PCG: Why the Great Falling Away

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Gerald Flurry of the improperly named Philadelphia Church of God (PCG) wrote the following:

Why the Great Falling Away

God’s Church was spiritually wrecked three decades ago. There is one specific reason why.

By Gerald Flurry

Nearly all of God’s people have turned away from Him in this end time. The Apostle Paul prophesied that this great falling away would be a sign of the imminent Second Coming of Jesus Christ! People in the world and in God’s Church have witnessed the rebellion. As a result, all who know the Bible can prove their Savior’s return is near. You don’t have to guess and hope; you can prove and know.

Consider this question: Why the great falling away?

Whether or not you have personal history with this rebellion, understanding why it happened is still extremely relevant. …

The Man of Sin

Remember, the great falling away was prophesied: “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4).

The Church-wide rebellion was a disturbing, terrifying event! There was so much deception and wickedness. The Moffatt translation says Christ won’t come until the rebellion takes place, revealing the lawless one. During the great falling away, the “son of perdition”—a man of sin—is exposed for leading God’s Church off track. Perdition refers to destruction, damnation, perishing, waste and utter ruin. This man placed himself above God and taught God’s people the opposite of what God teaches!

The man of sin is a specific human being. You can know and see him because the great falling away revealed his identity. Paul wrote about him because the Church during his day was confused about the time frame of Christ’s return. I can prove irrefutably who the man of sin is.

Before going further, no, Gerald Flurry cannot “prove irrefutably who the man of sin is” as he got that wrong. Here is some of what he wrote about the “man of sin” in 2014:

Revealing Satan

By Gerald Flurry

2 Thessalonians 2 records a spectacular end-time event in God’s Church. There is nothing like it in all the previous history of the Church!

“And now ye know what [restrains] that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now [restrains] will [restrain], until he be taken out of the way” (verses 6-7).

God has given the Philadelphia Church of God amazing understanding about this verse. On Jan. 16, 1986, a man was taken out of the way. From time to time, God reminds us how important the anniversary of that day is. We can read these scriptures and point out the specific individuals they refer to. What other church can do this?

“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (verse 8). Verses 3-4 say the man of sin will be revealed, but verse 8 specifically says this Wicked (Satan) will be revealed as well.

“Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders” (verse 9). There are signs, lying wonders and power coming from the devil…

The court battle we fought against the Worldwide Church of God to gain the copyrights to Herbert Armstrong’s writings has been a gold mine of information about the devil…

In our court proceedings, Joe Tkach Jr. gave two depositions…

Tkach: “When someone tells you that they’re being used by God in a way that no other human being who has ever lived is being used, I would consider that to be a bit on the heresy side, to say that he received a message from God and then won’t share it with you.”

None of this happened. Mr. Tkach Jr. knew he was lying! … He tried to picture me as a weird prophet you see in Hollywood movies…

When I sat listening to those words during the deposition, I didn’t understand what those lies were all about. But God later revealed to me what it all meant. God always has to reveal these truths to us.

2 Thessalonians 2:4 says this man of sin “Opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”…

I don’t think Joe Tkach Jr. really understood what he was saying or from whom he got these lies. It was Satan talking to us…

“For the mystery of [lawlessness] doth already work: only he who now [restrains] will [restrain], until he be taken out of the way” (verse 7). That “mystery of lawlessness” was there before the man of sin came on the scene. Revelation 3:7-9 call it the synagogue of Satan. The devil was plotting and planning even while Mr. Armstrong was alive. He inspired and directed a group of people to get ready to take over the Church of God. And he succeeded!

The icc says, “[A]s the indwelling Christ works in Paul, so Satan operates in the [man of sin] with the result that his advent is attended by all power to work wonders.”

2 Thessalonians 2:8 shows that the work of Satan will be destroyed, but verse 9 reveals that, first, the man of sin will have “all power and signs and lying wonders.” This is what Joe Tkach Jr. said about me! What a lying wonder! It came right out of 2 Thessalonians 2.

Like false prophet Ronald Weinland, Gerald Flurry is much too much into allegory when he should not be. Whether or not Joe Tkach, Jr. lied, this does not qualify as the “signs and lying wonders” that the Apostle Paul was warning about.

In his book, Malachi’s Message (1995 edition), in the chapter titled “Man of Sin,” Gerald Flurry wrote:

God’s Church has applied 2 Thessalonians 2:4 to the world for the most part. But it doesn’t apply to the world…

“Even him [the “son of perdition”], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9). The word “signs” is rendered “pretended signs” by the Revised Standard Version. This “son of perdition” is heavily influenced by Satan…In 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul discusses signs and lying wonders of a false leader or lying apostle (Revelation 2:2)…

Mr. Tkach was an innermost disciple—more so than other Church leaders—in those last seven years of Mr. Armstrong’s life. The leadership discussed in 2 Thessalonians 2 must be in Pasadena today. (pp. 79,88,89,99)

The Mr. Tkach mentioned by Gerald Flurry in Malachi’s Message was J. Tkach Sr., not his son. Joe Jr. was never anything close to the ‘innermost disciple’ to HWA. Gerald Flurry’s ‘inspiration” for both his conclusions about Sr. and then Jr. being the prophesied “man of sin” are false.

While we may suspect who the ‘man of sin’ is, his identification has not yet been accompanied with signs and lying wonders. Since lying is very common, the Apostle Paul was not simply referring to someone who lied about something–signs and lying wonders are more unique than than.

Sadly, many COGs (if not nearly all) do not understand who the ‘man of sin’ in 2 Thessalonians 2 is (and because of this they will not understand certain end time prophecies; see also Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2?). However, Gerald Flurry may have the most absurd explanation of his alleged identity (though RCG’s David Pack is real close, if not more absurd).

The Continuing Church of God put out the following sermon on its ContinuingCOG channel related to the ‘man of sin’:


In 2 Thessalonians 2, the Apostle Paul writes about one called the man of sin, the son of perdition, the lawless one. Is this person the beast of the sea or the beast of the earth of Revelation 13? Is he the King of the North or the False Prophet? Is he the Antichrist or the papacy? Is he someone in the Church of God? What are various Catholic, Protestant, and Church of God views? Are those views based upon tradition or scripture? Are some views at least partially right? Are the radical preterists right? What about Millenialists and Hal Lindsey? What about ties to the Great Monarch of Catholic and Eastern Orthodox prophecies? What types of signs and lying wonders might accompanying him? Will he advocate the breaking of all ten of the commandments? Why will most who profess Christianity be deceived? Will most non-Philadelphians be misled? What are the biblical facts about the man of sin? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more by covering numerous scriptures and other writings.

Here is a link to the sermon: The Man of Sin will deceive most ‘Christians’. Most Christians do not know the proper identity of the man of sin (for some details, see Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2?).

Those who do not know who the ‘man of sin’ is will not realize that certain end time prophecies are being fulfilled when they are. Because they will not recognize him, they will not be able to properly warn their people nor the world what is happening until it is basically too late. Those who do not know the identity of the man of sin are most likely not going to be protected from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world (cf. Revelation 3:10; 12:14-17).

Now back to Gerald Flurry’s article, he also stated:

Here’s why almost every member of the Worldwide Church of God rebelled after Herbert W. Armstrong died in 1986: “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11). The Philips translation says, “They have refused to love the truth.” God’s own people just refuse! They will not obey! God allowed Satan to wreck the Church because the people stopped loving the truth.

“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:12). (Flurry G. Why the Great Falling Away. February 28, 2020)

Now, that is partially correct. Many who were with the old Worldwide Church of God simply did not have a sufficient love of the truth. One of the reasons, however, I said “partially” is that 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11 is for the future and is not only for those who claim to be COG, but for all who are not.

Regarding the falling away, here are some scriptures to consider:

1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3).

7 “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,
Against the Man who is My Companion,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“Strike the Shepherd,
And the sheep will be scattered;
Then I will turn My hand against the little ones.
8 And it shall come to pass in all the land,”
Says the Lord,
“That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die,
But one-third shall be left in it:
9 I will bring the one-third through the fire,
Will refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them.
I will say, ‘This is My people’;
And each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.'” (Zechariah 13:7-9)

While Zechariah 13 seems to have other applications, the fact is that two-thirds of those in the old WCG accepted total apostasy after the death of Herbert W. Armstrong, and about one-third did not, makes the possible application of the Tkach apostasy seem to fit–but NOT the identity of either of the Tkachs as the “man of sin” (for more details, see Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? and/or watch The Man of Sin will deceive most ‘Christians’). The Bible also says that the Laodiceans need to be refined as gold (Revelation 3:14-18) and that what seems to be the Philadelphians and others will need to be refined and purified (Daniel 11:35), with fire involvement (Daniel 11:33), are other reasons to consider that the Tkach apostasy could be the main falling away that was warned about.

Yet, some of those who have changed from the historical position on the falling away have contended that the expression “for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed” means that the falling away must happen at (or very near) the time that the man of sin is revealed.  Thus, some have improperly concluded that the falling away and falling towards the son of perdition is required by 2 Thessalonians 2:3 and could not apply to the Tkack-related falling away.

However, the overall time-frame of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10 spans a very long time.


Because these passages mention that before Jesus returns, there will be a falling away, the man of sin will be revealed, and that Jesus will destroy this man of sin.  Since a man of sin persecutes the saints for at least 3 ½ years (Daniel 7:25), and is probably revealed some time prior to that (like around 3 ½ years or so, per Daniel 9:26-27, though it may take longer to know for certain), verse 3 seems to span no less than seven years.  Also, verse 3 shows the falling away happens “first,” before the final son of perdition is revealed.  Furthermore, since verses 6 & 7 show that something had begun by Paul’s time, nearly 2000 years are covered, in a sense, in these ten verses.  Over time “evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13).

Since the Greek does not clearly give the timeframe between each of the in 2 Thessalonians 2 events, I am not convinced that a particular length (long, short, or none) of a gap between the falling away and the revealing of the man of sin is required.

The fact is that there will be some type of future falling away by believers in Daniel 11:29-36.  Herbert Armstrong, when citing Daniel 11:33-35, stated:

These are the people of God  (Armstrong HW. Falling away, part 2.  World Tomorrow radio broadcast, HA5406.rm).

If one or more of the COGs does balloon up in membership right before the  Great Tribulation (as some have thought, and which may be consistent with certain Catholic prophecies as well as how John Ogwyn seemed to interpret Romans 9:28), then it is possible that a larger falling away from the Church of God will appear right around the time that the man of sin is revealed. And if those two events are supposed to be concurrent, then this may better fit 2 Thessalonians 2:3 than the Tkach-apostasy.

What about the love of many waxing cold? Well, that is a warning from Jesus to Christians, and not just those who completely fell away from the truth. Notice the words of Jesus:

14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,

‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ — and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked — 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (Revelation 3:14-20)

Clearly, according to Jesus, the bulk of end time Christians are NOT right with God and need to change.

Jesus only promised to protect the true Philadelphian Christians from the coming “hour of trial” (Revelation 3:7-10). Philadelphians have proper “love of the brethren” as the term means “brotherly love.”

And it is not those who simply call themselves that who are truly Philadelphian Christians (cf. Revelation 3:9). Since most Christians in the end are not truly part of the Philadelphia remnant of the Church of God, they will not be protected–but end up being subject to Satan’s wrath per Revelation 12:17.

Although Gerald Flurry seems to be mainly relying on his own influenced imagination, most others are relying on improper tradition as opposed to what the Bible teaches when it comes to the man of sin.

Those who wish to understand what the Bible teaches on this, should study the article Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2?

We also have two sermons (watch The Falling Away Part 1: From the Bible and Church History and The Falling Away Part 2: Positions Presented by Others) and an article about the falling away (see The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings).

Some items of possibly related interest may include the following:

Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? Is this the King of the North, the ten-horned beast of Revelation 13:1-11, or the two-horned Beast of Revelation 13:12-16? Some rely on traditions, but what does the Bible teach? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Quién es el Hombre de Pecado de 2 Tesalonicenses 2? Here is a version in Mandarin: N;ÿ Œf/’Y’jNº’ÿ . Here is a link to a related sermon: The Man of Sin will deceive most ‘Christians’.
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” or a variety of other titles make it so. This article provides many quotes from this group which tries to look faithful.
The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings Who is 2 Thessalonians 2:3 referring to? Are there multiple falling aways? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: La Apostasía: Enseñanzas de la Biblia y de la WCG. There are also two YouTube videos on the subject that you can watch The Falling Away Part 1: From the Bible and Church History and The Falling Away Part 2: Positions Presented by Others.
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2020, 2021, or 2022? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede la Gran Tribulación comenzar en el 2020 o 2021? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter and newer video is: Could the Great Tribulation Begin in 2020?
There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra This article discusses a biblical ‘place of safety’ and includes quotes from the Bible and Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject–thus, there is a biblically supported alternative to the rapture theory. There is also a video on the subject: Might Petra be the Place of Safety? Here is something related in the Spanish language: Hay un lugar de seguridad para los Filadelfinos. ¿Puede ser Petra?
What is a True Philadelphian? Many claim to be part of the Philadelphia era of the Church, but is claiming enough? This article has biblical and historical evidence about who really are the Philadelphians.
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 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 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy.
Are the Laodiceans the Modern Sadducees and Pharisees? Discusses similarities of the Sadducees and Pharisees to various COGs in this end-time.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE?
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. Here is a related article in the Spanish language ¿Por qué estar preocupado acerca de falsos y heréticos líderes?
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?
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?
Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word What is the ‘short work’ of Romans 9:28? Who is preparing for it? Here is a link to a related video sermon titled: The Short Work.

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