Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Reading PCG's Booklet, Jeremiah and the Greatest Vision in the Bible (Part 1)

Let us now read Gerald Flurry's booklet, Jeremiah and the Greatest Vision in the Bible. This booklet was first published in 1999. It is one of his "warning the Laodiceans" booklets. It was later revised in 2002, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2013. For this post I am reading through the 2002 version. You can read the 2013 version of this booklet on their website.

I wonder if Gerald Flurry will repeat what he said in Malachi's Message and many of his booklets afterwards? If this booklet is like that then Flurry will say her that this particular Biblical book (Jeremiah this time) is all about the Tkach changes, the rise of PCG in opposition to them, PCG members get the place of safety and all others are doomed to endure the Great Tribulation. Will Flurry say that here?

Previously Gerald Flurry had written another booklet about Jeremiah, entitled Jeremiah: Prophet of Doom -- Or Hope? It was released in 1993 or earlier. I don't think it came out in 1991, so I suspect it was released in either 1992 or 1993. However at present I am unable read that booklet or provide more detailed information. I hope that may change later. Intriguingly the French and Dutch translations of this booklet use the name of the old booklet. The Dutch version even uses the old booklet's cover.

We now begin.
The book of Jeremiah was written to Israel over 100 years after they had gone into captivity. Think about that! Why would God cause Jeremiah to do such a thing? Because the book of Jeremiah is primarily for Israel in the end time! And there is an even greater emphasis on spiritual Israel, or God’s Church. You urgently need to understand why! (Introduction.)
I have seen how Flurry discusses "spiritual Israel" many times before by now. He claims all other COG groups are illegitimate in (PCG's) God's eyes. The real reason why Flurry condemns them in this way is because the members of those other groups do not pay PCG any money. But he will not say it that way. Instead he claims every other COG either deny HWA was the end time Elijah and have rejected God's government, which he defines as one man rule. Both claims are inaccurate. Many COG groups have one man rule. Many COG groups hail HWA as the end time Elijah. Will Flurry repeat himself in that way in this booklet?

Chapter One
The greatest disaster of all time is imminent. Jeremiah tells us how to avoid these disasters. But very few listen. (p. 1.)
Already Flurry is using fearful rhetoric to crude scare people into joining his PCG. Will it get any better?
“Jacob’s trouble” means the trouble in the U.S. and British nations mainly. And notice—IT’S THE WORST TROUBLE THEY HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED! Far worse than WORLD WAR II AND THE CONCENTRATION CAMPS! This has not happened yet. But it’s about to begin. It is prophecy unfolding this very minute.

This coming nuclear holocaust is the culmination of man’s rule over man. Study your history books and you will see man’s rule is from crisis to crisis. But THE CRISIS OF CRISES IS JUST AHEAD! (p. 2.)
Clearly not.

By the way, America and Britain are not descended from the Biblical Israelites. In fact DNA evidence refutes British Israelism. All assumptions deriving from that untrue idea is nonsense. 
However, end-time national Israel was NEVER GOD’S FLOCK! They were never unified as God’s people in these latter days. This is referring to God’s spiritual flock.

Wickedness is found in God’s own Church today! What is it? God is concerned about evil in all Israel, but far more in spiritual Israel, the Church. That is where the worst crimes of all are being committed! (p. 3.)
Flurry is talking about Tkach's WCG.

"That [Tkach's WCG] is where the worst crimes of all are being committed!"

Really? The worst crimes of all? Worse then murder? Worse then anything else? No doubt the Tkach changes were very traumatic for many people within WCG, whatever they happened to believe, but this over heated rhetoric is absurd.

Flurry then insists that Jeremiah is all about the Great Tribulation and the Tkach changes. Flurry does that a lot in these "warning the Laodiceans" booklets.

On page 4 Flurry begins to talk Jeremiah 1 and saying that he was a very great prophet because he was one of only three to be chosen from the womb.
Jeremiah was a very special prophet, chosen for an extremely important commission. He was chosen from the womb by God—like John and the Son of the living God! ... It’s one thing for God to call a man to do a job. It’s quite another thing to choose him from the womb. Then God REVEALED a major message to him. That message is the greatest, MOST INSPIRING VISION IN THE BIBLE—THE KEY OF DAVID (Rev. 3:7-8). (pp. 4-5.)
So that would appear to be the greatest vision in the Bible this booklet's title refers to. Back in 1996 or sooner Gerald Flurry and the late Wilbur Malone wrote a booklet entitled The Key of David. Perhaps Flurry is alluding to that booklet. In 2002 that booklet was greatly revised.
The majority of God’s own people fail to do His Work in this end time. They, like Jonah, are trying to run away from the job. But their punishment will be far worse than being swallowed by a whale. They will be chastised by God in the worst time of suffering ever on this earth. (p. 5.)
Once again Flurry is threaten all other COG groups that they shall be cast into the Great Tribulation unless they join PCG. Flurry says that a lot in these "warning the Laodiceans" booklets.

Flurry then claims that only PCG truly understands Jeremiah and if you are really a Christian it is necessary to support PCG.
If we have God’s words in our minds and mouths, it’s because God put them there. And God expects His spokesman to speak those words. God’s people are fully expected to support those revealed and spoken words! (p. 6.)
"His spokesman" seems to refer to Gerald Flurry himself.

Flurry then lets HWA state what Jeremiah was commanded to do quoting him at length from The United States and Britain in Prophecy on page 7. Flurry then states that Jeremiah was used by God to transfer the royal house of Judah to Ireland. This is a reference to the legend of Tea Tephi as taught by British Israelism. Unfortunately for Flurry it would appear this story really is just a story. (See's A Foundation of Sand Part 7 which shows how proponents of British Israelism have tended to simply repeat extravagant claims without question or critique.)

After that Flurry waxes poetic telling of the great glory that awaits PCG members if only they join PCG and pay three tithes and extra offerings for the rest of their lives. Some wonder why PCG members choose to stay in PCG despite all the problems there. It is partly because they read stuff like this and they actually believe it, or at least just enough to stay in PCG.
WHY IS IT CALLED THE THRONE OF DAVID? Because Christ will share that throne with a very elect group of human beings like David, biblically called firstfruits. Remember, this is a family throne. The Son has a wife (Rev. 19:7). The wife is the Church: the firstfruits, called out before Christ returns. ... So we then have Father, Son and wife. After Christ returns, billions of people will eventually be invited into God’s family. Those who repent and obey will be likened to the children in God’s family. They will literally be sons in God’s family. (pp. 7-8.)
And that's not all. This God Family will then extend its rule to the entire Universe.
When God brings all mankind into His family as spirit beings, that will be the REAL BEGINNING! God will BEGIN His family plan to restore and beautify all of the decaying planets and galaxies. Then God will BEGIN a Work with His entire family, which will even dazzle our Creator! God’s family will see the work to be done. They will know what has to be done to finish God’s awesome plan. Truly, this is the real beginning of our incredible human potential. This is the vision Jeremiah had. This is why he and other prophets could suffer so horribly and still endure. (pp. 8, 10.)
The whole Universe will belong to PCG members and you can join in too.

Just keep sending in those three tithes to PCG.

For the rest of your life.

On page 9 is a picture of the British coronation throne containing what PCG teaches is the pillar in which Jacob had his dream while fleeing to his uncle Laban. Herman Hoeh once claimed this chair was with the Israelites in the wilderness in the time of Moses.
This same rock-the coronation stone-accompanied the Israelites during their forty years wandering in the wilderness. ... This is the rock that Moses struck with his rod to bring forth waters (Exodus 17 and Numbers 20). It was the shepherd rock, the stone of Israel which went with them in the wilderness. During those forty years the stone accompanied Israel. That is undoubtedly why the two iron rings fastened to either end are so worn. The stone beneath the coronation chair could never have become worn by lying untouched in England’s Westminster, or Scotland’s Scone or in the halls of Tara in Ireland. It must have been worn during the wilderness wanderings. (Herman Hoeh, "Inside Story of the Coronation", Plain Truth, July 1953, pp. 9-10.)
We now continue.

Flurry often claims to have received new revelation. Usually this new revelation is just a rerun of what he said in Malachi's Message except this time Flurry claims it is in another part of the Bible.
God revealed the book of Jeremiah to Herbert W. Armstrong. He had the foundational understanding. But Mr. Armstrong did NOT UNDERSTAND THIS LAODICEAN REBELLION AND ERA (in Jeremiah and other prophecies). HE ALSO DIDN’T UNDERSTAND THE PHILADELPHIA WORK IN THE LAODICEAN ERA.

God didn’t want to completely reveal that truth until the Laodicean era, which began when Mr. Armstrong died.

So WHAT GOD HAS REVEALED IN THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH (and the other major and minor prophets) since Mr. Armstrong’s death IS A TOWERING SIGN OF WHERE GOD’S WORK IS TODAY!

Truth and prophecy are revealed by God. YOU WILL FIND GOD ONLY WHERE YOU FIND HIS REVELATION! (p. 11.)
In other words Flurry is claiming that God only works through himself, Gerald Flurry. He does that a lot.

It also needs to be stated that Flurry's teaching that the Laodicean era started with HWA's death is a new doctrine of his. HWA's WCG tended to be vague and confusing about when they expected the Laodicean era to emerge. Gerald Waterhouse in 1979 seemed to believe that the Laodicean era would only manifest itself after the worthy WCG members fled to Petra. Roderick C. Meredith and David Robinson at one point speculated that Garner Ted Armstrong's splinter group might be the Laodicean era.

Here Flurry is talking about the other COG groups ("the Laodiceans").
God knew they would lose the big vision: the key of David vision. There is no mention of the Laodicean era having the key of David. That is because they have lost it. That is the main reason they are blind! (p. 11.)
How have the other COG groups lost the key of David vision described on pages 7-8 and 10? This criticism may be true of Tkach's WCG, but the other COG groups believe that God Family doctrine and believe they will be born into it at Christ's return. Why does Flurry say untrue things?
The Laodiceans have FORSAKEN God (Jer. 1:16). This revolt revolves around rejecting The United States and Britain in Prophecy. This is the visible sign of how the Laodiceans were losing the key of David vision. (p. 12.)
Again, this criticism may very well be true for Tkach's WCG, but the other COG groups (who are also labeled Laodicean by Flurry), have not rejected British Israelism. They still staunchly teach this idea. In fact I first read HWA's writings on British Israelism on a website run by a "Laodicean". Why does Flurry say untrue things?
Verse 16 is about a split in God’s Church. One group delivers Jeremiah’s message and the other group forsakes God and fails to do His Work. They receive God’s greatest wrath in the Tribulation. (p. 12.)
This is just fear mongering. Phobic induction that is often practiced among high demand groups. Flurry is simply trying to indoctrinate the reader into thinking that unless he or she joins PCG he or she is doomed in the most terrifying way. This is nonsense. Flurry and his predecessors have been saying this since the 1930s. It is just a way of manipulating people into doing what PCG's leaders want them to do.

Flurry then says PCG members must not be afraid. God is with us. And if you get scared and fail your duty God will break you into pieces.
This message is for the whole world. It is from the omnipotent God. We must not fear men. ... If God’s very elect back off because of fear, then they really have a big problem. God will confound them before their enemy. The word “confound” is from the Hebrew word frangere. It means “to break in pieces.” ... If God gives us a job, we had better do it—OR GOD WILL BREAK US IN PIECES! Doing the job, we will face fearful situations. But if we run like Jonah, we will face a greater fear—God’s wrath! (p. 12.)
More fear mongering. If you do not join PCG and pay them three tithes then you will get God's wrath.
In many ways God has made His people like an iron fortress. Without God, we would be quickly destroyed. God’s message is AGAINST kings, princes, leaders of the world and priests—primarily Laodicean ministers, but it also includes religions of the world. THAT IS OUR BATTLEGROUND! ... They will fight against God’s Work and His people, but “they shall not prevail” against us! This is a prophecy and a promise from God for the end time. Nobody can close the doors God opens for His Work. Nobody! Not even great armies! (pp. 12-13.)
We are special. No one can defeat us. Here Flurry appeals to PCG members' sense of elitism over all non-members, especially the members of the other COG groups that Flurry loves to condemn so much.
Why won’t our people heed Jeremiah’s mind-splitting prophecies? Many people will go mad! MEGA-SUFFERING AND MEGA-DEATH COULD BE PREVENTED! (p. 14.)
The last sentence has been removed from the current 2013 version of this booklet.
Rachel had only two children, Joseph and Benjamin. She died giving birth to Benjamin. So she really only knew her son Joseph, who had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh (which are the British and American peoples today). This is a specific prophecy aimed at those two great nations. However, they won’t be great much longer. Rachel is symbolically about to weep for the captivity and death of both nations! (p. 14.)
After this Flurry talks about Jeremiah being sent to the dungeon but Ebed-melech saved him.
God has a small remnant in this end time. They too will be delivered when their nations are destroyed. Does it matter if we are white, black, brown or yellow? God is no respecter of persons. He is a respecter of faith! Ebed-melech knew where God was working. That is each person’s responsibility. (p. 16.)
If Flurry really does believe the words highlighted above then why does Gerald Flurry, Dennis Leap and the late Ron Fraser condemn interracial marriage as sinful in their writings? Also why do they publish a book they regard as very important (even though they altered it) that says interracial marriage is sinful, contrary to God's intentions and a reason why God sent the Great Flood?

Let us see what PCG's leaders have to say on this issue.
Some of the nation’s princes reported to Ezra that the people were racially intermarrying with the nations around them. Moses had recorded that God forbade interracial marriage (Deuteronomy 7:1-3). Ezra was devastated that this sin was being committed in Judah. He immediately began a fast because this sin threatened to destroy the fledgling nation. But what depressed Ezra the most about this sin was that some priests, Levites and princes were leading the people into this catastrophic rebellion. God’s own ministers were the chief sinners. (Gerald Flurry and Dennis Leap, Ezra and Nehemiah: Building God's Temple, Chapter 5, p. 45.) (This is mentioned in a previous post.)

Remember that Ezra had corrected the people for interracial marriage (Ezra 10). It appears that not everyone immediately complied. Nehemiah 9 includes the account of others who later also repented of this national sin. This chapter records the very moving, repentant prayer of the people. The people did deeply repent of some serious sins. If only our people could learn from their own history! The nations of Israel could be saved from a disastrous end if they repented of their sins like these people did anciently. (Gerald Flurry and Dennis Leap, Ezra and Nehemiah: Building God's Temple, Chapter 7, p. 73.) (This is mentioned in a previous post.)
As far as I understand it Judaism is not a universalistic religion and so in general they do not try to convert other people. Their rules were for themselves, not the whole world. Deuteronomy 7:1-3 was about them not marrying the Canaanites, there is no assumption that this was part of some universal principle that all peoples were required to follow as Flurry and Leap inaccurately imply. What Flurry and Leap are teaching here is totally different from what is discussed in Ezra and Nehemiah. Those Jews who lived in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah would have seen it as utterly bizarre and absurd that these Gentiles are pretending to be people they are not and enforcing among themselves things that were not intended for them. It's just crazy.

Let us see what the late Ron Fraser had to say about this topic, which was mentioned in a previous post.
In Genesis 6, the conditions at the time of Noah are explained. Three specific conditions are mentioned: 1) Marrying according to their own choice, rather than subscribing to God’s laws in the choice of a mate; 2) Extreme corruption; and 3) Extreme violence. (Ron Fraser, South Africa in Prophecy, 1997, p. 21.)

Such anti-God themes are a precursor to CONFUSION, division and strife! South Africa will reap the curses of correction imposed by an all-wise, all-loving Father who created mankind and set the racial bounds over which He commanded Israel not to cross! (Ron Fraser, South Africa in Prophecy, 1997, p. 23.)
What madness! It is racist to forbid people from marrying because of race. In the United States banning interracial marriage has historically long been used to oppress African Americans and other ethnic minorities. Over the years many idealistic and brave Americans resisted this racist practice. It was not until 1967 that a Supreme Court decision finally put an end to that disgusting practice in the United States. It is disgusting and horrifying that PCG's leaders appear to have assumed for themselves the power to decide who can marry whom and who cannot marry whom. That's disgusting.

We now continue.

Then Flurry talks about when Jeremiah's scribe, Baruch, grew discouraged.
We must remember, though, that this is a prophecy for the end time. Today, destruction is about to come “UPON ALL FLESH”—THE WHOLE WORLD! DO WE REALLY GET IT? It’s not a time to seek great things for ourselves. It’s time to deliver Jeremiah’s message and warn the world. God will save us from captivity and death, if we deliver this message. If we love humanity, we’ll work to warn and hopefully save them physically.
The vision about David’s throne, which encompasses the whole universe, will get us through any trial. This vision separates the Philadelphians from the Laodiceans. Only the Philadelphians have the key of David vision. (pp. 18-19.)
Pretty much every COG group except Tkach's WCG believe that church members are called to become immortal God beings and be born into the God Family. That is what this key of David vision that Flurry talks about, HWA's God Family doctrine. They may not call it the key of David vision but the other COG groups all believe this teaching. Why does Flurry say untrue things?
There was a good ending. Baruch repented and did go with Jeremiah to deliver David’s throne and the stone of destiny to Ireland. God took them to a safe place. Their lives were saved. (p. 19.)
And one of the promises PCG makes to members is that if they join and pay three tithes then they shall escape the horrors of the Great Tribulation and be taken to a place of safety, usually said to be Petra, Jordan.

After that Flurry talks about Tkach's WCG and saying that the Tkach changes were very terrible, again. He then talks about the supposed glory that awaits PCG members.

This is why Christ is so angry. The majority of His Church has turned away. He REMEMBERS “when you went after me.” But they aren’t going after Him now! His own bride is turning away! They had a history of going after God. This happened under the leadership of Herbert W. Armstrong. When he died, they turned away from much of what he restored. ...
God wants a strong spiritual warning. After all, His own bride is turning away. She stands to lose everything! She should be crying out and warning Israel. Instead, the majority is turning away! ...

Only the Father begets His sons today. We can’t even come to God unless that happens. Then Christ takes these firstfruits, whom His Father chose for Him, and harvests them to be His bride! IF YOU REALLY GRASP THIS VISION, IT ALMOST MAKES YOU FAINT! (pp. 19-21.)
 Flurry then ends this chapter with these words.
We have the glorious honor of helping the Father and Christ harvest their children—their family—and then introduce them to the entire universe. That is when God’s Work really BEGINS! (p. 21.)
This ending is very similar to how HWA ended his last book, Mystery of the Ages.

However Flurry's booklet has not ended. There is more. More will be discussed in a future post.

To be continued...

[Update: August 22, 2014: This reading is continued in Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.]

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