Friday, September 30, 2016

The Day of Trumpets, and Understanding Our Trials

God has given His Church a gift of understanding of His plan for the salvation of mankind. It is an understanding that the traditional churches of this world and the majority of mankind do not have. He gave us that gift through the teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong, and God was able to use Mr. Armstrong as a tool because Mr. Armstrong was willing to believe God's word, the Bible. Moreover, Mr. Armstrong taught that truth to the Church of God and those God called into the Church by saying, "Don't believe me, believe God, believe your Bible." Thus, the very means by which Mr. Armstrong learned the truth, by believing the Bible, became the very means those who listened to him could come to believe that what he said was the truth - they could prove for themselves in the Bible, following the example of Mr. Armstrong, believing God not man.

Yet, though that knowledge was a gift, it required a price to qualify for it. That price is obedience. The plan of God is illustrated by the holy days. Some in the world, in traditional churches, may think they can learn the lessons and meaning of the holy days by studying them but not keeping them. But that is not how God reveals knowledge. He gives understanding and wisdom to those who believe and obey Him (Psalm 111:10).

The first thing to learn about the holy days is that it is God's will that we keep them. Those who are willing and able to believe what God says are able to prove in the Bible that they should keep them. The next step is obedience. We must actually obey God by observing the holy days. Then we can study the meaning of the holy days and God can open our understanding because He sees we are obeying Him. But the world does not obey Him and cannot understand the meaning of the holy days no matter how much they study them in the Bible.

The Day of Trumpets represents many things. It represents the return of Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:29, 31, Revelation 11:15). It represents the resurrection of the saints at the second coming of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:50-57, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). It also represents the beginning, the duration, and the end of the Day of the Lord, including the seven last plagues (Revelation chapters 8 and 9, Revelation 11:15-19, 15:5-8, Revelation chapters 16, 18, and 19). It represents seven trumpets to sound during the Day of the Lord.

It represents the conclusion of 6,000 years of man ruling himself under Satan's influence and deception, and 6,000 years of the world as a whole being cut off from intimate contact with God and access to God's Holy Spirit. God has designed a 7,000 year plan for teaching mankind the lesson that Satan's way brings suffering and death, but God's way of life brings life and happiness.

This life during the age of man, or you could say the age of Satan, is a life full of trials and suffering. And the world does not know why it is suffering.

Years ago, a Church of God member was talking to me about a trial he was going through, and he said, "I don't understand what God is trying to teach me".

I think that is a common problem in the Church of God.

We all go through trials at one time or another. For some of us, the trials are severe and even frequent and can be long lasting.

We can be comforted by God's promise that our trials will work out for good in the end if we love God. "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" (Romans 8:28).

God can put us through trials for any of several reasons.

It may be that God is correcting us for a fault.

"And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: 'My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.' If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12:5-11).

All trials are not necessarily for the purpose of correcting us for a fault or sin, but some are, and it is good, when a trial comes, to examine ourselves to see if God may be correcting us for a problem.

But some trials are not necessarily correction, but simply a test of our faith. Will we still be faithful to God to trust and obey Him even when things are not going as we want or expect?

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:6-7).

Yet, it is easy to get discouraged when we are going through a trial for a long time and God does not remove the trial or answer our prayers about it. It can seem discouraging if we do not understand the reason for the trial or what God is trying to teach us.

Yet, it may not be necessary, for God's purpose, that we understand the reason for the trial at the time we are going through it. God can still use the trial to teach us things and develop character in us. God can give us the understanding of the reason for the trial at a later time. If we need to understand now, God can give us the understanding now. But if we do not need to understand right now, God may delay giving us the understanding. He can give us the understanding later.

So if you are going through a trial, don't be discouraged if you don't understand it right now. By all means, seek understanding through prayer, Bible study, and fasting if necessary. But if God does not reveal the reason right away, don't be discouraged. God will reveal the reason when you need to know it.

There is an example in the Bible of a man who did not understand his trial while he was going through it. But God worked it for good in the end. In fact, for God's purpose, it was better that God did not reveal the purpose of the trial when the trial was going on.

The example is Job.

You know the story.

Job was righteous before God, and God blessed him (Job 1:1-3). Satan told God that Job only lived righteously for selfish reasons, to be blessed, and challenged God to take away Job's blessings. God allowed Satan to take away Job's wealth, children, and physical health (Job 1:6-22, 2:1-13).

Job suffered severely even to the point of wishing he had never been born (Job 3:1-26). God was testing Job's faith in God's righteousness, and at the same time teaching him a lesson. God was also making a point to Satan and probably teaching a lesson to God's angels and to all the human race through the book of Job that Job would write. Yet, through most of Job's suffering, he did not understand the reason. It was only at the end that Job gained understanding, and though the book does not record God telling Job about His conversation with Satan, He must have told Job for Job to write it in his book. And it suited God's purpose not to reveal the purpose of the trial to Job in the beginning, for it was Job's very lack of understanding that allowed this to be a test of Job's faith. God wants us to have faith to trust Him even when we do not understand our trials.

Abraham was tested when God told him to sacrifice Isaac, and God did not tell Abraham the reason. It may have been only after the test was over that Abraham understood (Genesis 22:1-19).

Even Jesus Christ, when He was suffering and about to die, cried out, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46).

But perhaps the example of suffering trials but not knowing the reason that is on the most massive scale is the suffering of this world for 6,000 years, which suffering is about to reach a climax at the end of this age. That climax of suffering and the end of this age can be illustrated by the events represented by the Day of Trumpets.

The very purpose of the 6,000 years of suffering under Satan's influence is to teach mankind the lesson that Satan's way of life brings suffering. Yet mankind is not learning that lesson yet. They will understand it later, but right now they are merely living the lesson and writing the lesson in human history, yet without understanding and learning it, yet.

But they will understand it later.

This whole world is suffering a trial it does not understand. Yet, the fact that it does not understand it at the present time in no way lessens the value of the experience, for they will understand the lesson later.

Likewise, we may suffer trials to test us and teach us lessons, trials we do not understand even if we seek to understand them, but that is no reason for discouragement, for God is able to teach us things through experience even before we understand what He is teaching us, and later we will understand more.

Yet, perhaps there is a way to understand our trials sooner and better, and in understanding our trials they become easier to bear. God pays us for what we do in this life - we reap what we sow. "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap" (Galatians 6:7).

If we show kindness to others to help them understand their trial, God may more quickly help us to understand our trials, for it may be easier to endure a trial we understand than one we do not understand.

Israel and the world are about to go through severe trials in the great tribulation and the Day of the Lord. We can help them understand their trials during the great tribulation by giving them a warning message now. Then, when they go through the tribulation, they will remember our message, and that will help them understand the purpose of their suffering, and that in turn will make it easier for them to bear their trials and easier for them to repent.

It is a way we can obey God's command to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Here is a link to other posts and information about the Day of Trumpets:

"What the Day of Trumpets Represents", dated September 13, 2015, link:


Editor said...

Hello again author.
I have read this article and it still seems to me that you are a little mixed up about the Festival of trumpets and all that it pictures. As I compare this to your last post and comments, so please help me understand how my view of these things is so much worse than yours.
I am assuming that we both agree that the festival of Trumpets pictures several things; one of which is the return of Christ and the time for the marriage of Him to the first fruits. Now you stated that you are not aware of any false doctrine that LCG teaches--also saying that you have read the material or maybe it was just hearing the sermon from Mr. Ames--none-the-less, you made this comment;
"The evidence in the Bible that the kind of voting UCG uses to govern itself is NOT how Christ governs the Church is probably more than 100 times greater in numbers of verses than anything about where the marriage supper takes place."

Just how many Scriptures are you "aware of" that deal with Christ's return Vs. the wedding taking place at the throne of God in the third heaven??
Trumpets is generally accepted as picturing the return of Christ and various Scriptures expound on that--many in Christ's own words. However, there is not even one direct passage confirming that he goes back to heaven with the saints for the wedding. On top of that, the way it was explained, Christ would then have to turn back around after the wedding to return a third time from the Fathers throne --so where is Scriptural directives for that??? Does not Hew.9, perhaps v. 27 or 28 say it is a second coming?? I think this false doctrine far outweighs the Governing issue (although I do agree with you, the voting system is not Biblical) and besides, COGwa set up their system also by voting for leaders when they began. others who may appoint may also be false leaders to start with; IF they are dishonest with the Scriptures in any other areas.
HWA said and has written "That if you find me being dishonest with Scripture, then you must reject me as being Gods apostle" RCM has, to my knowledge, been dishonest with the issue of governing even, because he originally set up GCG with a "collegial" type governing system and I have the booklet to prove it--which they no longer have in print.
Things to consider, I think--but the bigger issue here is trying to do the work of God with honesty and integrity, while believing and rightly dividing the word of God, don't you think? said...

The comment above and the comment I will enter after this one are a continuation of the discussion in the comments in my previous post entitled "The Gospel and How to Preach It", dated September 9, 2016. For the beginning of this discussion, see that post and the comments in it. said...

How many scriptures am I aware of concerning the marriage supper and where it takes place? I don't remember every verse, but I would estimate I was aware of about a half a dozen or a dozen at the most. I would expect that if I did a thorough study of the subject, I would find a few more, but not a lot more, and the ones I found were not totally clear to me when I put them together.

How many scriptures do I find about the structure of governance in the Church of God? I won't take the time to count the passages and verses I published in chapter eight of my book, but I have about 20 sections in that chapter each of which deals with a major lesson from the Bible about government. Each of those sections quotes or references one or several passages, and each passage contains one or many verses. There may be about 50-100 passages and about 200 to 1000 verses that support government from the top down in the Church. And they are extremely clear.

You point out that Mr. Armstrong said that if we find him being dishonest with scriptures we should reject him as being an apostle. I might point out that Dr. Meredith has never claimed the title of apostle, but only evangelist. Secondly, Mr. Armstrong's statement is not useful in my opinion. There is a difference between making an honest mistake and being deliberately dishonest with scripture. Mr. Armstrong was not talking about mistakes, for he himself made mistakes (as he admitted), with Pentecost being on a Monday being an example.

But to judge that a person is dishonest and not just making a mistake requires insight into that person's mind. God can read minds but I can't, and neither can you. And I do not find any scripture that says a true apostle never sins or makes a mistake.

My judgment is that there is enough supporting evidence given in Mr. Ames's sermon to indicate that LCG's decision in this matter is probably sincere. I have no reason to think otherwise. As a matter of fact, I am inclined to agree with their position. I tend to think that after Christ returns to the earth, He will gather the saints and take us to the marriage supper in heaven and we will come back to the earth. Time and space will not limitations for Christ and the resurrected saints.

It is a mistake to nit-pick about Christ coming a "third" time, or a fourth time, etc. Remember that after Christ's resurrection, he told one of the women not to touch Him or hold Him because He had not ascended to the Father. But later he allowed his disciples to touch Him, indicating He must have gone to heaven to present himself to the Father. So He made a trip to heaven and returned, and He may have done that many times during the time between his resurrection and His ascension into heaven as recorded in Acts.

In regards to COGWA, I agree that they also are wrong about governance.

Going back to the issue of dishonesty, it seems you are quick to impute bad motives to those you disagree with. You think, if someone is wrong, they must be dishonest, they must be deliberately lying.

Did you think that way about Mr. Armstrong? Did you assume he was being dishonest with the Bible for teaching that Pentecost was on a Monday? Did you think he was being dishonest when he said, shortly before he died, that we should follow the next pastor general (Mr. Tkach) if we want to be in the Kingdom of God?

What about me? Do you think I am being dishonest with scripture? Do you think I am deliberately lying and twisting things out of context? Can you read my mind and my motives?

How should I think about you? Because I disagree with you, should I assume that you are deliberately being dishonest with scripture? I do not think you are deliberately lying. I think you are making a mistake. There is a difference.

So, since you think Dr. Meredith and Mr. Ames are wrong, why do you assume that you know their minds and motives and accuse them of deliberately lying and not just making a mistake?

Editor said...

Thank you for your response to my comment and I did ask you for help with some questions I proposed. However, once again I think you may have misinterpreted the reason for my comment, as it was not intended to be offensive—just trying to come to an understanding with truth and sincerity.
First off let me point you back to me saying that I did agree with you that UCG and their form of governing was not (in my opinion) the biblical model—with the voting procedure, so there is no need to be rehashing any of that.
In your responding comment, you said;
“You point out that Mr. Armstrong said that if we find him being dishonest with scriptures we should reject him as being an apostle. I might point out that Dr. Meredith has never claimed the title of apostle, but only evangelist.”
Are you actually insinuating that because RCM is not an apostle, he would be exempt from striving for honesty with Scripture?? Kind of sounds that way—but as you pointed out—I do not know what is in your mind—all I have is your words to go by, same as for any other person. Then you went on to say; “Secondly, Mr. Armstrong's statement is not useful in my opinion.” Then you stated your reason for that conclusion.

Let me just inject here what I was meaning by this and what RCM himself stated about it when starting GCG, because it did seem to be useful for him at the time, which lends itself to my point about this. (now of course I am not implying that you are not entitled to your own opinion, as I am also—and we may both be mistaken and can change—but our own “opinions” matter little when it comes to what God clearly states, if those “opinions” take us down a different path and seem to contradict what other scriptures reveal.)
RCM brought out that very statement I made to you in a booklet, © 1995 on church governing and these are HIS exact words and emphasis from that booklet; “Using Mr. Armstrong’s “plain”, easily understandable logic, you should reject ANY spiritual leaders who are dishonest with God’s word.” As you have pointed out, there is a big difference in making a mistake and being dishonest. HWA did not use scripture purely for his advantage one way, then change it to meaning something else when that way was no longer working. Do you even know about the early years of the GCG or of the booklet titled “When should you follow church Government”? Where were you in January 1995 when that booklet was produced? I know it is no longer in print because RCM no longer views governing the same as he did then. But the bigger issue is the false doctrine of the marriage at the throne in the third heaven. Does their doctrine contradict ANY passage already recorded? I think it does, which I will explain later.


Editor said...

Author, as to this part of your comment dealing with the marriage to Christ.
Please do not take offense to this, because none is intended. What I am stating here is what I see is actually based on Scriptural revelation. You can speculate all you want about how many times Christ may have gone to the Father before actually ascending as it is recorded—but there is no Scriptural evidential explanation of any of it or how it might have taken place. Heb. 9:28 in the NKJ says; “To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” If this does not mean what it says, then how many other places in Scripture do not mean what they say??

(Personally, I believe based on scripture that Christ was fulfilling the wave sheaf offering; which was only “lifted up and waved”. It says nothing about Christ going to Fathers throne in the third heaven to fulfil that; so again I ask you—where does it really explain that was the throne in the 3rd heaven??) Are we not to live and believe every word of God?? So where are those words, so I can believe in them?
When Scripture talks about His ascending, it is within the site of the disciples. Christ Himself told everyone who wants to read and believe; that He would be seen coming in the clouds. He was to have all His Holy angels with Him and He was to sit on the throne of HIS GLORY. (I am assuming you know those passages) Scriptures tell us that He will set up His kingdom at the 7th trumpet sounding and there are no clear scriptures that say otherwise. That would be a contradiction to those we can clearly see and read. You know that it says in Acts one that the angels told the disciples Christ would return in LIKE MANNER as He ascended. That is verified by Christ Himself in Rev.1. Richard Ames said this in his article, (Sep/Oct. 2012—LCN) after explaining Christ was coming in the clouds and the air, which is inside of earth’s atmosphere, as many scriptures show, he said this; “Christ will come to planet Earth’s atmosphere for the saints, who will follow Him to God’s throne.” Where are the Scriptures for this?? It is clear to me this is being read into Scripture and parts of it actually have something very similar to parts of the many variations of the rapture theory.

Is it really “nit-picking” to believe scripture means what it says and says what it means or is it more truthful to just speculate and add into scripture what you think it should say because you “may be inclined” to believe it that way? Remember, these are just questions and I am just seeking answers from clear scriptures, beings you seem inclined to agree with them on their doctrine. I have no doubt they are sincere but as HWA put it—they also can be sincerely wrong as many are when they get away from clear scriptural revelation!
We should be able to go to some clear passages of scripture to explain our beliefs, so please help me find those clear scriptures that fit with all the others dealing with the return of Christ and the marriage at the throne of God in the 3rd heaven.
As I said before, there is not one single passage that says what R. Ames said, as that would be a contradiction to so many other very clear passages.

Editor said...

I have said before I have not done a thorough study of the marriage supper issue, and I am not going to go into such a study now.

My statement about Dr. Meredith not claiming to be an apostle was not intended to imply that an evangelist is held to a different spiritual standard than an apostle, but I did not know if that was your position or why Mr. Armstrong said what he said.

We have all heard the saying, "making mountains out of molehills", and that is what you seem to be doing. You take a tiny doctrine, stake your position on it, claim that it shows a pattern of dishonesty with scripture on the part of LCG, and then claim that that pattern of dishonesty disqualifies LCG from our support. And yet, you seem to ignore the needs of 500 million people to hear the true gospel and the Ezekiel warning while there is still time for them to repent before the tribulation starts.

I have shown you where your argument about the marriage supper is flawed, but you seem to have missed it.

I look at the work LCG is doing. I look at the fruits. I look at how Jesus Christ has opened doors for LCG to preaching the gospel and the Ezekiel warning. I look at the needs of my neighbors in the world who are about to go through the tribulation if they do not repent. And when I look at all the groups that have an effective work of preaching the gospel to the world, I find that LCG is doing the best job, and this includes being honest overall with scripture.

The reason I mentioned UCG was not to rehash anything about them but simply to give an example to contrast an important and clear doctrine with an unimportant and unclear doctrine, a distinction you seem to miss. I could have used COGWA or any group that uses voting to make the example, but I used UCG because you happened to mention them. The structure of Church governance is an important doctrine because it affects how we live and function, the location of the marriage supper is not.

It seems to me that you are focusing more on judging the ministry than helping to get the warning message and the gospel out to millions of people who need it. I have found many people in the Church who do this, but it is a serious error.

As I said before, I am not going to get drawn into a church by church comparison of fellowships, arguing which is best and itemizing the faults of all the others. Sometimes I talk about the faults of a group, such as UCG (voting), COGFC (not preaching the gospel), and CCOG (pagan prophecies) to illustrate a broader point, a lesson about an important doctrine that can affect the whole Church, but not to get into a discussion of every fault of every group. I know LCG is not perfect, but I believe they are doing the best job, and I have been sending my tithes to them. You can choose some other fellowship to send your tithes to.

You and I have to take God's warning in Ezekiel 3 seriously, or the blood of the people will be on our heads. We have to support the gospel and the warning as effectively as we can.

Editor said...

Author, please do not misconstrue my words or my thoughts, just to remind you of your own words. If what your doing is actually preaching the Gospel by just writing things about the Gospel--that is between you and God. However if that is preaching the Gospel then virtually every COG organization is also preaching the Gospel. if I could not read, that would not do me much good--but if I can hear a voice proclaiming truth, even if I cannot read--I would be witnessed to with the truth and could go to someone who could at least show me those words are in the bible.

I have never stated that LCG is not preaching the Gospel, however I do not believe they are the only ones doing it, as they have claimed before nor is LCG the only place to find "This truth", as they have also claimed or at least insinuated many times.
I very much support the Gospel going out and the Ezekiel warning and am trying to do my part in that with I am personally disabled and on a small fixed income--but I have relied on God to be able to serve Him as best I can under the circumstances and by whatever means He supplies. I am not required by God's law to be paying regular tithes (though I wish I could still work and tithe on that income) but do most of the time anyway and have also sent LCG offerings from time to time as I do believe they are preaching the Gospel. As you said they are not perfect, which no other organization is either. I am just trying to hold fast the truths that are clearly seen and continue to be a part of the one true COG body--which is obviously very scattered today. Someday soon it will become clear that the true first fruits are also true believers in truth and want no part of any false doctrines or even things that may give that appearance. I take no offense in you, even though we clearly are not yet on the same page on several issues, I think of you as a potential Spiritual brother in Christ.
You take care,
Editor said...

I do not think that LCG's teaching about the marriage supper being in heaven has any connection to this world's rapture idea. LCG has clearly taught against the rapture theory.

I apologize for using the term, "nit-picking". I was wrong to use that term. I made that mistake because I didn't take the time to think through and clearly articulate what I intended to say. So let me rephrase it.

It is a mistake to assume we understand how the terms "first coming" and "second coming" are being used without being careful with the context and with other events in the Bible that can help us understand the context.

You can read my next post for an explanation of why I think your understanding of "first coming" and "second coming" is incorrect.

You seem to be implying I am not preaching the gospel by just writing in favor of preaching the gospel in this blog. If that is what you are saying, you are correct. This blog is not how I am preaching the gospel. I am preaching the gospel by sending my tithes to Living Church of God where it is used to finance TV, magazines, Internet preaching of the gospel, and public Bible lectures. I am preaching the gospel the same way thousands of other tithe-paying members, co-workers, and donors do - by contributing money to an organization that has the expertise and resources to do it effectively.

If an individual has the resources, abilities, time, and money to shape the message accurately and effectively, put up a website, and advertise it with pay-per-click Internet advertising, then that is an option for such an individual to preach the gospel. Few are really in that position, and for those who cannot do that, and for myself, I think contributing to LCG is a good option right now.

I have heard your voice on your website, and I think you have a very good speaking voice. I don't know if you advertise, even a little bit, or how you get people in the world who have no knowledge of the Church of God to come to your website. But that is a key. One key is an effective message. Another key is to get people to find your message. Both are important. The first requires faith in the Bible and good communication skills. The second requires money, unless or until such time as God performs outstanding miracles to bring people to us without money. Until then, it takes money, and I think LCG can spend that money right now more effectively than I can spend it on my own with personal websites that preach the gospel.