The Hidden YearsThe Hidden YearsThe Hidden Years

First Scroll: A GOOD NEWS – letter!

Copyright © Jules Dervaes

December 31, 1986

This is a tribute to Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, a man who was dedicated to the search for truth at all cost. His legacy was THE PLAIN TRUTH. His challenge to all men was: Believe the Bible!

May the love of truth continue in each of us. May the fire it ignited never die!

But no fire can continue burning over the years without fuel. It can only diminish until dying embers remain where there once was a mighty blaze. The initial searing of our consciences gradually is replaced by a warm and cozy feeling. The roaring heat that used to prod us to action has turned into coals of comfort.

If there remains a faint glow deep inside you, it is the remnant of that Spirit of Truth that formerly set you ON FIRE. Rekindle it! No one needs more to fan the love of truth into flames again than he who considers himself a respectable member of God’s Church.

It won’t be long now; but the journey is by no means over!

What is the plain truth?

The “place of safety” is NOT for the Philadelphian Era of the Church of God!

Before you say “But, the Bible says…” ask yourself if you are willing to really look at the TRUTH as revealed in the scriptures, with an open and honest mind that is not already prejudiced. Would you even accept such a statement, one that goes against “what you’ve always heard”? Consider Mark 7:7.

ALL traditions, even those of the Church of God, should square with the biblical truth. The challenge has always been there; today is no exception! It is our turn, as true followers of Christ in this age, to put ourselves on the active roster as SEARCHERS of the truth. It is too easy to just assume that this is no longer applicable to us who already are members of the Church. But, remember the Bereans!

If you are not interested in any “bad news,” and if you are not really convicted of YOUR individual responsibility to be grounded in the truth according to John 17:17, then this article will be of NO USE to you whatsoever. PLEASE do not read any further; for it is only those who are willing to see that ARE able to see.

Of course, the mind will normally register some strong objections to any unpleasant thought. Certainly it remains difficult to embrace, at first sight, any new belief that works contrary to what is in our OWN self-interest. There exists a balking factor by which our minds want to reject outright what looks to be a negative idea. It is ONLY the love of truth which can propel anyone to find truth at all cost, even if it’s to one’s own seeming hurt.

However, as Jesus promised, that truth will set us FREE (John 8:32). And, it will—IF we are willing to just believe it! Jesus Himself encountered a resistance to the truth that He proclaimed, which progressively turned into hardcore, violent opposition.

“Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! … If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me?” (John 8:45-46)


Here is that original statement again: The “place of safety” is not for the Philadelphian Era of the Church of God! How could this in any way be true? Because, very simply, the ERA of the Church known as Philadelphia HAS ENDED. Like its predecessor the Sardis Church, the Philadelphia Church of God has given way to accommodate the next in the line of historical periods of God’s New Testament Church. While that Church ITSELF has not ceased to exist, that era signified by the name “brotherly love” has been NOW superseded.

The predominant characteristic of the Church that exists at this very time is that of lukewarmness. This will come as no surprise to anyone who is absolutely honest with himself. There has definitely occurred a gradual-but-obvious change from the “early days” of the post-Sardis Church. Personal experiences in today’s Church can easily document the prevailing attitude of complacency that has crept in and that has been strangling the love out of us all. It is an easy thing to prove, but one very hard to admit.

Well known to all is the fact that there would exist a Revelation 3:14 Laodicean Church of God. NOT understood has been how this Church would actually arrive on the scene. The puzzle of TWO Churches of God existing side-by-side has been resolved.

The death of Mr. Armstrong—the Zerubbabel of the modern age—has settled the issue beyond any doubt. God’s Apostle would indeed finish the work that God appointed for him to do; and that work that he did FINISH was the Philadelphian Era of God’s Church. Therefore, the change in leadership signaled the corresponding change in eras.

When referring to the previous changes of the first through sixth eras, this analogy has been the one that the Church today has been using: “the baton has been passed.” After Mr. Armstrong’s death last January, the exact same phrase was again used, but in reference to the assumption of the office of Pastor General by Mr. Tkach. It was repeated over and over that “the baton had been passed.” And, with this quote, God was notifying the Church at large that a new era had just begun.

For the seventh and final era of God’s Church to come into existence there would be no violent upheaval or power struggle. What the transition to the Laodicean Era would require was a quiet and orderly transfer of leadership indicative of a very well-run organization.

Forecasting this passage of power was the loss of Mr. Armstrong’s hearing and eyesight over the past seven years. God had worked it out that his isolation was necessary in order to allow the Laodicean “body” to gain a foothold. Then, with the passing away of Mr. Armstrong as he slept in his favorite chair, the final, peaceful transformation was complete.

The very nature of the new Laodicean Church did necessitate that only such a natural transition as this would occur. There could be no breaking away of a rebellious Church, no splitting from the fold. This body of believers would still continue to be the one true Church of God and carry on with precisely the same doctrines. It would be true to its name and consistent with its heritage.

It is important to recognize that in no way would liberalism be the characteristic of this body. On the contrary, the religious externals would exhibit a rigid orthodoxy! And this pious face would nicely serve to MASK the complacent condition of the heart.

Here is a warning that was issued by Mr. Armstrong as early as seven years ago:

But, the BAD NEWS, as it appears today, my dear brethren, is that we, undoubtedly of the Philadelphian era … are in serious danger of BECOMING also the Laodicean era. I am personally much concerned about that. If you are NOT concerned, then indeed we are in mortal DANGER. (The GOOD NEWS, August ’79)

It is very, very logical that the Philadelphian era would evolve into the Laodicean one. Of course, God knew human nature and He understood that the truly phenomenal success of the Philadelphian Church could, after a time, produce a Laodicean “offspring.”

Throughout all areas of human endeavor, there, exists the complacency principle. It affects nations, companies, organizations, and individuals.

And so, according to the revealed plan of God, it has also impaired the Church of God.

Whenever wealth of ANY SORT is possessed for any length of time and, most assuredly, whenever it is passed down as an inheritance, that resource is almost always taken for granted and NOT genuinely prized.

The same sum $100,000,000 may be involved; but it would not EQUAL at all the same value for the son who inherited it as it would for the father who had earned it. For the inheriting son, such a sensational fortune could surely pose a serious threat and easily cause him to just “lose touch” with reality. Whereas the well-to-do heir could look at himself and now “see” a multi-millionaire, he has a distorted picture of his own true self-worth.

If wealth happens without work, it disguises the fact that the dollar-rich prince is, still, really only a character-poor pauper. And, not having any “sweat equity” tied up in his holdings would just contribute to the son’s acquiring a highly exaggerated sense of his essence as an individual.

It is most common to consider wealth in terms of the physical and tangible. But it is by no means solely limited to that. When you consider that a person may accumulate a wealth of KNOWLEDGE, and when you reason that this knowledge can be of SPIRITUAL matters, then the words “I am rich” take on an entirely different significance.

So consider this enhancement of the verse Revelation 3:17:

You are the true Church of God. And so you can say that you are rich-in-knowledge of the doctrines of the Bible. For, only you have acquired the great spiritual wealth of the beliefs, traditions, and activities that set apart the one chosen people of God. And now you believe that you do not need anything else; for you are, indeed, very privileged to possess the true learning found in the Old and the New Testaments. You know which day is the Sabbath and you know the plan of salvation as revealed in the Holy Days. You even know the hidden identity of Israel; and no one else but you has understood the key, end-time prophecies of Daniel and Revelation. BUT …

“But??” But, what???

Now there comes one thing that this RICH true Church of God does NOT know. It does not realize that it is really “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” WHY??? Because it is, all along, continuing to SEE itself as still the princely Philadelphian Church.

As the heir to the powerful SPIRITUAL fortune amassed during the era of Mr. Armstrong, Laodicea is busy counting its cache of the sacred assets that it now manages. It is banking on these same holy resources to ensure prime royal access to the Kingdom. It is even assuming that use of the CHURCH-OF-GOD “CREDIT CARD” will enable it to conveniently and all-too-effortlessly make its first-class reservations for the long-awaited, stellar trip to the Place of Safety.

The very proof that the Laodicean Church is REALLY Laodicean is in its inability to see itself as the “pauper” it is and in its actual refusal to even consider that possibility.

At this time it is imperative to RE-search the Bible in an effort to rekindle the heart. The MOST critical phase of our Christian work is to “purchase” from Jesus “gold refined in the fire,” “white clothes to wear,” and “salve to put on your eyes.”

Let us love “with actions and in truth.”

NOTE: Prior submission of this material has been made to the Pastor General of the Worldwide Church of God.

Return to Top