Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
The ROYAL "Apostle"
Was there ever a time in history when true apostles of Yeshua the Messiah lived like royalty, travelled in the most luxuriously appointed vehicles, stayed at the most lavish hotel suites, and surrounded themselves with rare perks, expensive gifts, and a great entourage? Well, meet the Worldwide Church of God's Joseph W. Tkach -- Apostle Extraordinaire -- whose travel arrangements make even Michael Jackson or other Hollywood celebrities look like commoners by comparison!
by HOIM Staff
According to an extraordinary article in the June 1992 Ambassador Report, by John Trechak (available by writing to Ambassador Report, P.O. Box 60068, Pasadena, Calif., 91116), anybody who has consistently read the Church's newspaper, Worldwide News, should have noticed that considerable space in that publication is "devoted to the idolization of Tkach." Says Trechak:
"In photo after photo we see 'The Apostle' -- face perpetually tanned, figure maintained by careful dieting, body swathed in a wide variety of very casual to very formal outfits, and demeanor relaxed from his daily Jacuzzi sessions with friends. We see Tkach, the serious executive, lecturing employees. We see Tkach, the wise counselor, listening attentively to the words of celebrities. We see Tkach, the indignant cleric, pounding pulpit lecterns before WCG congregations around the world. We see Tkach, the father figure, holding babies and gently stroking the hair of little children. And we see Tkach, the master politician, jovially shaking hands with long lines of adoring WCG followers at each local church he visits" ("Joseph W. Tkach -- God's New Rep on Planet Earth," part VII, June 1992 Ambassador Report, page 4).
Says Trechak, although there seems to be not the slightest suspicion on the part of church members that they are being media fed about Tkach, yet to those people with even a smattering of training and experience in advertising, public relations, and the modern media, it is obvious that all the hype about Tkach is the result of considerable time, money and energy to "create its idol, and that all of Tkach's public appearances are carefully staged" (ibid.).
Internal WCG documents provided to AR by one of its headquarters sources showed the "idol-enhancing machinations and excesses of the Tkach team," so much so, says Trechak, that "even we were surprised at the lengths to which the Tkach organization will go to control the minds of its members and to pamper its guru."
Trechak then published the complete official instructions -- from Tkach's headquarters tour coordinators to WCG advance men, who lay the groundwork and do the advance planning for Tkach trips and travel arrangements. The entire list is too lengthy for me to reprint here, but I would like to quote from a few palpable sections of the official instructions, for your own edification and enlightenment. Here's what WCG advance men are told to do to prepare for travel by Joseph, the Apostle Royal, Tkach:
"For Mr. Tkach and his travelling party:
"1) Reserve three (3) WHITE LINCOLN TOWN CARS. If Lincoln Towncars are not available, full-size sedans will suffice. White Towncars are best; our second choice is black....
"3) The lead Towncar (the one used for Mr. Tkach) needs to have each tire over inflated by four pounds....
"1) Please carefully research to find the FINEST HOTELS in your area. Take time to visit each of these hotels. If at all possible, look at the actual suites we will be using. Take note of the interior and exterior condition of the hotel, quality of service, decor, etc....We would like the very best your city has to offer. Keep in mind that quality is of the utmost importance. Before making a commitment, call me for further instructions.
"2) If possible, we would like to have king size beds in all rooms. If they are not available, queen size will suffice....
"5) One two-bedroom suite for Mr. Tkach (PRESIDENTIAL OR EQUIVALENT). It should have two (2) separate bedrooms with a separate living room area, dining room, air conditioning and a refrigerator. We would also like to have a jacuzzi-type tub in the master bedroom if possible. Please be sure that the suite is the very finest. (If this suite has three bedrooms, please be sure to let me know.)...
"6) Another two-bedroom suite. It should have two (2) separate bedrooms with a separate living room area and air conditioning. This suite should be located on the same floor as close as possible to Mr. Tkach's suite.
"7) Two (2) one-bedroom suites. They should each have a bedroom with a separate living room area and air conditioning. These suites should also be located as close as possible to Mr. Tkach's suite....
"1) Due to airport security, we ask that only the coordinating pastor, his family chauffeurs and photographers meet Mr. Tkach at the airport...
"3) Assign two (and only two) photographers to take pictures for possible use in 'THE WORLDWIDE NEWS.' Photographs should capture all the highlights of the visit (five to seven rolls each)...."
According to the official instructions, sequence of events schedule, the Tkach party would arrive Friday, late afternoon, in the church area, and would be met at the airport by the coordinating minister and family, photographers and chauffeurs. The coordinating minister would then distribute envelopes containing hotel keys, rooming list, and lapel pins for each member of the team (14 small tourist lapel pins, less than 3/4 inch in diameter, representative of the state, state flag, etc.). The visiting party would then be taken to their hotel.
Saturday afternoon, the chauffeurs would pick up the party and take them to church services, where they would go to a hospitality room especially set up for Tkach and his party. Two minutes before services, they would be escorted to their seats in the front row.
After services, Tkach would shake hands with the brethren and ministers. He would then be directed to the ministers' meeting, which would last one hour, with Tkach speaking for 45 minutes, followed by a 15 minute question-and-answer session. Afterwards, they would be driven back to their hotel.
Saturday evening, Tkach would host a buffet dinner at his hotel for all ministers and their wives as well as deacons, deaconnesses and spouses, held in one of the hotel's banquet rooms.
That's quite a list of arrangements, isn't it? Says John Trechak of the Ambassador Report, about this initerary and schedule used by the Tkach associates when he travels:
"That's Show Biz, Folks!
"Editor: We showed the above Tkach tour guidelines to friends in Hollywood working in the entertainment industry and familiar with its customs. One television talk show executive told us, 'Very few celebrities stage their appearances this meticulously, and with the exception of a few superstars like Michael Jackson, Madonna, or Prince, very few entertainers -- even among the very neurotic -- would expect to be pampered to such a degree.' Indeed, those we talked to said they could think of only one celebrity who exeeded Tkach in degree of required pampering and in concern for personal image -- the Pope" (June 1992 Ambassador Report, emphasis mine, p.7).
Clearly, Joseph Tkach expects to travel like royaly and to be treated like royalty. Is he a "king," then? When in history, have true apostles of YEHOVAH God been treated to such ego-assuaging, enhancing, exalting rituals and routine?
Let us compare the "Royal Apostle" Joseph W. Tkach and his travel arrangements with those of the Messiah himself, and the early TRUE apostles of the Church of YEHOVAH God!
A Most Interesting and Vivid Contrast
Yeshua the Messiah, our future king and high priest of YEHOVAH God, said:
"Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head" (Luke 9:58).
The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church about his own "travel arrangements":
"Now ye [Corinthians] are full, now ye are rich, now ye have reigned as KINGS WITHOUT US: and I would to God that ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.
"For I think that GOD hath set forth US THE APOSTLES LAST, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.
"We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honorable, but we are despised.
"Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have NO CERTAIN DWELLING PLACE; and LABOR, WORKING WITH OUR OWN HANDS: Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we entreat: We are made AS THE FILTH OF THE WORLD, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day" (I Corinthians 4:8-13).
Signs of a True Apostle
The ministry of the apostle Paul was nothing like that of Joseph Tkach. Defending his own ministry to the suspicious Corinthians, Paul wrote, concerning certain false ministers in his day,
"Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am mores; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once I was stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness, in painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Besides those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
"Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities" (II Corinthians 11:23-30).
Here are the Biblical signs and evidences of a TRUE APOSTLE of YEHOVAH God! The apostle Paul speaks very plainly and directly. The "royal apostleship" of his "royal highness" Joseph W. Tkach seems more in tune with the ministry of that ancient false prophet Baalam!
The apostle Peter declares, "BAALAM, the son of Bosor, who LOVED THE WAGES of unrighteousness; but was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet." Peter says of these kind of "royal apostles" that they are a royal pains-in-the-behind in YEHOVAH's sight! He declares,
"These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak GREAT SWELLING WORDS OF VANITY, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error" (II Pet. 2:15-18).
When I look at the amazing Joseph Tkach and his Jet Aircraft to carry him through the United States, and the fleet of white Lincoln Towncars -- luxurious limousines -- to carry him about, and the ostentation and resplendent finery with which he surrounds himself, in the "PRESIDENTIAL SUITES" of the most LUXURIOUS HOTELS -- I do not see the trappings of an apostle of the Messiah. Far from it!
I see that the "royal apostle" looks more and more like a royal bag of hot air -- a royal balloon ready to be pricked -- a ROYAL PAIN in the sight of YEHOVAH GOD! A royal pompous gas bag!
The Error of Balaam for Temporal Reward
The apostle Jude warns us to BEWARE of such men. He must have known and seen the same type in his own day. Under divine inspiration, he writes prophetically of our day, today, of such false apostles and false teachers and church leaders who mock by their very life-style every example Yeshua the Messiah set, and everthing he stood for. Jude warns:
"Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, they have ran GREEDILY after the ERROR OF BALAAM for REWARD, and perished in the gainsaying of Korah.
"These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;
"Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars [traveling constantly!], to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever" (Jude 11-13).
Are you following a modern "royal apostle" -- a modern Balaam?
Look at the fruits -- look at the evidence. Study it carefully. Weigh it honestly, in the light of the Scriptures of truth. "By their fruits you shall know them," Yeshua said (Matt. 7:20). Paul declared, "Prove all things" (I Thess. 5:21). How much proof do you need?
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