January 16, 2016 marks thirty years since the death Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong. Few people recognize the significance of his life, including the vast majority of God’s Church. This is a sad indictment against God’s people, especially the ministry.
The lack of recognition concerning God’s work through Mr. Armstrong is a leading factor in not understanding the distinct meanings of Matthew 28:19-20 and Matthew 24:14. The dominate teaching within God’s today is these passages have parallel meaning to each other.
On pg. 601, in Volume 2 of his Autobiography, Mr. Armstrong did combine Matthew 28:19-20 and Matthew 24:14 to show the two-fold responsibility of God’s Church during the Philadelphia era.
“The very purpose of the Church, first of all, is to stand back of and support the carrying of Christ’s gospel message out to all the world as a witness to all nations. The second purpose is to prepare those God has called into His Church in holy righteous character so that they may enter—at the time of the resurrection—into the Kingdom of God as a king and/or priest under Christ when He comes to rule the world!”
A knowledge of Church history is vital to understanding Mr. Armstrong’s writing. He understood Christ’s prophecy in Matthew 24:14 was specific to the 6th era of God’s Church, Philadelphia (Rev. 3:8a), as he wrote in his final book, “Mystery of the Ages”, pgs. 289, 291.
“From the year 1931, exactly 1,900 years (a century of time cycles) from the foundation of the Church, this small remnant of the original true Church of God began to take on new life as the Philadelphia era. It had come to the “time of the end.” A new spiritual vitality was infused into it. The time had come for Jesus’ prophecy of Matthew 24:14 to be fulfilled . . .”
“Also a door was to be opened for this leader and/or the Philadelphia era of the Church to fulfill Matthew 24:14:
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness into all nations; and then shall the end come.”
Twice on pg. 291 of “Mystery of the Ages”, Mr. Armstrong plainly states Matthew 24:14 is a fulfilled prophecy.
“These prophecies have now definitely been fulfilled. The true gospel has been restored and has now gone in power into every nation on the face of the earth.”
“The true gospel for the first time in 1,900 years, has finally been proclaimed and published into all nations of the earth.”
He made similar comments in his 1985 booklet, “Are We in the Last Days?”
“Mark this well. That gospel was not proclaimed to the world for 1,900 years.” “And now, at last, we can say that gospel has gone into every nation on earth.” pgs. 10-11
The ministry of God’s Church today, willingly ignores these words. Publicly they offer high praise for Mr. Armstrong, while subtly undermining what he taught.
In 2001, longtime evangelist Roderick C. Meredith wrote the following in an article titled, “Our Mission as a Church.”
“Every so often, it is good to review our goals and purposes in God’s Church—and in the Work which He has called us to do.” “First of all, it is obvious that God has called us to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and the “name” of Jesus Christ. “Our commission is to preach the powerful message of God’s soon-coming GOVERNMENT on this earth and describe its laws, its administration and how one should prepare to be part of this coming Government.”
In 2011, David C. Pack, demonstrates his understanding of Matthew 24:14 in an article titled “13 End-time Prophetic Events—in Exact Sequence.”
“Jesus foretold that a worldwide effort to preach the true gospel would occur before the end! This means someone is preaching the gospel of the kingdom today, in our present age, because the end—close as it now is—has not yet come!”
“Delivering the only true gospel to the world—the good news of the coming kingdom of God!—is the Work of God’s Church!”
In a 1999 article titled, “Why Mystery of the Ages Is Important”, Gerald Flurry uses Revelation 10 and a quote from Mr. Armstrong as proof for continuing Matthew 24:14 by “prophesying again.”
“The Philadelphians had to continue the Elijah Work. Many prophecies tell us that. The end-time Elijah (reference to Mr. Armstrong), who restored all things, said WE MUST REACH “THE LARGEST AUDIENCE POSSIBLE”—WITH THE MOST IMPORTANT BOOK SINCE THE BIBLE.”
“That puts a lot of pressure on God’s very elect to deliver Mystery of the Ages to the world before Christ returns!”
Any minister leading his own effort to take the gospel to the world again, is in disagreement with Mr. Armstrong concerning the meaning of Matthew 24:14. The fulfillment of this prophecy was never given to God’s Church, but to one individual, Herbert W. Armstrong.
By ignoring their primary responsibilities in Matthew 28:19-20 and taking to themselves the commission of Mr. Armstrong, Matthew 24:14 the ministry has created division and confusion within God’s Church, which Paul warned against in I Corinthians 1:10.
“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
Be honest and look around thirty years after the death of Mr. Armstrong.
Failing to properly understand Matthew 28:19-20 and Matthew 24:14 is detrimental to the life of God’s Church. The evidence is available, if one is willing to examine it.