According to Herbert W. Armstrong, the original Church kept some of the truth but eventually lost many parts of it. He wrote, "At least 18 basic and essential truths have been restored to the True Church since" the year 1933 (Mystery of the Ages, Dodd & Mead, 1985, p. 251).
So what were the restored truths? Although there are several other lists floating around alleging that they contain these truths, there was one sermon in which Herbert W. Armstrong specifically listed many, but not all, of the truths he said that God used him to restore to the Philadelphia era of the Church of God. Herbert W. Armstrong's sermon was titled Mission of the Philadelphia Church Era and was given on December 17, 1983, which seems shortly before he wrote the aforementioned comment in Mystery of the Ages. This sermon may have been the first place this amount of identified restored truths were listed in one place.
Note: There are one or more suggested articles after each of the listed truths--these articles basically help document that the truths that Herbert W. Armstrong claimed that God had him restore to the Philadelphia portion of the Church were in existence in earlier times--hence they were not some "invention" of Herbert W. Armstrong as some critics have suggested.
Except otherwise noted, all of the quotes in this article from Herbert W. Armstrong come from that sermon.
But before getting to that sermon, I would like to quote what the former president of the Church of God (Seventh-Day), Robert Coulter admitted on two of the restored truths:
...there was a point in time when some ministers in the Church of God (Seventh Day) taught that we were begotten but not born again...
But that was a temporary thing [in the CG7]. It was like going through a phase. The church finally said, no, our conversion is a completed work. When Jesus said you must be born again, He facilitates the spiritual rebirth of the convert, and it’s a completed work. We continued then to strive for sanctification, a lifelong process.
Anyway, we abandoned that position years and years ago... (Cartwright D. Former CG7 president gives his understanding of history of Church of God and Mr. Armstrong. The Journal: News of the Churches of God. Sep-Dec 2008).
Hence, Church of God (Seventh-Day) admits that it changed (or in Herbert W. Armstrong words, lost) at least two of the truths that Church of God (Seventh-Day) once had (and there were others that some associated with it had).
Herbert W. Armstrong started by saying, "Greetings, everybody! This afternoon I want to speak on the mission of the Philadelphia Era of the Church, this Church today in comparison to the first era of the Church, the Ephesus Era of the Church. It's been seeming more and more to me, as the years go by, that the Bible was written primarily for the Philadelphia Era of the Church...Today's mission of the Church you will find in Matthew 24:14. And this gospel of the kingdom that is the same gospel that Jesus preached shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
Thus, Herbert W. Armstrong begins the sermon by comparing the Church at Ephesus (the apostolic Church of God) to the Philadelphia era of the Church of God. He then states that the mission of the Philadelphia era of the Church is to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom to the world and then the end shall come. The end still has not come and that mission is the one that the Philadelphia remnant of the Church of God believes is its top priority.
Why Restored Truths in Modern Times
Herbert W. Armstrong continued, "Verse 19, the third chapter of Acts. Peter said, 'Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. Now He's ascended up to heaven and the heavens would receive Him UNTIL a certain time; until the times of restitution of all things, which God had spoken to them out of the mouth of His Holy prophets since the world began. Now 'restitution.' Look that word up in the dictionary. Restitution means restoring to a former condition, a former state or condition. Restoring what had been taken away, restoring what had been taken away. So now I ask you, what is Christ coming to restore that had been taken away? What had been taken away was the government of God, the government of God."
By putting these first few quotes together, Mr. Armstrong seems to be saying that it was time to restore 'apostolic Christianity'.
The truths Herbert W. Armstrong stated God used him to restore to the Philadelphia era of the Church of God are listed below in the order he listed them as restored in that sermon.
1. True Gospel
Herbert W. Armstrong stated, "Now in Romans 5 and about verse 5, you will read that by the blood of Christ we are reconciled to God. Now the gospel was suppressed and, as I say, they turned to a gospel ABOUT Christ, but they have not talked of His message. And His message talked about God as being the supreme ruler, and His message had to do with the government of God and God is the lawgiver, and when you sin, the sin is the transgression of the law, and that has cut you off from God, the Father. And what was restored? The world had lost the gospel, they didn't know what the gospel was. I came among the true Church of God of the Sardis Era. They didn't know what the gospel was, they thought it was what they called the third angel's message. They didn't know what the gospel really was. They called it a third angel's message. God revealed it to me and through me, to the Church. That the gospel is the Kingdom of God, that is the gospel Jesus preached, that's the gospel Paul preached to the Gentiles, that's the gospel that Peter and John preached. You'll find when Jesus sent them out and sent out 70, He said preach the Kingdom of God. That is the only gospel, is the gospel OF Jesus Christ. The world preached and has a gospel ABOUT Christ. Now the first thing to be restored to the Church is the true gospel. The world has lost the purpose of God. They have lost all knowledge of the gospel of Christ, which is the Kingdom of God. They have lost all of these things."
(An article of related interest may include The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church.)
2. Purpose of God
He immediately continued with, "And the second thing to be restored is the PURPOSE of God. And the gospel has to do with that. That God IS reproducing us and that MAN CAN BECOME God! ... And now let me tell you, I'm going to reveal to you, now, things that have been restored in this Church. Let me tell you, THESE ARE ALL THINGS THAT SOME OF THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN MINISTERS IN THIS CHURCH IN HIGH OFFICE, HAVE GONE OUT AND NOW ARE SAYING, AND SAYING PUBLICLY, THAT WE ARE DEPARTING FROM THE FAITH AND THAT WE ARE GOING FARTHER AND FARTHER INTO ERROR BECAUSE THEY WILL NOT RECEIVE THE TRUTHS THAT GOD HAS BEEN RESTORING INTO THE CHURCH. God's purpose is that He's reproducing Himself and that we, ultimately, become God."
(An article of related interest may include Deification: Did the Early Church Teach That Christians Would Become God?).
3. God's Plan Through the Holy Days
He immediately continued with, "Now another thing that has been restored is, through the Holy Days, God's plan, His Master Plan for accomplishing that purpose, and the annual Holy Days. And no other Church has had those Holy Days, and understands them."
It is quite possible that Herbert Armstrong felt that keeping the Holy Days and what they meant were two separate restored truths, in this sermon he mentions those together here as well as later, "The fact of the annual festivals, that they represent God's plan." He did not separate them into separate truths quite like he does with the other ones listed in this article.
(Several articles of possibly related interest may include Is There "An Annual Worship Calendar" In the Bible?, Passover and the Early Church, and Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days?)
Insert Comment Herbert W. Armstrong then added, "All right, what's the next thing restored? I don't think these are in any special order". He did not number any after the first two in his sermon, but this article will continue to number them for clarity sake. It is certainly possible that Herbert W. Armstrong may have numbered them differently than this article shows them, but major efforts have been made to list them as he did in this 12/17/83 sermon.
He stated, "But to go on with the things that have been restored...The government of God has been restored to the Church, and the government of God has been placed in the Church. You read that in Ephesians 4 and I Corinthians 12. Christ is the head of the Church and under Christ in the administration of the government are an apostle or apostles, then evangelists, then pastors, then all are called elders, all ministers all the way up clear down to the lowest. So then there are teachers and elders both speaking elders and preaching elders, deacons and deaconesses. And the Church is restored in that form of government. The Sardis Church even didn't have the right form of government". He also wrote "The government of God is of necessity government from the top down. It cannot be 'government by the consent of the governed' " (Mystery of the Ages. p.49).
(Two articles of possibly related interest may include The Bible, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, and Roderick C. Meredith on Church Government and Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians.)
5. Who and What God Is
He immediately continued with, "Who and what God IS. NO RELIGION ON EARTH KNOWS WHO AND WHAT GOD IS! NO RELIGION ON EARTH! BILLY GRAHAM DOESN'T KNOW IT! JERRY FALWELL DOESN'T KNOW IT! ROMAN CATHOLICS DON'T KNOW IT! GOD IS NOT A TRINITY! GOD IS NOT A SINGLE PERSON! God is a family of persons, and the family began with God and the Word. You read of that in John 1:1-5. And you read of it in Genesis 1 beginning with verse 1. You should learn about God first, and it begins first both in the New Testament and the Old, because many experts feel that, so-called experts, that the book of John should be placed first in the New Testament, although it was not written first. That God is a family and it began with the two, and we can be born into that family."
(An article of related interest may include Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning.)
6. What and Why is Man?
He immediately continued with, "Now the next thing that's restored to the Church what and why man is! WHAT IS MAN? WHY DID WE COME TO BE ON EARTH? The Sardis Church didn't know, they didn't know in the Middle Ages. Man was made from the dust of the ground. Man was made with one spirit and he needs another spirit, the Spirit of God which unites him with God, and is the impregnation of God-life in him, and he will be born of God." Later in that sermon he states, "The knowledge that he that is born of the flesh IS flesh, mortal, that's what we are", which seems to clarify the 'what' portion of this truth.
(Two articles of possibly related interest may include What is the Meaning of Life? and Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality?)
7. Spirit in Man
After the term 'God', he immediately continued with, "Next the human spirit IN man. No other Church knows about that. That has been revealed to the Church. That is knowledge that has been restored to the Church of God. And this Church has that knowledge."
The Bible teaches that "there is a spirit in man and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding" (Job 32:8) which God did not give to the animals (e.g. Job 39:17). "For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of man which is in him" (I Cor 2:11). Herbert Armstrong wrote, "This 'human' spirit imparts the power of intellect to the human physical brain" (Mystery of the Ages p. 105). This spirit is not the same as the spirit of God which humans need to understand the things of God, but this spirit is needed to understand the things of humankind (Job 32:8; I Corinthians 2:11).
(An article of possibly related interest may include Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality?)
He immediately continued with, "Another, the next piece of knowledge that has been restored to this Church, that the rest don't know and no other Church knows it, that this Church is the first-fruits, that God is not trying to save the whole world now. He's calling us out now and He'll use us as teachers to help save the others in THEIR turn, and they in turn, from the Millennium, will help save all the rest in the great White Throne of Judgment. And ultimately, God's going to go after the saving of everybody who ever lived. But no Church understands that, that we are the first-fruits, we are the embryo of the kingdom of God. The fact that we have to be called by God, and salvation is not open to just anyone, whosoever will. The whosoever will may come is found in the last chapter of the Bible, and does not pertain to this time at all. And no other Church seems to know that. That knowledge has been restored to this Church."
(An article of related interest may include Pentecost: Is it more than Acts 2?)(Before listing any restored truth he also earlier stated, "And it is only the called who can come".)
9. Knowledge of What the Millennium Is
He immediately continued with, "The knowledge of the Millennium and what it is. Now the Sardis people knew that Christ would rule a thousand years. They knew it would be a Millennium. They had NO IDEA IN THE WORLD about what would happen in the Millennium. They HAD NO IDEA WHAT IS THE PURPOSE of the Millennium. We know when we assemble at the Feast of Tabernacles, that's what we're celebrating, and we know what's going to happen in the Millennium and that salvation will be open, then, to all that are still alive. But it is not open to all now. No other Church knows that. These are things that YOU, brethren, are privileged to know. YOU, God has blessed you with this knowledge, has restored this knowledge to you."
(An article of related interest may include Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism and a 6000 Year Plan?)
10. Truth About the Holy Spirit
He immediately continued with, "Now truth regarding the Holy Spirit", but did not in this sermon go into it in depth. He had previously emphasized "GOD IS NOT A TRINITY!"
This about all he mentioned about the Holy Spirit in this sermon, and thus it is possible that he may not have intended it as a separate restored truth, though his context suggests otherwise. Furthermore, he did write, "No one can have the Holy Spirit, which alone can open the human mind to understanding this Word of God, without a complete repentance. There was a time, when those two Personages coexisted and NOTHING ELSE did. No third Person is mentioned--no "Ghost"...The Holy Spirit came from heaven, audibly, sounding like a mighty wind, "and it [the Holy Spirit] filled all the house where they were sitting." Next, the Holy Spirit appeared--WAS VISIBLY SEEN--manifested--"And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it [the Holy Spirit in the form of divided tongues] sat upon each of them" (Acts 2:2-3). In verse 18, Peter is quoting from the prophet Joel: "I will pour out...of my Spirit...." The Holy Spirit, like water or a fluid, can be "POURED OUT." Can you pour out a person from one into another--as from God into those assembled there? John 7:37-39: "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy [Spirit] was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)" Again in Acts 10:45, "...on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy [Spirit]." (Mystery of the Ages pp. 5,44,56-57).
(An article of related interest may include Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity?)
11. Begotten Now
He immediately continued with, "And the fact that we are begotten now. You're not born yet, only begotten".
He did not mention much else about it in that sermon, but did write the following, "Now, as the physical male sperm finds its way to, and unites with the nucleus in the ovum, so God's Spirit enters and combines with the human spirit and MIND! There is, as explained before, a spirit IN man. This human spirit has combined with the brain to form human MIND. God's Spirit unites with, and witnesses with our spirit that we are, now, the children of GOD (Rom. 8:16). And God's Holy Spirit, now combined with our human spirit in our MIND, imparts to our mind power to comprehend SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE (I Cor. 2:11)--which the carnal mind cannot grasp.
"Now we have the presence of ETERNAL LIFE--God-life--through God's Spirit. In like manner the human embryo was an actual human life as yet undeveloped. But we are not yet immortal spirit beings--not yet BORN of GOD--just as the human ovum was not yet born of its human parents--not yet inheritors, and possessors, but physical HEIRS (Rom. 8:17). But IF God's Holy Spirit dwells in us, God will, at the resurrection, "quicken" to immortality our mortal bodies BY his Spirit that "dwelleth in us" (Rom. 8:11; I Cor. 15:49-53)" (Mystery of the Ages pp.260-261).
(An article of related interest may include Born Again: A Question of Semantics?)
12. Born-Again at Resurrection
He stated, "You're not born yet, only begotten, that we will become born at the time of the second coming of Christ, when this mortal puts on immortality, when we won't be human any longer, we'll be divine. The knowledge that he that is born of the flesh IS flesh, mortal, that's what we are. That that is when you're born in the Spirit you BE Spirit. Someone please go tell Jerry Falwell that, so he'll know he's not born again (laughter)."(An article of related interest may include Born Again: A Question of Semantics?)
13. Identity of Israel
He immediately continued with, "Another thing restored to us is our own roots, our identity, who we are. We are the tribe of Manasseh of the lost ten tribes of Israel, and no other Church on earth knows it. That knowledge has been restored into this Church, and God restored that to me 53 years ago."
(An article of possibly related interest may include Anglo - America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel.)
14. Identity Opens Up Understanding of Bible Prophecy
He immediately continued with, "Our identity. And that opens all the doors...and the understanding of prophecy has been opened to this Church. That has been restored to this Church."(An article of possibly related interest may include Anglo - America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel.)
15. Second and Third Tithe
He stated, "The second and third tithe, what other Church knows about that? And that was restored by this Church, that knowledge restored by this Church."Though not mentioned further in that sermon, second and third tithes are discussed in Deuteronomy 14:22-29. God specifically calls third tithe a "holy tithe" (26:13).
(An article of related interest may include Is Third Tithe Still Valid Today?)
16. Identity of Babylon and Her Daughters
He immediately continued with, "Then the great deception, the counterfeit of Revelation 17:5, Babylon, the Great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth, her daughter churches and who they are...Those people in the Catholic Church and the Protestant churches have been deceived."
(Three articles of possibly related interest may include Europa, the Beast, and Revelation, Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God?, and Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants.)
17. Satan is the Guilty Party
He stated, "And the fact that Satan, the devil, has deceived the whole world. Brethren, Satan is the one who is guilty. Those people in the Catholic Church and the Protestant churches have been deceived. And I think they really believe. God just hasn't opened any more truth to them. We don't sit in judgment of them. We're not judging them YET. We're going to do it and when WE judge them, then all truth will be opened and God will take away the blindness from their eyes so they can understand if they're willing. Today they couldn't understand it, even if they're willing. I dont think they're willing, either, as far as that goes."
(An article possibly related interest may be The Day of Atonement--Its Christian Significance.)
18. We Are to Be Separate
He immediately continued with, "And how in Revelation 18:4 that God has called us out from among them, to be separate." (Two articles of related interest may include Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders? and Overview: How Does the Church of God Agree and Disagree with Other Faiths Professing Christ?)
This, combined with his initial statement about the Bible being written primarily for the Philadelphia era, suggests that he is also stating that PHILADELPHIANS ARE NOT TO BE UNIFIED WITH THOSE WHO DO NOT HOLD THESE RESTORED TRUTHS.Although Herbert Armstrong maintained cordial relations with those in Sardis, he separated himself from the Sardis era of the Church and refused to be part of any Church of God he considered to be of the Laodicean era. He warned about being an 'independent' Christian as well (Mystery of the Ages. p. 270), but wanted Philadelphians to be "A TEAM TOGETHER" to "carry out the work of God" (pp.266).
Getting back to the sermon, Herbert W. Armstrong then immediately continues with, "Well, brethren, all those things have been restored and there is a mission for this Church that never applied, and has never been done by any other Church. This gospel of the kingdom has been restored and shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations."
This statement shows that Herbert W. Armstrong believed that the Philadelphia era was to continue to preach the whole gospel as a witness including all that was restored. It also shows that the truths mentioned in this article are at least part of those he felt were restored to the Philadelphia era of God's Church.
The fact that Church of God (Seventh-Day) and many other groups have lost some of those truths (and some publicly admit that) is sad.Those of us of the Continuing Church of God are striving to restore 'apostolic Christianity'. We believe and teach those restored truths (for details, please see Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God). We have also accepted the mission of the Philadelphia era of the Church to continue to get the gospel of the kingdom to the world as a witness, until the end comes. We should all be thankful to God for making this opportunity available to us.
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Thiel B. Herbert W. Armstrong's List of 18 Restored Truths. www.cogwriter.com (c) 2002/2006/2008/2009/2011/2012/2013 0427