Sunday, January 16, 2011

January 16 Remembered

It is now 25 years since the man who created the COGs, Herbert W. Armstrong, died.

Let it be remembered that he told us that Jesus Christ would return by 2005 in his last book, Mystery of the Ages, but we are still here.

Let it also be stated that I am persuaded that he would have been astounded at what happened to WCG and the rest of the COGs since his death.

I would like to share this blog from Shadows of WCG's J: Would Anyone Have Believed It?

What is will be no more. What you have will be gone. What was is not to be. Your leader, Herbert Armstrong, has five years. He will select an individual who will tear down everything you know and cherish. Your treasures, your grounds, your possessions, they will disappear. Your college, your precious Ambassador College, will exist no longer. Your beautiful auditorium will be sold to those you have despised and cursed. Your grounds will be sold off and scattered, just as your people will scatter to all four corners of the earth. Your gigantic conventions will dwindle to near nothing. You will never be able to replicate what was. What is will be no more. You will have nothing.

You will be given a leader who will dismantle all that was. Your congregations of tens of hundreds will be reduced to tens, and tens of tens. Your plain truth will stop. Your television broadcasts will stop. Your magazines, brochures, they will stop. Some will attempt to revive what was but their attempts shall never come close to what was. They will be working in vain, and though they beat the vines with sweat and tears, they shall not yield fruit. There shall never be the growth that was, never again. What was is to be no more.
You can read the rest at the link.

Let it also be noted that one particular COG, "That Prophet" and "Apostle" Gerald Flurry's Philadelphia Church of God, has taken January 16 as a day of prophetic importance. Hence I am reposted this blog entry: January 16:

A peculiar belief within PCG is that January 16th, the day Herbert W. Armstrong died, will be marked by important events. This belief is generally absent from the rest of Armstrongism.

This belief is also continued in Raising the Ruins. From the end of Chapter 14 detailing the first mailing out of Malachi's Message to WCG members we read the following:
With me [Stephen Flurry] now added to the original group, 13 of us gathered at the Thompson home Wednesday night, January 10. We packaged 921 copies of Malachi’s Message, several hundred of which included the above letter....We delivered the bundles to the post office the next day, Thursday [January 11]. Many of those books from the first mailing landed in mailboxes on or just before [Tuesday] Jan. 16, 1990—four years, to the day, after Herbert W. Armstrong died.
The link this to January 16 here is quite week. There is nothing specific here that would cause one to pick January 16 as the important date unless one had already picked that date for another reason. The book is simply using a predefined belief that is artificially placed on events. The January 16 Myth.

In Chapter 23, part 2, under the heading 'Sealing the Deal', the date is again called upon in relation to the back room deals PCG was making with WCG to buy the books. (Again, PCG did not win the Court Case, it was an out of court deal with the man they say is the Son of Perdition.) 'On Thursday morning, January 16—17 years to the day after Herbert W. Armstrong’s death—the WCG agreed to sell us all the copyrights for $3 million.' The January 16 superstition again.

This belief comes from Gerald Flurry's Malachi's Message, which is [PCG teaches that it is] believed to be the Little Book of Revelation 10. Raising the Ruins omits to mention that Gerald Flurry himself referred to the date in the first edition of Malachi's Message. 'This message is being received by many people on the very day of the anniversary of HWA's death (January 16, 1986). We didn't plan it, but we are very happy it happened that way. You are going to see the date of HWA's death take on more significance as time goes on.' (p. 82). Maybe Flurry did not plan it that way but he certainly took advantage of that anniversary and instantly latched onto that date even before Malachi's Message was first published. This is evidence that Gerald Flurry tried to sanctify the mailing out of Malachi's Message by appealing to the memory of the date of HWA's passing. This does not prove that God attaches any significance to January 16.

The first sentence of that part has been changed in the modern version: 'Malachi’s Message was first received by many people on January 16, 1990, the very day of the anniversary of Mr. Armstrong’s death (January 16, 1986).' He then tries to use the 19 year time cycles to pinpoint January 16, 1991 as an important date. Gerald Flurry then identified the Gulf War as the prophesied event, ever so conveniently ignoring the fact that fighting actually began a day later on January 17. See also the March 16, 2004 letter here. Thus this prophecy is a failure and furthermore is a misrepresentation of the facts.

The Jehovah's Witnesses have this peculiar belief that Jerusalem fell in 607 BC but everyone else knows that it happened in 587/6 BC. It is the same with PCG, insisting that the Gulf War began on January 16, but everyone else knows it started a day later on January 17.

This is similar to what happened with the infamous Northridge Earthquake which occurred a day late to be useful to Gerald Flurry, on January 17, 1994.

It is very interesting to note, however, that in Chapter 13 of Raising the Ruins Stephen Flurry relates that Gerald Flurry wanted to 'reveal' Malachi's Message in January 1991 to coincide with the end of WCG's third 19-year time cycle.
But believing it was from God, he [Gerald Flurry] fully intended to deliver the message to church leaders in Pasadena—perhaps in January of 1991—the end of the work’s third 19-year time cycle. That was still a year and a half off, I thought.
This is evidence that from the beginning Gerald Flurry was determined to sanctify his work with some sort of chronological pattern, to give the appearance of having divine favor. Gerald Flurry completely disregardedthe fact that the time cycles was invented specifically to devise the infamous 1972-1975 prophecy of Christ's return. Gerald Flurry completely ignored the time cycle's previous failure in 1972. World War III, the nuclear Great Tribulation that would destroy all humanity unless Jesus Christ came back in 1975, was supposed to begin then. Maybe he has, ever so conveniently, forgotten about that.

However events soon spun out of control too quickly for this timeline to be fulfilled. By December 7, 1989 Gerald Flurry and his assistant John Amos were fired. Soon GF was well on his way to establishing his own church, the Philadelphia Church of God. He was unable to pull off his original timeline scenario, so he needed to quickly latch onto another event to sanctify his removal and/or the establishment of PCG in order to appear to have divine favor. He quickly latched onto January 16. Even before Malachi's Message got published he had already sanctified January 16 as an important day.

There was nothing important for January 16 in regards to Malachi's Message. It was sent in the mail on January 11. Even if WCG members received it on January 16 why is that day special and not January 13 or 14 or 15 or 17 or any other day in which WCG members received Malachi's Message? Why should not the printing be important, or the mailing of it? Because it would not fit the highly artificial pattern that Gerald Flurry devised.

And why is January 16 important? Is that not the 'pagan', 'papal', 'Satan inspired' Gragorian Calendar? Why not use the date on the Biblical Calendar as an important date? Why is it that the Gregorian Calendar is viewed as flawed and yet PCG uses that date in order to sanctify its founding and give the appearance of divine favor with no reference to what they acknowledged as God's Sacred Calendar? (Addition: As may be seen here January 16, 1986 was Shebat 6 and in the 1987-2010 period it falls on January 16 only once in 2005. In 1989 HWA's anniversary according to what 'That Prophet' Gerald Flurry acknowledge to be God's Sacred Calendar Shebat 6, the true anniversary of HWA's death, was February 1. That is 22 days, over three weeks, after MM was first posted. In 1991 it was on January 21, so the Gulf War started four days too early. In 1994 it was on January 18, so the earthquake was a day early. It never falls on January 17 either in that period. And also where is any of this in the Bible?)

If God does attach any significance to January 16 why does PCG need to pretend that the Gulf War started a day earlier than it actually did? Where in the Bible does it say that January 16 is important? This is simply an extra-biblical superstition. It is simply further evidence that PCG is simply the work of MEN and that God is not in PCG.

More on Raising the Ruins may be read here.


  1. It is indeed interesting to see the great significance these ministers attach to that date. They idolize one man, Herbie, instead of focusing on the truths of Scripture, and thus they fall short of understanding what God revealed in His word...

  2. There was precedent for this. Example, "the world" thought Hitler had been assassinated and WWII had ended...but WE "knew" that Hitler had survived, and was hiding out in Argentina, waiting for a bat-signal from the Pope.

    Dougie Becker's right, it IS bad sci-fi, isn't it?? :-O

  3. It was also suggested that Hitler was in hiding in a secret base in Antarctica.

  4. The Desert Storm began on the morning of 1/17/91 Kuwait time, but the night of 1/16/91 Oklahoma time. (I remember the night well, as I wrote news updates about it until 2:30am U.S. ET for CNN Headline News.)

    So obviously, PCG figures time through its headquarters in Oklahoma. That makes it official.... right?