[Update: August 28, 2014: The link no longer works because this booklet has been replaced by a 288 page book, The Former Prophets: How to Become a King.]
We now begin.
The former prophets were written by prophets because they are mainly prophetic. And most of that prophecy is for this end time!Having gone through a fair number of PCG's booklets I cannot help but strongly suspect that this will be mainly a restatement of Malachi's Message: that (certain parts of the Bible) are all about the Tkach changes, the rise of PCG in opposition to them, PCG members go to the place of safety and all others are doomed to be cast into the Great Tribulation. Will that be the case with this booklet?
In this chapter Flurry cites several important leaders who had a decisive influence on historical events (Washington in the American Revolution, Nelson in the Napoleonic Wars, President Lincoln in the American Civil War, Churchill in World War II, and in a negative sense Hitler in World War II and Osama bin Laden in the events leading up to 9/11) to say that the role of the individual is very important in how history unfolds.
Great individuals do turn the course of history! (p. 2.)Flurry also asserts that, because people are essentially the same, that it is possible to foresee how people behave in the future based on how people behaved in the past.
Flurry also fear mongers that young people today are not being properly taught history.
This chapter appears in the February 2002 issue of The Philadelphia Trumpet as an article entitled The Law of History. Both are very similar. The tithes are slightly different. Also the booklet includes a section under the heading 'Contempt of History' (p. 10) which is not present in the 2002 article. This indicates to me that Chapter 1 was added to this booklet in the 2002 revision and that this chapter was not present in the original 1998 booklet.
There is not much here I feel that is worth discussing here so not much of this chapter will be discussed here.
But I must mention these words of his.
Even when he [Osama bin Laden] bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, we still didn’t know about or believe his threats, even though that was the first time America had ever been attacked by terrorism inside its borders. (p. 10.)What an astoundingly ignorant statement! The United States had endured numerous other forms of terrorism over the years.What about the Weathermen? What about the wicked murder of three civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi in June 1964? How is that not terrorism?
Flurry ends this chapter by fear mongering that most of the members of HWA's WCG have fallen away since the Tkach changes.
In this end time, 95 percent of God’s people have gone astray because they failed to follow Herbert W. Armstrong’s example as he followed Christ. (For more information, requestIt must stated here that Gerald Flurry plagiarized from The Letter to Laodicea by Jules Dervaes (written December 1986-January 1988) to write Malachi's Message. Dervaes' writing was sent to 237 WCG ministers including Gerald Flurry and John Amos. In fact on September 26, 1990 Jules Dervaes sent a letter to Gerald Flurry in which he denounces Malachi's Message as "a direct and clear plagiarism" of his work.
a free copy of Malachi’s Message.) (p. 11.)
After that Flurry asserts that
The solution to all this is not in being a liberal or a conservative. The liberals believe in individualism, which often means they trust in their own human reasoning. Conservatives believe that people should learn from history, but God is often left out of the picture. Neither liberals nor conservatives rely on God as they should. Too many of their views are anti-God, and that is the worst plague of all. Generally they learn dangerously little from secular or Bible history. (p. 11.)And just like that Flurry has dismissed pretty much everyone outside the COGs as being unable to get in true communion with God. There are hundreds of COG groups related to PCG but Flurry also insists they are doomed to be cast into the Great Tribulation as will be seen later.
In this chapter Flurry asserts that to be in true communion with (PCG's) God it is necessary to be subject to God's government. And, although it is entirely possible to miss this message in this particular booklet, Flurry teaches that this is only possible by joining PCG and no other church.
True religion revolves around the family throne of David. God’s people are training even now to share that throne with Christ (Revelation 3:21). God has already made His firstfruits kings and priests in embryo (Revelation 1:6). (p. 13.)Flurry asserts that the Former Prophets contain prophesies relevant for PCG members.
The former prophets—especially Samuel and Kings—contain a lot of history and instruction about Israel’s kings and priests. In essence, they teach us how to be kings and priests for God! (p. 13.)Let us see what Flurry has to say.
Government is the most misunderstood subject in this world and in God’s own Church. More of God’s people are deceived about this doctrine than any other. There is a great controversy raging this very minute among God’s own people. We will show you how it was all prophesied to occur. (p. 13.)As I suspected this booklet is restating what Flurry taught in Malachi's Message, that the Bible is all about the Tkach changes, the rise of PCG in opposition to them, PCG members get to flee to the place of safety and all others are doomed to endure the Great Tribulation. A lot of Flurry's booklets that I have read through so far talk all about those topics. They tend to say the same things.
In these kinds of writings often Flurry condemns all other COG groups as illegitimate by citing two claims, namely,
1. All other COG groups have renounced "God's government" by changing how they manage themselves, deviating from the "one-man rule" that was practiced in HWA's WCG.
This assertion is untrue. In fact many COG groups continue to operate under one man rule as was done in HWA's WCG.
2. All other COG groups do not recognize HWA to be the end time Elijah.
This assertion is also untrue. Many COG group recognize HWA as the end time Elijah.
Let us see if he says or alludes these inaccurate teachings of his.
After this Flurry recites the COG doctrine that Lucifer was originally assigned by (PCG's) God to rule the Earth but he rebelled becoming Satan. But, Flurry then says, God's rule has been restored within PCG.
What most people don’t understand is that God has already restored this government in His Church. That has been effectively done in this end time. (p. 15.)And this grand achievement, according to Flurry, was done by HWA, who is hailed as the end time Elijah by PCG (and many other COG groups even though Flurry likes to pretend they do not).
But just as the world and most of God’s disciples didn’t recognize the first-century Elijah (John the Baptist—see Matthew 17:12-13), the same tragedy has occurred today. God’s Laodicean Church is blind and fails to recognize who this end-time Elijah was. (p. 15.)Flurry does not make his denunciation of other COG groups explicit in this booklet but in other booklets Flurry assets that all other COG groups deny that HWA was the end time Elijah. He alludes to this inaccurate teaching in the highlighted words above.
The most important doctrine that was restored to God’s Church is His government. We are to help Christ rule with a rod of iron (Revelation 2:26-27). We are to rule with God’s government. (p. 15.)As stated earlier Flurry denounces all other COG groups by claiming they do not have "God's government", meaning, in plain English, they are condemned for not joining Flurry's group and paying his organization three tithes and extra offerings.
After this Flurry talks about God promising to give an heir to David. Flurry uses this incident to assure PCG members that if their ministers stray from true morality then (PCG's) God will correct them so they do not need to worry.
The king, or leader, of God’s Church might weaken and think he is above the law. God promises His leaders that He will correct them “with the rod of men” of this world. Members of God’s true work should know by faith that their ministers— even the most exalted ministers—will be corrected! God is a Father who lovingly “spanks” His leaders who commit iniquity. That is an unbreakable promise from God!That is the promise Flurry gives to PCG members concerted about wayward ministers. Does it happen that way?
God’s obedient Family must be united—no divisions (1 Corinthians 1:10). There is no room for division in God’s royal Family. ... Only God’s government has ever worked! And it has worked forever! By contrast, man’s government has never worked successfully. (p. 16.)
Also by saying "divisions" are not allowed among PCG members (that is what "God's obedient Family" effectively means here) Flurry provides PCG's leaders with a ready made pretext to suppress any mass dissatisfaction within PCG. If any PCG member acts in an unwanted way then any PCG minister can just say he or she is causing "division" therefore what they have to say is not worth listening to and will not help PCG members in learning how to follow (PCG's) God's will.
After that Flurry then talks about how PCG members are called upon to be Christ's bride. Now Flurry teaches that PCG members who are resurrected at Christ's return will be given a higher rank in the hierarchy of immortal God beings that all those resurrected afterwards can never gain. Essentially PCG members are told they will get a greater rank within the ranks of immortal God beings, that they will be superior then all those resurrected afterwards. This elitist doctrine was inherited from HWA's WCG and is taught among many COG groups including LCG.
A little common sense should tell us that sharing that throne will require some difficult qualifying. Extensive training and fiery trials are necessary. (p. 18.)And so the many hassles imposed upon PCG members by the many rules and regulations of PCG's leaders (paying three tithes, abstaining from unclean meats, shunning ex-members) are justified as necessary and most desirable because if you do them you will get to among the elite of the family of God beings after the return of Christ.
Also many Protestant Christians would object to this statement because it makes grace of no effect, in that PCG members are required to fulfill all kinds of rules and regulations imposed by PCG's leaders or else God's grace is of no use.
The last warning to the Philadelphia era of God’s Church is to let no man take your crown—your throne (Revelation 3:11). After that comes the Laodicean rebellion in the last era of the Church, the time we are in today (verses 14-19). God then explains what we must do to qualify for our throne. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (verse 20). First, the faithful remnant of Philadelphians must knock and warn the Laodiceans. This is how we put God first. His work is more important than our lives. (p. 19.)Why are so many PCG members so determined to stay in PCG despite the many problems there? Partly it is because they read what Flurry says when he says that "His work [PCG] is more important than our lives" and they believe him.
Also, after reading a fair number of Flurry's early booklets it has become apparent that one of the main attractions of PCG in its early years was that they rallied disaffected WCG members to resist the Tkach changes by joining PCG and warning "the Laodiceans", meaning calling upon other WCG members to also join PCG.
However Flurry was not particularly important among WCG's ministers so no one more important then him joined PCG. Later when more prominent WCG ministers left and took a larger share of WCG members with them it became apparent that PCG had gained all the WCG members it could get from the splintering of WCG. That is possibly one reason why in 2000 PCG's leaders gave the order to PCG members that they were to shun the members of all other COG groups. Instead of being satisfied with what they had thy chose to impose this monstrous burden upon PCG members.
We now continue.
But remember, God’s government has already been restored by an end-time Elijah in God’s Church. This same government is going to increase forever! It will direct God’s work in the universe. That is why the most important doctrine to restore is God’s government. This is the same government restored by Herbert W. Armstrong. It is to grow forever, so it makes sense that we must get it right! That same government, which was taught by Mr. Armstrong, will extend throughout all eternity! Without this government, we have no future. But those who cling to this government will be right forever. (p. 20.)So we see Gerald Flurry threatening the salvation of his readers. Unless you are a part of this government you "have no future."
Also note how Flurry alludes to his inaccurate teaching that all other COG groups do not have "one-man rule".
After this Flurry then talks about how great it is to be a part of "Christ's bride", the super elite among the family of immortal God beings. He even insinuates that more God beings will be born for all eternity, which is quite unusual to say among COG writings like this.
One definition of the word increase in Gesenius’ Lexicon is “progeny, increase of a family.” Is God’s Family going to increase forever? There is that possibility. Whatever the future holds beyond the Millennium, it is mind-staggering. The firstfruits will be at the top of the pyramid. And the pyramid will grow forever. That means our position of responsibility and authority will grow forever! We have the illustrious duty to help extend God’s love forever. (p. 20.)Why do so many PCG members stay despite the problems? Partly because they believe ideas like this. So staying in PCG despite the problems this cause seems like a perfectly rational decision to make.
After that Flurry cites other examples from the Former Prophets, such as the disgrace of Eli for letting his sons behave in an immoral way and Zadok's loyalty to David.
David learned how to implement God’s government. That rule will solve all the problems in this world. I would not like to live under the government of most people. They don’t understand God’s loving family rule. But to have God’s government, and then reject it, is the greatest possible catastrophe! This is exactly what the Laodiceans have done. Most of God’s own people have been deceived about God’s family government. (p. 23.)Flurry mentions Zadok and mentions how he remained loyal to David although others later forsook him. Flurry asserts that PCG is like Zadok today.
God prophesied that there would be end-time sons of Zadok. ... The sons of Zadok are in charge of the altar. They are chief among the Levites, or ministers. The sons of Zadok are the only ministers who “come near to the Lord.” They have qualified to be the leading kings and priests, working closely with God in the highest level of government. ...Flurry ends the chapter saying that the Former Prophets are prophecies for today.
Who are the sons of Zadok today? They are God’s very elect. When the majority of God’s Laodicean people go astray, the sons of Zadok remain loyal. That is why they receive such breathtaking rewards! (p. 24.)
To think that the former prophets are only history is truly a Satan-inspired error. Satan never stops trying to deceive the firstfruits from seeing their eternal, universe-encompassing reward! As Mr. Armstrong said, speaking to God’s Church, “Most of you just don’t get it.” What a stupendous failure! (p. 25.)The particular sermon Flurry is alluding to here was discussed in a previous post concerning Gerald Flurry's 1996 booklet, From the Beginning. You can read or listen to HWA's sermon for yourself online. Flurry portrays this sermon as a prophecy foretelling the Tkach changes. It seems to be about HWA's assertion that church members will be the super elite among the family of immortal God beings. Is it really what Flurry portrayed?
In this chapter Flurry talks about the original Elijah and Elisha
2 Kings talks about the people Elijah taught, the “sons of the prophets.” Elijah raised up three colleges. They were probably located in Bethel, Jericho and Gilgal .... Herbert W. Armstrong was the end-time Elijah. He also raised up three colleges. God used him to help get His bride ready for marriage when Christ returns. (p. 27.)This teaching that the original Elijah ran colleges just as HWA established Ambassador College is inherited from HWA's WCG. HWA makes mention of this teaching of his in his last book, Mystery of the Ages. I have no idea if this teaching that Elijah and Elisha had "colleges" is true.
Also it needs to be stated that one of those three colleges HWA set up was closed down under his watch in 1974. So after 1974 there were only two colleges. So many in the COGs love to ignore that fact. And that includes Gerald Flurry in this booklet. He never acknowledges that the Bricket Wood campus was shut down in HWA's time.
The original Elijah and the end-time Elijah held extremely important “father” offices for God. The PCG, like Elisha, recognizes that fact. This is the foundational issue that sets the PCG apart from the Laodicean groups. It is such a vital principle to understand. If you follow the Elisha example in this respect, God will make you a king with a headquarters position forever. Why? Because this foundational truth points us to God the Father.Once again Gerald Flurry is accusing all the other COG groups of deny that HWA was the end time Elijah. This is nonsense. Many COG groups in fact teach that HWA was the end time Elijah. Why does Gerald Flurry say untrue things?
The lukewarm Laodiceans show by the way they treat Mr. Armstrong’s writings that they are not honoring God the Father! If you don’t understand the role Mr. Armstrong filled, you don’t understand God the Father! (p. 30.)
All of the Laodiceans have rejected the father office, which means they have rejected God’s family government. This is the foremost reason why they are Laodicean. (p. 31.)Actually the foremost reason they are Laodicean is that they choose not to pay three tithes to Gerald Flurry's organization.
They fail to honor their spiritual Father. This means they have lost the God Family vision taught by Mr. Armstrong. The ministers are the primary cause of this problem. If you properly understand Malachi 4:5-6, you will see that these rebellious ministers are in danger of losing their eternal lives! Malachi’s Message makes this clear. (p. 32.)Here we see Gerald Flurry threatening the eternal lives of the ministers of rival COG groups.
The problem with the lukewarm Laodiceans is that they don’t honestly ask where the God of Elijah is! God did a powerful work through Mr. Armstrong. So where is God today? He didn’t die with Mr. Armstrong. Yet none of the Laodicean groups have that kind of power. They don’t receive and proclaim God’s revelation. They don’t have the right government. We must find and remain with the God of Elijah! The Laodiceans will be held accountable for the fact that they were with that God for so long and now they’ve left Him. The fact is, they’re not interested in where He is! If they wanted to know, they would submit to God’s government and end up in God’s true Church. (p. 33.)Once again Flurry claims the other COG groups have altered HWA's doctrine of "God's Government" (which is actually a euphemism for "one-man rule"). This is nonsense. Many COG groups practice one man rule, including Meredith's LCG.
Meredith's first splinter group Global Church of God at first tried to practice a collegial government in which the leader did not have complete control of the organization. But Meredith could handle being accountable to other people so he orchestrated a schism in which he created another COG group in which he could rule unhindered. Although he claims to advocate what he calls "servant leadership" in fact Meredith had reverted to one man rule with the establishment of LCG.
These young students were deeply submissive to God’s government. It’s sad that more of Mr. Armstrong’s “students” do not have this kind of attitude. (p. 33.)Gerald Flurry was just another minister in HWA's WCG. When he started up PCG the other prominent leaders ignored PCG and did not join his group because Flurry was quite low on the pecking order of WCG ministers. So of course they chose not to follow him. That is the real reason why PCG lacks any of the prominent leaders of HWA's WCG. Instead of admitting the truth Flurry just accuses them of having a bad attitude.
In this chapter Flurry talks a lot about the departure of Elijah in 2 Kings 2 (pp. 28-34). Curiously he never mentions the teaching of HWA's WCG that Elijah was not taken to Heaven, but instead was deposited in Judah and lived out the rest of his life in Judah.
If someone is anointed by a minister and then wants to pay him for that healing, that can be very dangerous. God did the healing; the minister just prays and anoints as God directs. The ministers are not in it for the money. They are here to bring people to God the Father. (p. 38.)What nonsense. As early as 1995 Flurry was boasting that his organization had an annual income in the "multiple millions". How can PCG's leaders pretend they do not care about the money. If any PCG member stopped paying tithes and offerings to PCG he or she will soon see how much PCG's leaders depend on their tithing.
After this Flurry talks about how Elisha's servant, Gehazi, deceptively acquired some of the wealth of Naaman. For this deception Gehazi became leprous. Flurry uses this incident to claim that ex-members of PCG will endure the Great Tribulation.
It is very serious to work against God’s Holy Spirit and His work, whether you’re young or old. This was a terrible punishment for Gehazi. But the same will happen to anyone who makes his mistake. You may think you won’t get leprosy by doing something along these lines, but consider those who leave the Church and don’t come back. The Tribulation is much worse to experience than leprosy—and they’ll know while they are in it that they could have escaped! Young people who have been taught by Elijah and who act this way are displaying spiritual leprosy. They will pay a penalty. (p. 39.)This is a tactic known as "dispensing of existence", one of Robert Lifton's eight criteria for thought reform. What many authoritarian groups do is claim that all outsiders are, the way Lifton put, in a state of non-existence. (They do not have the truth. They are deceived by Satan. They are Laodiceans in rebellion against God's government.) PCG's leaders do this whenever they claim that non-PCG members are doomed to experience the Great Tribulation as Flurry does in this passage.
After that Flurry talks about one incident in which the King of Syria (Aram) went to besiege Elisha and his "college" and surrounded it with his soldiers and chariots.
How did Elisha respond? How should we, the Elisha work today, respond when we are besieged by seemingly insurmountable problems? Think about this: If you saw a huge mechanized army surrounding Edmond, looking to kill me, that would be rather frightening! That is exactly what happened to Elisha. (p. 41.)HWA taught that there would be no modern day "Elisha" work. Flurry is changing this teaching of HWA's and is deviating from what HWA taught.
This army is still protecting us today! Why do we win court cases? Why do great doors open for us? Why do we have all this new revelation? Because there is a real, spiritual army fighting for us and for God’s work! We must see that as Elisha did. (p. 41.)PCG lost the court case.
Flurry is here referring to the protracted legal struggle over PCG's pirated printing of some of HWA's writings. Tkach's WCG argued in court that they owned the copyright therefore PCG should not be allowed to distribute those writings. The judges agreed with Tkach's WCG and ordered PCG to stop distributing HWA's writings and pay Tkach's WCG damages. Luckily for PCG the post-lawsuit negotiations went rather well and they bought the copyrights for $3 million.
How is paying $3 million a victory? How can that be called winning a court case? This was not a small amount for PCG. Their annual income for 2010 was $20.6 million. In 2012 it was $19.5 million. That was quite a lot of money PCG had to throw away for those copyrights.
Why does Flurry say untrue things?
Would God work with one who twists the truth like this?
After that Flurry talks about how when Elisha died the king of Israel, Joash, spoke of his death in quite an emotional way that was very similar to how Elisha spoke when Elijah departed.
The king knew that Elisha was the only “chariot” that would bring Israel (and the world) to success....Why do so many remain in PCG despite its problems? Partly it is because they read Flurry's promises that PCG members will be kings in the World Tomorrow, that they are "the true royalty of God" and "the most honored people on Earth today" and they believe these words. And PCG members can only retain this status by remaining in PCG. If one should leave then he or she is judged by PCG's leaders as being accursed by God and doomed to endure the Great Tribulation and to be shunned by loyal PCG members.
God’s work is that “chariot.” If we don’t “hitch our wagon to this star,” we will go no place. That king was just a type of the kings who will be brought to David during the World Tomorrow, instructed in what Elijah taught, pointed to God the Father. Many of those kings will be you. ...
This isn’t just another work. It is the work that will save the world! God will bring all the world to this “chariot of Israel,” and He will do so through His people. Soon we will educate the whole world! We will build the Family of God like Elijah and Elisha did. We’re learning today to tell people how to solve their problems, how to be kings and priests, how to look to God and build His Family.
That is why God’s very elect are the true royalty of God. We are the most honored people on Earth today! (p. 44.)
This short chapter briefly discusses the construction of the Temple built in the reign of Solomon and says PCG members are the equivalent of this temple today.
Today, the Father and Christ have an angelic army of many millions helping to build His spiritual temple. They provide a great portion of God’s spiritual skilled labor. (p. 46.)Here Flurry alludes to his rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity, a doctrine inherited from HWA. A reader with no experience with Armstrongism would have no idea that Flurry teaches against the Trinity from this booklet.
God gave a man His commission and a plummet to help God carve, or pre-cut, the temple “stones.” God always uses one man to lead His work. A plummet is of no value unless God also gives His family government. (p. 48.)Flurry is alluding to the fact that he teaches that the church is to be run by one man rule.
Flurry ends this booklet with these words.
We must overcome the plague of the human heart. And what a plague it is. Most of God’s own Spirit-begotten people have turned away from Him in the midst of a glorious spiritual harvest. Their own evil human nature deceives them into rejecting the government God taught them. The problem always revolves around government. But if we spread forth our hands and cry out to our Father, we can overcome the plague of our evil heart. If we do, the universe is ours! (p. 49.)So we see that this booklet is another highly misleading polemic denouncing every group outside PCG as sinful and promising PCG members and any would be convert that they will be among the super elite of immortal God beings if they join PCG, pay them three tithes and extra offerings, and stay in it until you die.
Who knew throwing your money away to an organization based in Edmond, Oklahoma could give you the Universe?
And as suspected at the start this booklet repeats much of what Flurry taught in Malachi's Message and many of his other booklets made to convert WCG members and get them to join PCG, namely that a certain part of the Bible is all about the Tkach changes, the rise of PCG in opposition to them, PCG members get to go to the place of safety and all others are doomed to endure the Great Tribulation.
Flurry even repeats his inaccurate assertions that all other COG groups deny that HWA was the end time Elijah and that they do not have "God's government" (which in Isaiah's End Time Vision and From the Beginning is defined as "one-man rule").