PCG claims that Herbert W. Armstrong was the Elijah and that he restored all things, but …

Elijah in the wilderness


A while back, PCG’s Joel Hilliker wrote the following:

A sign of Jesus Christ’s return you must not ignore

When He was here in the flesh, Jesus Himself prophesied. And He also gave a number of signs to look for so that true Christians could know when these prophecies, these end-time prophecies, would occur.

Here we will look at one remarkable Bible prophecy that will give you a strong understanding of where we are in end-time events. …

Preparing for Christ’s Return

Malachi 4:5 reads, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” …

“[Elijah] truly shall first come, and restore all things” (Matthew 17:11). …

Once this man from God comes, the Day of the Lord is imminent—and then comes the return of Jesus Christ!

This is a very specific, important and powerful prophecy!

It is connected to another prophecy in Malachi: “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me …” (Malachi 3:1). This too is talking about a human being whom God would use to prepare the way for Christ. In fact, it is the same man described in Malachi 4:5. It is an end-time type of Elijah, a man God promised to send just before the Day of the Lord and the return of Jesus Christ.

Malachi 3 continues: “and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap” (verses 1-2). …

Herbert W. Armstrong expounded on this prophecy in a landmark sermon on Dec. 17, 1983. “As John the Baptist was the physical messenger in the physical wilderness of Jordan, so there would be a messenger with a message—with a voice crying out in the spiritual wilderness of the modern 20th century,” he said. “Preparing the way for … Jesus to come to His spiritual temple [speaking of the Church] … this time to set up the Kingdom of God and to rule.”

Christ said this Elijah would “restore all things.” Mr. Armstrong then noted, “Now John the Baptist didn’t restore anything. They already knew about the law, and he called them to repentance; but he didn’t have to give them sermons about what all the law is. They knew that. He just called them to repent and turn to another way, and baptized them.”

The “restore all things” part of Christ’s statement is at the heart of what makes this the most pivotal end-time prophecy.

There are many end-time prophecies, and people naturally tend to focus on the ones about wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and supernatural disasters. Some people focus on things like blood moons.

But this prophecy is what Jesus Christ focused on.

This prophecy is directly connected with His Second Coming: He said this man would restore all truth within the Church just before the Day of the Lord. This is a sign of the nearness of Jesus Christ’s return that you must not ignore!

And what makes this even more important is that this prophecy has already been fulfilled!

Already Fulfilled

There was a man who fulfilled this preparatory role in the end time. A man who did “restore all things.”

That man was Herbert W. Armstrong. https://www.thetrumpet.com/17486-are-we-in-the-end-time-this-pivotal-end-time-prophecy-shows-yes

Herbert W. Armstrong did restore various doctrinal truths to the COG, but Herbert W. Armstrong did not restore all things–though he did claim to restore at least 18 (see 18 Truths Restored to the Churches of God: Mission of the Philadelphia Church Era).

But, according to the Bible, could Herbert W. Armstrong have been the Elijah to come (Matthew 17)?

Let’s start with Malachi 4:5-6, but as shown in the Jewish Publication Society translation:

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet

Before the coming Of the great and terrible day of the LORD.
And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children,
And the heart of the children to their fathers;
Lest I come and smite the land with utter destruction.

Notice that the Elijah is to come just before the great and terrible day of the LORD, and if he did not come, utter destruction would occur.

Herbert W. Armstrong died in January 16, 1986.

Now let’s see what Herbert W. Armstrong actually wrote about the timing of the final Elijah:

Also Malachi 4:5-6 pictures the Elijah to come at the very end of the Church age (Mystery of the Ages. 1985, p. 349).

When did Herbert W. Armstrong write that the Church age was over? Notice:

At the end of the Church age and 6,000 years from Adam, Christ would return to earth as King of kings and Lord of Lords, ruling all nations, with the saints, for one millennium. (Armstrong HW. What If Adam Had Taken of the Tree of Life? Plan Truth, March 1983)

The “very end” of the Church age was not over 35 years ago! The 6000 years has NOT yet been fulfilled (see also Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End?). Since the “very end of the Church age” has not happened, and Herbert W. Armstrong died decades ago, his writings support that there must be another Elijah. And he was referring to an individual in the Mystery of the Ages.

That being said, sometimes Herbert W. Armstrong did think that he may have fulfilled the Elijah role, but he told the late Dibar Apartian (who told me) that he was NOT the Elijah. Dibar Apartian did not believe that Herbert W. Armstrong was the Elijah when we discussed this several times and he agreed with me about this. Furthermore, essentially on his deathbed, Herbert W. Armstrong admitted to his closest aide, Aaron Dean (who told me this multiple times) that there could be an Elijah to come after he died (see also The Elijah Heresies).

Combining what Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in The Mystery of the Ages and the length of time since his death demonstrates that Herbert W. Armstrong could not have been the final prophesied Elijah.

Now, various ones improperly think that John the Baptist was the prophesied final Elijah and no other was to come (see The Elijah Heresies).

While it is true that John the Baptist was a fulfillment of some of the Elijah prophecies (see Matthew 11:14) and he came “in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17), Jesus taught more on this subject:

1 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. 4 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” 6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. 7 But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” 8 When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

9 Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.”

10 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”

11 Jesus answered and said to them, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. …” (Matthew 17:1-11).

In Matthew 17:11, the term translated “will restore” is the Greek term apokathistemi which means “to reconstitute” or “restore (again)” (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.) and is preceded by the Greek term men which means “truly” in the asseverative sense. In Matthew 11:14 the Greek term mello is used which means “was,”this term is not used in 17:11.

So there is an ‘Elijah’ past – John the Baptist. And Matthew 17:11 does NOT say that “All things” = God’s laws and all the true doctrinal teachings while WARNING His chosen people, Israel, of the Great Tribulation.

Herbert W. Armstrong could not have restored ALL THINGS (Mark 9:12) as scripture and his own writings show he could not have been the final Elijah since he died so long ago. Neither did he nor the Bible define ALL THINGS as Joel Hilliker has.

Since the Bible does teach that there will be an ‘Elijah’ who is alive right before Jesus returns (Malachi 4:5-6), thus it is not possible that Herbert W. Armstrong was the prophesied final Elijah.

Now, presuming Jesus will return within the next couple of decades, then that ‘Elijah’ would need to be alive now. And he would be part of the church that places the highest priority on the truth.

Yet, most Christians seemingly refuse to accept that.

We in the Continuing Church of God are regularly restoring more truth about church history (e.g. see Continuing History of the Church of God and Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church), Jesus (e.g., see Proof Jesus is the Messiah), the Bible (see Who Gave the World the Bible? The Canon: Why do we have the books we now do in the Bible? Is the Bible complete?), doctrine (e.g. see Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God), and prophecy (e.g. see Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation and Do You Hold to Any of These Laodicean Prophetic Errors?). And we have done this more (and in more languages), by far, than any other group in the 21st century (COG or otherwise for that matter). Plus we have restored important truth about why God created anything and His plan for each human (see The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you?).

Was that supposed to happen?


Notice something that Daniel wrote:

4 “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” (Daniel 12:4)

Consider also the admonition of the Apostle Peter:

18 … grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18)

Also consider that any who have already died are not relevant regarding all things to be restored just before the Day of the Lord–only one alive then (who would also be alive now) can possibly fulfill the Elijah role to increase knowledge and restore all things. It is not that others cannot add to knowledge, but what was to be restored in the end has to come from someone who is a real follower of God who is alive at the end. Growth of Christian knowledge did not end by January 16, 1986.

Consider also that the Bible indicates that it is likely that the ‘Elijah’ will be one of the two witnesses.

In the old Radio Church of God, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:

The Two Witnesses

Who are, or will be, these witnesses? …

1st, they “prophesy” or preach a final warning to the world during “1260 days.” …

2nd, at the END of their testimony…it is “the BEAST THAT ASCENDED OUT OF THE BOTTOMLESS PIT” which kills them. …

3rd, after their testimony is ended, and they have been killed and resurrected, it says in verse 14 “the second woe is past.” …

They do the works of Moses and Elijah. …

John the Baptist was NOT Elijah as he plainly said, yet he came in the power and spirit of Elijah, and in that sense he was Elijah. Compare John 1:22, Mat. 11:14, and the explanation in Luke 1:17. So it is likely the two witnesses will be two men who come in the power and spirit of Elijah and Moses or Enoch. (Armstrong HW. What is going to happen! Plain Truth, June-July 1934, p. 7)

Herbert Armstrong gave a speech in May 1967, in which he said the following:

“Verse 3: God will empower His two ‘witnesses’ to proclaim God’s truth for this three-and-one-half years, from the same city of Jerusalem. These two have the same powers that God had given to Moses and Elijah. That is why this Führer and his armies can not stop them. So they will be two men coming ‘in the power and spirit’ of Moses and Elijah – just as John the Baptist came in the ‘power and spirit’ of Elijah, though he was not Elijah.

“Now notice particularly verses 9 and 10: Evidently they shall not be merely speaking to a few people on a street corner – but broadcasting WORLDWIDE! (Armstrong HW. Personal from the Editor. Plain Truth, June 1967, p. 4).

Verse 3, that Herbert Armstrong alluded to, specifically states that the two witnesses will prophesy, as they are prophets:

3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. (Revelation 11:3)

Herbert Armstrong later wrote that he was NOT a prophet:

I have definitely NOT been called to be a PROPHET (Armstrong H. Personal from the Editor, The 19 Year Time Cycles. The Good News of Tomorrow’s World. February, 1972, p. 1).

Since Herbert Armstrong was not a prophet, Elijah was a prophet (1 Kings 18:36), the Elijah to come is to be a prophet (Malachi 4:5), and the two witnesses will be prophets, Herbert W. Armstrong was not the Elijah to come.

The Continuing Church of God put out the following sermon on its ContinuingCOG channel:


Was John the Baptist the prophesied Elijah or at least a type of Elijah? Is there an Elijah to come? Have Sabbatarians been teaching this a long time? What were 18 truths that Herbert W. Armstrong said God had him restore? Was anything to be restored in the last days, consistent with Daniel 12:4 and Matthew 17:11? Was God supposed to restore dreams and prophets in the last days? Did the Worldwide Church of God teach such would happen again? Have we seen signs of Acts 2:17-18 in the Continuing Church of God? Is Bob Thiel the final Elijah or one of the two witnesses? Why or why not? Has there been the restoration of important truths in the CCOG? Is the CCOG at least setting the foundation for the 21st century Elijah? Dr. Thiel gives information relating to all of that in this sermon.

Here is a link to the sermon: 21st Century Elijah.

When Herbert W. Armstrong was directing it, the old Worldwide Church of God (WCG) taught:

These two witnesses are two human beings who are given extraordinary power for 3 1/2 years just prior to Christ’s return (verse 3). If any man attempts to hurt them before their ministry is up, “…fire proceeds out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies” (verse 5). Note how similar this is to the power given to Elijah (II Kings 1:9-15). They also have power over the rainfall, to produce drought and famine as did Elijah (Luke 4:25; I Kings 17:1-7), and to smite the earth with plagues (Rev. 11:6). Their mission will be to give one final warning (Armstrong HW, editor. The Plain Truth Personal Correspondence Department response on the two witnesses to Mr. and Mrs. Thiel. September 13, 1984).

Herbert Armstrong was NOT one of the two witnesses.

Sadly, just as many would not hear Elijah’s nor John the Baptist’s messages, relatively few will pay much attention to the end time Elijah as well.

That is not a surprise as most Christians in the end times were to be Laodicean, and Jesus warned the Laodiceans since they would not ‘get with the program,’ that they would be punished (Revelation 3:14-18).

Of course, if you are willing to believe the truth and do what the Bible teaches, that does not have to include you.

As far as restoration goes, the Continuing Church of God put together the following sermon on its ContinuingCOG channel:


Jesus stated that an Elijah to come would restore all things (Mathew 17:11). Did Herbert W. Armstrong restore anything? Consistent with Daniel 12:4, were there truths that were to be restored in the 21st century? What are some that have been restored? What about church history, the original catholic church, the faith once for all delivered to the saints, and apostolic succession? What were the last days signs of Acts 2:17-18? What about teachings on violent sports, the fulness of the Gentiles, using scores of languages to help fulfill Matthew 24:14, non-trinitarian ramifications, prophetic matters, the identity of the man of sin, Daniel 11:39 and the start of the Great Tribulation, the identity of Samaria, the connection between Habakkuk 2:1-8 and the United States of America, the final phase of the work, the mark of the Beast, and the third resurrection? Has the Continuing Church of God been restoring matters in the 21st century? Dr. Thiel addresses these questions and more.

Here is a link to the sermon: CCOG: Restoring All Things.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Restoring All Things Have all things been restored? Is there restoration going on? Is there supposed to be a 21st century Elijah? Here are links to two related sermons: 21st Century Elijah and CCOG: Restoring All Things.
The Elijah Heresies Does the Bible teach that there will be a future Elijah? Must it be Herbert W. Armstrong? Three related sermons are available Elijah: Prophecies and Heresies, Elijah, Herbert W. Armstrong, and CCOG, and 21st Century Elijah.
Continuing Church of God, Elijah, and Restoring All Things Have all things been restored? Is there restoration going on? Is there supposed to be a 21st century Elijah? Here is a link to a related sermon: 21st Century Elijah and CCOG: Restoring All Things.
The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you? This free online book helps answers some of the biggest questions that human have.
Teachings Unique to the Philadelphia Church of God Simply calling oneself ‘Philadelphia’ does not make one so (see Revelation 3:7-9), nor does Gerald Flurry calling himself “that prophet” make it so. This article provides many quotes from this group which tries to look faithful.
Elijah: Past and Prophesied Information about the original Elijah and some information about the Elijah-related prophecies.
The 18 Restored Truths: Do You Know What the First Changes the Tkach Administration Made? Some have said healing, others other subjects, but probably the first change had to do with eliminating being part of the Philadelphia era. This article documents what those changes were and compares the Tkach list of restored truths to Herbert W. Armstrong’s list of restored truths as well as his Autobiography. This article contains many quotes from Herbert W. Armstrong. Here are links to a related two-part sermon: The 18 Restored Truths: 1-8 and The 18 Restored Truths: 9-18.
18 Truths Restored to the Churches of God: Mission of the Philadelphia Church Era Herbert W. Armstrong wrote that he felt he had restored at least 18 lost truths to the Church, here is Herbert W. Armstrong’s list given 12/17/83. This articles also has links to show that these truths were believed by professors of Christ in earlier times, hence they were not some invention of Herbert Armstrong.Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Lista de Herbert W. Armstrong de las 18 verdades restauradas. As far as the mission goes, here is a link to a sermon: Mission of the Remnant of the Philadelphia Church Era. Here are links to a related two-part sermon: The 18 Restored Truths: 1-8 and The 18 Restored Truths: 9-18.
Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18? Does any church have the confirmed dream and prophetic signs of Acts 2:17-18? Should one? Here is a link in the Spanish language: ¿Tiene la CCOG confirmadas las señales de Hechos 2: 17-18? Here is a link in the French language: Est-ce que l’Église Continue de Dieu confirme les signes d’Actes 2:17-18? A related sermon in the English language is also available: 17 Last Days’ Signs of the Holy Spirit.
Church of God Leaders on Prophets Have there been prophets throughout the church age? Are any supposed to be around in the last days? What have COG leaders stated or written about prophets? Here is a link to a related sermon: Church of God Leaders on Prophets.
How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God There are many false prophets. How can Christians determine who is a true prophet? There is also a sermon-length video titled How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God. Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Cómo determinar si alguien es un verdadero profeta de Dios?
Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders? There have been many false leaders–here is some of why you should be concerned about them.
Who Are The Two Witnesses? What is their job? What does the Bible reveal? What has the Church of God taught on this subject? Might even Roman Catholic prophecies give some clues here? A related sermon is available: Prophecy and the Two Witnesses. Here is a related link in Spanish/español:¿Quiénes son los dos testigos?
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The Philadelphian organization striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God to fulfill Matthew 24:14, Matthew 28:19-20, and Romans 11:25 with literature in over 100 languages.
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots.  They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 50+ Laodicean Prophetic Errors. See also Do You Hold to Any of These Laodicean Prophetic Errors?

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