Email 12/21/11

 

Dear HQ Evangelists:

 

Thank you all for meeting with me multiple times, as well as attending Michael & Becky's wedding, in the past week.

 

Per Richard Ames suggestion, here is a short priority list:

  1. Statement of Beliefs.  Per your requests, I will attempt to provide rationale for each of my suggested additions/changes.  Dr. Meredith indicated that after you receive this from me and decide which (if not all) you wish to adopt, a teleconference with the Council may take place.
  2. Fatima Shock book.  If any of you have comments or concerns, about this "additional witness," please let me know soon as it should is close to complete.
  3. 2012.  As it is impossible to prove a negative, I urge restraint in claiming that the Mayans did not say/believe something that they may have said or believed related to 2012.  It seems that we do not benefit from such difficult to prove negative claims.
  4. Beginning and End book.  Per your request, for this "additional witness," I will send a file to be printed there so that all of you have latest draft of the book and suggest certain chapters for each of you to look at perhaps more closely.
  5. God's Church Through the Ages booklet.  I hope to send a marked up copy of the book to Bill Bowmer so that hopefully, historical and other issues in it can be resolved.
  6. Heads Up podcast.  One or more of you are to help develop expedited review procedures to help make it more timely.  And if it is again decided that I should participate in producing content, someone will let me know.
  7. Fourteen Signs booklet. There are a few sentences that perhaps should be re-written in order to be more consistent with the sequence of events in Daniel 11.
  8. Antichrist booklet.   I hope to read the newest version of it and suggest rewording of certain sections so that it will be more difficult for Catholics and Protestants to overlook.
  9. Restoring Original Christianity booklet.  I hope to propose a couple of paragraphs to better show how we truly teach early Christianity like the earliest followers of Jesus and the apostles did.
  10. Beast booklet.  Scriptures could be added in various places to strengthen the booklet.  Perhaps it should be mentioned that John Ogwyn basically agreed with me on this point when we discussed it years ago.

The reason that I call this list "short" is that I have not gone through all the booklets in a while and there

are some that I would like to add to the above--essentially with the objective of showing why we have better ties to original Christianity and/or clarify prophetic points.  These changes are in the two - three paragraph range for proposed additions.

 

Of course, for many booklets, it would seem to make sense to perhaps deal with some of them as they come up for review as opposed to always following the above priority order.

 

Best regards,

 

Bob Thiel

 

Email 12/28/11

 

Dear Monica:

 

Attached is an annotated proposed version of LCG's Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs.

 

The evangelists asked me to add explanations for each of the proposed changes and the attached version does.

 

If possible, please print at least three copies on a printer that includes color.  Give one to each of the three HQ evangelists.  They will tell you if they want more for others.

 

Best regards,

 

Bob Thiel

 

(Note: Monica is Monica Cormier, Dr. Meredithís personal secretary).What was attached to that email is what is shown below here:

Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs

 

 

The Living Church of God bases its beliefs on the Holy Bible, the inspired Word of God. Our doctrines, practices, policies and traditions have their roots in the original Jerusalem church, as well as through the faithful in Antioch & Asia Minor in the first and second centuries A.D., whose followers went throughout the world establishing congregations through the ages.[i]In the 20th century, the Church was primarily represented[ii] by the old Worldwide Church of God under the leadership of Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong who, in 1952, ordained Roderick C. Meredith (our Presiding Evangelist) as one of that organizationís first evangelists.

Scripture says that we must "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18). Within that biblical mandate, the Presiding Evangelist and Council of Elders of the Living Church of God, led by the Holy Spirit, have the responsibility to clarify and establish doctrine, as expressed in this Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs.

 THE CHURCH, ITS NAME AND ITS MISSION

The biblical name of the true Church is "the Church of God." God names things what they are. The name is clearly stated in both singular and plural form in twelve different places in the New Testament, including Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 10:32; 11:16; 1 Timothy 3:15.

The Living Church of God, with its world headquarters in the United States of America, has members in many countries around the world and fulfills a threefold mission: 1. To preach the true Gospel of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14; Matthew 24:14; Ezekiel 3 and 33), and the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 8:12) to all nations as a witness. 2. To feed the flock and to organize local Church congregations to provide for the spiritual and material needs of our members as God makes it possible (1 Peter 5:1-4; John 21:15-18). 3. To preach the end-time prophecies and to warn the English-speaking nations and all the world of the coming Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21).

 THE HOLY BIBLE

The Bible is the inspired revelation from God to mankind. It is the true basis of all Church doctrine (Matthew 4:4; 2 Timothy 3:16). We believe the Bible is inerrant in its original manuscripts and is the authoritative foundation for all true knowledge (John 17:17).

 WHO AND WHAT IS GOD?

God is love (I John 4:8,18)[iii] and the Father and the Son comprise the "Godhead" (Romans 1:20; Colossians 2:9[iv]). There is one God (1 Corinthians 8:4 and Deuteronomy 6:4). Scripture shows that God is one eternal divine Family consisting of two, God the Father and the Word, at this time (Genesis 1:26;Ephesians 2:19; John 1:1,14), with faithful children to be added (Hebrews 2:10-11, 1 John 3:1-2; Ephesians 3:14-15).[v]

God is Spirit and is Eternal:

The Father is the Supreme Being in the Godhead. Jesus Christ said that He was sent to reveal the Father (Matthew 11:27; John 1:18; 17:24-26) and acknowledged that His Father was greater than He (John 10:29; 14:28).

The Son, Jesus Christ, is the "Word" (Greek logos), through whom the Father created all things (John 1:1-3), the "only begotten Son" of the Father (John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18) and Savior of all mankind (1 John 4:14). He died for our sins and was resurrected that we might be saved from eternal death (Acts 4:10-12). He now sits at the Fatherís right hand and acts as our High Priest and as the Living Head of the Church (Ephesians 1:22-23; Hebrews 4:14-16).

 THE HOLY SPIRIT

God is Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the very essence, the mind, life and power of God. It is not a Being. The Spirit is inherent in the Father and the Son, and emanates from Them throughout the entire universe (1 Kings 8:27; Psalm 139:7; Jeremiah 23:24).[vi] It is the power by which Christ maintains the universe (Hebrews 1:2-3). It is given to all who repent of their sins and are baptized (Acts 2:38-39) and is the power (Acts 1:8; 2 Timothy 1:6-7) by which all believers may be "overcomers" (Romans 8:37, KJV; Revelation 2:26-27) and will be led to eternal life.

THE GOSPEL

The Gospel of Christ is the "Good News" of the forgiveness of our sins through Christís sacrifice, and of the soon-coming Kingdom and government of God. Christís Gospel of the Kingdom of God reveals the means by which we are to be qualified by God to be ruling members of His Kingdom (Acts 2:38-39; Mark 1:14-15; Matthew 24:14; Acts 8:12; 17:7; 28:30-31; Revelation 2:26-27).This ďGood NewsĒ includes the truth that God will ultimately offer salvation to all (Luke 3:6; John 3:16-17; 12:32,47; Isaiah 6:9-11).[vii]

SALVATION

Salvation is Godís gift by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Titus 3:5; 2 Corinthians 2:15; Romans 5:10). God is merciful (Exodus 34:6; Luke 6:36)[viii] and wants all to be saved (I Timothy 2:4), yet because of various difficulties, few will find salvation in this age (Matthew 7:14; Luke 13:23-24; Romans 11:6-7; 2 Corinthians 4:4).[ix] Upon repentance and baptism, God justifies repentant Christians[x] from our past sins. We then begin an ongoing process of "being saved" as we grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:18). Our salvation will be complete at the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:50-54). In observing the biblical Festivals and Sabbaths, we come to understand more deeply Godís plan of salvation, and the steps toward salvation that we take as Christians.The biblical festivals help show that while some are predestined to be called in this Church Age (Ephesians 1:4-12; Acts 2:1-47), there is an age to come (Acts 3:21; Matthew 12:32), and the destiny of all others is to be presented an opportunity for salvation on the Last Great Day (John 7:37-38; 12:47-48; Romans 10:11-21).[xi]

 Steps toward salvation:

Faith in Christ
The first important step toward salvation is coming to complete faith in God and in Christís sacrifice (Hebrews 6:1; 11:6). Peter said, "be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:36-38).

Repentance
A vital step toward salvation is repentance of sinórepentance of transgressing Godís law (1 John 3:4). As the New Testament Church began, Peter was inspired to command, "Repent, and be baptized every one of youÖ" (Acts 2:38). Since every human being has sinned (Romans 3:23), and the penalty of sin is death (Romans 6:23), each sinner must turn from breaking Godís law, and be willing to obey His Maker through Christ living within him (Galatians 2:20).

Baptism by immersion
After God calls us and brings us to repentance, and we accept Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, the next vital step to salvation is water baptism. One should be baptized (Acts 2:38; 8:35-39; 9:1-18) as a sign of total surrender to God and of a willingness to bury the old self (Romans 6:3-6).

Receiving Godís grace
Salvation is the result of the application of both Godís "law" and His "grace" (Greek charis). "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it [that faith] is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9)! We are "justified by His [Christís] blood" and are "reconciled to God through the death of His Son [but] we shall be saved by His life" (Romans 5:9-10).

At baptism, the Christian enters the "new covenant" with God (Matthew 26:28). That new covenant does not do away with the law of God. God writes His laws in our minds and hearts (Hebrews 8:8-10). When one is baptized, he or she makes a solemn covenant with God that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, he will keep His commandments and live a godly life from that day onward! It is Christ who actually lives His obedient life within us through the Holy Spirit. As the Apostle Paul was inspired to write, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20, KJV).

Receiving Godís Holy Spirit
When we repent, accept Jesus and are baptized, God forgives us our sins (Acts 2:38; cf. Psalm 103:3, 10-13) and expects us to be merciful (Luke 6:36).[xii]If we are truly to overcome sin, we must receive Godís "power from on high" (Luke 24:49). Through Godís dynamic Spirit we can keep His commandments. According to New Testament teaching, the Holy Spirit was given through the laying on of the hands of Christís Apostles, or elders (Acts 8:17; 9:17; 19:6; 2 Timothy 1:6).

Exercising "living" faith
According to the Word of God, faith is vital for salvation, being one of the foundational doctrines of the Bible (Hebrews 6:1). "Without faith it is impossible to please Him" (Hebrews 11:6). But living faith involves doing what God says, obeying Him! "Faith without works is dead" (James 2:20).

Growing in the "grace and knowledge of God"
After repentance, acceptance of Christ, baptism and receipt of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands (Acts 8:17-18), the recently baptized and newly begotten child of God must continue to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord" (2 Peter 3:18). "Glorification"ó including the putting on of immortalityóis the final step in receiving salvation (1 Corinthians 15:53;) and involves being filled with ďall the fullness of GodĒ (Ephesians 3:14-19).[xiii] Ultimate salvation for mankind comes at glorification in His Kingdom. (Ephesians 5:27; Philippians 3:21; 2 Timothy 2:10).

 ANNUAL FESTIVALS PICTURE GODíS MASTER PLAN OF SALVATION

Godís annual Festivals are listed in Leviticus 23 and in Deuteronomy 16. These God-given holy days were commanded to be observed "forever" (Leviticus 23:14, 21, 31, 41). The Apostolic Church observed the annual Sabbaths (Acts 2; 12:3-4; 18:21; 20:6, 16; 27:9; 1 Corinthians 16:8). These Sabbaths will continue to be observed during Christís millennial rule (Zechariah 14:1, 9, 16-19).

Godís annual Festivals picture the seven vital steps in His plan of salvation:

1.  The Passover pictures the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the "Lamb of God" (John 1:29, 36; Revelation 5:6) sacrificed for us, (1 Corinthians 5:7). Jesus established the New Testament Passover with the symbols of bread and wine (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

2.  The Seven Days of Unleavened Bread typify purging the leaven of malice and wickedness out of the believerís life, and partaking of Godís nature, the "unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Corinthians 5:6-13; Luke 12:1).

3.  The Feast of Firstfruits (Pentecost) pictures the small harvest of "begotten" followers of Christ who will be harvested at the "first resurrection" (Revelation 20:4-5), as "a kind of firstfruits" (James 1:18).

4.  The Feast of Trumpets points prophetically to the second coming of Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:31; 1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; Revelation 11:15-18; 19:15; Zechariah 14:9).

5.  The Day of Atonement pictures the banishment of Satan, and manís becoming "at one" with God (Leviticus 16:8, 10, 15-27; Revelation 20:1-3).

6.  The Feast of Tabernacles pictures the soon-coming wonderful world under the government of Jesus Christ and His saints (Zechariah 14; Matthew 9:37-38; 13:1-30; Luke 12:32; John 7:6-14; Acts 17:31; Revelation 12:9; 20:4-6).

7.  The Last Great Day features the great judgment that will occur at the end of the millennial reign of Jesus Christ on earth (John 7:37; Leviticus 23:36, 39, 33-34; Revelation 20:11-12).The Last Great Day helps picture that all who ever lived will have an opportunity for salvation--an opportunity most will accept (John 7:37-39; Romans 11:25-26; Ezekiel 37:11-14; Hebrews 9:27-28).[xiv]

 THE LAW OF GOD

Godís basic spiritual law is summed up in the "Ten Commandments" (Exodus 20:1-17; Deuteronomy 4:13; 10:4). In the "Sermon on the Mount" and elsewhere, Jesus magnified Godís law (Matthew chapters 5-7; Isaiah 42:21), showing His followers that they must obey both the letter and the "spirit." "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good" (Romans 7:12). It is practicing this way of lifeóthrough Christ living in us (Galatians 2:20)óthat makes one a true "saint" (Revelation 14:12).

 GODíS SABBATH

The Word of God reveals that "the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord" (Exodus 20:10; Deuteronomy 5:14). It is to be observed from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. It is Godís "sign" between Him and His faithful peopleópicturing Godís "rest" and reminding us that He is the Creator. It also pictures the Millenniumóthe coming 1,000-year "rest" when Christ returns as King of kings (Hebrews 4:1-4; Revelation 20:4-6). Jesus Christ, the Apostles, and the early Church always observed Godís commanded Sabbath, (Luke 4:16; Acts 17:2), there remains ďa Sabbath-rest the people of GodĒ (Hebrews 4:9, NIV),[xv] and it will be observed by "all flesh" during Christís coming millennial rule over the earth (Isaiah 66:23).

 SIN-AND ITS CONSEQUENCES

"Sin is lawlessness" (1 John 3:4). "Sin is the transgression of the law [of God]" (1 John 3:4, KJV). "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) and "the wages [payoff] of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).

 THE FIRST DEATH

Death is the natural "cessation of life" (Genesis 2:17; Ezekiel 18:4). "In Adam all die" (1 Corinthians 15:22). "It is appointed for men to die once" (Hebrews 9:27). After experiencing the "first death," all human beings will be resurrected back to life. The Bible reveals that all human beings, eventually, will be resurrected (John 5:28; 1 Corinthians 15:22).

 THE SECOND DEATH

The "second death" is eternal deathótotal annihilation. Those who experience the second death shall never again regain consciousness (Malachi 4:1; Matthew 10:28; 25:46). The second death is, in fact, total extinction, (Revelation 20:14-15). "If we sin willfully" after having received the knowledge of the truth, there is no forgiveness of such willful sin (Hebrews 6:4-8; 10:26-31).

 THE MEANING OF "BORN AGAIN"

With a physical human birth, there must first be "begettal" (by the male), and "conception" (by the female). With a spiritual birth, there must first be a spiritual begettal and conception. Then, after a period of "spiritual gestation" or spiritual growth (2 Peter 3:18), true Christians will someday experience a literal spiritual "birth," thereby becoming immortal children of God. We will literally be born again at the resurrection as Christ Himself was, "declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:4).

 GODíS FORM OF CHURCH GOVERNMENT

The Father is supreme in authority, and His Son Jesus Christ is under Him in rank and authority (John 14:28). The "head [leader] of Christ is God [the Father]" (1 Corinthians 11:3), and "Christ is the Head of the Church" (Ephesians 5:23). God governs with love, and continues this pattern throughout His Church. Under the Father and under His Son, Jesus Christ, are "[1] apostles, [2] prophets, [3] evangelists, [4] pastors and [5] teachers" (Ephesians 4:11). Godís way of governing has always been government from the top down (Exodus 18:21-26).Since the time of Pentecost in Acts (Acts 2:1-4), ministers have been appointed through the laying on of hands from those who had the Holy Spirit, beginning with the apostles (Acts 9:17; 2 Timothy 1:6).[xvi]

Jesus taught "Servant Leadership" by His Word and example (Matthew 20:25-28). He said, "You know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant. Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many" (KJV).

 CHURCH HISTORY

Jesus taught that His followers in the Church Age would be a ďlittle flockĒ (Luke 12:32).[xvii]The Living Church of God traces its history from the Apostolic Church in the Book of Acts (the Ephesian era) to the present. The message to the seven Churches in Revelation two and three successively shows the history of the true Church from that time forward. These seven Churches describe succeeding eras, or ages, of Godís Church. We believe that the Philadelphia era began in the 1930s, and that we are a continuation of that Philadelphia era.The Bible shows that the true church could not remain headquartered in any single continuing city throughout centuries of its history (Hebrews 13:14; cf. Matthew 10:23), hence understanding the truth about the churches of Revelation two and three helps identify the true Church of God in its various locations.[xviii]

 TITHING

God is the Creator of everything that exists (Revelation 4:11). As Lord of the universe, He exercises ownership and control over all His creation (Acts 17:24-29). Jesus Christ said men "ought" to tithe, and not neglect justice, mercy, and faith[xix] (Matthew 23:23). The Bible shows that "All the titheÖ is the Lordís" (Leviticus 27:30). Long before the Old Covenant, Abrahamóthe father of the faithful"ópaid a tithe to Godís representative (Genesis 14:20). Through tithing, Christians serve God by supporting the preaching of the Gospel, attendance at His festivals and the care of the Church and the needy.

DEFINING MARRIAGE

Marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman. Since God made us male and female, He is the Author of marriage. Marriage is a type of the relationship between Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:22-33). With a very few God-given exceptions (Matthew 19:8; 1 Corinthians 7), it is binding on Christians until death (Matthew 19:3-9).

 OVERCOMING RACIAL PREJUDICE

Godís Word commands all mankind to love their neighbors as themselves (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:39; Acts 17:24-29). Jesus came to bring joy to all peoples (Luke 2:10).[xx]God reveals that salvation is now freely offered to both Jews and Gentiles (Acts 10:34-35; Romans 10:12-13; cf. Joel 2:32) and that God intends to save people ďof all nations, tribes, peoples, and tonguesĒ (Revelation 7:9).[xxi]We believe love and deep respect should be shown to people of all ethnicities (Romans 13:10).

 SEPARATION FROM THE WORLD

The Bible teaches that Satan the devil has deceived the whole world (Revelation 12:9), that Godís people need to be separate from the worldís systems (John 15:19; Revelation 18:4).

This separation means that those called of God live a different way of life and that we are in a real sense Ambassadors of Godís government (Ephesians 6:20; 1 Peter 2:9-10). Thus, historically, the Church of God has taught its members not to participate in secular juries or worldly politics.

 MILITARY SERVICE AND WAR

The Living Church of God follows the teaching of Jesus and His Apostles. Jesus said, "But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either" (Luke 6:27-29). The Apostle James, brother of Jesus, continued teaching Jesusí message concerning violence and war (James 4:1-10).

The Church of God has historically considered military service wrong for its members. Records show that from the American Revolution through the two World Wars and subsequent police actions, members of the Church of God have consistently held to conscientious objection against military participation.

 DIVINE HEALING

Healing is one of the "spiritual gifts" (1 Corinthians 12:1, 9). One of Godís Hebrew names is Yahweh Ropheka, meaning the Eternal who heals. The Lord is a Great God who "forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases" (Psalm 103:3; 1 Peter 2:24). "Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:14-16).

The Living Church of God follows this direct biblical instruction. We believe that God does heal today according to oneís faith and Godís will in each particular case.

 GODíS HEALTH LAW CONCERNING MEATS

Genesis 7:1-2, Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 give Godís instructions concerning what He created "clean" (edible) and "unclean" (inedible). Long after the crucifixion, Peter still recognized this law as binding (Acts 10:14). Moreover, after his vision of unclean animals brought down on a sheet, Peter did not declare that it meant he should eat unclean animals,[xxii] but instead exclaimed: "God has shown me that I should call no man common or unclean" (v. 28).

 ORIGIN OF MODERN ISRAELITES

One of the most vital keys to understanding prophecy is to know the true biblical origin of the Jews and the "lost" ten tribes of Israelóand the Northwest European countries settled by their descendants.

The Anglo-American peoples are the possessors of the birthright promises and accompanying blessings of Abrahamís descendants through his grandson Jacob (Genesis 48:3-20)[xxiii]. Godís Word reveals that Jacobís descendants from Joseph will be overtaken by a time of great troubleóa time called "Jacobís trouble"óbecause they have dishonored the Creator who gave them the greatest national blessings in human history (Jeremiah 30:4-7; Matthew 24:21; Daniel 12:1).

 THE "GREAT TRIBULATION"

The Bible speaks of a time of great catastrophe, called the "Great Tribulation" (Matthew 24:21-22; Daniel 11:39[xxiv]-45; 12:1; Luke 21:19-36)óalso called "Jacobís trouble" (Jeremiah 30:3-7). Jesus Christ Himself will have to shorten those horrific days; otherwise "no flesh would be saved" (Matthew 24:22). We believe that we are fast approaching that time.We also believe that God promises to protect the faithful Philadelphians from this ďhour of trialĒ (Revelation 3:10).[xxv]

 THE "DAY OF THE LORD"

The Day of the Lord, mentioned in more than 30 places in the Bible and will be a time of Godís intervention in the affairs of men on this earth when He will punish the inhabitants of the earth for their flagrant sins (Joel 1:14-20; 2:1-32; 3:9-17; Isaiah 34:8, 61:1-3[xxvi]).

According to Matthew 24:29-31, there will be signs in heaven, "the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven" immediately after the tribulation and before the Day of the Lord. God said, "I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earthÖ The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord" (Joel 2:30-31).

 CHRISTíS SECOND COMING

Jesus solemnly promised His disciples ten times in Matthew 24 that He would assuredly "come again" to this earth (cf. John 14:3). He said "tribulation" would precede the coming of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:29-30). His coming, with a "great sound of a trumpet" (v. 31), will occur when the "seventh trumpet" sounds (Revelation 11:15). That trumpet is also called the "last trumpet" (1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). This is the "first resurrection," and those who take part in that resurrection will reign with Christ on earth "for a thousand years" (Revelation 5:9-10; 20:4, 6).

 THE "MILLENNIUM"

Old and New Testament prophets foresaw a wonderful time of peace on this earth (Isaiah 2; 9; 11:6-9; 14:7; Jeremiah 31; Micah 4; Zechariah 8:20-23; 14; Malachi 4; Acts 3:19-21; Revelation 20:4-6). The Millenniumóthe 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ and His saintsóis that time.

 THE "LAST JUDGMENT"

There are three great periods of judgment mentioned in the Bible:

1.      The Church Age during which God judges only His own peopleóthose called out of the world into His Church (1 Peter 4:17).

2.      The Millennial Age in which all nations will be exposed to Christís truth and to His wonderful way of life for 1,000 years (Isaiah 11:9; Revelation 20:2-6).

3.     The "Last Judgment" Age (called the "Great White Throne Judgment") in which all who have ever livedóyet who died in sin and ignorance of Godís Truth and His way of lifeówill be resurrected to a physical life and will have the Word of God opened to their understanding and will have a real opportunity for salvation[xxvii] (Revelation 20:11-14; Matthew 10:15; 11:21-24; 12:41-42; Isaiah 3:13; Ezekiel 37:1-14; Luke 3:6[xxviii]).

MANKINDíS ORIGIN, INCREDIBLE POTENTIAL AND ULTIMATE DESTINY

God created mankind out of the "dust of the earth" (Genesis 2:7). Human beings are made in Godís "image [and] likeness" (Genesis 1:26; cf. 5:3); they are also given a God-like mind and emotions. God planned that those who repent of their sins and are baptized shall receive Godís Spirit (Acts 2:38-39; John 3:16). At Christís second coming, all of those converted in this life, whether dead or alive, will be given immortalityóborn as full "sons of God, being sons of the resurrection" (Luke 20:36).

"Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5; cf. Psalm 37:9, 11, 22, 29, 34). "He who overcomes shall inherit all things [the universe]" (Revelation 21:7).

According to all the prophecies and promises of the Bible, Godís "firstfruits" (those called in this age) will be rewarded with a place or position of rulership in Godís Kingdom (John 14:1-3; Revelation 3:21; 20:4-6), right here on this earth (Revelation 2:26-27; 5:10; Daniel 2:44). The true saints will become full sons of Godó"sons of the resurrection" (Luke 20:36). Godís purpose is that He is reproducing Himself and that those converted, ultimately, become full members of the Family of God, under the authority of the Father and the Son (1 John 3:1-3).They will share divine glory in the resurrection. The Bible shows that Jesus became human (Philippians 2:7)[xxix] so that humans could become His brethren[xxx] in the family of God (Romans 8:29; Ephesians 3:14-19).[xxxi]Jesus Himself[xxxii] prayed, "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me" (John 17:22-23).

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The basic point of the proposed changes to the Statement is to reduce the possibility for outsiders to dismiss a group as small as the Living Church of God from consideration.Emphasizing more about love, mercy, the plan of salvation, and God's lack of racial prejudice also helps demonstrate that we are not simply a legalistic cult focused on the minutia of OT statutes.The changes also provide additional biblical support for what some consider to be controversial doctrines.

 



[i] The areas of Antioch and Asia Minor had faithful leaders in the first and second (and slightly third) centuries who held to COG doctrines like the Passover on the 14th,millennium, knowing the actual books of the Bible (Alexandria and Rome had additional ones like the Gospel of Peter and/or the Shepherd of Hermas), etc.Plus these areas were independent of Rome (as, for example, Polycrates' letter to Victor demonstrates).While many churches claim to be have the original faith, by mentioning specific areas, our Statement can show that we have ties to what various scholars have recognized as areas inhabited by original faithful Christians.Since we claim to hold to teachings of the original Christians, giving some locations demonstrates that we believe that we have historical evidence to back up our claim.People have emailed me claiming that we just started in 1998 and hence have no ties to the original apostles--adding this makes it clear that we feel we do.Also since "the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch" per Acts 11:26 and the Apostle John was exiled to the outskirts of Asia Minor per Revelation 1:9, adding those locations also shows ties to areas shown in the scriptures.

[ii] As we believe in Church eras, the use of the expression "primarily represented by" is consistent with that position.

[iii] Love is a primary attribute of God and should also be for the Church.That is a fundamental belief that we would want others to know we teach.

[iv] Scriptures added to show that our use of the term "Godhead" is biblical.

[v] Slight rewording from previous statement recommended to me by an LCG minister who believed it was easier to understand and less likely to be misinterpreted.

[vi] After my office manager (who has a master's degree) read the Statement, she claimed we had a contradiction.After bringing this up, I was advised by an LCG minister to remove the following from the current Statement "It was through the Spirit that God created all things (Genesis 1:1-2; Revelation 4:11)."Though technically true, to some this causes an apparent contradiction to the early section in the Statement that "The Son, Jesus Christ, is the "Word" (Greek logos), through whom the Father created all things (John 1:1-3)..."And while we do not consider that this is a contradiction per se, many today will not take the time to wait for us to clarify and reconcile the two.Thus, this is perhaps better handled outside the Statement.Not dealing with this will cause people to dismiss us unnecessarily--hence it is a potential stumbling block that we may wish to deal with (cf. Romans 14:13).

[vii] A main doctrine that we hold is that God will ultimately offer salvation to all.Without making that clear, outsiders find it incredulous that such a small church can possibly be the faithful one.But with that statement, this helps provide not only a better understanding of God's plan, it also gives reason to not dismiss such a small group like LCG.

[viii] Jesus taught that "mercy" was one of the three weightier matters of the law (Matthew 23:23), yet our Statement historically overlooked that.

[ix] We teach that most will be saved and few will be chosen in this age.By providing those statements and the related scriptures, we demonstrate that our belief that Christ is mainly working only through a few now is biblically logical.

[x] Protestants tend to overlook the "repentant" aspect, yet repentance is something we tend to emphasize.

[xi] Since we teach that the biblical holy days show God's plan of salvation, it seems logical to mention that in the section on salvation.

[xii] Mercy, being one of the three weightier matters of the law (Matthew 23:23) probably should be mentioned this additional time.Also, again teaching mercy implies that we are not to be proud or arrogant that we have been chosen in this age while others will later.

[xiii] The use of the expression "fullness of God" is a straight-forward way to teach deification with hopefully not causing undue offense to certain Protestants and some Catholics.

[xiv] By adding this line, we are explaining what the Last Great Day actually represents, and again are making it clear that we teach that God has a plan to call others and not just ourselves.

[xv] We teach the Sabbath remains, yet the Statement has not historically included the clearest NT scripture to support that.By quoting that scripture, it eliminates many Protestant objections to the Sabbath and gives outsiders a relatively straight forward verse demonstrating the NT support for Christian seventh-day Sabbath-keeping.

[xvi] There are many self-appointed ministers, apostles, etc. these days--including many who had once been part of the old WCG.Adding this to the Statement shows that we claim continuity through a biblically-authorized practice and that all in the ministry should have hands laid upon them.

[xvii] We are a very small church compared to the world's churches.Directly quoting Jesus shows that He, and not just us, taught that the true Church would be small.

[xviii] Adding this to the Statement explains how a group with different names and HQ locations not only could represent the faithful Church, but also somewhat explains why the Greco-Roman Catholics cannot be without being duly offensive to them as we are citing scripture for the position.

[xix] We are accused by our critics of mainly teaching "pay and pray."By adding Matthew 23:23 we are emphasizing what Jesus said to emphasize.

[xx] Since we teach a version of what has been called "British-Israelism," and many consider that to be racist, clarifying that Jesus came to bring joy to all peoples, we are demonstrating that we do not teach racial superiority.

[xxi] Since some who teach "British-Israelism" act like God only wants to call physical Israelites, adding this to the Statement shows that we clearly believe that one's race or ethnicity are not hindrances to salvation.There still are complaints about racial terms and statements that the old WCG made that pop-up on the internet these days and this is a polite way to deal with such criticism by showing that LCG is not prejudiced against non-Israelite races.

[xxii] Many believe that Peter did declare unclean animals food, thus adding this to the Statement will hopefully give prospective members pause to consider that our position on this is biblically justifiable.

[xxiii] It seems prudent to add a scripture to potentially controversial positions.

[xxiv] Since we teach that the Great Tribulation is the time of Jacob's trouble (Jeremiah 30:7) and Herbert Armstrong taught that it would begin with something like a nuclear attack on the UK and/or USA, we should not start it with Daniel 11:40 which shows the battle between the King of the North and the King of the South.Verse 39 shows the King of the North going against the "strongest fortresses" (NKJV) and dividing the land for gain.And since we teach that the King of the North will go against the British-Israelite nations first, we should not teach that he goes against the King of the South first.All the HQ evangelists specifically agreed to that sequence in a meeting with me in January 2008 and this would be a good time to modify the Statement to reflect this.

[xxv] Elsewhere in the Statement we mention being Philadelphian.By adding this to the Statement we give outsiders (as well as our own members and those with a WCG background) a reason to understand that God plans to show the Philadelphians special favor.

[xxvi] Additionally scriptural support.This also deals with the argument that Joel himself could have been referring to something only for his day or Acts 2.

[xxvii] Adding "real opportunity for salvation" to the Statement shows that we do not consider that all who simply heard the name of Christ or were exposed to the world's churchianity will be condemned for not accepting that "opportunity."

[xxviii] Since this tends to be controversial for many Protestants and Roman Catholics, adding more scriptures to our Statement shows that it is not an isolated or cultic concept, but truly a biblical one.

[xxix] Most do not believe that Jesus actually became human (they teach dual nature--"fully human, fully God"), thus they minimize the true sacrifice of Christ.

[xxx] The use of the expression "brethren" is a straight-forward way to teach deification with hopefully not causing undue offense to certain Protestants.

[xxxi] Adding the passage in Ephesians provides support for our teaching that God is a family without hopefully being overly offensive to outsiders, while also giving them reason to understand why we could teach the idea of a family of God.

[xxxii] Adding "Himself" emphasizes that this was from Jesus which seems to help make the point that we have not come up with this on our own in some cultish fashion.