Most people in the Churches of God (COGs) probably still think that the end of the age is just a few years away. However, Herbert Armstrong said that in about 1930, which is about 80 years ago. If he was that far off then, the COGs today could be just as wrong. The end could still be a long long way off. Let’s take a look at what the world and the COGs will probably look like in another 10, 20 or 80 years.
If the Churches of God (COGs) are so wrong, why did I become a Worldwide Church of God (WCG) member in the first place? The answer, if we wish to analyze it from every angle, is somewhat complex, but it all comes down to one bottom line, one fundamental reason: I was tricked by dishonest literature.
by Gun Lap
Was Herbert Armstrong a false prophet when he predicted Jesus Christ would return within five to ten years (Military Service and War 1967, p. 54), that communism would take over India and engulf “the yellow races” (1975 in Prophecy, p. 10, 1956), or that a world dictator was about to appear (first copy of The Plain Truth)? Or, as Armstrong apologists say, were his prophecies merely delayed?
How long can a prophecy be delayed and still be from God? What does the bible say about this? Forget what your church teaches for a moment—what does the bible say? It might come as as surprise, but the bible does address this issue!
When Paul spoke of the return of Christ in his time (I Thess 4:17), was he merely “off in his timing” as many ministers preach? Were the prophecies of Jesus predicting his second coming (Matt 24, Mark 13, Luke 21) delayed 2000 years? Does this make Jesus a false prophet?
If any of these men were off in their timing, do they deserve the death penalty for being false prophets? The frank bible answer will come as a shock to any Christian brave enough to face it. If you are a Christian, brace yourself, and read on.
Deut 18:20-22 says if a prophet arises and if his words do not come to pass, he must die! God actually commanded the death. One cannot carry out a death sentence on someone who has aleady died of natural causes, so, obviously, the death sentence must be carried out while the prophet is still alive. If the prophet dies of natural causes that command has not been kept. This must be considered seriously. It was a serious sin to disobey a command to execute a false prophet.
“When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, IF THE THING FOLLOW NOT, NOR COME TO PASS, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet has spoken it presumptiously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” (Deut 18:22.). Note that it says explicity (in v. 21) that this is how they were to “know” that the words of the false prophet were not from God. They did not have to guess, wonder, or wait indefinitely to find out if the words were from God. They could know. Then.
What was the penalty for the prophet?
“But the prophet which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak … even THAT PROPHET SHALL DIE.” (v. 20).
Notice the command: the false prophet must die. It’s not talking about letting him die of natural causes!
Now let’s suppose I were a false prophet. I could prophesy in the name of the Lord that lead will turn into gold. My followers might load up on lead, then wait for lead to turn into gold. And wait. And wait. How long should they wait? Eventually I die of old age. Was it a failed prophecy? I never set a date for the prophecy to be fulfilled, so my followers could be waiting forever. How will they know it was a false prophecy? How long should they hold onto their lead?
If they accept the “prophecy did not fail, it was just delayed” excuse they could be waiting forever. By that standard, one could come up with millions of prophecies which can never be disproven no matter how long we wait.
But God said you can KNOW that the words of the false prophet were not from God (v. 21). If we wait and wait forever, we will NEVER know. But God said we can KNOW if the word was from him, by whether it comes to pass.
Clearly, there must be an upper time limit on how long we must wait before we can know, and it must be before the death of the false prophet from natural causes.
“And if you say in your heart, How shall we KNOW the word which the Lord has NOT spoken?” (v. 21).
This is not talking about knowing a true prophet by words which DO come to pass. It is talking about knowing a FALSE prophet by words which do NOT come to pass. It does not say here that we should just keep waiting indefinitely because we can never know. It says we can KNOW.
God commanded that if a prophet arises and if his words do not come to pass, he must be put to death. Once again, this sentence was to be carried out while the prophet was still alive—in the prophet’s own lifetime. It would have been pointless for God to order the death of the false prophet otherwise.
Though we don’t kill false prophets today, the instructions on how to detect a false prophet are still applicable today.
To my knowledge, the bible does not say how many years to wait, but it does effectivly put an upper time limit on the prophecy. If the prophet dies of natural causes, we waited too long because God COMMANDED that he be executed, which means he must be executed before he dies of natural causes. So the maximum time we must wait is some time less than the life time of the prophet.
In other words, if the prophet dies before his prophesy comes to pass, he was a false prophet, and should have been executed!
Did Herbert Armstrong die before his prophecies came to pass? Yes! He was a false prophet. Did Paul die before his prophecies came to pass? Yes! He was a false prophet. Did Jesus die before his prophecies came to pass? Yes! Another false prophet.
But many readers will object: “the bible is full of prophecies that have yet to be fulfilled.” That is true. But according to Deuteronomy, every one of them was uttered by a false prophet. Either Deuteronomy is false, or many bible prophets who came later are false. We can’t have it both ways.
This is just more proof that the bible is a collection of contradictions that were not inspired by God. Bible scholars and ministers make a living confusing the issues. They try to jump through hoops to explain away such contradictions in the bible. This is nothing more than self-serving self-delusion and lies. If they can’t dazzle us with brilliance, they try to baffle us with nonsense. Don’t believe their nonsense.
These men are also false prophets themselves because they are perpetuating those false prophecies, telling people, contrary to Deuteronomy, to wait indefinitely until the prophecies are fulfilled. They try to scare people with the fear of lost salvation, or death, or suffering for those who disregard their prophecies. But Deuteronomy commands us not to fear such men.
“When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet has spoken it presumptiously: THOU SHALT NOT BE AFRAID OF HIM.” (Deuteronomy 18:22.).
Sadly, many lack courage. Proverbs 29:25 says, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare…” Revelation 21:8 says “But the cowardly … their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.”
How many chances should we give the prophet whose words do not come to pass?
“But the prophet which shall presume to speak A WORD in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak … even THAT PROPHET SHALL DIE.” (v. 20). I.e. just one “word”.
“… if THE thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is THE thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet has spoken IT presumptiously …” (Deuteronomy 18:22.). Just ONE thing. One chance. One failed (“delayed”) prophecy—that’s it!
Do not fear your ministers. Reject fear. And reject false prophets and the “prophecy was just delayed” excuse.
Copyright © 2014 by Gun Lap
We think that we live in violent times, and of course, to some extent, we do. The evening news regularly carries stories and images of war, terror, or murder. But the big question is whether violence is going up or down. Because if violence is not going up, how can we be in the end times?
Stephen Pinker, author of the 2012 book The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined has studied the trend of violence in history and his data shows, surprisingly to many, that violence is going down!
According to Pinker, whether we believe it or not, we may be living in the most peaceful time in human history. People who think violence is going up don’t realize how much violence there was in the past.
The bible does not say that we are in the end times now; it does not give a date. It only gives us signs to look for. One of the major signs is that of violence. (“You will hear of wars and rumours of wars”—Matt 24:6). The Churches of God have been telling us that violence has been going up. Herbert Armstrong lived during the time of two major conflicts: World Wars I and II. In such a time it was easy to conclude that violence was going up, and for those few years, it was. But we need to look at the whole picture (we were always told to “get the big picture” in any situation) and do the math. We must not assume. The second world war ended a long time ago (69 years ago, in 1945). Since that time violence has gone down, not up. We might now be living in the most peaceful time in history! This comes as a great surprise to people who live by impressions and short-sighted data rather than by historical trends. People rely too much on sensationalist daily news, which focuses on current events and other short-term trends. Some people will refuse to believe that violence is in decline. They will not look at the actual data. The two world wars of the early 20 century were temporary “blips”. They did not lead to the end, and they were not signs of the end. And there are no conflicts in the world today even close to that scale.