I was beginning to think that maybe God didn’t chose to reveal new truth to Ron this week, but since we just now have a blog post from him, maybe God was busy with other matters. Ron discusses the maturing of his diminishing church that continues to wait Pentecost to Pentecost for Christ to return.
————– Ron’s post ————————————
A recent post covered some of the history of the Church and the process of how God led Herbert W. Armstrong to see and then correct the day of the week in which Pentecost should always be observed. That specific account in our history teaches much about how God works with and leads His Church – even trying and refining it. Although it was mentioned in passing in that series of posts, there is one aspect of this account that will be focused upon more fully in this post. It is the awesomeness of the process of God’s creation being accomplished within the Church.
Directly after a person is baptized, they then receive the laying on of hands from the ministry, which is when they receive the impregnation of God’s spirit. It is at this time we are begotten by God, receiving his spirit with our spirit – God’s mind with our mind. It is the beginning of God’s active creation of Elohim in a newly baptized person. It is from this moment of receiving this impregnation that life takes on incredible meaning and purpose. The fullness of such an event cannot even begin to be comprehended by the one who experiences it when it happens.
The experience first consists of a “calling” that draws an individual to God’s Church. That person begins to come into the knowledge of truth by which they become convicted that they must obey. They then come to see the need for forgiveness of all past sins, and therefore, the need of baptism to accomplish it. Along with this desire for baptism and the forgiveness of sins is the ability to see the need for God’s spirit in one’s life.
This process just mentioned is basic to the most meager beginning of spiritual insight and understanding. The actual ability to grasp the magnitude of what is actually happening at such a time is not possible. That appreciation and spiritual understanding is something we can grow in through time. Such understanding, deep thankfulness, and amazement (wonder and awe) on our part will grow and be developed over a life-long process of maturing spiritually. This is something that not only happens individually as a process of individual growth, but it is a process of growth and development of “the Church” that God is also maturing through time.
A Maturing Church
Individuals can mature spiritually, and “the Church” matures as the instrument through which God is creating His Family. As a result of knowing how God has worked with mankind over the past 6,000 years, with the primary focus during that time being the creation of the 144,000, we can see that God’s method (process) of the creation of Elohim has itself been a maturing process (or growing method for development). Over this period of time God has progressively revealed more and more about His purpose and plan. God keeps building, and by doing so, His plan continues to unfold, and even the means of growth, development, and maturing of the Church itself increases. For lack of a better expression, this is awesome! What God does and how He does it – how God creates Elohim – is indeed filled with awe. To see all this more fully, it is important to step back and simply look at how God has been developing a growing (ever maturing) means whereby He is creating His Family.
In the first 4,000 years, God primarily worked with a single individual or only a very few at a time. The structure whereby God’s creation process could be increased dynamically, in a vastly matured fashion, had to be meticulously and precisely built (constructed) over a long period of time in order to build what was necessary to give great stability and proper framework for what was to follow.
After that time, Jesus Christ came to fulfill the role of Passover, and also, to fulfill more concerning this “maturing process” of creation. He came to be established as the “corner stone” of God’s creation. Once he was “set” in place within this growing development of God’s creation, a giant step forward in that process was established – “the Church.” At that point, the process of creating Elohim was stepped up mightily.
“Then they who gladly received his (Peter’s) word were baptized, and in that same day there were added about three thousand lives” (Acts 2:41).
On that day of Pentecost in 31 AD when Peter spoke those words, the method of developing (creating) Elohim took a great step forward (matured) when three thousand people were added to the Church in one day. As the apostles were inspired to teach and write what would later become scripture, this process in the development of Elohim was enhanced more and more. John was the last living apostle among those original apostles, and he led the Church in his older years. By the time he wrote the Book of Revelation and the letters of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John, God had blessed him with deep spiritual insight into such subjects as antichrist, the means of God and Christ continually dwelling “in” a spirit begotten person, and the subject of love (agape) itself. This matured teaching that came through John to the Church helped advance the creation process even more and helped to “set” the Church on a path to continue in its basic framework (established by that time of John) for the next 1800 years. During Sardis, the Church began to lose what God had given it.
Preparation for the Millennium
After 4,000 years of working more on an individual basis at any single time, the creating of Elohim was advanced dramatically by God having structured (built) a second powerful means whereby larger numbers could be created over the next 1900 years to become apart of His Family. When God called Herbert W. Armstrong and began to work through him to restore truth to His Church, He began to do much more as well. Two great phases in God’s creation process had been at work for the past 6,000 years with the first being when God worked more directly with an individual (or very few) at a time, and then the second phase which was established upon Christ’s first coming that led to the formation of the Church. Through Herbert W. Armstrong and this final era of the Church of God – PKG, God has been preparing for the next almost unfathomable giant leap forward for His Church in the Millennium.
Through Herbert W. Armstrong, God not only restored great truth to the Church and gave great power to its dissemination through an ever-increasing technological world, but He began to construct the framework for the molding and construction (building) of the ever-maturing process for the third great means of maturing “the Church.”
After being molded and fashioned to lead God’s Church through the era of Philadelphia, God inspired Mr. Armstrong to write the book Mystery of the Ages which outlined, in the most detailed and matured manner yet, the plan, purpose, and work of God through the ages. This book was the accumulation and final product of what God molded, taught, and revealed to him for over five decades. Mystery of the Ages reflected a vastly increased maturity God had built within His Church to prepare it for what He would build even far more upon after the Apostasy. The clear and concise outline of God’s work through the ages contained in that book was the framework and catalyst that enabled the remnant of God’s Church to become established so quickly after the Apostasy. This was all by design and God’s working to build and prepare His Church for the next great phase of His ever-maturing creation of Elohim.
Do not misunderstand how the term of “the Church” and its ever-maturing process is being used in this post. This does not mean that individuals in God’s Church are more mature now than those in the past. That is not true. God molds, fashions, and does a work of creation (of Elohim) in each person who continues in God and Christ to bring each to an individual maturity whereby they can be changed from mortal to immortal in His Kingdom. However, the maturing of the process (especially within the Church) whereby individuals can grow and become fashioned more quickly is the result of God’s progressive revelation and creative process through time.
Once the construction of God’s design and plan over 4,000 years had been accomplished and written in scripture, the introduction of the Passover, who would become the Messiah, brought so much of God’s plan together in such a way that thousands could now be worked with in a more matured (developed process) and effective manner. But even in this, the numbers called were controlled because only 144,000 were going to be developed, molded, and created to be in the Kingdom of God at Christ’s coming.
God has now completed that structure of His spiritual government and priesthood for the Millennium. As He completed that phase of building His Kingdom, He also simultaneously prepared the final events for His Church at the end-time that have now been fully lived and will serve as a kind of cap stone to all the history, experiences, and teaching that have paved the way for the next great phase of God’s creation. After 6,000 years, the complete structure of God’s priesthood and government for the next 1,100 years has now been established. Through this period of time the creation process itself has now been fully matured and developed to enable those who will live during that time that is now just before us to more quickly, more readily, and far more easily be created into Elohim – even simultaneously by the millions and billions.
God has just shown us the power of His matured creation process that has been experienced by those of us in His Church over the past five years. The greater marvel is that it was accomplished in the age of Satan’s reign, and additionally, that within that time Satan himself and the demons assaulted and sought to wreck havoc on God’s people. God’s controversy over Zion for millennia upon millennia has now been settled. God “is Almighty” and brings to pass all that He says. What we have lived is so very awesome indeed!
Pentecost to Pentecost
What we have covered in this post was to bring us to this point. We have grown to embrace a unique, incredibly meaningful, wonderfully beautiful phrase – Pentecost to Pentecost. This expression we now use at this time in earth’s history is filled with vision, focus, and fully anticipated expectation of the fulfillment of God’s promise recorded in Daniel of the final completion of this end-time and the establishment of His Kingdom over this world.
Past posts have spoken of the marvel of the creation of the galaxies in which there are a myriad of intricacies within the universe that cry out to the majesty and supreme greatness of Almighty God, who is our Father. Yet the creation of mankind into Elohim is the greatest marvel and creative excellence of all. David spoke of the stars in the heavens and pondered the importance God placed upon mankind that He would be so mindful of him (mankind). That which we can see and know of the universe today makes what David saw and knew then as very small indeed. Our appreciation, thankfulness, and awe today should also be that much greater because of God’s progressive revelations and vastly matured creative process that is now at work in our lives.
The design, planning, preparation for construction, and the building taking place in each of our lives in order to create Elohim is so far beyond anything we can truly grasp. However, we must indeed know it and be convicted of this truth of God, who works in our lives. Yet in the midst of our inability to grasp it fully, God is giving us an increasing appreciation of the work, intricacies involved, exactness, and absolute marvel of what we have been living through in the final years of this end-time.
This post was inspired by a comment made by a person whose letter I received this week. This individual referred to how I had spoken of Pentecost of 1974 several times in relationship to what was mentioned in the beginning of this post about when God led Herbert W. Armstrong to see and then correct the day of the week Pentecost should be observed. This person then wrote, “I keep anticipating that you will say something about the next Pentecost (in 2014) being exactly 40 years from then (1974).”
So much of God’s plan concerning the end of 6,000 years of man’s self-rule and the end of Satan’s reign over the earth is about Pentecost to Pentecost. On a Pentecost, God gave us a codified outline for His way of life to be lived in the form of the Ten Commandments. The next great Pentecost was in 31 AD when God revealed that the only true way this spiritual law can be kept (lived) is by the receiving of His power, His spirit, to dwell in our life. The next great Pentecost is when the firstfruits of God’s Kingdom are resurrected into Elohim to serve under our Messiah to govern this world.
It was on Pentecost of 1998, one year exactly after God separated me from the scattering of the Apostasy in order to lead His Church, that this remnant of God’s Church was fully established. Now, we well know the purpose and meaning associated with Pentecost of 2012 and 2013. But what about Pentecost of 2014? What about the timing of 40 years? Is it coincidental that we are coming up to a unique count contained in the meaning of 40 years since God revealed the correct timing for the observance of Pentecost to be observed in His Church at the end of the age? Brethren, all I can tell you at this time is that it is not coincidental. There is great meaning in this, and God will reveal it more fully in His time. God’s timing and preciseness in all things in our lives and within the Church are by great design, especially with something of this importance relating to the meaning of Pentecost, 40 years, and the end of this age. Nothing like this is of coincidence or a matter of chance.
What I am able to say now is what God has already given me to say. His “promise” is sure and absolute as it is recorded in Daniel. God will now bring all things to a close for this end-time in order to fulfill the removal of the rule of this world away from the hands of mankind and away from Satan’s reign. On a Pentecost Jesus Christ and the 144,000 who will come with him will set up the reign of the Kingdom of God on earth. God’s promise is certain and we will know that timing once the Second Trumpet has been made physically manifest.
So we continue to watch, both physically and spiritually. We continue to wait upon God – to look to God to lead, guide, and direct us as we continue to live His way of life toward Him, His Son, and toward all others. We have experienced many hard trials, but they have worked to create God’s mind more fully within us, as we have been blessed to continue moving forward in faith. Yet many are still suffering from the effects of the trials and onslaught of last year.
The Pains of Labor
We must be mindful of another great aspect of suffering and pressure (stress) in force and growing stronger now that it is at work in this world (the pains of labor). It is a combination of what is simply “in the air” (in life around us) as the stress of life (in politics, world conditions, family life, the economy, etc.) is growing and the unseen sense (not understood or recognized for what it is) of pressure that is coming from a collapsing world (Babylon, Assyria, and Egypt) around us. This is not about specific attacks from Satan and the demonic world upon us as during the five month period when they were given free reign to do so. But this is about those stresses of this world becoming so great that the ways of the world are starting to implode upon itself, in addition to a mounting evil spirit world that is stirred up mightily and striking out at the whole world in any way it can.
Pentecost of 2014 will prove to be awesomely important to all that God is working out in the transition of this world’s government to His government reigning on earth. So we are to keep focused from Pentecost to Pentecost until the day of Christ’s reign begins, when our true “great work” will begin in peace, fullness, and joy of life. We are now not far from the Kingdom of God.
We have now entered a very unique time, and it should not be confused with the direct assaults of Satan and the demons. Though they still try to harass God’s people, there is the unique stress and pressure of life that is a reality around us and is simply coming from a world that is growing in momentum toward imploding upon itself. It is simply everywhere and growing in intensity. There is a section of scripture that applies to our lives more perfectly than ever as we are at the peak of its application to the changes now before us. This is where we will conclude this post.
“The spirit (God’s) itself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8:16).
There is that which we simply “know.” We know the truth God has revealed to us. We know how God called us and continues to work with us. It is a personal “knowing” God has given us about our relationship with Him, His Son, and those in His fellowship.
“And if children (of God), then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if we also suffer with him, that we may be glorified together” (vs. 17).
As we grow spiritually and as we have gone through a very troubled time that has been upon the Church in these final stages of the end-time, we learn more and more what it is like to suffer “in” Christ in conquering self, this world, and a demonic spirit world. We know what it is like to suffer for righteousness sake for God’s way – over the cause (controversy) for Zion.
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (vs. 18).
It is the greatest struggle of life to fight for the Kingdom of God. It does not come easily, but through intense battles, especially now as this world is beginning to die. What ever it is that you “carry,” God will use it to mold and fashion that which will be unique to you in His Kingdom. That is certain! Our lives are not random, though some things of chance will happen to us, but God is always there to bring good from it all.
“For the earnest expectation (we have grown mightily in our earnest quest and faith-filled expectation of Christ’s coming) of the creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God” (vs. 19).
We eagerly look forward to Christ’s coming and the resurrection of the 144,000 into the Kingdom of God, who will establish God’s rule on earth.
“For the creation (the basis and purpose for physical human life that can enable the further creation of Elohim) was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who has subjected the same in hope. Because the creation (with the beginning being in human life) itself shall also be delivered from the bondage of corruption (the spirit of Babylon, Egypt, and Assyria) into the glorious liberty of the children of God (as Elohim). For we know that the whole creation groans and is in labor pain until now” (Rom. 8:20-22).
From the beginning 6,000 years ago, God has called and created Elohim in those who are firstfruits. We are now nearing the end of the greatest struggle in time (in this world of Satan’s reign). God has forewarned us that the struggle will intensify as labor pain will more fully reflect our final struggle. Although it has been a great battle over the past 6,000 years for all whom God has called, this final struggle rises to the top of them all.
I remember well when I was called in 1969. In my experience in Philadelphia, in the era that ended in January of 1986 when Mr. Armstrong died, there were various battles, stresses, and hardships within the Church from time to time. However, that period of time would have to be regarded as quite smooth compared to the past five years, and especially now, as we have entered the final stage of what God is working out in order to usher in the Millennium.
We are now at the stage of increased birthing pain where the intensity is becoming greater and we are to begin “bearing down” ever more in labor – not letting down and looking for an easy way through this, but fighting for “this way” and working zealously to help usher in a new age by keeping focused on God and His way of life to live.