Herbert W. Armstrong's List of 18 Restored Truths

By COGwriter

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).

In this article, I have also included quotes from ancient Church of God leaders, and some of the Greco-Roman leaders, which help demonstrate that the 18 truths were held by early Christians as Herbert W. Armstrong asserted in his sermon. Here are links to a related two-part sermon: The 18 Restored Truths: 1-8 and The 18 Restored Truths: 9-18.

Sermon Begins

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.

(Note: Many of the linked articles shown here will contain quotes showing that the doctrinal truth discussed is in the Bible as well as was held by first, second, and/or third century Christians. Herbert Armstrong did not provide such quotes when he spoke, other than sometimes referring to scriptures. More on Church History can also be found in the free online booklet Continuing History of the Church of God.)

Why Restored Truths in Modern Times

Herbert W. Armstrong continued in his sermon with:

"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 what the New Testament refers to as "the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3).

Restored Truths

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."

Here is the first public teaching that Matthew records:

23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 4:23).

Matthew also records:

35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 9:35).

Jesus further stated:

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14).

Thus, the true Christian church should have been doing this, and it was!

In the early 2nd century that Papias, a hearer of John and a friend of Polycarp and considered to be a saint by Roman Catholics, taught the millennial kingdom. Eusebius recorded that Papias taught:

... there will be a millennium after the resurrection from the dead, when the personal reign of Christ will be established on this earth. (Fragments of Papias, VI. See also Eusebius, Church History, Book 3, XXXIX, 12)

Papias taught that this would be a time of great abundance:

In like manner, [He said] that a grain of wheat would produce ten thousand ears, and that every ear would have ten thousand grains, and every grain would yield ten pounds of clear, pure, fine flour; and that apples, and seeds, and grass would produce in similar proportions; and that all animals, feeding then only on the productions of the earth, would become peaceable and harmonious, and be in perfect subjection to man." [Testimony is borne to these things in writing by Papias, an ancient man, who was a hearer of John and a friend of Polycarp, in the fourth of his books; for five books were composed by him...] (Fragments of Papias, IV)

The post-New Testament Letter to the Corinthians states:

42:1-3 The Apostles received the Gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ was sent forth from God. So then Christ is from God, and the Apostles are from Christ. Both therefore came of the will of God in the appointed order. Having therefore received a charge, and having been fully assured through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and confirmed in the word of God with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth with the glad tidings that the kingdom of God should come.

Polycarp of Smyrna was an early Christian leader, who was a disciple of John, the last of the original apostles to die. Polycarp c. 120-135 A.D.  taught:

Blessed are the poor, and those that are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God. (Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians, Chapter II. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1 as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885)

Knowing, then, that "God is not mocked," we ought to walk worthy of His commandment and glory ...For it is well that they should be cut off from the lusts that are in the world, since "every lust warreth against the spirit; " and "neither fornicators, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, shall inherit the kingdom of God," nor those who do things inconsistent and unbecoming. (ibid, Chapter V)

Let us then serve Him in fear, and with all reverence, even as He Himself has commanded us, and as the apostles who preached the Gospel unto us, and the prophets who proclaimed beforehand the coming of the Lord. (ibid, Chapter VI)

Like others in the New Testament, Polycarp taught that the righteous, not the commandment breakers, shall inherit the Kingdom of God.

The following was also claimed to have been taught by Polycarp:

And on the following sabbath he said; 'Hear ye my exhortation, beloved children of God. I adjured you when the bishops were present, and now again I exhort you all to walk decorously and worthily in the way of the Lord...Watch ye, and again Be ye ready, Let not your hearts be weighed down, the new commandment concerning love one towards another, His advent suddenly manifest as of rapid lightning, the great judgment by fire, the eternal life, His immortal kingdom. And all things whatsoever being taught of God ye know, when ye search the inspired Scriptures, engrave with the pen of the Holy Spirit on your hearts, that the commandments may abide in you indelible.' (Life of Polycarp, Chapter 24. J. B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 3.2, 1889, pp. 488-506)

Melito of Sardis, who was a Church of God leader, c. 170 A.D., taught:

For indeed the law issued in the gospel - the old in the new, both coming forth together from Zion and Jerusalem; and the commandment issued in grace, and the type in the finished product, and the lamb in the Son, and the sheep in a man, and the man in God...

But the gospel became the explanation of the law and its fulfillment, while the church became the storehouse of truth...

This is the one who delivered us from slavery into freedom, from darkness into light, from death into life, from tyranny into an eternal kingdom. (Melito. Homily On the Passover. Verses 7,40, 68. Translation from Kerux: The Journal of Online Theology. http://www.kerux.com/documents/KeruxV4N1A1.asp)

Thus, the Kingdom of God was known to be something eternal, and not simply the current Christian or Catholic Church and included God's law.

Another mid-late second century writing exhorts people to look to the kingdom:

Wherefore, let no one of you longer dissemble nor look backwards, but willingly approach to the Gospel of the kingdom of God. (Roman Clement. Recognitions, Book X, Chapter XLV. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 8. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886)

Furthermore, while it was apparently not written by one in the true church, the mid-second century writing titled The Shepherd of Hermas in the translation by Roberts & Donaldson uses the expression “kingdom of God” fourteen times.

True Christians, and even many only professing Christ, knew something about the Kingdom of God in the second century.

(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

Herbert Armstrong 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."

The Apostle Paul taught:

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30)

In the early second century, Ignatius of Antioch wrote:

For it is not my desire to act towards you as a man-pleaser, but as pleasing God, even as also you please Him. For neither shall I ever have such [another] opportunity of attaining to God...It is good to set from the world unto God, that I may rise again to Him...Suffer me to become food for the wild beasts, through whose instrumentality it will be granted me to attain to God (Ignatius. Letter to the Romans, Chapters 2,4).

He is the door of the Father, by which enter in Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the prophets, and the apostles, and the Church. All these have for their object the attaining to the unity of God (Ignatius. Letter to the Romans, Chapter 9).

Polycarp of Smyrna, who knew Ignatius, wrote:

But He who raised Him up from the dead will raise up us also, if we do His will, and walk in His commandments, and love what He loved, keeping ourselves from all unrighteousness, covetousness, love of money, evil speaking, falsewitness; "not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing," or blow for blow, or cursing for cursing, but being mindful of what the Lord...may He bestow on you a lot and portion among His saints, and on us with you, and on all that are under heaven, who shall believe in our Lord and God Jesus Christ, and in His Father, who raised Him from the dead (Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians. Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1 as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Sections 2,12).

Polycarp is teaching that what happened to Jesus will also happen to true Christians. And that is also what New Testament writers taught.

Theophilus of Antioch also taught the humans were to become God, though several passages need to be looked at to make this clear:

In like manner also the three days which were before the luminaries, are types of the threes of God, and His Word, and His wisdom. And the fourth is the type of man, who needs light, that so there may be God, the Word, wisdom, man (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 2, Chapter XV. Translated by Bob Thiel).

(Note the above is often mistranslated, for details see the article Theophilus of Antioch).

What Theophilus is teaching is that now man is a fourth, but will become part of God, the third part, when humans become God's offspring. And that he seems to see this as the wisdom of God's plan.

Lest anyone suggest that I am reading something into Theophilus that he does not mean (and since he often writes poetically, he is a bit hard to follow), he verifies what I concluded when he wrote:

...if I call Him Mind, I speak but of His wisdom; if I say He is Spirit, I speak of His breath; if I call Him Wisdom, I speak of His offspring (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 1, Chapter III. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

For if He had made him immortal from the beginning, He would have made him God...so that if he should incline to the things of immortality, keeping the commandment of God, he should receive as reward from Him immortality, and should become God...For God has given us a law and holy commandments; and every one who keeps these can be saved, and, obtaining the resurrection, can inherit incorruption (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 2, Chapter XXVII. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Theophilus teaches that we are to be God's offspring and become God. We are to be God in the family of 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.

Notice the following from Jesus:

37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." (John 7:37-38)

Jesus was teaching more of the future meaning of a holy day.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:6-8)

Early Christians realized that the Holy Days, like Passover had to do with God’s plan of salvation.

Notice that by 180 A.D., Bishop/Pastor Melito of Sardis wrote:

Now comes the mystery of the passover, even as it stands written in the law...The people, therefore, became the model for the church, and the law a parabolic sketch. But the gospel became the explanation of the law and its fulfillment, while the church became the storehouse of truth...This one is the passover of our salvation. This is the one who patiently endured many things in many people . . . This is the one who became human in a virgin, who was hanged on the tree, who was buried in the earth, who was resurrected from among the dead, and who raised mankind up out of the grave below to the heights of heaven. This is the lamb that was slain. (Melito. Homily On the Passover. Verses 11, 40,46-47, 58-72. Translation from Kerux: The Journal of Online Theology, http://www.kerux.com/documents/KeruxV4N1A1.asp 09/14/05)

The Life of Polycarp contains some possibly helpful information about Paul, Polycarp, and observing Pentecost:

In the days of unleavened bread Paul, coming down from Galatia, arrived in Asia, considering the repose among the faithful in Smyrna to be a great refreshment in Christ Jesus after his severe toil, and intending afterwards to depart to Jerusalem. So in Smyrna he went to visit Strataeas, who had been his hearer in Pamphylia, being a son of Eunice the daughter of Lois. These are they of whom he makes mention when writing to Timothy, saying; Of the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois and in thy mother Eunice; whence we find that Strataeas was a brother of Timothy. Paul then, entering his house and gathering together the faithful there, speaks to them concerning the Passover and the Pentecost, reminding them of the New Covenant of the offering of bread and the cup; how that they ought most assuredly to celebrate it during the days of unleavened bread, but to hold fast the new mystery of the Passion and Resurrection. For here the Apostle plainly teaches that we ought neither to keep it outside the season of unleavened bread, as the heretics do, especially the Phrygians...but named the days of unleavened bread, the Passover, and the Pentecost, thus ratifying the Gospel (Pionius. Life of Polycarp, Chapter 2. Translated by J. B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 3.2, 1889, pp.488-506).

Polycarp of Smyrna in the second century kept the Fall Holy Days:

I will give the narration in order, thus coming down to the history of the blessed Polycarp . . . So also he pursued the reading of the Scriptures from childhood to old age, himself reading in church; and he recommended it to others, saying that the reading of the law and the prophets was the forerunner of grace, preparing and making straight the ways of the Lord, that is the hearts, which are like tablets whereon certain harsh beliefs and conceptions that were written before perfect knowledge came, are through the inculcation of the Old Testament, and the correct interpretation following thereupon, first smoothed and levelled, that, when the Holy Spirit comes as a pen, the grace and joy of the voice of the Gospel and of the doctrine of the immortal and heavenly Christ may be inscribed on them. And he said that they could not otherwise receive the impression of the seal which is given by baptism and engrave and exhibit the form conveyed in it, unless the wax were first softened and filled the deep parts. So also he thought that the hearts of the hearers ought to be softened and yield to the impress of the Word. For he said that it unfolded and opened, like closed doors, the minds of recent comers; and accordingly the prophet was bidden by God, Cry out mightily and spare not, Raise thy voice as a trumpet. What must one say, when even He that was gentler than all men so appeals and cries out at the feast of Tabernacles? For it is written; And on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried saying, If any man thirsteth, let him come to Me and drink. (Pionius, Life of Polycarp (1889) from J. B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 3.2, pp.488-506.)

Polycarp, according to the above, seems to have endorsed the Fall Holy Day season which begins with the Feast of Trumpets, includes the Feast of Tabernacles, and ends on The Last Great Day.

Even though he was not COG, in the late second century, Origen of Alexandria taught that:

A DAY of atonement is necessary for all who have sinned, and for this reason among the festivals of the Law, which contains visions of heavenly mysteries, one certain festival is held which called a day of atonement." (Origen. Gary Wayne Barkley editor. Homilies on Leviticus, 1-16. Homily 9 (1), p. 176),

He likely learned this, at least indirectly, from actual Christians.

Perhaps it might be helpful to realize that Catholics do admit that early Christians (sometimes called Nazarenes, see Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes?) did observe the Feast of Tabernacles and understand its meaning:

St. Jerome (PL 25, 1529 & 1536-7) speaking of how the Judaeo-Christians celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles . . . tells us that they gave the feast a millenarian significance (Bagatti, Bellarmino. Translated by Eugene Hoade. The Church from the Circumcision. Nihil obstat: Marcus Adinolfi. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 26 Junii 1970.  Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, p.202).

Here is some of the actual Latin, from PL 1529 & 1535-1536 that Jerome wrote:

1529 . . . Judæi et Christiani judaizantes . . . Judæi Christiani . . .

1535-1536 . . . Omnes, inquit, qui relicti fuerint de gentibus quae venerint contra Jerusalem, ascendent per singulos annos, ut adorent regem Dominum exercituum, et celebrent festivitatem Tabernaculorum. Hæc quoque Judei cassa spe in mille annorum regno futura promittunt, cujus solemnitatis istud exordium est:

(It is typed by hand from that shown in Catholica Omnia Tabulinum De Ecclesiae Patribus Doctoribusque Materia Migne JP Argumentum Patrologia Latina Volumen MPL025 Ab Columna ad Culumnam 1415 - 1542A, pp. 922, 930 http://www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu/02m/0347-0420,_Hieronymus,_Commentariorum_In_Zachariam_Prophetam_Libri_Duo,_MLT.pdf and is part of http://www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu/1815-1875,_Migne,_Patrologia_Latina_01._Rerum_Conspectus_Pro_Tomis_Ordinatus,_MLT.html which is related to http://www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu/25_20_25-_Rerum_Conspectus_Pro_Auctoribus_Ordinatus.html)

Here is a basically Google-machine translation of the above with minor adjustments for English that Jerome wrote:

Jews and Christian judaizers . . . Christian Jews . . . All, he says, those who remain survivors of the nations that come against Jerusalem, shall go up every year, to worship the King the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of Tabernacles. These also shall hope in, through the hollow devotion of Jews, a thousand years old promise of the future kingdom, whose festival this is the beginning of.

So, just like those Jerome observed in the 4th/5th centuries, we in the Continuing Church of God also believe that this Feast foreshadows the coming millennium.

The basic understanding of the plan of salvation pictured by God's Holy Days was known.

(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?. A booklet of related interest would be Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?)

Insert Comment Herbert W. Armstrong 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.

4. Government

Herbert W. Armstrong 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).

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head -- Christ -- 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16)

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way. (1 Corinthians 12:27-31)

While many who have some association with the Church of God believe that the true Church can be traced through the Apostle John's disciple Polycarp, many do not seem to normally understand the following that Polycarp wrote:

Knowing, then, that "God is not mocked," we ought to walk worthy of His commandment and glory. In like manner should the deacons be blameless before the face of His righteousness, as being the servants of God and Christ, and not of men. They must not be slanderers, double-tongued, or lovers of money, but temperate in all things, compassionate, industrious, walking according to the truth of the Lord, who was the servant of all. If we please Him in this present world, we shall receive also the future world, according as He has promised to us that He will raise us again from the dead, and that if we live worthily of Him, "we shall also reign together with Him," provided only we believe. In like manner, let the young men also be blameless in all things, being especially careful to preserve purity, and keeping themselves in, as with a bridle, from every kind of evil. For it is well that they should be cut off from the lusts that are in the world, since "every lust warreth against the spirit; " and "neither fornicators, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, shall inherit the kingdom of God," nor those who do things inconsistent and unbecoming. Wherefore, it is needful to abstain from all these things, being subject to the presbyters and deacons, as unto God and Christ (Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians, Chapter V).

Hence, Polycarp advocated that Christians not be independent and that they be subject to those true church leaders as they would be to God and Christ:

And let the presbyters be compassionate and merciful to all, bringing back those that wander, visiting all the sick, and not neglecting the widow, the orphan, or the poor, but always "providing for that which is becoming in the sight of God and man ; " abstaining from all wrath, respect of persons, and unjust judgment; keeping far off from . all covetousness, not quickly crediting [an evil report] against any one, not severe in judgment, as knowing that we are all under a debt of sin. If then we entreat the Lord to forgive us, we ought also ourselves to forgive; for we are before the eyes of our Lord and God, and "we must all appear at the judgment-seat of Christ, and must every one give an account of himself." Let us then serve Him in fear, and with all reverence (Hebrews 12:28), even as He Himself has commanded us, and as the apostles who preached the Gospel unto us, and the prophets who proclaimed beforehand the coming of the Lord [have alike taught us]. Let us be zealous in the pursuit of that which is good, keeping ourselves from causes of offence, from false brethren, and from those who in hypocrisy bear the name of the Lord, and draw away vain men into error (Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians, Chapter VI).

And part of the reason for the presbyters is to protect against "false brethren" and doctrinal "error" (the Apostle Paul taught the same thing in Ephesians 4:11-14).

Ignatius was a second century church leader who also knew Polycarp. He taught:

Give ye heed to the bishop, that God also may give heed to you. My soul be for theirs that are submissive to the bishop, to the presbyters, and to the deacons, and may my portion be along with them in God! Labour together with one another; strive in company together; run together; suffer together; sleep together; and awake together, as the stewards, and associates, and servants of God. Please ye Him under whom ye fight, and from whom ye receive your wages. Let none of you be found a deserter (Ignatius. Letter to Polycarp, Chapter VI).

Wherefore, as children of light and truth, flee from division and wicked doctrines; but where the shepherd is, there follow as sheep. For there are many wolves that appear worthy of credit, who, by means of a pernicious pleasure, carry captive those that are running towards God; but in your unity they shall have no place.Keep yourselves from those evil plants which Jesus Christ does not tend, because they are not the planting of the Father. Not that I have found any division among you, but exceeding purity. For as many as are of God and of Jesus Christ are also with the bishop. And as many as shall, in the exercise of repentance, return into the unity of the Church, these, too, shall belong to God, that they may live according to Jesus Christ. Do not err, my brethren. If any man follows him that makes a schism in the Church, he shall not inherit the kingdom of God. If any one walks according to a strange opinion, he agrees not with the passion (Ignatius. Letter to the Philadelphians, Chapters II-III).

Now it becomes you also not to treat your bishop too familiarly on account of his youth, but to yield him all reverence, having respect to the power of God the Father, as I have known even holy presbyters do, not judging rashly, from the manifest youthful appearance [of their bishop], but as being themselves prudent in God, submitting to him, or rather not to him, but to the Father of Jesus Christ, the bishop of us all. It is therefore fitting that you should, after no hypocritical fashion, obey [your bishop], in honour of Him who has willed us [so to do], since he that does not so deceives not [by such conduct] the bishop that is visible, but seeks to mock Him that is invisible. And all such conduct has reference not to man, but to God, who knows all secrets. It is fitting, then, not only to be called Christians, but to be so in reality: as some indeed give one the title of bishop, but do all things without him. Now such persons seem to me to be not possessed of a good conscience, seeing they are not stedfastly gathered together according to the commandment (Ignatius. Letter to the Magnesians, Chapters III-IV).

See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God (Ignatius. Letter to the Smyrnaeans, Chapter VIII).

For, since you are subject to the bishop as to Jesus Christ, you appear to me to live not after the manner of men, but according to Jesus Christ, who died for us, in order, by believing in His death, you may escape from death. It is therefore necessary that, as you indeed do, so without the bishop you should do nothing, but should also be subject to the presbytery, as to the apostle of Jesus Christ, who is our hope, in whom, if we live, we shall [at last] be found. It is fitting also that the deacons, as being [the ministers] of the mysteries of Jesus Christ, should in every respect be pleasing to all. For they are not ministers of meat and drink, but servants of the Church of God. They are bound, therefore, to avoid all grounds of accusation [against them], as they would do fire (Ignatius. Letter to the Trallians, Chapter II).

May I always have joy of you, if indeed I be worthy of it. It is therefore befitting that you should in every way glorify Jesus Christ, who has glorified you, that by a unanimous obedience you may be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment, and may all speak the same thing concerning the same thing, and that, being subject to the bishop and the presbytery, you may in all respects be sanctified (Ignatius. Letter to the Ephesians, Chapter II).

Note the term "bishop" essentially means the same as the word "pastor" in Ephesians 4:11. Also, perhaps I should mention that there was no "Bishop of Rome" then--as Catholic scholars admit (see What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History?)-- hence Ignatius was not telling people to become subject to the Vatican.

(Ignatius did address "bishops" in each of his letters, but did not in his letter to the Romans as they did not have a bishop until after Ignatius died. Furthermore, perhaps I should add that many have relied on a mistranslation of part of one of Ignatius' letters to indicate that he did not hold Church of God teachings--those interested in learning more about him and his teachings should read the article Another Look at the Didache, Ignatius, and the Sabbath).

Notice that church leadership passed from the apostles to others in the second century as Polycrates wrote,

For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the day of the Lord's coming, when he shall come with glory from heaven, and shall seek out all the saints. Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who fell asleep in Hierapolis; and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter, who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and, moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and, being a priest, wore the sacerdotal plate. He fell asleep at Ephesus. And Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop and martyr; and Thraseas, bishop and martyr from Eumenia, who fell asleep in Smyrna. Why need I mention the bishop and martyr Sagaris who fell asleep in Laodicea, or the blessed Papirius, or Melito, the Eunuch who lived altogether in the Holy Spirit, and who lies in Sardis, awaiting the episcopate from heaven, when he shall rise from the dead ? All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. And I also, Polycrates, the least of you all, do according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have closely followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops; and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the leaven. I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord, and have met with the brethren throughout the world, and have gone through every Holy Scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said ' We ought to obey God rather than man'...I could mention the bishops who were present, whom I summoned at your desire; whose names, should I write them, would constitute a great multitude. And they, beholding my littleness, gave their consent to the letter, knowing that I did not bear my gray hairs in vain, but had always governed my life by the Lord Jesus (Eusebius. Church History. Book V, Chapter 24).

Throughout the second century leadership passed through ordained leaders who apparently held titles other than "apostle" as there is no written evidence that I have seen that any of the leaders were considered as apostles. This means in modern times that just because there is no properly ordained apostle, that this is no excuse for not listening to any of the properly ordained leaders (overseers/evangelists are essentially 'bishops').

Perhaps it should be noted that the idea of a hierarchy for Christians who kept the Sabbath was confirmed by scholars such as B. Bagatti who wrote:

Nazarenes and Ebionites...Each sect had its own hierarchy...(Fortescue A. Transcribed by Donald J. Boon. (Jerusalem (A.D. 71-1099). pp. 355-361 Bagatti, Bellarmino. Translated by Eugene Hoade. The Church from the Circumcision. Nihil obstat: Marcus Adinolfi. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 26 Junii 1970. Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, p.30)

The late fourth century historian Epiphanius wrote:

Ebionites have elders and heads of synagogues...(Epiphanius. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Book I. Section II, Chapter 30, Verse 18,2. Translated by Frank Williams. EJ Brill, New York, 1994, p.145)

That is a form of hierarchy, which while sometimes not clearly maintained throughout history, was often used and hierarchy is the form of governance that God's kingdom has.

(Two articles of possibly related interest may include The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government and Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians.)

5. Who and What God Is

Herbert Armstrong 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.

Jesus taught:

24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24)

9 I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. (John 17:9-11)

Jesus taught that God is Spirit, not with having a third member 100% human and 100% God as trinitarians claim. Jesus also taught that He and the Father were one like a husband and wife (Matthew 19:4-6), which makes two entities, and He did not include the Holy Spirit as part of that, or any other, 'binitarian' oneness .

Polycarp was known as the Bishop of Smyrna and probably the first physical head (under Jesus Christ) of the era when Smyrna dominated. He was neither trinitarian nor unitarian according to various historical documents. The following quote attributed to him shows that he (and thus by inference the rest of Smyrna) was not unitarian:

Now may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal High-priest Himself, the [Son of] God Jesus Christ, build you up in faith and truth, and in all gentleness and in all avoidance of wrath and in forbearance and long suffering and in patient endurance and in purity; and may He grant unto you a lot and portion among His saints, and to us with you, and to all that are under heaven, who shall believe on our Lord and God Jesus Christ and on His Father (The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians in APOSTOLIC FATHERS (as translated by J.B. LIGHTFOOT) 12:6,7).

It probably should be noted that Dr. Lightfoot left out "Son of" in his translation, which is in the Latin. It should also be pointed out that I am aware of another translation of this section by Roberts and Donaldson in Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol, 1 which omitted the term "God" before Jesus Christ, but I verified that the term "deum" is in the Latin version of this epistle {the original Greek versions did not survive pass chapter 10}. Dr. Lightfoot's translation "our Lord and God Jesus Christ" is a literal translation of the Latin "dominum nostrum et deum Iesum Christum." The University of Notre Dame Latin Dictionary and Grammar Aid states "deus -i m. [a god , deity]". The term "deum" is the masculine accusatory form of the word "deus." Since traditional unitarians do not call Jesus God, it appears clear that Polycarp clearly was not one of them. Furthermore, he did not ever call the Holy Spirit God.

Also, Ignatius, who was known by Polycarp (and praised in this same Polycarp epistle) wrote around 100-115 A.D.,

For our God, Jesus Christ, was conceived by Mary in accord with God's plan: of the seed of David, it is true, but also of the Holy Spirit. He was born and baptized so that by His submission He might purify the water (Ignatius of Antioch, Letters to the Ephesians 18,2--note this is translated the same by at least three separate translations as done by Dr. Lightfoot, J.H. Srawley, and Roberts & Donaldson).

...God appeared in human form to bring newness of eternal life (Ignatius. Letter the Ephesians, 19,3. In Holmes: The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations. Baker Books, Grand Rapids (MI), 2004, p. 149).

Hence, Ignatius (who apparently lived in the times dominated by both the Ephesus and Smyrna eras of the Church), who received Polycarp's praise, also recognized Jesus as God, and thus could not have been a traditional unitarian.

Even scholars like the Catholic Mauricio Saavedra Monroy recognize that Polycarp and Ignatius made binitarian statements:

As for the binitarian confessional formula, which confesses the Father and the Son, we likewise find examples in Polycarp and Ignatius. (Monroy MS. The Church of Smyrna: History and Theology of a Primitive Christian Community. Peter Lang edition, 2015, p. 292)

Ignatius also wrote:

Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, unto her which hath been blessed in greatness through the plentitude of God the Father; which hath been foreordained before the ages to be for ever unto abiding and unchangeable glory, united and elect in a true passion, by the will of the Father and of Jesus Christ our God; even unto the church which is in Ephesus [of Asia], worthy of all felicitation: abundant greeting in Christ Jesus and in blameless joy (Ignatius' Letter to the Ephesians, Verse 0. In Apostolic Fathers. Lightfoot & Harmer, 1891 translation).

He wrote something similar to the Smyrnaeans:

Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, to the church of God the Father and of Jesus Christ the Beloved, which hath been mercifully endowed with every grace, being filled with faith and love and lacking in no grace, most reverend and bearing holy treasures; to the church which is in Smyrna of Asia, in a blameless spirit and in the word of God abundant greeting. I give glory to Jesus Christ the God who bestowed such wisdom upon you" (Ignatius' Letter to the Symrnaeans, Verses 0-1.1. In Apostolic Fathers. Lightfoot & Harmer, 1891 translation).

It is important to note that Ignatius referred to both the Father and the Son as God in both places (and I verified that it is in the original Greek), but he never called the Holy Spirit 'God'.

Theophilus of Antioch wrote:

...if I call Him Wisdom, I speak of His offspring (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 1, Chapter III. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

We are to be God's offspring! We are to be God in the family of God

God is one family and even the Roman Catholic saint Hippolytus may have understood that as he also wrote:

For it is right, in the first place, to expound the truth that the Father is one God, "of whom is every family," "by whom are all things, of whom are all things, and we in Him." (Hippolytus. Against the Heresy of One Noetus. Circa 220 AD).

Early Christians held what can be called a binitarian view of the Godhead and understood that God was a family.

(An article of related interest may include Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning.)

6. What and Why is Man?

Herbert Armstrong 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" (cf. John 3:6) which seems to clarify the 'what' portion of this truth.

Jesus said:

28 And you should not be afraid of those killing the body but not being able to kill the soul. Indeed rather you should fear the One being able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. (Matthew 10:28, Berean Literal Translation)

This demonstrates that Jesus taught humans were NOT immortal.

In what has been called "the oldest Christian sermon that has survived" (Holmes M.W. Ancient Christian Sermon. The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations, 2nd ed. Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 2004), this Ancient Christian Sermon (note it is also called 2 Clement, but scholars, including Catholic ones, do not believe that Clement wrote it) contains these statements about:

15:1 Now I do not think that I have given any mean council respecting continence, and whosoever performeth it will not repent thereof, but will save both himself and me his councilor. For it is no mean reward to convert a wondering and perishing soul, that it may be saved.

17:1 For if we have received commands, that we should make this our business, to tear men away from idols and to instruct them, how much more is it wrong that a soul which knoweth God already should perish!

Souls that can perish cannot be immortal. Notice also that the immortality was believed to take place after the resurrection:

19:3 Let us therefore practice righteousness that we may be saved unto the end. Blessed are they that obey these ordinances. Though they may endure affliction for a short time in the world, they will gather the immortal fruit of the resurrection. (Lightfoot J.B. Edited and completed by J.R. Hammer. The Apostolic Fathers: Revised Texts with Short Introductions and English Translations. Macmillan, London, 1891. With any Greek retranslated was based the Greek text as shown in Holmes M.W. The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations, 2nd ed. Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 2004, p. 127)

The letter from the Romans to the Corinthians, a probably late first century document, otherwise known as 1 Clement, states:

Do we then deem it any great and wonderful thing for the Maker of all things to raise up again those that have piously served Him in the assurance of a good faith, when even by a bird He shows us the mightiness of His power to fulfil His promise? For [the Scripture] says in a certain place, You shall raise me up, and I shall confess unto You; and again, I laid me down, and slept; I awoke, because You are with me; and again, Job says, You shall raise up this flesh of mine, which has suffered all these things. (Chapter 26. Translated by John Keith. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 9. Edited by Allan Menzies. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1896.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1010.htm>).

Notice this from Ignatius' Letter to the Ephesians (early second century):

For this end did the Lord suffer the ointment to be poured upon His head, that He might breathe immortality into His Church (Chapter 17).

Especially [will I do this] if the Lord make known to me that ye come together man by man in common through grace, individually, in one faith, and in Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David according to the flesh, being both the Son of man and the Son of God, so that ye obey the bishop and the presbytery with an undivided mind, breaking one and the same bread, which is the medicine of immortality, and the antidote to prevent us from dying, but [which causes] that we should live for ever in Jesus Christ (Chapter 20).

Ignatius is essentially teaching that Christ suffered to give immortality to the Church and we in the Church when we properly partake of Passover can live forever in Christ--otherwise we would die.

Be sober as an athlete of God: the prize set before you is immortality and eternal life, of which you are also persuaded (Ignatius. Letter to Polycarp, Chapter 2).

Polycarp of Smyrna (mid-2nd century) taught that the body and soul were to be resurrected, hence he taught against the immortality of the soul doctrine:

I bless you for because you have considered me worthy of this day and hour, that I might receive a place among the number of martyrs in the cup of your Christ, to the resurrection to eternal life, both of soul and of body, in the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit (The Martyrdom of Polycarp, 14:2. In Holmes M.W. The Apostolic Fathers, Greek Texts and English Translations. Baker Books, Grand Rapids (MI), 2004, p.239).

Though the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch now lists him in their succession list, around 170 A.D. Theophilus of Antioch wrote a position that seems to differ from current Eastern Orthodox doctrine on immortality:

When thou shalt have put off the mortal, and put on incorruption, then shall thou see God worthily. For God will raise thy flesh immortal with thy soul; and then, having become immortal, thou shalt see the Immortal, if now you believe on Him; and then you shall know that you have spoken unjustly against Him (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 1, Chapter VI. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

For if He had made him immortal from the beginning, He would have made him God...so that if he should incline to the things of immortality, keeping the commandment of God, he should receive as reward from Him immortality, and should become God...For God has given us a law and holy commandments; and every one who keeps these can be saved, and, obtaining the resurrection, can inherit incorruption (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 2, Chapter XXVII. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

But God at least, the Father and Creator of the universe did not abandon mankind, but gave a law, and sent holy prophets to declare and teach the race of men, that each one of us might awake and understand that there is one God. And they also taught us to refrain from unlawful idolatry, and adultery, and murder, fornication, theft, avarice, false swearing, wrath, and every incontinence and uncleanness; and that whatever a man would not wish to be done to himself, he should not do to another; and thus he who acts righteously shall escape the eternal punishments, and be thought worthy of the eternal life from God (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 2, Chapter XXXIV. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Probably prior to 180 A.D., Melito of Sardis, a famous church leader and writer, wrote:

He killed death which had put man to death (Melito. Homily On the Passover, Verse 66. Translation from Kerux: The Journal of Online Theology, http://www.kerux.com/documents/KeruxV4N1A1.asp 09/14/05). .

And by this, Melito is teaching that Jesus could provide immortality, as humans did not possess it (he obviously is not referring to physical death, as Christians have died throughout history).

As far as the why goes, in the Mystery of the Ages, Herbert Armstrong wrote:

WHY did the Creator God put MAN on the earth? For God's ultimate supreme purpose of reproducing himself--of recreating himself, as it were, by the supreme objective of creating the righteous divine character ultimately in millions unnumbered begotten and born children who shall become God beings, members of the God family.

(Three articles of possibly related interest may include What is Your Destiny? Deification? Did the Early Church Teach That Christians Would Become God?, What is the Meaning of Life?, and Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality?)

7. Spirit in Man

After the term 'God' mentioned above in his sermon, Herbert W. Armstrong 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" (1 Corinthians 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).

The Bible says that there is a "spirit in man" that gives basically human intellect (Job 32:8). 

The spirit is different from the soul as Hebrews 4:12 teaches:

12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

Polycarp of Smyrna taught: "Him every spirit serves. He comes as the Judge of the living and the dead" (Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians, Chapter II. Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1 as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson; American Edition, 1885; Reprint Hendrickson Publishers, 1999, pp. 33-36). Since God is coming just to judge humans, it is clear that this is those with the human spirit that Polycarp is referring to.

Consider also something from the Psalms:

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. (Psalms 51:10-11, KJV)

Notice that there a distinction between spirits was known in King David's time. Notice the following from the late first century A.D.:

Chapter 18. But what shall we say concerning David, to whom such testimony was borne, and of whom God said, "I have found a man after my own heart, David the son of Jesse; and in everlasting mercy have I anointed him?" Yet this very man says to God, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, according to Your great mercy; and according to the multitude of Your compassions, blot out my transgression. Wash me still more from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge mine iniquity, and my sin is ever before me. Against You only have I sinned, and done that which is evil in Your sight; that You may be justified in Your sayings, and may overcome when You are judged. For, behold, I was conceived in transgressions, and in sins did my mother conceive me. For, behold, You have loved truth; the secret and hidden things of wisdom have You shown me. You shall sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed; You shall wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. You shall make me to hear joy and gladness; my bones, which have been humbled, shall exult. Turn away Your face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and establish me by Your governing Spirit. I will teach transgressors Your ways, and the ungodly shall be converted unto You. Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation: my tongue shall exult in Your righteousness. O Lord, You shall open my mouth, and my lips shall show forth Your praise. For if You had desired sacrifice, I would have given it; You will not delight in burnt-offerings. The sacrifice [acceptable] to God is a bruised spirit; a broken and a contrite heart God will not despise."

Chapter 19. Thus the humility and godly submission of so great and illustrious men have rendered not only us, but also all the generations before us, better; even as many as have received His oracles in fear and truth. (Letter from the Romans to the Corinthians, often called I Clement. Translated by John Keith. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 9. Edited by Allan Menzies. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1896)

So, in the late first century, the distinction should have been known. Notice the following from the second century:

Let us therefore be of a reverent spirit, and fear the long-suffering of God, that it tend not to our condemnation. (Ignatius. Letter to the Ephesians, Chapter 11. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe.Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1885)

Chapter 8. Homer, to wit, and Hesiod, being, as they say, inspired by the Muses, -- spoke from a deceptive fancy, and not with a pure but an erring spirit.

Chapter 34. And, for the rest, would that in a kindly spirit you would investigate divine things (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus Book II, Chapters 8, 34. Translated by Marcus Dods. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe.Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1885)

Notice the following, from the early second century:

My spirit salutes you, and the love of the Churches that have received me in the name of Jesus Christ, and not as a mere passer-by. (Ignatius. Letter to the Romans, Chapter 9. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe.Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1885)

And Isaiah himself also says: Thus says the Lord God who established the heavens, and founded the earth and all that is therein, and gives breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein. This is the Lord your God. (Theophilus of Antioch. Autolycus Book II, Chapter 35. Translated by Marcus Dods. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe.Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1885)

(An article of possibly related interest may include Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality?)

8. First-Fruits

Herbert Armstrong's sermon 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."

The Apostle Paul wrote the following:

23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit (Romans 8:23).

Recall that it was the Holy Spirit that was first given on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 that was a type of the firstfruits of the Spirit.

Who are the firstfruits? Real Christians:

4 These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. 5 These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb (Revelation 14:4-5).

It should also be noted that the idea of Christians being first-fruits was known in early times. Notice something from the late first century A.D.:

Chapter 24. Let us consider, beloved, how the Lord continually proves to us that there shall be a future resurrection, of which He has rendered the Lord Jesus Christ the first-fruits by raising Him from the dead. Let us contemplate, beloved, the resurrection which is at all times taking place. Day and night declare to us a resurrection. The night sinks to sleep, and the day arises; the day [again] departs, and the night comes on. Let us behold the fruits [of the earth], how the sowing of grain takes place. The sower goes forth, and casts it into the ground, and the seed being thus scattered, though dry and naked when it fell upon the earth, is gradually dissolved. Then out of its dissolution the mighty power of the providence of the Lord raises it up again, and from one seed many arise and bring forth fruit.

Chapter 42. The apostles have preached the gospel to us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ [has done so] from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first fruits [of their labours], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus says the Scripture in a certain place, "I will appoint their bishops in righteousness, and their deacons in faith." (Letter from the Romans to the Corinthians, often called I Clement. Translated by John Keith. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 9. Edited by Allan Menzies. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1896)

Irenaeus, who claimed to know Polycarp, wrote:

Then again, [it was fit] that Moses should give manna as food to the fathers, but Joshua wheat; as the first-fruits of life, a type of the body of Christ, as also the Scripture declares that the manna of the Lord ceased when the people had eaten wheat from the land. (Irenaeus. Fragments, Chapter 19. Translated by Alexander Roberts. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe.Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1885)

Thus, Christians are, like Jesus, called first fruits in early church literature.

(Two articles of related interest may include Pentecost: Is it more than Acts 2? and Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis )

(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

Herbert Armstrong, in his sermon, 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."

The Apostle John said:

4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4-6)

Eusebius recorded that Papias (an early 2nd century leader) taught:

. . . there will be a period of a thousand years after the resurrection of the dead, and that the kingdom of Christ will be set up in material form on this very earth...(Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book III, Chapter XXIX, Verse 12, p. 69)

Here is another translation of the above:

... there will be a millennium after the resurrection from the dead, when the personal reign of Christ will be established on this earth (Fragments of Papias, VI. See also Eusebius, Church History, Book 3, XXXIX, 12).

Papias taught that it would be a time of great abundance:

In like manner, [He said] that a grain of wheat would produce ten thousand ears, and that every ear would have ten thousand grains, and every grain would yield ten pounds of clear, pure, fine flour; and that apples, and seeds, and grass would produce in similar proportions; and that all animals, feeding then only on the productions of the earth, would become peaceable and harmonious, and be in perfect subjection to man." [Testimony is borne to these things in writing by Papias, an ancient man, who was a hearer of John and a friend of Polycarp, in the fourth of his books; for five books were composed by him...] (Fragments of Papias, IV).

Although we in the Continuing Church of God do not consider that the so-called Epistle of Barnabas is inspired, it does show that in the early second century that some did understand the idea of the thousand year reign of Christ:

Moreover concerning the Sabbath likewise it is written in the Ten Words, in which He spake to Moses face to face on Mount Sinai; And ye shall hallow the Sabbath of the Lord with pure hands and with a pure heart. And in another place He saith; If my sons observe the Sabbath then I will bestow My mercy upon them. Of the Sabbath He speaketh in the beginning of the creation; And God made the works of His hands in six days, and He ended on the seventh day, and rested on it, and He hallowed it. Give heed, children, what this meaneth; He ended in six days. He meaneth this, that in six thousand years the Lord shall bring all things to an end; for the day with Him signifyeth a thousand years; and this He himself beareth me witness, saying; Behold, the day of the Lord shall be as a thousand years. Therefore, children, in six days, that is in six thousand years, everything shall come to an end. And He rested on the seventh day. this He meaneth; when His Son shall come, and shall abolish the time of the Lawless One, and shall judge the ungodly, and shall change the sun and the moon and the stars, then shall he truly rest on the seventh day Epistle of Barnabas, 15:1-5).

Hence the above quote shows that there was a belief among those who professed Christianity that there would be a literal thousand year reign of Christ on the Earth, and a 6,000 year plan for humans prior to that.

Around the end of the second century, a heretical leader named Bardesan wrote the following:

Bardesan, therefore, an aged man, and one celebrated for his knowledge of events, wrote, in a certain work which was composed by him, concerning the synchronisms with one another of the luminaries of heaven, speaking as follows :-- Two revolutions of Saturn, 60 years; 5 revolutions of Jupiter, 60 years; 40 revolutions of Mars, 60 years; 60 revolutions of the Sun, 60 years; 72 revolutions of Venus, 60 years; 150 revolutions of Mercury, 60 years; 720 revolutions of the Moon, 60 years.

And this," says he, "is one synchronism of them all; that is, the time of one such synchronism of them. So that from hence it appears that to complete too such synchronisms there will be required six thousands of years. Thus :-- 200 revolutions of Saturn, six thousands of years; 500 revolutions of Jupiter, 6 thousands of years; 4 thousand revolutions of Mars, 6 thousands of years; Six thousand revolutions of the Sun, 6 thousands of years." 7 thousand and 200 revolutions of Venus, 6 thousands of years; 12 thousand revolutions of Mercury, 6 thousands of years." 72 thousand revolutions of the Moon, 6 thousands of years."

These things did Bardesan thus compute when desiring to show that this world would stand only six thousands of years (By a certain Philip, disciple of Bardesan. Appendix after The Book of the Laws of Various Countries. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 8. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Hence, he felt that the world would last 6000 years. Though he may not have been a millennialist according to certain Catholic scholars.

Irenaeus, another heretical leader (but one Roman Catholics consider to be a saint), claimed to have met Polycarp of Smyrna. Here is some of what he wrote about this:

Thus, then, the six hundred years of Noah, in whose time the deluge occurred because of the apostasy, and the number of the cubits of the image for which these just men were sent into the fiery furnace, do indicate the number of the name of that man in whom is concentrated the whole apostasy of six thousand years, and unrighteousness, and wickedness, and false prophecy, and deception (Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book V, Chapter 29, Verse 2. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Inasmuch, therefore, as the opinions of certain [orthodox persons] are derived from heretical discourses, they are both ignorant of God's dispensations , and of the mystery of the resurrection of the just , and of the [ earthly ] kingdom which is the commencement of incorruption, by means of which kingdom those who shall be worthy are accustomed gradually to partake of the divine nature (capere Deum ); and it is necessary to tell them respecting those things, that it behoves the righteous first to receive the promise of the inheritance which God promised to the fathers, and to reign in it, when they rise again to behold God in this creation which is renovated , and that the judgment should take place afterwards (Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book V, Chapter 32, Verse 1. Translated by Alexander Roberts and William Rambaut. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1885.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103532.htm>.).

And again He says, "Whosoever shall have left lands, or houses, or parents, or brethren, or children because of Me, he shall receive in this world an hundred-fold, and in that to come he shall inherit eternal life." For what are the hundred-fold [rewards] in this word, the entertainments given to the poor, and the suppers for which a return is made? These are [to take place] in the times of the kingdom, that is, upon the seventh day, which has been sanctified, in which God rested from all the works which He created, which is the true Sabbath of the righteous, which they shall not be engaged in any earthly occupation; but shall have a table at hand prepared for them by God, supplying them with all sorts of dishes (Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book V, Chapter 33, Verse 2. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

That the whole creation shall, according to God's will, obtain a vast increase, that it may bring forth and sustain fruits such [as we have mentioned], Isaiah declares: "And there shall be upon every high mountain, and upon every prominent hill, water running everywhere in that day, when many shall perish, when walls shall fall. And the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, seven times that of the day, when He shall heal the anguish of His people, and do away with the pain of His stroke." Now "the pain of the stroke" means that inflicted at the beginning upon disobedient man in Adam, that is, death; which [stroke] the Lord will heal when He raises us from the dead, and restores the inheritance of the fathers, as Isaiah again says: "And thou shall be confident in the LORD, and He will cause thee to pass over the whole earth, and feed thee with the inheritance of Jacob thy father." This is what the Lord declared: "Happy are those servants whom the Lord when He cometh shall find watching. Verily I say unto you, that He shall gird Himself, and make them to sit down [to meat], and will come forth and serve them. And if He shall come in the evening watch, and find them so, blessed are they, because He shall make them sit down, and minister to them; or if this be in the second, or it be in the third, blessed are they." Again John also says the very same in the Apocalypse: "Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection." Then, too, Isaiah has declared the time when these events shall occur; he says: "And I said, Lord, how long? Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses be without men, and the earth be left a desert. And after these things the LORD shall remove us men far away (longe nos faciet Deus homines), and those who shall remain shall multiply upon the earth." Then Daniel also says this very thing: "And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of those under the heaven, is given to the saints of the Most High God, whose kingdom is everlasting, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him." And lest the promise named should be understood as referring to this time, it was declared to the prophet: "And come thou, and stand in thy lot at the consummation of the days." Now, that the promises were not announced to the prophets and the fathers alone, but to the Churches united to these from the nations (Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book V, Chapter 34, Verses 2-3. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

For all these and other words were unquestionably spoken in reference to the resurrection of the just, which takes place after the coming of Antichrist, and the destruction of all nations under his rule; in [the times of] which [resurrection] the righteous shall reign in the earth, waxing stronger by the sight of the Lord: and through Him they shall become accustomed to partake in the glory of God the Father, and shall enjoy in the kingdom intercourse and communion with the holy angels, and union with spiritual beings; and [with respect to] those whom the Lord shall find in the flesh, awaiting Him from heaven, and who have suffered tribulation, as well as escaped the hands of the Wicked one (Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book V, Chapter 35, Verse 1. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Thus Irenaeus clearly taught that after 6,000 years of human reign that there was to be a physical kingdom of God on the earth and that resurrected saints would reign in that kingdom. He also taught:

But when this Antichrist shall have devastated all things in this world, he will reign for three years and six months, and sit in the temple at Jerusalem; and then the Lord will come from heaven in the clouds, in the glory of the Father, sending this man and those who follow him into the lake of fire; but bringing in for the righteous the times of the kingdom, that is, the rest, the hallowed seventh day; and restoring to Abraham the promised inheritance, in which kingdom the Lord declared, that "many coming from the east and from the west should sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." (Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book V, Chapter 30:4)

Here Irenaeus is teaching that the seventh one thousand years begins after the final Antichrist has reigned for 3 1/2 years.

Even though he held some odd ideas, even Justin Martyr had learned about the millennium:

But I and others, who are right-minded Christians on all points, are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will then be built, adorned, and enlarged, the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and others declare.

For Isaiah spake thus concerning this space of a thousand years: 'For there shall be the new heaven and the new earth, and the former shall not be remembered, or come into their heart; but they shall find joy and gladness in it, which things I create'...For as Adam was told that in the day he ate of the tree he would die, we know that he did not complete a thousand years. We have perceived, moreover, that the expression, 'The day of the Lord is as a thousand years,' is connected with this subject. And further, there was a certain man with us, whose name was John, one of the apostles of Christ, who prophesied, by a revelation that was made to him, that those who believed in our Christ would dwell a thousand years in Jerusalem; and that thereafter the general, and, in short, the eternal resurrection and judgment of all men would likewise take place (Dialogue. Chapters 80-81).

Thus, Justin is condemning any who do not believe in a literal thousand year reign as not “right-minded Christians” or non-believers. The second century leaders who professed Christ, including some heretical ones, clearly believed in the teaching that Christ would return and reign for a thousand years on the earth.

The Church of God leader (who is considered to be a saint by the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholics), Melito of Sardis taught the millennium (Danielou, Cardinal Jean-Guenole-Marie. The Theology of Jewish Christianity. Translated by John A. Baker. The Westminister Press, 1964). Here is more information about Melito's views:

A few years after Saint Justin’s death, and in the surrounding areas of Ephesus, Melito of Sardis, a well-known bishop and his followers defended millennialism.  He undoubtedly borrowed some of his theories from his compatriot, Papias and relied on the Apocalypse. (Gry L. Le millenarisme dans ses origines et son developpement. Alphonse Picard, Paris, 1904, p. 81. Translated into English by Gisele Gaudet, March 2015.)

A Catholic report interestingly stated:

St. Jerome (PL 25, 1529 & 1536-7) speaking of how the Judaeo-Christians celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles . . . tells us that they gave the feast a millenarian significance. ((Bagatti, Bellarmino.  Translated by Eugene Hoade. The Church from the Circumcision. Nihil obstat: Marcus Adinolfi. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 26 Junii 1970.  Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, p. 202)

We in the Continuing Church of God still keep the Feast of Tabernacles and teach it helps portray that millennial reign of Jesus

(Two articles of related interest may include Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism and a 6000 Year Plan? and The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? )

10. Truth About the Holy Spirit

In his sermon, Herbert Armstrong 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).

The psalmist wrote:

“You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the earth” (Psalm 104:30).

God’s creative, animating power was at work in the renewing of the face of the earth and the restoration of life upon it as recounted in Genesis 1 (cf. Genesis 1:1). Also:

“But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding” (Job 32:8).

In this verse, “spirit” is from the Hebrew ruach; while “breath” is a translation of the Hebrew word neshamah. However, in this instance, neshamah should also be translated “spirit,” because it is through God’s Spirit that He imparts to us spiritual understanding (1 Corinthians 2:11–14). By searching the spirit in man, God uncovers the very thoughts and intents of our hearts (Proverbs 20:27). It is through the Holy Spirit dwelling in us that God is able to impress within us His character, as we submit to His will (Romans 8:4, 13–14; Galatians 5:22–23).

Around 108 A.D., Ignatius of Antioch referred to the Father as God and Jesus as God (see Binitarian article) , but not the Holy Spirit. Actually, here is what he taught about the Holy Spirit:

...using as a rope the Holy Spirit (Ignatius. Letter to the Ephesians, 9:1. In Holmes M.W. The Apostolic Fathers, Greek Texts and English Translations. Baker Books, Grand Rapids (MI), 2004, p.143).

For our God, Jesus Christ, was conceived by Mary according to God's plan, both from the seed of David and of the Holy Spirit (Ignatius. Letter to the Ephesians, 18:2, p.149).

appointed by the mind of Jesus Christ, whom he, in accordance with his own will securely established by his Holy Spirit...the Spirit is not deceived as it is from God (Ignatius. Letter to the Philadelphians. 0:1,7:1, pp.177,181).

Referring to the Holy Spirit as it and a rope suggests that it is the power of God and not a person.

Also, Polycarp (famous bishop of Smyrna and disciple of the Apostle John) specifically called the Father God and Jesus God (see Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians), he never referred to the Holy Spirit that way. Here is the only extant direct quote from Polycarp that clearly mentions the Holy Spirit:

I bless you because you have considered me worthy of this day and hour, that I might receive a place among the number of martyrs in the cup of your Christ, to the resurrection of eternal life, both of soul and of body, in the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit. May I be received among them in your presence today, as a rich and acceptable sacrifice, as you have prepared and revealed beforehand, and have now accomplished, you who are the faithful and true God. For this reason, indeed for all things, I praise you, I bless you, I glorify you, through the eternal and heavenly High-priest, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom to you with him and the Holy Spirit be glory both now and for the ages to come. Amen (The Martyrdom of Polycarp, 14:2-3. In Holmes M.W. The Apostolic Fathers, Greek Texts and English Translations. Baker Books, Grand Rapids (MI), 2004, p.143).

Athenagoras was an Athenian philosopher who became an apologist. Around 170 A.D. he wrote:

The Holy Spirit...which operates in the prophets, we assert to be an effluence of God, flowing from Him, and returning back again like a beam of the sun...Who, then, would not be astonished to hear men who speak of God the Father, and of God the Son, and of the Holy Spirit and who declare both their power in union and their distinction in order, called atheists? (Athenagoras. A Plea for the Christians, Chapter X. Translated by B.P. Pratten. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Notice that Athenagoras calls the Father and the Son both God, but never does so concerning the Holy Spirit, which he calls an effluence.

Furthermore, Melito of Sardis was a leader who Polycrates claimed to be faithful to the teachings he learned from the Apostle John and Polycarp. And here is what Melito (whom Catholics and others consider to be a saint) wrote:

No eye can see Him, nor thought apprehend Him, nor language describe Him; and those who love Him speak of Him thus: `Father, and God of Truth" (Melito. A Discourse Which Was in the Presence of Antoninus Caesar).

Melito also wrote, "For the deeds done by Christ after His baptism, and especially His miracles, gave indication and assurance to the world of the Deity hidden in His flesh. For, being at once both God and perfect man likewise...He concealed the signs of His Deity, although He was the true God existing before all ages" (Melito. On the Nature of Christ. From Roberts and Donaldson).

This clearly shows that Melito considered Christ to be God, as well as the Father. There is no indication in any of the surviving writings of Melito that he considered that the Holy Spirit was also God. His writings, like those of Ignatius and Polycarp, suggest that the Holy Spirit was simply the power of God as he wrote:

The tongue of the Lord-His Holy Spirit. In the Psalm: "My tongue is a pen." (Melito. From the Oration on Our Lord's Passion, IX. Online version copyright © 2001 Peter Kirby. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/melito.html 7/26/06).

The finger of the Lord-the Holy Spirit, by whose operation the tables of the law in Exodus are said to have been written (Melito. From the Oration on Our Lord's Passion. Online version copyright © 2001 Peter Kirby. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/melito.html 7/26/06).

Since God had the written the ten commandments Himself (Exodus 31:18), this shows that Melito only considered the Holy Spirit to be the power of God, not a separate person.

(An article of related interest may include Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity?)

11. Begotten Now

In his sermon, Herbert Armstrong 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).

The Apostle Peter wrote:

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)

In the third century, Hippolytus (the greatest of the early theologians according to Roman Catholic scholars) understood that we are begotten by the Holy Spirit at baptism. Notice what he wrote:

This is the Spirit that was given to the apostles in the form of fiery tongues. This is the Spirit that David sought when he said, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." Of this Spirit Gabriel also spoke to the Virgin, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee." By this Spirit Peter spake that blessed word, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." By this Spirit the rock of the Church was stablished. This is the Spirit, the Comforter, that is sent because of thee, that He may show thee to be the Son of God.

Come then, be begotten again, O man, into the adoption of God...For he who comes down in faith to the layer of regeneration, and renounces the devil, and joins himself to Christ; who denies the enemy, and makes the confession that Christ is God; who puts off the bondage, and puts on the adoption,--he comes up from the baptism brilliant as the sun, flashing forth the beams of righteousness, and, which is indeed the chief thing, he returns a son of God and joint-heir with Christ (Hippolytus. The Discourse on the Holy Theophany, Chapters 9,10. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Also, even in the fourth century, it was understood that Christians are first begotten, that Jesus was the first born of the dead, and that we become born again later. For even though he had other heretical ideas, Athanasius apparently understood this as he wrote,

For God not only created them to be men, but called them to be sons, as having begotten them. For the term 'begat' is here as elsewhere expressive of a Son, as He says by the Prophet, 'I begat sons and exalted them;' and generally, when Scripture wishes to signify a son, it does so, not by the term 'created,' but undoubtedly by that of 'begat.' And this John seems to say, 'He gave to them power to become children of God, even to them that believe on His Name; which were begotten not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.' And here too the cautious distinction is well kept up, for first he says 'become,' because they are not called sons by nature but by adoption; then he says 'were begotten,' because they too had received at any rate the name of son...He became man, that, as the Apostle has said, He who is the 'Beginning' and 'First-born from the dead, in all things might have the preeminence...He said to be 'First-born from the dead,' not that He died before us, for we had died first; but because having undergone death for us and abolished it, He was the first to rise, as man, for our sakes raising His own Body. Henceforth He having risen, we too from Him and because of Him rise in due course from the dead...He is called 'First-born among many brethren' because of the relationship of the flesh, and 'First-born from the dead,' because the resurrection of the dead is from Him and after Him...And as He is First-born among brethren and rose from the dead 'the first fruits of them that slept;' so, since it became Him 'in all things to have the preeminence (Athanasius. Discourse II Against the Arians, Chapters 59,60,61,63,64. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 4. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1892. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Thus the idea of being begotten when converted and being born again at the resurrection is not a relatively new one among professing Christians.

(An article of related interest may include Born Again: A Question of Semantics?)

12. Born-Again at Resurrection

In his 12/17/83 sermon, Herbert Armstrong 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)."

Jesus taught:

6 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." (John 3:6-8)

The Apostle Paul wrote:

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed -- 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:50-54)

Notice what Theophilus of Antioch wrote,

But the moon wanes monthly, and in a manner dies, being a type of man; then it is born again, and is crescent, for a pattern of the future resurrection" (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 2, Chapter XV. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

As mentioned before, even in the fourth century, it was understood that Christians are first begotten, that Jesus was the first born of the dead, and that we become born again later. Athanasius wrote:

For God not only created them to be men, but called them to be sons, as having begotten them. For the term 'begat' is here as elsewhere expressive of a Son, as He says by the Prophet, 'I begat sons and exalted them;' and generally, when Scripture wishes to signify a son, it does so, not by the term 'created,' but undoubtedly by that of 'begat.' And this John seems to say, 'He gave to them power to become children of God, even to them that believe on His Name; which were begotten not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.' And here too the cautious distinction is well kept up, for first he says 'become,' because they are not called sons by nature but by adoption; then he says 'were begotten,' because they too had received at any rate the name of son...He became man, that, as the Apostle has said, He who is the 'Beginning' and 'First-born from the dead, in all things might have the preeminence...He said to be 'First-born from the dead,' not that He died before us, for we had died first; but because having undergone death for us and abolished it, He was the first to rise, as man, for our sakes raising His own Body. Henceforth He having risen, we too from Him and because of Him rise in due course from the dead...He is called 'First-born among many brethren' because of the relationship of the flesh, and 'First-born from the dead,' because the resurrection of the dead is from Him and after Him...And as He is First-born among brethren and rose from the dead 'the first fruits of them that slept;' so, since it became Him 'in all things to have the preeminence (Athanasius. Discourse II Against the Arians, Chapters 59,60,61,63,64. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 4. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1892. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Thus the idea of being begotten when converted and being born again at the resurrection is not a relatively new one among professing Christians.

(An article of related interest may include Born Again: A Question of Semantics?)

13. Identity of Israel

In his sermon, Herbert Armstrong 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."

After His resurrection, Jesus told the disciples:

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19).

While the Apostle Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, it was the Apostle Peter who was the apostles to those of Israel (the circumcision) as Paul wrote:

7 But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter 8 (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles) (Galatians 2:7-8).

Peter did not ignore the fact that he was sent to those of Israel. Notice what the Apostle Peter wrote:

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father (1 Peter 1:1-2).

The “Dispersion” or the Diaspora had been a term used to refer to those Israelites who are not located in the area of Palestine.

The author of the Book of James also wrote to those who were scattered:

1 James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad (James 1:1).

Thus James was apparently acknowledging that the twelve tribes of Israel (or possibly their spiritual descendants) were scattered in many places.

(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

In his sermon, Herbert Armstrong 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."

Jesus taught:

24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21:24)

Knowing who is now Israel helps us to better grasp who will be leading during the final time of the Gentiles (see also When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? What is the Time of the Gentiles?).

The Apostle Paul wrote:

10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. (Colossians 3:10-11)

The Scythians are contrasted with the barbarians above--the Scythians included descendants of Israel. The first century church knew about the Scythians and other locations of the descendants of Israel. This knowledge was lost by most.

Consider also that in the first century, the historian Jewish Josephus noted:

...[W]herefore there are but two tribes in Asia and Europe subject to the Romans, while the ten tribes are beyond Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers. (Josephus, Flavius. Antiquities of the Jews, 11:5:2, p. 234 )

So, Josephus recognized that the ten tribes were still not part of Judea. He essentially seemed to believe that they were all part of and/or mixed with the Scythians. Some were, but others had already migrated by the time Josephus wrote this. Many of the Ephraimites and Reubenites were under Roman domination, as well as some of the Manassehites in the first century. But the fact is that during the time of Jesus, Josephus DID NOT believe that the ‘ten lost tribes’were part of Judea of the Roman Empire. This is something that James knew as well (James 1:1).

Thus, in the first century A.D., it was known that there were descendants of the tribes of Israel, who were not Jewish, that lived in many lands. The fact that they would be likely to have descendants that are alive today (who are not Jews) is not considered to be of major consequence to most non-Church of God theologians.

Yet, those who misunderstand are ignoring prophecies that the Bible teaches must somehow come to pass.

For one example, understand that the Apostle John recorded that the different tribes have prophetic implications as only 12 of the 13 are sealed in Revelation 7:4-8 (Dan is missing). Also, the listing of the 12 specified tribes in Revelation 7:4-8 shows that their descendants still exist after the sixth seal of Revelation is opened (Revelation 6:12-17; 7:1-3). Most of how much more they may known was lost, but has been restored in the 20th and 21st centuries.

(An article of possibly related interest may include Anglo - America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel.)

15. Second and Third Tithe

Herbert Armstrong 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).

Jesus taught that tithing should be done (Matthew 23:23).

The children of Israel paid multiple tithes. Jewish historian Josephus wrote:

"Besides those two tithes, which I have already said you are to pay every year, the one for the Levites, the other for the festivals, you are to bring every third year, a third tithe to be distributed to those that want" (Antiquities of the Jews. Book IV, Chapter VIII, Paragraph 22).

Another secular writer confirmed this even earlier, before the time of Jesus in the flesh, in Tobit 1:6-8:

"Taking the first fruits and the tithes of my produce and the first shearings, I would give these to the priests, the sons of Aaron, at the altar. Of all my produce I would give a tenth to the sons of Levi who ministered at Jerusalem; a second tenth I would sell, and I would go and spend the proceeds each year at Jerusalem; the third tenth I would give to those to whom it was my duty".

After Jesus came, in the second century, the Jewish authorities in the Tosefta condemned the Judeo-Christians and their tithes (Tofseta Hullin 2:20, as cited in Kessler E. An Introduction to Jewish-Christian Relations. Cambridge University Press, 2010, p. 79), thus signalling that tithing was being done.

It has also been reported:

We trace the existance of tithes in the second Church founded by Noah, and from that infer them in the primitive patriarchical Church; we find them minutely explained by the Mosaic dispensation, and we regularly and clearly trace them down to the Advent...we directly cover them attendant on the progress of Christianity--they accompany her from Jerusalem to Greece, to Rome, to Gaul, and to Britain. (Williams D. 'Tithes', 'justified and explained.' 1831 Original from Oxford University, Digitized April 4, 2006 p. 11)

The Catholic Encyclopedia claims:

The payment of tithes was adopted from the Old Law, and early writers speak of it as a divine ordinance and an obligation of conscience (Fanning, William. Tithes. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. Nihil Obstat. July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 1 Nov. 2012 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14741b.htm>).

(An article of related interest may include Is Third Tithe Still Valid Today?)

16. Identity of Babylon and Her Daughters

In his sermon, Herbert Armstrong 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."

The Book of Revelation warns about Babylon and her offspring:

4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. 5 And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.

7 But the angel said to me, "Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. ... 9 "Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits ... 18 And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth." Revelation 17:4-7,9,18)

18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666. (Revelation 13:18)

Polycarp, a disciple of the Apostle John, may have been the first Christian leader who specifically identified a leader of the Roman Empire with the number 666 (please see the article SDA/CCOG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666), although it is likely to have been John himself. Polycarp even once went to Rome in the second century to warn the Roman Bishop Anicetus not to observe Passover on a Sunday as well as to denounce the one who first tried to teach that the Christian Godhead existed as three hypostases (Valentinus).

On a related note, in the late second century, Irenaeus, who claimed to have met Polycarp, wrote:

Valentinus came to Rome in the time of Hyginus, flourished under Pius, and remained until Anicetus. Cerdon, too . . . Marcion, then, succeeding him, flourished under Anicetus...

But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna . . . always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic Churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time -- a man who was of much greater weight, and a more stedfast witness of truth, than Valentinus, and Marcion, and the rest of the heretics. He it was who, coming to Rome in the time of Anicetus caused many to turn away from the aforesaid heretics to the Church of God, proclaiming that he had received this one and sole truth from the apostles... (Irenaeus. Adversus Haeres. Book III, Chapter 4, Verse 3 and Chapter 3, Verse 4).

Then also Lateinos (LATEINOS) has the number six hundred and sixty-six; and it is a very probable [solution], this being the name of the last kingdom [of the four seen by Daniel]. For the Latins are they who at present bear rule: I will not, however, make any boast over this (Irenaeus. Against Heresies. Book V, Chapter 30, Verse 3).

It should thus be clear that the idea of tying the Latin leader of Rome with 666 and the last worldly kingdom prophesied by Daniel has been around for ages.

Now, in the third century, the Catholic Bishop Hippolytus believed that Antichrist would be connected to a Roman Empire:

49. By the beast, then, coming up out of the earth, he means the kingdom of Antichrist...the empire of Rome was established, he too will rule and govern, sanctioning everything by it, and taking greater glory to himself...For he will act with vigour again, and prove strong by reason of the laws established by him; and he will cause all those who will not worship the image of the beast to be put to death. (Hippolytus on Christ and Antichrist.. Translated by J.H. MacMahon. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0516.htm>

Notice what the Catholic Cardinal Newman wrote about the Roman pontiff being the Antichrist in the 19th century:

Now, one of the first questions which it is natural to ask on entering upon the subject is, whereas the Pope is said to be Antichrist, sometimes from the fourth, sometimes from the seventh century, when was he first detected and denounced, and by whom?

On this point Dr. Todd supplies us with much information, from which it appears that the belief that the Pope was Antichrist was the conclusion gradually formed and matured out of the belief that the Church of Rome was Babylon, by three heretical bodies, between the eleventh and sixteenth centuries, in consequence of their being submitted to persecution for their opinions:

"In the middle of the eleventh century, numerous emigrants from Thrace and the East had established themselves in the north of Italy, and especially in the neighbourhood of Milan; and some, despising a fixed habitation, or unable to obtain one, itinerated throughout various parts of France and Germany. The doctrines of these sects exhibit various shades of extravagance and error, and appear to have had a close affinity with the Oriental Manichees or Paulicians, from whom they are historically descended...they despised all external religion, ridiculed the office and powers of the priesthood, the efficacy of the Sacraments, and especially the use of baptism." -- Pp. 28-30.

These were the Albigenses, the first of the three independent families of heresy above mentioned . . . It would appear from these that the Albigenses founded their opposition to the Church on a Manicheaan principle, viz., that, as there was an evil deity, and he the author of the visible world, so was he author also of the visible Church, which in consequence was "the devil's basilica and synagogue of Satan," and, in the language of the Apocalypse, "the mother of fornications." (Newman JH. The Protestant Idea of Antichrist. [British Critic, Oct. 1840]. Newman Reader -- Works of John Henry Newman. Copyright © 2004 by The National Institute for Newman Studies. http://www.newmanreader.org/works/essays/volume2/antichrist1.html viewed 12/03/07).

What the Cardinal seems to be teaching is that beginning in the fourth-seventh century one or two groups apparently began to feel that the Pontifex Maximus was an antichrist and that one who calls himself Pontifex Maximus may be the final antichrist. The Roman bishops did not refer to themselves by the pagan title of Pontifex Maximus (literally meaning the "greatest bridge-builder" between mortals and the gods) until the late 4th century--hence that it probably why they began to be referred to as "anti-Christ" or at least his representative back then.

(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

In his 12/17/83 sermon, Herbert Armstrong 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 don’t think they're willing, either, as far as that goes."

Satan has guilt and will be punished:

44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. (John 8:44-45)

9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:9)

1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. (Revelation 20:1-3)

In the first and second century, Polycarp of Smyrna also knew that Satan was behind sin:

“For whosoever does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is antichrist”(1 John 4:3), and whosoever does not confess the testimony of the cross, is of the devil; and whosoever perverts the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts, and says that there is neither a resurrection nor a judgment, he is the first-born of Satan. (Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians, Chapter VII. Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1 as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson; American Edition, 1885; Reprint Hendrickson Publishers, 1999, pp. 33-36).

(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." (Three articles of related interest may include Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups that Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries?, Polycarp of Smyrna: The Heretic Fighter, 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).

But we are also warned against trying to consider that false Christians are Christian:

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people." 17 Therefore "Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you." 18 'I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty." (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. 2 And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! 3 For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury." 4 And I heard another voice from heaven saying, "Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. 6 Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. 7 In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, 'I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.' 8 Therefore her plagues will come in one day — death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her. (Revelation 18:1-8)

Hence we are NOT part of the ecumenical movement.

In the first and second century, Polycarp of Smyrna also knew that the majority where not faithful:

Wherefore, forsaking the vanity of many, and their false doctrines, let us return to the word which has been handed down to us from the beginning (Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians, Chapter VII. Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1 as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson; American Edition, 1885; Reprint Hendrickson Publishers, 1999, pp. 33-36).

As far as the ecumenical and interfaith movements go, check out Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction!, Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? (And the Protestants) and Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction?

Conclusion

Getting back to his 12/17/83 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.

It is not only Sardis. The Laodicean churches often do not hold to the 18 truths nor do they properly fulfill the 'mission of the Philadelphia church era.' They compromise, overlook aspects of integrity, and/or are not truly commited to proclaim the Gospel of of the Kingdom of God to the world as a witness (Matthew 24:14). They have a lukewarm work that Jesus condemns (Revelation 3:14-18).

But a remnant of the Philadelphia era remains.

It should be noted that Herbert W. Armstrong did not explictly claim to have restored "ALL THINGS" (Matthew 17:11, see also The Elijah Heresies) and claim nothing else was left to be restored, only that God used him to restore various things, like these 18 truths.

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.

Here are links to a related two-part sermon: The 18 Restored Truths: 1-8 and The 18 Restored Truths: 9-18.

Note: Some who believe that God used Herbert Armstrong to restore the 18 truths, actually use a list that he did not come up with. The Tkach list left out numbers 10,16,17,18 which made it easier for them to come together with the Protestant churches. For more information, check out the article The 18 Restored Truths: Do You Know What the First Changes the Tkach Administration Made?

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