in dealing with God’s Truths, which they had learned, including those relative to their own financial obligations to God and His Church. They have become “very sensitive” when it comes to the subject of “giving” to God’s Church.

Yet, there are numerous examples in scripture where God shows He requires tithes and offerings from His People. We see such an example in Exodus 25, where God required offerings from the children of Israel for the building of the Tabernacle of God. Note God’s instructions to Moses, as he was the one responsible to convey to God’s People what God required relative to this offering.

God’s requirement was “… that they bring an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering” (Exodus 25:2). Two things should be noted here:

First – the offering does not belong to the person contributing the offering. It is not his! The offering belongs to God! That is true, even before the offering is given.

Second – God accepts the offering under a specific condition. That is, it is only an acceptable offering to God if it is from one who gives it willingly, as the scripture points out – “From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.” The Apostle Paul also boldly proclaims this same principle in 2 Corinthians 9:7, where he states, “…for God loves a cheerful giver.”

There is concern that this may be one area where many in the Church of God, today, have let down in their relationship with God. It is true, that God owns all wealth. He can see that the finances needed by the Church are provided, whatever the need may be. However, the method of financing His end-time Work – God has chosen. It is, for each of us, our responsibility – individually and collectively – to be faithful in our financial obligations – so that the commission of preaching and publishing the gospel of the soon-coming Kingdom to the world as a witness, and the feeding of God’s sheep will be accomplished.

This requirement of God is a “test” command for all of God’s People, including those in positions of leadership – the ministry of God. Notice this clear admonition found in Malachi, chapter 3. “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And prove me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10).

Moses, by the way, did not hesitate to institute the exhortation of God, which He asked of the people, as you can read in Exodus 35:5, 29.

There are a number of such financial requirements, which God placed on His People and administered through those He had put in positions of service to those whom He is calling. The tithe, however, has always belonged to Him (Leviticus 27:30). It is Holy to Him! He did give the tithe, for a period of time, to the sons of Levi “…as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform(ed), the work of the tabernacle of meeting” (Numbers 18:21).

Yet we see in Hebrews 7:9, that the law of tithing existed long before God made an agreement with the sons of Levi, which agreement gave them the right to collect tithes for a certain time. As we read verses 15-28 of Hebrews 7, we see that this right to receive tithes later reverted back to Jesus Christ, whose right it was from the beginning. Today, Christ collects tithes through His Body, the Church, to be used to carry out the end-time Work of God.

Christ showed that this system of financing the Work of God is definitely applicable, today (Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42, Luke 18:12). And of course, God shows in Malachi 3:8-9 that one thing He is angry about at the time of the end is that His People are failing Him in this requirement!

So much confusion exists today, especially since the apostasy has set in, indicating that many of God’s People do not know what to do. There must be a clear voice that is showing that correct way, else we will all be held accountable for the error that exists in the Church now, and that will exist at the time of Christ’s return.

We are told in Isaiah 58:1 to… “Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins.” We must not be fearful in doing this! We point out these truths as a reminder to those God has called and given understanding, and yet now appear to be holding back because they are uncertain where God’s Work is being done. They must not continue to hold back, but must come to the realization that they have an obligation to determine where that Work is being done, based upon the clear evidence they see and the clear word they hear. Once having proven this, they have a responsibility to carry out God’s command and to support His Work where they see it being faithfully carried out – just as the people of Israel willingly and with a joyful heart contributed to the construction of the Tabernacle.

Remember, the tithe belongs to God! It is His! To hold on to His tithe, God says, is stealing from Him! God requires that His tithe be paid, so that His Work will be done (Mal 3:10).

We would add, here, that we in CEG stand ready to engage and answer questions concerning the Work of God. It is our full intention to back up all our actions with biblical evidence and proofs! As Mr. Armstrong correctly stated so many times, it is our purpose to follow what is written in the Holy Scriptures. When we are wrong we will willingly change, but we will absolutely present the Truth of God to the best of our abilities, based upon the knowledge and understanding granted to us by the Eternal God through His Holy Spirit, regardless of any criticism or sensitivities people may have toward the issues presented.

Spiritual Blindness

We need a spiritual transformationin order to SEE. Human experience without the holy spirit is not profitable. Be humble like a child. The world is deceived but doesn’t know it. When we stop growing spiritually we will die.

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"Your Covenant With God"

One of the most important doctrines of the Church of God is one, which has to do with the covenants God has made with His people down through the ages. God has made covenants (agreements) with different people at different times as He chose to deal with them.

He made a covenant with Adam, which covenant Adam failed to keep. (While the Bible does not specifically refer to God’s Words in Gen. 2:16-17 as a covenant, God did make a binding commitment, here, with Adam, that if the man failed in this requirement God placed upon him, the penalty for disobedience was death.) Adam, rather, chose to walk in Satan’s ways instead of God’s righteous Way and, thus, all of mankind has been made subject to death.

God made a covenant with Noah, and the sign of that covenant is still with us, today, available for all to see, as a witness of the agreement God made with Noah and of Noah’s obedience to God. (Gen. 8:16, 9:8-17)

We are all cognizant of the covenants God made with Abraham and his seed and of Abraham’s obedience and the fact that the world today is still being blessed because Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were faithful to God in the keeping of these covenants. Of course, there is the special Sabbath covenant which we find in Exodus 31:12-18, and the covenant God made with His servant, David. (2 Samuel 7:12-16)

Abraham’s descendants, the Children of Israel, entered into numerous covenants with God, but like Adam, they failed to keep their part in these agreements. In these covenants, Israel agreed to be obedient to God’s Sabbath, to His Laws, and to His Way of life. God, in turn, promised to Israel, material and national blessings and a superior position in the earth, if they would be faithful to these agreements. (The gift of God’s Holy Spirit and the promise of eternal life were not made a part of these agreements with Israel.) Israel failed in keeping their part in these agreements.

Jesus Christ came to this earth to establish a special covenant between God and those He would call during this lifetime. God would give them His Spirit as a help, for them to be able to fulfill their part of the agreement, which He would be making with them. Additionally, He would allow Jesus Christ to offer Himself as a living sacrifice such that a means for forgiveness of sin was available for them, upon repentance, when they failed in their part of the agreement.

The question for God’s chosen people, today, is … how are we doing in our resolve to keep the covenant we made with Him at the time of our baptism?

We saw how God blessed His Church during that period of Church history we have all come to know as the Philadelphia era of God’s Church (Revelation 3:7-13). But, now, we have seen the end of that era and the onset of a new era … Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22). We have seen the beginning of the apostasy, as it has encompassed God’s people. And we have seen the scattering of the sheep and the offense that has been caused by this momentous event.

Today, the Church is much smaller than during the latter years of the Philadelphia era! How should God’s people be relating, today, in light of all the events, which have taken place?

Our admonition is, first, to hold fast to those things, which we first learned. (2 Timothy 1:13-14; Revelation 3:11). We must persevere. If this requires further separation, God will see that it happens. Second, our admonition is to watch, always, and to pray that we be accounted worthy, when Christ comes to establish His Father’s Kingdom. (Matthew 24:42-47). Third, our admonition is to endure. (Matthew 24:13). We must not waver, brethren, in our dealings with the Almighty. (James 1:6-8).

God, the Father has allowed the Church to be scattered at this time (Daniel 12:7), yet, it is He Who will gather them at the appropriate time. (John 11:51-52).

But we, brethren, must remain faithful to God’s Truth, never wavering, never losing faith that our elder brother will keep His promise as quoted by Paul in Hebrews 13:5, where He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” If we remain faithful to Jesus Christ and to the Father, they will certainly remain faithful to us.

In Malachi 3:16, we read that “…those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, (if we fear Him, we will obey Him), And the LORD listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the LORD And who meditate on His name. ‘They shall be Mine’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them As a man spares his own son who serves him.’ Then you shall again discern Between the righteous and the wicked, Between one who serves God And one who does not serve Him.”

Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong admonished us to “prove all things.” He taught us to believe him only if what he taught was provable by scripture. We must not change from that approach. We must not follow any man, except as he follows Christ. Only then can we demonstrate true loyalty to the Almighty. He tells us in His Word, “For I am the LORD, I change not.” (Malachi 3:6 – KJV).

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