Where Is the True Church? and Its Incredible History!—Chapter 3 – MANY VITAL TRUTHS
How did mankind get into the state of confusion, division, war, competition and disagreement existing all over the earth today? God’s original command to Adam was, “But of the tree of theknowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17).
In the next chapter (3:6), Eve, with Adam following, rebelled and ate of this wrong tree. Notice that this tree represented knowledge that was both “good and evil.” In other words, the tree was not entirely evil—it contained a mixture of true and false knowledge! It is the same with the churches of this world. Some do have small amounts of true (“good”) doctrinal “knowledge,” mixed with much false (“evil”) doctrinal “knowledge.” For 6,000 years, God has told His true servants to avoid mixing truth with error. He warned Adam that eating of the wrong tree would result in death. It did.
The warning is the same for us today!
When I was first learning the truth, I heard an analogy that I had never considered before—but have never forgotten since: Think of a delicious cake laced with either arsenic, cyanide, ricin or strychnine, while otherwise containing nothing but good and healthy ingredients. Eating the cake would always result in death.
The good ingredients would not be sufficient to overcome the poison hidden in the cake. Likewise, God’s Church does not and cannot mix truth with error. As with the cake, the result for those who do is deadly!
I have already explained some of the true doctrines taught by the Church Christ built. This book could scarcely contain a simple listing of all of them, let alone a detailed scriptural explanation proving them and explaining why God teaches them. However, the following sections list and briefly examine some of the major doctrines of God.
Who and What Is God?
David wrote, “The fool has said in his heart, There is no God” (Psa. 53:1). The single most important biblical truth is the identity of the true God! God does exist. His existence can beproven! (You may wish to read our booklet Does God Exist?) The first of the Ten Commandments requires people to worship the true God only. (You may also read our bookThe Ten Commandments – “Nailed to the Cross” or Required for Salvation?)
The ancient Greeks served 30,000 different gods. Some believe that the Hindus serve 5 milliongods. Judaism teaches that God is one single Person. Many people believe God is a kind of “inner goodness” within everyone. Others believe He is a “metaphysical idea.” Most of the churches of traditional Christianity teach that God is a Trinity—that He is one God, but three Persons.
The God of the Bible said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen. 1:26). When God said this, He was not talking to Himself. Nor was He confused. God is plainly more than one Person. The Hebrew word used here is elohim. It is a uni-plural word—in this case, one God, but meaning more than one Person. God and Christ represent two separate Beings, composing the Godhead. Together, they represent the “Us” and “Our” of this verse.
John 1 contains an absolutely amazing statement about the true nature and identity of God. It states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God…and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (vs. 1-2, 14).
The only way the Word could both be God and be “with” God is if there were two separate Beings. One Person or Being, the Word who became Jesus Christ, came to earth and “dwelt among men,” until His crucifixion as the Savior of mankind. The other Person or Being, the Father, remained in heaven and was the One to whom Jesus Christ prayed. He (the Father) was the One who resurrected Him from the dead so that He could return to His throne in heaven.
The Godhead now has two separate beings—Father and Son! If God were a Trinity—three Persons or Entities in one Being (with the Holy Spirit as the supposed third Person)—Christ’s death would have actually been impossible.
God is not conjoined triplets where one-third of one Being can die—without affecting the other two-thirds of the single Being. This entire idea (often called a “mystery that cannot be understood”) denies God’s master purpose for mankind. If the Trinity doctrine were true, it would deny God’s plan, because mankind would have no Savior. It pictures Him as a mysterious, closed, triune God with no room for expansion in His Father/Son family relationship! (Take time to read my thorough and powerful book The Trinity – Is God Three-In-One?)
Christ’s Church understands and teaches the identity of the true God.
Mankind’s Great Purpose
We just read, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness.” Why did God do this? It is not within the scope of this book to disprove the pure science fiction of evolution and to prove the truth of a literal creation. (You may wish to read our extensive and thoroughly illustrated brochure Evolution – Facts, Fallacies and Implications.) The fact is that God did create man. But we must ask, why? For what purpose did He do this?
The popular belief of nearly all professing Christians is that they will “die and go to heaven.” Yet, Christ stated, “…no man has ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven” (John 3:13). It was not until I came into contact with the true Church that I learned the belief that “heaven is the reward of the saved” is a fable!
Here is what Christ taught: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth”—spoken in His very first recorded sermon (Matt. 5:5). He understood that Christians do not inherit heaven—they inherit the earth! Actually, Christ was quoting the Old Testament—Psalm 37:11 states exactly the same thing. It has always been God’s Plan to give rulership of earth to Christ and the resurrected saints, who will reign with Him. It has never been His Plan to have people “roll around heaven all day,” “ride clouds,” “play harps” or merely “walk the streets of gold, in front of the pearly gates.”
God’s purpose for humanity is infinitely greater than the inventions of deceived men!
The book of Revelation, which is Christ’s revealing of events prior to, including and following His Return to earth, says of the saints, “And has made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:10).
Many people refer to Christ as King of kings, but never question who the other “kings” are. These are the resurrected saints! Also see Daniel 7:18, 22, 27, which all reveal that Christ and the saints inherit all the kingdoms of this world at His Coming.
God the Father says that Christ is “His Son, that He might be the firstborn among manybrethren” (Rom. 8:29). Do you recognize the implications of this statement? Many more sons and daughters will be added later to God’s Family. They will enjoy the same things that God Himself enjoys. God is a Family—a Household! (See Ephesians 3:15 and I Timothy 3:15.)
True Christians have the Spirit of God. This—the Holy Spirit—makes them sons of God: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). Now consider the following verse: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Himas He is” (I John 3:2).
Christ is called the firstborn among many brethren (the true Christians who follow later), because those who are added to God’s Family—in the resurrection to occur at Christ’s Return—are going to be “like Him.” We are not going to be “like” something else. Christ is God. Being “like Him” means that we will be part of the God Family with Him.
God is a Father who now has one (born) Son. But He will later have many more sons. God is reproducing Himself by developing His character in yielded, conquered, Spirit-begotten human beings (God begets His children just like any human father).
Remember, Paul said that the ministry teaches and edifies the Church so that it can grow into the “stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:11-13). A Christian copies and builds the character of Jesus Christ, so that he can later enjoy membership in the God Family with Christ and the Father. What a sobering yet exciting opportunity and future responsibility!
The truly marvelous human potential that is offered to everyone who repents and believes, and goes on to practice God’s many marvelous truths is that they will be born into the very Family of God. May God help you understand what He has offered to all who seek Him first—above all else!—in their lives (Matt. 6:33). How glorious is the future of Christians!
The true Church of God teaches that this incredible human potential lies ahead for every one of God’s people—that it is the vital key to the knowledge of God’s supreme purpose for all mankind—to be born into the God Family! (Take the time to read my most vital book The Awesome Potential of Man.)
The True Gospel
Notice that Revelation 12:9 states, “Satan…deceives the whole world.” This is a staggering statement! Surely the truth about a subject as vital as the gospel brought by Christ would not be excluded from this deception.
The first words spoken by Christ in the Bible are, “Repent you, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15).
But what is the real gospel? Is there more than one? Those who would be true Christians are told that they must believe the gospel. The previous verse (14) states, “Jesus came…preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God.” There is no other gospel but the kingdom of God. Of course, the world focuses on the Person of Jesus Christ, rather than on themessage He brought. It is almost entirely ignorant of the kingdom of God—the governing Family of God that is coming to earth at the Return of Christ, with His saints. Professing Christendom has assumed the belief of numerous man-made gospels.
In fact, this becomes one of the greatest distinctions between the many denominations and sects of the world and the true Church. Rather than focusing on Himself, or teaching a gospelabout Himself, Jesus came to reveal the Father to His followers. Yet, the Father and His role as Supreme Head of the divine Family of God, is overlooked and almost entirely excluded. As Savior and High Priest, Jesus brought access—reconciliation—to the Father, saving us by His resurrection (Rom. 5:10). The true Church understands Christ’s vital role as mediator to the Father, but has Him in proper perspective and does not overly focus on Him by constantly talking about “adoring Jesus,” “the Lord,” “our Master,” “His precious blood,” neither does it see Him either dead on the stake or a baby in the manger, among other popular views that almost always reduce Christ, as do those who do not understand that the Jesus Christ of the Bible brought a message about coming world government—the kingdom of God!
Paul warned those who would believe or teach another gospel, “I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that you have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:6-9).
Satan does not talk directly to human beings. He works through his servants—his ministers. The Bible teaches that Satan does have his ministers, and they invariably teach a false gospel. Paul warned the Corinthians that they had been “beguiled” into accepting “another gospel”—accompanied by “another Jesus” (II Cor. 11:4). He went on to describe the cunning ways through which Satan’s ministers successfully deceive.
Notice: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (13-15).
The true Church has always had to be careful—vigilant—about the dangers of false ministers entering it and perverting the doctrines of God. This will be addressed at the end of this chapter.
There is only one true gospel. All others are counterfeits designed by Satan to replace the enormous, awesome truth of God’s soon-coming kingdom.
As the one who deceives the whole world, Satan is called the “god of this world.” Notice: “In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (II Cor. 4:4). The world does not know of this gospel. God, for His own supreme purpose at this time, has opened the truth of its meaning to only a very few—and has put them into His Church. The rest of the world remains blinded for now. The devil does not want human beings to enjoy what is forever denied to him—membership in the God Family.
Matthew 24:14 states, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached [Mark 13:10 says, “published”] in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” The Church that Christ built has the knowledge of His true gospel—the kingdom of God. That Church will always be found preaching it (Matt. 24:46), until the end of this age comes. You have been allowed to come into contact with the knowledge of this gospel—and the understanding that you can be a part of God’s Church now—and His soon-coming kingdom—His governing Family—later!
But first comes a time of testing for true Christians. These tests come in various ways.
The Sabbath Test Command
The churches of the world will often admit to making an effort (however half-hearted) at keeping nine of the Ten Commandments. Typically, they will acknowledge that it is wrong to steal, kill, covet, bear false witness, and commit adultery. They will also acknowledge that honoring one’s father and mother, avoiding idolatry and taking God’s Name in vain—while at least claiming to follow the God described in the First Commandment—are basically good things to do. However, most do a poor job of actually keeping these nine Commandments, and officially teach that Christ did away with them and “kept them for us” and “nailed them to the cross.” But most at least tacitly agree that these nine Commandments are “nice principles.”
There is one commandment that people almost universally will not obey. Almighty God states that this command sets His people apart from everyone else. The Sabbath Fourth Commandment becomes the test Command (Ex. 16): “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of theLord your God: in it you shall not do any work” (20:8-10).
God gave the Sabbath from Mount Sinai, through Moses, to ancient Israel. While most people are familiar with this story, they are not aware that God commanded the Sabbath to be keptforever! It was never meant to be “just for the Jews” or “just for ancient Israel.”
The nation of Israel continually refused to remain faithful to God’s Sabbath. They had periods when they did observe it, before neglecting it and falling into the practices of the nations around them.
God told Israel, “Moreover also I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them. But the house of Israel rebelledagainst Me in the wilderness: they walked not in My statutes, and they despised My judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and My Sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out My fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them” (Ezek. 20:12-13).
Mankind has been rebelling against the Sabbath ever since. Yet it still remains the signbetween God and His true people (vs. 20).
The God of the Old Testament declares, “For I am the Lord, I change not,” (Mal. 3:6). Paul was inspired to record, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Be not carried about with various and strange doctrines” (Heb. 13:8-9).
Almost none recognize that the God of the Old Testament was the same Person known as “the Word” in John 1:1-2, 14, who came to earth as Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 10:4 identifies Christ as the “Rock” of the Old Testament. In other words, Christ is the One who inspired both Malachi in the Old Testament and Paul in the New Testament to record that He is a God who does not change! His people are to hold to the truth, avoiding all wrong (“strange”) doctrines, as we have seen.
This permanence applies to the Sabbath. This is why, in the New Testament, Christ said, “Therefore the Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:28).
Theologians and religionists have long taught that the true Sabbath of the Bible is the seventh day. Saturday, not Sunday, is the seventh day of the week. Any good dictionary explains this. The weekly cycle has never been changed. (You may read my book Saturday or Sunday – Which Is the Sabbath? to see an entire chapter of proof of the unchanged weekly cycle since the time of creation.) However, the ministers of this world have had to carefully devise seductive “explanations” that dismiss or ignore the many clear scriptures about God’s plain command to keep His Sabbath. They justify Sunday-keeping—even though God’s Word has never justified this!
Instead of letting the clarity of God’s Word change cherished beliefs to conform with His truths, they change the meaning of the Bible to make it fit their beliefs!
Sunday is commonly thought of as the day that Christ was resurrected from the dead. It can be clearly proven that the Bible does not teach this. But there is an important reason theologians and many others must conclude that the resurrection occurred on Sunday.
Sunday is commonly referred to as “The Lord’s Day.” While the true Lord’s Day of the Bible is actually the Day of the Lord—the Day of His Wrath (Joel 2:1-11; Rev. 1:10; 15:1, 7; and other places)—the term, The Lord’s Day, has become synonymous with Sunday. But why? The reason is simple. If Sunday can be established as the day that Christ was resurrected, it can be a means of validating and “authorizing” the unauthorized keeping of Sunday by the churches of the world—in place of the true Sabbath!
You have already seen several scriptural references to the Sabbath. God hallowed it at creation—long before there were any Jews or Israelites to keep it (Gen. 2:1-3). The Sabbath was to be kept “forever”—“continually”—and “throughout your generations” by Israel, God’s intended model nation (Ex. 31:12-17). Jesus observed it (Luke 4:16) and said that He was Lord of it, and that it was “made for man” (Mark 2:27-28). He did not say it was “only made for the Jews.” Paul also kept it (Acts 13:42, 44; 17:2; 18:4).
Much more than just the Good Friday-Easter Sunday tradition collapses if Christ was really in the grave for 72 hours (starting late Wednesday afternoon and ending late Saturday afternoon) instead of the traditionally taught 36 hours between late Friday afternoon and early Sunday morning. The biggest single reason for the unscriptural tradition (recall Mark 7:7) of Sunday-keeping collapses at the same time. God has always said, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Ex. 20:8). He has never said, “Remember Sunday to keep it holy—and just call it the Lord’s day!”
It was once said, “More than the Jews having kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept the Jews”! This could just as easily have been said of the true Church of God, which has been under siege through the ages, in part because of its faithful Sabbath-keeping. One of the single most vital keys that identify the one true original Church of God, founded by Jesus Christ, is God’s Sabbath. Think about this. Prove it for yourself. Sabbath-keeping, as God’s command for true Christians, is a large subject requiring its own extensive book to prove. (Take time to carefully read the above referenced book proving God’s Sabbath.)
The Annual Holy Days
In Ezekiel 20:12-13, God said, “I gave them My Sabbaths.” The word Sabbaths is plural. The weekly Sabbath is not the only Sabbath that God ordained to be kept forever. Leviticus 23describes seven annual Holy Days—annual Sabbaths—that God commanded Israel to keep “forever” (stated four times). Like the weekly Sabbath, this subject requires its own lengthy booklet in order to properly outline the proofs that these annual Sabbaths must still be kept today. (Read our booklet God’s Holy Days or Pagan Holidays?)
Leviticus 23:1-2 calls these Sabbaths “feasts of the Lord.” The terms Holy Day, High Day and Feast Day are all found in the Bible and are synonymous with one another. They are all terms for the annual Sabbaths. They picture the Plan of God, as they are kept each year in sequence.
The two Holy Days known as the First and Last Days of Unleavened Bread were kept by the early New Testament Church (Acts 12:3; 20:6) in conjunction with the Lord’s Supper—the New Testament Passover. (See our booklet How Often Should the Lord’s Supper Be Taken? to learn more about the Passover and the spring Holy Days.) In late spring is the Day of Pentecost.
Four more annual Sabbaths are kept in the fall. They are known as the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah to the Jews), the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the Feast of Tabernacles (Succoth) and the Last Great Day.
When understood, these days depict important events within God’s Plan.
The Passover shows God’s mercy through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It is the one feast that is not an annual Sabbath. Immediately following, the seven days of unleavened bread depict the Christian coming out of sin, just as Israel came out of Egypt after the first Passover ofExodus 12. The first and last days are Sabbaths. Pentecost, or the Feast of Firstfruits, representing the early spring harvest in Israel, portrays the first resurrection—of true saints (the firstfruits of God’s Plan)—at Christ’s soon-coming Return.
The feast of trumpets depicts Christ’s Return—with the seven accompanying trumpets ofRevelation 8, 9 and 11:15-19 describing what happens when each of these trumpets are blown. The day of atonement (“at-one-ment”) pictures the whole world finally “at one” with God, because Satan will have been bound and cast into “the bottomless pit” (Rev. 20:2-3), where he can no longer deceive the nations.
The feast of tabernacles depicts Christ’s 1,000-year reign on earth with the saints—and a time of peace, happiness, abundance and prosperity for a world that has not known this for 6,000 years. This seven-day feast is immediately followed by the last great day, which represents a time at the end of the millennium when all human beings who have ever lived will be given a full opportunity to know God’s truth and Plan of Salvation. (My book The Awesome Potential of Man presents a detailed overview of God’s Master Plan!)
Those few being called in this age (John 6:44) have an opportunity to be part of the early spring harvest of Pentecost, while the world learns the truth later, during the time pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day.
The Church Christ built teaches the truth about God’s weekly Sabbath and annual Holy Days, and the scriptures that support their observance.
Other Important Truths
I have mentioned that, when God first called me, I was amazed at how many plain doctrinal truths the Bible taught that I had never heard. As explained, this book could not contain them all. But here are some others.
I learned the Bible says, “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Yet, I had always been taught that there was an “ever-burning hell,” where “bad people” went because they were still alive after death. I had been taught that people have immortal souls that survive death. Yet, Ezekiel 18:4, v20 states, “The soul that sins, it shall die,” and Matthew 10:28 states, “Fear Him [God] which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell [gehenna: “lake of fire,” which burns up the wicked (Mal. 4:3)].”
Countless millions have feared going to an ever-burning “hell” that does not exist! The Greek word for hell is hades, meaning “the grave.” Again, Christ’s Church teaches the truth about death and hell and the scriptures that explain them. (My booklet The Truth About Hell presents scriptures on the subject virtually none consider, and they are plain.)
I came to understand that Christmas and Easter (as well as Valentine’s Day, Halloween, April Fool’s, New Year’s and certain other popular observances) are not Bible customs. Rather, they are completely pagan in origin, and have nothing to do with God!—and are in fact condemned in scripture in the strongest possible terms. (You may wish to read our booklets The True Origin of Christmas and The True Origin of Easter, and articles about others of these days to learn more about these holidays that men have used to replace the true Holy Days.) The true Church teaches the truth about the pagan origin of all these days and the scriptures that condemn them.
I also came to see how Satan the devil “deceives the whole world,” including the deception about who and what he is—and that he is the “god of this world.” (You may read our bookletsWho Is the Devil? and A World in Captivity to learn about his role in God’s Plan.) I also learned that one-third of the original angels (now demons) joined Lucifer (Satan) in rebellion against God’s government—and that the faithful angels are God’s ministering spirits. Once again, the true Church of God teaches the truth about the devil and the scriptures that support this understanding.
When Is One “Born Again”?
The vast majority of professing Christians believe that conversion makes them “born again.” In regard to when this occurs, I came to understand that what Jesus really taught was “that which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). I had been taught that people could be born again in this life, while they are still made of flesh. No one told me that Jesus Christ, only after His Resurrection, was called “the firstborn from the dead” (Col. 1:18). No wonder He said that those who are born again are spirit—they are no longer composed of flesh. God’s Holy Spirit has “changed” them (I Cor. 15:50-52) from “flesh and blood” to spirit. Then I understood why Romans 8:29 described Christ as “the firstbornamong many brethren.”
My studies led me to understand that I could be one of those “many brethren”—if I qualified! Again, the Church built by Christ teaches the truth about these doctrines and the many scriptures that support them. (You are urged to read our thorough booklet What Does “Born Again” Mean? to learn more about this.)
The Definition of Sin
I learned that “sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4), and that the law of God was “holy, just, good” and “spiritual” (Rom. 7:12, 14). I had been told that Christ had “done away” with the law. Instead, I found that He said this:
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets [I had also been told that the Old Testament, which contains the writings of the prophets, was basically “done away”]: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled,” and that “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom…but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom” (Matt. 5:17-19).
I came to recognize that, when people keep the law of God, it keeps them! This is because it isa law. And I also learned that, again because it is a law, when people break it, it breaks them! If the whole world were keeping this law, it would be a very different place. Again, the true Church teaches the truth about law and sin and the many scriptures that explain them. (Read our book The Ten Commandments – “Nailed to the Cross” or Required for Salvation?)
Baptism and Conversion
It became clear that the Bible method of baptism is immersion, and that God says that no other form of baptism is acceptable to Him. (Read our booklet What Do You Mean Water Baptism?) I learned that proper baptism must be preceded by repentance and recognition of what human nature really is—where it came from and why it needs to be repented of. (Read our booklet Did God Create Human Nature?) I came to understand that “the laying on of hands” immediately follows baptism and that it is the only way a person can receive the gift of God’s Holy Spirit. The true Church teaches the truth about proper baptism and the scriptures supporting it.
Feeding the Flock
I learned that God’s Church protects and feeds His Flock. Christ said (three times) to Peter that if he loved Christ, he would “Feed My [Christ’s] sheep” (John 21:15-17). I also learned, as we have seen, that there is loving authority in the Church Christ built under God’s form of Church government. Hebrews 13:7, 17, Acts 16:4, II Thessalonians 2:15, 3:6 and numerous other places explain that God gives His true ministers necessary authority over His Flock—partly so that they are better able to protect it. Of course, God’s Church teaches the truth about this understanding and the scriptures supporting it.
I learned God’s principle of tithing (Hebrew means “tenthing”) on one’s income because “the tithe belongs to God” (Lev. 27:30). Also, in Malachi 3:8-10, God declares that He considers those who do not both pay Him His tithes and give Him His offerings to be “robbers”! I also learned that in these same verses God promised to “open the windows of heaven” and pour out tremendous blessings on those who were willing to “prove Him” regarding this promise—and that this is the way He finances His Work of preaching the gospel of the kingdom to the world and the warning message to the modern descendants of ancient Israel. I found that Christ affirmed the tithing law in Matthew 23:23, and that other places in the New Testament confirmed Christ’s words. (The booklet End All Your Financial Worries carefully explains these things.) And again, the true Church teaches the truth about tithing and the many scriptures supporting it.
I learned that there is a great false religious system that the Bible calls “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Rev. 17:5), which masquerades as Christianity. It is pictured as a “mother church” who has protesting “daughters” who left it, but who are still part of her system. This system has carefully counterfeited all of the doctrines of God and has continually tried to penetrate, capture and destroy the true Church of God.
I learned that the Bible warns God’s people about being swept into the deadly deception perpetrated by this large false church. And by studying true Church history, I learned that this false woman invariably finds a way to enter the true Church (seen in this book’s later chapters), causing those who are determined to hold fast to the full truth of God to have to flee her seductive intrusion and influence! (Read our extensive companion brochure The White Horse – “Many Shall Come in My Name…” to learn more about this system.)
Finally, the true Church of God teaches the truth about all of these doctrines and the many scriptures supporting them! It never compromises even one doctrine—not ever.
Another Crucial Truth
At this point, an additional Bible doctrine must be re-introduced so that it can be seen in a different context. First, we saw that the Bible teaches, in Revelation 2 and 3, that God has worked with His Church through seven separate and successive eras. This understanding has been in fact established, well-known doctrine in God’s Church.
While we saw that Laodicea means “the people rule, judge, decide,” they are still God’s people, but in a weak and confused condition. However, they do not represent His true Church, and are outside His Body and Temple. They have formed their own organizations, and Jesus Christ cannot rule them! (It is important to note that the false leaders who succeeded Mr. Armstrong of course found it necessary to throw out the doctrine of Church eras. This paved the way for people to be conditioned to fall into a thinking and era they were once prepared to resist when it came. In the end, because they either forgot the doctrine of Church eras, or forgot its importance, they slid into its thinking.)
Those who wished to remain completely faithful (those wishing to continue the Philadelphian thinking and standard) without compromising any true doctrines or practices, slowly found themselves again having to flee their new organizations in order to do this.
This part of the book would be incomplete without at least briefly describing these events, because they ultimately led to the forming of The Restored Church of God. This Church does not compromise on even one of God’s many, many doctrines. Just as Jesus foretold, it is a small, persecuted “little flock” that God has kept in His Name. It is powerfully continuing God’s Work—taking the true gospel of the kingdom of God to the world and the special warning to the modern descendants of ancient Israel, before this age ends. Its fruits are evidence of God’s blessings. It is growing and has members scattered in countries around the globe. The very fact that you are reading this book means you have come in contact with it—just as I was privileged, in 1966, to come into contact with the true Church and learn the truth of the Bible for the first time.
Christ’s Unwavering Promise
Not only did Christ promise to build His Church, and that it could not be destroyed, He also promised—and it would be absolutely necessary that He did—that when false leaders, whom He refers to in John 10 as “thieves and robbers,” have been able to get into the Church, “the sheep hear His [Christ’s] voice: and He calls His own sheep by name, and leads them out.” Jesus’ voice is defined as “the truth” (John 18:37).
Christ goes on to say, “He goes before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know Hisvoice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers” (10:3-5). He continues by describing the behavior of certain ministers. Notice: “The hireling flees, because he is an hireling, and cares not for the sheep” (vs. 13).
This remarkable promise shows that Jesus Christ will never abandon His sheep and will always protect those who hear His voice and willingly follow Him—when they are in spiritual danger!—to where He has restored the truth, to where He has re-established His Work and placed His name!
Before examining the history of the true Church, we must first address an important element of whether Christians should give “truth” or “love” higher importance…