Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
Should You Follow Just One Man?
Human nature is very interesting. It always tends to follow the path of least resistance. It is communal, and seeks other company. It is more concerned about its friends, and "peers," and what other people think, than about the TRUTH! It would seemingly rather justify error and assemble with a multitude who are following one man -- just like the people of Germany when Hitler appeared on the scene! Is it wrong to follow just one man, or should you seek safety in a multiplicity of ministers who each have some of YEHOVAH's truth, but not the complete picture?
by HOIM Staff
Stop and consider. "Could I be right, and everybody else wrong?"
Herbert Armstrong often used to ask that question of the congregation, either in Pasadena, or during the Feast of Tabernacles. It was impressive. He would point out some of the major differences between what he taught, and mainstream churches, and ask, "Could they all be wrong?" Or, one might reflect -- could Herbert Armstrong have all the truth -- could he be completely right?
For the next few years, Herbert Armstrong studied with the Church of God, Seventh Day, and was even ordained an elder by them. However, in the early 1930s he introduced new truth to them -- that the annual holy days of YEHOVAH God should be observed, and the identity of the United States and Britain as descended from the lost ten tribes of Israel. The established church refused to accept this new truth, and so he was forced to separate from the Church of God, Seventh Day, in early 1934, and began his own "work," the Radio Church of God, as it was then called.
In the first few years, only he and his wife keep the holy days of YEHOVAH God. When he separated from the Oregon conference of the Church of God Seventh Day, because of doctrinal differences, there was only he and his wife and a very few local brethren in Oregon who followed him.
Yet the testimony of subsequent history proves that YEHOVAH God used him -- one man -- to begin what would turn out to be one facet of YEHOVAH's own Work during the last days, warning the nations of Israel to repent, acting like a spiritual "Watchman" to the nations. YEHOVAH God used him -- one man -- to do this particular "work" of warning!
Over the years, despite twists and turns, setbacks and lapses, that Work grew and remained focused on preaching the gospel of the kingdom of YEHOVAH God. By the 1960s, about thirty years later, it became the most widely known and greatest single radio program on earth, in radio power and coverage of stations which carried the broadcast.
That Work of YEHOVAH God was begun by "one man." However, it ended, effectively, when he died in 1986.
Years of Apostasy and Challenge
That work effectively ceased to exist, after Herbert Armstrong died in January 1986. It seemed to lose its way, and stop and start, wander and dally, since the death of Mrs. Loma D. Armstrong in 1967. Doctrinal rebellion followed in 1974 with hundreds of ministers bolting the church, and even his own son Ted led a second rebellion in 1978, followed by an insidious leadership crisis and scandal in 1979 which resulted in the state of California putting the church into "receivership," with day-to-day operations controlled by a former judge, working for the attorney general's office. For more than a year this sad state of affairs dragged on, until new legislation in the California legislature, known as the Petris bill, forbad the state from interfering in financial matters of churches, religions, and the like, because of the Constitutional doctrine of the separation of church and state. The last few years of his life, Herbert Armstrong spoke often of "getting back on the track," doctrinally, and of the danger posed by "liberal" elements in the church which were waiting like vultures for him to die.
By the time Herbert Armstrong died, in 1986, the Worldwide Church of God had become a vast organization, with various men jockeying for power, scrambling for the highest positions, with successorship on almost everyone's mind. Herbert himself wrote in June of 1985 that the "council of elders" would select his successor, when he died. But six months later, for some reason, the council of elders was totally ignored. It is claimed that Herbert Armstrong put his stamp of approval on Joseph W. Tkach as his successor. Tkach was perceived to be a faithful and loyal lieutenant, though not highly respected in the Church. He was not a writer or a thinker, and seemed more of a functionary, an administrator over the ministry, more of a "funnel" who would bring the problems to Herbert Armstrong himself for decisions.
"Follow in His Footsteps"
Today, the Worldwide Church of God appears to be suffering trauma, and is experiencing a dramatic decrease in financial income and a steady hemorrhaging of membership, as hundreds leave the Church over doctrinal changes which have engulfed the organization. New churches and "off-shoots" and "spin-offs" seem to be springing up almost daily.
At the death of Herbert Armstrong, Joseph Tkach said, in a prayer at his funeral,
"And Father, we come before you on this very sober occasion with mixed emotions, sorrow and grief on one hand, and yet, Father, with joy on the other, knowing the individual that we are honoring today -- this unusual and great man whom you called, chose and selected to be your human instrument here on this earth to preach the gospel of the soon-coming Kingdom of God.
"And so Father, we just thank you for him. He is going to be greatly missed. And as we commit his remains to the ground from whence all of us were created, we commit his spirit to you . . . And so, Father, we thank you for this man who touched the hearts and lives of most of us here today. And so we just thank you for him, Father.
"And now as we close another chapter in the book of Acts and begin a new one, we readily admit and acknowledge that there is no man who can fill his shoes, but, Father, we aim to follow in his footsteps . . ." (Member and Co-Worker letter, January 19, 1986).
How well has Joseph Tkach been following in the "footsteps" of Herbert Armstrong?
The NEW "Mystery of the Ages"
Before he died, Herbert Armstrong wrote the book which he considered his most important book ever, Mystery of the Ages. In it he documented and proved all the major doctrines of the Bible -- the "mysteries" which have been cast aside and ignored by most of professing Christianity and mainstream churches. In a letter to members and co-workers dated September 12, 1985, just four months before his death, Herbert Armstrong wrote:
"I feel like shouting 'Glory, hallelujah' and 'Praise God' that he has revealed his Word to his one true church through the Holy Spirit which he has given to us. Daniel 12 continues to say that in these last days the wise would understand but all others would not. The Bible says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, and a good understanding have they who do his commandments.
"We of God's true church do keep God's commandments. But the churches of the world say the commandments were done away. Therefore their eyes, even though they do not realize it, are blinded to the truth as revealed in the Bible. That is why the churches of 'traditional Christianity' do not and cannot understand the Bible.
"This new book MYSTERY OF THE AGES does put the many 'pieces of the jigsaw puzzle' properly together. Because the world has been unable to do this, the Bible and the things in the Bible have certainly been a mystery. . . .
"This new book MYSTERY OF THE AGES unveils all these mysteries. It puts the many different parts of the 'jigsaw puzzle' together. It is, in fact, a synopsis of the entire Bible. It is my prayer that you will read it along with your Bible -- that it will make your Bible come alive and understandable. And with God's Holy Spirit dwelling in you, I feel sure that it will. I am now in my 94th year and I feel that this book is the most valuable gift I could possibly give to you. This book is a partial expression of my thanks and gratitude to you for being a co-laborer with me and with Jesus Christ. With all my heart, I do appreciate and thank God for your part with me in the wonderful work in these closing days."
Obviously, Herbert Armstrong thought this last book he wrote was extremely important!
Within a few years of the death of Herbert Armstrong, Joseph Tkach pulled from circulation this most important book, Mystery of the Ages, claiming that it was filled with "errors." His son, Joseph Jr., told one minister that it was "riddled with errors." Joseph Tkach then had his staff begin rewriting all the booklets of Herbert W. Armstrong, ostensibly to avoid "misunderstandings" and to make them "clearer" to a new audience not used to Mr. Armstrong's "archaic style" and approach. We were told all his articles needed a "new approach," and that there were "errors" in his writings, as well. These "errors" were never clearly defined or pointed out, however. The new team just pulled everything Herbert Armstrong wrote from circulation, and began rewriting that which they thought they could "salvage," and dumped the rest. Many were quietly destroyed. Others were carefully rewritten, with major doctrinal changes occurring quietly in the process!
And so the "wool" was pulled over the eyes of unsuspecting thousands! Just as the apostle Paul himself warned two thousand years ago, a NEW mystery, yet an age-old mystery, began to replace the Mystery of the Ages. This "new" mystery was the Biblically prophesied "MYSTERY OF INIQUITY"! Paul declared:
"For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [hinders or restrains] will let [restrain], until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed . . ." (II Thess. 2:7-8).
That "Wicked" one is the "man of sin," also called the "son of perdition" (verse 3). He is a man who teaches against YEHOVAH God's Law, and a man who leads multitudes to "perdition" or utter destruction. Paul warned that he would lead a "great falling away" from the truth of YEHOVAH God (same verse). He further wrote of such apostates, in YEHOVAH's sight:
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none [remaining in the church] that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood [or, to disfellowship!!!]: DESTRUCTION AND MISERY are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes" (Rom. 3:10-18).
This prophecy's main fulfillment was in the Catholic Church, but it has come to pass once again, like a broken record. Apostasy has set in and devoured the visible, existing Church of YEHOVAH God, wreaking its havoc, doing its dirty work, leading thousands astray and into devilish error, without their realizing what has happened.
The Sorry Spectacle and Record of Apostasy
No longer does the Worldwide Church of God even teach that the United States and British Commonwealth are largely descended from the ancient lost ten tribes of Israel! No longer is end-time Bible prophecy emphasized at all. No longer is YEHOVAH God's "seven thousand year plan" taught, or believed, by the Worldwide Church of God and its officials!
Joseph W. Tkach, rather than "follow in the footsteps" of Herbert W. Armstrong, has done the exact opposite. He has backtracked, and gone off in a totally new direction -- changing doctrines right and left -- the Trinity doctrine, the doctrine of being "born again," the very gospel message itself. He says the "kingdom of God" which Herbert Armstrong always taught was FUTURE, which will be brought to earth by Yeshua the Messiah, is actually HERE, TODAY, and that the "Church" IS the "kingdom of God" -- a subtle, but very important difference compared to what Herbert Armstrong taught! His teaching is now almost identical with that of the Roman Catholic Church in this regard!
Herbert Armstrong stressed over and over again the vital important of keeping the Ten Commandments, and all the commandments of YEHOVAH God. But Joseph Tkach, who claimed he would follow in his "footsteps," says the Ten Commandments are not all that important after all! In a Member and Co-Worker letter in 1992, he wrote:
"It is a common mistake to assume, 'If everybody would just keep the Ten Commandments, what a nice world we would have.' . . . they are not enough. . . the Ten Commandments do not require kindness, mercy, compassion, generosity, sacrifice for others, impartiality, patience or love. Nor do the Ten Commandments specifically forbid conceit, envy, hatred, rage or selfish ambition."
Aren't those strange-sounding words from the mouth of one who professes that he is arduously, diligently following in the very "footsteps" of Herbert W. Armstrong?
The Nature and Definition of "SIN"
In a similar abridgement of truth, Joseph Tkach insists on changing "definitions" of key Scriptural words. The Bible says plainly, as Herbert Armstrong taught over the years, "Sin IS the trangression of the law" (I John 3:4). But, says Joseph Tkach, in his new, novel definition of the term:
"Sin is that which destroys relationships. It corrupts relationships between people and it cuts human beings off from God" (WWN, Sept.2, 1991, "Personal").
Notice this subtle change. Sin is no longer clear-cut law-breaking, something very tangible and easy to discern, just by looking into the commandments of YEHOVAH God and seeing what He forbids us to do -- now sin has become something vague, nebulous, hazy, foggy, hard-to-discern, an abstract quality which "destroys relationships," whatever that means. According to Joseph Tkach's new definition, Yeshua the Messiah must be a great "sinner," because he said, in seemingly direct contradistinction to Tkach's novel idea:
"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth [heal relationships]: I came not to send peace, but a SWORD. For I am come to set a man AT VARIANCE against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's FOES shall be they of his own household" (Matt. 10:34-36).
Yeshua came to bring the TRUTH of YEHOVAH God, and the "truth" actually often serves to break up relationships, and sometimes even causes the destruction of family ties, because unconverted people in the world refuse to obey the truth or to go along with it. The carnal, human mind is ENMITY or HOSTILITY "against God: for it is not subject to the LAW of God, neither indeed can be" (Romans 8:7).
To categorically say that "sin IS that which destroys relationships," as Joseph Tkach does, is a clever device of Satan the devil to distract people from the TRUE definition of sin, and to CONFUSE them with semantics. Sin does not necessarily destroy relationships. It can BUILD relationships IN SIN -- in error, in doctrinal wrong teaching, in wrong activities. Some men love to go a whoring, especially navy men who've been at sea a long time, so when they reach port, many sailors go arm-in-arm to the local "bars," prostitution parlors, and pick up local girls for the purpose of immorality, sex, and lust. They do this together, in droves. If a true Christian refuses to do this, and obeys the laws of YEHOVAH God, he would effectively "destroy" that relationship he had with his buddies. That, according to Tkach, would be "sin"!
Jeremiah the prophet brought a warning from YEHOVAH God, and wrote YEHOVAH's stern words:
"How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and ASSEMBLED THEMSELVES BY TROOPS IN THE HARLOTS' HOUSES. They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbor's wife" (Jer. 5:7-8).
According to Joseph Tkach, "sin is that which destroys relationships," so to preserve your relationships with others, you should condone their actions and activities, compromise with wickedness and evil behavior -- otherwise you would wreck a relationship! The implication is that you should join in with the festivities, the frolic and fun, and give vent to your lusts and pleasures, along with the world around you. Otherwise you might "destroy" a precious "relationship"!
Clearly, such reasoning is sophomoric and puerile. Yet, he is the head of a large church and the "successor" to Herbert W. Armstrong! Amazing, isn't it?
Definition of the "Kingdom of God" Surgically Altered
In his letter to Co-workers and Members at the death of Herbert Armstrong, January 19, 1986, Joseph Tkach wrote:
"And now, GOOD NEWS! . . . . Jesus Christ will give His ministers the POWER to preach HIS TRUE GOSPEL -- the gospel of the soon-coming Kingdom of God!
"The message of God's Church has NEVER changed! And it never will! The World Tomorrow telecast will continue to boldly announce Christ's own gospel -- the gospel He Himself preached. . ."
But, once Herbert Armstrong was dead and gone, subtle changes began to intrude into the gospel message. Joseph Tkach began making many clever incisions in the message, and even began calling it "the gospel of human salvation," and not the "gospel of the Kingdom of God"! In a Member and Co-Worker letter dated January 23, 1991, he wrote:
"Our collective job, as the Church of God, is to proclaim the wonderful good news of HUMAN SALVATION through Jesus Christ -- the establishment of the spiritual nation of God, inaugurated at Jesus' first coming and destined to rule over all human governments at his second coming. As a grain of mustard seed the kingdom of God began very small and will grow until the day when it will at last fill the earth when Jesus returns in glory to rule all nations . . ."
In the November 25, 1991 issue of The Worldwide News, he added:
"We all realize that God has given us a job to do -- to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom. But just what is the gospel of the kingdom of God?
"Sometimes it is all too easy to think of the gospel of the kingdom as having to do primarily with a future event. Indeed, the gospel -- the good news -- does entail the great future hope for all God's people -- the second coming of Jesus Christ, and the establishment of his rule over all nations.
"Yet, there are also equally important PAST AND PRESENT ASPECTS OF THE GOSPEL. As God's people, we need to understand and focus on all the gospel, not just any one part of it . . ."
In yet another "Personal," Tkach (or one of his ghost writers) declared even more bluntly:
"Yet, we must not think that the Kingdom of God is something that is only in the future . . . We are EVEN NOW INDUCTED INTO and ruled by the KINGDOM OF GOD through the Holy Spirit as Christ lives in us. YES, THE CHURCH IS, in a special sense, EVEN NOW THE KINGDOM OF GOD" (WWN, May 13, 1991, emphasis mine).
How subtle! How unique! This seems to suggest that YEHOVAH's spirit rules over true Christians. But is that the case? Paul warns us repeatedly, "Quench not the Spirit" (I Thess. 5:19) -- if we can "quench" it, then we are the ones in control, and the spirit of YEHOVAH God only leads us as long as we willingly follow it (John 16:13). Paul further warns, "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption" (Eph. 4:30). Although Christians have a portion of YEHOVAH's spirit as a begettal (Eph. 2:13-14), we still have human nature to battle and contend with (Gal. 5:16i-17). We are not yet in the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God!
Herbert Armstrong wrote, in Mystery of the Ages, as the Scriptures clearly show, that the gospel or good news of the "Kingdom of God" IS the message that YEHOVAH's Kingdom and government are COMING SOON TO THIS EARTH! That is the message Yeshua preached (Mark 1:13-14; 9:35), and Paul (Acts 19:8; 20:25; 28:23, 31). It is the whole thrust of the message of the Bible, from cover to cover -- it IS the "GOOD NEWS"!
For Joseph Tkach to denigrate it, to demote it's future importance, to imply that the CHURCH IS the "Kingdom," is blatant and egregious HERESY!
What Do You Mean, "Saved by Grace"?
By means of such subtle twists and looping distractions, and circular reasonings, Satan hopes to inveigle thousands into following him and LOSE OUT on the true promise of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God, and cause us to stop doing those things we need to do in order to BE in that future Kingdom -- like keeping the commandments of YEHOVAH GOD!
When asked in a radio interview whether keeping the commandments of YEHOVAH God was necessary for salvation, or whether the Worldwide Church of God agrees with other Protestant mainstream churches that we are saved by grace alone, Michael Snyder, then a spokesman for Tkach and the Church, declared straight-forward that the Church agrees with the standard Protestant theology on this question. The exchange went like this:
Question: Michael, salvation by grace through faith alone is a standard Reformation doctrine. Is that the way you would formulate your doctrine of salvation -- salvation by grace through faith alone?
Snyder: Yes. . . . Joseph Tkach sent a letter to all the members, [and] it reaffirmed that salvation cannot be worked out or obtained by any physical works whatsoever. That the credit for salvation solely must go to Christ's sacrifice and His atoning for our sins.
Joseph Tkach now says that salvation is by "grace alone," and that Sabbath keeping and obedience to the laws of YEHOVAH God are not necessary for salvation. Thus he destroys not only the true gospel, but the very means by which we can enter the Kingdom, through the Messiah in us!
We read in the gospel of Matthew:
"And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS.
"And he saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Matt. 19:17-19).
How plain! The apostle Paul also made it plain that commandment keeping is a vital part of the Christian's path into the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God. He said, "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good" (Rom. 7:12). He added, "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, WE ESTABLISH THE LAW" (Rom. 3:31).
And, dealing with the subjecte of "grace" and "faith," Paul clearly declared:
"For by GRACE are ye saved THROUGH FAITH; and that not of yourselves: it is the GIFT of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS UNTO GOOD WORKS, which God hath before ordained that WE SHOULD WALK IN THEM" (Eph. 2:8-10).
These "good works" do not "earn" us salvation, BUT THEY ARE REQUIRED! What "good works" are these? Obviously, they are the "good works" of OBEYING THE COMMANDMENTS OF YEHOVAH GOD!
Paul wrote how he himself strove to obey YEHOVAH's commandments, fighting against the pulls of the human fleshly nature. He said, "I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway" (I Cor. 9:26-27).
In this same vein, Paul exhorts all true Christians, "WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION, WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING" (Phil. 2:12). We are, of course, to do this with the help and indwelling POWER of the Holy Spirit within us, which gives us SPIRITUAL ENERGY to obey the laws and commandments of YEHOVAH God (Gal. 2:20; I Tim. 1:6-7; Rom. 8:1-4).
Isn't this plain enough? But let's not stop here. Notice! In the last chapter of the book of Revelation, driving this truth home, we read of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God, and the New Jerusalem which comes from YEHOVAH out from heaven:
"Blessed are they that DO HIS COMMANDMENTS, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city" (Rev. 22:14).
YEHOVAH's Kingdom is FUTURE, and we must KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, if we ever hope to be a part of it! Although commandment-keeping itself does not "earn" us salvation, it is a requirement for us to obtain YEHOVAH's gift of eternal life! YEHOVAH's commandments must be written into our very hearts and minds as indelibly inscribed CHARACTER before we can inherit the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God! (Heb. 8:7-11).
Where Do We Go From Here?
Since the abject plunge of the Worldwide Church of God over the Niagara Falls of sheer apostasy, and into the swirling cauldron and jagged rocks below the precipice, many small groups, in increasing numbers, have begun to split off from Worldwide, and to form their own "church." Ironically, many of them still maintain some of the worst errors of Worldwide, including a tyrannical form of totalitarian "church government," which they claim is the "government of God" -- a statement falling little short of blasphemy, when the two governments are carefully compared!
Strangely, few of these people seem really willing or desirous of "proving all things," and getting back to the "faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). They don't want to have to "earnestly contend" for the truth of YEHOVAH God. But they desire to stick close to a group -- almost any "group" -- so long as they can have "fellowship" in their local area and region! Any potential, untested, untried "poison" seems to be better than the Worldwide brand of "poison."
Some hook up with Garner Ted Armstrong's Church of God, International. Others flock to Gerald Flurry's noisome and frothy "Philadelphia Church of God." Still others spin off with this or that group, including Roderick Meredith's new "Global Church of God," which some punsters now call the "global church of Rod."
One Man -- One Work?
In each generation before the Flood, YEHOVAH God worked essentially through one man during that generation. Noah was the "eighth" preacher of righteousness, following such men as Enoch, Abel, and the others (II Pet. 2:5).
During Abraham's time, YEHOVAH worked only through Abraham, and then his children, Isaac, and Jacob. Four hundred years later, YEHOVAH began working through Moses, and his brother Aaron, to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, and to organize "Israel," the "church in the wilderness" (Acts 7:38). YEHOVAH God spoke to Moses alone on the top of Mount Sinai, and communicated his laws to give to us. Moses was a "prophet" whom YEHOVAH raised up for this purpose (verse 37).
During the time of Elijah the prophet, apostasy was in full bloom in Israel. True servants of the living God were in hiding, fearful of their lives. Jezebel the queen, wife of wicked Ahab, sought to kill all the prophets and servants of the LORD, and to establish Baalism as the official and sole religion of the kingdom of Israel. Elijah was the only "prophet" of YEHOVAH God left. YEHOVAH worked through him, and the school he later established -- and through his successor, Elisha (I Kings 17-22, II Kings 1-13). One man, essentially -- one generation.
After the return of the Jews from captivity in Babylon, YEHOVAH God worked through Ezra the scribe, Nehemiah the governor, and various of the "lesser" prophets, including Haggai, circa 520, and Zechariah. However, during the time of the prophets a number of them were contemporary with each other -- so the rule of one man, one generation hasn't always applied.
About 397 B.C. YEHOVAH God worked through Malachi, the last of the Old Testament prophets. No others appeared on the scene until YEHOVAH raised up John, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight" (Matt.3:1-3). John was called "the prophet of the Highest" (Luke 1:76). But the various splinter groups of the churches of his time, the Pharisees and Sadducees, rejected him, and received not the truth of YEHOVAH God.
"But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance . . ." (Matt. 3:7-8).
John the Baptist was one man -- the one man YEHOVAH God used to "introduce" the coming of the Messiah, Yeshua, to that generation. YEHOVAH wasn't working through any of the established "remnants" of the Church of YEHOVAH God at that time -- not the Pharisees, or their divisions or schools, nor the Sadducees, nor the Essenes. He was only working through one man, John the Baptist, called to be the prophet of the Most High, one whom Yeshua compared to Elijah (Matt. 11:10-15).
During the years from 1934 to 1986, YEHOVAH God apparently used one man, essentially, to restore many of the truths of YEHOVAH God to the Church. That man was Herbert W. Armstrong. Although he fell short of the mark in many ways, and was far from being a perfect vessel, nevertheless, it seems that YEHOVAH saw something in him that He could use to restore many long-lost truths, and to recapture true values. YEHOVAH used him for a period of over fifty years in His Work.
But now he is gone. The leader is dead. It is now obvious to thousands that Joseph Tkach has not followed "in the footsteps" of Herbert W. Armstrong, nor has he continued to faithfully and boldly proclaim the true gospel of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God.
So -- Where Is YEHOVAH God REALLY Working, Today?
Is He really behind all the various "splinter groups" which have come out of Worldwide, but still retail many of Worldwide's errors? Is He working with, leading and inspiring men who are intransigent, unmovable, impervious to His truth?
Perhaps the ONLY WAY to learn, discern and KNOW where YEHOVAH God is really working today, is, as Yeshua the Messiah said, "by their FRUITS" (Matt. 7:20). Or, as Isaiah the prophet foretold, "TO THE LAW AND TO THE TESTIMONY: If they speak not according to THIS WORD, it is because there is NO LIGHT [NO TRUTH] in them" (Isaiah 8:20).
YEHOVAH God is Truth. They that truly worship Him must worship Him in "spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). Yeshua is "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). The TRUTH, He said, would set us free (John 8:32). His Word, the Word of YEHOVAH God, IS "truth" (John 17:17). So the lesson ought to be clear: If you want to find YEHOVAH God, then you must SEEK FOR THE TRUTH! For regardless of human appearances, or superficial appearances, YEHOVAH IS WHERE THE TRUTH IS -- whether it is JUST ONE MAN, or a group, or a multiplicity of ministers!
Where is YEHOVAH God working, today?
Too many just assume something, and rush off helter-skelter, pell-mell, into another version of error. They stop following one group, and its leader, and break off, and rush into following another human being, or group -- WITHOUT CAREFULLY PROVING WHERE THE REAL TRUTH IS!
In each generation, YEHOVAH God raised up at least one man to lead His people to TRUTH! The way to know for certain WHO that individual is, is to PROVE WHERE THE TRUTH OF YEHOVAH GOD CAN REALLY BE FOUND!!!
Think about it -- carefully. Those ministers and groups who shut off all discussion of doctrinal issues, and who COMMAND you to follow them, regardless, CANNOT be of YEHOVAH God -- even if outward appearances may lead you to THINK they are. Also, those who refuse to accept the TRUTH of YEHOVAH God regarding Passover and Pentecost -- the right days to observe, are BLIND, and in ERROR, and YEHOVAH God is NOT working in and though them! Therefore, the question remains: Just WHO should you follow, who is YEHOVAH God really working through, today, on planet earth?
The bottom line is -- YEHOVAH God could be working through one man today, or a number of men! The only way to find out who is a TRUE minister of YEHOVAH God is to check every doctrine, every pronouncement, every action against YEHOVAH's Word the Bible.
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 ever good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
TEST ALL THINGS; hold fast what is good [true] (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and SEARCHED THE SCRIPTURES DAILY to find out whether these things were so (Acts 17:11).
There is no other way to do it! You must push human nature to one side and stop following the path of least resistance! You must "search the Scriptures daily" to find out whether the things you have been told square with the Word of YEHOVAH God. If they don't -- beware of that man or ministry!
Hope of Israel Ministries -- Preparing the Way for the Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!
Hope of Israel Ministries
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