What’s Ahead for UCG, COGWA, and COGA?

Laodicea has many ineffective structures


The United Church of God (UCG) has had a difficult past 11 months.  From resignations of its president and various board members, to losing most of its Latin American members, to losing other congregations, to having elders even decline to accept being on its top body called the Council of Elders.

On December 23, 2010, UCG posted the following:

We believe that the current long and hard trial within the United Church of God is nearing its end.

We will all see if the crisis in UCG is almost over now or not–it certainly did not seem to be nearing its end on December 23.  UCG has lost dozens of ministers since then.  But there are bigger issues.

At least three semi-related groups have formed out of this mess.  Church of God – America (Leon Walker and Larry Salyer, et al), International Ambassador Outreach (Leon Walker, Larry Salyer, Ken Giese, et al), and Church of God , a Worldwide Association (Richard Thompson, Ken Giese, et al)–how well they will cooperate in the future is a questions (and COGA may already be gone and may be part of COGaWA–we will see what the conference next week will bring).  And there are a few other groups that are more “independent” as well.

I have reported about several of those groups and have severe doubts that they will do much as far as fulfilling Matthew 24:14 is concerned.  That scripture states:

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, NKJV)

So, if UCG, COGA, IAO, COGWA, etc. are not likely to do much with that, who is?  Well as regular readers of this page are aware, the Living Church of God has reached more people via television and lectures than any other COG (and possibly more than all of the COGs combined).  LCG also seems to have had the most baptisms of any group that had origins in the old WCG (cf. Matthew 7:15-20).

Now, getting back to Matthew 24:14, if UCG and the related groups have little part in fulfilling it, what is there role since as Matthew 24:14 says, the end comes afterwards?

Those groups, presuming that they still exist at the end, (though not necessarily all of their members as they still may have some Philadelphians in their midst) will not, unlike the Philadelphians (Revelation 3:7-10) be protected from the Great Tribulation and thus suffer through that.

And while most in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand will likely die and/or be taken captive, those in those lands and around the rest of the world who do not die will have a difficult end time role.

Now, I am fully aware that by writing what I have written some will not criticize me.  But, I believe that it is showing love of the brethren to point out that non-Philadelphians are NOT promised protection by Jesus in His messages to the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3.

Yet, There Will Be a Non-Philadelphian Work During the Time of the Great Tribulation

Since they will be subject to the “hour of trial” that includes the Great Tribulation, the non-Philadelphias will in essence have one or two works during this time.

Jesus condemns the Church of the Laodiceans because they have a work that is lukewarm and not one that is cold or hot (Revelation 3:14-15).  All the Churches of Revelation 2 & 3, except Smyrna, which has died out, and Philadelphia, a portion of which remains are all criticized for their work and/or behavior.Many had a lukewarmness towards the work. This lukewarmness towards the work of God, while existing to some degree by some throughout history, became more prevalent after the death of Herbert W. Armstrong in 1986.

Over time, it has become clearer and clearer who were representing the gospel proclaiming, faithful Philadelphians, and who choose to have differing types of Laodicean works.  The fruits of the leaders in UCG, COGA, IAO, COGW, etc. suggest to me at least, that they are not Philadelphian.

Although people associated with Laodicea seem to be pleased with their lukewarm works, Christ clearly is not–and He will have them change or else (Revelation 3:14-19).

I believe that, during the tribulation, the Laodiceans and others, remnants of Thyatira and Sardis will become more fully involved in the work of God whether or not they know that now.  Some will be hot, persecuted and probably martyred while others will be cold, denying the faith.

Satan the dragon will unleash persecution against that part of the true Church that is not protected.

17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:17).

So during this time, the work of Laodicea, Sardis, and Thyatira will essentially show that they can still keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.  That will be part of the “patience of the saints” (Revelation 14:12).

I also suspect that some of these people will also help the two witnesses during this time as well by providing places to stay, food, and even probably encouragement.  Additionally, I believe that the offspring of the church which is subject to persecution will also be providing the testimony of Jesus Christ to some who will respond to the message of the two witnesses as well.

Notice that the Bible shows that ten-horned beast ends up with the remaining saints for that 3 ½ years:

24 The ten horns are ten kings Who shall arise from this kingdom.  And another shall rise after them;  He shall be different from the first ones, And shall subdue three kings. 25 He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time (Daniel 7:24-25).

1 And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns…4 Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” 5 And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. 6 Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. 7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them (Revelation 13:4-7).

The Bible does teach that the faithful who are killed will be blest (Revelation 14:13).  Circumstances suggest that they might, to a degree, help a multitude of people come out this tribulation (cf. Revelation 7:9,14).

So, there will be several works being done by the true Church during the Great Tribulation.  However, since Jesus condemns all the remaining Churches in Revelation 2 & 3 at the end, except the Philadelphian portion, then Christians should strive to be Philadelphian in holding fast to true doctrine while also placing their whole beings into supporting the work of that era to complete its mission as taught by Jesus in Matthew 24:14.

Remember that seven times related to the seven Churches of Revelation 2 & 3, Jesus states:

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7,11,17,29:3:6,13,22).

Thus the biblical messages to each of the churches is important for people to heed.  People need to ask themselves which church they should support.

Do they want to “persevere” (Revelation 3:10) with the group that does the Philadelphia work?  Or do they want to be part of the “people decide” group that Christ will vomit from His mouth (Revelation 3:16)?

I believe that those affected by this crisis who wish to support a more effective gospel-proclaiming organization should consider LCG.  And no, I am not on LCG’s payroll and no one at LCG asked me to write this.  I am praying, however, that readers will carefully check out the scriptures to see if what I have written is so.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, and Roderick C. Meredith on Church Government What form of governance did the early church have? Was it hierarchical? Which form of governance would one expect to have in the Philadelphia remnant? The people decide and/or committee forms, odd dictatorships, or the same type that the Philadelphia era itself had?
Unity: Which COG for You? Why so many groups? Why is there lack of unity in the Churches of God? Has it always been this way? What can/should be done about it?
Differences between the Living Church of God and United Church of God This article provides quotes information from the two largest groups which had their origins in WCG as well as commentary.
There are Many COGs: Why Support the Living Church of God? This is an article for those who wish to more easily sort out the different COGs. It really should be a MUST READ for current and former WCG/GCI members or any interested in supporting the faithful church. It also explains a lot of what the COGs are all about.
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert W. Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and Herbert W. Armstrong expect from evangelists?
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 from 31 A.D. to present: information on all of the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3.
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 Living Church of God.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. These are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG.
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.

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